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Old Aug 17, 2006, 2:31 AM   #1
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Ive had my A95 for prolly 2 years now, I love it but I have noticed a blurring that is really a pain. When I shoot with my flash i pretty much always get a good clear photo. Problem is when i use the flash, the camera seems to keep it as it looks. Meaning if I take a pic in a city, at the skyline at night, or even in lower light, with the flash on the camera will take the photo as is, meaning alot of the darker spots on the frame will remain darker. If I have the flash off those same spots will be adjusted a little to appear brighter. Ill show you and this is a completly common example. HOWEVER MANY TIMES THE NON FLASH PIC WILL BE BLURRY AS IF FROM CAMERA SHAKE, AND VERY FEW TIMES IS IT ACTUALLY SHAKEN. Why does it produce camera shake without flash many times more often than with flash??

The light one is with flash, 1/8sec f2.8 metering mode is Matrix, this was shot on auto: but remember alot of the lower (not dark) light pics without flash have blurs. I just dont keep those pics so i dont have an example:

I am forced to use the flash quite often because without it I get blurs, but then the flash pics produce low brightness levels that are a tad harder to correct. Here: http://i8.tinypic.com/24v2lg3.jpg

PS: http://i7.tinypic.com/24v1z08.jpg
on my lower light photos, many recent pics taken in vegas were almost ruined because of them. I have cleaned the lens with a lens cloth but is there a liquid spray I can use, or are these buggers only inside the camera?
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Old Aug 17, 2006, 9:17 AM   #2
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Most cameras will have blurry photos indoors without a flash if you're not using a tripod. ;-)

What's bright to the human eye is not to a camera's lens. The camera needs to keep the shutter open long enough for proper exposure. Otherwise, you'll get underexposed (dark) images.

The "rule of thumb" for a hand held photo is that shutter speed should be the reciprocal of focal length to prevent blur from camera shake.

IOW, if you're shooting at 50mm (35mm equivalent versus actual), you'd want 1/50 second or faster. If you're shooting zoomed into 100mm, you'd want 1/100 second or faster, etc. But, lighting may not cooperate.

So, don't zoom in any more than you need to. For one thing, blur from camera shake is magnified as focal lengths get longer. Also, most lenses are not as bright as you zoom in more.

With shutter speeds as slow as you're getting (and they may be even slower in lower light), extra care is needed to increase your number of keepers (smoothly squeezing the shutter button and not releasing it until after you hear it take the photo). Finding something to brace yourself against can help.

A tripod is your best bet indoors (but, keep in mind that a tripod will only help with blur from camera shake, not from subject movement).

You can increase ISO speed to help out, too. Chances are, Auto ISO isn't going to go over about ISO 200. Each time you double the ISO speed, the camera can use shutter speeds twice as fast for the same lighting and aperture.

The downside is higher noise levels. But, tools like Neat Image, Noiseware or Noise Ninja can be used to help reduce the appearance of noise when higher ISO speeds are needed.

Of course, there is always the flash. But, keep in mind that a small flash has a limited range (which decreases as you zoom in more since the lens will lose light at longer focal lengths with most compact cameras). So, you need to stay within the rated flash range.

Your Canon's flash is rated for a maximum range of 14 feet at your widest zoom setting (least apparent magnification), dropping off as more zoom is used to a maximum range of 8 feet at it's longest zoom setting.

If you need to take photos indoors without a flash, a DSLR is a better choice, since these can shoot at much higher ISO speeds (which is how sensitive the film or sensor is to light, allowing faster shutter speeds for the same lighting and aperture). A brighter lens with larger available apertures (represented by smaller f/stop numbers) is often needed, too.

There are some subcompact models that do better than others. For example, the Fuji F30 has higher ISO speeds available compared to most. But, it's lens also loses a lot of light if you zoom in with it (it has a largest available aperture of f/2.8 on it's wide end, which is around 3 times as bright as it's largest available aperture of around f/5 when you zoom in all the way with it).

So, you may need to stay at the wide angle end of the lens with a camera like that one, even though it has higher ISO speeds available to prevent blur from camera shake or subject movement without a flash. Taking photos indoors without a flash or tripod is a tough thing to do with most cameras.

A number of models also have some type of stabilization built in now. That can help with blur from camera shake (to a point). It won't help with blur from subject movement, though.

As for the spots you're seeing, that's not inside of your camera or lens. That's dust or smoke particles in the air that are close to the front of your lens, and you're seeing the light from your flash being reflected back from them.

It's a common occurance with smaller cameras that have a flash located close to the lens in dusty or smoky environments.

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Old Aug 18, 2006, 12:05 AM   #3
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Thank you very much for all that, im not all in the know about focal lengths and their effects on certain situations. but Im also glad you dont thinks its odd, i was fearing that my camera was too susceptible to the blurring. next time i have it out ill redo some experiments thanks.
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Old Aug 18, 2006, 12:29 AM   #4
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No, it's typical for a compact camera.

It's tough to take photos indoors without a flash or tripod.

You'd want shutter speeds around 4 times as fast as you were getting in that lighting to prevent blur from camera shake at your camera's widest zoom setting.

If you're *very* careful about controlling your breathing (take a deep breath let it out), and smoothly squeezing the shutter button as to minimize camera movement, you can probably get a few keepers at shutter speeds that slow (as long as you have a stationary subject).

Using continous mode can help, too (one photo may be less blurry compared to another after pressing and holding down the shutter button for multiple photos in a row), as can bracing yourself against something. Using the viewfinder can be a better way to go also (giving it more support versus holding it away from you and using the LCD).

But, your best bet indoors is to use a flash or tripod with most subcompact cameras.

Even a DSLR with the ability to shoot at much higher ISO speeds can have problems taking photos indoors without a flash when light gets too low.

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Old Aug 21, 2006, 12:32 AM   #5
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Your slow shutter speed is the problem! I have Image Stabilization and I still can't take a picture at slower than 1/10ths of a second (that is at 12x zoom however)... At 1/4 of a second with no IS, you are almost always going to get blur.
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Old Aug 22, 2006, 4:57 PM   #6
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Just for kicks, examine a picture you took with flash but which had something illuminated (a window letting in daylight; a lighted lamp). See if that item shows blurriness while the parts of the picture hopefully including all of the important subject matter are sharp.

I have seen pictures from cameras with just that blurriness because the camera kept its lower shutter speed when taking flash pictures. It was only the relative light level from the (1/500'th second or so) flash being somewhat greater than the light level on the same subject matter from other light sources about the room that made the important parts of the picture look sharp.

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