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X-T4: Not sharp photos when light conditions is not very good. Settings to change?

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Posted (edited)

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Hi,

I'm new to X-T4 camera. I have only used it a couple of weeks. I have taken hundreds of photos with it so far but I'm not satisfied with the sharpness of photos and often the photos are rather dark. Those are the main problems I struggle with. Some photos in sunny clear sky can be good but if clouds and not so good light conditioins then the photed are not sharp really. OK but no wow feeling at all. I have Capture One 20 for Fujifilm and some enhancements with the RAF file can be done there later. But even in the RAF file when I zoom in in Capture One application I see the photo is grainy and not sharp. I took same photos with my iPhone SE 2020 gen. 2 (just some weeks old) and it is about same quality, often it can be better in my yes then X-T4 on mostly Auto settings. I know it is me that do not understand enough about basic photo fundamentals and settings that can be changed in X-T4.
So I try to learn. I have read the user manual for X-T4 and watched some videos and other stuff on internet to learn more. So far that is not enough.
I had a lemon X-T4 before and got a new from the reseller and this new one is better and have not the problems I struggled with when I had the old lemon X-T4.
- As I said I have for now most Auto settings in X-T4 (I have to start somewhere).
- I use lens XF 16-80mm F4 R OIS WR.
- I have set camera to fine (JPG) + RAW (RAF).
- ISO mode is set to continous and I use ISO autosetting for now set to min 160 max 3200 sensivity, with min. shutter speed 1/250.


I give some JPG sample files below and a link to original files (RAF and JPG) produces by X-T4 and iPhone SE2020 gen2 below also, it is a ZIP file:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1fbNBJo23XMyQe7qIV4m-rgxdyssYrWam/view?usp=sharing

If someone just could stear me in right direction I would really appreciate that. I have taken many many thousands photos with iPhones (with original photo app and also with the photo app NeuralCam when it start to be dark outside.

I have struggled with the X-T4 and tried to learn it for several weeks, first I had trouble with my X-T4 and struggled about two weks with it before I and Fujifilm support realised it was defect, then I got a new one and I have taken some wonderful sharp and nice photos with this new X-T4, in daylight and sun,  and have used it now for some weeks. But I struggle when light conditions are not so good, when it is clouds and strange light conditions the photos are sligtly blurry, not sharp and usually rather dark.
It must be light that is the main problem and I have probably not set the X-T4 properly for that. Remember I'm new to X-T4 so have patience with me. And I have been lazy using iPhoes before and almost always it is good enough quality for me (but at bad light conditions an iPhone can usually not produce sharp photos either as one can expect).

I took one sample photo with a flash I have (A1X) set to 5 on the 2-10 scale of flash brightness) and pointed the flah up towards the ceiling in my house and I think the grain was gone on the photo then when better light, reeasonably good sharpness.

1st photo (JPG) with X-T4, photo of books , taken without flash (same photo but RAF in ZIP file in link above).
2nd photo (JPG) with X-T4, photo of books , taken with flash (same photo but RAF in ZIP file in link above).
3rd photo (JPG) with iPhone SE 2020 3nd generation, photo of books , taken without flash (same photo but original JPG in ZIP file in link above).
4th foto (JPG) with X-T4, photo of a tree,  taken without flash (same photo but RAF in ZIP file in link above).
5th photo (JPG) with iPhone SE 2020 3nd generation, photo of tree , taken without flash (same photo but original JPG in ZIP file in link above).

Do I have to high demands what the X-T4 should be able to produce in photo quality?


Thanks in advance for any advice You can give me,

Bo

 
Photo 1: not really sharp.
 

Edited by bem

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Posted (edited)

2nd photo (JPG) with X-T4, photo of books , taken with flash (same photo but RAF in ZIP file in link above).

Photo 2: better sharpness.

Edited by bem

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Posted (edited)

3rd photo (JPG) with iPhone SE 2020 3nd generation, photo of books , taken without flash (same photo but original JPG in ZIP file in link above).

Photo 3: not really sharp but OK.

Edited by bem

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Posted (edited)

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4th foto (JPG) with X-T4, photo of a tree,  taken without flash (same photo but RAF in ZIP file in link above).

Photo 4: not sharp (clouds on the sky).

Edited by bem

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Posted (edited)

5th photo (JPG) with iPhone SE 2020 3nd generation, photo of tree , taken without flash (same photo but original JPG in ZIP file in link above).

Photo 5: not so sharp (clouds on the sky).

Edited by bem

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I am glad to hear your replacement camera is giving you better results.

Hmm, to start, make a couple of changes:

Turn off the setting for a minimum shutter speed. Set the ISO Setting in your menu to be the full range the camera can use and this may seem odd at the moment, but do not use Auto ISO for a while. (Your choice of limited ISO with a minimum shutter speed is what is causing the dark images.) Use 160-200 for bright scenes; 500-3200 for moderately lighted scenes, 6400-12800 for darker stuff. I skipped a few settings for a reason.

You have OIS turned on, so as long as you can keep the camera fairly steady you should be able to use slower shutter speeds which will give you brighter (and sharper images). For that lens, shutter speeds down to 1/50 should easily give you sharp images.

Turn on the histogram in the viewfinder/lcd display and watch it as you choose scenes to get images. That will tell you when you need to make adjustments to the ISO for a given shutter speed and aperture setting.

Find an easy to hold five pound (2.3 kg) weight and use it to exercise the arm/hand you use to hold the camera body. Really. Your holding hand will then become steadier.

