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why do SLRs take blurry pics by default?
Ok, I've been to the local CircuitCity, taken a look at the Nikon D300 and a few other cameras (wanted to try out E510, but wasn't powered). Yea, this camera is very nice and all, but when in A/F, pressing the shutter half-way to focus, then taking the picture, by default, when I zoom into the picture, it seems kind of blurry at 100% (that is 1:1, pixel for pixel). Whereas my old Sony Cybershot 7.2MP seems sharp even at 1:1. What's up?.

Now, granted, this is inside CircuitCity, but the store seems well enough lit. And I didn't test my old Cybershot along-side it. But I would expect that focusing on a sign or something, the picture would be sharp to 1:1...

Comments (32)

DSLRs have settings that can customize the camera image to your particular taste.

Nikon D300.

Set Picture Control " StandardQuick adjust (-2 to +2)Sharpening (A, 0 to 9)Contrast (A, -3 to +3)Brightness (-1 to +1)Saturation (A, -3 to +3)Hue (-3 to +3).

" NeutralQuick adjust (-2 to +2)Sharpening (A, 0 to 9)Contrast (A, -3 to +3)Brightness (-1 to +1)Saturation (A, -3 to +3)Hue (-3 to +3).

Http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikond300/page10.asp.

Custom settings menuehttp://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikond300/page11.asp.

Bill,Jr'I kind of like the Earth, it's where I keep all my Stuff.'Website; http://www.pbase.com/wboth125 Lake Wylie, SC..

Comment #1

Up until recently DSLRs were really the reserve of the enthusiast or the pro..

The sharpening you see in your non-DSLR is a result of the image been processed more. DSLR output, especially in pro and enthusiast models, is not sharpened much by default. This is because sharpening is a non-reversible process. You can add as much as you like to an un-sharpened image, but you can never undo it. Blurring is NOT the same as reversing a sharping process..

As a general rule sharpening should be deferred until everything else is done. Sharpening in an ideal sense should be tailored to the presentation media and expected viewing conditions ( distance from an size of print/display )..

The detail is there ( in a strict sense more accurately ). You can sharpen it..

Entry level models of DSLRs tend to sharpen more ( and apply more saturation ). This is to make their default output more attractive to users coming from P&S cameras..

StephenG.

Fuji S3 ProPentax K100DFuji S9600Fuji E900PCLinuxOS..

Comment #2

Howdy, it could be a few different things. For one, you may notice that pictures from an SLR might not have sharpening applied (or as much) as your P&S. Bill Jr has some good suggestions on that..

Also, maybe it could be a misfocus? Maybe the lighting? Maybe even bokeh? You prob. couldn't get much, if any, bokeh on your P&S but you can with an SLR. So maybe you are looking beyond the focal plane and into the "blurred areas" of bokeh perhaps?.

I've noticed on my XT that if I zoom in all the way into a pic, it's usually never as sharp as it really is, even w/o sharpening applied. I'll zoom in, looks a tad blurry, but when I download, it'll look great, and tack sharp sometimes if I didn't mess up. Not sure if anyone has done a compare, but maybe the LCD screens are different?.

Maybe a few other things: Did you check to see what the ISO was set on? I assume you are using an on-display camera there? Maybe the ISO was cranked up which will affect sharpness. Or maybe the lens is dirty..

Again, when you are viewing the picture in your P&S, it already has been processed and has sharpening applied. This may not be the case with the camera you are testing.Just trying to learn.

Blog: http://novicephotog.blogspot.com/Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/9778447@N07/..

Comment #3

I think it is to make you learn how to use a SLR!!!.

My Canon XSi/450d auto-focus was so bad I thought it was faulty..

After a steep learning curve and a better understanding of the new 9-point focusing (not forgetting Aperture, shutter-speed, DOF etc...) things are coming right!.

If my new SLR had taken good shots to begin with I may have never bothered learning all this quite so soon..

Its a shame I had to lose a whole weekend worth of shots, but at least I understand what I did wrong now!!!..

Comment #4

Also keep in mind that with a store's preview model a hundred different novices have screwed around with the settings, therefore the camera isn't as "default" as you think it is, It could also be the lens, or the lighting, or the aperture. Those store display models are manhandled so much that they don't provide a reliable representation of the camera..

Justin DiPierroFort Ann, New York - 12827-http://www.JDiPierro.com..

Comment #5

I wonder if there's a way to restore all camera default-settings, as testers could have screwed everything up..

