Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digital Cameras (Point and Shoot) > Nikon

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old May 4, 2009, 9:47 PM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 11
Default

My daughter is in a gymnastic team and when they present the awards, I do not have to use the Max zoom that this camera has (24X), I may use half of that but the pictures come out real grainy. I use the auto mode. Is there any special setting I am to use ? Anyone has this same problem ?
Flora is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old May 5, 2009, 7:01 AM   #2
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 21,470
Default

The grain you're seeing is known as Noise when shooting digital, and it's going to be worse at higher ISO speeds (which is how sensitive the sensor is to light).

Basically, the camera is increasing ISO speed in lower light (and indoors in low light to a camera). It's taking the weak signal being generated by the camera's sensor and amplifying it so that you can expose the image faster (i.e., faster shutter speeds to help reduce blur from subject movement). This amplification adds noise, sort of like turning up the volume on a radio when tuned to a weak station. But, instead of hiss and static, you get image noise. This can be a big problem with most non-dSLR camera models, because of their very tiny sensors (which means the photosites for each pixel have less surface area for gathering light, requiring more amplification).

Indoors, it's best to use a flash with your type of camera, making sure to stay within the rated flash range. That way, you can keep ISO speed set lower for less noise. But, flash range is very short with most built in flashes. So, you'll probably want to disable the flash for the types of photos you're taking, unless you are very close to the stage. Otherwise, you'll get underexposed images (too dark), increasing noise levels. That means you'll need to use higher ISO speeds to help reduce motion blur, leading to high noise levels. A dSLR model using a bright lens is the best option for indoor photos without a flash, since these have much larger sensors that do a lot better as ISO speeds are increased (and you'll probably need to stick with very high ISO speed settings indoors without a flash).

I'd try noise reduction software on your images. There are some free solutions available that you can download. For example, the "Community Edition" of Noiseware is free (not just a trial). Scroll down on this download page and you'll find it:

http://www.imagenomic.com/download.aspx

The Neat Image Trial version is also free for home use and doesn't expire:

http://www.neatimage.com/download.html

These don't have all of the functionality of some of their non-free versions, and and the free versions don't retain your camera settings in the output files. But, they should get you started and do a good job in many cases. Keep the settings for noise reduction as light as possible for the desired viewing/print sizes (as noise reduction software can reduce detail if you go too heavy).

JimC is online now   Reply With Quote
Old May 5, 2009, 6:48 PM   #3
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 11
Default

Thank you so much Jim for responding back. I bought this camera 10 days ago and only have 4 more days to decide if I want to keep it or not. I really want to like it. It takes gorgeous outdoors pictures, just having some problem with the indoors ones. I am not really wanting to spend that much money on a SRL and thought this was a decent enough camera.

I did notice that some of my pictures on the bottom of the lcd screen has a OK and then like a microphone picture and I don't know what that is.Then if you hit the DSP button you can see parts of the picture flashing in black and white. The ISO was 800 but that was automatically chosen by the camera on the auto mode.

Would the picture have comed out better if I had set to the A mode Buttom (the one that is next to the P, S and M) and would have set the on for noise reduction and on for the distortion control ? Under this A setting the camera would automatically select the best ISO right ? And would I have to use the flash or not indoors ? Also, how far is the flash distance for a regular shot ?
Flora is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 5, 2009, 7:26 PM   #4
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 21,470
Default

It looks like the maximum flash range at your widest zoom position (least apparent magnification) is around 26 feet, with flash range dropping down to around 16 feet when you zoom in more (less light gets through your lens as you zoom in more, and that decreases flash range).

The specified range is using Auto ISO (and it sounds like it's probably varying it up to ISO 800). With lower ISO speeds, flash range will be shorter. The flashing black and white is probably showing you underexposed (black) and overexposed (white) areas of an image. You'll have Dynamic Range limitations with a camera (the range of bright to dark it's capable of capturing), and cameras use histograms along with blinking highlight and shadow areas to help you know what areas are overexposed (too bright to retain any detail) and what areas are underexposed (too dark to retain any detail).

That can help you decide how to make adjustments to camera settings as needed so that the areas you care most about are properly exposed. In modes like Aperture Priority (the A position) or Programmed Auto (the P position), just use Exposure Compensation to help get properly exposed images (a +EV Setting will give you brighter exposures, and a -EV setting will give you darker exposures)

Were your photos blurry with any subject movement the last time around?

