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Old March 3rd, 2013, 03:44 PM   #1
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NEX-VG20 New User - Shallow DOF Help

Hello all

I recently purchased the NEX-VG20 camcorder because I wanted a camcorder that could do a reasonably good job at getting good shallow depth of field shots. The camera came with the stock E18-200mm lens. Is that sufficient for a good starting point for good depth of field shots? I am really new at this (depth of field shots, that is) and don't really know what settings to change on the camera either (other than the f-stop or iris setting), so help with that would also be appreciated. And does the monitor or the viewfinder show realtime depth of field shots?

Gary Lockhart
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Old March 3rd, 2013, 04:36 PM   #2
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Re: NEX-VG20 New User - Shallow DOF Help

Gary

You won't really get brilliant shallow depth of field with the stock lens. This lens is a perfect run and gun lens but you will need to add some prime lenses to your arsenal to get creative with shallow depth of field.

A cheap and cheerful start would be to buy a M42 adapter to NEX and then a HELIOS 58mm F2.0 old russian carl zeiss optic lens.

Very cheap but does a fantastic job for shallow depth of field creativity.
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Old March 3rd, 2013, 06:05 PM   #3
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Re: NEX-VG20 New User - Shallow DOF Help

Some things to remember:

1. Lower F Stop means shallower depth of field.

2. Higher focal length means shallower depth of field.

3, Increased sensor size increases the shallowness of depth of field compared with a similar angle of view in a small sensor.

The trouble with the Sony kit lens which is very good, in my opinion, is that its minimum fstop increases with the telephoto end of the zoom lens. While you will gain effective shallower depth of filed by zooming in and setting camera up further back, you also lose some of the shallowness because the minimum fstop increases as the lens is zoomed.

The sensor size is certaimly very close to what the frame size is in a 35mm cinema camera, so you should be able to mimic depth of the 35mm cinema film camera with a lens of comparable focal length.
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Old March 4th, 2013, 12:40 AM   #4
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Re: NEX-VG20 New User - Shallow DOF Help

Another annoying issue is the lack of built in neutral density filters on the VG.
For bright daylight shooting, to keep the iris wide open in order to create shallow depth of field, and to also keep the shutter speed at desirable levels (1/60, 1/120, etc. as opposed to 1/1000) requires an appropriate strength ND filter.
IMO, the variable ND filter has been the really convenient solution for this problem.
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Old March 4th, 2013, 02:52 AM   #5
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Re: NEX-VG20 New User - Shallow DOF Help

Agree with Robert. I set mine up so I have a rubber hood to actually turn the variable filter. It becomes the final exposure adjustment, using the histogram or zebras. I can set shutter manually and iso manually and aperture manually, then use the hood to rotated to proper zebra or histogram setting.
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Old March 4th, 2013, 08:42 AM   #6
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Re: NEX-VG20 New User - Shallow DOF Help

Thanks for all of the replies. I ordered the suggested M42 adapter and the Helios 58mm F2.0 Lens.
Where do you all recommend I order the ND filters?

Gary Lockhart
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Old March 5th, 2013, 10:30 PM   #7
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Re: NEX-VG20 New User - Shallow DOF Help

Here's several Vari ND filters at various prices.
I like the Singh Ray the best, but it is expensive...
vari nd filter| B&H Photo Video
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