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blurry photos on sx740

Oakenshield
Apprentice

I have Canon SX740, I bought it after SX620 because I though I will make better (clearer pictures), and mainly because I wanted to make macro shots. However, they turn out very often blurry (with lot of noise and edges not sharp enough). I tried programme and manual on upper button, wtih MF macro, and with different ISO values. 
Also, any photos of landscape are just full of noise and blurry, no matter if auto / programme /scene (with normal focus selected). I think my photos were better with older model of camera. What I am doing wrong? IMG_0003.JPGIMG_0065.JPG

10 REPLIES 10

rs-eos
Elite
Elite

For macro images, the depth of field can be incredibly narrow.  So unless the subject is fairly flat, not all parts will be in focus.  One thing that will help is to add in extra light so that you can shoot at narrower apertures (f/11, f/16, etc).

In terms of softness near edges, lenses typically do go softer near edges and corners.  Especially on more inexpensive lenses to include those on point-and-shoot cameras.   Do note though that it could also be the shallow depth of field at play as well.  i.e. if the elements in your shot that are near edges/corners are not on the same focal plane as your subject, they will indeed be out-of-focus.

--
Ricky

Camera: EOS 5D IV, EF 50mm f/1.2L, EF 135mm f/2L
Lighting: Profoto Lights & Modifiers

Waddizzle
Legend
Legend

Hello, and welcome to the forums.  

Let’s figure this out!  I do not see anything that jumps out at me as obviously wrong with the images.  Are the images tack sharp?  No, and they probably shouldn’t be, but not because your camera is flawed.  Because the laws of physics will always prevail.  Is this your camera?

4C26FAC4-5791-43DB-A603-D4DC9D2F54CE.jpeg

Your two samples are literally at polar opposite extremes when it comes to difficult shooting scenarios.  The first photo is filled with distant object, while the second is almost an extreme closeup of a subject.  If you wish to take test shots, then I recommend something like an outdoor photo on a sunny day of the family dog at a distance of 1-3 meters, or 3-10 feet.  Use a focal equivalent length between 35mm and 100mm 

1st Photo:  Cameras need light to capture the sharpers t images.  In the first you almost have a perfect storm of difficult conditions.  The available light seems to be coming from behind or through unseen clouds, and it is backlighting the scene, which means your trees are mostly in shadows.

The laws of physics make this shot difficult.  The trees are not only very distant, but the light is traveling across a large stretch of water to reach the camera, which is a scenario that always distorts the light.  Because the trees are so distant, the camera does not have the resolution to pick out the details of individual branches and leaves.  

2nd Photo:  This image is an extreme closeup of a subject.  Again, the laws of physics are working their hardest against you.  Instead of heat rising off a badly of water, this time it is the limitations imposed by the DOF, “Depth of Field”, of the shooting conditions.  Do a web search on the phrases I put in quotes.  But I will summarize it here, for you.

When a lens is focused; perfectly focused objects fall along a virtual 2D sheet in space known as a “Focus Plane”.  A theoretically perfect focus plane is flat sheet in space.  Real world lenses come close to that ideal, but not exactly.

445C4BDB-32AA-48E8-A23E-8BE7D35E2490.jpeg

Objects that fall along the focus plane are in perfectly sharp focus.   Objects that are slightly behind or in front of the focus plane will also appear to be in very sharp focus.  As the distance from the focus plane increases, objects will no longer appear as sharp as closer objects.  Depth of Field describes the total distance from in front of the focus plane to behind the focus plane where objects are “acceptably sharp” to the human eye.  

The image below is a screenshot from a web site known as dofmaster dot com.  The indicated distances are for illustrative purposes only.  The actual working distances can vary widely, depending on the size of your image sensor, the focal length of your lens, and the distance that you are focusing to your subject.

BDD8F920-86F4-427C-BEAE-C8BF0CF5CE9D.jpeg

Photos like your extreme closeup fall into the category of macro photography.  At “macro distances”, the DOF becomes much smaller, dramatically smaller, in fact.  The DOF [can be] as small as one inch, or even MUCH smaller.  