You may find that ISO 800 isn't high enough to freeze subject movement if you can't use a flash (or, you're not close enough) in many indoor conditions and may need to go even higher (with more noise and/or loss of detail from noise reduction) to get fast enough shutter speeds. I'd take some at ISO 800 and ISO 1600 so you have a mixture to choose from later (some with faster shutter speeds and higher noise). Try to time your shots so that you're taking them when the least amount of subject movement is occurring.

As for modes, I usually use Aperture Priority mode, setting the Aperture to it's widest available position (represented by a lower f/stop number). Or, I will sometimes use full manual instead (setting both the aperture and the shutter speed). But, even P mode (Programmed Auto) on a camera like yours is going to leave the aperture set wide open by default anyway in lower light (and indoors is low light to a camera). So, it really doesn't make a lot of difference in those conditions if you're not comfortable with a mode like Aperture Priority (just leave it in P mode instead and make sure the ISO speeds are high enough to freeze as much movement as possible, using Exposure Compensation as needed for proper exposure).

It's a balancing act between getting faster shutter speeds to reduce blur from subject movement and how much noise you can tolerate in your images (since you need higher ISO speeds to get faster shutter speeds and higher ISO speeds increase noise/grain). Unfortunately, most non-dSLR cameras are not going to do very well for indoor photos in lower light unless you're close enough to use a flash.

JimC is online now   Reply With Quote
Old May 5, 2009, 7:45 PM   #5
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 11
Default

Jim, I would like to attach a couple pictures so you can see....
Flora is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 5, 2009, 8:08 PM   #6
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 21,470
Default

See this thread:

How to post your photos

I'd downsize an image to around 800 pixels wide, making sure to use a tool that's not going to strip out the EXIF (that way, I can see information about camera settings like shutter speed and aperture). If you want to post more than one image, just make one than one post in the same thread here.

You can use something like the free Irfanview for downsizing images After you open an image using File>Open, go to Image>Resize/Resample. Leave the box checked to retain the original aspect ratio (dimensions of width to height), and make the longest side about 800 pixels. That will be fine for checking settings. Then, save it to a new filename (so you don't overwrite your original) using File>Save As (picking a folder that you want to keep it in).

Set the jpeg quality to around 75% or 80% and leave the boxes checked to retain EXIF (you'll see a box pop up with a jpeg quality slider when you use the Save As choice and select jpeg as the file type).

As long as it's not too large (dimensions or file size), then you can attach a photo using the browse button you'll see at the bottom of your entry screen when typing a new post.

JimC is online now   Reply With Quote
Old May 5, 2009, 8:20 PM   #7
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 11
Default

Here is the picture Jim. It was taken on Auto Mode with no flash and I had to zoom. The girls were like 25 or 30 feet from where I was
Attached Images
 
Flora is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 5, 2009, 8:27 PM   #8
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 11
Default

Jim, while talking to you online, I was also on line with Nikon and when they asked me to send the pictures so they could see, they said that my camera has a "metering" problem and to go ahead and send it back to them for repair. I just bought it about 10 days ago....is it possible to have metering problems in a new camera ?E)#(#(%&&%#

Maybe I should just go to Best Buy and exchange this one in hopes that the other one they give me does not have metering problems ???
Flora is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 5, 2009, 8:35 PM   #9
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 21,470
Default

Yep. That's way too slow for non-stationary subjects (shutter speeds were around 1/10 second at ISO 800 and f/4).

It looks like you might be getting some softness from camera shake, too (stabilization can only help so much). So, be careful how your holding your camera and smoothly squeeze the shutter button to minimize shake.

You could probably use a - EV setting with Exposure Compensation to help out shutter speeds some with a bit darker exposure (which will increase noise levels) and brighten again later if needed with an editor.

But, even if you go ISO 1600 and use a bit darker exposure via a -EV setting with Exposure Compensation (and you'll need to experiment using image playback and histograms as a guide to how your images are exposed), your shutter speeds are still going to be pretty slow. So, you'll need to time your shots so that you're taking them when the girls are still.

If you can get that close, try some shots using Auto mode with flash, too (just letting it increase ISO speed as it wants to, using what it thinks are the best settings) and see what you get.

JimC is online now   Reply With Quote
Old May 5, 2009, 8:44 PM   #10
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 11
Default

Did you see what I just posted about the "metering" problems ? Isn't the camera supposed to meter itself if you are on auto mode ?
Flora is offline   Reply With Quote
0
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 8:30 AM.




SEO by vBSEO 3.6.0 RC 2