Camera / photo problem

Discussion in 'OT (OFF Topic) Forums' started by Sp!ke, Oct 28, 2008.

  1. Sp!ke

    Sp!ke Administrator Staff Member

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    I know we have a few camera gurus on the forum so I'll post the question here to see if anyone has any suggestions.

    On Sunday, I treated myself to a shiny new Canon EOS 450.

    Now I've been playing around with film SLR's for years and have a reasonable knowledge about ISO numbers, aperture, depth of field etc and many moons ago it was a major hobby of mine and I used to have my own dark room so I'm not a total numpty when it comes to proper cameras.

    My previous digital camera was a Bridge camera (a Nikon Coolpix 5700 that cost me nigh on £1000 when launched - ouch)

    Anyway, try as I might, I'm getting really poor results from this new Canon. It seems reasonably ok when shooting anything under about 10 foot away. Close Up tests show that the camera is focusing correctly and not prefocusing like I initially suspected. However, when I try and photograph something detailed that's any distance away, it just appears blurred or out of focus.

    I've tried different ISO settings, different speeds, apertures, and focal lengths, manual focus, auto focus, pretty much every setting I can throw at it and I've not managed to take one picture that I feel is crisp enough in over 200 shots.

    I'm also concerned that I was outside at lunch today in bright sunshine and the camera was suggesting that at ISO 100, F5.3 and a 35mm focal length it needed 1/60th of a second shutter speed. :confused: I suspect the metering is telling lies as surely this can't be right.

    Looking at my shots, It seems that most are over exposed and the only consistent thing regarding focus is that the lower right corner of all shots always seem to be more focused (still not perfect but definitely clearer than the rest of the frame)

    Sample unedited 7mb picture HERE. Open it at 100% and see what I mean about the bottom right corner being crisper despite focusing on the middle of the frame. Also note the unusually low shutter speed for the conditions and consequent over exposure of the sky.

    Am I doing something stupid or is the camera in need of calibration or better still swapping out. Right now I'm getting better shots from my point and shoot than this.

    Another smaller example HERE There's just nothing in the shot thats focused at all??
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2008
  2. mw_C32

    mw_C32 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Your garden looks nice. :)

    M.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    Sp!ke

    Sp!ke Administrator Staff Member

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    I am spoilt at work. We have huge grounds, our own nine hole golf course and fantastic gardens. These two shots were taken in the Japanese water garden which occupies a small corner of the grounds.
     
  4. andy_k

    andy_k MB Club Veteran

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    have you accidentally changed the auto focus mode?

    try changing the ISO to 200 and shooting at f8

    pop over to the Digital Darkroom a dead friendly bunch, a lot of whom are Canon users
     
  5. carnut

    carnut Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I have aNikon D60 and find that its very importanat to set exactly where the multipoint focus is actualy focusing on; I like a single point of focus and I believe you have multipoint, do you have it set on Auto with auto ISO and what focus point?

    Single point seems more exact for your rather complex picture

    ( actualy I would be rather happy with your shot but agree that to be perfect there should be better definition)

    Ive also found that if my camera defaults it tends to be a slow ISO and thus camera shake can be accerbated due to slow shutter...try setting ISO to 400 and seeing if the same picture results in a higher shutter speed and thus less camera shake?
     
  6. Mark300SL

    Mark300SL 1962-2010. Gone, but not forgotten.

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    Try using just centre point focussing, with cetre weighted light metering to begin with.
    A good test of focal plane alignment is to shoot a newspaper, stuck/pinned to a wall/board. Shot at exactly 90 degrees using a tripod. If the alignment isnt correct it will show easily in the printed text

    However - if the lower left focus point was selected, and we assume you have a distance to subject (point of focus) of about 10 feet then the depth of field @35mm F/L and F5.3 will be somewhere in the region of just 6 feet! So naturally a lot of that picture would have to be soft. I would not normally be shooting any form of landscape at less than about F8 and more likely F11

    Try the same shot again with F11/F13 , (use ISO 400 or 800 if necessary) and a hyperfocal distance closer to 15-20 feet feet for maximum DOF.

