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05-17-2010, 10:30 PM   #1
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Movement shooting help

So I decided to go to my friend's apartment to compare my Pentax K-x with his Canon XSi.

We were shooting in lighting similar to this photo (I don't know if this really helps; also credits to photographer, Thank you).


Our setup:
ISO 1600
both had kit lens (18-55), shot ~49mm
handheld
shutter speed 1/13 (low, i know...)
manual focusing other friends talking while they are seated.
natural color scheme for both
no flash for both
for my pentax under the "C" settings, i barely changed anything except ISO expansion.
center-weighted metering

Outcome:
He practically killed my camera, which frustrated me the whole night.

Shooting at the approximately the same time in the same area, his shots came out clear (most of the time) while our other friends were talking; for mine, their faces were blurry (most of the time) from the movement.

When I happened to get pictures that looked like the came out pretty well, I decided to compare them with his by magnifying the picture on both cameras. This made me even more disappointed as I was able to see the details around the eyes on his cameras while mine frankly looked like ****. I thought the K-x was notorious for its low light, even at 1600...

I experimented by putting both on a counter top (turning SR off) shooting the same scene, same settings. The same results happened except I was able to get a couple more "better" shots.

Lastly, I "cheated" by leaving it on the counter WITH AF on AND I changed the shutter to 1/25. Same results.
Also forgot to mention that the lighting after the photos were previewed were looking great; No under/overexposure.

The "problem" could lie within the lens since it's the kit one, but is his that much different than mine?
And like I said earlier... Yes, the shutter speed is slow, but how is his camera still able freeze a moment better than mine?

I also know that my camera isn't defected because I could shoot inanimate objects that come out very sharp, even when i want to magnify the details on-camera.

Could someone offer me some suggestions as to what I should do? Maybe even suggest a better lens that's good for this type of shooting (e.g parties, family reunions).

I seriously apologize for not having the pictures to show my problem. I was just so frustrated and disgusted at the blurry pictures that I ended up deleting them (bad idea, i know).

If I can, I'll try to do the same thing whenever I can visit him again.

Anyways, this is finally the end to my long post!
Thanks for sticking to it till the end!

05-17-2010, 10:46 PM   #2
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The obviously explanation would be that Canon's in-lens IS is that much better than Pentax's in-camera SR, or that your friend just has really really steady hands, but I'm quite confident that's not the case. Perhaps you simply were not able to properly judge the focus manually? In low-light conditions and without a split-screen, it's far from being a cakewalk...

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05-17-2010, 11:11 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by uhhchriswho Quote
Shooting at the approximately the same time in the same area, his shots came out clear (most of the time) while our other friends were talking; for mine, their faces were blurry (most of the time) from the movement.
I don't know how to reply to you yet, just would like a clarification: what do you mean by "blurry from the movement"? Do you mean the movement of your hands (camera shake), or the movement of the people being photographed?

If it was the latter, the "blurry" problem has nothing to do with IS or SR.
05-17-2010, 11:54 PM   #4
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My guess is that it would be hard for anyone to get crisp pictures in the lighting you describe --

-The kit lens is pretty slow at the long end, you're only getting f5.6 out of it when you probably need f1.4-2, a full 3-4 stops faster.

-1/13s is both too slow for a focal length of 50mm (more like 1/90s to minimize camera shake effects, maybe less with the SR) as well as to freeze movement of people interacting with each other.

-Manual focusing an f5.6 lens in dim light is a nightmare, I have a hard time with f1.4-f2 lenses!

If you're getting blurry pics with the camera on a counter, my bet is either a focus issue or subject movement. Available light candids really require a fast lens, like a 50/1.4 or 1.7, or 35/2.

05-18-2010, 12:39 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by SOldBear Quote
I don't know how to reply to you yet, just would like a clarification: what do you mean by "blurry from the movement"? Do you mean the movement of your hands (camera shake), or the movement of the people being photographed?

If it was the latter, the "blurry" problem has nothing to do with IS or SR.
yeah, it was blurry from the people being photographed.
05-18-2010, 12:59 AM   #6
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-Don't forget than with the canon xsi, my friend was still able to get clear images while the other people were interacting with this shutter speed (1/13).
Mine, on the other hand, didn't.

