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Old Apr 14, 2015, 10:52 PM   #1
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Default SX40 photos

Here are some photos I have taken with my Canon SX40. They too are soft and do not have the crisp 3D look. I want to get clear crisp photos where I can see detail on the feathers. Any suggestions? These photos are straight out of the camera no cropping I only made them smaller so that I could upload them.
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Old Apr 15, 2015, 12:08 AM   #2
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first of all, if you want detail in the feathers, don't shoot waxwings! most of the time, because their feathers are so fine, they look almost like they're made of plastic! somewhere along the line, the EXIF info has been erased from these photos, so i can't tell what shutter speeds, etc., you were using, but the last two especially appear to be quite soft. i'm not familiar with the SX40's AF system, but i don't see anything in either of these photos that's really tack sharp, so it's not like the AF locked on to the wrong thing... were these shot at slow shutter speeds? were these shot at full zoom? often lenses are softer at full zoom, and you might get better results if you back off about 10%... better to crop a sharp image than to have a full frame shot that's not crisp. also, do not use digital zoom if you want sharp photos. digital zoom isn't really zoom at all... the camera bascally just crops the image and then enlarges it back to original size, and you lose a lot of image quality. stick with the optical zoom only for best image results.
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Old Apr 15, 2015, 7:44 PM   #3
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I agree with everything Rocky said. I can add one more possible reason for the softness. If the ISO was above 100, the noise handling of your camera could also be a problem and cause what you deem to be "softness".
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Old Apr 15, 2015, 9:34 PM   #4
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In 35mm equivalency, the SX 40 will give you 24mm-840mm, pure optical zoom. The digital zoom this camera is equipped with is insane, and, for my tastes, all but useless. For example, from full optical zoom, you may proceed all the way from 840mm to 3,371 mm.

Picture 1)
Model = Canon PowerShot SX40 HS
Exposure Time = 1/400"
F Number = F5.8
ISO Speed Ratings = 125
Max Aperture Value = F5.78
Metering Mode = Pattern
Flash = Flash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
Focal Length = 150.5mm



Picture 2)
Model = Canon PowerShot SX40 HS
Exposure Time = 1/200"
F Number = F5.8
ISO Speed Ratings = 640
Max Aperture Value = F5.78
Metering Mode = Pattern
Flash = Flash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
Focal Length = 150.5mm

Picture 3)
Model = Canon PowerShot SX40 HS
Exposure Time = 1/200"
F Number = F5.8
ISO Speed Ratings = 640

Max Aperture Value = F5.78
Metering Mode = Pattern
Flash = Flash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
Focal Length = 150.5mm

Picture 4 had no exif.

The culprit may well be digital zoom, only the OP knows whether it was used or not. Just my guess, guys.
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Old Apr 15, 2015, 9:37 PM   #5
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I really appreciate the information you both provided. I'm going to show my novice status. I'm not sure I understand what the difference from the optical zoom and the digital zoom is on my camera.

Also, all these photos were taken using auto focus as I'm not sure I know what I need to do to get good photos in manual focus. I've started watching Youtube videos in hopes of figuring out what I should try changing to get better photos. Is there something I should start with regarding the manual process? Rocky, I know you stated you were using Av mode...I am going to try using that mode this weekend when I go out birding again to see if I get a bit better shots.

In addition, I am certain that I used the full zoom to get a full framed photo in every one of those photos.

If someone can help me understand the difference of optical and digital zoom I will start working on that when taking photos as well.
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Old Apr 15, 2015, 9:50 PM   #6
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If the ISO was above 100, the noise handling of your camera could also be a problem and cause what you deem to be "softness".

Ron, I own the SX40, and the iso handling on the camera is very good. Here's a shot I took at the Venetian in Las Vegas a year ago. Indoors at full "optical" zoom, 840mm equiv. Also, hand-held. The IS in these cameras is awesome.


The exif on this one is:
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Old Apr 15, 2015, 9:55 PM   #7
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Lotuslady, click on this link, and scroll down about half the page. There is a very good explanation on optical/digital zoom, using the SX40.

http://www.canoncameranews-capetown....tical-and.html
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Old Apr 15, 2015, 10:10 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lotuslady View Post
I really appreciate the information you both provided. I'm going to show my novice status. I'm not sure I understand what the difference from the optical zoom and the digital zoom is on my camera.

Also, all these photos were taken using auto focus as I'm not sure I know what I need to do to get good photos in manual focus. I've started watching Youtube videos in hopes of figuring out what I should try changing to get better photos. Is there something I should start with regarding the manual process? Rocky, I know you stated you were using Av mode...I am going to try using that mode this weekend when I go out birding again to see if I get a bit better shots.

In addition, I am certain that I used the full zoom to get a full framed photo in every one of those photos.

If someone can help me understand the difference of optical and digital zoom I will start working on that when taking photos as well.
i use Av mode most of the time simply because that's what i'm most at home with... i shot mostly in aperture priority mode with my 35mm SLR back in the day, and have no real reason to change, except under certain circumstances where i want a specific shutter speed or need to shoot full manual.

i don't know how the AF system works on the Powershots... perhaps one of the others here can help with that... but at full zoom, if you were using the digital zoom, that can really soften an image.

as far as the difference between optical and digital zoom, in a nutshell, optical zoom uses only the lens itself to enlarge the image, just like your 150-600, while digital zoom enlarges it electronically in the camera, usually by cropping the image and then resizing it up to the original pixel count. it's that resizing process that costs you sharpness and clarity when it crops the image, it discards the pixel data. when it then resizes the cropped image to the normal resolution for the camera, it has to "make up" pixels to fill in and enlarge the image that's left. as a result, the image quality suffers. there are programs that can enlarge images with little to no visible degradation, such as Genuine Fractals, but they're designed to work in your computer, not your camera.

usually, there's something in the zoom controls that tells you when you're using digital zoom; best way to tell where that is would be to check your manual under "digital zoom", and then do whatever it takes NOT to use it!
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Old Apr 15, 2015, 11:21 PM   #9
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On the SX40, press the menu button on the back of the camera, bottom right. On the LCD display, there will be three tabs. The tab on the left with the picture of a camera is the tab you want. Scroll down to "Digital Zoom". You will have a choice of "off", "1.5X", "2.0X", and "Standard". I chose "off". This disables digital zoom, but not optical.
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Old Apr 18, 2015, 9:47 AM   #10
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You guys are amazing and have explained things so well.

I started watching a lot of Youtube tutorials and have started learning SO much. One thing I am sure you all might know but I just read that the canon cameras have custom settings on the dial. Another words, I could set up custom settings for birding, and possibly one for macro shots. What a great concept.

I will just keep reading and practicing with my cameras and greatly appreciate all your patience with my questions.

Hawgwild - great steps...I will go ahead and make that change on my SX40 now.
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