Friday, October 24, 2014

Yes Subject Isolation Is Possible With a Small Sensor

Inner Brace With Serial Number
Although it's more difficult to achieve subject isolation with a small sensor (compact) digital camera, it certainly isn't impossible. In the above photo, I used my Panasonic DMC-LX5 at f2, where the Serial Number and upper course of strings are in focus, the rest is not. The secret, of course, is the Macro Mode. Granted, the DMC-LX5 has a slightly larger Sensor than most other older compacts and smartphone cameras. If you are looking to buy a compact, pay attention to the Macro Mode specs and maximum lens aperture. The LX5 will focus less than 1 centimetre from the subject in Macro, which is superb, but the downside is that getting in that close is really the only way it will achieve good subject isolation with a blurred background... but it can be done.

Now, on to the subject - it's a 1920's era Mandolin. The Mandolin has become my other passion, and lately I've been spending more time with them  than I have my cameras. This one is almost certainly made by Larson Brother's - here are some more pics:

Ebony Shelf Under the Fretboard

Enclosed Tuners

Fold-Top Construction

This One Had the Top Crushed, and Nicely Repaired, but it still sags a bit

The Back Covers Up the Neck Joint.
These pics all show some Larson Brother's unique construction practices (except for crushing the top of course), but there were a few copy-cats. This one's labelled "Century - Chicago" inside. Whether authentic Larson or not, it's a great little player.

Mandolins are great little instruments. They cover three Octaves with only 4 strings (or more commonly string pairs). Guitars also cover three octaves, but need six strings to do it, with the exception of a Tenor Guitar, which also does it with four strings. It's because Mandolins, and Tenor Instruments are tuned in fifths, while a normal guitar tuning is in a combination of fourths (with one third). That "third interval" between a guitar's G and B strings, adds weirdness, compared to instruments that are tuned in all fifth intervals between every string. Mandolins also have a lot of chord that can be played with just two, or at the most three fingers, making the learning experience almost instantaneous, and the fifth interval tuning makes for much quicker mastery, compared to a standard guitar. Add to this, you have the mandolin's take-anywhere size, and great tone and projection - it all spells F-U-N!

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