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What is Miniature Effect in a Camera?

Updated on December 26, 2013

Understanding Diorama or Miniature Effect in Digital Cameras

A number of new cameras are coming out with a feature known as miniature effect or diorama effect. But what is miniature effect in a digital camera? And why would you want it? This page explains the effect and provides some examples of miniature effect shot with camera models offering this feature.

(Image released under Creative Commons license by Flickr member House photography)

what is miniature effect in cameras - example
what is miniature effect in cameras - example

Tilt-Shift Photography and Miniature Effect in Cameras

Making your scene look like a diorama or scale model

What is miniature effect in a camera? Simply put, it's a feature that makes life-size objects look like scale models. It's most effective for photos of buildings, cars and people when the shot is taken from a high angle looking down on the subject.

Cameras with built-in miniature effect try to simulate a technique known as "tilt-shift" photography. In real tilt-shift photos, a special lens is used to control the angle of the plane of focus. It's very helpful when shooting buildings so they don't look like they're leaning, and it's also great for creating images with selective focus. But in recent years, people have started creating "fake" tilt-shift photos, either through the use of post-processing software such as Photoshop or through in-camera miniature effect functions. These "fake" photos don't require a special tilt-shift lens because the alteration is done digitally. Depending on the camera model, the miniature effect (which some manufacturers also call diorama effect) must be selected before you take the image or can be applied to photos you have already shot. The result is an image with increased color saturation and contrast and decreased focus around the edges that looks like a scale model.

Below are some examples of miniature effect photos, as well as a list of cameras that offer this feature.

(Image released under Creative Commons by Flickr member Frosted Peppercorn)

Miniature Effect Village - An example of a "fake" miniature effect

what is miniature effect in cameras - example
what is miniature effect in cameras - example

Image released under Creative Commons license by Flickr member swhite.

5 Cameras with Miniature Effect - From compact point-and-shoot models to DSLRs

Camera manufacturers are now offering miniature effect in a variety of models, from simple compact cameras to more advanced DSLRs. Even some waterproof cameras have this mode. Here are 10 different cameras that offer built-in miniature effect.

Toys of Switzerland Miniature Effect

miniature effect sample 3
miniature effect sample 3

Image released under Creative Commons license by Flickr member VinothChandar

You can find more examples of miniature effect in the Flickr Tilt-Shift Miniature Fakes group.

Camera Miniature Effect App - Great a free app for Android devices

What about creating a miniature effect for camera phone photos? Well, there's an app for that! Awesome Miniature Pro - Tilt Shift by JellyBus offers three types of blur - linear blur is for miniature effect, radial blur for sleek depth of field and oval blur for detailed area setting.

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    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Fascinating effects.

    • profile image

      AngryBaker 5 years ago

      this looks like it would be fun to play with

    • aksem profile image

      aksem 5 years ago

      Thank you. I didn't know there is such Miniature effect in some cameras. It can be very useful.

    • CottageHomestead profile image

      CottageHomestead 5 years ago

      WOW! I love photography but didn't even realize there was such a thing as miniature effect. Great lens!