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Thread: Why is this photo blurry/unsharp?

  1. #1

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    Why is this photo blurry/unsharp?

    Hello,

    This is the first of many questions I have and the most urgent at the moment.
    My pictures seem to be unsharp. I feel like it is worse when I am using my 55-250mm lens (especially at the 250mm end).
    Example:

    Original picture:

    Why is this photo blurry/unsharp?

    Cropped:

    Why is this photo blurry/unsharp?

    I have a couple theories on why this is happening:

    1) The pictures was shot at 250mm in Aperature Priority Mode. I had the Aperature set to f7.1 . The Autofocus didn't get it quite right and thats why the bear is out of focus.

    2) There is something wrong with my lens.

    3) The lens is fine, but because I chose the cheapest model I have to live with unsharp pictures. Or sell a leg and an arm and buy a L-Series...

    4) It looks unsharp because it was cropped out.

    Thats all I can think of right now. This has happened a number of times already and is really annoying me.
    Anybody have an idea?

    Kirk
    Last edited by Kirk; 11th June 2009 at 01:07 PM.

  2. #2
    Raycer's Avatar
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    re: Unsharp Pictures

    5) motion blur, shutter speed is to slow
    Final answer
    what do I win?

  3. #3

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    re: Unsharp Pictures

    Quote Originally Posted by Raycer View Post
    5) motion blur, shutter speed is to slow
    Final answer
    what do I win?
    If you are right, you have the choice between my firstborn or the entire contend of my wallet. Choose wisley!

    Can it really be motion blur at 1/250 sec shutter speed? That bear was really not moving really fast, otherwise I would have been running even faster
    I always thought that you had to worry about motion blur with things that move at bicycle-speed...

    Kirk

  4. #4
    Raycer's Avatar
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    re: Unsharp Pictures

    don't need another kid at home... oh dear

    Sure, the rule of thumb is 1/focal length be your minimum shutter speed.
    With 1.6x crop sensor, you'll need 1/(250x1.6) = 1/400 sec

    so at 1/250 sec, you could see motion blur unless you have VR, IS or monopod/tripod.

    Ray

  5. #5

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    re: Unsharp Pictures

    Quote Originally Posted by Raycer View Post
    don't need another kid at home... oh dear

    Sure, the rule of thumb is 1/focal length be your minimum shutter speed.
    With 1.6x crop sensor, you'll need 1/(250x1.6) = 1/400 sec

    so at 1/250 sec, you could see motion blur unless you have VR, IS or monopod/tripod.

    Ray
    Camera was mounted on a tripod and IS was on (although I am not sure if that was wise?! I think I read somewhere that you shouldn't use IS when you have the camera mounted on tripod. I turned it off later that day when I found another bear but I still had the same problem.)

    Kirk

  6. #6
    Raycer's Avatar
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    re: Unsharp Pictures

    If you have IS and tripod, this could be IS induced motion blur.
    Can you post the other picture with the IS off?

  7. #7

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    re: Unsharp Pictures

    Quote Originally Posted by Raycer View Post
    If you have IS and tripod, this could be IS induced motion blur.
    Can you post the other picture with the IS off?

    Why is this photo blurry/unsharp?


    As with the other picture, I used a tripod. This time without IS.
    I was thinking that the high aperature was to blame. But I like the idea of shutter speed. At least I can blame part of it on the camera

    Kirk
    Last edited by Kirk; 11th June 2009 at 01:08 PM.

  8. #8

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    re: Unsharp Pictures

    Well the thing is, there are tripods and then there are TRIPODS. Just how sturdy is your tripod?
    The other thing to consider is, particularly with the adrenalin induced by a bear, how hard did you slam the shutter button. Than can be enough to cause the blur that you see in the shot.

  9. #9
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    re: Unsharp Pictures

    I still see the tell tale sign of motion blur.
    Why is this photo blurry/unsharp?

  10. #10
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    re: Unsharp Pictures

    Hi Kirk,

    I agree with everything Ray and Bill have said, both shots exhibit motion blur, it's mainly up/down in #2 and left/right in #1 (look at the grass, see the double images?).

    Additionally, in #2, you are almost shooting through something, which won't help.
    "How clean was the lens?" is another thought that crossed my mind.

    I'd definitely have traded a stop or two ISO for a higher shutter speed and shot handheld with VR/IS on. Or was it on a tripod because you were set up in some kind of a hide and had to wait for the bear?

    Cheers,

  11. #11

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    re: Unsharp Pictures

    Well the thing is, there are tripods and then there are TRIPODS. Just how sturdy is your tripod?
    The other thing to consider is, particularly with the adrenalin induced by a bear, how hard did you slam the shutter button. Than can be enough to cause the blur that you see in the shot.
    Hi,

    I got a Velbon El Carmagne 530 Tripod. Seems pretty sturdy to me.
    And there wasn't much adrenalin going either. The bear was pretty calm and not particulary interested in all the people around him.


