What do I need to do or buy to Improve my Pictures?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by garagecapital, Sep 13, 2007.

  1. When I was younger and used Nikon and Canon's I was a pretty good semi-
    professional photographer, multiple lenses, filters, developed my own
    bw, et-cetera. This was 30-plus years ago. Now, I use a 7MP Canon
    Point and Shoot with a 3X zoom and my pics generally suck, unless they
    are about three to six feet away. Is his the difference between PS and
    SLR with shutter/aperture priority? I mean when I go on vacation for
    that stand in front of a great landscape or something -- or worse just
    a landscape -- the pics (unless they are fairly tight on a face) are
    mediocre. Often the shutter is too slow and it's a bit blurry,
    distance shots are tough. What should I do? Go with a Digital SLR?
    Thoughts? Am I expecting too much from a $400 digital camera nowadays?
    (Basically I'm expecting what I could get from a $249 Canon AE-1 with
    a second or a low-light lens.)
     
    garagecapital, Sep 13, 2007
    #1
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  2. It sounds like you bought the wrong P&S camera for your needs. 3X zoom is
    nothing by today's standards. My very first digicam from 9 years ago had that
    much. There are many of the long-zoom P&S cameras that afford results rivaling
    many of the DSLRs today. You'll have to do the research to find which one will
    best fit your photography needs. Most all of them under $500 or $400, some even
    under $300 today. So no, you are not expecting too much from a $400 digital
    camera. You just bought one with too little zoom range and too little low-light
    capability -- obtainable by either higher-ISO, slower usable shutter speeds, or
    wider-aperture zoom lenses. Many P&S cameras address these issues in various
    ways. Some quite successfully.

    Check out the Canon, Sony, and Fuji P&S ultra-zoom cameras. Some of them are
    exceptional performers for exactly what you need. Fujis for high-ISO, low-noise,
    low-light capability, and slightly wider-angle on the zoom range. The Canons and
    Sonys for their image stabilization features. Which work admirably I might add.
    I am able to take a full 1-second exposure super sharp with a Canon IS P&S lens
    zoomed to 432mm in a dim-room, hand-held. No bracing and no tripod. This is not
    the norm but many people report being able to hand-hold their cameras for
    shutter speeds at least up to 1/4th second at more standard focal-length.

    Making the move from film is a new learning curve. Give yourself about a year to
    learn all the quirks of your cameras and to adapt new shooting habits for
    yourself. You'll eventually get the hang of it. The instant (no extra-costs)
    feedback of digital making it nearly painless. But do get a nicer camera for
    yourself than just that 3x zoom, it sounds like that's not nearly enough for
    what you like to do. And if a camera does not have the wide-angle that you need,
    don't overlook the inexpensive (compared to anything DSLR related) add-on lenses
    that you can obtain to get the wide-angle ranges that you need. Anywhere from
    0.25x to 0.8x multiplied by your camera's lowest focal-length. 0.6x being the
    most popular choice it seems. Look over the examples at
    http://raynox.co.jp/english/digital/egdigital.htm for all their conversion lens
    adapters for P&S cameras to get an idea of what is out there to increase the
    ranges. I'm not suggesting to buy that brand (though a few are very good, and
    other brands are better depending on which one), just that they have nice
    example photos to show you what each one will do for your chosen focal-lengths.
     
    It Takes Time, Sep 13, 2007
    #2
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  3. A slight oversight on my part. The Panasonic Lumix line of cameras are also very
    nice performers. One person that I know takes exceptional Alaskan wildlife
    photography and mountain scenes with his. It also goes along with on the
    high-seas fishing boats when he's invited aboard, some of them want their crew
    and fishing seasons documented.

    So add that brand into that line-up.
     
    It Takes Time, Sep 13, 2007
    #3
  4. I would tend to think that you may have one of more of the following.

    * Lack of knowledge of how that camera works best. In other words, you
    may not know your equipment well enough to get the most out of it.

    * The equipment is defective. It happens

    * That specific model is just not very good. All manufacturers have a
    few bad products.

    * Your expectations will require a camera that can deliver the type of
    results that you were accustomed to 30 years ago. Most manufacturers make
    the assumption that most point and shoot users don't have high expectations.

    * You may need to go to a semi-pro camera or pro in order to get what
    you need.

    It would help if we could see a few photos and your comments on them.

    Good Luck
     
    Joseph Meehan, Sep 13, 2007
    #4
  5. There's something strange going on. It shouldn't be the Canon P&S per
    se. My last two film cameras were a Canon A-1 and and Canon EOS 10s,
    both quite good cameras. I spent some time as a pro and have over 45
    years of experience with cameras, so I knew how to use those cameras. On
    a recent trip to Mexico I used a Canon SD700IS. I would say that overall
    the pictures I took in Mexico were higher quality- more ideally exposed,
    sharper- better color- than the last set I took on a vacation in
    Europe with my EOS 10s. In Mexico I shot under a wide range of
    conditions, from the interiors of dimly-lit churches to very bright
    country scenes. I shot many candid street scenes that had to be taken
    quickly to take advantage of a quickly-evolving situation. The EOS was a
    fine camera, but it did not have IS and it wasn't as easy to quickly
    whip it out to take advantage of a good shot potential. In short,
    there's no way I would go back to the EOS. I feel for the kind of
    vacation pictures I was taking, many under challenging condition, the
    700IS gave superb results. Also, 11x14 prints from it look very sharp.

