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Old May 22, 2007, 2:59 AM   #1
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Hi everyone,

this is my first post on these forums (and I am so glad to have found this place!).

I've owned my S9500 for almost a year now, and despite re-reading the manual countless times, searching the net, trying different settings on the camera, etc, I have not been able to take a decent shot of anything beyond 15 metres away.

I have no training in photography, so this is probably part of my problem. That being said, I'm not attempting anything fancy; all I want is to focus the camera, heh!

The reason that I purchased the S9500 is that I wanted a camera with more zoom than the little pocket sized things (I have the Finepix F10 which I just adore), and I wanted to be able to manually focus my photos.

So far I've had no trouble taking nice clear shots of things reasonably close up (for example, 5 - 10 metres is just fine), and the macro shots are great too. The absolute limit has been 15 metres away (and even then it's not that great). Beyond that, my photos have been rubbish - out of focus and comparable to what my old 2.0mp camera used to take!

The image is consistent over a photo - as in, no section is worse than the other - it's blurry all over.

The issue that I'm having is that I can not focus the camera in the first place. Whether viewing through the LCD screen or EVF (which I prefer), the image is not coming into focus, and I can't turn the focus dial (or whatever it's called!) any further to ever get it in focus.

Since I bought the camera with the intention of photographing things more than 15 metres away - such as sea birds and landscapes - I'm desperate to get the camera to focus.

Apologies if this is similar to other posts in the past; I've looked through the posts on these forums (and learnt a few tips along the way, heheh), and couldn't see anything that directly answers my question, and after all my attempts at figuring out the problem, I'm finding it all a little overwhelming.

I joined some forums elsewhere about a week ago to ask for help, and someone did give me some tips, suggesting I use centre focus with the automatic focus. This hasn't made any difference because, whether manual or automatic (and I really only want to use manual), the camera just isn't focusing on anything beyond 15 minutes at most.

For a few examples of the problems I've had, I recently uploaded five pics up here: www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

Someone else has suggested to me that it's a fault in my camera, maybe a depth of field problem, and recommended that I send it in to Fuji... It's still within warranty, but I'm worried that they'll say there's nothing wrong with the camera. Hence, the more opinions/suggestions, the better.

I would be so appreciative of any opinions or suggestions!

Thanks very much,

Snuffy
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Old May 22, 2007, 4:47 AM   #2
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Post a couple of pics here - directly to this site - no post processing (other than re-sizing) - leave EXIF intact.

the Hun


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Old May 22, 2007, 11:16 AM   #3
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I took a look at the pictures that you uploaded. I wonder if part of your problem is not necessarily focus, but camera movement. I tried looking at the exif data but the exposure information is missing. At least it was not visible in Adobe Bridge. You have to remember that as you zoom in on a subject not only does it magnify the subject, but it also magnifies camera motion that may or may not be there. Generally speaking, a good rule of thumb to use is 1/focal length should be the minimum shutter speed you should use. So that means that if you have your camera zoomed in to the full 300 mm, the minimum shutter speed you should use would be 1/300 sec. and even faster would be good if it is practical. When I shoot landscape images, I use a tripod and either a cable release of the two second timer in an attempt to eliminate any camera movement whatsoever. Yes, I know that is unacceptable to many photographers. They don't want to be bothered with that kind of stuff.

Another thing to look out for is try to identify something with quite a bit of contrast to include in your focus area. Some of your images don't have something uniquely identifiable in the focus zone to enable the camera to focus properly. Probably already know this, but always listen for that little beep that confirms that the image is in focus. Sometimes I cannot get the camera beep until I compose the photograph a little differently so that I can give the camera something specific on which to focus

There is a sharpness setting in your setup menu that you might try changing to see if that helps. Most of the time I find that a little sharpening helps with my images. I use Photoshop and the Smart Sharpen filter coupled with the Reduce Noise filter almost routinely when I am finishing a landscape image. I downloaded one of your images and applied the Smart sharpen filter to it. Since it was reduced image the filter probably didn't have the impact that it would have had on the original image. I don't know if it's any better. You will have to decide.
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Old May 22, 2007, 11:28 AM   #4
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This is a picture I took about a month ago on a trip back home from Phoenix. It was taken with my 9000. It represents the kind of sharpness that I feel is typical of my camera. Trouble is, images have to be reduced significantly in order to share them on this website so it's really difficult sometimes to appreciate the kind of detail that is actually there. I realize that this is not a telephoto image, but then neither was your image that I downloaded.
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Old May 23, 2007, 12:28 AM   #5
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Hi Jphess,

thanks very much for taking the time to look at the photo and for the tips!