    I still see the tell tale sign of motion blur.
    Hm, I guess you're right.
    This really annoys me. I finally have my camera on me, with the right lens, and a tripod, and good weather and am close to the bear and then I mess it up with something as simple as shutter speed
    Oh well. Gives me an excuse to spend some more days in Yellowstone

    I'd definitely have traded a stop or two ISO for a higher shutter speed and shot handheld with VR/IS on. Or was it on a tripod because you were set up in some kind of a hide and had to wait for the bear?
    No, I was actually standing on top of a hill looking down on the bear. The reason I didn't use a higher ISO was that I thought that a shutter speed of 1/250 would be enough.
    I will try to drive up to the park again next week, if it should ever stop snowing here...

    Thanks guys!

    Kirk

  12. #12
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    re: Unsharp Pictures

    hee hee, welcome to the world of photography. Where you can never think too fast
    just think it can be a lot worst. it could be a wedding, or a paid gig on an airplane not that I, personally would know about any of the two above

    BTW, that's amazing that you go out and chase bears with a camera and tripods. I know no VR in the world can calm my hand shaking from fear.

    cheers

  13. #13

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    re: Unsharp Pictures

    @ Raycer

    You just need to know how to handle a bear -- this video clip will give you some pointers

    Actually, I'm reminded of a time where someone asked a martial arts guru what the best defence against someone with a gun was; his answer: "400 yards, and increasing!" -- applies to bears too I think

    @ Kirk

    Just remember that the 1/focal length rule (x crop factor) is a guide to MINIMISE camera shake - you need to go to around 5 times this speed to guarantee practically eliminating it.

    The other thing I'd suggest is eliminating the variable one at a time ... take some shots of something static - on a tripod - and change just one thing at a time.

    Are you using a remote release? Have you tried manual focus? How does the issue change with varying apertures?
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 11th June 2009 at 04:40 AM.

  14. #14

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    re: Unsharp Pictures

    Oh my eyes hurt ... hehe

    I think the faster shutter speed will definitly help ... try like 1/1000th ...

    Maybe you can have a friend run around in a bear suit and you can practice and see what shutter speed works the best ... Seriously ... or just a friend with no suit.

    Many a times I've come home to look at what I thought were going to be 'perfect' shots and keepers only to find blurries, I wasn't shooting fast enough ... So all my sympathies ...

  15. #15

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    re: Unsharp Pictures

    lol funny bearfight link...

  16. #16

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    re: Unsharp Pictures

    Hi all,

    I gave it a try yesterday when a little bunny was hopping across my way. Used shutterspeeds of 1/320 and beyond and it definitly helped a lot. Thank you all!

    Quote Originally Posted by Raycer View Post

    BTW, that's amazing that you go out and chase bears with a camera and tripods. I know no VR in the world can calm my hand shaking from fear.

    cheers
    I was actually chasing wolves that day, but they were all hiding from me.
    Bears are definitly scary animals, but they will leave you alone as long as you don't scare them, threaten them or compete for their food. People in this area usually get attacked by them after feeding the bear or when you are hicking through the woods and startle one. When I took those pictures there were about 100 other people around me, and in case the bear attacks, you just have to be able to run fast enough so your not the last one in the crowd
    The most dangerous animal here (by the number of fatalities) are actually moose. Those beasts are pure evil!

    Kirk

  17. #17
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    re: Unsharp Pictures

    Quote Originally Posted by Kirk View Post
    Hi,
    No, I was actually standing on top of a hill looking down on the bear. The reason I didn't use a higher ISO was that I thought that a shutter speed of 1/250 would be enough.
    I will try to drive up to the park again next week, if it should ever stop snowing here...

    Thanks guys!

    Kirk
    Ordinarily, if you were 10-15 feet from the bear 1/250th would have probably been OK, but you were heavily zoomed in, yes? If so, then you need to increase shutter speed accordingly. This is true even for mostly stationary objects or slowly moving ones (like tall grass in a gentle breeze). I believe your grass was out of focus too. But don't take my word for it - experiment when you can and prove this right. Image stabilization is always set to OFF when using a tripod. Also, was it very windy? If so, and you had a strap attached to your camera even the wind can blur your image using a tripod catching the strap and even the camera itself. Make sure you are using a GOOD (think Manfrotto or similar) pod. Are you using a shutter release? This is a must for the type of shots you are looking to take. If you don't have a shutter release you can us your timer (however I realize the bear might move), but in general... Hope this helps in some way.

    ~ Dog

  18. #18
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    re: Unsharp Pictures

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    @ Raycer

    You just need to know how to handle a bear -- this video clip will give you some pointers
    too funny.

    I actually work with a guy who had to fight off a bear. He's got a black belt in judo and got a 'lucky' kick to the bear's face. needless to say, he made the news.


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