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DPChallenge Forums >> Photography Discussion >> WTF is wrong with my camera
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03/19/2006 08:47:16 AM · #1
Okay, I know I complain about my camera a lot, and people keep assuring me it's me, not the camera. But, I went to Richmond yesterday. I shot all day in 100 ISO, I bought a tripod special for the trip. The guy at the camera shop told me to make sure I shoot in S-AF, and that should help my soft focus problem. Right. Look at this: 308342.jpg308344.jpg

Obviously, the length of exposure is different, but these are both 100 ISO, f8, with a tri-pod, S-AF, so the camera was not moving. There's also a lot of noise in them both. Noise at 100 ISO! Plus, we attempted a couple of really long exposures.... we snuck into the Masque (AKA Landmark Theater) and tried to take pictures of the stage and auditorium in the dark. The camera wouldn't record the pictures. The shutter opened and closed, but when we went to look at the thumb nail on the back of the camera, there was nothing there. It wasn't black. It just wasn't there.

Richmond is 3 hours away. I was very excited about some of these pictures until I got them up on my monitor. There are probably more messed up pictures from yesterday than good ones. At this point I'm really feeling like the camera is giving me more grief and heart ache than it is pleasure.
03/19/2006 08:52:20 AM · #2
Those samples are a bit too small to really say something about them. The first one is also compressed horribly by using a too agressive jpeg setting.


03/19/2006 08:54:39 AM · #3
Do you have somewhere that you can upload the full-size originals?
~Terry
03/19/2006 09:00:19 AM · #4
Full size? These files are huge in their original format. I could possibly upload 1600x1200, but I wouldn't to leave them up very long because of the amount of space they'd take up.
03/19/2006 09:13:40 AM · #5
Some advice on the uploads:
- Do post the shots like you have, but make sure the file size is between 100k and 150k; as previously pointed out, JPEG artifacts are making it very hard to judge quality.
- Select a high-detail spot in both and crop out a 640x640px area from the original. Post this without resizing and at a file size between 100 and 150k.
- Select an area where you feel noise is an issue and post a 640px crop as above.

The above is a good alternative to posting the originals, and will give us a better chance of diagnosing the problem.
03/19/2006 11:19:00 AM · #6
Worth noting that most reviews of the E-300 indicate, that at ISO 100, the noise is not significant. But at higher ISO settings the E-300 has the most image noise of any DSLR in current production. No indications of a focusing problem associated with the E-300 in reviews I have read.
03/19/2006 11:39:50 AM · #7
Me either El. I think it might be a problem with my individual camera. I've been hoping that the D20 is going to come down in price now that the D30 is out, but I'm thinking of just getting an XT so I can send my Olympus out for repair. Actually, I'd get the D50 if the memory cards weren't different.
03/19/2006 11:43:28 AM · #8
Yea, full Size, or something significantly larger would help.
03/19/2006 11:54:18 AM · #9
Ragamuffin why dont you just send me that camera and I'll take it off your hands. :-) What were your camera settings? When you used the tripod were you still using the shutter button? Did you use the antishake feature to delay shutter so that you werent moving the camera? I can post and point to photos all day long that dont have the problems you have with your camera, perhaps its the camera or perhaps its the photog. I would see if someone in the area has another E300 to take some photos with using your card, or perhaps toss one of your lenses on. I took 216 shots yesterday at ISO 400 and have very little noise. If you underexpose or overexpose photos you will have noise.

MattO
03/19/2006 12:04:28 PM · #10
I wonder if it is the S-AF setting? Though my camera is a prosumer, I have noticed more problems with focusing at the completely automatic AF setting than in manual mode (which allows me to adjust shutter and aperture, though not exposure compensation)or shutter or aperture priority. Also, I would imagine you have a focus adjustment button on your camera. Perhaps you have put it into manual focus by accident. I have four settings, multi, centered, spot and manual. Often, without meaning to, I push the manual focus which is very close to the shutter button. When I take the photo, it seems focused until I open it and look at it, then realize while I was prefocusing while half pushing down the shutter release, I accidently put camera into manual focus mode. I looked at some other shots taken with the E300, and saw that often focus is really just not as sharp as from a Canon or Nikon. I used to have an Olympus slr, and did have trouble getting really clear focus. I now have a Canon Rebel SLR and notice the clarity is much better. I just don't use film all that much, but most of the images I took with it, even in AF mode, were very sharp.

