Focus problem on Canon S3 IS

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by ironer, Nov 4, 2006.

  1. ironer

    ironer Guest

    Images ex my 2 month old Canon S3 IS are not evenly in focus over the
    whole frame.

    With the camera mounted on a stand @600mm off flat printed material, I
    checked that the material is level & that the end of the camera lens is
    also level. Then taking a picture of an A4 (297mm x 210mm/11.7in x
    8.3in) printed page (filled with print) zoomed to fill the frame
    yielded:

    1. The left hand side of the picture is in pretty sharp ie acceptably
    good focus.
    2. The lower right hand quadrant is not nearly as sharp, and the top
    right hand quadrant is unacceptably fuzzy, although still readable.

    The defects begin after passing the middle of the frame and worsen the
    nearer you get to the top right hand corner.

    Neither tilting the camera slightly nor raising the mounting height up
    to 1 meter (with zooming to readjust frame image) nor changing the
    metering mode makes any difference.

    Is this the best that can be expected from the S3?

    Is the fault likely to be a lens (glass or shape) fault or could it be
    poor alignment of sensor chip to lens axis?

    If not what is the best way of correcting the fault, eg:

    1. Return to Canon for readjustment
    2. Ask the shop for a replacement (with the chance that a replacement
    could be equally poor)?
    3. If an alignment fault, is DIY adjustment feasible? - which could be
    a good option as I'd be able to find my preferred optimum setting.

    All views as to the best way forward most appreciated. Or perhaps
    there is another newsgroup which specialises more in this type of
    problem?

    TIA
     
    ironer, Nov 4, 2006
    #1
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  2. ironer

    Paul Rubin Guest

    Sounds like some combination of field curvature and the usual
    performance compromises of an large-ratio consumer zoom lens. Try
    stopping down to the smallest possible f/stop using the manual
    settings. Ultimately though the S3IS is probably not the best choice
    of camera for copy work.
     
    Paul Rubin, Nov 4, 2006
    #2
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  3. ironer

    ironer Guest

    Paul Rubin wrote:
    > Sounds like some combination of field curvature and the usual
    > performance compromises of an large-ratio consumer zoom lens. Try
    > stopping down to the smallest possible f/stop using the manual
    > settings.


    TFT will try that but will have to wait for much better lighting ie
    daytime.


    Ultimately though the S3IS is probably not the best choice
    > of camera for copy work.


    The camera has other uses, the fault just showed up best in the way
    described. I was checking other aspects of the camera too, like
    pin-cushion distortion (not much at all, so it seems a good lens from
    that point of view).

    However, now the subject has been raised, what is the best choice for
    copy work? The advantage of the S3 is that Canon software (Zoombrowser
    EX) makes it easy to control the camera including the zoom from a
    computer.

    Is there any other camera which better provides that facility? SFAIUI
    there are no SLR cameras with motor zoom, which excludes the most
    obvious method of getting a really good computer controlled camera.
    Plus, Canon seems to be the only manufacturer which offers a remote
    capture facility.
     
    ironer, Nov 4, 2006
    #3
  4. ironer

    Paul Rubin Guest

    "ironer" <> writes:
    > > Try stopping down to the smallest possible f/stop using the manual
    > > settings.

    >
    > TFT will try that but will have to wait for much better lighting ie
    > daytime.


    Just use a long exposure if there's not that much light.

    > However, now the subject has been raised, what is the best choice for
    > copy work?


    EOS 5D with 50/2.8 EF Macro. Well, you asked.

    > Is there any other camera which better provides that facility? SFAIUI
    > there are no SLR cameras with motor zoom, which excludes the most
    > obvious method of getting a really good computer controlled camera.


    I don't understand the importance of controlling the zoom from a
    computer. Since you have to put the original under the camera, you
    should also be able to set the zoom hand. But you should not use a
    zoom at all for this. Move the camera up and down on the stand
    instead. There are actually motorized copy stands available but it
    wouldn't have occurred to me to bother with one. I don't know if any
    are computer controlled.
     
    Paul Rubin, Nov 5, 2006
    #4
  5. ironer wrote:
    > Images ex my 2 month old Canon S3 IS are not evenly in focus over the
    > whole frame.

    []

    If the defects are not radially symmetrical, then your camera is faulty
    (or at the extremes of the manufacturing tolerances). So that I might
    accept that poor lens design might make the centre and the corners focus
    differently (although other manufacturers get it right!), but if the left
    and right sides of the image are different, or one corner is different,
    then it sounds as if the CCD sensor is not flat in the focal plane.

    As the camera is less than 6 months old, I would return it as faulty. If
    you can test a replacement from the shop so much the better.

