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Old Mar 10, 2010, 9:13 AM   #1
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Default S200EXR - Focus issues

I happened upon a vintage dirt track car show at a mall last weekend and decided to some shots with my new camera It was very crowded so getting clear shots was in hurry uip mode. I did a set in both F8 and F4.
Not sure why I tried F8 but this was all with now flash and I had to take several of each until I got what I thought might be the cleanest shots.
Sometimes I didn't hold it steady enough and other times I just could see the focus well enough. It was swarming with people.

I just gave up on auto focus because I find it too difficult to use in a predictable fashion in that situation. Maybe I'm doing something wrong?
I like to be able to see how it's going to turn out before I shoot.

So a couple of things.

I find the focus ring hard to use as it's so close to the camera body and of course it's electronic - ugh! Thank god the zoom is manual.

When adjusting for focus the indicator doesn't always seem to indicate best focus at the same spot my eyes detect it.

It also appears to be a moving target even though I haven't moved or changed anything else while compsing the shot that I know of?

I do wear glasses and my eyes ARE old. I have adjusted the dioper as best I can. I have to flip my reading glasses on & off between looking through the eye piece and setting or adjusting the camera for settings via the LCD screen. Maybe that's causing me to make errors?

So I thought that my eyes were the source of the problem.

So I got out my old Koncia SLR film camera and did some focusing tests of my eyes. I have no problem finding a decent focus with that camera.

Finding focus on my old Fujifilm 6900Z was always a bit of a task too. But I thought things would have improved more by now than they seem to have with this latest Fujifilm camera.

. Is there anything I can do to improve my technique?
. Do I just need to get a better camera with more pixels on the
viewfinder & LCD screen?
. Are the more expensive DSLR camera that much better at the focusing?

Here are a few shots. I honestly have a hard time knowing which shots turnout well on the camera. It's only when I get them home and on my computer that I know.
Attached Images
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Old Mar 10, 2010, 11:19 AM   #2
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something tells me you are not setting up your camera right. I can't see exif info so i can't comment further. Looking at your pics, it looks more automatic than anything. It's blurry, lots of noise, colors look bland.

Just to get you started in the right direction, try exr night mode with auto 800 iso. If you don't like the noise, drop it down to 400 if you can manage the crisp picture. Try auto 400 or auto 800 and see which one works for you.

try p as well.

Last edited by Cresho; Mar 10, 2010 at 11:30 AM.
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Old Mar 10, 2010, 11:56 AM   #3
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I was in P mode. I thought as big an aperature as possible was desired because of the lighting issue.

You're suggesting EXR SN mode? Maybe auto ISO-400?

Picture results aside, do you have trouble seeing the focus on this camera?

The first 2 pictures illustrate this. When I was taking those I couldn't see the difference clearly enough and in one of them I obviously moved.

