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Thenewguy

My new Sony A6000 doing blurry and bad photos!

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Hey guys, first of all, sorry for the long post in advance but i want to detail explain my problem. My name is Stefan, i am totally new to the photography world and i’ve been using my phone for photos for years now. My Iphone 7 plus is been pretty good for the photos i want and need. It’s just the battery is bothering me, if I’m on a trip or vacation and want to use google maps for directions or something and snap some photos on the way, my phone battery is dead within 3 hours.

SO - finally I decided to upgrade and get a real camera, i wanted more quality photos with nice light! I did my research and for the quality and the price, the Sony A6000 seemed perfect for me. I bought it and it arrived few days ago. Lens is 3.5-5.6/16-50.

Every little free time i have when I’m off work, i snap photos all the time i watch videos on YT about the best settings, how to use it, when, what to do and all kinds of stuff.

Unfortunately, so far the camera has been pretty bad AND i know it’s not the camera itself, it’s me being a noob + probably bad settings and wrong modes that I’m using! I really need help with this so I decided to ask you guys for some help!

I’m usually shooting in Aperture mode, and some of my portraits are ok. The background is blurry and the face gets focused, that’s what i want and it’s ok. It’s just like the quality of the picture isn’t as good. But my main problem is blurry pictures when i take normal pictures of building and environment and other things that are not portraits!  What mode should i use when talking environmental picture? Or like picture of me and my wife standing in front of the building so everything can be seen good and not blurry?

Here are some examples of photos that i did last night with my wife at amusement park. Please review them and tell me what I’m doing wrong. I need help!

 

1. This is what i consider my BEST photo i took so far with this camera, it’s probably bad and that’s why i need advices. - https://ibb.co/M56tQML

( i used Aperture mode in this one for the lowest F3.5 - shutter is 1/6 and ISO 3200)

 

2. In this one i used intelligence ( the green one) - 1/8 - F3.5 and ISO 3200. This one is a decent photo for me, but still not great.

https://ibb.co/c6tgyHm

 

3. This one i used Superior + mode ( yellow one), 1/60 - F4 - ISO 160

https://ibb.co/qsPT3VV

 

4. This one is also Superior + the shutter is 1/160 - F4 and ISO 1600

https://ibb.co/4fpvwWd

 

5. Here i used Superior + again (1/8 - F5.6 - ISO 6400). https://ibb.co/8KwcMMz

I don’t  like this one, its blurry and its just bad. How can i fix this?

 

6. I used Aperture mode here ( 1/8 - F5.6 - ISO 3200). https://ibb.co/Mg8JBxK

I don’t like it at all, it’s blurry, it’s pale. Just bad.

 

7. I also used Aperture mode here (1/15 - F5 - ISO 3200). https://ibb.co/HXpD5VP

The face is blurry, the lights are blurry and i have a feeling that the photo would be better just by taking it with my phone. 

 

8. This one is really bad! I used Intelligence mode (1/6 - F3.5 - ISO 3200). https://ibb.co/cXNkFVY  

It’s bad. Blurry, washed out and pathethic!

 

9. This one is ok but the lights are blurry and they’re ruining everything good in the picture. 

Superior + mode ( 1/50 - F5.6 - ISO 3200).

https://ibb.co/M2qzPDG

 

10. Here i used Program auto mode ( 1/1000 - F5.6 - ISO 25600). https://ibb.co/bRTzFWL

I tried to use Shutter priority mode because of the fast movements and action stuff, but i failed badly so i just used Program auto mode. It’s bad and blurry as you can see.

 

And

 

11. Intelligence mode (1/15 - F3.5 - ISO 3200).

https://ibb.co/zZbst3R

It’s pale, it’s washed out and blurry. I hate it.

 

 

So as you can see. My photos are bad and they’re not as close as this camera can do. I think the camera itself is fine. It’s probably just me and my settings. I was trying to take picture with Aperture mode and i did ok with portraits but with did bad with everything else so I switched to intelligence and superior mode.

Also when i tried to used the shutter mode to capture action, the higher i ago the picture gets more dark. And the shutter mode is supposed to customize just the shutter and Aperture and ISO are supposed to automatically adjust to it? Or i do everything manually in that mode?

