planesarecool
Posts: 3208
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2001 12:37 am

Problem - Grainy Photos

Sat Jul 17, 2004 1:15 am

I know the most likely answer to this thread is "Buy a better camera." But i was just wondering if there was anything that could be done to stop my photos being grainy. Here is an example:



It looks ok, but if you look at the buildings in the background, they are slightly blurred or grainy.

I've tried many things like changing the number of MP, but that usually just changes the size and makes it worse. There are many things that i am yet to try, including changing the resolution. Would this work? As far as i know it only brightens/darkens the picture when you take it.

For info the camera I am using is a Kodak DX3900 digital.

Thanks
-Stephen
 
hisham
Posts: 681
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RE: Problem - Grainy Photos

Sat Jul 17, 2004 1:29 am

I know the most likely answer to this thread is "Buy a better camera."

Actually that's not the problem. You need a better grip on the technical aspect of photography.

It looks ok, but if you look at the buildings in the background, they are slightly blurred or grainy.

Those buildings are 15 miles away! They're not going to be sharp no matter what! Besides, I don't see any grain (which is different than blur).

There are many things that i am yet to try, including changing the resolution. Would this work? As far as i know it only brightens/darkens the picture when you take it.

Resolution has nothing to with brightness. Resolution refers to the amount of detail in the photo.

Hisham.

 
planesarecool
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Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2001 12:37 am

RE: Problem - Grainy Photos

Sat Jul 17, 2004 1:41 am

Well when i tried a few test shots in my garden, when i raised the resolution level it came out brighter:

Before:


After:


Yes i know those buildings are a long way away, but that photo is not in full size. When it is in full size it is blurry, which isn't really very useful.

No, maybe i am not a photography no-it-all, but i just want to get the best out of the camera i have got, because some of us don't have the money to splash out on a brand new top quality camera.

-Stephen
 
LHSebi
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Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2004 4:24 am

RE: Problem - Grainy Photos

Sat Jul 17, 2004 2:22 am

Stephen,
I'm no photography expert either, but it seems to me as though in the after shot, the aperture value was different to that of the first shot. Maybe if you tell us what camera/lens you have, we may be able to help a bit more!

As Hisham already pointed out: resolution has absolutely nothing to do with brightness! With a higher resolution, you will get better detail, and your memory card will fill up faster  Big grin.

Sebastian
I guess that's what happens in the end, you start thinking about the beginning.
 
TS
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Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2003 9:19 pm

RE: Problem - Grainy Photos

Sat Jul 17, 2004 2:31 am

Hi Stephen,

I'm afraid there's not much you can do about it. I used to have a Sony DSC-F717, which is still a nice camera, but I had similar problems. I like sharp photos. Yet, the more you sharpen them the more visible the grain gets. Some people use a software called Neatimage to reduce grain. I've tried it, didn't work for me.

Besides, I think we have become too spoiled in terms of image quality. Professional news photographers, whose photos get printed everyday in papers & magazines, would probably be amused about our discussions on USM thresholds & the like. They mostly use high ISO speeds, so their photos often have lots of grain. Does that make the pics bad? I really don't think so. The same goes for scanned slides.

Thomas
Even a broken clock is right twice a day.
 
planesarecool
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Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2001 12:37 am

RE: Problem - Grainy Photos

Sat Jul 17, 2004 2:36 am

Well the second photo was taken with higher resolution. I am using a Kodak DX3900. It's not a very professional one but it is digital  Big grin

-Stephen

P.S. I just submitted the following photo for MyAv. You can generally see how the quality on the aircraft is lower than it should be. I managed to fix up the sky a little.

http://www.airliners.net/addphotos/big/ready/Florida189.jpg

-Stephen
 
Karlok
Posts: 809
Joined: Thu Mar 14, 2002 4:58 pm

RE: Problem - Grainy Photos

Sat Jul 17, 2004 4:14 am

I think I get it, because you used the words after and before.
And the words resolution level in:
Well when i tried a few test shots in my garden, when i raised the resolution level it came out brighter:

Are you trying to change 'levels' in photoshop?



[Edited 2004-07-16 21:21:48]
 
planesarecool
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RE: Problem - Grainy Photos

Sat Jul 17, 2004 5:05 am

What have i said about photoshop? No, the first photo i took when the resolution level (ON MY CAMERA) was 0.0 and the second was when it was 2.0.