I suspect this is the issue with the 2nd photograph.  You are so close that the camera cannot capture the entire scene in sharp focus.  This is normal.  If you moved forward or back by a fraction of inch after the camera focused, but BEFORE you took the shot, then subject can and will be OOF, out of focus.  [At these close close distances, you need to be perfectly still or you need to use a tripod.]

If you are going capture “macro” photographs, then I suggest that you download a DOF app.  I use the dofmaster dot com web site’s online DOF table/calculator.

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"The right mouse button is your friend."

I looked up your camera’s specifications at B&H Photo Video’s web site.  Your camera uses an image sensor that is 1/2.3” in size.  It has a zoom range of focal lengths that goes from 4.3 to 172 mm.  The maximum aperture range is f/3.3 to f/6.9.  

I wanted to illustrate just how small DOF can become for your 2nd image.  The DOF calculator does not have your exact image size so I selected a focal lengths and apertures in the middle of the range of your camera.  I chose a distance of 3 feet for not better reason than “because”.

These are the specs of your camera.  I had to approximate your sensor size as 1/2”.

CB02A7E7-8393-4C0F-8FF0-6683973D26A7.jpeg

This is the result of the DOF calculation.  Note how small the Total DOF distance becomes. 

8C6201E4-8F17-4D87-9CE1-20460B4F3D8C.jpeg

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"The right mouse button is your friend."

The total DOF is 0.04 feet, which is about 1/2 an inch.  In this made-up scenario, ff you move forward or back by as much as 1/2 inch, then your subject would be OOF.

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"The right mouse button is your friend."

normadel
Authority
Authority

Your camera has a minimum focusing distance, shown in its specs. If you are too close, you'll have blurriness. Do you see this on the display? Does this camera warn you if it can't focus?

As for distant stuff, could be other reasons. Do a reset of all camera settings.  Keep the camera in Program mode. Auto ISO.  Make sure it's not set for manual focus. Practice holding the camera steady. Does it take pictures that are not blurry?

Your technique could use some improvement.

It does take pictures that are not blurry, but mainly macro or normal distance. Distant landscape photos are very rarely good. 
As for macro photos, my camera is suppose to make good macro photos, it says in specifications "Closest Focusing Distance: 1 cm (W) from front of lens in Macro", and I selected this model precisely because of that, but I have the feeling that with previous model (sx620) photos were better. I tried different settings of focus and programme options; sometimes I am satisfied with the photos - such as those shells at beach, where shell is in focus and sufficiently clear (the sand around is, of course, out of focus). However, the photos are not always this good, so I am trying to figure out what am I doing wrong and what are the best settings. Interesting, camera rarely warns me that it can't focus - unlike my previous model. 
As for distance photos, I would like to get them at least "okay" if it is not possible to get very good photos, but they are more often bad than acceptable. The photo at the see is example of how the photos look when they are "ok."
IMG_7457.JPGI prefer not to use tripod, I can not go to a excursion etc. and take tripod with me, also I chose compact camera because it is lighter and easier for use.  IMG_7270.JPGIMG_7276.JPG

IMG_2212.JPG

These are macros with my old camera, sx620, and they look better. So I think I am not choosing correct settings with sx740, but can't figure out what I need to do. 

IMG_2079.JPG

normadel
Authority
Authority

Macro photography is a whole skillset by itself.

When a lens-to-subject distance is as little as 0.4 inches (1 cm.), the depth of field is TINY. A small fraction of a millimeter is all it takes to be too close or far. That's hard to adjust and maintain without a macro focusing rail which provides for extremely fine adjustment. Also, with a distance that small, manufacturing variations on the lens and focus mechanism could affect the minimum possible distance.

Depth of field is, simply stated, a product of lens aperture and magnification. At a given focal length, the closer you get the greater the magnification, and the smaller the depth of field. The only ways to get more depth of field is to move back so the magnification will be lower., and/or use a smaller lens opening.

KatM
Apprentice

I've noticed the same thing with my Canon SX740 HS. It's a great little camera and initially my photos were crisp, but I've noticed over the past year or so that there is blurring and my photos aren't crisp, some of the detail is lost. This happens on Auto and on manual settings. I've tried changing settings (with guidance from an experienced photographer), but I haven't figured out the fix. I'm wondering if the camera may need re-calibrating? 

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