Thanks for all the useful suggestions. I figured it had something to do with the sharpening settings. I guess I didn't realize how much sharpening a P&S does...I thought that was just the default sharpness coming off of the lens...

Comment #6

No one has yet suggested that any test of camera/lens sharpness is not accurate unless the camera is on a tripod. Also you haven't said what ISO and what lens you were using. All the kit lenses are slow and require long shutter speeds or high ISO indoors.Larry Bermanhttp://BermanGraphics.com..

Comment #7

Another reason you might be seeing images that are not quite sharp enough... is that when you zoom all the way in on the preview, it is actually 200% or 300%, not 100%...

Comment #8

DSLRs capture more detail than point and shoot cameras. If it's well focused, there won't be any muddied pixels. That is the definition of being sharp..

'Sharpening' is a different concept from 'being sharp'. Sharpening is a trick played on the eye by emphasizing contrast..

Here's how the trick works..

If you've got a grey railing against a blue sky, the camera can emphasize the contrast between the grey railing and the blue sky by darking the pixels on the grey side and lightening the pixels on the blue side. So the camera will actually paint a thin white line on the blue sky to outline the difference between the railing and the sky..

Sometimes we get so accustomed to that fake white line sharpening, that images look soft without it, EVEN IF those images are perfectly focused and contain lots of detail..

The good news is that the white line fake sharpening can be added later. The bad news is that if your point and shoot added the fake white line sharpening to the captured image, it can't be taken out later..

Have a look at David Kilpatrick's fine article on the difference between true detail and fake sharpening.http://www.photoclubalpha.com/.../2007/12/13/true-detail-vs-fake-sharpness/..

Comment #9

It could also be because DSLRs have larger sensors and more DOF as well. To get that "everything is in focus" look like a P&S, you need to use much smaller apertures. If you don't stop down a lens or notice where the focus point is, what looks "blurry" could actually be an out of focus area instead..

And yes, there should be a "reset to default" option not buried too far in menus. All cameras I've seen have this...

Comment #10

Dslrs do not take blurry pictures br default, users do. if a user wants a blurry pic he will take one. if the user wants a sharp he will take one. the camera has nothing to do with blurrness.i have had a slr/dslr since 1970 and never has a camera taken a blurry pic. when I first started taking pics in 1970 some were blurry, but as time passed and I got to know something about photography blurry pics became a thing of the past.with a dslr YOU have to know how and take the pictures..

With a p&s the camera for the most part is taking the shots, all the user is doing is pushing the shutter button..

Why is you or anyone wasting their time by looking at a image at 1:1? I never do. it is a useless excesize. it is for pixelpeepers. look at the image at the size it will be seen. then is it good or not. ANY IMAGE will look bad if it is enlarged enough...

Comment #11

David J Heinrich wrote:.

I wonder if there's a way to restore all camera default-settings, astesters could have screwed everything up..

Yes. On the D300, look at the top of the camera...there are 2 green dots there. One is beside the "ISO" button on the left. One is beside the "+/-" button on the right. Press both and the camera does a reset to default settings. Be aware that the D300 defaults don't produce very impressive pix.



Thanks for all the useful suggestions. I figured it had something todo with the sharpening settings. I guess I didn't realize how muchsharpening a P&S does...I thought that was just the default sharpnesscoming off of the lens..

This is a very common misconception. You are not alone...it's just a part of the steep learning curve when moving from a simple camera to a professional tool..

Charlie DavisNikon 5700, Sony R1, Nikon D300HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/'Experience: Discovering that a claw hammer will bend nails.Epiphany: Discovering that a claw hammer is two tools...'..

Comment #12

Are you talking about viewing the picture on the camera's LCD or did you use your own CF card and view the pictures on your home computer? There's a world of difference.JonGive me something to shoot..

Comment #13

David J Heinrich wrote:.

Ok, I've been to the local CircuitCity, taken a look at the NikonD300 and a few other cameras (wanted to try out E510, but wasn'tpowered). Yea, this camera is very nice and all, but when in A/F,pressing the shutter half-way to focus, then taking the picture, bydefault, when I zoom into the picture, it seems kind of blurry at100% (that is 1:1, pixel for pixel). Whereas my old Sony Cybershot7.2MP seems sharp even at 1:1. What's up?.

Now, granted, this is inside CircuitCity, but the store seems wellenough lit. And I didn't test my old Cybershot along-side it. But Iwould expect that focusing on a sign or something, the picture wouldbe sharp to 1:1..

