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Canon S1 IS: Focus, Lens or What?

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Anonymous
March 1, 2005 4:29:51 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

I'm pretty new to photography in general and have recently bought a Canon
Powershot S1 IS (at the suggestion of people in this group, I should add).
In general everything works well, although a bit slowly. I've installed the
new firmware upgrade.

However I am having one significant problem. Although the autofocus works
well and the pictures are sharp if the subject is relatively close, when I
shoot using the zoom at long distances, the pictures (particularly if I crop
them) are blurry and lack detail. I'm using the full 3.2 mb setting and I
am only cropping down to about 30 per cent of the original. So I think
(maybe not?) there should be plenty of sharpness and detail left.

I'm not sure whether it's the lens at big zoom settings (10X) or the focus
at long distance is incorrect or could it be something else? I'm hoping
someone can sort of point me in the right direction. Maybe others with
Canon's can comment if they have similar problems.

Thanks,
Perry.

More about : canon focus lens

Anonymous
March 1, 2005 4:29:52 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

!p^&c88%B! wrote:
> I'm pretty new to photography in general and have recently bought a
> Canon Powershot S1 IS (at the suggestion of people in this group, I
> should add). In general everything works well, although a bit slowly.
> I've installed the new firmware upgrade.
>
> However I am having one significant problem. Although the autofocus
> works well and the pictures are sharp if the subject is relatively
> close, when I shoot using the zoom at long distances, the pictures
> (particularly if I crop them) are blurry and lack detail. I'm using
> the full 3.2 mb setting and I am only cropping down to about 30 per
> cent of the original. So I think (maybe not?) there should be plenty
> of sharpness and detail left.
> I'm not sure whether it's the lens at big zoom settings (10X) or the
> focus at long distance is incorrect or could it be something else? I'm
> hoping someone can sort of point me in the right direction. Maybe
> others with Canon's can comment if they have similar problems.
>
> Thanks,
> Perry.

At 10x optical zoom (it is, correct?) atmospheric effects might be what
you are seeing. There is a long air path subject to temperature-induced
refractions, dust, and more that I can't recall now. High zoom is also
subject to camera shake; a sturdy tripod is advisable. The tripod needs
support; a wooden deck will shake enough to cause multiple images. If
you can 10x nearby and get sharp pics, if there is trouble at distance
there is no gross lens error if it is focused at infinity.

Q
Anonymous
March 1, 2005 4:29:52 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

!p^&c88%B! wrote:
> I'm pretty new to photography in general and have recently bought a Canon
> Powershot S1 IS (at the suggestion of people in this group, I should add).
> In general everything works well, although a bit slowly. I've installed the
> new firmware upgrade.
>
> However I am having one significant problem. Although the autofocus works
> well and the pictures are sharp if the subject is relatively close, when I
> shoot using the zoom at long distances, the pictures (particularly if I crop
> them) are blurry and lack detail. I'm using the full 3.2 mb setting and I
> am only cropping down to about 30 per cent of the original. So I think
> (maybe not?) there should be plenty of sharpness and detail left.
>
> I'm not sure whether it's the lens at big zoom settings (10X) or the focus
> at long distance is incorrect or could it be something else? I'm hoping
> someone can sort of point me in the right direction. Maybe others with
> Canon's can comment if they have similar problems.
>
> Thanks,
> Perry.
>
>
Do you have the image stabilization activated?
IS can compensate for a modicum of camera shake but you still must try
to be very still.
To test if the problem is your shooting technique or the camera, put the
camera on a sturdy tripod and shoot a distant building, preferably one
with a sign and writing.
If the image is sharp, then practice shooting the camera like you shoot
a rifle. Squeeze rather than push the shutter release and hold your
breath while shooting.
If it is not sharp, send it to Canon to put the "do right" on it.
Bob Williams
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Anonymous
March 1, 2005 4:29:52 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

You really need to check how far you are magnifying your image - if you
are viewing it even at just 100% (`actual pixels`), it *will* look a
little soft. The `30%` doesn't tell us how much you are cropping - by
30% area, 30% length, or are you viewing it at 30% magnification?

Use a tripod, shoot a detailed scene in bright daylight. Compare the
level of detail at both wide and tele settings, but *at the same
magnification on screen*. They should give similar results.

