This is almost certainly my fault, not the camera. I mostly shoot landscapes with myself in the foreground via a small tripod:

landscape with person in foreground

My former camera was a Sony A5000 and for these kinds of shots (see below) most of the image was in focus. That camera broke and this season I replaced it with a Lumix DMC-LX10, which was used to take the photo above. The distant mountains are not really sharp. I have used the "Intelligent Auto+" setting along with manually setting the aperture to f/8 or f/11 (which is the max for this camera).

enter image description here

Thank you for any suggestions.

  • 1
    Do you have an example of an image from your old camera that looks more like what you want it to?
    – Michael C
    May 22, 2020 at 4:36
  • 1
    I don't have time for to answer properly (it's grocery shop day) but these links to dpreview might help: Panasonic LX10 review and What is lens equivalence. @jsf80238 might be able to add more information or even answer his own question.
    – dmkonlinux
    May 22, 2020 at 5:19
  • 1
    Oh and I nearly forgot the excellent Depth of Field Calculator.
    – dmkonlinux
    May 22, 2020 at 5:25
  • 1
    @dmkonlinux Or the even better DoF calculator at Cambridge In Colour that allows one to enter display sizes using the 'show advanced' button to figure depth of field for pixel peeping enlargement ratios. DoF Master assumes one is viewing an 8x10 inch display size at a distance of 10-12 inches.
    – Michael C
    May 23, 2020 at 7:14
  • @MichaelC I have edited my question to include an image from my former Sony A5000 (this was about the last shot from that camera before it broke!)
    – jsf80238
    May 23, 2020 at 20:51

3 Answers 3


I think you are seeing the difference in the system limits between a 20MP camera with an APS-C (23.2 X 15.4 mm) sensor that has three times the areal size of a 20MP camera with a 1" type (13.2 x 8.8 mm) sensor. You're also likely seeing the difference between a higher quality lens and a more budget friendly lens.

The background in the image from the Panasonic LX-10 is not necessarily "out of focus", it just isn't as sharp as the background in the shot from the Sony α5000.

Since both cameras have the same number of pixels, the Panasonic has photosites (a/k/a sensels or pixel wells) that are considerably smaller than the Sony. The Sony's pixel pitch is 1.75X larger than the Panasonic's. This affects the final image in several ways.

  • Due to the smaller size of the photosites on the smaller camera, the diffraction limited aperture is encountered at a lower f-number. If you use the same f-number with both cameras, the LX-10 will suffer more from diffraction than the α5000 will.
  • Due to the greater enlargement ratio needed to view images from the smaller sensor camera at the same size as images from the larger sensor, a lens used on the smaller sensor would have to be able to resolve 1.75X more linear detail than the lens used on the larger sensor just to get the same overall amount of "sharpness". This is because any blur in the images from the smaller sensor is being enlarged 1.75X more than the blur in the images from the larger sensor.
  • Although we don't know what specific lens you used with your Sony α5000, pretty much any of Sony's e-mount lenses would likely be higher in optical quality than the LX-10's permanently attached 10.25-30.75mm f/1.4-2.8 zoom lens. It's not a "bad" or "terrible" lens, but it isn't as good as what one would typically put on the front of modern interchangeable lens cameras. Due to the camera's approximate 2.34X "crop factor", this gives a lens "equivalent" to how a 24-72mm f/3.3-6.6 would act on a full frame camera. Of course your α5000 was also a crop body, but it only has a 1.55X crop factor.

All of these factors interact to limit a camera with a smaller sensor and smaller pixels and a lesser lens to lower maximum sharpness than a camera with a larger sensor, larger pixels, and a better lens can achieve.

In the specific cases of your two example photos, it seems the LX-10 shot is focused a little bit in front of you, while the α5000 shot is focused just a tad behind you. It also looks like atmospheric and surface conditions (temperature variations that cause atmospheric "waviness" during warmer weather, haze from moisture and particulate matter in the air, and although it is hard to tell for certain, the distant peaks in the α5000 shot appear to be bare rock while the peak in the LX-10 shot is covered in trees) might have also affected the comparative results.


With its small sensor your camera is diffraction-limited so the smaller apertures, while they give the best DoF, don't give the sharpest results.

I note that the tall grass in the foreground is sharp, so it could have folled the "Intelligent Auto+" focus.

And there could be a bit of atmospheric haze...


Let's take a look at the specs of the LX10: it says 1:1.4­–2.8/8.8–26.4 on the front. You haven't left the EXIF in.

If we are taking a look at the image on the wide end (8.8mm) and are supposing that you appear sharp in your image as its most relevant and interesting part, the background will get blurring commensurate with 8.8mm/a (with a the aperture number) with respect to your focus plane. So with F8, the background blur will have the same diameter in the picture as a 1mm pimple on your nose.

If you focus double as far as you are actually standing, your nose will get 0.5mm of blurring (where it formerly got none) while the background blur shrinks to half of what it was before.

That's true in general: focusing to double the object-in-foreground distance will halve the background blur but will give the object-in-foreground then the same amount of blur that the background gets.

This halving of background blur (it's actually halving the diameter, not the area, so it is comparatively significant) would otherwise require a doubling of aperture number, getting you into diffraction area easily.

So if you can sacrifice some pimples for the background, consider a bit of backfocusing. And totally avoid focusing on something even before you: that adds to the background blur.

  • Next time I'll use a tool like GIMP to reduce the size but retain the EXIF.
    – jsf80238
    May 29, 2020 at 1:56

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