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Blurred Photos

edited June 2012 Posted in » Nikon D5100 Forum
Hi, I've had my new D5100 a couple of weeks now and I'm testing it out. Previously I owned a D3100 and had spectacular results. I knew my way around the camera and its settings, however all the shots I have taken with the D5100 with 18-55mm and 55-200mm lens have been really disappointing. Sometimes when out shooting I will get random blurred shots even though camera says all in focus, and many of the shots when viewed back on the PC lack focus and sharpness. Do you think it's possible I have a duff camera ? Any other ideas if I am doing something very wrong?


  • edited June 2012
    I also need to know this because many of my pictures are blurred. Is there a software that can fix blurred pictures? Thanks.
  • edited June 2012
    I'm using D5100 and 18-55mm VR kit lens. First, you can use photoshop to fix blurred shot. Is your hand shaky when you take a shot? Sometimes too much shake will be blurry. I usually take shots in focus mode AF-S, then, if I need only 1 subject to be focused I use single-point AF. When 2 or more subjects, I use auto-area AF (faster and quicky setting), and I increase the aperture (for clearer surroundings) and put ISO around 400 (depends on situation). Lastly, if you can lean, lean on something while you take a shot. If you have steady hands like me, I just stand and put my elbows near to each other and take the shot.
  • edited June 2012
    Guys another reason for blurry photos is the shutter speed is below 1/60th of a second. When hand holding this can cause blurry shots because the shutter speed is too slow, so always make sure when you half press the shutter button that you take note what your shutter speed is. If your hand holding, your shutter speed should be 1/60th or higher; that is a quick enough speed to stop any hand shake (that's what I've been taught anyway). If your using a tripod it shouldn't matter what your shutter speed is...hope this helps.
  • edited July 2012
    Great advice. I often find myself holding my breath trying not to move if I don't have something to lean on.

    Can the blurring be fixed in Photoshop Elements 10? If so, please let me know how to fix.

    Well, time to take more pictures! Thanks again.
  • edited January 2013
    I bought a Nikon D5100 for Christmas, and noticed that picture details were blurry.

    I initially thought it was me as this is my first DSLR, until I took some shots with my trusted 8 Megapixel Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX55 Camera and noticed I was getting sharper pictures compared to the D5100 which is 18 Megapixels.

    While researching the internet, I did everything you could do to rule out user error (ensuring camera mode was on auto, taking pictures on a tripod, using a delayed timer to rule out user shake).

    I was also advised it might be a lens issue. The camera came with the standard kit lens 15-55mm, which I said was unacceptable as I'd paid over £400 for it, and was getting better pictures from a point and shoot camera which cost less than a third.

    I finally persuaded the vendor (CURRYS) the camera was not fit for my purpose, and arranged an appointment to take the camera back to a store where there was a camera expert to inspect the camera.

    I showed him the sample shots I'd taken, which apart from the pixel variation, showed the FX55 consistently produced sharper pictures.

    He took a few shots and agreed he would have expected sharper pictures from such a DSLR. He also took picture on another D5100 he had on display, and it also produced the same blurry shots. He then took pictures on the Canon entry level 1100D, 600D and 650D, and the difference in sharpness compared to the Nikon D5100 was impressive.

    He admitted he was shocked as he had over 30 years experience in using and selling cameras and would not have expected such a difference between the Nikon D5100, and the Canon 1100D (which he classified as an entry level DSLR), or the Canon 600D which he classified as being the equivalent of the Nikon D5100.

    He agreed the camera was faulty, but was not sure if it was a batch issue as the one in store also produced blurry shots, or a QA issue, but they offered me an exchange so I paid the extra and went for the Canon 650D, which I'm very impressed with.

    I'm posting this entry as it may help other people in a similar situation. I now have nothing but praise for CUURYS after nearly resigning myself to the fact that I may have to sell the camera and return to the latest model of my trusted FX55.
  • edited January 2013
    Be sure that on the lens VR and AF is switched to on.
    You have to use a minimum shutter speed which is equal to the focal length. For example, for 100mm focal length the shutter speed is a minimum of 1/100. On 145mm the shutter speed is a minimum of 1/145. On the D5100, which is an APS-C sized camera, you have to count with 1.5 multiplication factor. It means when you are on the focal length of 100mm it is equal to 150mm (100x1.5), so you have to use a minimum shutter speed of 1/150.
    Or on 200mm focal length the minimum shutter speed is 1/300 (200x1.5=300). This will most likely guarantee sharp images if you shoot handheld.
    The longer the focal length the more the camera will be sensitive to handshake. When you use your 55-200mm, you really have to pay attention to the shutter speed. To set desired shutter speeds, you have to raise the ISO when it is necessary. A tripod is also recommended.
    Try the Shutter priority mode (S on mode dial) and see if my advice can help.
    Happy shooting!
  • edited January 2013
    An old rule of thumb regarding hand holding a camera is 1/the focal length of the lens. In other words, if you're shooting with a 55mm lens, 1/60 of a second is the slowest shutter speed you want to use to avoid blurry photos due to hand shake (200mm use 1/200 or faster.