EXIF data for the first picture==================================
Standard Information
Model: FinePix S200EXR
Software: Digital Camera FinePix S200EXR Ver1.01
ImageSize: 4000x3000
ComponentsConfiguration: YCbCr
CreateDate: 2010:03:07 14:06:17
ModifyDate: 2010:03:07 14:06:17
DateTimeOriginal: 2010:03:07 14:06:17
ExposureTime: 1/50"
Aperture: F4.0
MaxAperture: F2.8
CircleOfConfusion: 0.007 mm
HyperfocalDistance: 3.76 m
ExposureProgram: Aperture-priority AE
ExposureBiasValue: 0
CompressedBitsPerPixel: 3.2
MeteringMode: Multi-segment
Flash: Off
ISO: 400
WhiteBalance: Auto
FocalLength: 10.2 mm
FocalLength35efl: 10.2 mm (35 mm equivalent: 44.3 mm)
SensingMethod: One-chip color area
SceneType: Directly photographed
ColorSpace: sRGB
NoiseReduction: Unknown (0x100)
Contrast: Low
Saturation: Normal
Sharpness: Soft
GPS Information
Other Information
ApertureValue: 4.0
AutoBracketing: Off
BitsPerSample: 8
BlurWarning: None
BrightnessValue: 2.71
ColorComponents: 3
Compression: JPEG (old-style)
CustomRendered: Normal
Directory: V:\photos\fuijiF200EXR\Vintage Dirt Racers
DynamicRange: Standard
DynamicRangeSetting: Auto (100-400%)
EncodingProcess: Baseline DCT, Huffman coding
ExifByteOrder: Little-endian (Intel)
ExifImageHeight: 3000
ExifImageWidth: 4000
ExifVersion: 0220
ExposureMode: Auto
ExposureWarning: Good
FNumber: 4.0
FOV: 44.2 deg
FileModifyDate: 2010:03:07 14:06:22
FileName: DSCF0397.JPG
FileSize: 4 MB
FileSource: Digital Camera
FileType: JPEG
FilmMode: F2/Fujichrome
FlashExposureComp: 0
FlashpixVersion: 0100
FocalPlaneResolutionUnit: cm
FocalPlaneXResolution: 5017
FocalPlaneYResolution: 5017
FocusMode: Manual
FocusPixel: 0 0
FocusWarning: Good
FujiFlashMode: Off
ImageHeight: 3000
ImageWidth: 4000
InternalSerialNumber: FC A5522433 592D33303631 2009:09:16 C6C320122C6F
InteropIndex: R98 - DCF basic file (sRGB)
InteropVersion: 0100
LightSource: Unknown
LightValue: 7.6
Macro: Off
MaxApertureValue: 2.8
Orientation: Horizontal (normal)
PictureMode: Aperture-priority AE
Quality: FINE
ResolutionUnit: inches
ScaleFactor35efl: 4.3
SceneCaptureType: Standard
SequenceNumber: 0
ShutterSpeed: 1/50
ShutterSpeedValue: 1/50
SlowSync: Off
SubjectDistanceRange: Unknown
ThumbnailLength: 8478
ThumbnailOffset: 1572
Version: 0130
WhiteBalanceFineTune: Red +0, Blue +0
XResolution: 72
YCbCrPositioning: Co-sited
YCbCrSubSampling: YCbCr4:2:2 (2 1)
YResolution: 72

Last edited by staats; Mar 10, 2010 at 12:11 PM.
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Old Mar 10, 2010, 5:21 PM   #4
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You're not the only one, my vision is about 20/15 vision and can't tell between a blurry pic and a sharp one in the screen at all. The only time I actually look at the picture is when I'm fooling around with the camera. I view them in the camera and zoom into an image to see the quality. If I don't like it, I just throw it away or leave it alone till i get home. Then I go back and retake pic.

Normally, I take about 3-5 shots on an object I really like. 10 shots on an object/scene if I am totally fascinated by it. WHen I get home, I toss the noisy or lousy shots and keep the good ones. What I love about digital is you don't waste money on film and printing. You can take pics as your heart desires and just throw junk away and doesnt cost you a thing minus the charging time and watts put into your battery. Usually, indoor shots require flash doesnt it? besides that, I think the first one is as good as you will get without tripod. at this point, you could of fooled around with the contrast in your camera to make it pop out more.

I use P mode over EXR most of the time with iso 100 during day and auto 400 during the night. Iso auto 800 I can tolerate but thats as far as I go.

Those shots are in the mall so Ya without flash, they will look bad. DSLR's of course are much better like you mentioned.

I do see a few things you could of done

sharpness change from soft to hard
noise reduction from low to std
af mode to spot multi, or area just to get the effect you want for an overall sharpness.

you could also changed tone to hard just to see if you like it.

Here, let me show you how tone works. if you have it in low, your pics will look boring and not too great. you could of fooled around with tone and the image would of poped up better. If you had it in normal, then I suggest playing with photoshop or gimp.

Last edited by Cresho; Mar 10, 2010 at 5:48 PM.
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Old Mar 10, 2010, 5:52 PM   #5
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I usually keep it average but sometimes play with it at hard. But you can see how big the difference is. and if you don't like the color after hard, go into color and reduce the color for an even better effect. This camera is very capable and I have some nice indoor shots without flash.

You just need to play with it that's all. But for new users, I recommend flash at all times inside.
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Last edited by Cresho; Mar 10, 2010 at 5:55 PM.
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Old Mar 11, 2010, 6:40 AM   #6
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I used to have 20-15 too and terrific night vision as well. Oh well. But what you're saying is that you DON'T see the results very well either because the LCD/eyepiece sucks?

Hmmmm. Maybe I should just get a better camera?

Will an entry level DSLR solve this or am I into a $5K camera to achieve this?

I'll try changing some of the settings as you suggested and see if I do any better. I will also use the zoom to verify the shot. I'm not into post processing as yet so I'd like to get the shots as good as possible .