Here are some of my settings:

Image size is L24

Image quality Standard 

Image type JPEG

Aspect ratio 3:2

Focus area - Wide

Exposure step - 0.3

Smile/Face detect - On

Long exposure NR - On

High ISO NR - Normal

Steady Shot - On

MF assist - On

AF w/ Shutter - On

 

Does everything look ok in here? Should i change something and why?

I need all the advices and critics you guys can give me. 

I just moved from Bosnia to USA and bought the camera for 600$ and I’m kinda feeling bad a little bit because I’m not happy with the picture and the quality. I hope it gets better, i hope it’s just the settings and the way i take the pictures.

All comments are welcome, please consider that I’m new to all this and don’t throw big terms at me. 

Sorry for the long post and thank you in advance!

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With your shutter speed settings one must expect movement and shaking blur. Keep the shutter speed for moving targets shorter than 1/80s, better shorter than 1/100s. 

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Now go out during the day and take pictures with ligth to see how things are going to change (improve)

 

All of your pictures were taken at night with very little light so ISO was very high (some noise) and shutter speeds were way too long to avoid motion blur on the part of the photographer.

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Posted (edited)

As people above stated, with this shutter speed you should expect motion blur. Even if you're able to hold the camera steady enough for the stabilized lens to do it's job, your subject will have moved during the exposure, resulting in a blurry subject.

Ways to get a faster shutter speed is to use a larger aperture, a higher ISO or turn down the exposure compensation (or use a flash). With the a6000, ISO 3200 is just borderline usable so raising it further is not an option (higher ISO is generally preferred over motion blur but beyond 1600-3200 photo's become very grainy with washed out colors). Opening up the aperture is not possible with your lens so there lies a constraint. If you really enjoy shooting at nighttime, you should consider buying a lens with a large aperture (low f-number) such as f/1.8 or f/1.4. Such a lens would let in about 2-3 times as much light as your 16-50, allowing a shutter time of 1/20 sec instead of 1/8 sec. If you then turn down exposure compensation by -1 you end up with a shutter speed of 1/40 which should get you substantially sharper photo's (and some negative exposure compensation gets you photo's that were more as in real life than if you let the camera try to get an optimal exposure during nighttime imho).

With regard to large aperture lenses: here lies a bit of a dilemma for you: with photo 9 you complain that the lights in the background are blurry. Welcome to the world of photography with big sensors! By nature, when you increase the sensor and aperture size, the so called 'depth of field' will decrease: the perceived focus plane becomes thinner. This is totally normal and by no means a reason to dislike photo 9. If you buy an f/1.4 lens, you'll notice that the background will become even blurrier. If you really like nighttime photography and want beautiful sharp photo's of moving subjects, it almost inevitably comes at the cost of a blurry background. Get used to it and use it artistically to your advantage.

Addition: something you should know about your 16-50 lens is that it has a variable aperture (f/3.5 at 16mm to f/5.6 at 50mm). It lets in about 2,3 times as much light when using it at the wide end (16mm) than when zoomed in. Consequently, for sharp nighttime photo's it's best to use the lens at the wide end.

Edited by Pieter

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On 10/6/2019 at 6:25 AM, Olaf W. said:

With your shutter speed settings one must expect movement and shaking blur. Keep the shutter speed for moving targets shorter than 1/80s, better shorter than 1/100s. 

I thought with intelligence mode and superior mode, the camera should adjust itself for best quality and best settings for the picture. What mode should i use and what settings are the best for nighttime pictures? 

Thank you for the comment!

On 10/6/2019 at 9:31 AM, michelb said:

Now go out during the day and take pictures with ligth to see how things are going to change (improve)

 

All of your pictures were taken at night with very little light so ISO was very high (some noise) and shutter speeds were way too long to avoid motion blur on the part of the photographer.

I will try as soon as i have time. What is the best mode to use and what settings? Any advices for me?

Thank you for the comment!

On 10/6/2019 at 12:11 PM, Pieter said:

As people above stated, with this shutter speed you should expect motion blur. Even if you're able to hold the camera steady enough for the stabilized lens to do it's job, your subject will have moved during the exposure, resulting in a blurry subject.

