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Old Jan 30, 2004, 4:22 PM   #1
twl
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I just bought a Toshiba PDR-M700 to take more advanced pictures then my Olympus D-520 Zoom could do.. Meaning i'd like to customize and have more control of the quality as I learn more.

But the auto focus just does not seem to work..

I posted a bunch of pictures at www.twl1971.us . The first bunch are all from my olympus (converted to 640x480) to show people a vacation spot we just stayed at.

The last 4 are some pictures I just took (the ones im conserned about) at max resolution in auto mode. Its not like my son was running, yet they are blurred alot.. The last one was zoomed in 6-7 times.. No flash was used..

It is in Auto S200 mode and the only setting I changed was setting it to the highest quality (and doing the firmware upgrade)

Am I missing something? Any help would be greatly appreciated..
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Old Jan 30, 2004, 4:57 PM   #2
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It's too hard to tell what is wrong without the originals.

Your photos have been modified, so the EXIF information is missing.

Being able to view the unmodified photos would tell us things like shutter speed (to make sure the problem is not motion blur versus focus).

At longer focal lengths, you will need faster shutter speeds to prevent blur from camera shake. Without flash, this can be impossible to do indoors at longer focal lengths (and can be extremely hard to do, even at shorter focal lengths and higher ISO speeds).

What is bright to the human eye, is not to the camera's lens.

As a general rule, you want to use 1/focal length. In other words, if shooting at 200mm equivalent, you'll want a shutter speed of around 1/200 second.

A typical indoor environment has an EV value of around 6. So, at ISO 100 and F2.8 (the maximum aperture of the lens in your camera); a shutter speed of around 1/8 second would be needed for proper exposure. This is way too slow to prevent motion blur for most users (even at maximum wide angle).

You can increase ISO speed to help compensate (but this increases noise). For example: you could use ISO 200 to get a shutter speed of 1/16 second in these conditions (still too slow to prevent blur from camera shake for many users at wide angle).

See this chart for more details. It's based on ISO 100. So, each time you double ISO speeds, you can double the shutter speeds in the chart:

http://home.earthlink.net/~terryleed...tes/tables.htm

So, chances are, your problem is simply motion blur, not focus. But, we'd have to see the original images to tell.

You'll probably need to use flash indoors with this camera in almost any situation to prevent blur (even at full wide angle). Although, you may be able to get away with it bumping up ISO to 400 (which will be very noisey with the sensor in your model).

Forget about using zoom without flash indoors (because shutter speeds will need to be much faster as more zoom is used to prevent blur from camera shake)
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Old Jan 30, 2004, 5:15 PM   #3
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How would I get the original picture? I just cut the JPGS from the camera and posted them..

I can understand motion blur, but I just dont understand how a much more advanced camera could have such poor auto focusing.

I can read the image info from the camera though.. So I added 2 more pictures (the camera is flat on a desk, the first does not have flash the second does)..


1) http://www.twl1971.us/images/PDR_0023.JPG --shutter speed 1/3 aperture f2.8 ,iso 200, flash off
2) http://www.twl1971.us/images/PDR_0024.JPG shutter speed 1/39, aperture f2.8, iso 200 flash on.

Thanks for the ISO info, that is the type of thing I want to learn about. However I really want a camera that is point and shoot as well.. Is it typical for more advanced cameras to have such poor autofocus? (assuming I bought a more advanced camera)..
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Old Jan 30, 2004, 5:30 PM   #4
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For some reason, I'm not seeing the EXIF information in the photos in the album links you posted (blurred photos of your child).

In any event, focus does NOT appear to be your problem. The problem is motion blur.

Take the examples you just posted the informaton from. 1/3 second shutter speed in the photo without flash. You would want a shutter speed more than 10 times as fast at full wide angle to prevent blur from camera shake in the lighting the photo was taken in.

Using zoom, you will need much faster shutter speeds.

Sometimes people with very steady hands can do a little better at full wide angle. However not when using a lot of zoom.

Again, as a general rule of thumb, you'll want to use 1/focal length.

Your camera's wide angle setting is equivalent to 37mm. So, you'll want enough light to get a shutter speed of 1/37 second at wide angle.

Your cameras full zoom is equivalent to 370mm. So, you'll want a shutter speed of 1/370 second at full zoom. Get the idea?

That's why some users have problems getting photos from long zoom cameras, even in full sunshine (much less indoors without flash). That's why some of the newer model cameras with stablized zoom lens are popular (to allow slower shutter speeds without as much blur from camera shake).

It's just not going to happen with your camera without flash indoors.

The problem is not focus. It's blur from camera shake. You'll need to use flash indoors (especially with any zoom at all).

To do any better, you'll most likely need to go with a Digital SLR (they can shoot at much higher ISO speeds with lower noise).

However, you'll still need a very fast lens to go with it (and these can be quite expensive - much more than your camera costs).

Even then, the amount of zoom you can use will be limited (see 1/focal length rule of thumb).
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Old Jan 30, 2004, 5:40 PM   #5
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Since my camera was sitting flat on a desk for the last two pictures (no motion aside from pressing the button), and had very little zoom (maybe 2 times) should I assume it is defective and call the manufacturer?

Thanks for all the help, and technical advise..
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Old Jan 30, 2004, 5:53 PM   #6
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The shot resting on the table at 1/3 sec should have come out OK if you used the self timer rather than manually depress the shutter.

