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01-02-2012, 09:39 AM   #1
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Help reducing blur for a newbie?

Hi
I am new to DSLRs having used compacts for years.
My last SLR was a 35mm some 20-odd years ago!

I seem to be having problems with the subject not being in focus correctly - I am using auto focus and I do get the little red square indicating focus in the right area, but sometimes (30%?) the image is not super sharp.
I think this is more focus that camera shake.

However I have anothe problem with using the built in flash ( I am using a K-r) in that the camera still seems to use a long exposure so even with a flash, if the subject is moving, even a little, I get some quite pronouced motion blur.

I tend to use the auto settings so I guess I am going to need to do something else, so any advice appreciated!

many thanks!

01-02-2012, 09:50 AM   #2
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Lots of factors here, although using the flash should minimize any out of focus photos. Perhaps a review of your manual and the various scene modes (if you are using them) will be helpful. I would also suggest a good book on exposure and all the parts that go into that subject, such as "Understanding Exposure" by Brian Peterson, or another such book. Are any parts of your photo in perfect focus? If so, then perhaps your depth of field is too shallow owing to a large aperture (the size of the opening in the lens). Slow shutter speeds also contribute to blurry pictures, although if your flash overcomes ambient light, those pictures should not suffer.
01-02-2012, 10:15 AM   #3
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The AF red square shows WHERE the camera is trying to focus, not THAT focus has been achieved. The green hex is the focus confirmation signal.

Check your manual and camera about flash, see if you have slow-sync or trailing-curtain-sync enabled. If shooting in Av or P mode, the shutter speed may go slower than the standard 1/180 second. Any of these can cause blur. What exposure mode are you in: Green, Av, P, X, what?
01-02-2012, 10:15 AM   #4
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Hi John thanks for your post.

I think the problem with the flash is that the camera still uses a longish exposure, like it is using it as a fill-in flash.
I have been using the auto-pict mode to try to keep things simple, but I guess I need to experiment, practice and do more reading!

Cheers

01-02-2012, 10:17 AM   #5
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I do get the beep and green hex to indicate that it has managed to focus, I am mostly in the AUTO PICT mode, so I am thinking I need to try other settings. Just noticed that with flash on and auto pict mode, the exposure was 1/20, which explains the blurred motion?
01-02-2012, 10:24 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by davea66 Quote
Just noticed that with flash on and auto pict mode, the exposure was 1/20, which explains the blurred motion?
That will do it. Try X mode.
01-02-2012, 10:27 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by davea66 Quote
I do get the beep and green hex to indicate that it has managed to focus, I am mostly in the AUTO PICT mode, so I am thinking I need to try other settings. Just noticed that with flash on and auto pict mode, the exposure was 1/20, which explains the blurred motion?
It might but it depends on the subject and other things.
A photo is worth a thousands words so show us the photo.
01-02-2012, 10:39 AM   #8
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Here is atypical example of the flash prob

IMGP0622 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

01-02-2012, 10:45 AM   #9
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You might should try center focus to see if that helps.In auto pict using the built in flash your camera should go to 1/180,at least my KX does.Always try to use a speed at least the same or faster than the lens you are using. (50mm= 1/50) when hand held.Do you have SR turned on?
Just seen the picture,looks like the shutter speed was way too slow.
Jake

Last edited by bjake; 01-02-2012 at 10:48 AM. Reason: addition
01-02-2012, 10:49 AM   #10
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Hmmm, in auto pict, the speed is variable down to 1/8 depending on ambient light, like it doesnt know it is a flash shot
01-02-2012, 11:41 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by davea66 Quote
Here is atypical example of the flash prob

IMGP0622 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
As you already indicated, get out of autopict mode; the camera just judges the scene wrong, and therefor will set the parameters wrong. And as a result you have blur due to subject movement.

Don't be afraid of Av or M mode; it makes life a lot easier than autopict. With flash, set a fixed ISO (e.g. 400) and determine aperture based on subject distance. In Av the camera will decide on shutter speed partially based on focal length and possibly based on environmental light, so it might still choose a slow speed; to be safe, M mode might be better where you can choose the shutter speed that you want (1/180s or slower)

A similar problem was described in https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-dslr-discussion/170163-k-x-flash-s...-question.html
01-02-2012, 11:47 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by davea66 Quote
Here is atypical example of the flash prob

IMGP0622 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
Thats clearly motion blur by the subject.
I find the settings use very strange.
f/7.1
1/8 seconds
ISO1250
21mm

What kind of setting was it on?
Auto right but which mode?


Anyway sooner or later you want to learn how to set the exposure yourself, DSLR just isn't designed to be used like that.

ps the problem isn't your focus.
01-02-2012, 01:32 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by davea66 Quote
I am mostly in the AUTO PICT mode, so I am thinking I need to try other settings.
I believe the auto mode is an obstacle to learning how to take good photographs. It is fine with a point & shoot camera because you do not expect great image quality anyway and are just taking snapshots. But if you want to improve your pictures you need to move away from the auto mode. The camera will select what it thinks is best which may or may not be correct and because it was on auto you will never learn what went wrong.

Put the camera on Av mode to start and learn how that works.

I would also suggest you get and read a basic book on how exposure works. Try "Understanding Exposure" by Brian Peterson. A dslr is not a point & shoot, you do need to learn how to drive.
01-02-2012, 02:41 PM   #14
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Tv mode is i believe better in this case though because you want to controll the shutterspeed rather than the aperture to freeze the movement or am i wrong?

Speed of around 1/60 or faster would do the trick most of the times.
I'm not sure how the camera compensate for the flash when using Tv or Av so can't say for the rest what you must do.
Using fixed ISO is a good idea with flash, ISO400 often would do the trick, if you notice the camera/flash is sturgling then up it to ISO800, higher then that often isn't needed.
01-03-2012, 05:58 AM   #15
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Thanks for all the good advice, I shall keep off the AUTO PICT mode and use the other modes available.
I am still trying to get my head around the various modes available and Tv Av Sv are straightforward enough.
I am not sure about the P mode though and cannot find the M or X options mentioed above?
My camera is a K-r so will get the manual out again tonight!
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