That's is the ONLY thing that's really confusing me.

Maybe I can just say that he was very lucky or so pro that he knew the right moment (constantly) to take the shot, therefore he would have no blur?

thanks for all your contributions so far

I totally forgot to mention one more thing.
On our last comparison, we tried using everything on AUTO.
I don't remember the exact shutter speeds, but it ended up being higher than we set it manually Anyways, I don't remember exactly but his SS ended up being slower than mine and he was still able to capture "the moment."
05-18-2010, 01:13 AM   #7
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Next time, you (only you) shoot both cameras at the same settings of the same scene and you may find out what causes the differences .
05-18-2010, 03:43 AM   #8
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yeah... basically shooting on a countertop next to each other with the closest settings possible is what i thought would be me practically "shoot[ing] both cameras"

guess not.

05-18-2010, 04:51 AM   #9
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Shooting in low light is difficult for a number of reasons. First of all, it is really easy to have camera shake at slow shutter speeds, whereby you add blur. You may be a little shakier than your friend, I doubt that that is all of the issue. The second thing is that you tend to get subject motion when you are shooting at such slow shutter speeds. To freeze motion, you need faster shutter speeds than 1/13 second.

It sounds to me like you should get a little higher quality lens (an older manual focus 50 would be fine). It will tend to be sharper wide open than the kit lens and will also have a wider maximum aperture. My feeling is that you are primarily seeing differences between Pentax's kit lens (your copy) and Canon's kit lens.
05-18-2010, 05:37 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by uhhchriswho Quote
Maybe I can just say that he was very lucky or so pro that he knew the right moment (constantly) to take the shot, therefore he would have no blur?



That's probably it....Knowing WHEN to take the shot (as well when NOT to take the shot) is a big part of photography.
05-18-2010, 06:24 AM   #11
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Too many variables in the test and explanation:

1) Maybe he's just got a steadier hand. To control, switch cameras.

2) Based on #1 above, no cheating with the other guy's camera!

3) For a baseline, try with the AF on. That will show the strength/weakness of each kit lens. Both are optically very good.

4) Matrix metering may be an issue. Centre-weighted is highly variable compared to the algorithms used by both Pentax and Canon.

5) I fail to see how such low SS shots for both cameras aren't blurred. Both should be shooting at the minimum handheld SS using SR/IS which is universally held to be about 1/60. Alter ISO and aperture to get there. (need a Nikon to show how it should be done as a preset)

6) Sounds like a drinking contest...with cameras! Maybe there's another variable you're not telling us?
05-18-2010, 06:51 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote

6) Sounds like a drinking contest...with cameras! Maybe there's another variable you're not telling us?
This is the variable which kills me every time when I shoot after 7PM, and all day on weekends.
05-18-2010, 07:55 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
Too many variables in the test and explanation:

1) Maybe he's just got a steadier hand. To control, switch cameras.

2) Based on #1 above, no cheating with the other guy's camera!

3) For a baseline, try with the AF on. That will show the strength/weakness of each kit lens. Both are optically very good.

4) Matrix metering may be an issue. Centre-weighted is highly variable compared to the algorithms used by both Pentax and Canon.

5) I fail to see how such low SS shots for both cameras aren't blurred. Both should be shooting at the minimum handheld SS using SR/IS which is universally held to be about 1/60. Alter ISO and aperture to get there. (need a Nikon to show how it should be done as a preset)

6) Sounds like a drinking contest...with cameras! Maybe there's another variable you're not telling us?
why would i need to cheat with his camera if his pictures already come out clear most of the time in the same conditions?

yeah, in one of my other post, we ended up doing both AF with AUTO mode. him > me.

don't you mean to say the solution or...? they were on center-weight. haha, i'm a little confused.

don't you mean you fail to see the canon's shots blurred because all of mine have been that way haha

dude, i seriously wished that was the case but unfortunately, it's not. =p
05-18-2010, 08:15 AM   #14
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Perhaps the other guy, knowingly or unknowingly, used a higher shutter speed. There is nothing magical about a Canon to freeze a moving subject at slow shutter speeds.
05-18-2010, 08:55 AM   #15
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Do what a couple of other people have suggested. Trade cameras for the night and repeat the experiment...
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