Hello Again-- so how does one compensate for this issue? I have a 2010 small PowerShot which was not the best equipment in the world, but I used it for many many years...it's on a vacation right now due to the "new kid" moving in. The 2010 gave decent results for a small point & shoot. Today, with the new equipment I get better closeups, but my distance views are frankly terrible. I realize part of this problem is my lack of understanding about apertures and shutter speed (which I will try to remedy ASAP). But I was surprised that the distant views were so grainy and messy looking.
Would this be due to the wrong settings or something else? My test efforts at making videos were also horrible. And if it is the wrong settings, can anyone clarify? The manual doesn't give quite enough info for those of us less experienced...
Posting any examples along with what the camera settings would be extremely helpful.
Having said that, were you taken photos indoors or outdoors? With point-and-shoot and many zoom lenses, the aperture isn't constant. So as you zoom in, the widest possible aperture becomes less and less. So when zoomed in, the lens will let in less light. To compensate, the camera will decrease the shutter and/or increase the ISO. That can then lead to blurry and/or noisy images.
Okay...now you have seen a few samples of the worst photos I have taken in many years! *hangs head in shame*
But next you will see a few more examples of the very good macros my camera can achieve... These are automatic settings except that I set the lighting at 400 since in many settings the sun was very bright. I have the EXIF data but I can't find a way to copy it to paste here.
In looking at all the images, I believe what is going on is the camera is often struggling with the scene's dynamic range. This is an issue with the vast majority of cameras.
The one common element with the closeups is that most/all of the subject is in the shade. Thought the third from the bottom closeup is blowing out the highlights along the right-hand side.
Some thoughts on achieving better images...
For outdoor scenes, take photos near sunrise or sunset. The light will be less harsh. Or, take photos where the sun is behind clouds.
For closeups, if the sunlight is too harsh, look to add some diffusion. e.g. a shoot-through umbrella or diffusion panel to soften up the light.
If you need to capture the full dynamic range of the scene, set up a tripod and take multiple images (e.g. three; one "normal", one exposing for shadows, one exposing for highlights). Then composite them together in post-production.
Finallly, when you say "set the lighting at 400", did you mean setting the shutter to 1/400 second?
By dynamic range, what is that, please? Like HDR?
I like to play with the changes of light, but it is true that on brilliant days the sunlight can cause contrasty problems and blowouts. You're absolutely right about shooting early or late in the day, or overcast days. However, sometimes one only has a narrow time frame to get out and stalk those short-lived wildflowers. But around my home garden, when it's in bloom, it is an easy matter to choose the time for a photo session. I even enjoy making photos after dark with flash! Colors can be deeper, maybe not always spot-on accurate due to the flash, but I find that great fun.
And post editing can be enjoyable too, I like filters (such as good HDR) which can actually save a bad photo. Or change it into a completely different piece of art.
When I said that about lighting at 400, I was referring to the ISO. I always had to rely on that and exposure, basic settings on my old small camera which didn't have much going for it in other settings.
Dynamic range is the difference between the smallest of something and the largest of something. For this discussion, it's the difference between the darkest areas in a scene and the brightest areas.