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Not very happy with my camera


JN 13 7 England
24 Jul 2011 9:07AM
I've got an EOS500 and I don't seem to be able to use it (properly). Previously I've had an OLYMPUS OM2 and FUJICA ST801 and whilst not a snapper of any great skill I thought I understood a few of the terms etc.
Whether or not the camera has worked as well as it should have I guess I'll never know, but I never got on with it a well as I thought I might. My snaps were wishy washy (despite using a circular polariser) but didn't seem to bad in duller light. The resulting pictures looked O.K.ish (but nothing to write home about) on the small PC screen. The camera found it's way to the back of the shelf with just occasional outings as I mainly used my PENTAX W60 (I do a lot of kayaking) compact.
Roll on to the present day and it's a different story. A colleague at work has a 550 and a neighbour a 60D and I'm learning more about all the settings etc. I can use on the camera. I'm toying with saturation and exposure (but I'm still not convinced it's right) and beginning to enjoy the camera. But all my landscape pictures are fuzzy. They still look O.K. on the screen but when blown up to 100% there is not a sharp point to be seen. Everything appears out of focus. I've tried the AUTOFOCUS (poor on infinity, but seems O.K. on closer images) and MANUAL FOCUS (worse) and I can't get a sharp picture. The lens is the kit lens 18-55.
I've access to some class glass and despite using a tripod I still seem to be having problems. I did complain to CANON online helpdesk who offered a few suggestions but by then the camera was on it's way to the back of the shelf.
I've read a few replies to questions similar to this on other parts of the forum ref. infinity and have to disagree with some of them. This lens has no INFINITY indication on it, and infinity does not appear to be the opposite end of close, by which I mean a scene appears O.K. in the viewfinder but the lens can be wound out further.

Some questions;

How sharp should a picture look at 100% enlargement on my PC screen? Am I expecting to much from the camera.
Are there any known problems with this camera / lens either as a combo or individually?
Where can I confirm a problem with the camera?
Should I consider a different camera? (I'm not keen to sell this as I feel it might be a pup).
Some reccomendations as to what to do next in an effort to nail these 'problems' once and for all?

I've rambled on a bit and hope I've not bored you too much. But the situation is getting desperate. I may get a chance of an extended holiday soon and want to be on top of this before I go. Otherwise it'll all be down to my wife's LUMIX compact (not bad) and whatever I buy to replace the 500.

Many thanks.

JN
sherlob Plus
15 3.2k 131 United Kingdom
24 Jul 2011 10:04AM
JN thats a whole lot of issues - and they could be caused by whole variety of causes, not least of which I am sorry to say could be the way you are using it.

Can you upload a few example shots for folk to see?
indemnity 12 334
24 Jul 2011 10:20AM
Why not test it alongside your neighbours or colleagues camera. Same settings subject/conditions? This might indicate whether its camera or user issue.
Snapper 16 4.5k 3 United States Outlying Islands
24 Jul 2011 11:01AM

Quote:Why not test it alongside your neighbours or colleagues camera. Same settings subject/conditions? This might indicate whether its camera or user issue.