    David
     
    David J Taylor, Nov 5, 2006
    #5
  6. ironer

    ASAAR Guest

    On Sun, 05 Nov 2006 08:55:55 GMT, David J Taylor wrote:

    > If the defects are not radially symmetrical, then your camera is faulty
    > (or at the extremes of the manufacturing tolerances). So that I might
    > accept that poor lens design might make the centre and the corners focus
    > differently (although other manufacturers get it right!), but if the left
    > and right sides of the image are different, or one corner is different,
    > then it sounds as if the CCD sensor is not flat in the focal plane.


    IIRC, one of the regulars here had a similar problem with a new
    Canon DSLR having an improperly aligned sensor, about a year or so
    ago. (Possibly SM or his wife's camera?) My guess is that another
    S3 would not have the same problem so . . .

    >> If not what is the best way of correcting the fault, eg:
    >>
    >> 1. Return to Canon for readjustment
    >> 2. Ask the shop for a replacement (with the chance that a replacement
    >> could be equally poor)?
    >> 3. If an alignment fault, is DIY adjustment feasible? - which could be
    >> a good option as I'd be able to find my preferred optimum setting.


    Option #2 would be best if the shop is able to replace the camera,
    but I'm not aware of any shop that would do this 2 months after
    purchasing the camera. Otherwise #1, arrange with Canon to have the
    camera repaired or replaced. It should still be under warranty.

    I wouldn't think that option #3 is feasible. The test could be
    repeated several times with the printed page positioned at different
    angles, to find if there's one that would produce a uniformly sharp
    image of the page. That might make it easier to compensate for
    misalignment, but it would still be better to have the camera
    replaced or repaired if it can be done at low (or no) cost.


    > As the camera is less than 6 months old, I would return it as faulty.
    > If you can test a replacement from the shop so much the better.


    Canon's warranty is only 6 months and not a year? In any case,
    our recommendations are substantially the same. Examples such as
    this point out the value of testing cameras during the period
    (usually 2 to 4 weeks) that a camera shop allows exchanges. After
    that you're usually stuck dealing with the manufacturer, and a
    replacement or repair will take substantially longer. As I haven't
    done this in the past, heeding my own advice is an exercise for
    future purchases only. :)
     
    ASAAR, Nov 5, 2006
    #6
  7. ironer

    ironer Guest

    Paul Rubin wrote:
    /snip/

    > I don't understand the importance of controlling the zoom from a
    > computer.


    thnx for the advice: the purpose is to control the camera from a
    distance & select shots using the computer directly as the monitor.
    That seems to me a far better method of controlling the camera and
    assessing a picture than any awkwared squinting through viewfinders.
    For instance the camera might be in an inconvenient position. It is not
    just for copy work.

    You can do all this with many camcorders, but none SFAI am aware, yield
    much definition as measured in megapixels.

    I'm looking for a camera which will 'do the job' - cost is not an
    overwhelming issue. I am just surprised the choice of camera is so
    limited.

    Hope that explains. Thanks.
     
    ironer, Nov 5, 2006
    #7
  8. ASAAR wrote:
    > On Sun, 05 Nov 2006 08:55:55 GMT, David J Taylor wrote:

    []
    >> As the camera is less than 6 months old, I would return it as faulty.
    >> If you can test a replacement from the shop so much the better.

    >
    > Canon's warranty is only 6 months and not a year? In any case,
    > our recommendations are substantially the same. Examples such as
    > this point out the value of testing cameras during the period
    > (usually 2 to 4 weeks) that a camera shop allows exchanges. After
    > that you're usually stuck dealing with the manufacturer, and a
    > replacement or repair will take substantially longer. As I haven't
    > done this in the past, heeding my own advice is an exercise for
    > future purchases only. :)


    UK rules about the length of time you can have before returning goods. I
    think 6 months is the minimum. In UK law, the onus is now on the supplier
    (shop) to prove that goods were /not/ faulty at the time of purchase,
    rather than on the purchaser to show that the goods are /now/ faulty. As
    I understand it.

    It shows the benefits of local rather than internet purchase. I hope the
    shop provides a replacement.

    David
     
    David J Taylor, Nov 5, 2006
    #8
  9. ironer

    Paul Rubin Guest

    "ironer" <> writes:
    > I'm looking for a camera which will 'do the job' - cost is not an
    > overwhelming issue. I am just surprised the choice of camera is so
    > limited.


    You might have better luck with a camera whose zoom range is shorter.
    Maybe a G6. I don't know about the computer controlled zoom issue. I
    get sort-of-usable results with my A530 but am looking towards some
    kind of DSLR setup in the long term.

    Really serious professionals use large format scanning backs with five
    figure price tags and acquisition times on the order of one minute per
    frame.
     
    Paul Rubin, Nov 5, 2006
    #9
  10. ironer

    DubDriver Guest

    "David J Taylor" <-this-bit.nor-this-part.uk>
    wrote in message news:Ccl3h.47351$...
    > ASAAR wrote:
    >> On Sun, 05 Nov 2006 08:55:55 GMT, David J Taylor wrote:

    > []
    >>> As the camera is less than 6 months old, I would return it as faulty.
    >>> If you can test a replacement from the shop so much the better.