But for the rest I agree it is likely motion blur. I downloaded one of the photos and the EXIF data isnít on the image. Most storage sites donít dump it, so I donít know where it might have gone.
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Old Jan 30, 2004, 5:57 PM   #7
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Look....I'm only trying to help.

In the last two photos you posted, the one with flash appears to be fine (sharp).

The one without flash is blurred (but motion blur). You can tell it's motion blur because of the "double images". This has nothing to do with focus (or a defective camera).

Even if you have it sitting flat on a desk, you'll still get some movement from depressing the shutter button. That's what appeared to happen in that photo.

1/3 second is simply too long not to have blur -- even at full wide angle.

If you want to take indoor photos without flash, you'll need to use a tripod and the self timer (with a non moving subject) for better results.
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Old Jan 30, 2004, 7:11 PM   #8
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I understand your only trying to help, i'm not trying to come across as difficult or anything, just trying to understand.. And I really appreciate all of the input, and the time you have spent looking at the pictures and reviewing my camera stats..


My digital experience is my cheap Olympus D-520 zoom camera which is point and shoot, 4000+ pictures, maybe 50 our of focus.. Just got the Toshiba, 100 photos, 95 out of focus (most very oout of focus).. I'm just very discouraged..

I understand what you are saying about motion blur, I just do not understand why it would happen with almost every photo.. And should it be so drastic, when my cheap camera does not have the problem.. (perhaps my olympus is better then I thought?)

The few good photos i've had were during afternoon lighting (indoors), so I can relate that to using flash indoors.. I guess I should have payed a bit more attention to the flash issue before I purchased this camera..

I'm just trying to understand if I should be able to use this camera as a point and shoot, or perhaps it is defective.. To me the last picture I took with a flash (http://www.twl1971.us/images/PDR_0024.JPG) appears grainy..

Is there a test type picture I could try taking and posting to help determine if there is a problem?

Again, I appreciate all the feedback, i'm just trying to understand, and figure out if I should return this camera and buy another one..

ps.. Still not sure how the photos loose the EXIF info, could it be frontpage saves (converts) the file with no info (requiring me to upload the files before linking)?

pss. Should I change my default ISO setting? Its at auto 200, and can be anything upto auto 400.. Perhaps I should lock it at ISO 100? What would be the best for indoor, lowish light, incandesent light? And what would be the best for indoor, med light, deflected through the blinds light..
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Old Jan 30, 2004, 9:21 PM   #9
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One of the things you'll need to take into consideration is the focal range of the lens. You mentioned trying to take photos at around 7x Optical Zoom. This simply won't work without a flash.

The more zoom you use, the faster the shutter speed will need to be to prevent blur from camera shake. A 10X Optical Zoom camera is nice for wildlife photos, etc. However, you won't be able to use that much zoom in low light. Even at wide angle, it can be difficult to use any zoom at all indoors without flash.

The grain you're seeing is called noise. In today's "new generation" of CCD sensors, the manufacturers are trying to pack more pixels into a small area.

I like to think of noise from a CCD, in the same way I think of a Sound Amplifier turned up without any input. You get lots of hum and hiss with the sound amplifer.

With a Digital Camera, the photosites for the individual pixels work in a similiar way. When not enough light reaches the sensors, at higher ISO speeds (which is "turning up the volume" from the sensor), you get image noise (versus sound noise).

In order to make up for the small size of the photosites (which can't gather as much light), the manufacturers must amplify the signal from them to get the equivalent sensitivity of a larger sensor. This increases noise in low light and underexposed areas of the image.

Using smaller, densor sensors allows the manufacturers to use smaller lenses for the same focal length (amount of optical zoom) in a smaller package. The downside is increased noise.

To reduce it, yes you can lock ISO to 100. However, this also means that you'll need longer exposures for the same lighting conditions.

This is why you'll need to use flash indoors with this type of camera for best results.

I didn't mean to sound blunt. I probably should have my more tactful in my response. Please accept my apologies.

I'm just trying to help you understand that there is probably nothing wrong with your camera. You just need to learn to understand it's strengths, and work around it's weaknesses.

Unfortunately, you're not going to be able to take advantage of it's longer zoom indoors without flash. With this type of camera, very good light will be required to use the optical zoom capabilities without motion blur (and/or excessive noise from trying to use higher ISO speeds).

In other words, there is no "free lunch". A long zoom camera with higher resolution in a compact package is a design compromise.

Smaller, densor sensors are needed to get such a long zoom lens in a compact package. So, these sensors will have higher noise than lower resolution sensors of the same size. The Optical Zoom lens is another compromise. It's wonderful to have in good light. However, it's really not very useable in low light (because shutter speeds will be too slow to prevent blur from camera shake).

So, to take advantage of this type of camera indoors, use flash, keep ISO speeds low (to keep noise down), and try to shoot at wider zoom settings (to reduce the need for faster shutter speeds).
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Old Jan 31, 2004, 4:41 AM   #10
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Thanks again for all of the info. Maybe i'm jumping the gun abit on the camera being defective (since almost all my pictures were taken indoors with poor lighting, letting the camera choose all the settings)..

Im going to spend a few hours in the afternoon trying different shots and see how things turn out..

One final question though (well two I guess),

Can focusing issues (ie. blur) be easily fixed with software like lighting issues can?

And is focusing saved in the RAW file (from what I understand a RAW file contains no camera enhancements, is focusing an anhancement or just a given)..
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