If they do, then you need to work on your technique, and/or lower your
expectations of just how far you can crop/zoom in - once you get to
nearly seeing pixels, nothing will be sharp...
March 1, 2005 4:29:52 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Does your Canon also have digital zoom? If so you may be going beyond
optical into digital which will degrade the image.
The Panasonic FZ works very well at 12x, I have not seen less than a
crisp image yet. The Canon should be pretty good too,
DonB
Anonymous
March 1, 2005 6:01:44 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

The camera has IS. I thought that would substantially lessen the need
for a tripod. The Fuji S5100 is also a 10x but without IS. I wonder
what anyones experience is with that camera at both 10x and other settings.

In general, I was told that Canon across the board is higher in quality
and at matching price points with the competition will produce better
results. I do not know if that is true.

Quaoar wrote:

>!p^&c88%B! wrote:
>
>
>>I'm pretty new to photography in general and have recently bought a
>>Canon Powershot S1 IS (at the suggestion of people in this group, I
>>should add). In general everything works well, although a bit slowly.
>>I've installed the new firmware upgrade.
>>
>>However I am having one significant problem. Although the autofocus
>>works well and the pictures are sharp if the subject is relatively
>>close, when I shoot using the zoom at long distances, the pictures
>>(particularly if I crop them) are blurry and lack detail. I'm using
>>the full 3.2 mb setting and I am only cropping down to about 30 per
>>cent of the original. So I think (maybe not?) there should be plenty
>>of sharpness and detail left.
>>I'm not sure whether it's the lens at big zoom settings (10X) or the
>>focus at long distance is incorrect or could it be something else? I'm
>>hoping someone can sort of point me in the right direction. Maybe
>>others with Canon's can comment if they have similar problems.
>>
>>Thanks,
>>Perry.
>>
>>
>
>At 10x optical zoom (it is, correct?) atmospheric effects might be what
>you are seeing. There is a long air path subject to temperature-induced
>refractions, dust, and more that I can't recall now. High zoom is also
>subject to camera shake; a sturdy tripod is advisable. The tripod needs
>support; a wooden deck will shake enough to cause multiple images. If
>you can 10x nearby and get sharp pics, if there is trouble at distance
>there is no gross lens error if it is focused at infinity.
>
>Q
>
>
>
>
Anonymous
March 1, 2005 12:13:34 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

!p^&c88%B! wrote:


> However I am having one significant problem. Although the autofocus works
> well and the pictures are sharp if the subject is relatively close, when I
> shoot using the zoom at long distances, the pictures (particularly if I crop
> them) are blurry and lack detail. I'm using the full 3.2 mb setting and I
> am only cropping down to about 30 per cent of the original. So I think
> (maybe not?) there should be plenty of sharpness and detail left.
>
> I'm not sure whether it's the lens at big zoom settings (10X) or the focus
> at long distance is incorrect or could it be something else? I'm hoping
> someone can sort of point me in the right direction. Maybe others with
> Canon's can comment if they have similar problems.


Try shooting with a tripod.. If the images are still bad, it could
be that the lens is a bit out of alignment at the long end.
Anonymous
March 1, 2005 12:27:21 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

!p^&c88%B! wrote:
> I'm pretty new to photography in general and have recently bought a
> Canon Powershot S1 IS (at the suggestion of people in this group, I
> should add). In general everything works well, although a bit slowly.
> I've installed the new firmware upgrade.

My advice would normally have been the Panasonic FZ20.

> However I am having one significant problem. Although the autofocus
> works well and the pictures are sharp if the subject is relatively
> close, when I shoot using the zoom at long distances, the pictures
> (particularly if I crop them) are blurry and lack detail. I'm using
> the full 3.2 mb setting and I am only cropping down to about 30 per
> cent of the original. So I think (maybe not?) there should be plenty
> of sharpness and detail left.

If you are cropping to 30% of the linear dimension of the image, instead
of 3.2MP you will only get 30% x 30% x 3.2MP, i.e. 288 kilo pixels. This
is not enough for a sharp picture, although a full 3.2MP will print OK up
to 10 inches x 8 inches. If uncropped pictures taken with the camera on a
sturdy tripod (or with the camera otherwise well supported) are not sharp,
the camera is faulty.

Can you post a sample picture to a Web site so that people can see if it
is technique rather than apparatus which is the problem?

