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Old Oct 11, 2004, 1:53 AM   #1
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This is my first digital camera.

Trying to take pictures of my son (18 months), and in every mode, the pictures are blurred - and he doesn't move that fast, and my hand is pretty steady!

What am I doing wrong? Or could the camera be faulty.

The shots of still stuff come out fine.

If my baby's movements get blurred, how the heck would I photograph some sport - seems no chance. I tried the sport mode, and every frame was blurred.

Please help. Thanks.:?
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Old Oct 11, 2004, 8:28 AM   #2
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A common mistake many new camera owners make is to think that they can take photos indoorswithout a flash or a tripod.

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

The shutter speed a camera can use depends on the amount of light available (which is very low in typical indoor incandescent lighting), the aperture of the lens, and the ISO speed.

Indoors with most models, you'll need to use a flash or a tripod (if shooting a stationary subject). Otherwise, the shutter speeds will be too slow to prevent motion blur from camera shake and/or subject movement.

Shutter speed with a flash in low light is not critical. This is because the flash burst is very short. Since the subject is not exposed well enough for proper exposure exceptfor the very short flash duration, the flash itself has the impact of freezing the action in lower light. Of course, you'll need to make sure that the subject is within the flash range. You see theflashrange for models in their specifications, listed at both wide angle, and at full zoom, since the lens is most models is brighter at the wide angle end.

For outdoor use, shutter speeds are usually much faster. But, the shutter speed a camera needs for proper exposure is still dependent on the available light, aperture of the lens (with smaller f/stop numbers indicating larger available apertures), and the ISO speed (which controls the sensitivity of the sensor to light).

Mostcompact cameras are going to have a lens rated at around f/2.8 at wide angle, dropping down to around f/4.9 at full zoom. Some models have brighter lenses, for example the Canon G series models start out at f/2.0 which is twice as bright as f/2.8.

Each time you double the ISO speed, the camera can use shutter speeds twice as fast. However, this will have a penalty. Higher ISO speeds cause higher noise levels (similar to film grain).

A model's sports mode is usually just selecting the largest available aperture, so that the camera's autoexposure algorithms can use the fastest shutter speeds. In low light (as with typical indoor lighting), most models will already be selecting the largest available aperture anyway, so sports mode won't help anything. But, in good light, sports mode can help to get faster shutter speeds than normal, because the camera may be selecting a smaller aperture instead without using this mode.

With your current camera, make sure to use either the flash or a tripod indoors (and the same will apply to most camera models), stay at wide angle whenever possible (you'll get faster shutter speeds with most models at the widest lens setting, versus using zoom; and also get greater flash range).

If using flash or a tripod is is simply not desired, you can try increasing the ISO speed to get faster shutter speeds indoors. However, this will give you much higher noise levels (similar to film grain, only worse). A free tool to help reduce the appearance of noise is Noiseware. You can download it from http://www.imagenomic.com

For existing light use (no flash), a DSLR model is much better (these have much larger sensors, and can shoot at higher ISO speeds with lower noise). The two least expensive models are the Canon Digital Rebel (EOS-300D) and the Nikon D70. You'd still need a bright lens to go with one in low light. A 50mm f/1.8 lens (non zoom) is a popular lens for this purpose.

In the non-DSLR models, you could also try something like a Canon G6, or a Sony DSC-F717.These models have lenses that are twice as bright at the wide angle setting compared to most compact cameras (they start out at f/2.0, which is twice as bright as f/2.8 ). However, you'd still need to increase ISO speed for indoor use without a flash or tripod (and a tripod won't help reduce blur from subject movement).
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Old Oct 11, 2004, 6:29 PM   #3
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nice work Jimc, interesting view on blurred pics.
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Old Dec 4, 2004, 8:12 PM   #4
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Yes Thanks a million Jim. Been travelling for a month or so, and haven't had a chance to reply. Its a shame, but I think the Nikon 5200 is great for outdoor shots but terrible for indoor. Flash is horrible - way too bright! and without the flash, the shutter is too slow to prevent blur. Is there any way I can tone down the flash brightness? - it really is overbearing and glaring. Thank you again for the much needed lesson!
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Old Dec 7, 2004, 8:06 PM   #5
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Jim makes some really good points but I have to say, honestly, that this camera is particluarly bad in low light situations, both indoors and out. I have an Olympus Camedia 3040, only 3.3 megapixels, and it's low light capability far exceeds that of the Nikon Coolpix 5200. In fact, the photos from my Olympus are better overall. I'm quite disappointed in the performance of the Nikon, which I purchased for it's portabliity. On the upside, it's very easy to compensate for the bright flash; it is a rare occassion that I use the flash on its regular setting.
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Old Dec 7, 2004, 9:15 PM   #6
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Blackbird wrote:
Quote:
Yes Thanks a million Jim. Been travelling for a month or so, and haven't had a chance to reply. Its a shame, but I think the Nikon 5200 is great for outdoor shots but terrible for indoor. Flash is horrible - way too bright! and without the flash, the shutter is too slow to prevent blur. Is there any way I can tone down the flash brightness? - it really is overbearing and glaring. Thank you again for the much needed lesson!
Well, there may be a way to reduce it. I'd check your manual for a flash strength setting. Unfortunately, you will usually get some glare from an internal flash.




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Old Dec 7, 2004, 9:19 PM   #7
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hcm1953 wrote:
Quote:
Jim makes some really good points but I have to say, honestly, that this camera is particluarly bad in low light situations, both indoors and out. I have an Olympus Camedia 3040, only 3.3 megapixels, and it's low light capability far exceeds that of the Nikon Coolpix 5200. In fact, the photos from my Olympus are better overall. I'm quite disappointed in the performance of the Nikon, which I purchased for it's portabliity. On the upside, it's very easy to compensate for the bright flash; it is a rare occassion that I use the flash on its regular setting.
Your Olympus used a 3 Megapixel 1/1.8" (.556") CCD. So, the photosites for each pixel are much larger than you'll find in any of the current non-DSLR models. Most CCD sensors now are either smaller, or have more photosites packed into the same size sensor.

The C-3040z also had a very bright f/2.0-2.6 lens. So, it's twice as bright as the lens on most current models at it's wide angle setting, and several times as bright as most at full zoom.

So, the larger photosites for each pixel, coupled with a very bright lens, makes your C-3040z an exceptional camera.

I've recommended users go to Ebay to try and find one on more than one occasion when low light performance was needed on a budget.
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