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Adele P.

XF 18-55 mm Motion Blur

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Hello!

I have recently purchased the XT-3 and it came with the 18-55 lens. I had read very good reviews about how this is not just a kit lens and that it's pretty sharp for a basic zoom. However, I have not found this to be my experience. I don't think that my copy has an issue necessarily, but that it maybe I'm doing something wrong or maybe the lens is just more sensitive in general. I took some good pictures with it, but a lot of the times they come out blurry or hazy. I took them hand-held, but I didn't move my hands nor the camera. The subject was not moving either. OIS was on, though I tried with it off as well.  They come out like my hand was shaking terribly, which was not. Also, this issue is prevalent in lower light conditions, indoors or when shooting elements that are slightly in motion- such as the sea. I know this lens is not supposed to be very good in low light, but it feels kind of disappointing that it's so sensitive and it doesn't make me want to take photos. Is it just not suitable for me? I wanted the flexibility of a zoom, but now I am rethinking everything and maybe I'll just get a prime, like the 23 mm f2. I am not really into post-processing very much and I prefer a crisper photo out of the camera. Could you please share your insights and maybe some settings tips, like, aperture, shutter speed or ISO?  I usually set the camera to "aperture priority" and automatic ISO and shutter speed. "Maybe I am missing something. I should mention that I come from an old Nikon DSLR system and I'm not familiar with Fuji. I am just learning as a kind of "upper beginner" in photography.  I mainly like to shoot landscape and street. Thanks!

I want to attach some pics, but the limit is only 0.98MB.

Edited by Adele P.

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Hi Adele,

The 18-55 is by no means a basic zoom. It is a very good lens, not like the “kit” lens we know from the DSLR times. I get very sharp pictures with mine. I think the first and foremost question is: what Shutter Speed do you have on the pictures that seem blurry ? Have a look and tell us pls. Also, is there perhaps a smear, a stain, like from a fingerprint, on the lens (look at both ends) or maybe even something on the sensor ? Do not tamper with the sensor, do not try to clean it if you don’t know how, don’t even touch it, you could easily damage it. Have your camera and lens checked in a specialist shop if possible. If you want to post some pics, you could put them e.g. on Flickr and post the link to them here. 

I am sure we can solve this and you will be very happy with your camera once we do, like the rest of us are. Cheers. 

Edited by George_P
typo

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13 hours ago, George_P said:

Hi Adele,

The 18-55 is by no means a basic zoom. It is a very good lens, not like the “kit” lens we know from the DSLR times. I get very sharp pictures with mine. I think the first and foremost question is: what Shutter Speed do you have on the pictures that seem blurry ? Have a look and tell us pls. Also, is there perhaps a smear, a stain, like from a fingerprint, on the lens (look at both ends) or maybe even something on the sensor ? Do not tamper with the sensor, do not try to clean it if you don’t know how, don’t even touch it, you could easily damage it. Have your camera and lens checked in a specialist shop if possible. If you want to post some pics, you could put them e.g. on Flickr and post the link to them here. 

I am sure we can solve this and you will be very happy with your camera once we do, like the rest of us are. Cheers. 

Hi, there!

Thank you so much for the reply.

I uploaded two examples on Flickr. Here is the link:

https://flic.kr/ps/3UtHG7

The photos were shot moments apart. The clear one was shot at 1/320 sec. f/6.4 34.3mm, ISO 1250.

The blurry one was at 1/20 sec. f/6.4 34.3mm, ISO 1250.

I think the shutter speed was set to automatic. I would really appreciate some shutter speed recommendations for situations like these- when the light is good and also when the light is not that good- for example, evening. I did not use the flash.

The sensor looks clean. I bought the camera recently and I looked at it carefully.

Thanks again.

 

Edited by Adele P.

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For the second one, ..., anytime your shutter speed is slower than the lens’s focal length, there is a pretty good chance of getting a little bit of camera shake — even a slight amount will show up in photos such as this one.

This is where having Optical Image Stabilization turned on will help steady things and give you a better chance of getting the photo you want. There is a switch on the lens that needs to be set to the on position in order for OIS to function — it can be easily turned off for times when you do not want it such as when using a tripod. Then, in the setup menu there is an option for you to choose how to engage the OIS ‘motor’. You can set it to be always on, which uses more battery, or you can set it to turn on only when you half press the shutter button.

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You are welcome. You say the second picture was taken at 1/20sec. The EXIF data on Flickr confirm that (1/18). The second picture looks so bright (and washed-out, without contrast, overexposed) because 1/20 combined with ISO1250 made it look that way. The floor is OOF but not blurry. The cat is blurry. Naughty cat. It moved ! The first picture is fine and I think there is probably nothing wrong whatsoever with your lens..

Thing is, 1/20 is definitely too slow to freeze even a slow movement of your cat. If you want to freeze movement, you should aim at shutter priority, 1/250 and more. 1/125 is OK e.g. for people posing and holding more or less still. You can set a fixed aperture (most Fuji lenses perform best around f4-f5.6 (in terms of sharpness), that should give you enough of a DOF to get most if not all of the cat in focus :). And use Auto-ISO. On your zoom lens your max. aperture depends on the focal length at which it is zoomed. A faster lens (means a lens with bigger aperture, like an f2 prime) and/or more light will help you to faster shutter speeds without having to crank up the ISO.

Regarding you being able to hold the camera steady enough, generally, for still subjects you should be OK with a shutter speed number double the focal length, e.g.1/125 for a 50mm lens, 1/200 for a 90mm lens, you get the picture. OIS helps (quite substantially) but only with stationary subjects. It can stabilize the camera, not the cat. For SS of 1/20 I would say you need a good technique even with OIS.

DOF: Depth of Field, OOF: Out of Focus. Read the manual again, you can find useful things there to help you. Good luck, have fun, let us know how you fared and definitely post some pics !!! Cheers. 

Edited by George_P
typo

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On 10/17/2020 at 11:03 PM, George_P said:

shutter speed number double the focal length, e.g.1/125 for a 50mm lens, 1/200 for a 90mm lens, you get the picture. OIS helps (quite substantially) but only with stationary subjects

 

I found this lens OIS quite lousy .  Very very far from the promised 4 stops.

https://www.imaging-resource.com/lenses/fujinon/xf-18-55mm-f2.8-4-r-lm-ois/image-stabilization-test/

Without Ois you need 1/125th sec for a 50mm lens, right ?  Ok, I agree. Then 1 stop gain means 1/60th .... 2 stop gain would mean 1/30th .... 3 stops 1/15th .... 4 stops 1/8th .  Right  ?

Well ..... forget it !   All the promised Fuji stop gains are blatantly overstated !  Particularly with the XF18-55 lens  the ois gain is quite limited in reality.  You can count on 1stop (always) , 2stops (shooting with care), 3 stops (seldom) .

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With auto iso set the max iso higher to 12800 as the X-T3 can handle high iso well. Perhaps open the aperture at the widest and focus on the cat's eyes. 

We all have scenarios, to shoot stills @ 1/20 with ~35mm. I would drop my shoulders, go gentle on the shutter release button at the top or bottom of my breath, and keep elbows closer to my body. If I can brace myself against a wall then it helps greatly. Shooting at low speed takes practice no matter what camera or lens. Once you understand the basic relationship between shutter speed, aperture and iso, with good camera holding technique you'd be so far ahead. However I don't shoot below 1/125 with my cat even if she is "still". At 1/60 I'm really pushing my luck, even if she is sleeping. BTW you have such cute cat!

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