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noise and blurring visible at 100% view

Hi Neil

I recently came back from Kruger and am very frustrated as many of my pics look terrible at 100% in Photoshop. (I also see some from my previous visit have the same problem). I don't understand as my iso is pretty low and the lighting good. Is it perhaps that if i increase my iso in AV mode, it reduces my shutter speed to too slow?


  • TrevTrev Moderator
    edited August 2015

    That's a mistake a lot of people make, viewing at 100% and thinking 'oh dear, look how noisy it is or it's not sharp or it's not right' when they will print no where near like that.

    You are looking at 100% pixels and if you look at that size you will see every blemish there is.

    Now, a test, look at the image on screen at 25%, then with a ruler (careful not to scratch your screen) measure the size. On my screen at 25% I have roughly a 12x18 inch size image, and at 100% it's a monster 30x40 which you would need to look at in perspective on a wall.

    The first image, fowls/trees, well the trees are sharp, but the fowls are not, but they are at the bottom, so I wonder where you focused?

    The second image, the elephant, it's not sharp, not bad mind you but for an edit it should be sharper. In fact many people look at a 'screen' sharp and wonder why it does not print right, it should look a tad over-sharpened in your editing software but it would print right.

    How did you edit it, and I think the settings are fine, you opened it up more to get the elephant more exposed but blowing the sky a bit.

    The 3rd image, the buffalo, same, slightly not sharp.

    I would shoot in manual, but hey, that's me, and not leave it up to the camera to choose.

    Would you mind sending the RAW of the elephant to me?


    upload to say MailBigFile or Dropbox, or if file is around 12-17Mb send email if your ISP allows file sizes that big.

    I would like to see the RAW and not edited just to see where you are at with it.

    Up to you.


  • You should be able to see your shutter speeds on these photos now after the fact. Can you take a look and report back? If you're in aperture-priority the problem is very likely your shutter speeds, too low. As you probably know, when you are in aperture-priority, you set the ap and the camera sets the shutter speed for the correct exposure.

    No, increasing the ISO will not cause your ss to go lower. The opposite will happen in ap-priority. For example, of you decide to shoot at f5.6 and your ISO is, say, 200. If you increase the ISO to, say, 400, you are now letting in more light and the camera will choose a faster shutter speed. If you were in ap-priority and chose a really narrow ap, say, f16, chances are good your ss was too slow, unless you were in bright sunlight?

    What was your ISO? If it's too high that will cause noise, as you know. Or, if the light was low that too can cause noise. Plus if the pix are blurring sounds like, again, you've got a shutter speed issue.

    The other issue could be lens flare. What were you shooting?
  • TrevTrev Moderator
    edited August 2015
    Looking again at the images, they are also flat, especially the buffalo, lacking contrast MH, and these were shot in fairly bright light considering the skies, background, so noise would not be a problem.

    As Skip said, raising the ISO from 200 to 400 (1 stop) would have made the shutter 1/800th instead of the 1/400th I see in the image.

    I did an edit (and a crop) on the jpeg of the buffalo which made it jump into life, just needed contrast mate, and a tad more sharpening.

    Remember, if you get good contrast that also gives the illusion of a sharper image, with definition of shape to features, like the nose, face, coat etc.

    Image attached.


  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    The blurring will most likely be due to your shutter speeds being too slow.

    This is a problem for many photographers who shoot in an auto mode - not keeping an eye on the shutter speed / aperture combination.
  • TrevTrev Moderator

    I know it sounds like I am harping on about your images, but unless things are pointed out, you won't realise, and it was not until I enlarged the elephant a bit I noticed terrible Chromatic Aberration on the edges.

    When you are in your Raw Convertor (ACR/Lightroom) go to the Lens Corrections tab, click 'Color' then tick the Chromatic Aberration box, but also I had to to a +9 on the 'Purple' slider at top to remove it altogether. Something to be aware of.

    Screen shots below indicate what I am talking about, first with Chromatic Aberration showing, 2nd with it fixed.


    Chromatic Aberration (purple fringing)

    Fixed via the Remove Chromatic Aberration with a +9 on the Purple slider.

