Bokeh my balls with this Kodak camera
April 30, 2009 3:04 PM   Subscribe

I just got a kodak ZD 710 with manual controls. How do I shoot bokeh balls with it?

So I'm a camera novice and I ask you to please bear with me.

I got a Kodak ZD710 last month. It's not an SLR but it's not a point and shoot either. It's got some decent manual controls on it, or so the reviews said.

I thought by manual controls it meant I could hand adjust the 10x lens. Turns out no. Not by hand anyway. But there are some other ways to do it. Here's a link to the camera

I want to shoot some bokeh type photos with this. Is it possible? Take a look at the PDF of the manual and tell me. And if so, what're the settings I'd use for this camera?
posted by rileyray3000 to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Depth of field depends on subject distance (closer focal plane = smaller depth of field), aperture (lower f number = smaller depth of field), and focal length (more zoomed in = smaller depth of field). Set your camera in "aperture priorty" ("A" on your mode dial) and set the aperture (will be a number like "f/4.0") to the lowest number possible. Since you probably have a different aperture range throughout the zoom range of the lens, experiment with which gives you the best results. Getting closer to the subject will also help -- you may have better luck with the macro (flower icon) setting.
posted by 0xFCAF at 3:12 PM on April 30, 2009

You will want to look through the menus and find the aperture setting. The widest that camera supports is f/2.8, but only when it is zoomed out all the way -- keep that in mind.
posted by qvtqht at 3:38 PM on April 30, 2009

Point and shoots have a very long DOF even at low apertures, so you'll never get bokeh like on a DSLR. The best way I found to do it on my Panasonic FZ8 (a 12x zoom) was to zoom it all the way out to 12x and shoot from about 3ft away, or as close as you can focus at that focal length.
posted by sanka at 3:40 PM on April 30, 2009

Basically, you want a shallow depth of field (that's the amount that's in focus).

Start with a shot in Auto mode, then do either or both of the following:

1. Zoom in, and move back to compensate.
2. Open the aperture, and reduce the shutter speed to compensate.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:53 PM on April 30, 2009

Dittos to all above. You need a short depth of field, which means the widest aperture, which means setting it to f/(smallest you can). And P&S's generally don't do this very well as it requires focus control which they don't seem to let you do anymore.

Just do what people said above and shoot some pictures. It'll be obvious. If you can't get nice bokeh, you can at least fake it. Look for tutorials on faking tilt-shift photography for some tips.
posted by chairface at 4:11 PM on April 30, 2009

What they all said above to get a small depth of field (wide aperture, long focal length and focus close) and for the "bokeh balls" that is usually from a point source of light that is outside of your depth of field. So, Christmas tree lights, sunlight through gaps in leaves, distant car headlights, etc.
posted by cftarnas at 5:28 PM on April 30, 2009

Sorry, I think that actually is a point and shoot. That's generally defined by the size of the sensor, and that camera probably has a similar sized sensor to other point and shoots.

If it does, you are going to have very minor to no control of your DOF. Small sensor cameras (like point and shoots) tend to have everything in focus. It's a hard to explain phenomenon, but basically the smaller the sensor (or film) the more things that will be in focus for a given field of view.

That doesn't mean you can't take great pictures with it. But your attempts at having nice out of focusness are going to be frustrating. If that's really important to you, you'll need to get an SLR, or the new Sigma DP2 when it comes out.
posted by sully75 at 10:52 PM on April 30, 2009

You could cheat and add background blur using a Lightroom plug in.
posted by the cuban at 3:20 AM on May 1, 2009

PS adding dof affects in afterwards is pretty lame. It's a good camera, it can do cool things. Just not blurry backgrounds. Any good photographer is going to see that stuff a mile away. I think a better use of your time might be to figure out the things that your camera can do well and do them.

There's a war photographer with an Italian name who uses point and shoots exclusively. His pictures are amazing.
posted by sully75 at 5:45 AM on May 1, 2009

To just clarify why a small sensor is bad at delivering bokeh:

A bokeh requires a small/shallow Depth of Field (DOF). DOF is related to:
1) Aperture: bigger aperture/small number = smaller DOF
2) Focus distance: Closer = smaller DOF
3) Focal length: Longer = smaller DOF

#3 is why small sensor cameras have large DOF. In order to get an reasonable angle of view a small sensor requires a short focal length. With small sensor cameras you will often see focal lengths given in "35mm equivalent" such as 38–380 mm. Those numbers only help you with the angle of view. For the DOF you need the actual focal length, which will be some fraction, like 1/6, of that.

Those short focal lengths mean large DOF. The upshot of this is you can get small angle of view (telephoto) with relatively short focal lengths making compact superzoom cameras possible with 20x+ zooms. On a 35mm or full frame camera a 20x zoom would be about a 30mm - 600mm zoom lens, those are huge. On a small sensor point and shoot it would be maybe 5mm - 100mm. Most portrait lenses that give that nice bokeh are in the 100mm range. So on a 20x superzoom you'd need to zoom all the way out. Because of the small agle of view you'd then have to move quite a ways away from your subject. This then increases your focus distance (#2 above) which means your DOF doesn't get as small as you might like.
posted by cftarnas at 1:07 PM on May 1, 2009

There's a war photographer with an Italian name who uses point and shoots exclusively. His pictures are amazing.

Yeah, Alex Majoli.
posted by the cuban at 11:04 AM on May 2, 2009

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