SX30 IS - focusing frustrations

Started Feb 22, 2011 | Discussions
Sphinx_man
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SX30 IS - focusing frustrations
Feb 22, 2011

Hi All - I've been trying to shoot some Plum blossoms and so far it's been a frustrating activity with most of the images out-of focus or 'mis-focussed'!!. It may be my inability and poor skills that are behind this issue. Appreciate c&c and advice.
Briefly: In the P mode, spot focus.

Img: 2453: My object of interest were the white flowers near the lens. To focus, I pressed shutter half-way, got the green auto-focus frame, checked to see the flowers looked sharp through the viewfinder and then pressed shutter all the way and you can see the disaster!. The flowers that I focused on and interested in were completely out of focus and instead the rock sculpture on the right and the the background seems to be sharper and focussed???. I wonder why it was so....

Img 2467: Here I was trying to focus on the flowers around 7-8 O clock position and after going through the focusing routine (above) this is what I ended up with!. Somehow the flowers near the 4- O clock position seem sharper instead of the one's I was focussing on!.

This is driving me nuts.

Please help, advice, suggest what should be done to improve my skill to get useful clicks.
Thanks
Sphinx

Charlie Tramp
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Re: SX30 IS - focusing frustrations
In reply to Sphinx_man, Feb 22, 2011

When an object is fairly close to the lens, there are several MAJOR contributors to this kind of problem:
1. ANY change in position can be detrimental. You don't have to be intoxicated

to weave back and forth just a little, which can throw out focus. This particularly
for macro shots.
2. Intervening objects (twigs). Remember the camera will focus on ANY strong

vertical high-contrast area within it's window. Actually, is there a spot-focus?
I thought it was spot exposure. I had better luck by reducing the size of the
focus window.
3. Viewfinder resolution - you may THINK it looks in focus and you have a
green square; but that green square can have found something other than
what you intended to lock into. This especially where macro-like conditions
occur.

4. Motion. Flowers are notorious for moving in a breeze. With a 1/20 shutter and
flowers that close, wind can be annoying. Camera has IMAGE stabilization, but
that only corrects for camera shake, not for moving objects.

I'd be guessing 3 and 4 had the biggest impact here.

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Sphinx_man
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Re: SX30 IS - focusing frustrations
In reply to Charlie Tramp, Feb 22, 2011

Thank you. Quite possible that any or all of the 4 issues that you have kindly highlighted came into play.....

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Gonzalo CHILE
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Re: SX30 IS - focusing frustrations
In reply to Sphinx_man, Feb 22, 2011

Sphinx_man wrote:

It may be my inability and poor skills that are behind this issue. Appreciate c&c and advice.

First of all, i want to congratulate you to do not complain about the camera and assume you part in the resulst. That's will make you better every day on this. (IMO)

I think the thing here is simple, i agree with Charlie , though.

In image IMG_2453 , the wind moved the already focused flower, but the slow shutter speed could not avoid this.

In image IMG_2467 , perhaps you where standing in a uncomfortable position and that's forced you to press the shutter too hard and that little camera movement got the image out of focus.

My advice is; make some test shots with flowers at floor height without wind. I assure you'll get great results. I have some experience with flowers, and the wind is the first enemy. I leave you an example to motivate you, bye.

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I'm the bad guy of the forum :D.

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treaks
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Re: SX30 IS - focusing frustrations
In reply to Gonzalo CHILE, Feb 22, 2011

I highly recommend using the 2 second timer. Much of the camera shake can be attributed to pushing the shutter button down. Try it!

Treaks

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Gonzalo CHILE
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Re: SX30 IS - focusing frustrations
In reply to treaks, Feb 22, 2011

mmm, in those 2 seconds too much things (wind) can happen. Unless you have a tripod an a flower indoor.

treaks wrote:

I highly recommend using the 2 second timer. Much of the camera shake can be attributed to pushing the shutter button down. Try it!

