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Old May 28th, 2010, 09:56 PM   #1
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what are some camcorders that get a shallow DOF?

I know its easy to get it with the DSLRs that shoot HD, but what are some camcorder models that can get it also? from what ive seen, it looks like some of the canon vixia models are able to. or is the best for the price still just to get a DSLR, like the canon 7d
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Old May 28th, 2010, 11:02 PM   #2
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You can get a somewhat shallow DOF effect on any camcorder by putting plenty of distance between you and the subject and then zooming in. Doing this with any 1/3" camcorder will give a reasonable bokeh but you still have nowhere near the control or convenience you have with a larger chip and faster lenses.

The other option is a DOF Adaptor such as the Jag35, Letus, Redrock etc which let you use 35mm still lenses to get shallow DOF on a camcorder. The trade off with that is you lose alot of light from all the extra glass, and the adaptors alone usually cost just as much as a DSLR anyway.
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Old May 28th, 2010, 11:05 PM   #3
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I've done it with hmc150 and hmc40, Sony FX1, and many more. The trick is to have the camcorder zoomed all the way in on the subject and physically move the camera back til you get the framing you want. Also want to have the iris wide open. Manual focusing works best for me. Requires a tripod and space.

If you want to do it cheaply, go with the T2i and a 50mm 1.4 (or 1.8 if budget is limited) Much easier!
Some will offer other lens choices but all will have a common theme...lowest f-stop you can afford. I get great DOF with my 2.8 and 4.0 lenses too. If I bump any of them up to around f16 or higher, I can widen out the DOF for more of a camcorder look. Handy when flying on a steadicam-type of rig.
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Old May 29th, 2010, 12:11 AM   #4
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Ive already knew about zooming in, but it needs to be on a tripod.

im looking for something that allows shallow dof with the just the camera alone.

. is there any actual camcorders? not dslrs? under 2k yet? that you don't need a 35mm adapter
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Old May 29th, 2010, 12:18 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Morgan View Post
Ive already knew about zooming in, but it needs to be on a tripod.

im looking for something that allows shallow dof with the just the camera alone.

. is there any actual camcorders? not dslrs? under 2k yet? that you don't need a 35mm adapter
There's nothing under $35k. Which is why the DSLRs are as popular as they are.

Your list:

1. Red One (~ $35k)
2. Arri D20/D21 (~$75k)
3. Sony F35 (~$150k)
4. Dalsa Origin (discontinued)
4. Upcoming Arri Alexa (~$80k)
5. Panavision Genesis (~$500k)
6. Upcoming Aaton Delta (no idea on price, guessing north of $100k)

Or you can buy one of the DSLRs for $900-$4500 and live with their limitations.
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Old May 29th, 2010, 02:16 AM   #6
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Dave:
Its all about size of imager.. the larger the imager, the shallower the depth of field effect you can achieve. The Canon 5D imager is the size of a 35 mm still camera frame, and has a very shallow depth of field compared to a 1/4" or 1/3" imager.
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Old May 29th, 2010, 03:11 AM   #7
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This is just photometric physics. The real problem is that modern camcorders are too sensitive, so in bright light, the lens shut down as far as it can. Depth of field will be deep if there's good light levels. So get an ND filter for starts. People always moan about autofocus being 'useless' when they're trying to shoot in low light, and blaming their cameras - this is exactly what we're talking about. The lens opens wide, they're trying to zoom in, and instant blurred pictures are just because the autofocus can't keep up. Use manual focus and amazing depth of field.

The snag is manual adjustment is difficult on many auto style cameras.

Open the iris, use ND, maybe even shutter speed adjustment if it has this option, no wide angle - all these things will conspire together to reduce the depth of field. The trick is just learning to get control. The smaller image sensor means it will never be as narrow as a large sensor camera - but it can be done.
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