Karlok i don't really understand what you are trying to say.

-Stephen
 
Karlok
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RE: Problem - Grainy Photos

Sat Jul 17, 2004 5:10 am

Aha.. Now we now the problem.
With +2.0 EV (I guess) You are overexposing the photo with 2 stops. With this function you are not changing the image resolution.
To find the highest camera resolution, look for settings like. LARGE and/or FINE mode. I do not like to say it but... read the manual for changing image resolution, because every camera is slightly different.

And about the the photoshop level, it was just a guess.
 
planesarecool
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Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2001 12:37 am

RE: Problem - Grainy Photos

Sat Jul 17, 2004 5:25 am

I do not really know much about photography, but going down the options on my camera, are there any of these that could improve the quality?:

Sharpness:
Was on "Standard" other options were "Soft" and "Sharp"

ISO Speed:

Was on "Auto" other options are:

IS0 400
ISO 200
ISO 400

Shutter Speed
Was on "Auto" other options are:

0.7"
1"
1.5"
2"
3"
4"
6"
8"
12"
16"

Also, i apologize, i must have been thinking about something else. The setting that made the photo brighter when i took it again was "Exposure Compensation." Hmmm i could have sworn it said "Resolution" Embarrassment

-Stephen
 
TS
Posts: 717
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2003 9:19 pm

RE: Problem - Grainy Photos

Sat Jul 17, 2004 5:37 am

The setting that made the photo brighter when i took it again was "Exposure Compensation." Hmmm i could have sworn it said "Resolution"
These things are as different as Nikon & Canon ...
Even a broken clock is right twice a day.
 
planesarecool
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RE: Problem - Grainy Photos

Sat Jul 17, 2004 6:14 am

I know, I know. But what help is that to me? Geez if your not going to post anything helpful, then don't bother posting at all.

-Stephen
 
TS
Posts: 717
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2003 9:19 pm

RE: Problem - Grainy Photos

Sat Jul 17, 2004 6:21 am

I know, I know. But what help is that to me? Geez if your not going to post anything helpful, then don't bother posting at all.
"Geez," I'd read the manual first before asking stupid questions.

Thomas
Even a broken clock is right twice a day.
 
planesarecool
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RE: Problem - Grainy Photos

Sat Jul 17, 2004 6:26 am

FYI, there wasn't a manual that came with the camera, which, believe it or not, is why i am asking it here. I made a simple mistake, i am relatively new to advanced photography, and have been using disposable cameras for most my life. I'm just asking for some help and advice, and you're not giving me much are you.

-Stephen
 
hisham
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Joined: Fri Aug 20, 1999 11:32 pm

RE: Problem - Grainy Photos

Sat Jul 17, 2004 6:31 am

I have to agree with TS. This is not the place to learn the ABC of photography. I suggest you buy a book about the basics of photography and read your camera manual.

Hisham.
 
planesarecool
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RE: Problem - Grainy Photos

Sat Jul 17, 2004 6:46 am

Well excuse me for asking. Just because i *accidently* put "resolution" instead of "exposure compensation," you assume that i am stupid. I still haven't had an answer to my initial problem.

-Stephen
 
IL76
Posts: 2237
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2004 5:43 am

RE: Problem - Grainy Photos

Sat Jul 17, 2004 6:57 am

Hisham: "I suggest you buy a book about the basics of photography and read your camera manual."

I second that. The people here can explain you the cause of your problem, but if you don't know what they are talking about, what use is that? Do some self study in basic photography first; the internet and bookshops are filled with very good documention.

Eduard
 
LHSebi
Posts: 1007
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RE: Problem - Grainy Photos

Sat Jul 17, 2004 10:33 am

Hi Stephen,
Can't stay long, so just a quick tip. I would start by leaving all settings on auto, and begin taking photos...see how they turn out. Here is a quick explanation of what the settings do:

Shutter speed: The speed that the "film" is exposed to the light coming in from the lens. Longer shutter speed = brighter, more exposed image. The shutter speed options you have are in seconds.

Aperture: This value is the size of the aperture (duuh Big grin). The aperture is a little covering that determines how big the hole is, where the light comes through, to hit the film when the shutter opens.

