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Old Aug 1, 2003, 1:38 PM   #1
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Default Blur without flash indoors. Normal?

I have an Argus DC3550 2 megapixel camera w/ 3x optical zoom. It takes great pictures but there is one minor issue/nuance that I was wondering about. If I take a picture indoors, without a flash, the picture comes out blurry. With a flash, it comes out just the way I want it. Is there a reason for this? It's no problem for me to use the flash but I was just curious if there is an explanation or common reason for this.
I have 4 pics of some flowers as an example which can be found here.

The first 2 were taken with the flash, the second 2 were not.

Thanks alot.
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Old Aug 1, 2003, 2:31 PM   #2
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Without the flash your shutter speed is too slow which means if you don't hold the camera still you will see movement, especially if you have the camera zoomed in.

If your subject was absolutely still, and you had the camera on a tripod you wouldn't have a problem.

Suggest you do some reading on the basics of photography, and http://www.photocourse.com is a good place to start where they have a free online "book" on the basics.
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Old Aug 1, 2003, 2:34 PM   #3
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The problem is motion blur. Are you using a tripod? Probably not, right? And you're using an automatic mode (P or something equivalent)? (I'm not bashing automatic modes, I use them when using flash, and don't when I'm not.)

When you use the flash, there is enough light that the camera is automatically selecting a high shutter speed. When you don't use the flash, it isn't getting enough light. To make up for this, a slower shutter speed is used (automatically.) The longer (i.e. slower) the shutter speed, the more the picture will have motion blur.

Your eye is much more sensitive to light than your camera. You might be able to see just fine in the room but your camera might not. Your camera should be displaying the shutter speed and f-stop being used. It will also stamp this info into the picture when it takes it. It is called "EXIF" data. I don't know what program you use for an editor, but all the good ones (including some free ones like www.irfanview.com) can display this info.

Everyone is different. Some can take pictures at low shutter speeds because they are very steady. Others are not, and can't. If you are taking a picture at less than about... 1/100th of a second or slower, then motion blur is probably the problem. Some can take crisp pictures at 1/160th of a second or even slower. Most can't.

If you canít use a flash, then you have to brace yourself and/or the camera against something to make it steadier. The classic thing to stead a camera is a tripod, but trees, table tops and other people will all work to some extend. The best is a tripod. The even make small ones (tabletop tripods) which are very small and they do a great job on pictures like what you were trying in those examples (they donít work well outdoors, but that is another matter.)

Eric
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Old Aug 1, 2003, 5:09 PM   #4
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You've pretty much had it answered for you already, but I wrote a tutorial on low light photography, specifically in respect of the live music work I do, which may give you some additional pointers, at http://www.boo-photos.co.uk/lowlight.html
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Old Aug 1, 2003, 5:28 PM   #5
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Thanks all for your responses. I wasn't using a tripod, I guess my hands just aren't the steadiest Thanks for the links and tips, I'll be sure to check them out.
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Old Aug 1, 2003, 5:50 PM   #6
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You can only really hold steady by 1/focal length - so if you're zoomed in at all, you immediately reduce the exposure you can hold still at. So if you're at a focal length of 100mm, your maxium comfortable exposure is likely to be 1/100 second. Assuming you're pretty averagely steady. Some people are better than others.

For non-zoomed photos, the general rule of thumb is that slower than 1/60 is likely to prove troublesome for most people and the limit of their stillness. I use a shoulder pod for my music work and can hold still, even zoomed at 1/20 or 1/25 second - but the pod helps enormously and I practice.

Even if you don't have a tripod, bunch up a sweater or something soft and nestle the camera in that and perhaps use the timer if there is one. I have a little suede pillow filled with polybeads for awkward places where a tripod wouldn't work and it works a treat.
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Old Aug 1, 2003, 6:32 PM   #7
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Hey, hey thanx for clearing up the focallenght / tripod riddle.

Another tip if all tripod alike methods fail (found on the net): Set the camera in multi photo mode and shoot 3 or more pictures. The simple fact that one holds the shutter button pressed is enough to imrove sharpness.
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