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Old Oct 17, 2006, 10:17 AM   #1
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I have had my Canon (Ixus/Elph/Whatever) 5MP camera for over 2 years. I would say that about 1/3 of my pictures come out blurry, and I am interested in the newer canon's which have anti-shake technology.

HOWEVER, unless I have misread the lead materials, the new SD900 (Ixus/Elph) is 10MP (yay) it does not seem to have the anti-shake technology which is present in other Ixus/Compact models.

My question is ... does the anti-shake technology they have put into their newer, but lower megapixel, models really work to the point where I should be considering another model which has it, at the cost of MP's?

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Old Oct 17, 2006, 11:50 AM   #2
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If 1/3 of your pictures came out blurry, you should really do some homework on the basics of photography, rather than relying on the automatic functions of the camera.

Blurry pictures are caused by many "non-camera" factors, the most common ones include: fast moving subject/ objects (eg. pets, kids, racecar), dim light (eg. indoor lighting, without a flash), shaky hands (eg. some people cannot hold a small point & shoot camera steady at shutter speed of 1/60 second, while some pros can hold a heavy SLR camera to take clear shots at 1/30 second). If you are not aware of the limitation of your camera, and relying on the automatic (A) mode all the time, you are more likely to get blurry pictures at the extremes of the photographic conditions.

All point & shoot cameras are not completely automatic. They have "scene modes" that help you take better pictures at certain photographic conditions. I do not know the condition in which you get blurry pictures, but I'll tackle the causes of blurry pictures I listed above one by one:

Fast moving subject/ object - you may need to use the "Sport" mode (or similar names). In this mode, the camera automatically opens the aperture wide, and most likely increases the ISO (light sensitivity of the camera sensor), to force the shutter speed to increase. A fast shutter speed (eg. 1/250 second or faster) freezes fast moving objects.

Dim light - this is a difficult area to deal with. If you are taking indoor pictures of people eg. at a party, some cameras have a scene mode for this. There are various names like "Party", "Indoor" etc. and you have to find yours. Basically, it will set the camera to take relatively nearby subjects with the help of the camera's flash. The camera's flash is not strong enough to illuminate far objects (like beyond 5-6 ft).

This mode does NOT compensate for fast movements.

Dim light and fast movement is the worse combination for any camera with limited ISO capability, and should be avoided.

Dim lightling can also be partly compensated by manually increasing the ISO setting of your camera, to at least 400 (800, 1600 or even 3200, if your camera has the setting). This would force the shutter speed to increase as I described above. The problem is that the picture quality suffers in these high ISO settings, either because there is more noise in the picture (as color blotches and grains), or there is excessive loss of detail because of the camera's noise reduction.

If you don't know anything about any of the above functions and how to change them, you should go back to read the instruction manual.

Optical image stabilization only helps shaky hands (to a certain extent - some people's hands shake more than others) when the shutter speed is low (usually when there is little light). It does not reduce blurs in fast moving objects.

You have to understand that there are certain extremes of photographic conditions that the camera's ability cannot compensate to give you a decent picture. Knowing how much you camera can do for you and its limits is the way to go. Otherwise you may be disappointed by the "anti-shake technology" when you invest in a brand new camera, while the problem is somewhere else.

(Another word of advice: DON'T buy into the advertising and sales pitch that "more pixels is better/ more advanced etc.". There is a lot to understand about sensors and pixels as well, otherwise you'll just be wasting your money chasing pixels ....)
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