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08-29-2009, 03:12 PM   #1
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My kids are always blurry ... loosing presious memories :(

Hi everyone, upgraded my Olympus Evolt-500 for the K20D and so far I am frustrated because it is a whole new world and quite the learning curve. I bought the 18-250 Tamron lens ( yes I know cheap but it is all I could afford) with it and I cant seem to get any in focus shots of my kids yet I can take some great shots of anything NOT in motion .... I am pretty sure I am the cause .. or could it be an issue with the lens?? If I play with the shutter speed my images come out black or still blurry .. any suggestions? I am a novice in case you have not already guessed

So looking forward to exploring this amazing camera and not being limited by my ignorance!!

Here is an example of a picture in focus of my son (F6.3, 1/180, focal length 220 on P setting) and then 2 of my son's that are out of focus (which is 90% of the time) 1st one is F5.6, 1/125, focal length 55 on p setting and was sharpened .. can't find original) and the 2nd one is F6.2, 1/6, focal length 180 on green setting).

Seems like I was able to get decent shots out of the box and now that I have been playing with the settings it has become all wonky..

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

The newbie

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08-29-2009, 03:19 PM   #2
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looks like motion blur. Are u using the flash for any of thease
08-29-2009, 03:24 PM   #3
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Motion blur is all about the shutter speed - how long you allow the sensor to capture light.

The third photo especially is quite a long exposure at 1/6. In 1/6 not only with the motion of objects be an issue, but also the shaking of the camera in your hands at any focal length. I would try, say, 1/250 or faster for that shot. This will require you to compensate with an increase in aperture or ISO, so that you get the correct exposure. P is one setting should help you do this, but automatic settings are no substitute for learning about how to obtain a correct exposure in the way you want.
08-29-2009, 03:25 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steffi_YUL Quote

Here is an example of a picture in focus of my son (F6.3, 1/180, focal length 220 on P setting) and then 2 of my son's that are out of focus (which is 90% of the time) 1st one is F5.6, 1/125, focal length 55 on p setting and was sharpened .. can't find original) and the 2nd one is F6.2, 1/6, focal length 180 on green setting).

The newbie
Well the numbers tell the truth.

FL 220 @ 1/180 AND moving kids: you're pushing it (and even that one isn't tack sharp in my eyes but it is a small picture so I might be wrong).
FL 55 @ 1/125 should be ok but I'd try a slightly higher shutter speed if the child is moving a lot.
FL 180 @ 1/6?? And you wonder why you don't get a sharp photo?

Try AT LEAST FL x 1.5 as a minimum, preferably higher especially when the child is moving. If you have to pan the camera to follow the child, SR is not going to be effective.

08-29-2009, 03:29 PM   #5
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I guess there are a couple of things I would suggest. First of all, you need to have a fast enough shutter speed to freeze action, otherwise you'll have motion blur. There are two ways of doing that -- one is to open up your aperture a little wider (say instead of using f5.6, using f4) or, to push the iso up. On the K20, you can pretty comfortably use iso 1600 if necessary, so don't be afraid to push it up.

The other thing, would be to invest in an external flash. Flashes add light to situations and also freeze action. I think the Pentax AF 360 would work great, although there are probably lots of other good flashes out there as well.

One other comment is that I think your white balance isn't quite right. The top photo looks a little warm to me, while the middle one looks a little cold. Anyway, tastes differ on that, so take it for what it's worth and keep shooting.
08-29-2009, 03:39 PM   #6
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Your blurred pictures seem like they are caused by motion blur more than out of focus. As a rule, with 35 mm. cameras, your shutter speed shouldn't go below 1/focal length. With digital cameras having APS-C sensor (like your camera), you should multiply that speed by 1.5. In two out of the three picture you are showing, you broke that rule, and on one picture, by a very wide margin (1/6th of a sec.). One thing that would help is to switch SR on, if it is not already done.

Also, I would get out of "green" mode. In "green" mode, the camera controls everything, but knows nothing, i.e. it has no idea what the subject is and shutter speed needed to freeze the motion, or depth of field required. It just cares about a proper exposure.

I think you should visit a good bookstore and invest in a decent book about exposure, like "Understanding Exposure" by (I think) Brian Peterson. It would really help you in your quest about getting good pictures of your kids.

Don't give up. Practice makes perfect.
08-29-2009, 04:13 PM   #7
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#3 is definitely motion blur, big time - 1/6" is *way* too slow. Like 20 times too slow - even with SR, I'd be shooting for 1/120" at a *minimum* at that focal length. Looks like light must have been pretty low, or you'd have gotten a much faster shutter speed even at f/6.2. So you'll need to raise ISO to get the shutter speed up. But overall, you're probably limited by your lens - you need one with a larger maximum aperture if you want faster shutter speeds. Needn't be a lot of money - the FA50 goes for around $250, and if you can deal with manul focus, there are a ton of good options under $100.

