Blurriness - not sure what the problem is

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Joined: 09/02/07
Posts: 124
Blurriness - not sure what the problem is

Hi!
I am a lurker and must say I love ALL your photos. I am by no means close to or trying to be a professional. However I do want to take much better pictures. When I was out on maternity leave, I had a few "sessions" with my LO's and I thought they turned out awesome. At least for a beginner Smile However, for some reason, ALL my pictures lately seem to turn out blurry!

I have a Nikon D80 and use the factory lens that came with, 18-135mm. I can't afford a better lens and since I am not trying to be professional, I can't justify the $. Although I may have to hint around and maybe for Christmas I can get one Smile

Anyway, the lowest I can go on my fstop is 3.5. I found those days that 7.1 worked REALLY well. I have played with multiple ones and now they all blur. I set my camera to A to focus on the aperture and let the camera choose the shutter speed.

Any suggestions/Ideas on why they may blur now? The only difference I can think of is with those pictures I was zooming in quite a bit whereas with these I am a little further away.

I picked up some books from the library - trying to "school" myself as best I can. I want to be able to take awesome pics but I think I do need a better lens so my ISO can increase to the max. Movement tends to cause blurriness (again though I am confused because with the pictures I took on maternity leave my son was running around and he would move and still I would get a non-blurred picture).

I use just the natural light too as I am not experienced enough to set my camera settings accordingly.

Any advice appreciated!

Ladybugsteph's picture
Joined: 06/21/06
Posts: 2977

My guess would be your shutter speed. If it gets too low, the shake of the camera when you take the picture could make it soft. You'll also get blur if one of your kiddos moves. Do you have a picture to share, with its settings?

Joined: 09/02/07
Posts: 124

I will have to when I get home. I don't know if I can recheck my settings once I have downloaded them off my card. I wonder if I just had perfect lighting that day. I notice since I shoot in "A" mode I always get more vibrant color, which I love. I just wish I could figure this out. The thing is I think in A mode, the camera is supposed to adjust shutter speed accordingly.

TracyF's picture
Joined: 08/14/06
Posts: 2363

"auntiex11" wrote:

The thing is I think in A mode, the camera is supposed to adjust shutter speed accordingly.

That might be the problem. As Steph said, if the shutter speed is too low, then you may get blurry images... and if the camera is auto-adjusting it, then that's more likely to happen, especially if your aperture is set at something like the 7.1 you mentioned (smaller aperture means the sensor needs more light so sets a slower shutter speed to compensate). Maybe you could shoot at something like f4.5 and watch the shutter speed, make sure it's 1/125 or higher if you're shooting your LOs, and see if the blurriness improves. Or change to shutter speed priority (on my camera that's S) and change to 1/125 or higher and let the camera auto-set the f-stop and see how that changes things too.

Joined: 09/02/07
Posts: 124

I notice if I shoot on shutter mode my images are always dark. I know I don't have an awesome lens, but it still is a pretty good one. But I wonder if it all comes down to lens. I will try and post some examples tonight.

Joined: 10/26/01
Posts: 3422

"TracyF" wrote:

That might be the problem. As Steph said, if the shutter speed is too low, then you may get blurry images... and if the camera is auto-adjusting it, then that's more likely to happen, especially if your aperture is set at something like the 7.1 you mentioned (smaller aperture means the sensor needs more light so sets a slower shutter speed to compensate). Maybe you could shoot at something like f4.5 and watch the shutter speed, make sure it's 1/125 or higher if you're shooting your LOs, and see if the blurriness improves. Or change to shutter speed priority (on my camera that's S) and change to 1/125 or higher and let the camera auto-set the f-stop and see how that changes things too.

I was going to suggest changing to shutter priority mode too. I have a D80 at home as well and the symbol for shutter priority mode is an 'S'. Like Tracy said, if you set it to this mode and then put your shutter speed at 1/125 or faster, the camera will adjust your aperture and ISO to insure proper exposure.