David
March 1, 2005 2:17:51 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

I have, and while the FZ is certainly bulky compared with the Canon,
every pic I have taken on 12x zoom, handheld has been crisp. Reviews I
read comparing the Canon with Panasonic left me with the impression
that the Panasonic gave superior pictures, and I bought it for that
reason. However, I don't think the Canon is as bad as these results,
and something must be wrong.
DonB
Anonymous
March 1, 2005 4:17:12 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"!p^&c88%B!" <!&P%C#$b!@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:jAPUd.530837$6l.148530@pd7tw2no...
> I'm pretty new to photography in general and have recently bought a Canon
> Powershot S1 IS (at the suggestion of people in this group, I should add).
> In general everything works well, although a bit slowly. I've installed
> the new firmware upgrade.
>
> However I am having one significant problem. Although the autofocus works
> well and the pictures are sharp if the subject is relatively close, when I
> shoot using the zoom at long distances, the pictures (particularly if I
> crop them) are blurry and lack detail. I'm using the full 3.2 mb setting
> and I am only cropping down to about 30 per cent of the original. So I
> think (maybe not?) there should be plenty of sharpness and detail left.
>
> I'm not sure whether it's the lens at big zoom settings (10X) or the focus
> at long distance is incorrect or could it be something else? I'm hoping
> someone can sort of point me in the right direction. Maybe others with
> Canon's can comment if they have similar problems.
>
> Thanks,
> Perry.

To try out my technique, I took a couple of pics on an overcast day: one max
wide - 1/20sec @ f2.8 & 10x zoom (no digital)1/10sec @ F3.08, both with IS
"on", ISO "auto" (64?) & 3.2mp, subject two nuns sat under a tree about 100
yards away. On my PC screen, zooming in the wide angle pixellates before
showing lack of sharpness but the 10x looks as though I was suffering from a
bad dose of DTs, even at -ve zooms. So, I can't blame the camera; I should
have used a tripod or higher ISO setting (rifle shooting technique no good
at 1/10 sec and 380mm 35mm EFL).
Keith
Anonymous
March 1, 2005 9:19:13 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

I read a good review on the Panasonic FZ220. They did say it is
somewhat noisy, bulky and heavy and also a little slow. I would be
concerned that Panasonic was never into Cameras like Nikon or Canon. Do
you have any direct experience with that Camera?

David J Taylor wrote:

>!p^&c88%B! wrote:
>
>
>>I'm pretty new to photography in general and have recently bought a
>>Canon Powershot S1 IS (at the suggestion of people in this group, I
>>should add). In general everything works well, although a bit slowly.
>>I've installed the new firmware upgrade.
>>
>>
>
>My advice would normally have been the Panasonic FZ20.
>
>
>
>>However I am having one significant problem. Although the autofocus
>>works well and the pictures are sharp if the subject is relatively
>>close, when I shoot using the zoom at long distances, the pictures
>>(particularly if I crop them) are blurry and lack detail. I'm using
>>the full 3.2 mb setting and I am only cropping down to about 30 per
>>cent of the original. So I think (maybe not?) there should be plenty
>>of sharpness and detail left.
>>
>>
>
>If you are cropping to 30% of the linear dimension of the image, instead
>of 3.2MP you will only get 30% x 30% x 3.2MP, i.e. 288 kilo pixels. This
>is not enough for a sharp picture, although a full 3.2MP will print OK up
>to 10 inches x 8 inches. If uncropped pictures taken with the camera on a
>sturdy tripod (or with the camera otherwise well supported) are not sharp,
>the camera is faulty.
>
>Can you post a sample picture to a Web site so that people can see if it
>is technique rather than apparatus which is the problem?
>
>David
>
>
>
>
Anonymous
March 1, 2005 9:32:20 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Thanks everyone, you have been super helpful.

To clarify a couple of points, the image stabilizer was on, the shutter
speed was 1/1000, the focal length was 58 mm and the digital zoom was not
on. Image size was 2048X1536 and image quality was "superfine" at which
point the photo did not look crisp. I zoomed to 942X677 pixels and detail
is poor to say the least. It's a real shame because this particular
photograph was particularly beautiful. Swans just skimming the water as
they land.

I've done some more investigating and am not happy with image resolution at
any focal length. Strangely enough I took a few pictures this morning of
distant hills (miles away) and found the automatic focus gave better
sharpness and clarity then the manual focus (at infinity).

Are there any sites where I can submit the photographs and get other peoples
opinions on the quality? Maybe I'm too picky but I have taken some quite
nice sharp pictures with the camera at shorter distances. But my primary
interest is landscapes so I'm a bit disappointed.

Thanks again,
Perry.