If you have not guessed, I am pushing you towards using the camera In fully manual mode. It looks like once you see how the basic parts work together, you will be fine. Then enjoy the auto parts turned back on as you want.

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Posted (edited)

jerryy,

Thanks for the advices. I really appreciate it. I have figured out as You have given hints about that I need to use more and more manual settings. Just I do not know enough so far what to change and to what value (or range). But I will start with what You suggested. I suppose as times goes and I learn more bit by bit and with trail and errors it will be easier. I used shutter speed Auto before but then I saw an "expert" saying 1/200 or 1/250 would be better so I tried that (just changed to that). Maybe I should just keep it at Auto as I had? I have noticed on some fotos taken when rather dark out I get light trails. Probably because I was not able to keep the camera steady enough?
I will try what You have suggested. I will report back later.

Thanks again!

Bo

Edited by bem

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Just concentrating on three changing things at once is a lot. Shutter speed, Aperture and ISO.

For 'moving objects', setting a shutter speed and then not worrying about it any more -- changing aperture and ISO for getting the exposure. (racing, animals, etc.)

For 'motionless objects', setting an aperture and not worrying about it any more, -- changing shutter speed and ISO to get the exposure. (landscape, still life, etc.)

Hence the use the histogram approach. It tells you when you need to make changes to get exposure you want. It takes practice, it does. But it will get easier.

You can set the dial buttons to make it easier to change the Iso and shutter speed so that you do not have to take your eye out of the viewfinder. This may help.

Back in the film body days, some instructors would give their first lessons about how cameras and lens worked, then send the students out with the cameras loaded with ASA 200 film. The students would come back with very underexposed or overexposed images and be very unhappy. At which point the instructor would then tell them 'now you see why you need a light meter and cheat card'. :)

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11 hours ago, bem said:

I have not thought about a light meter, maybe I should get one?

/Bo

Uh, before you do that, try looking at how the histogram works: (it has essentially almost replaced the light meter for digital cameras.)

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/photography/tips-and-solutions/how-read-your-cameras-histogram
https://digital-photography-school.com/how-to-read-and-use-histograms/
https://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/histograms1.htm
 

Two ideas for getting to know shutter speed versus aperture...

1) Find something that you can get to move toward you, away from you and then across your field of vision, a vehicle, a bicyclist, a person, a wombat, whatever works. Set the ISO as I mentioned previously, 200 for a brightly lit area, 800 for moderately lit areas, 6400 if it is darker. Set the f-stop on the lens to be wide open (the smallest number). Now pick a shutter speed, say 1/60. As the item moves in the directions, take a photo, then increase the shutter speed and take another, etc., etc. After you have taken a few, stop and review the images. Most of these will look streaky or blurry. This is called motion blur. (Camera shake is similar but the comes from you not holding the camera steady -- or your tripod wobbles.) You will come to the ones where the motion becomes frozen -- no more blurring or streaking. This, and the shutter speed that is a little higher is what you are trying to find. Not all of the subject will be in focus -- this is because the lens' f-stop is wide open. Keep that shutter speed and begin to stop the lens down (change the aperture) until you have as much of the subject in focus as you want. Each time, look at the histogram. If the image is getting darker, then bump the ISO up to keep the exposure as you want.

2.) Grab some fruit and vegetables and make an arrangement out of them on a table. Set the ISO as mentioned before. Set the shutter speed to say, 1/100. Set the aperture to wide open. Start taking photos, stopping the aperture down each time. This time when reviewing, you are looking for the setting when the various items stop looking like colored blobs and more like what your eyes see -- an orange should have pores and be curvy, etc. Again, watch the histogram and if you need to, bump it up a bit.

I am hesitant to recommend a light meter, because most of them have cheat cards set for film, you would have to make adjustments for digital cameras. I may get yelled at for this, but ASA film speed do not directly match up with ISO speeds -- heck, for that matter, the digital camera manufacturers do not directly match up ISO speeds between each other.

Practise for a while and show us some good photos!

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Posted (edited)

I have set the camera so I can control manually:
- Shutter speed (with the backside wheel).
- ISO (with frontside wheel).
- Aperture (with frontside wheel, switching between ISO and Aperture by pressing on the wheel).
With Aperture to Auto I can also control Exposure compensation.

As I change values on these I can see how content in LCD and Viewfinder is affected.

I slowly start to really understand what these tings actually do.
 
One thing I do not understand is how I can adjust and adapt for a view that contain both bright and dark areas.
I can adjust so the bright area is fine but then the dark area is black. If I try to brighten up the dark area the bright area seems to be too bright. What is the trick, how do I adjust for this situation?

Some photos from yesterday evening when I was out in my boat. Very difficult conditions: clouds, I had sun almost in my face  to the destination (hidden in clouds) and reflections from the water to strugle with. I had to correct most of the photos afterwards in Capture One 20 for Fujifilm to get them look reasonably good.
I used manual settings and tried to adjust them as light conditions changed during the boat travel. Slowly learning how to handle the variois settings to my advantage but it is not easy in my opionon. One has to work enough here so one do not need to guess and fumble so much as I need to do now. I can start to see this cameras potential in hand of a good photographer. I have goal to take photos I'm satisfied with (good enough for me). I have the tools needed now (good camera and Capture One).

/Bo

 

Edited by bem

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Out on the lake on my way back to starting point where I had my boatrailer. Speed is almost 40 knots in this photo.

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