  • Hi Mr Harrison: When I responded to you I was on an iPad and did not see that you'd posted photos and specs. Sorry, my questions must have seemed funny therefore. I see your pix now. 
  • First shot - The foreground birds are out of focus but the background trees/bush are in focus. I think you just missed the subject.
    Second shot of elephant - Salvageable shot as Trev demonstrated, although not very sharp. Lots of CA, but LR can handle that well.
    Third shot of water buffalo - Salvageable shot as Trev showed as well, and sharper than the elephant. However, the shutter speed is way too slow (1/60 at 300mm).

    A couple other observations:
    - The shots are from the Tamron 28-300 according to the exif. It's a convenient zoom (nearly 11x zoom range) and inexpensive, but there is a price to pay in terms of image quality with a variable aperture "superzoom" in terms of image quality. The elephant was shot wide open at max zoom (f/6.3 at 300mm) which is the lens' weakest setting. The buffalo shot was stopped down to f/9 and appears a little sharper (despite the slow shutter speed).

    - I can't tell from the exif how you were focusing or what you focused on. Single point, auto selection by the camera, continuous or single servo, focus/recompose or moving the focus point around, etc? Basically, how were you focusing these shots?

    - The color space on these JPGs is Adobe RGB which I would only recommend if you are very familiar with how the file will be used and that Adobe RGB is the recommended color space for the application. Otherwise, it should be sRGB. For web posting, sRGB is a must. For many commercial print labs, sRGB is also the way to go because that is what the equipment needs. [Note this is off topic since it won't affect perceived sharpness, but it could impact the color quality if the application was expecting or requires sRGB.]

    Hope this helps.
  • First of all, you guys are really good, and really helpful to those who ask for it. Even though I am not the OP, I have appreciated reading all the comments.

    Second, I know it's off topic, but I am interested in why the Adobe color space should not be used. If I should start another thread, please let me know.

  • TrevTrev Moderator
    edited August 2015


    Nope, I think that keeping it all together here will serve its purpose re Adobe v's sRGB.

    First up, many people think that by using Adobe RGB they are going to get the full use of all their colour since it's a wide gamut space, in other words, theoretically it's going to use *all* the colours available.

    However the world is geared towards sRGB (as Nikon Guy stated) in digital files, printing and the internet.

    Adobe RGB, unless you are printing your own images and know what you are doing you will end up with dull colours, it's primarily used in high end glossy magazine printing in the CMYK presses, but even now these days, you are getting very high end RGB digital printing presses without the extra costs of black inks.

    There are many 'colour spaces' out there, Adobe RGB/sRGB/Profoto RGB/Swop v2/Chromira (2004 Tune)/ColorMatch, etc.

    Profoto RGB is the widest gamut, and thousands of pros would use that, but they are also printing their own works with Printer Profiles, etc.

    If you take your 'newly created masterpiece and fantastic looking image' you have created on screen using whatever whacky profile used, to a photo lab, be it a cheap place, or a full professional lab, there is a 99.9% chance of it being auto converted to sRGB anyway and once again you would be left scratching your butt with both hands wondering WTF went wrong.

    Adobe RGB will not display properly, etc. on a monitor and unless you know what you are doing it will also screw up on the printing side.

    Regarding monitors, check out this site (long read, but verrry interesting with 'mouse-overs' on profile embedded images) regarding colour profiles for browsers: BROWSER COLOUR SPACE.

    Another thing about Adobe RGB people don't know is that when it's recorded in your camera, it actually 'squeezes' it into a smaller colour space first.

    Since Adobe RGB squeezes colours into a smaller range, the full range then represents a broader range of colours, and this is IF and only IF you then have the correct software to read it, otherwise you will have flatter/dull colours as I said above.

    Finally, there is absolutely NO discernible differences in print form anyway, so why go to all that trouble.

    There may be one or more people who will argue, but hey, I don't care, I repeat, for general purposes re printing, internet, sRGB is the way to go, so you may as well shoot with it, set up PS/LR with that colour space in the first place.

    Actually I just thought I would do a search and found a great article:  HERE and it points out that general monitors can only display around 97% of sRGB anyway, but, here's the kicker, those same monitors can only display around 76% of Adobe RGB, so what's the point unless you are in the high end printing, know your stuff, and are using $$$ Color Monitors worth thousands.


