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Old Jun 13, 2006, 11:20 AM   #1
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Last fall, I purchased a Fujifilm FinePix E550, after using a Sony Mavica for a number of years (old enough that it had a 3.5" drive). I'd forgotten the Sony had an image-steadying function. My hands tremble a little, have since I was a boy. And too many of my pictures are coming out blurry. (See http://www.virtualstampclub.com/lloy...arlandfd03.jpgfor example.)

Many of my pictures are taken at ceremonies in ballrooms and other venues with less-than-great lighting. I'm often not that close, and I don't want to stand in front of the audience, so zoom is probably important. (I loved the Mavica's zoom.)

The E550 uses an xD memory card, and I purchased a bigger one, which I'd like to use on my next camera, if possible.

Most of my pictures are posted on the Internet. Some are printed out for 4x5 snapshots.

I'm not a serious photographer; my background, in fact, is in radio.

Since I'm going to have to sell off the E550 at a big discount, I'd rather not spend more than $200-250 for my next camera, but I could go up to $300. Size matters, too. The E550 is a good size for me.

I'm not interested in taking movies with my next camera.

So what do you recommend? Thanks.
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Old Jun 13, 2006, 11:35 AM   #2
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That sample was using a 1/4 second shutter speed at ISO 200 and f/2.8

Most of the blur you're seeing is from subject movement (although you also got a small amount of blur from camera shake).

You need faster shutter speeds if you're taking photos of non-stationary subjects. ;-)

1/4 second is way too slow for stopping blur from subject movement or camera shake (and stabilization won't help blur from subject movement).

Faster Shutter speeds come with larger available apertures (represented by smaller f/stop numbers) and higher ISO speeds. Each time you double the ISO speed, a camera can use shutter speeds twice as fast for the same lighting and aperture).

According to the specs I see for your Fuji, Auto ISO should go to ISO 640 (although it may only use it in some modes). That shot was at ISO 200. ISO 640 would have given you shutter speeds more than 3 times as fast.

Did you have ISO speed set to 200 deliberately?

Using higher ISO speeds will mean a bit more noise. But, noise is often preferrable to motion blur.

BTW, there are some pretty good tools like like Neat Image, Noiseware or Noise Ninja that can be used to help reduce the appearance of noise when higher ISO speeds are needed (and all 3 products have free and/or trial versions available).

Even ISO 800 may not be fast enough to stop motion blur in many indoor conditions, though.

To do much better than you could with your model without using a flash, you'd probably need to go with a DSLR model using a bright lens.

In subcompact models, the Fuji F10/F11/F30 models have higher available ISO speeds compared to most (as long as you don't zoom in much, since most compact cameras lose a lot of light with more optical zoom). No stabilization (but, I'd go for higher ISO speeds if choosing between stabiization and higher ISO speeds, since you'll need the higher ISO speeds to help with blur from subject movement).

Or, just use a flash so that you don't need to worry about it. ;-)

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Old Jun 13, 2006, 12:15 PM   #3
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Thanks. I'll check my settings. I didn't deliberately set the ISO, no. There were photos in that set that were worse, btw, too much to use.
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Old Jun 13, 2006, 2:01 PM   #4
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If you want a superzoom that uses xD, I recommend the Fuji S5200. You can get it for well under $300 online. Unfortunately, it doesn't have image stabilization. Neither do the Olympus superzooms that use xD cards. The S5200 does have decent picture quality at ISO 400 and 800. Also it has a wider maximum aperture at full zoom that does the E550, I think. That means more light for the sensor, which means higher maximum shutter speeds, which means less blur.
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