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digi-dullard needs advice - Adobe Photoshop Elements

Okay, everyone, I am just about ready to scream at my ineptitude with this canon s400. I simply cannot get things in focus with it. Take a look at this: <http://members.aol.com/bkbrun/butterfly.jpg> The body and lower wing are fine, but the back part of the butterfly is wretchedly soft. It's not camera shake, wrong aperture (I don't think), so what am I doing wrong? Thanks for any advice. Barbara...

  1. #1

    Default digi-dullard needs advice

    Okay, everyone, I am just about ready to scream at my ineptitude with this canon s400. I simply cannot get things in focus with it. Take a look at this:

    <http://members.aol.com/bkbrun/butterfly.jpg>

    The body and lower wing are fine, but the back part of the butterfly is wretchedly soft. It's not camera shake, wrong aperture (I don't think), so what am I doing wrong?

    Thanks for any advice.

    Barbara
    Barbara_Brundage@adobeforums.com Guest

  2. #2

    Default Re: digi-dullard needs advice

    Barbara,

    My eyes are not up to the task... it just looks as if the larger wing
    portions have softer-edged patterns, to me.

    Looking at the outer edge of the wings, overall, I don't see a difference,
    and can see detail right down to the little flap of wing that's hanging off
    at the back.

    Sorry,

    Byron


    Byron_Gale@adobeforums.com Guest

  3. #3

    Default Re: digi-dullard needs advice



    it just looks as if the larger wing portions have softer-edged patterns,
    to me.





    Thanks, Bryon. That's exactly it-they are just the same as the smaller wings, so why don't they look like it in the photo? I've got tons of almost okay photos where something like this is going on.

    I don't think it's a hardware problem because it doesn't happen in the same spot every time.
    Barbara_Brundage@adobeforums.com Guest

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  6. #6

    Default Re: digi-dullard needs advice

    Barbara,

    It looks like you are in Macro mode. Did you try turning AiAF off? Then
    you can focus exactly in the center of the butterfly. That may provide a
    better focus for the lower wing. Also, you may need to back off a little
    and possibly enlarge via cropping later. If you look at the leaves, even
    the nearby ones a slightly out of focus. That seems to indicate that the
    focus was set around the head area.

    Juergen


    Juergen_D@adobeforums.com Guest

  7. #7

    Default Re: digi-dullard needs advice

    Thanks, Juergen. Actually that's just a detail of a larger photo with many active, totally out of focus butterflies in it. That's the only one that was resting.

    I have tried all the different auto focus modes (although not on that particular shot--had to take what I had, pretty much) and I can take miserable photos in any of them.
    Barbara_Brundage@adobeforums.com Guest

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  10. #10

    Default Re: digi-dullard needs advice



    Barbara,
     

    This one is not miserable at all. I think it actually, even if unintended
    to this degree, show wonderful depth perception. You can fix it with
    Elements, though. :)
    I gave it a shot: http://home.carolina.rr.com/jdirrigl/butterfly1.jpg

    Juergen



    Juergen_D@adobeforums.com Guest

  11. #11

    Default Re: digi-dullard needs advice

    Thanks for the kind words, Juergen. No this one is not so bad, but I have folders full of stuff that I won't get a second chance at--like closeups of sandhill cranes--that are so close, but no cigar.
    Barbara_Brundage@adobeforums.com Guest

  12. #12

    Default Re: digi-dullard needs advice

    Barbara, fwiw, I also have a Canon s400 and thought I was getting great shots until I tried to take some close-ups of flowers while in Houston last week. I got the same miserable results that you speak of.

    I'm a miserable photographer so I thought it was just me, but after reading about your experience, I'm thinking it's something I might be able to adjust on the camera.

    Keep us posted,

    Margaret
    margaret_brock@adobeforums.com Guest

  13. #13

    Default Re: digi-dullard needs advice

    Hi, Margaret. I'll let you know. For a long time I figured it was just that I'm used to a huge old SLR, but the longer I use this camera the more I'm beginning to wonder.

    On the other hand, steve's and dpreview show some pretty darn good shots made with it, so maybe it is just me. ;)
    Barbara_Brundage@adobeforums.com Guest

  14. #14

    Default Re: digi-dullard needs advice

    From what I've read on DPreview, the s400 is not as easy to use as some others for macro shots - mainly because of the aperture choice. At f2.8 you will have a pretty narrow depth of field - and focussing on exactly the right spot is crucial - you wouldn't be able to get anymore than the butterfly head in focus - the wings are bound to be out. Even with the G3, (which has full aperture priority) while it can take good macro shots - you should see the number of duff ones I have to discard for each good one. Which is the beauty of digital cameras. (and explains why I have over 2000 on the shot counter of my camera!)