It is a special 'Circuit City' scene mode that provides blurry pictures so that you'll buy a cheaper P&S since they make more money on the P&S, plus, chances are they don't have that D300 in stock!.

J. D.Colorful Colorado.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

Remember.always keep your receipt, the box, and everything that came in it!..

Comment #14

I wrote the following posts some time ago, they may be of interest..

No matter which dslr you buy..

Heavily consider the following. there are NEW DSLR owners' writing in all over these forums on this subject.when changeing from a p&s to a dslr, there is a huge difference..

When you take p&s out of the box add a memory card and a fully charged battery you can now shoot and take very good pics..

BUT, you cannot do this with dslr. the camera HAS TO BE SETUP first. you have to adjust the contrast/saturation/sharpness/shooting modes(color style or whatever it is called) to your likes. if you don't it is quite likely you will disappointed with results. your p&s will likely outshoot the dslr..

To setup-you have shoot a test shot make ONE adjustment reshoot check pc screen readjust, until you are satisfied. and you do this with each of the adjustment types. then you have all the custom adjustments in the menu to check and if wanted change..

When done you can put the camera into AUTO or PROGRAM and get reasonably nice shots. I would advise at first staying with jpeg. as you learn about the camera and photography you can then go to the other shooting modes and try RAW if you wish..

Dslrs are made to see the shot through the optical viewfinder not through the lcd. this is true of almost all dslrs including the k10d. there was a thread.

Not too long ago about who would want a dslr with a preview lcd, almost noone wanted one. generally, lcd viewfinders are used on a dslr for special purposes only, not every shot..

Dslrs and color..

If you mean heavy saturated colors then no dslr is going to do that. they are not made to give strongly saturated colors. they are made to give ACCURATE COLORS. not heavy saturated colors..

This is not the same thing at all. too many people who come from a p&s are very disappointed in th dslr colors, because they are not bright and saturated. this is because they are and have been using a p&s which has been giving them saturated and incorrect clors for so long that they think it is the right look. nothing could be further from the truth. the p&s colors are wrong, wrong. the camera manufactures know that the public buys high megapixel and heavy saturated colors and is what they make and sell to the public..

But the slr/dslr is a whole different world. for the dslr accuracy of the scene in terms of view and color is a religion rpt religion. you want accurate color that is what you are going to get with dslr. but they will not be the bright saturated colors of a p&s. ytou can with adjustments in the menus up the color is dslr, but it will not look the INACCURATE CARTOON COLOR of the p&s..

If you are wishing to buy a dslr for more and brighter color, save you money the p&s is what you want..

Not too long ago a new owner of a dslr was on these forums talking about the poor color of his new dslr. it seems as if he was shooting on an overcast day. many many people replying to him told him that cloudy day shots give the most accurate color, which they do. he couldn't believe and get over that idea. he also owned a p&S previously.you might be interested in this; which I posted a while back..

Http://forums.dpreview.com/...forums/read.asp?forum=1036&message=23677257..

Comment #15

Having a P&S is like the microwave ready meal approach to cooking. It won't be great, but it will always be ok - if you like unsophisticated, over-seasoned food, that is..

Taking a shot with a DSLR is like cooking a meal from the basic ingredients. Takes more effort and more skill, and there are a lot more ways for it to go wrong - it doesn't always go right even in the hands of an expert. But the results are totally worth it...

Comment #16

Good one!GaryPhotos at http://www.pbase.com/gary_602zVery funny Scotty now beam me down my clothes!..

Comment #17

GaryDeM wrote:.

Dslrs do not take blurry pictures br default, users do. if a userwants a blurry pic he will take one. if the user wants a sharp hewill take one. the camera has nothing to do with blurrness.i have hada slr/dslr since 1970 and never has a camera taken a blurry pic. wheni first started taking pics in 1970 some were blurry, but as timepassed and I got to know something about photography blurry picsbecame a thing of the past.with a dslr YOU have to know how and take the pictures.with a p&s the camera for the most part is taking the shots, all theuser is doing is pushing the shutter button..

Why is you or anyone wasting their time by looking at a image at 1:1?i never do. it is a useless excesize. it is for pixelpeepers. look atthe image at the size it will be seen. then is it good or not. ANYIMAGE will look bad if it is enlarged enough..

