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New Contributor
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎01-22-2014

blurry photos

I have a powershot sx50 hs.  It takes excellent pics of action shots during the day in the sports mode.  When I use it at night for the same thing all the pics are blurry.  Can I change some settingsto correct the problem and if so what should be changed?

Respected Contributor
Posts: 1,861
Registered: ‎12-02-2012

Re: blurry photos

[ Edited ]
Hi, Schnitzl,

I started into the hobby with a Powershot and I had exactly the same problem. I thought it was a bad camera. After getting more into photography through books and web research I at least understand what was going on.

You are not getting enough light into the camera to give you enough shutter speed to deal with 1.) camera shake, and 2.) subject motion blur.

Camera shake is just your hands jiggling. This is magnified when you are zoomed in, and these Powershot cameras have crazy long zoom. If you want to know how this works, get a laser pointer and point it at a wall that is 1 foot away from you. The red dot will be nice and steady. Then try aiming it at a wall that is 50 feet away, and you will see that the dot is jiggling all over the place. Same thing when you're trying to take a picture of something when you are zoomed in like a telescope. That makes blur in your photos. You need a very fast shutter speed to freeze the image the more it is zoomed in like that.

The other kind of blur is subject motion blur. You say you're shooting sports, so I assume that people are moving in the pictures. The cure for that is also having a high shutter speed to freeze the action.

The problem with your camera is two things. One is that the lenses on a PowerShot camera do not let much light in compared to a wide aperture DSLR lens. The other problem can come from shooting in automatic modes. The camera may not always pick the best combination of shutter speed, aperture, and ISO to make a tough picture come out right.

Set your camera to TV mode. Then set a high shutter speed. If I have time I will try to look up the equivalent between an SX 50 zoom and a normal 35mm lens focal length. The rule of thumb is on a full frame 35mm equivalent camera, you need a shutter speed that is the inverse of the focal length of millimeters. In other words if you have a 200 mm camera lens, you need to be shooting at 1/200 of the second shutter speed to stop Camera shake blur. If you're shooting action however regardless of what ever focal length you're using, you need to set a shutter speed is fast enough to stop the motion. For most sports that would be about 1/400 to 1/640 of a second.

Does that help answer your question at all?
Scott

Canon 5d mk 4, Canon 6D, EF 70-200mm L f/2.8 IS mk2; EF 16-35 f/2.8 L mk. III; Sigma 35mm f/1.4 "Art" EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro; EF 85mm f/1.8; EF 1.4x extender mk. 3; EF 24-105 f/4 L; EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS; 3x Phottix Mitros+ speedlites

Why do so many people say "FER-tographer"? Do they take "fertographs"?
New Contributor
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎01-22-2014

Re: blurry photos

Ok thanks.  The shutter speed on this camera goes to 1/2000.  I was told to try the highest setting.  Do you agree?  I am shooting my son playing soccer from the stadium stands.  What do you know about aperture?  What should that be set at? Also will it help if I put the flash on?  Im assuming pics will have to be shot in the manual mode and not the sports mode. Thanks for your help.  

Respected Contributor
Posts: 1,861
Registered: ‎12-02-2012

Re: blurry photos

Ok, I looked it up. A "50x zoom" is equivalent to a 1,200 mm DSLR lens. They don't even make those, and the closest 800mm lens would cost thousands of dollars, but it would let in a lot more light, so it would allow you to shoot faster shutter speed, thus eliminating a lot of the blur.

The image stabilization on your camera claims to give you over 4 "stops" of stabilization. You should therefore be able to hand hold it steady as slow as 1/100th of a second or less even zoomed in all the way. That seems hard to believe and I think your blurry shots may agree. It would help to learn how to hold the camera steady. If you are holding the thing away from your face and looking into the viewfinder, that is not a steady camera position. With a DSLR camera you would brace it against your face as you look through the viewfinder, and you Wood brace your elbows against your body. That would help.

No matter how stable you're holding the camera, even if it is on a tripod, you still have to deal with the subject motion blur problem.. Again, you need a shutter of at least about 1/400 to shoot most sports if you want most shots to come out crisp. That is easy in daylight, but very hard at night or indoors.

Your camera will need to jump the sensor sensitivity up high to get a shutter that fast in dim light. That is called "high ISO" and unfortunately it hurts image quality by introducing digital "noise" and by reducing detail. And unfortunately the small sensors on a Powershot do not handle high ISO's and digital noise very well.

The short answer is sad but true. If you shoot night sports, or indoor sports, it tends to mean you have to spend a lot of money on equipment, especially lenses.

Scott

Canon 5d mk 4, Canon 6D, EF 70-200mm L f/2.8 IS mk2; EF 16-35 f/2.8 L mk. III; Sigma 35mm f/1.4 "Art" EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro; EF 85mm f/1.8; EF 1.4x extender mk. 3; EF 24-105 f/4 L; EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS; 3x Phottix Mitros+ speedlites

Why do so many people say "FER-tographer"? Do they take "fertographs"?
Respected Contributor
Posts: 1,861
Registered: ‎12-02-2012

Re: blurry photos

[ Edited ]
The flash is no good beyond about 12 to 20 feet. And flash won't work at high shutter speeds. Sorry.

Outside in bright daylight it is easy. I would suggest dumping sports automatic mode and using Tv mode. That is Time Value, which means ?
"Shutter priority" in Canon talk. You pick the shutter speed, and the camera sets everything else to give you a proper exposure. You can then experiment to see how fast a shutter you need for freezing the action. Get it fast enough but not too much. Shooting a faster shutter than you need doesn't directly harm the photo, but it does make the camera make unnecessary compromises in other areas that will degrade your image.
Scott

Canon 5d mk 4, Canon 6D, EF 70-200mm L f/2.8 IS mk2; EF 16-35 f/2.8 L mk. III; Sigma 35mm f/1.4 "Art" EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro; EF 85mm f/1.8; EF 1.4x extender mk. 3; EF 24-105 f/4 L; EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS; 3x Phottix Mitros+ speedlites

Why do so many people say "FER-tographer"? Do they take "fertographs"?
Reputable Contributor
Posts: 842
Registered: ‎03-06-2013

Re: blurry photos

When you are shooting at night or lower light (even though your eyes may perceive it as bright enough), the shutter speed most of the time will not be high enough to freeze motion thus you'll get blurry photo.

There are 3 factors on a camera that determine the exposure of the photo: shutter speed, aperture and ISO. When the light get low, you can only open your aperture and increase ISO to a certain point. If your aperture and ISO are already at maximum and there is still not enough light to get good exposure, your camera will slow down. It will slow down until it reach the "right" exposure, and by that time, the shutter speed may be too slow and it will make the photo look blurry.
How pros avoid it, since you want to keep the shutter speed high to avoid motion blur, then the only other 2 things Pros can do is buying lens with larger aperture, and camera with better high ISO.
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