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    photography using compact digital camera - Night shots gets very blurry

    Hi,

    Has anybody got any advice about how I can take a photo at night (outside) with out the subject (person) becoming blurry or ghost like.

    Its a compact digital camera - Sony T500

    Cheers

    34 Comments

    1 Use flash
    2 Use only when sober :w00t:
    3 Prop camera against lamp post/ wall etc to reduce shake.

    You need to hold the camera very, very still. The slightest movement will make it blurry.

    use a tripod!

    Banned

    is this for dogging, you'll have to ask them to stop moving:whistling:

    is this without using a flash? - its always going to be tricky..
    if you can - you need to change the ISO setting to the highest it can go. Or sometimes there is a scene setting for 'sport' or something fast moving. This increases the shutter speed - might make a difference.

    As above - highest ISO you can set, then if no tripod place the camera on a solid surface (and perhaps use the timer so you don't shake it when pressing the shutter).

    Original Poster

    Taking pictures of ppl (not moving), with flash, on a solid surface and with timer setting, still gives me a blurry/ghost like image. It's very strange.

    Daylight shots are perfect. No problems at all. It's just the night shots that are puzzling me:thinking:

    jah128;6654194

    As above - highest ISO you can set, then if no tripod place the camera on … As above - highest ISO you can set, then if no tripod place the camera on a solid surface (and perhaps use the timer so you don't shake it when pressing the shutter).



    I've tried the ISO setting, makes the image really grainy :?

    Original Poster

    Narfette;6654165

    is this without using a flash? - its always going to be tricky..if you … is this without using a flash? - its always going to be tricky..if you can - you need to change the ISO setting to the highest it can go. Or sometimes there is a scene setting for 'sport' or something fast moving. This increases the shutter speed - might make a difference.



    Might see if there is a sports setting/scene. But not come across it before, might not be on the Sony camera :thinking:

    But definately, think the problem lies with shutter speed and light.

    Probably, the only solution would be to use the highest shutter speed (can't set this) and use the biggest flash ever :w00t:

    Original Poster

    shibi din;6654068

    You need to hold the camera very, very still. The slightest movement … You need to hold the camera very, very still. The slightest movement will make it blurry.



    Funny thing is, its still blurry if I use timer and place the camera on a solid surface. Also, the camera has the anti-blur thing. Still very bad for night shots though:thinking:

    what kind of camera do you have? can you post an example?

    Original Poster

    Narfette;6654399

    what kind of camera do you have? can you post an example?



    It's a Sony T500
    Great camera, macros are great. Daylight shots are superb. 10minute recording video in HD. Fantastic camera. Just a shame the nightshots are a problem.

    Sorry, can't really post an example. would need to get permission from the models :whistling:

    Might invest in a Joby and see if that helps, any recommendation of the best/cheapest place to get one?

    ah ok, its not just a rubbish camera then, lol.
    its difficult to tell without an example.. if it happens on every image when you're on the automatic setting, it could even be a problem with the camera

    im sure its just something to do with the ISO though.. ghostly images / halos in pictures are usually because the camera is over compensating for not enough light - this is usually solved by increasing ISO / changing aperture.

    Original Poster

    Narfette;6654491

    ah ok, its not just a rubbish camera then, lol.its difficult to tell … ah ok, its not just a rubbish camera then, lol.its difficult to tell without an example.. if it happens on every image when you're on the automatic setting, it could even be a problem with the camera.



    thanks for the info... I'll see if I can take a picture tonight of a cat or something and post it up here and see what you think. Thanks again :thumbsup:

    the gorillapods are good, i got mine from ]Amazon
    Although i got the SLR version.. it happily hung from a lampost recently.

    toughCookie;6654526

    thanks for the info... I'll see if I can take a picture tonight of a cat … thanks for the info... I'll see if I can take a picture tonight of a cat or something and post it up here and see what you think. Thanks again :thumbsup:



    Grainyness (noise) is the side-effect of a high-ISO setting (basically each extra step will make the images a lot noisier than the last, but the shutter needs only be open for half as long). The tiny sensors and lenses on a such a small compact make it hard to produce a fast lens and low-noise image anyway - you might just be expecting too much (it will have to be a pretty still cat :giggle:).