"!p^&c88%B!" <!&P%C#$b!@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:jAPUd.530837$6l.148530@pd7tw2no...
> I'm pretty new to photography in general and have recently bought a Canon
> Powershot S1 IS (at the suggestion of people in this group, I should add).
> In general everything works well, although a bit slowly. I've installed
> the new firmware upgrade.
>
> However I am having one significant problem. Although the autofocus works
> well and the pictures are sharp if the subject is relatively close, when I
> shoot using the zoom at long distances, the pictures (particularly if I
> crop them) are blurry and lack detail. I'm using the full 3.2 mb setting
> and I am only cropping down to about 30 per cent of the original. So I
> think (maybe not?) there should be plenty of sharpness and detail left.
>
> I'm not sure whether it's the lens at big zoom settings (10X) or the focus
> at long distance is incorrect or could it be something else? I'm hoping
> someone can sort of point me in the right direction. Maybe others with
> Canon's can comment if they have similar problems.
>
> Thanks,
> Perry.
>
March 1, 2005 9:59:50 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

If you mean cropping to 30% in each dimension you have a 0.3MP image which
is bad by any standards. If you mean reduce by 30% then you have a 1.6MP
image which is marginal for good results.


"!p^&c88%B!" <!&P%C#$b!@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:jAPUd.530837$6l.148530@pd7tw2no...
> I'm pretty new to photography in general and have recently bought a Canon
> Powershot S1 IS (at the suggestion of people in this group, I should add).
> In general everything works well, although a bit slowly. I've installed
> the new firmware upgrade.
>
> However I am having one significant problem. Although the autofocus works
> well and the pictures are sharp if the subject is relatively close, when I
> shoot using the zoom at long distances, the pictures (particularly if I
> crop them) are blurry and lack detail. I'm using the full 3.2 mb setting
> and I am only cropping down to about 30 per cent of the original. So I
> think (maybe not?) there should be plenty of sharpness and detail left.
>
> I'm not sure whether it's the lens at big zoom settings (10X) or the focus
> at long distance is incorrect or could it be something else? I'm hoping
> someone can sort of point me in the right direction. Maybe others with
> Canon's can comment if they have similar problems.
>
> Thanks,
> Perry.
>
Anonymous
March 1, 2005 10:27:46 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

What ISO speeds do you use with the FZ? Any noise?

oink@woosh.co.nz wrote:

>I have, and while the FZ is certainly bulky compared with the Canon,
>every pic I have taken on 12x zoom, handheld has been crisp. Reviews I
>read comparing the Canon with Panasonic left me with the impression
>that the Panasonic gave superior pictures, and I bought it for that
>reason. However, I don't think the Canon is as bad as these results,
>and something must be wrong.
>DonB
>
>
>
Anonymous
March 2, 2005 2:51:16 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

measekite wrote:
> I read a good review on the Panasonic FZ20. They did say it is
> somewhat noisy, bulky and heavy and also a little slow. I would be
> concerned that Panasonic was never into Cameras like Nikon or Canon. Do
> you have any direct experience with that Camera?

Yes, we bought one, after comparing it in the shop with a Canon S1 IS.
Comparing image-stabilised cameras:

GBP 250 - Canon S1 IS 3.2MP, 370g
GBP 350 - Panasonic FZ20 5MP Leica lens, f/2.8 throughout the range, 556g
GBP 550 - Nikon 8800 8MP but only f/4.9 at the telephoto end, 680g

IMHO, the FZ20 is at a rather sweet spot, lighter and a lot less expensive
than the Nikon, with a wider aperture lens. The Canon is nice if you can
tolerate 3.2MP. The Nikon gets good reports from users, and it's 8MP, but
you pay more.

Panasonic doesn't have a range of DSLR cameras, it's true, but perhaps
that means they don't need to cripple their ZLR cameras (as Canon and
Nikon seem to have done) so that they don't compete with the cheaper to
produce DSLRs?

David
March 2, 2005 3:28:04 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

ISO 100 in good light, so no noise.
But I'm really talking about camera shake . The FZ IS does a great job.
Anonymous
March 2, 2005 9:57:54 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

If the Canon S1 IS was either a 4 or a 5 MP would you have chosen that
or still would have chosen the Z20?

