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F Stops on digital compact cameras

Discussion in 'Photography Forums' started by HMHB, Aug 29, 2005.

  1. HMHB

    HMHB
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    I had a play around with aperture priority on my Panasonic FZ3 and was confused as it only let me go to F8. I've looked at a couple of reviews and they say that it can only go to F8 (it also says the same for the new canon S2 IS). Now I may be talking complete garbage here :blush: but I'm sure I remember when I had my old Canon T90 many years ago that I was regularly using F16 and F22 for my landscape photos. Is this a limitation of compact digitals ?
     
  2. shardsta

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    I think that the f8 on a compact camera equates to a high f stop on a dslr..I'm sure i read that somewhere :)
     
  3. psflynn

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    Your not imagining it - f16, f22 even f32 are "normal" apertures on 35mm cameras.

    On my little nikon 4300 iin manual it only ever gives me a choice of 2 f stops,

    never seen more than f16 tho.

    I suppose that as a digital ccd is smaller than a 35mm one, that f8 say could be equivalent to f22 perhaps in terms of light hitting the imaging device???
     
  4. alastair

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    Is this not crop factor again? My FZ5 goes form 2.8 to 8 i think but then it isnt a real 2.8, it is actually 2.8*4.5 and up to 8*4.5. Thats just my understand at least!
     
  5. RobertP

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    Google groups answer here

    What it says (I think) is if the sensor is 1/5th the size of a frame of film then f4 on a compact is equivalent to f22 of a SLR.
     
  6. longleyc

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    Due to ccd size, digital cameras has inherent good depth of field, so f8 / f11 are the narrowest apertures found on most prosumer cameras. Coupled with the design of lenses and cost of manufacture, thats about the limit on fixed lens cameras. (The Leica on your camera is a nice lens).
    Though the limitations are obvious when looking for aperture/shutter combination to get the right shot. Simply not enough f stops!
    DSLR obviously can cross this barrier.
     
  7. HMHB

    HMHB
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    So if I'm reading this right, the F8 setting should be reasonable to get front to back sharpness on landscape shots ?
    I also had a problem when using shutter priority, trying to get a longer shutter speed on a sunny day with only a few f-stops up to F8 just isn't possible, would I have had the same problem with a DSLR as well do you think ?
    By the way chaps, I'm not intending for this to be one of those compacts v DSLR threads, I'm just interested to see if the Canon S2 IS will cope with all my needs should I decide to get another camera :)
     
  8. MattB1

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    F8 on a compact is a very small aperture due to the small (real not equivelent) focal lengths on compacts compared to DSLR's

    My understanding of it is :

    Aperture size = focal length / Fstop

    Therefore for the equivelent Fstop a compact would have a much smaller aperture than a DSLR because the focal length would be greater on a DSLR.

    This is why F8 on a compact is similar to maybe F16 or F22 on a DSLR. Compacts don't bneed to go above F8 for a very good depth of field.

    The reverse is that on a small F number e.g. 2.8 the aperture on a compact is nowhere near as big as a DSLR and therefore you haven't got a cat in hells chance of getting anywhere near as shallow depth of field.

    Getting a long shutter speed on a sunny day is very difficult with any camera. On a DSLR you can buy filters that will help you but I doubt you'd get them for a compact.

    Matt.
     
  9. etaf

    etaf
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  10. longleyc

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    "Though the limitations are obvious when looking for aperture/shutter combination to get the right shot. Simply not enough f stops!"

    I would love to get 8 sec exposure on a sunny day at the seaside, but it wont happen :)

    You can have a narrow depth of field if you just use the zoom. Lower fstops and maximum zoom should reduce the dof adequately.
     
  11. alastair

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    To get it 8 seconds as well as F stops you may need an ND filter. I am looking at getting a x4 one and maybe a x2 one. The Panny FZ5 uses 55mm filters so yours probably will as well.
     
  12. etaf

    etaf
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    i have a 4x ND filter built into the camera electronics, so you may have one too.
     

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