Message edited by author 2006-03-19 12:07:42.
03/19/2006 12:25:00 PM · #11
Are you shooting in RAW? If not, a major problem could be the in-camera compression. You do have some major JPEG artifacts. I'd shoot some in RAW or at least highest JPEG resolution, still at ISO 100 and see how they look on your monitor before any adjustments. You should also bracket your exposures to make sure the problems isn't simply under/over-exposure. Use manual focusing to ensure the problem isn't the autofocus, use your tripod and delay the shot. The idea is to slowly start eliminating all possibilities for the problem.

Could be the camera though. Had a friend who dropped his F5 and it never took a crisp shot again (even after having it sent out for repairs).
03/19/2006 12:28:26 PM · #12
Originally posted by MattO:

Ragamuffin why dont you just send me that camera and I'll take it off your hands. :-) What were your camera settings? When you used the tripod were you still using the shutter button? Did you use the antishake feature to delay shutter so that you werent moving the camera? I can post and point to photos all day long that dont have the problems you have with your camera, perhaps its the camera or perhaps its the photog. I would see if someone in the area has another E300 to take some photos with using your card, or perhaps toss one of your lenses on. I took 216 shots yesterday at ISO 400 and have very little noise. If you underexpose or overexpose photos you will have noise.

MattO


What anti-shake features? I swear you're more useful than my owners maunal.

I shoot in SHQ 3264 x 2448 because that seems to be the highest resolution. I don't shoot Raw because of how big the files are. I'd need about 12 more memory cards to do RAW.
03/19/2006 12:41:13 PM · #13
Since you are shooting in JPEG mode, what is your "Sharpness" setting at? Most cameras by default give a decent sharpness boost to the image during jpeg compression. Try setting it to +2 then all the way to -2 and take pictures at both settings and compare. Also, I specifically notice when resizing a very large image in a graphics program down to the size constraints of this site (640 px) that the resizing algorythm softens the photo significantly. I therefore always sharpen any photo that I resize. If your camera wasn't doing much/any jpeg sharpening in-camera, and you resized these images down from 3264 x 2448 to 600x400, I wouldn't be shocked at all at the softness of the shots.

Also, as others mentioned, there are massive jpeg compression artifacts in these examples. Maybe the graphics software you are using isn't being used correctly, or if it is not one of the top 5 programs (photoshop, paint shop pro, gimp, etc), maybe the graphics program is making things much worse.

Message edited by author 2006-03-19 12:43:59.
03/19/2006 12:45:59 PM · #14
Hes talking about using the delay timer for the shutter, or the remote. But I thought you were sending this back to Olympus and trying to get your money back? To honest with you I have a E-500 same CCD as the E-300 and I can easily push it to 1600iso with little or no noise. If you don't like the camera (I feel since you are nit picking it since your brother or others have more expensive cameras) or there is something wrong with it and you should send it in to Olympus.
03/19/2006 04:59:16 PM · #15
Nah, I went and got it back because I couldn't stand the thought of being without my camera that long, and people were giving good tips that I thought it's me doing things wrong. I'm still open to the idea that it's partly me, but I do think there's something going on with THIS particular camera. I haven't dropped it or anything, so I don't know why... I told the guy at the camera shop that what I *think* I want to do is save for another camera (probably the Rebel XT), then send the Olympus out for repair, and then keep it as a back-up. I did loan it to my little brother once, and he let his girl friend's brother screw with the settings. But, he SWEARS it wasn't bumped, dropped, or banged.

I have my sharpness set all the way up to the maximum. I did that when I started noticing the soft focus problem, and it did help.

I'm using Photoshop 7.0, but Photoshop isn't my strong point, so any and all tips would be most welcome. Like it never occured to me that reducing the size of the image could be causing softness. I knew making it bigger could do that, but not making it smaller. Is there anything in PS that can help with the artifacting?
03/19/2006 05:13:17 PM · #16
How about putting it in Auto mode, evaluative metering, auto white balance, default parameters, highest quality JPEG, etc, and taking a handheld shot outside, in the late afternoon so the lighting isn't terrible?
And then just load it into photoshop, apply unsharp mask with 110%, 1.2px radius, 0 threshold, then resize to 640px, save for web, 85% quality.