Better still, give the camera and lens to your neighbours/colleagues to see if they can get a better shot out of it. They'll probably be happier trying it that way and fitting their better lenses to your camera if they are controlling how it is being used.
justin c 17 5.1k 36 England
24 Jul 2011 12:04PM
I hope this doesn't come across as rude or overly blunt, it's not intended that way, but a bit of a pet hate of mine is people automatically blaming their equipment because they don't know how to get the best from it. The majority of modern camera's are capable of outstanding results, but whether you've spent 200 or 20,000 on equipment, the results, to a large extent, will be a result of your skill, knowledge and artistic ability.
You can's expect to buy a new, all singing, all dancing camera and then blame the equipment because you don't know how to use it properly.
Photography is a skill that needs to be mastered. It's a never ending learning curve and one that can take quite some time to develop until you're then able to get consistent results.
Read your camera's manual in full to get totally familiar with your camera and how it works. Read lots of web articles and books on photography. Take plenty of pictures and closely evaluate the results and learn from any mistakes you may have made. All the camera shooting information is instantly available with modern cameras, making it very easy to learn from any mistakes you may have made.
It doesn't matter how wonderful the manufacturers tell you their camera is or how many recommendations you've heard or how many glowing reviews you've read, a camera is only as good as the person that's using it.
Digital photography isn't something you can learn and master overnight, it's a complex subject that requires a very steep learning curve, lots of time and patience and a thorough understanding of equipment and technique.
The brand of camera, model number, mega pixel count is often neither here nor there and is rarely the cause of poor results.
Overread 13 4.1k 19 England
24 Jul 2011 12:30PM
I have to second what has been said before - firstly that this sounds more like a user error than a camera error - not just in taking the photo, but also in learning how to read a photo (one has to learn how to read a 100% view and it will be different for different camera types) and also how best to prepare that photo, once taken, for your intended output medium (prints, internet, etc..).

In addition we really can't say if anything is wrong and at what stage things are wrong without examples - if you can post up some shots so we can see and also add some 100% crops (so we can see the details you are seeing without needing you to upload the whole shot) then we can start to give some guidance on where the problem(s) are in your approach (and also if there is a mechanical problem with the camera - however unlikely).
Hazelmouse 14 379 United Kingdom
24 Jul 2011 4:22PM
I use the same camera - with a variety of lenses and agree that a lot more information would be useful - including whether you shoot in RAW or JPEG.

If JPEG what settings are you using?
MikeRC 16 3.6k United Kingdom
24 Jul 2011 4:22PM
............ I have been taking pictures "seriously" for some 6 years, since joining EPZ and being given the opportunity by Pete to show these pictures, good or bad to the world, practically free and with no obligations whatsoever, which seemed to give a point to my photography.

For many years I was not happy with my stuff and constantly was told I needed to get a faster shutter speed, when I asked how to do this it was always read the manual, or something similar. I read the manual, I read the tutorials, I have a stack of books most of which I don't understand.

Some 6 months ago, after going on six years mind, the penny dropped and I realized that increasing the ISO would increase my shutter speed.
.......for me that was a eureka moment.
If it told me this in the manual or the tutorials or all the books I've read, I certainly didn't see it or understand it.

I have made enough enquiries on EPZ and at my local camera club over the years.
Instead of saying..."Read the manual" why didn't someone say "Increase the ISO" ....now that would have been a big help. Smile
JN 13 7 England
24 Jul 2011 6:24PM
Thank you all for your time and replies.
SHERLOB - I'm sure improvements could be made to the way I use the camera, I don't profess to be an expert. I'll run a few more shots off soon and upload a few just as soon as I've worked out how to.
INDEMNITY - Tried comparison shots with my neighbour but we don't have the same lens. However, I lent him my 18-55 whilst he awaited delivery of a SIGMA 17-70 and the resulting shots look a lot sharper than mine.
SNAPPER - I'll try and arrange something with him one evening this week.
JUSTIN C - I'm not blaming the equipment, but reserve it as a possibility.
OVERREAD - I'm not so interested in composition or content (though I hope to learn more on this as retirement looms). I don't enter competitions or belong to a club. But I like to do the best with what I see. That's why I had the ST801 (fantastic camera) & OM2 / OM10.
HAZLEMOUSE - I'm shooting in RAW + L/JPEG, usually on AV at 100 ISO.
MIKE RC - I understand the ratio between ISO / F-STOP / SPEED. Most of these pictures are shot at a speed that should be adequate for handheld. The IS should be a banker.
I don't think this is a speed / shake issue as there is no double image. Just a lack of detail in any edge resulting in a blurred outline on infinity settings. This lack of detail appears to be consistent over all of the image, no better or worse from centre to edge.
When I've a little time I'll sort out some representative shots and await the comments of my peers.

thanks again

JN
Hazelmouse 14 379 United Kingdom
24 Jul 2011 6:33PM
I wonder if you are relying too much on the IS to allow you to handhold at 100 ISO.