Treaks

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I'm the bad guy of the forum :D.

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CFB
CFB
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Re: SX30 IS - focusing frustrations
In reply to Sphinx_man, Feb 22, 2011

Sphinx_man wrote:

Briefly: In the P mode, spot focus.

Have you tried macro mode? I assume that the SX30 IS has a macro mode. If so, I wouldn't expect it focus on something far away.
--
Colin

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Sunflower6
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Try macro mode.
In reply to Sphinx_man, Feb 22, 2011

With macro mode and a little zoom, you'll have better luck getting your focus locked.

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Gonzalo CHILE
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Re: Try macro mode.
In reply to Sunflower6, Feb 23, 2011

Sunflower6 wrote:

With macro mode and a little zoom :|, you'll have better luck getting your focus locked.

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dolphinaid
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Re: Try macro mode.
In reply to Sunflower6, Aug 21, 2011

Hi! You mention the macro mode. You know, I have tried every way I cold think of to be able to take macro pictures with this camera. I have been doing photography for many years and have two other cameras that do a beautiful job. But I have found that the SX30is doesn't take ANY pictures in-focus that are not very far away! I can't even get an in-focus picture of a group of people standing in front of me, which should be easy for a point-and-shoot (without any sort of zoom in the process). I am starting to wonder if my camera really is defective? I have even had it on a tripod and it was taking very grainy, very out-of-focus pics.

Ideas anyone...? Thx!

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I2K4
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Re: SX30 IS - focusing frustrations
In reply to Sphinx_man, Aug 21, 2011

You got some good advice about using a tripod for long exposures, but I didn't see "Manual Focus". As owner of an SX10 (not SX30) I'm not wild about the dodgy little ring mechanism as a Manual Focus tool, but it will work and of course you will want to set Focus Check (magnifies the focus box) as your Review Info mode when you find yourself in these setups. That way, you take a bad shot but fix the next one with that unacceptably dodgy little manual focus ring.

Re Macro Mode, I can't speak to what Canon did with the SX30 except that I've learned it eliminated the old "SuperMacro" mode that worked so well on earlier versions. Like you, I've never been able to "master" ordinary Macro mode on my cameras, if it is humanly possible, but SuperMacro on my S5is and SX10is surprises me with how good it is, when I want that kind of shot. "SuperMacro" apparently disappeared either in the SX20 or SX30.

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Dale Buhanan
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Re: Try macro mode.
In reply to dolphinaid, Aug 21, 2011

The SX30 is capable of focusing so close that the subject can touch the front of the lens in macro mode. However, the macro mode will only work at the wide end of the zoom. With mine, I can put it in macro mode at the wide end and focus on one of the keys on my keyboard and get so close that the key will touch the front of the lens. It explains this in the manual.

At the tele end, macro mode does not work. It only works at wide and with a tiny bit of zoom, then it quits.

dolphinaid wrote:

Hi! You mention the macro mode. You know, I have tried every way I cold think of to be able to take macro pictures with this camera. I have been doing photography for many years and have two other cameras that do a beautiful job. But I have found that the SX30is doesn't take ANY pictures in-focus that are not very far away! I can't even get an in-focus picture of a group of people standing in front of me, which should be easy for a point-and-shoot (without any sort of zoom in the process). I am starting to wonder if my camera really is defective? I have even had it on a tripod and it was taking very grainy, very out-of-focus pics.

Ideas anyone...? Thx!

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kind regards
Dale

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dolphinaid
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Re: Try macro mode.
In reply to Dale Buhanan, Aug 21, 2011

Wow, so it sounds like macro really IS possible with the SX30is! I will be contacting Canon's technical support again tomorrow, so that we can go through all of my settings and make sure it may really just be a lemon that I have... I mean, I can't get anywhere NEAR anything for it to focus. Doesn't seem right to me. I am so happy to hear that it SHOULD be working, thank you!!

