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Old Dec 22, 2009, 10:50 AM   #1
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Default My PowerShot SX120 takes grainy photos - HELP

I've tried changing the aperture and shutter speed, as well as fiddling with other settings.
Nothing works. I can get the quality to be worse, but not better.

Is there something wrong my camera, or does this model just take grainy photos?
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Old Dec 22, 2009, 11:07 AM   #2
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it should not take grainy pictures. unless every shot is taken at a very high ISO.

do you have an account with photobucket or some other file hosting site that you can upload a full size image too, that way we can see the exif data and see whats going on?
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Old Dec 22, 2009, 11:34 AM   #3
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This is at 80 ISO... The image just doesn't look sharp. It's not blurry, it's not out of focus, it's just grainy.
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Old Dec 22, 2009, 11:42 AM   #4
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Here's a cropped part of a full-sized picture... is that supposed to be high-resolution?
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Old Dec 22, 2009, 11:51 AM   #5
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Quote:
Here's a cropped part of a full-sized picture... is that supposed to be high-resolution?
That photo was using a shutter speed of 1 second. So, yes, you're going to have a very blurry photo of a non-stationary subject using a shutter speed that slow, even if you're using a tripod (since the tripod won't help with blur from subject movement). I'm surprised it came out as well as it did.

Indoors, I'd suggest using a flash. ;-)
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Old Dec 22, 2009, 11:55 AM   #6
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Here's a picture and full-sized, cropped piece of it... I wasn't touching the camera when I took this. (I put it down on my desk, pressed the button, and let go; nothing was moving.)
It's also at ISO 80...
This looks to me like JPEG compression... is it possible to upload these as another file type?
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Old Dec 22, 2009, 12:00 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by JimC View Post
That photo was using a shutter speed of 1 second. So, yes, you're going to have a very blurry photo of a non-stationary subject using a shutter speed that slow, even if you're using a tripod (since the tripod won't help with blur from subject movement). I'm surprised it came out as well as it did.

Indoors, I'd suggest using a flash. ;-)
If that's the case, then why does it do that with inanimate objects? (See my last post.)
What's a good shutter speed? (I'm completely new to photography...)

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Old Dec 22, 2009, 12:03 PM   #8
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well, in the last photo and crop. you are cropping out a very small piece of a poorly lit indoor scene. it looks as it should under these conditions.

i suggest you try a few shots out in better lighting, or using flash. unfortunately for indoor shots, you usually must use the flash, especially with any consumer point and shoots.

try going outside, taking a few more under better lighting.
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Old Dec 22, 2009, 12:23 PM   #9
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Old Dec 22, 2009, 12:28 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Electrictypewriter View Post
If that's the case, then why does it do that with inanimate objects? (See my last post.)
What you're seeing is normal for an image in lighting that low. Light is a camera's best friend. ;-)

Also, keep in mind that you're looking at the equivalent of a *very* large print at very close range, trying to look at a photo on screen at a 100% viewing size. You wouldn't view a poster by sticking your nose up to it. ;-) Sorry, but you're not going to get perfectly sharp images looking at one that way, especially in very poor lighting (and typical indoor lighting is very poor), using very slow shutter speeds (where the camera's long exposure Noise Reduction is probably kicking in to remove hot pixels by using a dark frame subtraction algorithm).

View the image at a more realistic size, especially when shooting in light that low (and typical indoor lighting is low).

Quote:
Um... how do I change the shutter speed? (This is the first camera I've ever owned, so I'm kind of new to this.)
If you want a faster shutter speed, increase your ISO speed. Each time you double it, the camera can use shutter speeds twice as fast for the lighting and aperture setting. But, you'll also increase noise (that grain you don't like) when you increase your ISO speed, especially in underexposed areas (where noise is going to be worse, since the sensor is not getting enough light to produce a clean signal).

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Also, I don't like using flash, because it flattens things. I'm an artist, so I want my photos to have more realistic lighting... (Front lighting, which is what flash does, is almost never a good idea.)
Then, I'd suggest you get a more sophisticated lighting setup if you don't want to use a flash indoors.

You may want to look at something like this kit for starters. It's a kit with two heads that has five 24 Watt bulbs per head (with each bulb producing roughly the same light as a 100 Watt incandescent bulb). So, you'd have the equivalent of around 1000 Watts in tungsten/incandescent lighting using this two head kit (500 watts tungsten equivalent per head). But, for larger subjects, you may need to increase the lighting for better results (and kits using longer Fluorescent Tubes tend to be a better bet on a tight budget, if you want to stick with continuous lighting versus strobes).

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ite_5_Two.html

You may also want to look into using a slave flash setup with a flash that you can bounce for more diffused lighting (just make sure the trigger is "digital aware" so that it can ignore the metering preflash you'll have with a camera's built in flash that is triggering it.).

But, I'd suggest you adjust your expectations first, and don't judge a camera's image quality by what you see with 100% crops of images taken in low light without a flash. ;-)
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