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Rubbish pictures, should I carry on, or give up?

Discussion in 'Help Team' started by Louise, Oct 19, 2012.

  1. Louise

    Louise Well-Known Member

    I'm really fed up at the mo, I could cry

    I have a Pentax X-90 bridge camera and I took it with me to a carnival which we usually have. I had it on TV but the shutter release still wasn't fast enough and most of my pictures are blurred (no hope of it coping with a concert then).

    I thought I was good at photography but I was obviously wrong and fooling myself. I am really depressed and should give it up, who am I kidding thinking I was good.

    I want the Pentax KR which is a lot better but it's a bit expensive. I am attracted to it because it has stabilisation in the body.

    My friend had an Canon SLR and his shots were a lot better. Can anyone advise me whether It was me or the lens? Thanks.
  2. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    Three things spring to mind. Firstly, it should be fun, and at the very least it shouldn't make you cry. Secondly, (and I know nothing about bridge cameras because I've never owned one) but if you have it on TV doesn't that mean you set the shutter speed and you let the camera choose the aperture? Would it perhaps be better to set it to aperture priority so you choose the aperture and the camera then works out the shutter speed? And thirdly, don't give up.

    Whether a person is "good" at photography or not is up to others to decide. I'm never going to be as good as I want to be, but the point is to keep trying. And don't go buying a bigger/better camera as the means to improvement. You can take shockingly bad pictures with the very best camera and then you've just wasted your money. Learn to get the best out of the camera you have.
  3. Louise

    Louise Well-Known Member

    Sorry i am (was) a bit depressed. I have had issues with this camera before. perhaps I should have had it on AV. A lot of the pictures looked washed out. Perhaps I am doing something wrong. My friends images on her slr looked a lot better.
  4. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    Next time you are out with your friend, ask what settings she is using. That might have a lot more to do with it than the actual camera. And in the mean time, do some experiments with your own camera - you're not losing anything by spending some time taking fifty shots of the same thing as you change just one setting at a time to see what difference it makes!
  5. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    nope, Tv was right but the shutter open time was not short enough = blurred moving subjects. You need 1/60 for folks posing "still" 1/125 for folks moving slowly toward and 1/250 for folk passing across the frame. All these in good light. In poor light and with flash then the flash will freeze movement so long as the camera is underexposing for tge background.

    If you can tell your pics are rubbish then this is a photographic phase. It follows, and is better than,
    not knowing your shots are rubbish. Now you are aware ( i.e. can tell what is wrong) you quickly can improve. Stick with it.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2012
  6. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    If you know what shutter speed you want then yes, TV is probably the right way to go. Personally, when things are moving all around me and I'm in a busy environment, I prefer to choose the aperture that isolates my subject the best, and if necessary bump up the ISO to get the shutter speed I want. Assuming I'm not choosing everything individually for each shot and using manual. This is perhaps one of these cases of personal preference but I still say a bit of experimentation when the outcome doesn't matter is a good way to learn your way around your camera.
  7. AlexMonro

    AlexMonro Old Grand Part Deux

    Louise, most of us here have had times when we've felt that our pictures weren't good enough for it to be worth carrying on with photography. I'm going through a bit of one at the moment. But when it's happenend in the past, I've got through it by just carrying on taking pictures anyway, and sooner or later the right combination of luck and inspiration comes along, and there's actually a picture you're happy with.

    I'm guessing that the carnival had a lot of things moving quite fastm so yes, you do need a faster shutter speed to freeze the motion. But sometimes it can be quite artistic to use slower speeds, so that moving objects are blurred, which can give an impression of speed. Another, though trickier, technique that can be effective is to pan to follow the motion of a moving subject, when you get it right the subject is sharp and the background is blurred.

    Bridge cameras do have limitations due to their small sensors, but if you learn to understand what's happening you can make the most of them. The biggest problem is that high ISO sensitivity, which you need to get fast shutter speeds in poor light, results in very noisy images. Not a lot you can do about that directly, but if you use some of the ideas above, you might not need such fast speeds. When you're taking shots of static, or slow moving, subjects in poor light, and you need a slow shutter speed to get an adequate exposure without raising the ISO, you can sometimes get camera shake which cam blur the image. Ways to minimise this include getting in close and using the wide end of your zoom, bracing yourself and the camera against a fixed object, such as a tree, wall, or railing, and practising holding the camera steady while smoothly pressing the shutter button.

    Another result of the small sensor is that bridge camera generally have more depth of field - range of distance in focus - than larger sensor cameras, for the same field of view. So if you want a sharp subject with a blurred out of focus background, you need to work at it, by getting as much space between the subject and background as possible, and standing back so you can zoom in to use a longer focal length. The upside of this is that it's easier to get shots where you want everything to be in focus front to back, so look out for creative opportunities where you can use it.

