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I’m an amateur photographer and would like to ask for some help!

I’ve recently bought a new camera, a Panasonic Lumix TZ100. Before that for 5 years I was using a Canon Ixus 255 HS.

So far I haven’t strayed from using the Intelligent Auto mode. I like the high quality images, how well it performs in low light and also towards the sun (no lens flare). However, I have noticed that it does always tends to focus on something in the picture, usually the object closest to the foreground.

I would like to take pictures with no focus at all, so that everything in the shot is in equal focus regardless of distance. My previous camera, the Ixus 255 HS did this perfectly.

My question is, is there a specific mode I can use, using specific adjustments to achieve this, e.g. changing the ISO? I’m not very knowledgeable in this area so any guidance would be a great help.

To illustrate my point, I am attaching some pictures;

Here, my old camera Ixus 255 HS, which took shots with everything in crisp focus, regardless of distance:

https://imgur.com/Ndn3cdB

https://imgur.com/MJ8dMo8

https://imgur.com/bCraOXL

Now compare to the TZ100, where the background becomes very soft and blurry:

https://imgur.com/8pGCME0

https://imgur.com/d0MzOAh

Many thanks!

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    Possible duplicate of How can I take a photo with everything in focus with my DSLR? – mattdm Jun 28 '18 at 1:30
  • Not a DSLR, but this is the same issue as above and the answer is the same. – mattdm Jun 28 '18 at 1:31
  • Well, except manually setting focus at a calculated hyperfocal distance is problematic when using a camera that not only does not have a distance scale, but doesn't even have a focal length scale so as to know what FL to plug in when calculating a hyperfocal distance for a particular FL, Av, and intended display size. – Michael C Jun 28 '18 at 4:44
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    It's important to realise that you have misunderstood how focus works. It's not possible to take a photo "with no focus at all". All camera lenses focus on some point, even your old Canon. What you actually want to do is maximise your depth of field, to maximise what appears acceptably in focus in the image. I don't mean to be snide, but I would advise you to read your camera manual. – osullic Jun 28 '18 at 8:15
  • Yes I was looking for specific answer catered towards the TZ100, Michael has kindly written an answer below. The kind of concise answer that couldn't be found so easily in a manual, esp if it's 400 pages long.. – UpstreamColour Jun 29 '18 at 20:21
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The most significant difference between the two cameras in question are the respective sensor sizes. The Canon has a 6.16 x 4.55 mm 1/2.3" sensor. The Panasonic has a 13.2 x 8.8 mm 1" sensor that is more or less twice as large linearly and four times the area of the Canon's sensor.

When framing scenes from the same distance with the same angle of view, the Canon will give you more depth of field (DoF) than the Panasonic will due to the shorter actual focal length needed to get the same framing from the same position when using a smaller sensor.

The Panasonc TZ100 uses a 9.1-91 mm zoom lens to give the 'equivalent' angle of view (AoV) that a 35mm/FF camera would have with a 24-240 mm lens. The Canon IXUS 255 HS uses a 4.3-43 mm lens to give it roughly the same 24-240mm 'equivalent' AoV.

I would like to take pictures with no focus at all, so that everything in the shot is in equal focus regardless of distance. My previous camera, the Ixus 255 HS did this perfectly.

Your camera is always focused on a single distance. If the DoF is large enough, it looks like (most) everything is in focus, but only one distance is most in focus and everything else is progressively blurrier the further from the point of focus they are. If we use a narrow enough aperture, the transition to blurry is much more gradual than if we use a wider aperture where the transition to blurry occurs at smaller distances from the actual focus distance.

Here's where the tradeoffs that we must always make when selecting camera settings come in.

  • One of the reasons your Panasonic gives you better image quality is due to the larger sensor that allows a higher signal to noise ratio between the light (signal) collected by the imaging sensor and the noise generated by the camera's electronics as well as the random nature of light waves.
  • The Panasonic also has a slightly wider maximum aperture than the Canon. All else being equal, wider apertures result in shallower DoF than narrower apertures. The lower the f-number, the wider the aperture. The higher the f-number, the narrower the aperture. The difference between the two cameras with regard to maximum aperture wouldn't be very significant if they both had sensors about the same size. But the larger sensor of the TZ100 means at the same distance and framing, it will give you less DoF at the same aperture setting.
  • Both the larger sensor and the wider aperture allow the Panasonic to collect more light from the same scene at the same shutter speed than the Canon. This allows the Panasonic to either use shorter shutter speeds at the same ISO settings, or use lower ISO settings at the same shutter speed. Either way, the larger sensor and larger aperture are contributing to the higher image quality you are seeing. Shorter shutter speeds reduce blur due to camera motion or subject motion. Lower ISO settings usually result in less image noise.

You can always stop down the aperture of the Panasonic to give greater depth of field, but you'll probably need to take it out of 'Auto Intelligent' mode to do so. With full Auto mode you're allowing the camera to decide what it thinks is most important. The camera appears to be placing a priority on low noise and fast shutter times. You need to use another mode to tell the camera, "I'd rather have greater depth of field, even if that slightly increases the image noise or slightly lengthens the exposure time." There are a couple of ways to go here:

  • Use one of the 'Scene' modes that emphasizes large DoF: Try either 'Distinct Scenery' or 'Bright Blue Sky'.
  • Use Program (P) mode and use the rear dial to shift the selected aperture/shutter speed combination towards a narrower aperture (higher aperture number). It's covered on page 97 of your Panasonic Lumix TZ100 Owner's Manual
  • Use Aperture Priority (A) mode. Select a narrow enough aperture to get the DoF you desire while not reducing the shutter speed too slow and causing motion blur. Somewhere between f/5.6 and f/8 is a good starting point. It's covered on page 101 of your Panasonic Lumix TZ100 Owner's Manual.
  • Many thanks for taking the time to write such a detailed response! This was very helpful and informative, thanks. Initial testing on A mode with narrower aperture has shown some good results! I will keep trying and check our your other suggestions. Thank you so much again! – UpstreamColour Jun 29 '18 at 20:19

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