Post some pictures and the settings if you can and we'll help you pinpoint any other ways to make things better!

Glad to have you with us.

Best,
GiGi

Joined: 09/02/07
Posts: 124
Here are some examples

PLEASE REMEMBER I am by no means a photographer or trying to be professional Smile I just want to have good looking pictures of my kids that are candid.

So all these I took in A mode and had to use just whatever light I had. No flash.

First 2 are ones I LIKE:
(Sorry if big not sure how to resize for here....)

This one shows on the specs as f/7.1 shutter 1/30 ISO 500

This one is f/7.1 shutter 1/25 ISO 1600

These are examples of two that turned out like crap.

specs are f/4.8 shutter 1/13 ISO 900

and then this one, f/7.1 shutter 1/8 ISO 1600

I was letting the camera do shutter speed itself. I was in "A" mode. I tried some "S" mode tonight but everything ended up black.

Joined: 10/20/07
Posts: 480

Shutter speed is TOTALLY the problem. I would never shoot a kiddo at anything under 1/250 and won't do a landscape or anything else under 1/100 because I have unsteady hands. Try going to full M mode and adjusting ISO and ap instead of shutter!

Ladybugsteph's picture
Joined: 06/21/06
Posts: 2977

Oh yeah, definately your shutter speed! You should at least switch over to shutter speed priority. I shot on that for quite some time before finally making the switch to full manual. The other ladies have said it right, you should shoot at at least 1/125 when you're holding your camera so you don't get the fuzziness. It's totally just the fact that you shake the camera when you're taking the picture. No one has completely steady hands when they're taking a picture. Just the pressing of the button itself shakes the camera.

Joined: 09/02/07
Posts: 124

I guess I don't know why the auto adjust for the shutter would do it right the first 2 shots but not the second. Also.... I tried to put it in Manual AND Shutter mode last night and this AM and EVERY picture turned out black, no matter where I had it. My DH showed me the balance bar to show if it will be over or underexposed but no matter how I focus or change the settings, that does not change either for some reason. I am not sure what I am doing wrong.

Ladybugsteph's picture
Joined: 06/21/06
Posts: 2977

Your first two are soft as well, just not as soft as the others. Your shutter speed is 1/30 in the first and 1/25 in the second. The second two had sutter speeds even lower, so they turned out fuzzier than the first. You should have it at at least 1/125 (higher if you can).

When you tried the shutter priority, did you have much light in the house? If there's not much light coming in, depending on the capablilites of your camera, you may not be able to take much indoors in low light. Mine is terrible for low light. It may be better with a different lens, but I have to do with what I have right now. Set yourself up next to a big window with lots of light coming in and try it again. Smile Believe me, I've had my share of completely black pictures! Trying to figure things out is so frustrating sometimes!

ButtonsMama's picture
Joined: 12/05/05
Posts: 283

"Ladybugsteph" wrote:

Your first two are soft as well, just not as soft as the others. Your shutter speed is 1/30 in the first and 1/25 in the second. The second two had sutter speeds even lower, so they turned out fuzzier than the first. You should have it at at least 1/125 (higher if you can).

When you tried the shutter priority, did you have much light in the house? If there's not much light coming in, depending on the capablilites of your camera, you may not be able to take much indoors in low light. Mine is terrible for low light. It may be better with a different lens, but I have to do with what I have right now. Set yourself up next to a big window with lots of light coming in and try it again. Smile Believe me, I've had my share of completely black pictures! Trying to figure things out is so frustrating sometimes!

Steph's right. Your camera is adjusting itself for the amount of light in the house. For your first two pics (the ones that are less soft), you probably just got lucky and caught your DS when he was being relatively still. If you want those tack sharp pics, you need more light. Set your camera to shutter priority, set your SS to at least 1/125 and find a big, bright window or door. If it's at nighttime, it would honestly be better to just turn on your flash.