Yeah, that's great advice about using the tripod, cable release/timer - I hadn't thought about trying that for long distance shots before (only for long exposure in low light), so I'm going to give that a try and see if the photos improve!

When you mention identifying a contrast area for the focus, does this apply to manual focus, or just automatic?

I think I have the shapness setting on my camera set to the sharpest one at the moment (at least, the last lot of photos I took used this - not sure if this applies to any I've uploaded, though), but until the camera is actually in focus, I guess it isn't helping too much.

The photo which you looked at (and yes, you're right, it's not zoomed in - I'd actually forgotten about that, heh!) just looks like really nasty quality to me, compared to the lovely clarity of photos from just a couple of metres away.

Come to think of it, I'm not sure if zooming in or not makes any difference to the overall quality and being able to focus the camera - it seems that most things beyond a few metres away are not coming into focus - and this includes even when I have used the tripod, which leads me to think that it's not the camera shake (although using the tripod for long distance shots is a great idea which I'll definitely be using in the future!).


Just for a few more examples (and at the Hun's request ), the photo below is an example of the best focus I've been able to get at about 15 metres, which is okay - but of course the aim is to take photos from a bit further away than that, and still have them in focus!

(I'll add a couple more in a moment - hopefully the EXIF data is still all there!)
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Old May 23, 2007, 12:33 AM   #6
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Gah! That last photo was a bit small, wasn't it? Trying to keep the file size small.

Anyway, below is a photo which was taken from about 200m away, I would guess, and I could not get it in focus at all (I was trying to focus on the bird on the street light).
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Old May 23, 2007, 12:41 AM   #7
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This last one - and I'm afraid it's pretty small - is another one where I was unable to focus on the pelicans in the distance. No matter how much I turned the focus wheel, it would only focus as far as the tree which you can see in the top left corner (and I was definitely pointing the camera at the birds, not the tree!).

It's as if the camera just can't focus on anything beyond a certain distance (regardless of the amount I zoom in, and regardless of the lighting that I've tried so far).

Again, I can see that it's out of focus before I take the shot - I could see when the nearby tree was in focus, although it shouldn't have been - so I'm sure this is more than just a matter of camera shake (although I'll be using a tripod in the future).

Sorry this photo is so small - I can upload a larger one if it's okay to post a GIF or something. I've stuck with JPEG because I don't know much about keeping the EXIF data intact, but if GIF is okay I might try that next time...
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Old May 23, 2007, 4:48 AM   #8
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Snuf,

I can only see a portion of the EXIF. Can you resize using a program that doesn't strip or suppress the EXIF, like IrfanView? Photoshop is suppressing what I need to see.

the Hun
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Old May 23, 2007, 8:55 AM   #9
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Hello the Hun,

hmm, I actually only have Photoshop (I use a little Mac laptop with virtually no memory left), but I can put the photos up on Flickr and then copy the EXIF data from there, and then post that info here, if that would help? (I only even found out about EXIF info about a week ago, so apologies for the fact that I don't know what I'm doing here, heheh!)

Incidentally, I've had some improvement in the focus today - using the tripod and the timer - but this is only with high contrast photos, and I have yet to get ordinary daylight photos focusing nicely. It's a start, though!
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Old May 23, 2007, 12:35 PM   #10
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I think Flickr will also strip most, if not all of the EXIF from your pics. I've already seen the pictures, so reposting them won't accomplish anything - I agree - they are not real sharp. No need to apologize, I'm just trying to help. Let's try a different approach...(if I had access to the full EXIF, I wouldn't need to ask all of these questions)...

Are you able to focus on distant subjects using autofocus, and the only problem is using manual focus? If you can focus properly with autofocus, what do you hope to accomplish by using manual focus?

1. What mode is your camera set in when you took these pictures?

2. Is the 'Focus Mode Selector' switch set to 'MF"? Do you see the 'MF" in your viewfinder?

3. Are the focusing indicator marks yellow when you depress the shutter release?

the Hun


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