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Nikon P900 and portraits

Styeffo

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Hi there folks, I’ve just a quick look around online regarding the P900 and portrait photography and it seems that many people are properly poo pooing the camera for this use....

im wondering what ones on here feel, especially those who’ve used it for that and found a way around the perceived limitations, I don’t do many portrait type shots but I do like them and having bought the P900 I’m just wondering how it could be made to work...

kind regards
Stef
 

DonS

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I have not used it, but what are they saying is wrong with it for portraits?
 

Styeffo

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I have not used it, but what are they saying is wrong with it for portraits?
Hi Don, things like focal range not short enough and an inability to blur background effect (bokeh?) I’m certainly no expert but I’m sure they came up a few times.
 

DonS

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Hi Don, things like focal range not short enough and an inability to blur background effect (bokeh?) I’m certainly no expert but I’m sure they came up a few times.
Well, it does have a small sensor, so getting bokeh just means you need to be a little more careful. More on that later. I do not understand the short focal range comment though. According to the specs it has, converted to full frame or 35mm format, a focal range of 24-2000mm. Generally you do not want a wide angle for portraits, people look funny. That is why there are all of these 85mm lenses around, and if not, a 70-200 is a very popular lens for portraits. The aperture range is f/2.8-6.5. So if you shot a portrait of someone at f/2.8 around the 80mm range, it should turn out ok, but you may want to make sure your subject is further away from the background than someone with a larger sensor to get good bokeh.

You can test this, you did not need an actual person. Just pick something that might be about the size of a head (just to make it easy) and take some test shots. Feel free to talk to your subject as well, I hear that is always important for portraits :)
 

MikeB

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The "ideal" portrait camera/lens is one that will have the subject's eyes in perfect focus, the face in focus and a smooth transition through soft focus to smooth blur (bokeh). The larger the format (sensor or film) and the closer the camera-to-subject distance the shallower the DOF. The Sony P900 and take very nice portrait photos but because of the very small sensor, as @DonS mentions, you will not be able to achieve a shallow DOF.

If not having a shallow DOF for portrait photos is not a concern for you, then don't worry about the comments. If, however, you wish to have shallow DOF, you will need a larger format camera. Different camera formats provide different characteristics that can be capitalized on by the experienced photographer. Enjoy the P900, and when you decide that it is holding you back from certain types of photography then its time to look for a different format.
 

Newbandit

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Bokeh is a term used considerably since the digital age to a point of near obsession. Take a look back in history at some of the classic portraits of the last 100 years. Bokeh has very little to do with them. It’s great for selling lenses though even if the classic portrait was shot at f8 or f11
 

Ozzie_Traveller

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G'day Stef

There is a lot of "sales waffle and mushroom fertiliser" spread around by monthly-magazine-authors who claim that you need a dSLR plus certain lenses before you can achieve 'decent' outdoor portraits showing subject sharpness along with good background fuzziness otherwise called bokeh

I regularly use my FZ superzoom cameras for wonderful portraits of people or animals and achieve both the above things when shooting in the 15x to 20x zoom range

Your P900 will create superb outdoor portraits and I invite you to give it a try and smile as you show off here with some of your results
ps- you may need a monopod to help as the P900 is quite heavy and you do not want any camera vibration to cause any loss of sharpness

NB: I can post some examples if you like
Hope this helps
Phil
 

Styeffo

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Well, it does have a small sensor, so getting bokeh just means you need to be a little more careful. More on that later. I do not understand the short focal range comment though. According to the specs it has, converted to full frame or 35mm format, a focal range of 24-2000mm. Generally you do not want a wide angle for portraits, people look funny. That is why there are all of these 85mm lenses around, and if not, a 70-200 is a very popular lens for portraits. The aperture range is f/2.8-6.5. So if you shot a portrait of someone at f/2.8 around the 80mm range, it should turn out ok, but you may want to make sure your subject is further away from the background than someone with a larger sensor to get good bokeh.

You can test this, you did not need an actual person. Just pick something that might be about the size of a head (just to make it easy) and take some test shots. Feel free to talk to your subject as well, I hear that is always important for portraits :)
Thanks Don, I look forward to trying all of the above and to be honest the whole bokeh isn’t much of a thing for me, it’s just that that was mentioned in the threads as one of the things the P900 wasn’t much good at...

Thanks again
 

Styeffo

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The "ideal" portrait camera/lens is one that will have the subject's eyes in perfect focus, the face in focus and a smooth transition through soft focus to smooth blur (bokeh). The larger the format (sensor or film) and the closer the camera-to-subject distance the shallower the DOF. The Sony P900 and take very nice portrait photos but because of the very small sensor, as @DonS mentions, you will not be able to achieve a shallow DOF.

If not having a shallow DOF for portrait photos is not a concern for you, then don't worry about the comments. If, however, you wish to have shallow DOF, you will need a larger format camera. Different camera formats provide different characteristics that can be capitalized on by the experienced photographer. Enjoy the P900, and when you decide that it is holding you back from certain types of photography then its time to look for a different format.
Thanks Mike, I intend to do just that and also swotting up on the terms around photography such as DOF (depth of field, at a guess) ....
 

Styeffo

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Bokeh is a term used considerably since the digital age to a point of near obsession. Take a look back in history at some of the classic portraits of the last 100 years. Bokeh has very little to do with them. It’s great for selling lenses though even if the classic portrait was shot at f8 or f11
HeY Newbandit, you’ve kinda touched upon what I thought ....a bit of a sales gimmick but I’m sure it has its merits.
 

Styeffo

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Thanks Phil for your input, and I’ll do my best to see what I can do....

“NB: I can post some examples if you like
Hope this helps”

that would be fab:thanks:
 
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