My Camera is bad!
you are not alone. This is a very common issue with most cameras, including
consumer SLR cameras.
have noticed, most of the time, this happens when you are taking photos
in Auto mode specially in low light. A camera needs some fixed amount
of light to take a good photo and the light enters through the lens
on the camera and gets captured by its sensor. There are 3 things that
a camera can control to get the enough amount of light it needs.
speed: When you click on the Shutter Release button on the camera,
the shutter opens up for some amount of time to let the light pass through
the lens. Your camera decides the speed of the shutter based on many
factors. If you are taking a photo in a low light, the camera would
need to keep the shutter open for longer time but Camera knows two important
restictions. (i) First one is the shake in you hands. Most individuals
can't hold a camera or anything as such, perfectly steady for more than
1/75 seconds. Surprised? Please don't. A minor shake in your hand will
cause the photo to be blurry. (ii) Even if you have steady hands, or
you use a tripod, most of the time, the thing you taking a photo of
will move. Most of the time, we take photos of people. They also move
during a fraction of the second. A kid or a pet will move more quickly
then an adult but we all constantly move. Our naked eyes may not see
the move but a camera lens will capture it. If you are taking a photo
of a landscape which has a tree, a minor breeze of air will cause the
leaves to move. In short, photographer as well as most subjects move
quickly, most cameras will try to avoid shutter speed slower than say
1/75 second. This is a restriction imposed by camera's software to save
your photos in most situations by avoiding chances for blurr.
Opening: The technical term is Aperture. Most compact cameras have
tiny lens openings. The wider the opening, the more light a camera can
take. However most sub $1000 camera's have ordinarly lenses which do
not allow too much light to pass through. No surprise a fast lens sometimes
costs much more than a best compact camera you can buy. In short, for
this Lens Opening, your camera doesn't have move room to play around.
This is a camera's hardware restriction.
sensitivity: The technical term is ISO. When a camera runs into
the first two limitations (of limited shutter speed and lens opening),
the only option it has is to increase the camera's sensitivity to light.
This is like increasing sensor's receptivity to light. Camera can play
up to some level of higher ISO but the more ISO or sensitivity it increasing,
the image starts getting noise. The noise is the unwanted pixels or
grainy look in the photos. If you want more tech details about noise,
see the Wiki post : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image_noise
compact cameras, when the ISO is set to more than 400 or 800, you will
start seeing the noise.
Some tips to take
learned about the 3 main things a camera can control to take a nice
photo for you, if you see your camera take a bad photo, it is probably
not your camera's fault. This is similar to many limitations we run
into our daily lives. I like to run a marathon but I know I can't run
more than 3 miles. I like to make a million dollars a year but I know
most of us can't. Same way, you and your camera wants to take a great
photo but many times it can't. So what do we do to take better photos?
photos in better light:
* If possible take photos in good light- natural or artificial. Make
it easy for your camera to help you out.
* If lighting is dull when you are taking photos, set camera ISO to
100 (200 or 400 at most) and add more artificial light. Or, simply turn
on Camera flash. Use the camera in Fill Flash mode. You will get some
shadows or washed out faces but that would be better than ghost looking
blurry photos. In the next article, I will show you how to avoid shadows
or over-exposure too.
Tripod when taking photos of stationary or slow-moving objects:
* Use Tripod and set Camera to Av Mode with ISO fixed at 100, 200 or
400 only. If you are taking photos of people or pets, use the smallest
F number on the camera. If you are taking a photo of a landscape, set
it to 8 or so. In Av mode, you decide the ISO and Aperture and let camera
decide the shutter speed. Because you are using a tripod and the you
are taking photos of a stationary object, camera can use a slow shutter
speed and can shutter open as much as it needs. You will see nice beautiful
expensive cameras or a fast lens:
* However use of a tripod or slow shutter doesn't work when you are
taking photos of people or pets. They usually move within a split second
and that causes photos to get blurry with slower shutter speed. To overcome
this too, use some faster lens like 1.4, 1.8 or 2. This will help camera
take lot more light while shutter is open. Also, more expensive camera's
have bigger sensors and a bigger sensor does help with better control
of noise. Also an SLR can take less grainy photos with ISO as high as
1600 but a regular compact camera would have noisy images when ISO starts
getting above say 400.