    You may well have a problem, but equally you may just not yet be used to all of the cameras abilities/functions.


    Mark
     
  7. Mark300SL

    Mark300SL 1962-2010. Gone, but not forgotten.

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    Also - If you fancy a meet up at some point we can try my lenses on your body and vice versa to eliminate any potential hardware defects
     
  8. OP
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    Sp!ke

    Sp!ke Administrator Staff Member

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    Here's one at iso400 and F8

    And heres one at iso 200 F7.2

    Both have exactly the same problem and both had centre point focussing. I've also tried each and every other focus setting with similar results. :(

    I've been searching the web and found a few other people posting similar problems with the EOS450 and the response from most has been pretty hostile suggesting the poster was to blame.

    I think I bought a dud... the scary thing is a few people have swaped them out for replacements and it wasn't until the 4th or 5th camera that they got a good-un. The preferred route seems to be sending the camera back to canon for proper calibration but frankly I'm loathed to have someone take apart my brand new camera just to make it how it should be in the first place.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2008
  9. BTB 500

    BTB 500 MB Club Veteran

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    What lens are you using? Assuming it's a zoom, do you have the same issue at all focal lengths? Do you have another lens to try?

    If you have the standard 'kit' Canon 18-55 then I don't believe it's meant to be a great performer.

    Are you just looking at the .jpgs? What is the 'sharpness' parameter on the camera set to? Often the default setting gives quite soft images, so try increasing. Also try shooting raw files, and open them with sharpening set to normal.
     
  10. Mark300SL

    Mark300SL 1962-2010. Gone, but not forgotten.

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    Got to agree with Bill about the kit lens - I certqainly wouldnt want one. I know of people who were put off DSLR photography due to the poor quality of the kit lens.

    I have noticed that all 3 shots have vast areas of overexposed sky trying to capture shadow detail - As Bill also added, shooting in RAW will give you more lattitude.

    Try the focal plane test if possible though. Offer of a lens/body trial still applies however :)
     
  11. OP
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    Sp!ke

    Sp!ke Administrator Staff Member

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    I have the same issue at all focal lengths... anything much further than 10 foot away is just not sharp. The newspaper test because it is closeup doesn't highlight the problem.

    I currently only have the one lens which is the 18-55 newer IS lens. From what I've read, it has a few minor issues at either end of the focal length but I didn't expect anything as bad as this. My little cheap ixus 65 takes better shots.

    I get the same issue on RAW as well as on Jpegs, and the default sharpness parameter is 3 but again I've played around with other settings and no real improvement.

    A friend of mine is a professional photographer for the press and his D1 almost always remains on fully auto with great results. If this camera is really this hard to take a half decent shot with, I don't think I can live with it in all honesty.

    I'm a few hundred photos in now and none are anything like as good as my old Nikon coolpix.

    This is more like what I'm used to

    I got THIS sharpness from the little Casio that sits in my glove box.

    Something cant be right.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2008
  12. Mark300SL

    Mark300SL 1962-2010. Gone, but not forgotten.

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    The newer IS is supposed to be a lot better than the earlier one :confused:
    Given your replies I am fast coming to the conclusion you probably do have an issue.


    I was getting better pics from my 350D as a newbie DSLR owner than you seem to be getting. Either take it back to where you got it from and insist on a replacement or sent it to Canon.
    Canon service in Borehamwood is excellent and I wouldnt hesitate to let them calibrate my bodies/lenses as its not major disassembly unless a core component needs changing.
    When a camera/lens comes back from calibration it is a joy to use (observed but not personally experienced) and you have the satisfaction of knopwing that a proper technician went through properly it rather than a shop assistant. I agree it shouldn't need it, but I would rather calibrate my camera rather than take one after the other looking for supreme sharpness


    Both my 30D and 5D have been exceptional performers however.

    If you need it
    The Official Canon Repair/Service centre:

    Canon (UK) RCC
    PO Box 630
    Borehamwood
    WD6 9AW

    Contact Number: 08705 143723


    They serviced a bargain 28-70 F2.8 L lens for me recently and communication/service and turnaround was very good
     
  13. OP
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    Sp!ke

    Sp!ke Administrator Staff Member

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    Thankfully, I bought it in Jessops so returning it shouldnt be a problem.