    Original Poster

    jah128;6655391

    Grainyness (noise) is the side-effect of a high-ISO setting (basically … Grainyness (noise) is the side-effect of a high-ISO setting (basically each extra step will make the images a lot noisier than the last, but the shutter needs only be open for half as long). The tiny sensors and lenses on a such a small compact make it hard to produce a fast lens and low-noise image anyway - you might just be expecting too much (it will have to be a pretty still cat :giggle:).



    But it's a Sony T500. Everything is perfect, other than night shots!

    Even if I have people standing still for the shot, have full flash, iso high or low, steady platform, the end result is blurry/ghost like image.

    Just wanting to sort this little problem out and the camera is perfect in everyway :thumbsup:

    I'll see if I can get an example up tonight or tomorrow.

    Thanks for the feedback everybody will leave rep when I get round work :roll:

    Prob can't focus in the dark. Get a better camera or try manual focus.

    Original Poster

    I've found an photo and edited out the people. Also, I've circled the ghost like image. Also, you can see that the actual person's jeans is very transparent

    http://img203.imageshack.us/img203/5574/dsc04664.jpg

    any ideas?

    What's wrong with it? Need a bigger pic to be able to see something wrong I think.

    Maybe ghost is some carp on your lens?

    hmm.. i dont think theyre transparent - i think the subjects are just so bright - that they look that way.
    If an image is too dark - the camera will try and compensate for this by adding more light - its over compensating here. I have had a similar problem with an old camera - fiddling with the iso settings / using a sports setting or twilight setting seemed to rectify it

    Original Poster

    :thinking:

    Benjimoron;6658969

    What's wrong with it? Need a bigger pic to be able to see something wrong … What's wrong with it? Need a bigger pic to be able to see something wrong I think.Maybe ghost is some carp on your lens?



    Nope, the lens is clean. I reduce the photo down in size as it was huge (took it using the 10MB setting), and as the image hosting website resizes it anyway, it came out small! Not too sure how to correct this

    If you look at the subject’s jeans it's a bit transparent. and the trainers are duplicated to the left of the subject (at the base of the back circled ghost.

    Narfette;6661987

    hmm.. i dont think theyre transparent - i think the subjects are just so … hmm.. i dont think theyre transparent - i think the subjects are just so bright - that they look that way.If an image is too dark - the camera will try and compensate for this by adding more light - its over compensating here. I have had a similar problem with an old camera - fiddling with the iso settings / using a sports setting or twilight setting seemed to rectify it



    hmmm... may have to provide the same image bigger so that it's more apparent. But I think you maybe right here. Think I tried the twilight setting (or something similar) and the same happens. :thinking:

    Banned

    toughCookie;6658533

    I've found an photo and edited out the people. Also, I've circled the … I've found an photo and edited out the people. Also, I've circled the ghost like image. Also, you can see that the actual person's jeans is very transparentany ideas?


    looks fine to me :thinking:

    Banned

    toughCookie;6662225

    :thinking:Nope, the lens is clean. I reduce the photo down in size as it … :thinking:Nope, the lens is clean. I reduce the photo down in size as it was huge (took it using the 10MB setting), and as the image hosting website resizes it anyway, it came out small! Not too sure how to correct thisIf you look at the subject’s jeans it's a bit transparent. and the trainers are duplicated to the left of the subject (at the base of the back circled ghost.hmmm... may have to provide the same image bigger so that it's more apparent. But I think you maybe right here. Think I tried the twilight setting (or something similar) and the same happens. :thinking:


    should have a NIGHT or FIREWORK setting

    The ghost image is caused by too slow a shutter speed, the flash appears to be firing in slow synchro mode - this means the camera still uses a slow shutter speed then fires the flash just as the shutter is about to close. This gives you the bizarre effect where you can see the effect of blurred motion caused by the slow shutter then a sharp part where the flash fired. This seems to happen frequently on compact cameras, I'd try setting the flash to force fire mode instead which should lock the shutter at around 1/30. You're probably going to hit the opposite problem due to the weak flash though where anything near the camera will be very bright but everything else will be very dark.

    The problem you're describing does sound to be too slow a shutter speed, stabilising the camera will help if you're shooting a static scene with no motion. However if there is any motion then stabilising the camera won't help as the motion will still be blurred by the low shutter speed. There's no real solution as compact cameras simply aren't good in low light, this is why people invest in SLRs with large sensors as they have far better low light capability. Increasing the ISO will increase your shutter speed (if you can set it) however on a compact camera the picture will very quickly break down and become unusable. The onboard flash if set correctly may help although as I've mentioned above you'll end up with a bright subject and a dark background, if the subject isn't close enough to the flash you'll just end up with a dark photo.

