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02-14-2010, 09:33 PM   #1
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My pictures are crooked, Help please.

Good evening all,
I bought my first DSLR, last march. K200D. I am a total novice, and have not been able to practice a whole bunch. I went on a cruise this Christmas and noticed a small problem. I believe it is me and not the camera. I noticed a lot of my shots are not level. In other words I think the horizontal line for lack of better words is not level. I take a shot of my subject and they are nice and centered but behind is crooked. I do not notice this when I look through the view finder. Now I am blind in my right eye so I look with the left and hold the camera with my right. Could this be an issue?
Thanks for your help.

02-14-2010, 09:54 PM   #2
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Thread moved to the Q&A Beginners' section.

From my experience it is very easy to misjudge the horizon level and take crooked photos, and I think that might be the cause here.

When I upgraded to the k-7 I noted it had a built-in electronic level. While it's not perfect, it shows you in the viewfinder when your photos are more or less perfectly horizontal

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02-14-2010, 10:26 PM   #3
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I use my left eye too; I don't think it matters. My problem is always forgetting to check the viewfinder to see if I'm really holding the camera level. Some photographers tend to tilt the camera slightly when they press the shutter. It's possible but less likely that the sensor or viewfinder is not perfectly level, so what looks level really isn't. I've read about checking this by using a mirror but forgot the exact procedure.
02-14-2010, 11:27 PM   #4
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I'm also a left eye shooter and it really makes no difference. It's a matter of concentrating on getting the shot as level as possible and pressing the shutter button smoothly and gently to not push that side of the camera down as you take the shot. Regardless we all do it no matter how long you've been shooting.

But the good news is, you can easily correct the shots after you get home. If you have Windows Vista, it comes with Microsoft Digital Editor 2006 free. Found here for 60 days

There's a really easy straightening tool there. Just draw a line across the horizon and with one click it will crop and straighten the shot. Seen here:
Name:  Untitled.jpg
Views: 1872
Size:  48.2 KB

02-15-2010, 12:09 AM   #5
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As the others here, I'm also a lefty. It makes no difference, just practice. I've noticed one thing however. It is much easier and better to line up the verticals instead of lining up horisontals. This is because when you shoot a picture from an angle, the horisontals are moving away/towards you meaning that they are tilting and if you tilt your camera accordingly, the picture will become crooked.
Line up verticals instead.
02-15-2010, 05:24 AM   #6
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In post-processing straightening is pretty much the first thing I do, and it is necessary on almost all my photos. Horizontal lines often recede (are at different distances from the camera on the left and the right) and are not a good choice for straightening, as StarDust indicated. The exception is ocean shots where you can confidently use the horizon. For almost all other situations, use a vertical, and preferably one near the center or your shot. In some cases you may wish to use one near your subject if the subject is considerably off-center in the frame. Let each individual image tell you where the reference vertical should be.

But rest assured you're not the only who shoots crooked pictures.

Last edited by Mike Cash; 02-15-2010 at 12:38 PM. Reason: typo
02-15-2010, 06:12 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mike Cash Quote
In post-processing straightening is pretty much the first thing I do, and it is necessary on almost all my phots.
This isn't directed at you personally, but it cracks me up to see people on the one hand stress out about image degradation due to shooting in JPEG, or resaving in JPEG multiple times; and on the other hand so cavalier about doing such a destructive operation on all their photos as a matter of routine.
02-15-2010, 07:04 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mike Cash Quote
In post-processing straightening is pretty much the first thing I do, and it is necessary on almost all my phots.

I never knew this was so common. I get SO frustrated and try so hard to take them straight, but still they end up slightly tilted most of the time.

I figure I must slightly tip the camera as I press the shutter, even when I try hard not to.

02-15-2010, 08:52 AM   #9
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I checked in the thread to see if this was with a K10d...my K10d did that, it had the off axis mirror box problem. Pain in the a$$! (I always suspected, but wasn't entirely sure it wasn't me...until I got a new camera!) Maybe cameras with the 10mp sensor have this problem in general? Never heard of it applied to the K200d before though. Best just to take your time and squeeze don't pull!
02-15-2010, 09:03 AM   #10
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It's a common issue that the K10D, K20D and earlier models all tilt slightly down on the right by about 0.5degrees. So you can put the camera on a tripod and use a leveler but still have a slightly tiltled image. Happens with other brands as well. We've just come to take it as a fact of life.
02-15-2010, 09:06 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mike Cash Quote
In post-processing straightening is pretty much the first thing I do, and it is necessary on almost all my phots. Horizontal lines often recede (are at different distances from the camera on the left and the right) and are not a good choice for straightening, as StarDust indicated. The exception is ocean shots where you can confidently use the horizon. For almost all other situations, use a vertical, and preferably one near the center or your shot. In some cases you may wish to use one near your subject if the subject is considerably off-center in the frame. Let each individual image tell you where the reference vertical should be.

But rest assured you're not the only who shoots crooked pictures.
Ditto

Regardless whether it was with a SLR or DSLR even. I also think it's quite easy to correct afterwards, so I tend to live with it
02-15-2010, 10:09 AM   #12
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I'm a lefty too but I never had the problem.
I always cradle the camera underneath with my left hand giving more support and the less likelihood of tilting to the right if ever the shutter button was pressed too hard or in excitement.
02-15-2010, 10:49 AM   #13
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I find that if I just put the camera up and shoot without thinking about level, about 60-70% of my pictures need some degree of straightening. If I concentrate really hard on keeping the camera level when taking the sots, about 60-70% of them need some degree of straightening. They are closer to level, but just about as many of them need some work so I quit thinking about it and just accept it as a routine step in PP.
02-15-2010, 11:21 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sitting Bull Quote
Good evening all,
I bought my first DSLR, last march. K200D. I am a total novice, and have not been able to practice a whole bunch. I went on a cruise this Christmas and noticed a small problem. I believe it is me and not the camera. I noticed a lot of my shots are not level. In other words I think the horizontal line for lack of better words is not level. I take a shot of my subject and they are nice and centered but behind is crooked. I do not notice this when I look through the view finder. Now I am blind in my right eye so I look with the left and hold the camera with my right. Could this be an issue?
Thanks for your help.
I have this sometimes too. It's hard to get the horizon level when it's at an angle. Just try to pay more attention in your composition and use software to correct when necessary. Picasa has freeware that straightens and has a lot of other interesting processing capabilities. Picasa 3: Free download from Google
02-15-2010, 12:37 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by mattdm Quote
This isn't directed at you personally, but it cracks me up to see people on the one hand stress out about image degradation due to shooting in JPEG, or resaving in JPEG multiple times; and on the other hand so cavalier about doing such a destructive operation on all their photos as a matter of routine.
I'm not entirely sure I'm grokking you correctly. Are you saying that straightening a crooked photo is destructive? I'd rather dent a few electrons than have noticeably and distractingly crooked photos. And I almost always shoot in RAW, by the way.
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