The second might be a little motion blur, but mostly, I think the camera failed to read your mind and decided to focus on the hands instead of the face. If you want to be more in control of where the camera focuses, you need to use one of the moses where you select the focus point - but even then, realize it's not pin-point control. All you can do is tell the camera to focus "somewhere near" the selected point. Realistically, in a shot like #2, I'd be focusing manually to be sure.
08-29-2009, 04:14 PM   #8
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Good information here. However, #2 seems to be focused on the hands. Whether that's user error or the camera at fault is hard to tell.

08-29-2009, 04:47 PM   #9
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Thank you!!

Hello everyone,

Thank you all so much for all the advice!! And so quickly!!!

I was about ready to put my camera and lens up for sale on Ebay and retire!

I used the green position most of the time because I figured hey the camera will know best if I am trying to capture a spontaneous shot .. I am realizing that camera's of this caliber need's someone that somewhat knows what they are doing. Also I have not been using the flash (to answer your question captmacq) because I really dislike how clammy it makes the subjects look but I will be looking at an external flash like Rondec suggested. Thank you Marc for the lens suggestions .. did not know that lens were that affordable. Flyer .. I will be picking up that book at Chapters as soon as I can get there! Cloggie you mentionned SR .. should I simply turn it off when capturing children?

The last 2 days have been spent reading books and taking an e-course about photography but alas I still can't seem to get the shots I want ... If I play with shutter speed my pictures are all black even when I increase the iso .. then when I play with the aperture and shutter speed I get motion blur or dark pics .. I will have to keep at it I guess.

Here are a few I took that I think are in focus and look decent .. I hope ...

I truly have the desire to learn but perhaps I just don;t have the "gift" all of you have .. you can only learn so much the rest is almost embedded in your DNA.
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Last edited by Steffi_YUL; 08-29-2009 at 05:05 PM. Reason: forgot to mention something
08-29-2009, 05:09 PM   #10
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One can't just "play with" the shutter speed and expect to get a properly exposed photo.

Imagine a see-saw. The middle point represents the level of light required for a proper exposure. The kids sitting on the see-saw represent shutter speed and aperture. As one goes up the other must come down. (Works in either direction, but the principle is always the same). The same is true for shutter speed and ISO. The same is also true for aperture and ISO. They each have that see-saw relationship with each other.

If you make an adjustment to one end of the see-saw and no corresponding opposite direction adjustment to the other end of the see-saw.....what happens? The center point is going to get jerked around. Since that center point represents the light for a proper exposure, jerking it around means you're now either going to have overexposed or underexposed images.

One of the most basic and crucial principles of photography for anyone to understand is this see-saw relationship between the factors we can control regarding exposure: 1. shutter speed 2. aperture 3. sensitivity (ISO). Once that is learned, the rest comes pretty easy. Until that is learned, taking pictures is largely an exercise in frustration.
08-29-2009, 05:33 PM   #11
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No not necessarily. All I am saying is that SR is not that (if at all) effective for anything else but shake. SR can't compensate for movement due to panning. If you use the rule for shutter speed of at least FL x 1.5 you shouldn't theoretically need SR.
08-29-2009, 05:34 PM   #12
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Thank you Mike,

I will keep your analogy in mind and work on balancing the 3 factors :shutter speed, aperture and sensitivity.

I truly apreciate the patience all of you have with the newbies!!

I wish there were photography groups where I live were one can explore with others hands on and help eachother .. perhaps when and if I get good enough I will start one.

Thanks again!
08-29-2009, 05:57 PM   #13
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Being a newbe myself I understand your frustration. I have learned through this great group of people that you take a lot of bad pictures before you get a good one. keep at it. Some day I will have the courage you had and post some pictures. In the mean time, don't be afraid to ask.
08-29-2009, 06:02 PM   #14
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Keep at it!

I just got my k20d this summer and there is a steep learning curve. I took over 600 shots on my last vacation and there are probably ten that are pretty good and one that I'd post on this forum. I also tried taking pictures of a two-year-olds birthday party and out of 50 plus pictures there are probably two that are fairly decent.
I also recommend the book Understanding Exposure by Peterson but would also add The Digital Photography Book by Scott Kelby. His style is much lighter than most which can be annoying at times, but I've benefited from reading his book.
Also, those who post on this site usually postprocess (pp) using Photoshop, GIMP, etc. What you see isn't the raw footage, it's the finished product.
What I wish I'd known...
Changing the ASA and the shutter speed and the fstop because the last shot didn't work is like changing three things in a recipe at once. You'll never know which one made the difference. Pick one thing to change and change it for a reason. Take a picture. If the subject is blurred, you might want to increase your shutter speed. Take another picture. If your subject isn't blurry anymore but your picture is dark, change your fstop to the next smallest number. Take another picture, etc.
I've been on this forum all summer but still haven't had the guts to post a picture I've taken, you're way ahead of me. Good luck!
08-29-2009, 06:04 PM   #15
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We newbies should be posting pics so that the pro's can guide us in the right direction

It is not at all courageous to have posted some pics .. I just want better myself and learn.

I thrive on constructive criticism

Cloggie .. thanks for the clarification! I was just about ready to keep SR on off and see how that would have worked for me.

Last edited by Steffi_YUL; 08-29-2009 at 06:09 PM.

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