    John

    Johnmcl7;6662562

    ...John



    V. good post, also consider just how compact this camera actually is:
    [IMG]base1.googlehosted.com/bas…dia?q=FroogleCatalog_CNETI666263.jpg&size=2&dhm=fd067eec&hl=en[/IMG]

    Being so small it will have a tiny lens and a tiny sensor - and because it has a high pixel density (lots of megapixels) it means each sensing element is incredibly small on the sensor. Unfortunately the smaller each element is, the less light will hit it in a fixed amount of time - resulting in poorer performance in low-light conditions. The sensor is around 11mm diagonally on the compact, CW about 30mm on a typical DSLR - its no wonder that the nighttime performance doesn't compare...

    [Still looks a very nice compact camera mind, its just never going to cope that well with low-light conditions!]

    Original Poster

    Johnmcl7;6662562

    ....John



    jah128;6663730

    ...[Still looks a very nice compact camera mind, its just never going to … ...[Still looks a very nice compact camera mind, its just never going to cope that well with low-light conditions!]



    Thanks john.
    Thanks jah

    Yep, a great camera. Only down side is the nightshot at the moment. If I can only sort that out, it's perfect.

    So, am I correct in saying that the main problem is lack of light, slow shutter speed, using too high pixels?

    If this is the case, should I see some improvements if I set one of the following or even a combination:

    option 1) Set twilight/firework setting (if any) -- didn't see much improvement if I recall correctly.

    option 2) set the ISO to the highest possible --- works but very grainy image.

    option 3) Use a less pixel setting (i.e. not using 10MB use something like 5MB

    option 4) carry 2 cameras about 1 for daylight and the other for nightshots :thinking:

    toughCookie;6663979

    Thanks john.Thanks jahYep, a great camera. Only down side is the … Thanks john.Thanks jahYep, a great camera. Only down side is the nightshot at the moment. If I can only sort that out, it's perfect.So, am I correct in saying that the main problem is lack of light, slow shutter speed, using too high pixels?If this is the case, should I see some improvements if I set one of the following or even a combination:option 1) Set twilight/firework setting (if any) -- didn't see much improvement if I recall correctly.option 2) set the ISO to the highest possible --- works but very grainy image.option 3) Use a less pixel setting (i.e. not using 10MB use something like 5MBoption 4) carry 2 cameras about 1 for daylight and the other for nightshots :thinking:



    1&2) Depends on what you are shooting and when. Sometimes (tripod/very solid surface, still image) you can get away with the longest exposure time the camera will allow (without flash) - it seems to only be 1 second though which isn't that long. Sometimes highest-iso possible will be necessary to allow a quicker photo. Noise on the ISO setting is pretty much exponential so if you find it unacceptable on 3200, it will probably be at least twice as 'good' on 1600 and the same again on 800. Each step down doubles the length of exposure needed for the correct amount of light (at a fixed aperture size) so its a balancing act between the shutter speed and noise level...
    3) Probably won't work - its the underlying fact that each sensing element is so small that causes the problem, using less MP just averages on the smaller sensors so won't really help. Its not something you can do anything about - its simply the physics of design. No doubt in a few years sensors will get more accurate, faster and have less noise for a given size, but what you have is pretty close to the 'state of the art' at the moment...
    4) An option!

    Unfortunately your camera is very much a 'point and shoot' in the sense it doesn't have much in the way of manual modes (where you can independantly set exposure times, aperture size and ISO - and generally take much longer photos (up to ~30 seconds on a lot of cameras). Whilst you can still probably take some very creative night shots as is, having these manual modes lets you be a lot more flexible about how you will take the shot, and know a lot more about what the camera is actually going to do!

    toughCookie;6663979

    Thanks john.Thanks jahYep, a great camera. Only down side is the … Thanks john.Thanks jahYep, a great camera. Only down side is the nightshot at the moment. If I can only sort that out, it's perfect.


    It's pretty much the same with all compact cameras especially a particularly compact one like the T500

    So, am I correct in saying that the main problem is lack of light, slow … So, am I correct in saying that the main problem is lack of light, slow shutter speed, using too high pixels?



    Yep pretty much, most cameras work well when the light is good but in poor light that's where a good camera can really excel over others.

    If this is the case, should I see some improvements if I set one of the … If this is the case, should I see some improvements if I set one of the following or even a combination:option 1) Set twilight/firework setting (if any) -- didn't see much improvement if I recall correctly.