And see how it looks :P

Any camera should be able to figure out settings for that situation and it shouldn't look too bad, and there's no funky processing involved, just a little sharpening.
03/19/2006 05:18:25 PM · #17
It always over exposes in the auto settings. :(
03/19/2006 05:25:43 PM · #18
What do you meter to? And is it on the evaluative metering mode?

If you're in spot meter, and you don't specify a metering point, it will meter to whatever you lock the focus onto.. if you lock the focus onto the ground or a dark object it will set the exposure to make that object a medium gray instead of black, and everything else will be way blown out. Maybe try setting the exposure compensation to +1stop or so, and if there's anything very light or white in the shot, try (spot) metering to that, and then focusing to wherever?

Also helps if you shoot RAW and overexpose a little, and then when you load it into photoshop or whatever, just drag the exposure slider down to make it look better. That reduces noise quite a bit I've found.
03/19/2006 05:32:09 PM · #19
Now, I have to figure out how to set the evaluative metering.... I swear I read my owner's manual. You all are just easier to understand.
03/20/2006 12:30:03 PM · #20
My brother suggested printing the pictures out...the original sizes, not resized or anything. I did, and I think the prints look fine... which is a huge relief. I'd rather have a crappy monitor than a crappy camera. Unfortunately, I have a laptop, so replacing the monitor isn't an option.
03/20/2006 02:10:00 PM · #21
Just curious, what if you used a different camera to make the same shot as you make with the E300, then compare the two pix on your monitor? Maybe even have your brother PP them, then see if you can even tell which is which???

Maybe it's ALL the monitor. If we could see some full rez chunks 640x640, we might be able to help more.
03/20/2006 03:03:07 PM · #22
Originally posted by ragamuffingirl:

My brother suggested printing the pictures out...the original sizes, not resized or anything. I did, and I think the prints look fine... which is a huge relief. I'd rather have a crappy monitor than a crappy camera. Unfortunately, I have a laptop, so replacing the monitor isn't an option.


Sure it is. Nearly all laptops these days can be hooked up to a desktop monitor; you get the best of both worlds; portability and a big screen monitor at home. Ditto for mouse/graphics tablet, and keyboard btw. Some laptops have an optional docking module, where you have the screen, the keyboard, and the pointing device always attached; you just take the closed laptop and slide it in and it hooks right up. My IBM Thinkpad at the last place I worked was like that. I used it like a desktop at work, and then just unplugged it and took it home if I had to work late.

Robt.
03/20/2006 03:26:21 PM · #23
Originally posted by nards656:

Just curious, what if you used a different camera to make the same shot as you make with the E300, then compare the two pix on your monitor? Maybe even have your brother PP them, then see if you can even tell which is which???

Maybe it's ALL the monitor. If we could see some full rez chunks 640x640, we might be able to help more.


I'll try to talk my brother into loaning me his D70 after his D2X comes in. I told him to call me when it comes in, so I can go over and admire it. He keeps saying one of these days we're going to go out shooting together. He wants to go out with me because I'm the most not-bashful person he knows. If I want on private property, I have no problem going up and knocking on the person's door to ask.

Message edited by author 2006-03-20 15:27:02.
03/20/2006 03:36:45 PM · #24
Originally posted by ragamuffingirl:

...I did loan it to my little brother once, and he let his girl friend's brother screw with the settings. But, he SWEARS it wasn't bumped, dropped, or banged...


You mention she played with the settings, were pictures good before this happened? There should be a full reset of settings to put them back at the factory defaults. I would do a full reset and then set them the way you think they should be. I also don't know that camera very well but still wonder if having the sharpness all the way up is necessary, I have the 5050 (I know huge difference here) and have it dialed down -2 on sharpness to control some of the noise. Was also wondering if the pixel remap would help any...not sure, just wondering out loud.

Hope you get it fixed/figured out soon.
03/20/2006 04:05:45 PM · #25
--Edited to remove dumb question....

Message edited by author 2006-03-20 16:06:26.
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