    If your cameras isn't defective, I think you may not be using it to its
    full potential. One simple thing- It's much lighter than your old film
    camera and therefore much easier to shake. It has less mass and thus
    less inertia. You may not be holding it still enough. Try a few shots
    with a tripod and the timer to see how ell it can do. Try bracing the
    camera against your head in some way as you shoot. That may make a big
    difference.

    Joe
     
    Joseph Miller, Sep 13, 2007
    #5
  6. garagecapital

    Scott W Guest

    I find it very odd that your photos would only look good over a rather
    small range of distances. How does a photo taken at say 6 ft look
    better then one taken at infinity?

    There is no question that a DSLR would give you better photos then a
    point and shoot, but you should be able to get very good looking photos
    using a point and shoot if the lighting is even sort of good.

    How are you viewing the images, on a computer screen or are you making
    prints. If you are making print what size are you making. A 7MP point
    and shoot should be able to make a pretty good looking 8 x 10 inch print
    and a 4 x 6 should be no problem at all.

    Scott
     
    Scott W, Sep 15, 2007
    #6
  7. garagecapital

    ASAAR Guest

    Sure thing, sock puppet, and you can probably carry more camera
    gear up a mountain than Babe the Blue Ox. Oh wait, maybe your S3 IS
    was able to increase its normal 3 stop IS benefit to 8 stops, using
    a CHDK macro. Nah, must be something else, since IS doesn't work
    very well with 1 second exposures. You might have been able to
    convince us had you not vowed to destroy all of your pictures before
    allowing the world see any of them. Pity, Biddy.
     
    ASAAR, Sep 15, 2007
    #7
  8. garagecapital

    David Baires Guest

    Asaar, why do you continue to make a fool of yourself? As you can see
    by this photo that someone posted elsewhere

    http://forums.steves-digicams.com/forums/attachment.php?id=97072

    It was taken with a Canon S3 IS with a 1 second exposure at a zoom
    setting of 432mm, hand-held. Apparently it was cropped from about
    1/4th of the full frame then downsized for posting. Check the EXIF
    data if you have any doubts on camera and settings. The person who
    posted it was testing to see just how far the IS can be useful. It
    might have even been the person that you are replying to for all I
    know.

    I'm guessing that your obvious displays of insecurity are due to the
    majority of others that display so much more knowledge and experience
    than you, it is getting the better of you. Or maybe it's just because
    everyone else has much more photography skill with their cameras than
    you do. You might want to ask yourself why you continue to post such
    foolish replies to so many people. At least have something worthwhile
    to say to others, or remain silent. As the old saying goes, "It is
    better to remain silent and thought to be the fool, than to open your
    mouth and remove all doubt." You have removed all doubt too many times
    to count anymore.
     
    David Baires, Sep 15, 2007
    #8
  9. garagecapital

    ASAAR Guest

    Ah, Sir David Baires, who also happens to be a member of the
    notorious "Brad M, CoolGuy, EdBancroft, Gaile S., Les Danesworth,
    Lurk, Stephen James" wing of the Sock Puppet Party. Let's just say
    that your credibility is approximately zilch, and plummeting.

    And having just perused this thread while passing by for the first
    time, you just happened to know how to locate such a photo?
    Amazing. With all of the absurd hyperbole and misstatements already
    posted by Biddy and buddies, only a fool would take its word that
    the picture was taken handheld with no other means of support.

    But you don't know who took it, do you? Or so you say. He/she/it
    happens to have been "banned" from Steves-digicams, which is not
    very surprising. Nor is it surprising that many of its posts are
    also laced with its typical anti-DSLR slams and effusive praise for
    the CHDK hack, but . . . but . . . its name doesn't seem to be
    "It Takes Time <>". I guess it slipped up,
    which is what happens when too many sock puppet nyms are used. Just
    like BaumBadier, it's an "award winning photographer" and would
    rather destroy its photos than make them available to others, and
    guess which of BaumBadier's messages these quotes of his could have
    been cribbed from?
    So you've proved only that another sock puppet troll is just what
    is needed to try to defend its sibling sock puppet trolls. Stop
    trying to sell those bridges to everyone. We know that you need
    them to sleep under. :)
     
    ASAAR, Sep 15, 2007
    #9
  10. The reason is that you became older. Your hands are now shaking. This
    introduces the blur into the picture.

    The problem may be further exaserbated by the fact that you got used
    to holding the film camera close to your face, and now you hold it at
    the stretched hands. Combined with the fact that a modern P&S digital
    camera is much lighter than a film SLR camera, this may worsen the
    blur further.

    Try to use tripod and a delay shutter, and see if the quality of the
    pictures improved.
     
    Beladi Nasralla, Sep 15, 2007
    #10
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