    Yes, a DSLR with a stabilisation system would be handy sometimes, but when I got my stabilised Pentax K20D after using a Fuji S9500 bridge, the biggest benefit I found was being able to crank the ISO up without getting noise - and the second biggest advantage was getting shallow depth of field when I wanted it. However, the downside was (and still is) that I sometimes find it hard to get enough DoF, So changing to a DSLR is not always better, just different, depending on what sort of pictures you want.
  8. Steve52

    Steve52 Well-Known Member

    Hmmm. Not so sure. Although I use dSLR's with fast lens at gigs, I have seen some good pics by people using bridge cameras.

    Why dont you check out pictures taken by people with your camera on flickr? You can then get an idea of what settings they used by the EXIF info.

    I went thru a bad patch a couple of years ago. Didn't think my pics were any good etc, but got thru it. As said, enjoy your photography.
  9. frank1

    frank1 Well-Known Member

    I've been doing this thing for at least 20 years spent lots of dosh. Sometimes wisely sometimes not and still think why am I still doing it. I haven't got an answer to that question but at least I'm not hanging out on the streets and getting in to trouble. At 53 that probably wouldn't be a good thing anyway. I still take pictures that are out of focus with camera shake over under exposed badly composed. Yet there are times when I think WOW. I suppose that's all you need the few WOW moments.
    You'll get them and you might even have them without realising it. So keep at it get down if you have to, you know there's only one way to go after that.
  10. Bob Maddison

    Bob Maddison Well-Known Member

    Although panning the camera can be a useful technique, to be successful ALL the subject movement should be in the same direction as the panning movement. A fast moving vehicle comes to mind. However, with people, say someone running, although their torso might be moving in one direction, their arms and legs aren't, and these will still show up as a blur.

    One thing that hasn't been mentioned is flash. Even in good daylight, a flash can be used to superimpose a sharp image over the blur of movement recorded by the ambient light. Because the camera's built in flash is low powered, you will need to use a large aperture and a high-ish ISO. You will need to select the "auto fill flash" setting, and perhaps manual exposure (but make sure it is within the flash synch speed) to make sure that your camera doesn't automatically set its own short shutter duration which will give you a good flash image and leave the background underexposed. Have a good look at your Instruction Manual. However, this "synchro sunlight" technique can be practised very easily and it is well worth giving it a try. One advantage of it is that because the light from the flash falls off rapidly, only the nearer parts of the subject will be lit by flash, and more distant parts will still convey that blur of movement.

    You mentioned a concert. Photography of any sort is often prohibited, and flash photography is usually a NO-NO. If permitted, that is one area where an SLR with a good large aperture lens really is important. However, this need not deter you from trying. In the past, most of us have have the experience of using a totally unsuitable camera and producing some stunning pictures. Many years ago I took some photos of an open air band concert using long exposures (1/4 - 1/10 second) with very slow slide film. Totally unsuitable; but I was lucky and one exposure caught the bulb flash used by another photographer. Fantastic picture as I had the blur of movement with a sharp flash image superimposed.
  11. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Indeed! I reread what I wrote earlier and it might be misinterpreted. As you do more photography you do become more critical of what you do, so, although the standard improves, you can feel otherwise. Modern cameras do not have the technical limitations of film and perhaps encourage the thought that good pictures can always be taken irrespective of conditions. If a picture is technically poor then it is important to know why so as to learn. In film days Boots the chemist used to put a little sticker on every print that looked wrong giving a hint why. These were very simple messages covering camera shake, blurred action, out of focus, under or over exposure, finger in front of lens, red eye, etc. They were aimed to help people improve from the binary - the camera worked/didn't work - paradigm. If your images were blurred then the shutter open time was too long either for subject movement or for camera shake. Shutter priority auto (Tv) can help avoid shake but you have to be careful with exposure. Most people use aperture priority which is better for exposure* but risks camera shake. If the images are washed out then they are likely overexposed.