    One of the reasons why I dont want it sent back to canon is that my nikon went back for a warranty repair and it came back rather shodilly put back together with the rubber handgrip peeling off and shortly after I got lens errors and can hear the motor slipping internally. Basically they destroyed the camera and so far it doesnt seem like they're going to admit any fault.

    Looking at s/h prices of the nikon, it is likely that its going to be uneconomical to repair if I have to foot the bill too. :(
     
  14. grober

    grober MB Club Veteran

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    Last edited: Oct 28, 2008
  15. OP
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    Sp!ke

    Sp!ke Administrator Staff Member

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    Well I went back to Jessops today and spent an hour or so in the shop with a member of staff going though what I was experiencing.

    They agreed something wasnt right and offered to take it back for a refund with no quibbles.

    So I ended up swapping it for an EOS 450 camera body only and then splurged almost as much money again on a lens.

    The lens I bought was a Sigma 18-200mm f3.5-6.3 DC OS. I was going to buy a much cheaper non image stabilised lense but was talked out of it by what I read on the web.

    It was dusk by the time I got out of the shop so I've not been able to test the setup but even mucking around indoors, it does look like there is a marked improvement.

    The only real test is to hope for a dry day tomorrow and to get outside and play.

    I dread to think how painful an experience this would have been if I bought online from somewhere far flung. :eek:
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2008
  16. Mark300SL

    Mark300SL 1962-2010. Gone, but not forgotten.

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    Nice one

    The Sigma 18-200 OS has been getting some good reviews
    Splurge another £50 on a canon 50mm F1.8 for the odd occcasion you want a super sharp lens with good low light ability. 4oz in weight, feels like its made of plastic, nasty construction - stunning ability however and the best bang for buck out there :)

    I personally think every Canon owner should have a 50mm 1.8

    I'm off to take pictures tomorrow in deepest Wiltshire, regardless of the weather :)
     
  17. GrahamC230K

    GrahamC230K MB Club Veteran

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    I had a vaguely smilar expereince. I bought an Olympus point and shoot online to make a saving over my local camera shops. The camera had white balance problems and I immediately regretted buying online. However I had bought online from an independent camera shop. Not in the least local, but with the only hassle returning the camera with a few test shots on, they were happy to help in exchanging and in fact exchaning for a differnt camera completely.

    My advice now is for a buy like this, use a local specialist or if you do buy online, buy from a UK camera shop.
     
  18. Will

    Will MB Club Veteran

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    Hi Sp!ke,

    Just spoken to a friend of mine who has the same camera as you. He has said:

    If you process RAW images with the Canon software - it will apply the settings it would use for JPEGs in camera.

    There have been reports of big variations in the sharpness of the supplied lens - and not a problem with the camera itself.

    He has an 17-85mm Canon USM lens on his now and has offered you a trial if you'd like to experiment/eliminate any problems with yours?

    Hope this helps and good luck :)

    Will

    Edit - he's also ordered a 50mm F1.8 and a 24mm F2.8 if you'd like to try those too.
     
  19. Mark300SL

    Mark300SL 1962-2010. Gone, but not forgotten.

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    My 24mm F2.8 seemed slow and unwieldy on my old 350D and again on the 30D. Autofocus is slow and inconclusive - but the same lens is a dream to use on my 5D :) I came to the conclusion that as the lens is an old design and was made with a full frame camera in mind it was better used on a full frame camera with more available light.

    50mm 1.8 is great and I have several L lenses too that I would happily offer - but in all honesty the 18-200 gets good enough reviews that you would have to be pretty unlucky to get a bad copy.


    Mark
     
  20. OP
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    Sp!ke

    Sp!ke Administrator Staff Member

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    Just a quick update on this, replacement camera body and superior lens and I'm much happier indeed.

    Below is a crop from a fairly distant shot using a longish lens and no tripod. I can't complain with the results.
     

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    Last edited: Nov 3, 2008

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