    Edit: I see szlaszlo07 already touched on this in his excellent reply, my apologies.
  • edited February 2013
    I have been traveling since October 2012 and having purchased a D5100, my first Nikon, I am seriously disappointed. The images are always dark, requiring editing of every photo! Not only is the Nikon poor, I also purchased a Tamron 18-270mm lens and this has been a nightmare. It was always stiff on zooming and finally it jammed. I had it checked out and the mechanism is broken. Now it can only manually zoom! In addition, the auto focus only works sometimes. The kit is still under warranty, but trying to get any help from anyone is impossible. Either that or they need the lens for 2 to 3 weeks which is hopeless if traveling. I will seriously think of off loading this camera on my return which is not until May when the warranty will have expired!
  • The D5100 is a great camera. I have never had issues with blurry images! A book like Nikon D5100 From Snapshots to Great Shots will help you guys.
  • edited February 2013
    I also use a D5100 that I purchased about three months back. I don't face any such problem of blurry images. You just have to make sure that the VR switch on the lens is on and wait for fraction of a second after half pressing the click-button for focus to set. More than 90% of the time you get a crisp picture.
  • edited February 2013
    I'm semi-new to photography but not at all new to building a stabilized position to shoot from. Reducing vibration can also be done with your body. Tucking your elbows as people have suggested is actually so that your triceps are resting on your body rather than flailing about. Though it is not quite a tripod, you can make yourself into one essentially. Support your shot naturally, whether tucking your elbows, setting your elbows on a table or ledge or leaning the hand holding the lens against a wall, etc. There are lots of ways to support your shot and make it more stable just with your body.

    Also, for those long range shots, watch your breathing. Take the shot on your natural pause (right after you exhale and right before you inhale). Let the air out, pause, shoot and breath back in. Just other ways to reduce movement in critical shots requiring you to be still.
    Can you tell I traded my long rifles for lenses? :)
  • edited March 2013
    I'm getting the blurring problem too, even with a tripod and VR and AF turned on. Is there a way to post pictures here? here's a link to Flickr:

    Note: The photos of the creek were done on a tripod.
  • @Slipperman - I took a look at your creek photos and it appears the D5100 focused on the weeds in front of the creek, thus throwing the background slightly out of focus. If you blow up the (Creek_ 008_09_10_HDR3) image, you'll see what I'm talking about. In this particular situation, I would've enabled the center focus point and locked focus on the creek itself.

    As for VR, it needs to be disabled when you have the camera mounted to a tripod. Hope that helps and happy shooting! :)
  • edited March 2013
    @Moose thanks for the info. What about the mountain pictures? Did they have the same issue? Was it incorrect depth of field, or maybe I didn't have a powerful enough zoom lens to properly focus on something that far away (I have the basic 18-55mm).

    As far as honing in on that single point focus, what focus settings would you suggest (focus mode, area mode)? Do you normally use the viewfinder or the display monitor to compose the shot?
  • @Slipperman - For landscapes, I would set your focus type to Single-point AF and your focus mode to AF-S. This will allow you to select the desired focus point and then lock focus once the shutter button has been half-pressed.

    For controlling depth of field, shoot in Aperture priority and go with an aperture above f/8 for landscapes.

    I normally use the viewfinder, focus is a bit quicker than when using 'Live View' mode.

    Happy shooting!
  • edited March 2013
    @Moose getting back to the creek picture, I understand what you mean when you say to set the focus on the creek instead of the weeds in front of it, but what if I wanted the entire picture to be focused? Right now the trees and bushes in the background are quite fuzzy when they're not particular that far behind the creek. Wouldn't the same thing happen when single focusing on the creek? Is this where metering mode comes in (in this case Matrix)?
  • @Slipperman - Metering controls the exposure (brightness/darkness) and not the sharpness of your shot.

    Aperture is what controls the depth of field (area in focus). Higher f-numbers will lengthen the depth of field so that more of the scene is in focus. However it has it's limitations, especially when you have a prominent your case it's the weeds in front of the creek.

    When you need everything from the foreground to the background to be in razor sharp focus, pro landscape photographers use a technique where by taking two shots (on a tripod) of the same scene.

    The first shot is focused on the foreground elements and the second shot is focused on the background. You then blend the two images together in photoshop so that you're using the sharpest parts of both images.

    If that sounds like too much work for you, then make sure your landscape shots don't include subjects directly in front of you, within say 10 feet of where you're standing.

    Also, if you're using a tripod then I would make sure that VR is turned off, the ISO is set to 100 and you're utilizing the self-timer to keep your hands off the camera during the shot.

    Hope that all makes sense and happy shooting! :)
  • edited July 2013
    I'm having massive problems with blurred pictures. Do I do what Mike_Montego has done and take it back? I have also bought a Nikon P510 and I have taken some amazing shots, so it's not the nut behind the lens that needs adjusting. Help!
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