I think that's non-sense. I have a pic of a praying mantis, which looks nice enough at the size it'll fit on the screen. But zoomed in to 1:1 size, the detail on it is astounding. Now, I'm aware that sharpning and color-adjustment has been done..and from responses here, DSLR's done do that by default, to preserve accuracy (but it can be added later)...but certainly, there's a reason for going 1:1...

Comment #18

Thanks for all of the responses. I have read that cloudy days give the most accurate color (OTOH, I also know that for aesthetic appeal, shadows, lighting, etc, the times after sunrise and before sunset are nice). A lot of people recommend B&W on cloudy days. I've also heard it recommended that one of the few neat things to look for on a very sunny day is interesting shadows. But I've also found that some flowers can be nice..

Regarding sharpness, contrast, color-saturation, and those "cartoon-like colors", presumably all that can be done by digital manipulation of the RAW file, right?.

Also, someone mentioned adjusting settings to your liking...is that in ref to the JPEGs? So then you can adjust JPEG's for sharpness, contrast, color saturation, and make it look more "P&S-like"...and if in JPEG + RAW mode get the best of both worlds?..

Comment #19

Because you have to go into the menu and untick the "make pictures blurry" option, which is enabled by default by the manufacturer so that amateurs think that the pro photographers must be gods for taking such sharp pictures!..

Comment #20

For the same reason that your typewriter makes spelling mistakes :o)RegardsKev G..

Comment #21

Re>I have read that cloudy days give the most accurate c<.

Doesn't mean the writer has any brains, though..

Pick up a nice 8x10 photo and walk around with it. Take it outside, in the sun, and then under an overhang and back inside and near a widopw, ... when is the color best?.

You'll go nuts trying to decide on "best".

BAK..

Comment #22

Short answer: Aperture (f-stop).

I am a new dSLR owner myself, I just got the new Canon XSi. At first, I was really frustrated on how my pictures are blurry at 100% crop, and not as sharp as some of the pro pics I have seen here. So, I have done some research, and learned something that hasn't been discussed here:.

When using a dSLR, you will get sharper pictures when you set the aperture a couple stops lower (or higher, I don't know how to use the terms yet), i.e. from f/3.5 to f/5.6, it's for the lens to be able to pickup everything in the view, and also not on the extreme side of it's abilities..

This is probably more true for the kits lenses that you will get, such as the ones you test at Circuit City. For my first photoshoot, the pictures were frustrating to me, but just yesterday, I took pictures at an event, and I was really surprised how much sharper my images were even at 100%!.

Granted, you still have to fine tune the sharpness settings for the camera, but I think this little "trick" will do the most "sharpening" for you. Good luck! Read lots like I do, I am still learning too!..

Comment #23

If the pictures you took while trying an unfamiliar dslr in a store were blurry, it may well have been because the shutter speed was not high enough. The blur you could see was probably camera shake..

The approximate rule is your shutter speed should be the reciiprocal of the focal length of the lens. That is: if you are using a 50mm lens, then the shutter speed should be at least 1/50th sec. For a DX camera like the D300, you probably need at least 1/75th sec..

I'm assuming you were using Program mode. If the light conditions in the store were too dark for the camera to be able to achieve these speeds then you could well end with camera shake..

A friend of mine started dslr shooting about 1 year ago. I would estimate that at least 50% of his shots were blurred to begin with. Looking at the exif information showed that they were all shot with shutter speeds too low to eliminate camera shake. Now he understands this, his shots are much better...

Comment #24

SLRs are "blurry by default" for the same reason my computer is an expensive paper weight by default. Once you learn to use the camera or computer you find they are very effective tools. When things go wrong with my camera or computer I may briefly curse the machine, but I quickly move on to look for user error and most often that is where I find the problem. Good Luck!..

Comment #25

I must admit when I first went from pos (Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z1) to canon 350d and kit lens I too was disappointed with the softness and lack of vibrancy...

Comment #26

When user knows what he is doing DSLRs take perfectly sharp pictures..

I don't know how advanced in photography you are but common thing for folks coming from P&S cameras is to blame DSLR for shallow DOF. They take some portrait picture and expect everything in background to be sharp. Also they are not prepared to shallow a couple of centimeters DOF (nose is sharp, eyes are not) and so on..

Also you didin't tell what settings were you using in those indoor shots. Maybe it was hand shake?.

Edvinas..