    This really depends on the camera, you need to check what the scene modes actually do - on some cameras the fireworks mode will actually set a slow shutter speed to capture the light trails which is now what you want.

    option 2) set the ISO to the highest possible --- works but very grainy … option 2) set the ISO to the highest possible --- works but very grainy image.


    You'll probably find the results from this quite poor, Sony are very aggressive on their noise reduction - shooting in low light you need to jump right up to ISO 1600/3200 but I would expect you'll find the image breaks down very quickly at ISO 200 and above.

    option 3) Use a less pixel setting (i.e. not using 10MB use something … option 3) Use a less pixel setting (i.e. not using 10MB use something like 5MB


    That's not really going to make much difference in camera, when using the shots afterwards when you resize them down to 1MP/2MP for web viewing they won't look as bad.

    option 4) carry 2 cameras about 1 for daylight and the other for … option 4) carry 2 cameras about 1 for daylight and the other for nightshots :thinking:


    The simple problem is there is no compact camera that's going to be much better for nightshots, some do offer slightly better low light performance but nothing that's going to be the improvement you need. The most compact cameras best at nightshots are the two micro 4/3 cameras, the Panasonic DMC-GF1 and the Olympus E-P1 when using the GF1's kit lens, the 20mm F1.7 (for AF). Both these cameras use the same SLR sensor in the Olympus/Panasonic 4/3 SLR cameras but they're much smaller. However the GF1 and the 20mm F1.7 lens at 700 pounds isn't cheap, the lens is fixed focus (no zoom, no wideangle although the lens can be changed) nor is it that small either, it's noticeably larger than a standard compact camera never mind a smaller one like your Sony.

    There are a couple of compact cameras that do offer slightly better high ISO performance through a fast lens and slightly larger sensor such as the Panasonic LX3 and the new Canon S90. Both of these are pricey options though and probably not worth it for the slight improvement in high ISO although they're both very good cameras.

    John

    Original Poster

    Thanks again jah

    I think I'll have a play around with the setting and that on the camera.

    Here's another night shot, had a tripod, think I had the fireworks setting on for this, the castle is still blurry...
    http://img10.imageshack.us/img10/5023/dsc04618ma.jpg

    btw, can't seem to add rep. Think I've already done it so won't allow me to do it again

    dcx_badass;6664248

    No compact camera is going to do amazing night shots, but if you use a … No compact camera is going to do amazing night shots, but if you use a tripod (i reccomend a gorillapod), turn down the ISO and use the flash.


    Using the tripod will only remove camera shake, it will do nothing to stop the motion in the frame and the weak flash is unlikely to help much.

    John

    dcx_badass;6664248

    No compact camera is going to do amazing night shots, but if you use a … No compact camera is going to do amazing night shots, but if you use a tripod (i reccomend a gorillapod), turn down the ISO and use the flash.



    Think its the one second max exposure time that rules this out though (not surprising given the cameras size, but for good night shots even on an excellent DSLR with fast lens 1 second is pretty quick!)

    The flash will only be 'useful' for when subjects are within around 6 meters of the camera. Beyond that its better off being switched off altogether...

    dcx_badass;6664348

    I kept it simple to try and not confuse them, but you guys just did hat.


    All well and good but you posted incorrect information - a tripod is going to be no help in reducing motion blur and by turning down the iso down and using the flash it actually makes the problem worse particularly with a weak flash.

    John

    Original Poster

    hmmm.... I'm glad I didn't get the T700 then.... that's even smaller. Couldn't really get a grip on that thing. the T500 is slightly bigger and gives a good hold/grip for users.

    Think if I recall correctly, my old camera - Sony DSC-P10, did nightshots pretty well. The only thing I didn't like about it was the size of the LCD screen (it's tiny). Taking picture on that was good. But viewing the photos was bad. By the time you transfer them to the PC you notice some stuff (scenery) missing.


    Narfette;6654569

    the gorillapods are good, i got mine from ]AmazonAlthough i got the SLR … the gorillapods are good, i got mine from ]AmazonAlthough i got the SLR version.. it happily hung from a lampost recently.



    That link doesn't go to amazon. it goes to a company called pandazoo.co.uk. Are they reliable? There's alot of fake jobys around :whistling:

    Original Poster

    thanks everyone. I'll have a play with the settings to see if I can get any better results. I'll also see if I can get a joby too. Cheers for all the advise and help.
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