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Old Jun 28, 2014, 5:45 PM   #1
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Default What makes a photo cloudy?

I have such a lack of understanding of photography that I don't even know what it is that makes pictures a bit on the cloudy side? I don't mean fuzzy or out of focus, I mean a lack of vibrance, an overall cloudy look, not vivid? (Also, if I zoom in on the picture on the computer, it is very grainy--is that normal?) I have a new Canon PowerShot SX50HS. I'm disappointed in the quality of the finished product. I have used the Auto setting and the P setting (with ISO at 1600). Other than that, I have not done anything with settings. Any help would be appreciated.
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Old Jun 29, 2014, 2:30 PM   #2
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I'm not familiar with your camera, but the logic should apply to any P&S.

The grainy look is noise if it's more noticeable in the darker or shadow areas of the image and it's caused by raising the ISO too far. Don't increase the ISO over ISO800 unless you can't keep the shot from being blurry and need the increase in shutter speed. The lower the ISO the better to prevent noise.

If you pay attention using Auto ISO and watch the shutter speed on review, you should get a good idea of what your limits are.

If the term "washed out" fits what you mean by "cloudy" and "not vivid", that could be white balance or exposure.

You can try lowering the EV by 1/3 or 2/3 when this occurs and watch which direction you're facing on bright overcast days. If you're facing the strong light, you can get a washed out look.

If you're using a filter, take it off. Even good ones can create a washed out look in some light. If you have a lens hood, use it.

If you want a little more "warmth" outdoors, you can try the "cloudy" white balance setting in P mode. Just remember it doesn't work all the time. In some situations it can help, but in others it will hurt.

As best I know, the Canons are pretty good in full auto if you don't face the light. Bright, overcast days can give any camera fits.

Sometimes using the Landscape or other SCN modes can work a lot better than Auto or PASM in the specific situations if you aren't that familiar with the features in the
camera.
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Old Jun 29, 2014, 2:44 PM   #3
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Thank you. I've changed the P setting for ISO to 800, and that should help. Here is one of the indoor pics that was so disappointing. The ISO says 800, so I must have used Auto (flash did not fire, as I recall).
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Old Jun 29, 2014, 4:18 PM   #4
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G'day BK

There could be a variety of reasons for the results you are getting ~ as BB also says, the ISO levels do have something to do with it as well

Other things might be ...
[via the Func menu button]
1- Is the camera set to maximum pixels? ... look for Image Quality = "L" or "M" or "S" and make sure it's set to Large
2- Is the JPEG image-compression set to "Fine"?
3- Is the ISO set to "Auto" with no top limit, or "Auto-800" so that iso-800 is the top limit unless you over-ride it

4- If you are happy to run the camera in a semi-auto mode, then "P" is probably your best choice. It means that the camera is pretty much automatic, but you have full control of all the Menu & Func settings to fine-tune things if need be

Hope this helps - let us all know how you get on
Phil
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Old Jun 29, 2014, 5:04 PM   #5
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Thank you, Phil. It does say L for image quality. I don't know how to tell about the JPEG image compression--when I got to JPEG on the function menu, it says JPEG 11M 4000x2664 Standard Image type. I don't see a way to change that? I can go to RAW or RAW + JPEG. I have moved the ISO to 100, based on others' suggestions. But it doesn't make sense to me that 100 would always work (like indoors, if I don't want to use a flash, it would almost have to be higher than 100, wouldn't it?). I think the ISO is set to Auto, do you suggest setting limit? I am hoping to get the P mode all set up where I can usually use it. I'm not big on using all the TV, AV, etc. settings. Also, most of my pictures will be family gatherings--
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Old Jun 30, 2014, 4:26 PM   #6
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G'day Mate

Quote:
Originally Posted by bkford View Post
.... It does say L for image quality. ... when I got to JPEG on the function menu, it says JPEG 11M 4000x2664 Standard Image type. I don't see a way to change that? ...
4000 x 2664px = 10,700,000 or thereabouts pixels which is close enough to 11Mpx ~ so that's what that's all about.

If you wanted to drop a few pixels, when that menu is displayed the <- & -> buttons will go across the choices shown to you. Those choices will be [probably] 11 - 5 - 2,5Mpx sort of numbers. I suggest you leave it where it is

Quote:
Originally Posted by bkford View Post
.... I can go to RAW or RAW + JPEG. ...
Don't waste your time with RAW for the sort of pics you are shooting

Quote:
Originally Posted by bkford View Post
.... I have moved the ISO to 100, based on others' suggestions. But it doesn't make sense to me that 100 would always work (like indoors, if I don't want to use a flash, it would almost have to be higher than 100, wouldn't it?). I think the ISO is set to Auto, do you suggest setting limit? ...
100 / 200-ISO is best used in bright sunshine
400 / 800-ISO is best used indoors or in bright but not sunshine areas
1600 / 3200-ISO is for stuff at night, sports etc but has the downside of being very grainy with splotches of mixed colour ... called noise

Quote:
Originally Posted by bkford View Post
.... I am hoping to get the P mode all set up where I can usually use it. I'm not big on using all the TV, AV, etc. settings. Also, most of my pictures will be family gatherings--
I would surmise that "P" mode will probably do you for the 90% of images that most home-user type of photos that most households take. -yes- there are advantages to the other modes, but they take some time & experience to get a grip with

As a beginner to the camera, I would suggest you consider ...
From the Func button / menu:-
ISO - Auto
WB - Auto
Image size - "L"
Image format - "JPG"

From the main Menu button & the 'setup' screens:-
locate the choices for 'saturation' and go from '0' to +1 or +2

Hope this helps a bit
Phil
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Old Jun 30, 2014, 5:23 PM   #7
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Thank you, Phil. This is very helpful. So, I am planning to use P even for outdoors. Can you help me understand the reason for changing saturation to +1 or +2?
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Old Jul 1, 2014, 3:53 PM   #8
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G'day BK

Increasing the saturation increases the 'brightness' of the colours ~ and that I presume is one of the issues you are commenting about in your original posted message

Phil
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Old Jul 1, 2014, 4:23 PM   #9
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Okay, now that I understand more, that makes sense. Thanks, Phil.
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Old Jul 8, 2014, 6:07 PM   #10
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1 find camera setting for contrast, make it +1

2 find camera setting for saturation (make +1) or film simulation

3 find camera setting for sharpness, increase one 'notch'

4 you need to set the white balance MANUALLY for every lighting change
(just like picking an indoor or outdoor film)

5 set camera iso to auto 400 max / or simply 400

attached image was:

saturated
sharpened
tint corrected
exposure reduced

Last edited by bernabeu; Jun 27, 2015 at 4:25 PM.
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