Alley in Pisa, Italy

by Lars Kotthoff

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I have a Powershot G16 that I'd like to use as my standard camera for its light weight. It takes amazing photos in the day, but I'm having some problems with handheld at night. I'm still a photography newb despite occasional forays over the years. I have this photo taken at f/1.8, 1/60 shutter and 2000 ISO:

castle

It an OK picture, but the clock face is blurry and the image in general is not very sharp. Is this because of the wide aperture? I didn't specifically focus on the clock face, I believe I focused on one of the towers. What is needed to get this same image, but have the whole castle, including details like the clock face, sharp.

I don't believe this is a noise/ISO image and I know about post-processing techniques like photo stacking for enhanced focus. I just want to know if there is some setting that would make this adequately sharp. Should I go longer shutter and smaller aperture for greater depth-of-field?

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2 Answers 2

It would appear to be related to camera shake and jpeg compression. At that distance, the depth of field isn't an issue because you are likely focused at infinity already. However, 1/60 is a relatively slow shutter speed and camera shake does appear to be a factor. Additionally, the JPEG quality is too low, so there is some amount of distortion from the JPEG artifacts themselves in the posted copy.

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Thanks. This was my first night with the camera and I've since turned up the JPEG quality, enabled JPEG+RAW (though most RAW editing software seems to struggle with the raws from the PSG16), and done some other stuff. I didn't consider that minor blurring like this would be caused by camera shake. I guess I will have to up the ISO for handheld shots. –  user26715 Mar 11 at 22:11
    
@user26715 it may also simply be jpeg artifacting. It is hard to tell for sure without having a similar shot taken from a tripod. The general rule is somewhere between 1/35mm equivalent focal length and 1/5* the 35mm equivalent focal length for getting a steady shot. –  AJ Henderson Mar 11 at 22:13
    
I'm skeptical that I'd simply be JPEG artifacts. The camera produces other JPEGs, including night shots, without this type of muddiness. More likely, imho, is that I had slight shake when triggering. Tripods really are essentially requirements for any nighttime photography it seems. :( –  user26715 Mar 11 at 22:54
    
@user26715 - then yeah, I guess camera shake is the most likely. The only reason I doubt it is that some of the lines seem pretty solid, but I'm also not sure what your camera is capable of producing, so that makes it hard to judge. –  AJ Henderson Mar 11 at 23:03
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This was taken at night at a street fair in Oceanside, CA with a G16 at 1/60 @ f/2.8, hand-held, in jpg mode. Minor Lightroom touchup. The trick is to learn how to hold your camera steady. Practice makes a huge difference.

enter image description here

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