Comment #27

All files comming off the sensor ( raw data ) are blurred to some extent if the camera has an AA filter in front of it ( almost all DSLRs do) , there is nothing you can do about that except to sharpen it, Most of the time sharpening works fine although there may be other factors working against it as well ( already mentioned earlier ). Some cameras AA filters are stronger than other of course..

You can get them removed for for $500 or so, last I checked. There is a reason for the filter on small format cameras, most medium format digital cameras do not have them so the files look sharper right off the camera. Do a search on AA filters there are a lot of threads on the subject.Sincerely.

Ron J..

Comment #28

Nt.

I don't know anything about photography. I just like to press the shutter button and hear that sound...

Comment #29

The shutter speed was to slow for handheld photos indoors. A digicam with it's much smaller focal length enables much slower shutter speeds to be used handheld. I can go as low as 1/40 second at 400mm equivalent with my non IS megazoom (using the viewfinder properly) This requires almost 1/400 second with my SLR and dslr..

This also means I can also use a lower ISO to get the same exposure with my digicam compared to using a dslr with the same shutter speed. Those wanting clean 1600 ISO in a digicam for handheld photos are actually expecting clean 6400 ISO for the same shot (same exposure and DOF) with a dslr. I rarely ever used beyond 100 ISO for handheld outdoors photos with my meagzoom, even at 400 mm equivalent but cannot do this with my dslr. I need at least 400 ISO to get some of the exact same photos handheld. But 400 ISO on my dslr is less noisy than my 100 ISO digicam shots and even with my weeny 4/3 sensor, 1600 ISO is better than 400 ISO was on my digicam. I can get good results with 1600 ISO and good noise removal software with my dslr whereas my 400 ISO digicam photos were essentially useless, too far gone to even try removing the noise and getting an acceptable photo.

And the megazoom did not give enough reach at either end and the results were dismal at the long end. But the greater ability for lower shutter speeds and/or ISO for handheld photos is a nice convenience and the reason I carry a megazoom with converters in my knapsack when I don't wish to lug around my dslr, tripod and 3 zoom lenses. The capabilities and possible presentation results of my dslr system compared to the meagzoom is unmistakable but that doesn't mean there is no benefit to using the megazoom. They are different tools and work quite differently and each have their own compromise of expense/convenince/capability and presentation results. I don't consider one better than the other.

You can use just one for both tasks but no matter which you choose, it will do some pounding tasks great and others not so great and overall will present some limits..

Using only one camera system and always leaving the house with it is not the way I want to do my photography. I choose the appropriatte tools for my needs when leaving the house. Sometimes I curse and swear when out hucking around my big lens on the tripod and wish I had left it home and brought the megazoom instead and sometimes while using the megazoom I wish I had my dslr and tripod and lenses with me. But I still get many photos I am happy with using each camera and can't imagine how limited it would be to my photography overall to have only one of them. I sometimes leave the big lens and tripod at home and go out with the dslr and my two smaller lenses and the megazoom. Depends what I'm planning on shooting predominately, where I'm going to do it and what else I might be doing while out of the house..

Different tools, each with their own unique combination of advantages and disadvantages...

Comment #30

"When user knows what he is doing DSLRs take perfectly sharp pictures.".

That statement is a bit too generalized to me..

I had the same issue when I started out with a DSLR and I got the same comments. Turns out it had nothing to do with me, it was a crappy kit lens (18-200vr to be exact). In a way the statement is correct but misleading. It was indeed me who did not know enough to not listen to people who insisted the lens was not the problem..

I suspect circuit city has kit lenses on their display models. Don't expect great quality from them..

Http://www.pbase.com/spiked3..

Comment #31

Spiked3 wrote:.

"When user knows what he is doing DSLRs take perfectly sharp pictures.".

That statement is a bit too generalized to me..

I had the same issue when I started out with a DSLR and I got thesame comments. Turns out it had nothing to do with me, it was acrappy kit lens (18-200vr to be exact). In a way the statement iscorrect but misleading. It was indeed me who did not know enough tonot listen to people who insisted the lens was not the problem..

I think you must have very high standards. With most people it is not the lens that is the limitation. It is the user..

I suspect circuit city has kit lenses on their display models. Don'texpect great quality from them..

The quality of most kit lenses is pretty good these days and exceeds the ability of the average new photographer by a mile. (It certainly exceeds the resolution of the average lcd massively.) I would say that only when you can get good shots from kit lenses should you move on up unless shooting something inherently difficult like indoor sports..

Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.

Http://PlacidoD.Zenfolio.com/..

Comment #32

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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