ISO: This is basically the light sensitivity of the "film". The lower the number, the less sensitive to light the film is, ie: the longer the shutter speed needs to be to not be over-exposed (too bright). However, be aware that with a higher ISO speed, the picture becomes overall more grainy. I try to always shoot with ISO 100, to keep the picture as "grainless" as possible. For bad weather shots, you would turn it up maybe one or two notches.

About the sharpness here, I don't really know if I can be any help. As far as I know, "normal" point-and-shoot cameras do some processing in the camera (ie: sharpening, contrast, etc). I believe here you can decide whether you want the camera to do it for you, or if you want to leave it unsharpened to later modify it in photoshop. I would leave it on standard for now, and after experimenting a little, change as required.

Overall, just experiment. Try different things, and to start, try during nice weather/light. Don't try and begin with night/cloudy shots. I know it's hard to find sunny days in the UK  Smile.

Anyhow, I hope this helps a little, and if you have any other questions, just reply. I know I would have liked to have someone help when I started  Smile.

Greetings,
Sebastian

Edit: added some ISO info...

[Edited 2004-07-17 03:35:30]
I guess that's what happens in the end, you start thinking about the beginning.
 
Karlok
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RE: Problem - Grainy Photos

Sat Jul 17, 2004 2:56 pm

Stephen, we all trying to help you. But if you made a mistake before and still say it's the resolution, we a struggling with it. And did you ever mentioned before you did not have a manual.

i am relatively new to advanced photography, What you ask is not relative 'advaced', oke maybe for you it's advanced going from disposels to digital.

but to get the best out of your camera, I have to go with sebastion.
Leave your camera settings on auto, except for the ISO, try to use a low as possible. To reduce grain to less. And set your camera to the highest MP, it will decrease the number of photo's you can take, but it's the highest resolution
 
planesarecool
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RE: Problem - Grainy Photos

Sat Jul 17, 2004 4:50 pm

LHSebi + Karlok,

Thanks a lot, at least some people around here are helpful!  Smile

Karlok, i have tried to set it to the highest MP, however this does not make the shots less grainy, but makes them bigger, and the grain is more visable. Yes i know it's not really advanced, and i have had my digital camera for over a year, but before that i was either using disposable cameras (click, develop and throw away) or general cameras (Click, develop, use again). I am generally familiar with "advanced" photography,

IL76,

When did i ever say i did not understand what you are saying. Just because i said one thing instead of another.

-Stephen
 
LHSebi
Posts: 1007
Joined: Wed Jan 07, 2004 4:24 am

RE: Problem - Grainy Photos

Sat Jul 17, 2004 10:07 pm

Stephen,
Glad to be of some help. Since you have already tried setting the MP to the highest, try manually setting the ISO to the lowest number (probably 100 or 200 on your camera). Then, as I mentioned before, try shooting in good weather. It is more so the case, especially after processing (at least I have found this to be so), that the photo's grain becomes more visible in bad/cloudy weather. If the grain is still pretty bad in good weather, I am afraid you have reached the limitations of your camera (or I have reached the limitations of what else to try  Smile). Anyhow, let us know how the new pics turn out!

Sebastian
I guess that's what happens in the end, you start thinking about the beginning.
 
Karlok
Posts: 809
Joined: Thu Mar 14, 2002 4:58 pm

RE: Problem - Grainy Photos

Sun Jul 18, 2004 1:02 am

Stephen,

The reason to shoot in good weather is because of some reasons,

Low iso (less grain) speed is available, without dropping the shutterspeed.
With 'fast', shutterspeed you decrease grain in your photo.

And also, after your trip post-processing of your photo is needed,
Like, downsize them to 1024px wide, and see the grain is acceptable.

Kar-lok
 
planesarecool
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Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2001 12:37 am

RE: Problem - Grainy Photos

Sun Jul 18, 2004 2:10 am

Ah, yes, i have resized a lot of my very large and blurry photos and the detail at 1024px was quite good. Thanks for your help. I am off to Palma for a week now Big grin. Might take a few photos while im there/on the journeys (although the outbound is a night flight  Sad)

Thanks
-Stephen
 
Karlok
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RE: Problem - Grainy Photos

Sun Jul 18, 2004 5:19 am

Good luck! Also try all settings out, before you do serious work to figure out what they do.

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