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Dale Buhanan
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Re: Try macro mode.
In reply to dolphinaid, Aug 21, 2011

I hope I have helped you. If your camera is working properly, when you turn on the macro mode 'flower', you will see a flower appear at the top of the LCD screen. If the camera is zoomed fully wide you will see a tiny little scale at the top of the LCD that shows 0 to 19.6 inches as the range of focus that you have, and the flower will be white.

If you zoom out just barely and up to 135mm the flower will stay white (macro mode) but the range will change to 11.8 to 19.6 inches. It will not focus closer than 11.8 inches or further than 19.6 inches all the way from about 28mm to 135mm. If you zoom out further than 135mm, you will see the flower turn grey, which tells you that macro is no longer active and won't work.

Try playing around with your camera and see how it behaves. If it does what I have just told you, then it is OK. If it won't, then time to call Canon. Best of luck. But remember, no macro capability above 135mm.

dolphinaid wrote:

Wow, so it sounds like macro really IS possible with the SX30is! I will be contacting Canon's technical support again tomorrow, so that we can go through all of my settings and make sure it may really just be a lemon that I have... I mean, I can't get anywhere NEAR anything for it to focus. Doesn't seem right to me. I am so happy to hear that it SHOULD be working, thank you!!

-- hide signature --

kind regards
Dale

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Charlie Tramp
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Re: SX30 IS - SuperMacro
In reply to I2K4, Aug 22, 2011

Canon didn't actually remove supermacro mode, but they changed it's activation. If you are in macro mode AND full wide, then it's implicitly active and works just like the previous supermacro modes.

The difference is that, the instant you advance from the 24mm wide, it automatically reverts to standard macro mode, and the 0cm distance no longer functions, unlike the previous supermacro's that restricted the use of the zoom when activated.

What is disappointing is that, while the previous S3, S5 had 36mm at the wide end and worked well for macro, now the 24mm supermacro is really too wide for getting any magnification. One of the Raynox series (DCR-150 or 250) may be needed if you really want macro; but that's an extra lens to carry around.

PS - if you DO go for the Raynox ones, many who have tried both imply the 150 is more than adequate; the 250 magnifies much more but is really touchy to use and almost mandates a tripod and/or focus rail.

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Pete_S
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Re: SX30 IS - focusing frustrations
In reply to I2K4, Aug 22, 2011

I2K4 wrote:

You got some good advice about using a tripod for long exposures, but I didn't see "Manual Focus". As owner of an SX10 (not SX30) I'm not wild about the dodgy little ring mechanism as a Manual Focus tool, but it will work and of course you will want to set Focus Check (magnifies the focus box) as your Review Info mode when you find yourself in these setups. That way, you take a bad shot but fix the next one with that unacceptably dodgy little manual focus ring.

It's often easier, once in manual focus mode, to get it roughly correct with the "dodgy ring mechanism" then fine tune it, with magnified view engaged, by physically moving the camera towards and away from the subject. It's better this way because it's easier to home in on the correct focus point.

Generally, for macro, the SX30 really works only at widest angle and at maximum zoom, where the minimum focus distance actually comes down compared with lower zoom settings.

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I2K4
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Re: SX30 IS - focusing frustrations
In reply to Pete_S, Aug 22, 2011

The CHDK developers did a wonderful thing for the S5, a tweak to replace the "omni" MF control by using the Zoom rocker. I was hoping they would do the same to replace that control wheel on the later models, but they never have. Using MF on the old S5 using that rocker is much surer than the herky-jerky wheel on my SX10, even with the inferior EVF resolution. From what I've read, Canon has not done much on later models, if anything, to refine the action of the control wheel.

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Pete_S
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Re: SX30 IS - focusing frustrations
In reply to I2K4, Aug 22, 2011

I2K4 wrote:

From what I've read, Canon has not done much on later models, if anything, to refine the action of the control wheel.

Canon don't seem to know what to do with it. On the sx30 it's stepless. On the sx210 it's got steps. Go figure

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