    The AF system seems to take a lot of getting used to on these digitals - it is very different from SLRs. (mind you my SLR has no autofocus at all!) I'm not sure what options you have on the s400, but with the G3 switching the default continuous focus to single makes a huge difference - in continuous focus the camera seems to have a nasty habit of wandering off focus between half pressing the button down to lock focus and exposure and finally taking the picture.

    My first week with a G3 I took a lot of out of focus pictures, (both macro and otherwise), but now I've got used to it with normal distance images i'm generally getting a very high success rate. With macro I'm still getting one in ten, and you really can't see until you get the images at 100 per cent whether they have worked or not.

    susan S.
    Susan_S.@adobeforums.com Guest

  15. #15

    Default Re: digi-dullard needs advice

    Thanks very much, Susan. I, too, never can tell till I get home how I did, and my old nikkormat dates from pre-auto anything.

    I recently was talking to a photog for a local newspaper and he just couldn't leave the s400 alone--he was so fascinated by the way the aperture was on the move the whole time the camera was on--he kept passing his hand around it to watch it shift and shift.
    Barbara_Brundage@adobeforums.com Guest

  16. #16

    Default Re: digi-dullard needs advice

    Barbara, if the aperture really was f2.8 you cannot expect a large depth of field; probably this is the problem. In macro the lens should be stopped down as much as possible, This f2.8 is full aperture with this camera and it can be stopped down to 4,9 which will give you an extended depth of field. Unfortunately this camera has no aperture priority setting as it was not designed for "serious photographers" but for people who want good quality snapshots. That's why this camera chooses a fast shutterspeed to prevent camera shake.

    However, I cannot explain why, when shooting a bridge, everything in foreground and background are in focus and the bridge itself out of focus; theoretically this should be impossible.

    Leen
    Leen_Koper@adobeforums.com Guest

  17. #17

    Default Re: digi-dullard needs advice

    Barbara,

    Susan and Leen have already stolen my thunder and told you the things I would. Kind of the problem with point and shoot cameras that make decisions for you. To get a deep depth of field you would normally opt to mount the camera on a tripod and stop down to a smaller aperture with a longer shutter speed. That is how our hero Ansel Adams gets those amazingly deeply foucussed images. His group was even called the f64 group because that was the smallest aperture that view cameras would stop down to.

    On the other hand, a shallow dof with macro shots tends to isolate the subject against a blurry background and can be very striking.

    Rich
    Richard_Coencas@adobeforums.com Guest

  18. #18

    Default Re: digi-dullard needs advice

    Barbara,

    At f/3.0, you're dept of field is pretty narrow... I don't know the distance at wich you were from
    the butterfly, but at 14 inches, you'd have had less than 1/2 inch of DOF.

    To illustrate this effect, I've set up a small galleries of 3 pictures, showing the DOF. I was at
    14 inches (more or less 1 inch), with a 28-105 zoom lense, set at 105mm length. As you can see,
    even at f/4.5, I had less than 3/4 of an inch of DOF (1/3 front, 2/3 back). The unit of this
    measuring tape are centimeters left, inches right.

    Also, no camera can focus sharply, no matter how expensive it is. Canon is admitting a margin of
    error (as all other manufacturers) for all their cameras. The most precise of their camera (and
    it's not even reaching 100% sharp) is their 1D. It's an 11 Mp and it cost 75% a car... But, with
    this 1/3 front and 2/3 back DOF, almost all cameras escape the "troubled waters" easily. They show
    their flaw, though, in Macro mode, because DOF is almost inexistant.

    In your precise case, next time, set the camera to Av and take a smaller apperture number (f/5.6 and
    up). You'll get a greater DOF.

    http://www.pbase.com/carbone/aperture_testing

    Ray


    Ray Guest

  19. #19

    Default Re: digi-dullard needs advice

    Leen and Richard... you expressed in word what I just posted in pictures ;-)

    Ray


    Ray Guest

  20. #20

    Default Re: digi-dullard needs advice

    Thanks, guys.

    cameras that make decisions for you




    Yes, that's the problem. The aperture wasn't 2.8 because I wanted it to be, but because I had no choice. Although this camera must have 50 little menus in it, my only aperture control is macro/normal/inifinity mode.

    I pretty much know what to do when I can do it by the numbers-it's this "let us do it for you" part that is giving me grief. However, I see a lot of darn good pictures taken with cameras similar to this one, so I know it can be done--I just don't know how.
    Barbara_Brundage@adobeforums.com Guest

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