    * most cameras have a wider shutter speed range than aperture value range.
  12. velocette

    velocette Well-Known Member

    If I gave up photography because I took rubbish photos I'd have given up in the late 1950's. But so far this year I've taken, according to Lightroom going on far 4,000 and that doesn't include the real rubbish that get immediately deleted. I take mainly the dreaded 'record shots' with the very occasional artistic one. I take them because I enjoy it and even occasionally learn something which unfortunately is soon forgotten. But I have fun and that's why I do it and that to me is what a hobby should be. So Just take it easy. learn as you go and have fun with YOUR photography.
  13. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    There's nothing wrong per se with competent record shots, they can in the longer term be of more value to ourselves and others than the deeper ones that we spent a long time waiting for the right light or other factors coming together. In reality much of what most of us shoot can probably be regarded as record photography, it is a recording medium, just that some try to present such pictures as being on some kind of higher plane.
  14. Grierson

    Grierson Well-Known Member

    How nice to read the last couple of posts which exactly reflect my photography. Good to feel I'm not alone. :)
  15. LargeFormat

    LargeFormat Well-Known Member

    My first roll of film taken about sixty years ago (I started very young;)) was a total disaster. My father had given me a camera with no advice, exposure guidance or focus instruction. I think he felt that by making mistakes I'd learn more. The next week he showed me how to make a sort of circular slide rule to calculate exposures and the waste of film reduced. I've never been placed in APOY (although only having sent in three attempts doesn't help) but by and large, and a lot of expenditure, my pictures are getting there technically (even if they are mostly mere record shots). But I do enjoy taking pictures and so do you so keep snapping and keep posting.
  16. Roger_Provins

    Roger_Provins Well-Known Member

    I agree.

    I inherited a pile of well presented photo albums by someone who was obviously very interested in photography.

    Sad to say that when shown to family all the arty stuff is quickly flipped past and it's the record shots of family and friends from past days that are pored over.
  17. surf_digby

    surf_digby Well-Known Member

    When I was young, I used to try and mimmick the shots in my Dad's magazines with my fixed lens, fixed focus, compact. They pretty much all looked awful as every shot was 1/60 at f8, focussed to 1 metre and beyond and with direct flash.

    Years later I was given an SLR that still had it's instruction book in the box (thus I could learn properly). I was still awful. Even with TTL metering I underexposed almost every shot. And would shoot at stupidly slow speeds. And would try and copy shots taken with an ultrawide using the 55mm lens it came with. I'd shoot a roll of film, have it developed, have a little tantrum, and then put the camera on the shelf for a year or so before repeating this process.

    In about 2005 I bought a bridge camera, and shot in auto. When I tried to be creative, they came out looking nothing like I was aiming for. I compensated by buying lots of ugly cheap filters (6-point cross, centre spot, etc..), and made lots of ugly cheap looking images.

    One day (some time in 2007) I was stuck in the middle of nowhere with time to kill. It was a picturesque middle of nowhere, and I had my bridge camera with me, so I spent a couple of hours taking photo's of the same thing but on every possible combination of settings I could get out of the thing and by the end of that day I'd finally grasped how it all worked, and had a very basic grasp of how to set the camera to get a certain result.

    There was still loads I didn't know about (lighting, for example, or perspective/angle of view/DOF with different focal lengths), but once I'd gotten that start, it was easier to build on.

    These days I still use that first SLR, and I get great results out of it. It took me about 12 years and a lot of rolls of film, but it was worth it. My first attempts at creative photography were in 1989, and my first successful shots were taken 18 years later.

    You think you're a slow learner?
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2012
  18. Louise

    Louise Well-Known Member

    Hi thanks for your kind replies. I will carry on using it for a while. There is another question i would like to ask, and I don't know if i should start another thread or ask it on here. What would you advise guys?
  19. surf_digby

    surf_digby Well-Known Member

    Ask it in here.
  20. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    I did a daft thing last weekend while on a trip to the seaside. Using a very simple, mostly fully auto film camera - an Olympus Trip 35 - I loaded a new film. Wanting to wind the film to frame 1 with the lens cap on, I had to set the only manual exposure setting (by using an aperture on the flash 'setting') otherwise the shutter would not fire and the film could not be advanced for the two blank frames before No.1.

    Two hours later and half a roll of film exposed, I looked down at the camera for one shot at a closer focusing distance and noticed I had not returned the aperture ring to the A setting. Ooops! Half a roll of overexposed frames, some of which in sun will be very overexposed. :(

    Using any camera - irrespective of its quality or features - usually requires some method, some organisation on behalf of the owner. We all slip up on this, once, twice or more, until lessons learned the hard way have an appropriate effect on us.

    May suggest you use a checklist before heading out the door with a camera - even writing one on to a plain post card which you keep with your camera. Get in the habit of referring to it and checking the items listed against the camera settings even if after a few goes you know them off by heart. Eventually it will become second nature and you may be able to abandon the list for good. :)

    Obviously, especially in extreme photo situations, the Canon might just get better pics than the Pentax X-90 in the hands of the same photographer, but most of the time you may see no difference. Especially so, unless printed to a reasonably large size. If the Canon owner had been totally disorganised and made all the wrong settings, it is possible your pics would have been better!

    So keep working at it. Don't give up: make your camera produce its best for you. ;)

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