1
\$\begingroup\$

I am new to digital photography and have started recently with a Nikon Zfc + 50mm f1.8 prime lens. I am familiar with basics. After I shoot a picture I upload it to my pc using Nikon NX Studio Transfer program so that I can view in NX Studio on a 23 inch monitor.

Since I started I was able to recognize that a type blur - camera shake (hand held, shutter speed too slow) - in my pictures. The issue is related to this, not others (I am aware of motion blur and background blur).

How do I determine that my picture doesn't have this blur, which I feel affects the quality. How can I ascertain that the picture is "good", especially when I have a single shot of an object (it is easier to know when I compare pictures of a same subject in multiple shots).

When I view the pictures on the camera screen or after uploading to pc and viewing at 25 - 35 % of the size (typically this fits my computer monitor) the picture looks "fine". But, as I zoom into the picture to 100% or 200% or more, how can I tell it is the closeness to image (reduces image sharpness) or the "blur"? My camera produces about 20 Mega-pixel images. I get the default JPEG type image files.

\$\endgroup\$
5
  • \$\begingroup\$ You say that you are getting blur from camera shake because the shutter speed is too slow. Well, why don't you just ensure you use a shutter speed that isn't too slow? Also, why are you zooming into pictures to 200%? What is your intention for your photos? It may not really be necessary or productive to microanalyse them at a pixel level like this. \$\endgroup\$
    – osullic
    Jan 12 at 21:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ Your comments are absolutely valid and thanks for reading my post. It is not always possible to get a higher shutter speed all the time (low light conditions, or more depth of field - for example). Why am I zooming? Because the software allows me to, and I am learning and am curious about what is there so I am exploring. \$\endgroup\$
    – prasad_
    Jan 13 at 4:19
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ If light levels are so low that you need to use long shutter speeds, then there are a few things you can do to counteract that - obvious one is to use a tripod. Make use of IS. Add more artificial light to the scene, if feasible. Indeed, use a wider aperture or higher ISO - a well-exposed but grainy photo is preferable to one that suffers from camera shake. And if all else fails, sometimes you just have to forgo some shots - some conditions are just not suitable for capturing perfectly on camera. \$\endgroup\$
    – osullic
    Jan 13 at 11:17
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ After I got my camera, I realized tripod is required in some situations (especially indoors) and got one eventually. \$\endgroup\$
    – prasad_
    Jan 13 at 13:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MichaelC Thats a lot of stuff to study and digest. I am going to spend some time on it. Since this post, I am equipped for better photography. \$\endgroup\$
    – prasad_
    Jan 23 at 4:17

3 Answers 3

3
\$\begingroup\$

You need to make sure that your shutter speed is high enough when the subject is moving.

One way is to shoot in shutter priority mode (the “S” on the PASM mode dial): you set the shutter speed, camera manages aperture and ISO.

Rough rule of thumb:

  • General people: at least 1/250
  • Kids running / playing: at least 1/500
  • Birds in flight: 1/2000 or faster.

This is just indicative of course.

If you want to rather control aperture in A mode to control background blur, then another option is to set a min shutter speed in the camera menu. I don’t have a Nikon but I’m sure it’s possible. The camera will then increase ISO sooner. Otherwise the cameras auto modes generally prioritize max image quality, i.e. they will lower shutter speed to roughly 1/focal range and then start increasing ISO. But if you shoot at, e.g. 50mm, then 1/50th of a second often is too slow to freeze motion.

\$\endgroup\$
2
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the information. The camera does allow flexibility in shutter speed (B, 4 secs to 1/4000 s, also allows 1/3 steps), and an ISO range from 100 - 51200 (and beyond). I am playing with the MASP and Auto modes (haven't tried the P mode yet). These modern cameras allow lot of flexibility and also lot of technology to understand (the camera came with a 600+ page manual). I have to practice more. \$\endgroup\$
    – prasad_
    Jan 13 at 7:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ "Birds in flight: 1/2000 or faster." I have couple of pictures with birds in flight (my Answer). You may be interested in details. \$\endgroup\$
    – prasad_
    Jan 19 at 18:21
1
\$\begingroup\$

If the image sharpness/contrast degrades before you start to see the square shape of the pixels the image is made of, then you did not achieve 100% pixel level sharpness.

But that is not a problem; achieving pixel level sharpness is rare, especially with a high resolution/small pixel camera like the Zfc. And even if an image is maximally sharp, no image is ever perfectly sharp... there is always a point at which it fails to resolve/reveal more detail. Every stage in taking a picture is "lossy."

If the image looks good on your monitor at the physical display size required, then it is sharp enough; and that is all that matters.