    >>
    >> Canon's warranty is only 6 months and not a year? In any case,
    >> our recommendations are substantially the same. Examples such as
    >> this point out the value of testing cameras during the period
    >> (usually 2 to 4 weeks) that a camera shop allows exchanges. After
    >> that you're usually stuck dealing with the manufacturer, and a
    >> replacement or repair will take substantially longer. As I haven't
    >> done this in the past, heeding my own advice is an exercise for
    >> future purchases only. :)

    >
    > UK rules about the length of time you can have before returning goods. I
    > think 6 months is the minimum. In UK law, the onus is now on the supplier
    > (shop) to prove that goods were /not/ faulty at the time of purchase,
    > rather than on the purchaser to show that the goods are /now/ faulty. As
    > I understand it.


    Do you know that the OP is in the UK? If so, yes for the first 6 months
    after purchase it will be for the retailer to prove the goods did conform to
    contract (i.e. were not inherently faulty) then after and until the end of
    the six years, it is for the consumer to prove the lack of conformity but at
    any time compensation can vary in the form of a repair, replacement or full
    refund. A *full* refund applies only if you reject goods in a resonable
    space of time which could be as little as 30 days depending on type of
    product, after that short period a partial refund taking into account any
    beneficial use could be taken into account (if buyer chose to reject a
    repair). The point is that, the retailer is responsible up to six years, the
    manufacturer has no responsibility what so ever and so any guarantee
    supplied by them either adds or detract from your rights under consumer law
    depending on which point in time it goes wrong and you can choose to ignore
    unless result is ultimately better than claiming from retailer.
     
    DubDriver, Nov 5, 2006
    #10
  11. DubDriver wrote:
    []
    > Do you know that the OP is in the UK? If so, yes for the first 6
    > months after purchase it will be for the retailer to prove the goods
    > did conform to contract (i.e. were not inherently faulty) then after
    > and until the end of the six years, it is for the consumer to prove
    > the lack of conformity but at any time compensation can vary in the
    > form of a repair, replacement or full refund. A *full* refund applies
    > only if you reject goods in a resonable space of time which could be
    > as little as 30 days depending on type of product, after that short
    > period a partial refund taking into account any beneficial use could
    > be taken into account (if buyer chose to reject a repair). The point
    > is that, the retailer is responsible up to six years, the
    > manufacturer has no responsibility what so ever and so any guarantee
    > supplied by them either adds or detract from your rights under
    > consumer law depending on which point in time it goes wrong and you
    > can choose to ignore unless result is ultimately better than claiming
    > from retailer.


    It's the two months to discover the fault which would worry me in this
    case. It's rather a long time. If copy work was what the camera was
    bought for, it should have been checked right away. It may also be that
    the camera was correct when supplied, but has become faulty in those two
    months, in which case I understand that replacement or refund is not
    mandatory, and that offering a repair may meet legal requirements, so the
    OP could be without the camera for several weeks. In any case, I hope the
    OP can resolve this with his supplier.

    I don't know if the US or Canada has similar protection to Europe.

    David
     
    David J Taylor, Nov 5, 2006
    #11
  12. ironer

    ozbloke Guest

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "ironer" <>
    Newsgroups: rec.photo.digital
    Sent: Sunday, November 05, 2006 9:59 AM
    Subject: Focus problem on Canon S3 IS


    > Images ex my 2 month old Canon S3 IS are not evenly in focus over the
    > whole frame.

    .......
    > 2. The lower right hand quadrant is not nearly as sharp, and the top
    > right hand quadrant is unacceptably fuzzy, although still readable.
    >
    > The defects begin after passing the middle of the frame and worsen the
    > nearer you get to the top right hand corner.
    >

    I Know that problem
    >
    > Is this the best that can be expected from the S3?


    NO
    .....
    > If not what is the best way of correcting the fault, eg:
    >
    > 1. Return to Canon for readjustment


    Yes

    Well thats what worked for me here in Australia. They replaced the
    lens/sensor combo. Even now, it is not sharp across the full image width,
    but thats all I'd expect from this sort of camera. One way to check that is
    an alignment problem is to look at the focus assist beam through the EVF.
    After the fix it is now dead centre with sharp edges, before that it was off
    to the left and fuzzy (of course I didnt realise how it was supposed to look
    until i had a camera working as designed.
    My problem was worst at full wide angle and wide open aperture, I have a few
    pix online

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/computerian/sets/72157594362442435/

    Pic 09.jpg is one of a series that made me realise previous examples
    weren't just operator error. Check out the text on the honour board on the
    back wall. Impossible to read on the right side, blurry but legible on the
    left. You can see all those pix at full resolution , if your camera produces
    similar shots get onto Canon.

    all the best

    ian
     
    ozbloke, Nov 6, 2006
    #12
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