Ways to get a faster shutter speed is to use a larger aperture, a higher ISO or turn down the exposure compensation (or use a flash). With the a6000, ISO 3200 is just borderline usable so raising it further is not an option (higher ISO is generally preferred over motion blur but beyond 1600-3200 photo's become very grainy with washed out colors). Opening up the aperture is not possible with your lens so there lies a constraint. If you really enjoy shooting at nighttime, you should consider buying a lens with a large aperture (low f-number) such as f/1.8 or f/1.4. Such a lens would let in about 2-3 times as much light as your 16-50, allowing a shutter time of 1/20 sec instead of 1/8 sec. If you then turn down exposure compensation by -1 you end up with a shutter speed of 1/40 which should get you substantially sharper photo's (and some negative exposure compensation gets you photo's that were more as in real life than if you let the camera try to get an optimal exposure during nighttime imho).

With regard to large aperture lenses: here lies a bit of a dilemma for you: with photo 9 you complain that the lights in the background are blurry. Welcome to the world of photography with big sensors! By nature, when you increase the sensor and aperture size, the so called 'depth of field' will decrease: the perceived focus plane becomes thinner. This is totally normal and by no means a reason to dislike photo 9. If you buy an f/1.4 lens, you'll notice that the background will become even blurrier. If you really like nighttime photography and want beautiful sharp photo's of moving subjects, it almost inevitably comes at the cost of a blurry background. Get used to it and use it artistically to your advantage.

Addition: something you should know about your 16-50 lens is that it has a variable aperture (f/3.5 at 16mm to f/5.6 at 50mm). It lets in about 2,3 times as much light when using it at the wide end (16mm) than when zoomed in. Consequently, for sharp nighttime photo's it's best to use the lens at the wide end.

Oh ok. I understand! But I thought the intelligence mode should adjust itself for the best settings? What mode should i use and what are the best settings for nightime and daytime photos?  I am going to Miami in a week and i will shoot tons of photos during the day and the night but I’m afraid they might be bad with intelligence mode and superior mode because it already happened with these photos.

What is your advice for me with this lens?

 

Thank you!

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1 hour ago, Thenewguy said:

I thought with intelligence mode and superior mode, the camera should adjust itself for best quality and best settings for the picture

Yes, but it can‘t do magic. Intelligent auto will work fine at normal (day) light conditions. But if it gets dark there are three parameters the camera can adjust - (open) aperture, (decrease) shutter speed and (raise) ISO (sensor signal gain). With your lens the maximum aperture is 3.5 (5.6 when zoomed, respectively). Since your lens is quite „slow“ (can‘t open the aperture very much) there are shutter speed and ISO left for adjusting. The max. ISO is 25600 I guess, but the photos will look terrible with this setting, because you get a lot of sensor noise and/or a lot of destructive noise reduction. So the ISO should be kept under 6400 (better 3200), but I guess the auto modes will go higher just to get a picture. But if it‘s too dark, even the highest ISO won‘t help to get a photo so the camera slows the shutter speed. This is not a big problem with static objects due to lens stabilization. But it is a problem with moving objects if the shutter speed falls below ca. 1/100s (the faster an object is moving the higher shutter speed you need). The auto modes can do a lot to get a useful photo under many conditions, but they can’t do magic, as I stated in the beginning. With a „fast“ lens (F2.0 or faster - faster means lower F numbers like 1.8, or 1.4)  the camera has more light for operating (F2.0 instead of 3.5 is about 4 times the amount of light reaching the sensor). In a lot of cases, when one has not much experience or can’t afford faster lenses it can be useful just to use a flash.

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Because my head is a mess and I am always thinking about something else, I set my camera to Auto ISO, f/125 and f/5.6 in M-mode. You are using 1/8 sec. A cyborg might be able shoot sharp at that speed hand held.
Not me or you.
In the situations where I have to freeze the movement, I go 1/1000. If I need 'bokeh' (and have on a lens that allows for it) I open the f–stop wide open.  Shooting with a long lens, stabilized or not, hand-held 1/500 is good. The sensor is doing OK until ISO 1600.

Of course, there are situations where I need longer times. Then I try to get suport from furniture, fences, trees or whatever is available.
A mono- or tripod works wonders for your picture sharpness!

This is a simplistic approach that works for an abent-minded guy like me.
With A6000 I was strugging with the autofocus. It turned out that my zoom lens was faulty. 
I do not have that camera any longer. Even the European Sony center is Sweden could not get it working properly except with manual focus lenses. My son uses them and is happy.
I recommend an upgrade to A6300 as soon as you have the possibility. 

Edited by martti_s
cyborgs!

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