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depth of field with Sony Z1U


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#1 Loudbyte

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Posted 21 June 2009 - 02:18 PM

I've got a Sony HVR Z1U . My problem: Lets say the actor is holding an object and their arm is fully extended. I'd like to have the focus on the object and the actors face 'out of focus'. I'd then like to switch focus to the actor face and then place the object out of focus.

Is this possible with the Z1U ? I've tried manual focus but haven't found a way.

thanks in advance to anyone that might know.
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 21 June 2009 - 02:27 PM

"Loudbyte" you first need to go to My Controls and edit your Display Name to a real first and last name, as per the forum rules and instructions listed on the registration page. Thanks!
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#3 Jason Hinkle (RIP)

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Posted 21 June 2009 - 05:33 PM

You can stand far back from your actor and zoom way in to frame up your shot. The DOF will be more shallow the more you zoom in. Probably sacrifices some image quality, but I do this on my cheap digital camera sometimes. You need a tripod to keep the image still while zoomed in really far.

Otherwise, ND filters let you shoot at a wider aperture which makes DOF more shallow. Of course buying a Letus or RedRock DOF adapter is an option too.
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#4 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 22 June 2009 - 12:31 AM

Exactly. Depth of Field is determined by the focal length and the aperture setting. So, zoom your lens to the tightest possible and place the camera at the appropriate distance in order to frame up as you'd like.

Also, use the minimum amount of light on the subject so that your aperture is wide open. If you can't knock the amount of light down enough, use the ND settings on the camera.

And the greater the distance between the foreground object and the background plane of focus, the more pronounced your "rack focus pull" will be. If you can't achieve the difference of focus you're hoping for, consider cheating the setup by having someone else hold the object up in frame, but closer to the lens than the actual Actor is capable of doing.
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#5 Loudbyte

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Posted 22 June 2009 - 03:44 PM

Hi Brian,
That was really helpful. Cheers. My Z1U seems to stubbornly keep the foreground & background in focus simultaneously. I did get some decent results my switching the iris to manual and bringing the F stop all the way up. I then pulled focus from the near object to 'infinity' for the actor.


Exactly. Depth of Field is determined by the focal length and the aperture setting. So, zoom your lens to the tightest possible and place the camera at the appropriate distance in order to frame up as you'd like.

Also, use the minimum amount of light on the subject so that your aperture is wide open. If you can't knock the amount of light down enough, use the ND settings on the camera.

And the greater the distance between the foreground object and the background plane of focus, the more pronounced your "rack focus pull" will be. If you can't achieve the difference of focus you're hoping for, consider cheating the setup by having someone else hold the object up in frame, but closer to the lens than the actual Actor is capable of doing.


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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 22 June 2009 - 03:46 PM

You still need to use a real name here. Eventually you'll have your account cancelled otherwise. From the Forum Guidelines:

Real Names Forum

Members on this forum are required to use their full real names for their Display Name.
The format to use is your first name followed by a space followed by your last/family/surname. Please capitalize the first letter of each.
Display names can be edited in My Controls / Change Display Name.


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#7 jef Hoffman

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Posted 27 September 2009 - 01:04 AM

I've got a Sony HVR Z1U . My problem: Lets say the actor is holding an object and their arm is fully extended. I'd like to have the focus on the object and the actors face 'out of focus'. I'd then like to switch focus to the actor face and then place the object out of focus.

Is this possible with the Z1U ? I've tried manual focus but haven't found a way.

thanks in advance to anyone that might know.



Purchase ND filters, 72mm
what a twink
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