David J Taylor wrote:

>measekite wrote:
>
>
>>I read a good review on the Panasonic FZ20. They did say it is
>>somewhat noisy, bulky and heavy and also a little slow. I would be
>>concerned that Panasonic was never into Cameras like Nikon or Canon. Do
>>you have any direct experience with that Camera?
>>
>>
>
>Yes, we bought one, after comparing it in the shop with a Canon S1 IS.
>Comparing image-stabilised cameras:
>
>GBP 250 - Canon S1 IS 3.2MP, 370g
>GBP 350 - Panasonic FZ20 5MP Leica lens, f/2.8 throughout the range, 556g
>GBP 550 - Nikon 8800 8MP but only f/4.9 at the telephoto end, 680g
>
>IMHO, the FZ20 is at a rather sweet spot, lighter and a lot less expensive
>than the Nikon, with a wider aperture lens. The Canon is nice if you can
>tolerate 3.2MP. The Nikon gets good reports from users, and it's 8MP, but
>you pay more.
>
>Panasonic doesn't have a range of DSLR cameras, it's true, but perhaps
>that means they don't need to cripple their ZLR cameras (as Canon and
>Nikon seem to have done) so that they don't compete with the cheaper to
>produce DSLRs?
>
>David
>
>
>
>
Anonymous
March 2, 2005 10:13:55 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

>Are there any sites where I can submit the photographs and get other peoples
>opinions on the quality? Maybe I'm too picky but I have taken some quite
>nice sharp pictures with the camera at shorter distances. But my primary
>interest is landscapes so I'm a bit disappointed.


www.pbase.com will do

Have you tried running it through NeatImage ? I've been playing with
it for the last few days and on some pictures if does amzing things.
Anonymous
March 2, 2005 12:43:32 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

measekite wrote:
> If the Canon S1 IS was either a 4 or a 5 MP would you have chosen that
> or still would have chosen the Z20?

That would depend! The AA batteries, swivel finder, and CF card would be
in its favour. The sensor size would need to increase, so the overall
weight and bulk would increase. After that, picture quality would need to
be as good as the FZ20. Finally, I'd need to try operating the camera
with gloved hands.

But it might win, yes! Not purely with a sensor change, though.

Cheers,
David
Anonymous
March 2, 2005 1:51:11 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Do you mean 30% linearly? That is, 30% horizontally and vertically? In
that case you are cutting scene from 3 Megapixels to about 300,000
pixels. I would expect it to be blurry. A 3MP camera gives SOME room
for croppping but not a whole lot. About 70% of original (in each
direction) is all. Remember, the linear cropping percentage must be
SQUARED to figure how many pixels you are left with.

Even if you are talking about cropping to 30% by area, you are down to 1
megapixel, which isn't all that great.

!p^&c88%B! wrote:
> I'm pretty new to photography in general and have recently bought a Canon
> Powershot S1 IS (at the suggestion of people in this group, I should add).
> In general everything works well, although a bit slowly. I've installed the
> new firmware upgrade.
>
> However I am having one significant problem. Although the autofocus works
> well and the pictures are sharp if the subject is relatively close, when I
> shoot using the zoom at long distances, the pictures (particularly if I crop
> them) are blurry and lack detail. I'm using the full 3.2 mb setting and I
> am only cropping down to about 30 per cent of the original. So I think
> (maybe not?) there should be plenty of sharpness and detail left.
>
> I'm not sure whether it's the lens at big zoom settings (10X) or the focus
> at long distance is incorrect or could it be something else? I'm hoping
> someone can sort of point me in the right direction. Maybe others with
> Canon's can comment if they have similar problems.
>
> Thanks,
> Perry.
>
>
Anonymous
March 10, 2005 11:42:29 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

!p^&c88%B! wrote:

> I'm pretty new to photography in general and have recently bought a Canon
> Powershot S1 IS (at the suggestion of people in this group, I should add).
> In general everything works well, although a bit slowly. I've installed the
> new firmware upgrade.
>
> However I am having one significant problem. Although the autofocus works
> well and the pictures are sharp if the subject is relatively close, when I
> shoot using the zoom at long distances, the pictures (particularly if I crop
> them) are blurry and lack detail. I'm using the full 3.2 mb setting and I
> am only cropping down to about 30 per cent of the original. So I think
> (maybe not?) there should be plenty of sharpness and detail left.
>
> I'm not sure whether it's the lens at big zoom settings (10X) or the focus
> at long distance is incorrect or could it be something else? I'm hoping
> someone can sort of point me in the right direction. Maybe others with
> Canon's can comment if they have similar problems.
>
> Thanks,
> Perry.
>
>

I've had one of these for two weeks now. I'm very happy with it. I did
experiment with resolution quality between normal and full optical zoom
and found that the only way to get equally sharp images was to use a
tripod. I suggest turn off IS when using a tripod because the automatic
IS can take several seconds to full stabilize, and even if your camera
is perfectly still the image will be moving due to the IS lag.

When not using a tripod I found the best way to reduce camera shake is
the turn IS on and use the 2 sec timer. That way you can focus on
holding the camera still when the image is captured.

The main difference in image quality between full zoomed images is the
purple fringe effect gets worse.
!