Try using higher shutter speeds and different ISOs shooting the same subject, in the same light, and compare.
indemnity 12 334
24 Jul 2011 9:18PM
Having read your responses, it would appear that with a few simple basic 'good practice' changes, you'll overcome the issues.
I'd say it's camera handling/settings, and probably a little post processing skill.
Unfortunately no images posted, so very difficult to comment further.
Camera shake, iso and correct exposure would be my first avenue of investigation.
Overread 13 4.1k 19 England
24 Jul 2011 10:02PM
Hopefully one you can overcome this technical limitation on your photography you can indeed focus more closely on composition - however content should always be coming first, outside of test shots I'd always aim to work with subjects that hold an interest - content that is interesting to myself. That is important as it helps to focus the mind some and makes composition and also selection of settings easier as you've more idea in your mind - rather than with a regular test shot which has no hold over you; ie nothing that you want to capture and show.


Also a point, nearly all lenses do not focus to infinity at the very end of their focusing scale - instead they focus to around infinity at the end, but there is some play and this is to take into account the need for expansion and contraction of the lens due to temperature changes.

You might also want to read up on hyperfocal focusing since if you've content at closer distances you might need to be a bit further back from the infinity point to get that area in focus.
adrian_w 13 3.8k 4 England
25 Jul 2011 9:41AM

Quote:Tried comparison shots with my neighbour but we don't have the same lens. However, I lent him my 18-55 whilst he awaited delivery of a SIGMA 17-70 and the resulting shots look a lot sharper than mine.


So that would point to either a camera or technique difference. Why not lend him both the camera & lens to try out. If he gets results similar to you iy's a camera problem. If he gets sharper results than you it's a technique problem & he could probably show you what he does differently.Sometimes a quick demonstration can be much more instructive than reading manuals, books etc.
JackAllTog Plus
12 6.3k 58 United Kingdom
25 Jul 2011 10:07AM
Hi John, i think, when you have time, you could spend a bit more time with the camera - i'd say it took me 2 or 3 weeks to start feeling happy with the results i was getting for my new one. You may indeed have a bad camera, mucky sensor, out of calibration lens or something else. If you and your neighbour can each take the same shot then swap lenses and repeat it would be a good start to break the problem down into parts.

Also if your previous camera's gave you JPG images and this is giving you raw, then the jpg's may have been sharpened. Also the 500D with 15Mpixels? is probally more than you old camera's M.Pixels so you are looking at 100% much closer at something and this will add to the bluring effect.

I find flash will help to brighten and freeze images for good sharpness, can you try shooting a 3 dimensional object about 6 feet in front of you on manual mode using a shutter speed of 1/200 and an aperture of between f8 and f13 (adjust for reasonable exposure) at ISO 100 for best quality. This should have some shart area's in the raw file image if the camera works at all.

Cheers
Stuart
JN 13 7 England
25 May 2012 8:24AM
Just an update for those that took the time to reply previously - all comments for which I'm thankful. I never did get to grips with the camera so I sold it, and the buyer loves it! Maybe, sometimes, people and devices won't work together whatever.
So I bought an EOS60D. Despite it being supposedly more 'technical' I find this a much easier camera to use - the quick info screen is a godsend - and the whole thing seems much more closely aligned to how I remember my old OM2 / ST801 cameras. I joined a local camera club and put a few shots in an in-house competition, and learn't a bit about composition.

What I have found out is that I seem to get camera shake much more than I used to. Whether this is an age thing or shutter mechanism differences between analogue and digital designs I don't know. I've also found out that filters can have much more effect with the digital camera and will in some cases be the cause of severe degradation of the captured image - cured by removal of the filter.

When the new PC comes (this one is "$%^&) I'll get around to photoshopping and hopefully move from there.

thanks all.

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