My first week with the camera I was using the EXR in various modes quite a lot while on vacation in bright sunny as well cloudy conditions. I depended heavily on that mode since knew almost nothing about the camera at that point. Apparently that's still the case ... I even did an entire set of shots of the inside of the new SF aquarium. That was interesting shooting the subject through glass under low light. I had some great shots of butterflies interacting with each other and the details seemed very good to me. I had some neat effects of the moving tide action in their tidal pools. I saw these photos only once on my friends HDTV before a dog crunched the SDHC card!

I need another trip.


Bob S.

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Last edited by staats; Mar 11, 2010 at 8:03 AM.
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Old Mar 11, 2010, 12:31 PM   #7
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Default I have similar focus issues with the S200EXR, here's what I've learned so far..

Hi Bob,

I have no vision probs that I'm aware of, but the focus is one of the few things about this camera that bugs me too. As it happens, just yesterday I finally seemed to find a way to help, but it's too soon to say if this will fix all situations - but here it is..

1. I have the little AF dial set at 'S' on the left side of the camera - which means the camera will only start auto-focusing with a half press of the shutter (rather than continuously). I find continuous autofocus to be very hit-and-miss, so I never use it.

2. I use 'Area' focusing 99% of the time; 'multi' focus mode seems to blur up my photos slightly, so I only ever use it for night time shots or to track moving subjects - basically only when it's impossible to focus on something. Most auto-modes disable 'area' focusing in favour of 'centre' focusing but this is basically the same as 'area' except you might have to hold the shutter halfway on your focus point and then move the camera to compose as desired.

3. I have my S200EXR set up mostly with spot metering as it allows me total control over the exposure at the focal point.

4. I have face detection disabled - always. I've only ever used to it take a timed self-portrait!

I have found that when these 4 things are used together, it gives the best possible control, as you basically tell the camera to hone in on the cross point when you're ready. The spot metering is not so essential, I just prefer it as I'm used to it.

Having said that, sometimes the camera doesn't seem to actually focus on the pin point of the cross, in which case it seems to be corrected by lowering things slightly so that the top area of the little box surrounding the cross is resting on your target, or adjusting the zoom. At least that's what happened yesterday!

It's not perfect either, but much better than leaving everything to autofocus.

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Old Mar 11, 2010, 12:44 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by fibbling View Post
1. I have the little AF dial set at 'S' on the left side of the camera - which means the camera will only start auto-focusing with a half press of the shutter (rather than continuously). I find continuous autofocus to be very hit-and-miss, so I never use it.


I also agree with this. I use S as well. My pictures come out sharp. Not only this, the motor isnt being used so you save battery as well. It's a battery saver for me. If you play with the dial, you can hear it dead on s but its always moving on continuous.
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Old Mar 11, 2010, 2:53 PM   #9
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I haven't checked the spot metering or the area it is using to check for focus but I think I have that set as well. I will check and report back.

Yes I have it on S as well otherwise you can hear the motor beating itself to death. How long can that last? Engineers ... sometimes they put stuff in just because they can and not because it works right. At least they let us turn it off.

The face detection I have turned on & off while experimenting the first few weeks. I have to admit I didn't check to see if that was off. A full report later on.

Yes I have been critical of the autofocus. It stems from the days of my old Canon HI-8 camcorder. I had to turn that thing off. But My old 6900Zoom had a slow and frustrating auto focus as well. I have used the auto focus a lot on the S200EXR with great success too. I just couldn't tell at the time and I like to have a pretty good idea I got a decent shot.

With this camera I was manually focusing everything while I was shooting the car pictures in the mall and I just had trouble seeing when it was at focus. I already covered those details in my first post. It's not my eyes. It's the camera and Cresho has outlined how he deals with this plus several other setting I can try. So I'll try them out.

This is why these forums are great and thanks guys.

Bob S.

Last edited by staats; Mar 11, 2010 at 2:55 PM.
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Old Mar 11, 2010, 3:15 PM   #10
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Have you guys played with the focus check option? I just noticed that you have to set the viewfinder and LCD to 30CPS instead of 60 for it to work. I guess that's why I've never noticed it even though it's turned on. I wonder if this might help the focusing situation?

I've been using the multi-metering (automatic). So you guys are suggesting spot metering?

Under all or what conditions?

Red eye removal was on.

Face detection was off.
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