\$\endgroup\$
3
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the information. The image I see with the eye, thru the view finder, on the camera screen, on my laptop with 16 inch screen and a 23 inch external monitor. The sizes and the way the image is displayed is different. I tend to favor some over the other. The monitors show colors differently (I believe it is adjustable on the laptop and the external monitor). Is there a way to know the correct colors as it was captured? \$\endgroup\$
    – prasad_
    Jan 13 at 7:24
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @prasad_, you need to calibrate your monitor. the best way is with a hardware calibration tool like an X-rite i1, Spyder X2, etc. But there are some tutorial online on how to calibrate a monitor visually. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 13 at 15:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, and I will lookup into this monitor calibration. \$\endgroup\$
    – prasad_
    Jan 15 at 4:12
0
\$\begingroup\$

Since, I posted the question and I had received valuable information from members of the community. I had this experience on 18th evening between 5 PM and 6 PM. I was on my apartment building rooftop. I went there to spend sometime in the open watching the evening. I also carried my camera with me. I was hoping to capture an interesting cloud, the sunset, or an odd bird that flies by.

The first thing I noticed as I got my camera ready was a pigeon flying around. I reacted by clicking a shot – only one shot (pigeons fly quite fast averaging 50+ mph).

enter image description here

This picture shows some motion blur. I believe the blur is not due to focus (the focus points cover part of the bird). I don’t know if there was a camera shake.

Aperture: f/5.6, Shutter Speed: 1/1000s (Auto), Exposure Mode: Aperture Priority, Metering: Matrix, ISO Sensitivity: ISO 400

enter image description here


After a few minutes of flying the bird landed on the side of the building I was on. I had a chance to take one shot.

enter image description here

The picture shows the blur induced by depth of field (the foreground and background of the target has the blur). I needed an aperture where I could not miss the bird.

Aperture: f/4, Shutter Speed: 1/2500s (Auto), Exposure Mode: Aperture Priority, Metering: Matrix, ISO Sensitivity: ISO 400


This shot is with motion blur.

enter image description here

Aperture: f/4, Shutter Speed: 1/4000s (Auto), Exposure Mode: Aperture Priority, Metering: Matrix, ISO Sensitivity: ISO 640

enter image description here


This one with no motion blur.

enter image description here

Aperture: f/5, Shutter Speed: 1/2000s (Auto), Exposure Mode: Shutter Priority, Metering: Matrix, ISO Sensitivity: ISO 640


An unexpected visitor.

enter image description here

Aperture: f/5, Shutter Speed: 1/2000s (Auto), Exposure Mode: Shutter Priority, Metering: Matrix, ISO Sensitivity: ISO 800


Cannot miss this one.

enter image description here

Aperture: f/4.5, Shutter Speed: 1/2000s (Auto), Exposure Mode: Shutter Priority, Metering: Matrix, ISO Sensitivity: ISO 800


Finally, here is a blur induced by surprise. I was focused on something for a few minutes. As I turned my head I saw these two about 10 feet from me. I could just point and shoot with whatever setting urgently. They left immediately.

enter image description here

Aperture: f/2, Shutter Speed: 1/2000s (Auto), Exposure Mode: Shutter Priority, Metering: Matrix, ISO Sensitivity: ISO 800

\$\endgroup\$
8
  • \$\begingroup\$ Your third example is not motion blur, it's missed focus. The camera is focused on the far background, rather than on the much nearer bird. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Jan 21 at 2:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ RE: your first example. The focus "point" is usually much larger than the little square you see in the viewfinder. Most cameras will focus on the area of highest contrast within the active area of sensitivity. Your photo is obviously focused on the background instead of the bird. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Jan 21 at 3:10
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ 1st photo: not motion blur; the bird isn't in focus, the wall or lattice awning is in focus. 2nd photo (bird on ledge): the plane of focus is right behind the bird's feet / the stripes on the bird's folded wings, not the bird's head/face. 3rd photo: not motion blur. The flying bird isn't in focus, the palm tree is. Last surprise photo: the plane of focus intersects the lower-left wall/edge (about where the L-shaped crack in the wall is). \$\endgroup\$
    – scottbb
    Jan 22 at 19:31
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @prasad_ Just because the bird is within the area of AF sensitivity does not insure the bird will be in focus. The area of highest contrast within the entire are of AF sensitivity is what the camera will almost always attempt to bring into focus. In these cases, the background provided greater contrast than the bird did. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Jan 22 at 23:56
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @prasad_ Regardless of where the red square focus point is, it's clear that the bird's feet are in focus while the bird's head isn't. The plane of focus intersects the mid-rear of the bird's body, not the bird's head or face. \$\endgroup\$
    – scottbb
    Jan 23 at 17:25

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.