  • I started a response and Trev beat me to it with a very nicely written post. One minor thing to add is that if you shoot raw, the good news is that you can use whatever color space you want later - it's not baked into the file the way it is with a JPG. When you shoot raw and use Lightroom, it uses ProPhoto RGB internally and when you export the JPG (or whichever exported format file) you select the color space you want.
  • Great stuff you guys, thanks very much!
  • TrevTrev Moderator

    Yep, as Nikon Guy said re RAW shooting, thanks for that addition. :)
  • Thanks guys. Lot to think about. Trev, the purple fringing showed up when I viewed the elephant at 100% in Photoshop. Still frustrated that if part of the problem is shutter speed too slow, why does AV mode get it so wrong. I understand that you choose the aperture and the camera chooses the shutter speed. At 25% view the pics generally look great. Would everybody else agree with Trev when he says: That's a mistake a lot of people
    make, viewing at 100% and thinking 'oh dear, look how noisy it is or
    it's not sharp or it's not right' when they will print no where near
    like that?

    You are looking at 100% pixels and if you look at that size you will see every blemish there is.

    a test, look at the image on screen at 25%, then with a ruler (careful
    not to scratch your screen) measure the size. On my screen at 25% I have
    roughly a 12x18 inch size image, and at 100% it's a monster 30x40 which
    you would need to look at in perspective on a wall.
  • Not sure if I did the half depress the shutter and then take the picture. With wildlife, I think I click as fast as I can as I am scared the animal will move and I will lose the shot.
  • mrharrison1, you said, "Still frustrated that if part of the problem is shutter speed too slow, why does AV mode get it so wrong."

    Av mode is not getting it wrong. It's just taking the aperture value you selected and the ISO value, and calculating what shutter speed is necessary for a correct exposure.

    It doesn't know whether you are shooting a moving subject vs. a still life, shooting a wide angle vs. telephoto, on a tripod or handheld, etc. Going back to what Neil said above, it's still on you to keep your eye on the settings to make sure they make sense for what you are trying to achieve.

    On your water buffalo shot, that was at a focal length of 300mm at 1/60 s, f/9, ISO 500. For a living creature, at 300mm, handheld (even with optical stabilization), 1/60 is simply too slow. But the camera doesn't know it's too slow for your situation. For other situations, it might be fine (ie. still life on a tripod).

    In this case, to get the shutter speeds faster:
    * You could increase the ISO - the watchout is increased noise as it goes higher
    * You could open the aperture (lower f numbers) - a watchout is poor performance from your particular lens wide open at max zoom
    * Remove filters from your lens which cut light (like circular polarizers and neutral density filters) - you may not have had those on anyway
    * Get more light (likely not an option in this case)

    Looking at just the first two (messing with ISO and aperture), an option which would have given you the exact same exposure would be 300mm at 1/320 s, f/8, ISO 2000. Your 5D MkIII can handle ISO 2000 without a lot of noise, and plus, you can apply some noise reduction in LR after anyway. The 1/320 gives you a faster shutter speed more appropriate to your focal length and the fact you are shooting a living creature. The f/8 vs. f/9 doesn't do much, but gives you back a little more light so the ISO doesn't need to be even higher.

    Shooting at those settings, and paying closer attention to focusing would have likely delivered you a sharper shot.
  • What telephoto lenses do you people use? I also have a sigma 150-500 but it is pretty heavy.
  • The longest lens I have is the 70-200 but it's such a great lens. And I do mainly portraits, almost no wildlife or scenery so it's enough. I know you need a lot longer for wildlife. I can say this..... get the best quality lens you can. Go for quality over focal length. In other words, if you have to choose, get a better (usually more expensive) lens with a shorter focal length than a lesser quality lens with a longer focal length. A long focal length on a crappy lens will be a waste of time and money if your photos are soft. This is definitely where the phrase Don't be 'penny wise and pound foolish' comes into play.
  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    The longest I currently have, is the 70-200mm f/1.8 with an 1.4x converter. 

    The new Nikon 200-500mm f/4.5 - f/5.6 E VR lens looks interesting, and isn't crazy expensive either. 
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