A photography newb here. I just got my rolls of film developed and a lot of the photos came out blurry/out of focus. I'm quite sad as most of these were from trips. I am shooting on a Fujifilm Tiara with Fuji 400. Since it's a point and shoot style camera, there aren't many settings I can adjust. Would love to hear some suggestions on what I can do to eliminate the softness.
2Does this answer your question? How do I diagnose the source of blurry photos?– Michael CDec 14, 2022 at 7:13
Basically, your photos are suffering from camera shake – the blur associated with the motion of the camera during exposure. Your camera has selected a relatively long shutter speed due to the prevailing light levels, and you naturally haven't been able to keep the camera perfectly stationary during the exposure.
A common rule of thumb is that you need a shutter speed of the reciprocal of the focal length (or faster) to avoid camera shake effects. Probably with this camera, you have no idea what shutter speed the camera is selecting. Maybe the manual could give you some guidelines. It looks like there were a few Fuji cameras using the Tiara name, so I can't confirm your camera's behaviour or feedback.
Film is simply no competitor to digital when it comes to low light photography. For more satisfactory results, stick to taking photos outdoors in daylight. Or use a tripod or some other fixed object to keep the camera steadier while taking photos.
Note also that human eyes are incredibly good at adjusting to different light levels. There may be times where you think it's not all that dark, but the camera's measurements may disagree.
There used to be a nice online resource by a guy called Fred Parker, called "The Ultimate Exposure Computer". The original page is gone, but someone made a Google Doc version available:
The two most useful parts of it are near the bottom – the "Exposure Value Chart" and the "Exposure Factor Relationship Chart B". You can do some browsing to see what kind of exposure settings you'd get with ISO 400 film for various lighting situations – you may need to cross-reference with your own camera manual to determine what settings the camera offers. It can help to give you some indication of what scenes you can photograph handheld and what you would need support for.
Thank you so much for the detailed answer! I am thinking of upgrading to a GR1v [ f2.8 1/500] or Minolta TC-1 [f3.5 1/750]. Do you think they would help me obtain better results under low light with more settings and lower aperture? Dec 15, 2022 at 4:15
Both would provide more light (GR1v ~2.5 times more light at 28mm, TC-1 a bit more than 1.5 times) allowing for shorter exposures thus reducing camera shake. You can buy iso 800 film and see if two stops is enough for the conditions you shoot in. Also, looking at the prices of the cameras you mentioned I would suggest trying any old SLR - you can get one for a fraction of the price of any of these cameras with a fast f/1.7 or f/1.8 50mm lens. It's tighter crop and requires shorter exposure time, but at the same time you are looking at at least 6 times more light.– stativDec 15, 2022 at 8:09
Yes, I simply can't recommend a point & shoot camera to anyone really serious about film photography - even one of these premium models. Sure they have better, faster lenses than most other point and shoots, but in my opinion, their ergonomics are not great and they are poor value for money, prices having been driven up by limited supply and the semi cult status they've generated. As stativ suggests, get yourself an SLR. Some film SLRs are quite diminutive - Olympus for one was known for quite compact cameras.– osullicDec 15, 2022 at 10:04
I guess you want autofocus though. If it absolutely had to be a point & shoot, I'd personally try to find an Olympus mju II with the 35/2.8 lens. For an SLR, the Minolta Maxxum 4 and 5 were about as compact as autofocus SLRs came. Remember though that the camera is only part of the equation. Probably more important are things like light, creativity and vision. People often don't like to acknowledge these things because they can't be "solved" by throwing money at them.– osullicDec 15, 2022 at 15:17
To me these photos actually look like they are suffering from a slow shutter speed. This can be a result of your camera lens having a closed down aperture setting, or a slow film sensitivity (ASA/ISO rating), which forces the shutter to stay open longer to get a properly exposed image. This gives you motion blur in the images. Unfortunately without a more advanced camera that lets you change those settings, this is something that could only otherwise be solved by using a tripod, or adding more light to the scene.
I agree with @shteppen, that shows in the second photo taken with low light. First photo shows maybe a low lens quality as well. If you're new to film photography and you're coming from digital photo, you should consider that you're looking at printed photo at much higher rate of ampliation that a digital photo shows on a phone or computer screen, even if the apparent size of image is much alike, so the small quirks in photo are much more visible in printed images than on screen. Lens quality and camera steadiness are of paramount importance in film photography if you want sharp images, even more as camera itself can't use an increased sensitivity for film as they do automatically in digital capture with low light. Film sensitivity is fixed, and it can only be compensated with proper development in black & white, less easily in colour. Get a simple photo lightmeter for your smartphone and try to evaluate light conditions before each photo. Using lightmeter can help you to understand the response of your camera and film to changing light conditions and will improve your photo capture.