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Old Nov 29, 2006, 9:49 AM   #1
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Hi Can u help please (I amnot camera literate !)

My wife bought me a Fuji Finepix s5000 a couple of years ago. I have been happy with all general pictures taken using the AUTO setting.

But all photos involving movement come out blurry. I was very disappointed with the photos from my sons wedding where all the dancing pictures came out blurry. Even using the 'SPORTS' setting seems to make no difference whether I usethe flash or not.

Any advice (other than buy a throway point and shoot) would be appreciated.

ps. Thanks stevedigcams for your advce on NiMH batteries - you have savedme a fortune on ordinary batteries !!! - I should have read you site advice earlier.
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Old Nov 29, 2006, 10:43 AM   #2
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If you are able to post some of the pictures with the exif still on it we can help you out on why the pictures are blurry. Exif are the informations on the picture like the ISO, shutter speed, aperture and stuff like that.

I never used that camera before but I DID own the Fuji s5200, the updated model with 5mp. I am not sure if Fuji had the same techonology or was known to have great low light picture when they had the s5000. But my fuji s5200 had clean picture in high ISO.

I'll try to explain why your pictures came out blurry. The reason why your pictures are blurry was because when you took the pictures, the shutter speed was open for too long. When the shutter speed is opened for too long, any movement from your hand or whatever you are taking picture of, will look blurred. In an automatic camera, the camera does this because it need to open the shutter speed for enough light to be captured. If the shutter speed was faster, the pictures would come out dark.

To prevent this, you need to raise the ISO on the camera. When you raise the ISO on the camera, it allows the sensor to be more sensitive and allow more light to be picked up. If more light can be picked up by the sensor, you can make your shutter speed faster to prevent blurr. But the problem with rasing the ISO is that the pictures gets more "noise" and is not as clean. So you need to balance it out. It is kinda hard to do if your camera does not have the ablity to take clean picture in high ISO.

When you put it to "sports" mode, all it does is raise the shutter speed on the camera so you won't get any blurr. In bright sunny day, that is no problem, but in low light that is. When the camera raise the shutter speed and is not able to raise the ISO, you will get a dark image or underexposed image.

The problem with digital camera(all of the point and shoot) is the lack of ablity to shoot in low light without flash. But some camera do a better job than other (fuji tend to be the leader right now).

There is a lot more to this but I tried to explain it as simple as I could. If you have any other question feel free to ask.

So how do you take better pictures in low light?
1-buy a dSLR or a better camera, but you already said that you don't want to buy a new camera.

2-Use flash, but the problem with flash is that you are not able to use it in some place. Or the flash will not reach whatever you are trying to take. Most flash on the camera will only give you a range of 5-10 feet. Anything beyond the flash range, flash is usless. When you are at a concert or inside a statium or so and you see all those people using flash for taking pictures, you can say that they do not know what they are doing.

3-Use a tripod. With a tripod, you can have the shutter speed open for longer without having to raise the ISO so it can give you a cleaner image. This is really good if you want to take pictures of the city at night time. But the problem with this is if the object is moving, it won't help out much.

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Old Nov 29, 2006, 12:13 PM   #3
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Thanks for your prompt response Superakuma, I dont think I will have the EXIF details you speak of because I have copied the pictures onto my computer and they are no longer on my camera, so I suppose the EXIF details are now lost ........ or are they ?

Your comments did make sense and it may be that I was takng the photos from too great a distance (using some telephoto enlargement).

Based on what you said, I have just taken some pictures of the ceiling fan going round in my dining room (how sad am I ?) and at that distance (6 feet) with the flash on, the camera took fairly clear pictures of the fan blades even though they cannot be distinguished with the naked eye when revolving at speed.

I've just got to convince my wife to dance around at the bottom of the garden to experiment a bit more with the settings. That should amuse my neighbours!

Thanks again and will keep on experimenting with your comments in mind

regards, Richard (stoneage man with space age technology)
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Old Nov 29, 2006, 1:01 PM   #4
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Another cause for blurry pictures could be using the digital zoom, rather than the optical zoom. Digital zoom is the camera's processor taking a small picture and adding more dots (pixels )to increase the size of the object. It guesses what the value is of the dots it adds, so the resulting image is normally fuzzy. This wouldn't have been my first thought, but in your second post you mentioned how far away they were, and how you had to use telephoto enlargement.

As an addition to all this - the more you zoom into something, the more affect camera shake has. So avoid handholding any camera with a long telephoto when using slow shutter speeds.
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Old Nov 29, 2006, 1:04 PM   #5
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Exif info is iimbeded in the image file. So if your camera stores it (and if it's only a couple years old it should have) it would be there - EXCEPT some computer software strips the information. So it is possible that any editing software you used might have stripped it.

Superakuma hit a lot of the high points. The one part of the equation not mentioned is lens aperture. The aperture reflects HOW MUCH light the lens lets in. The more light it lets in the less time the shutter needs to stay open.

So - stopping motion is achieved through faster shutter speeds. And you can achieve faster shutter speeds for a given picture by either increasing ISO (which brings in more noise) OR by using a wider aperture OR both.

The problem is: wide apertures are a physical constraint of a given lens. So a given digicam may not allow you to open the aperture wide enough to get the shutter speeds you want. There are some other drawbacks that are apparent on DSLRs (shallow depth of field where only parts of the photo are in focus and the rest is blurred).

All of which is why wedding photographers and the like will typically use flash to solve the problems. The problem is, as mentioned, any inboard flash is usually pretty week. So, when buying your next camera - if you stay with a digicam and like these types of shots, buy one that has a hot-shoe for attaching a flash unit to. That way you can still use lower ISOs and don't need a wide aperture to freeze the action.

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Old Nov 29, 2006, 2:30 PM   #6
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First get the EXIF data. Likely Exifer (http://www.exifer.friedemann.info/freeware) will do the job for your camera.

Second figure out if the blurryness is due to subject motion, shake, or bad focus. Bad focus is very unlikely, in part because of the very large depth of field with digicams. With shake (any non deliberate motion of the camera while the shutter is open) everything will be blurry and likely there will be "motion blur" in the non moving part of the image. If the blur is subject motion, parts of the background will be sharp while the main subject is blurry.

If it is shake, a tripod or better handholding technique will help. If it is motion blur, a flash or a camera with higher ISO and a larger aperature lenswill help.

The bird picture below is an example of extreme motion blur combined with bad focus - focus is on the foreground, not on the bird.

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