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Photography Question 
Susan Robertson

Noisy & soft images

ISO 400 f/3.5 @1250 flash fired
Canon 30D

© Susan Robertson
Canon EOS D30 Digi...
Hi, I am a portrait photographer and I have a consistent problem of having my group shots quite noisy and not very sharp. My couple shots are sharp. I will up load two taken same time, same light, same ISO, same lens, etc. for your viewing pleasure. If you have any solutions...please help! Thanks, Susan Robertson

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6/3/2008 12:33:39 PM

Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  YIKES !!! Susan it looks like the building is falling down with those 4x4 supports falling on either side. RUN !! FLEE !! DUCK !!

Also, your lighting is a tad hot and your focus doesn't look too sharp in those two individuals you shot from the larger group. Could be my monitor, though, a 1958 Philco b&w.

Get a level for your tripod or camera and diffuse your lighting or maybe try shooting half to 3/4 of a stop less hot.

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6/3/2008 4:49:45 PM

Alan N. Marcus   Hi Susan,

I donít consider myself skilled enough to come up with a sure-fire answer but I will venture a guess. First your posted numbers donít make sense. I think you are not writing the shutter speeds as presented and using too slow a shutter speed fouls the group shot.

Further, I think the exposing light used to take the two pictures, chiefly consisted of ambient light. I think the flash contributed little, as to illumination.

Likely the couple shot was taken at 1/250 second (one two-fiftieth of a second) @ f/3.5. Thatís a respectable shutter speed -- meaning one can hand-hold a camera at 1/250 second shutter speed and get reasonably sharp pictures. Also the aperture was wide so you received little assistance from depth-of-field, nevertheless the image is sharp.

On the other hand, you state, the group was taken at 250 @ f/8. That doesnít make sense! I think it would be impossible for you to close down the aperture to f/8 (thatís 3 1/2 stops) and not have the camera compensate by slowing down the shutter speed. Thus I think the group shot was exposed at f/8 using a shutter speed of 1/25 second (you need to know that I have been wrong more than 100,000 times in my life). However, if I am right, the group shot is not noticeably noisy nor is it out-of-focus, just blurred due to the use of too slow a shutter speed. So slow that few can canít hand-hold at that speed, without practice and lots of luck.

The countermeasure is to use shutter priority, setting a shutter speed high enough to ensure blur doesnít creep in or use a tripod. No tripod, I suggest setting 1/125 or maybe 1/60 as the low end speed to avoid handshake blur.

Likely others, more skilled than I will better answer your question.

Alan Marcus (marginal technical gobbledygook)

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6/3/2008 5:25:28 PM

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