Blurry film camera pictures

rgnyc1992

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Hello everyone,

I'm 29 and have been taking pictures (digital) for about 15 years. I recently purchased from eBay a Nikon FE and a Nikon AI 50mm f/2.
I just received my scans from my first roll (Kodak GOLD 200) and i'm pretty disappointed in the output. Most of the picture are blurry / out of focus. I know it won't be as sharp as my Nikon D7100, but I was still expecting better.

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the focus is on the window/green rug while I distinctly remember making it on the subject

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Here I'm disappointed in the overall sharpness, perfect light, probably shot at f/8, speed was 1/1000 I believe. Could it be the scan quality?

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similar story here: picture looks very soft. I was inside but lots of light and used f/2 so I dont believe the shutter speed was too low.


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this one just looked completely out of focus too. I know it was a little before dusk so not really prime lighting but I shot at f/2 so speed should have been okay

I was wondering if anyone had any idea why the pictures turned out like that. I thought about a couple of things:
  1. I think for the first one the shutter speed was maybe a little low, but I've been shooting pictures for a long time, so I thought I'd do a better job. Maybe I press the shutter too hard?
  2. Is it possible that the lab who developed and scanned my pictures did a bad job? My gf recently got her film (from an Olympus point and shoot) developed at another shop, and they turned out pretty good and some even sharper than mine (the average picture size for me was 900 KB while hers were 8 MB).
  3. Do you think either the lens or the body could be defective? If this is a possibility, I want to return the products fast.
  4. I tried to verify if the shutter speeds on the Nikon FE are accurate (by comparing with my D7100) and it's pretty much spot on.

Sorry the pictures are far from great, I was trying to get through the roll to see if there would be any issues with the camera...
My first incursion in film photography is being very disappointing so far, so if you have any idea, suggestion, tip I'd really appreciate it.


Thank you!
Remy
 
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vintagesnaps

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Could be scans, or that could be at least causing some of it. Could be lens being too open and depth of field too shallow. I see subjects/objects in focus but objects farther back or closer are out of focus. f2 doesn't give you much depth of field, and f8 probably wasn't giving you enough depth of field for that area of all those buildings from that distance. Same with f2 for that room size, not enough in focus at that aperture.

Maybe try some of the same subject from the same vantage point and try different aperture settings and see what you get. And maybe try the other lab. I've found it costs more to get higher res scans but depending on what it is, might be worth it (probably not for trying out the camera).
 

AlanKlein

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Which lab? What's the size of the scans? The pictures are very low resolution - why? Try a tripod. Try scanning same roll in another lab and compare. How much sharpness editing did the lab add.

The third looks like shake. The second city shot looks ok but too pixelated. What's the resolution of the scans? You posted 560x361 which is too small to see the pictures clearly. What's the size the lab provided? Why are you shooting at f2 with so low DOF?
 
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rgnyc1992

rgnyc1992

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Hi everyone,

Thanks a lot for the replies.
Based on what you said, I think I'm probably going to ask another lab to scan my negatives and see how it turns out.

@vantagepoint : I'll try and close down a little on aperture, maybe 2.8 instead of f/2 especially when I'm a little further away from the subject.

@AlanKlein it is a lab in Lower East Side/Chinatown called Eliz Digital. The size of the scan is 1545x1024 (resolution is 72x72). Most of the time I was shooting at f/2 to get as much light as possible as most of these pictures were not taken in full daylight + some of these pictures I wanted to isolate the subject with a low aperture.
First shot was probably shot at f/2 too.
 
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vintagesnaps

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I think you're shooting too open; f2.8 is still a large aperture. You'd need a much smaller aperture from that distance (the city scene) to get everything in focus; I'd probably be at f 16 or so. If you're outdoors that should allow enough light for a proper exposure, depends on what the meter indicates.

You should be fine outdoors using 100 or 200 speed film most of the time, but you might try 400 if it's cloudy/overcast so you can get shots at a smaller aperture. Indoors you'll need 400 and even that can challenge what a camera can do in lower light (in existing room light).
 

AlanKlein

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Hi everyone,

Thanks a lot for the replies.
Based on what you said, I think I'm probably going to ask another lab to scan my negatives and see how it turns out.

@vantagepoint : I'll try and close down a little on aperture, maybe 2.8 instead of f/2 especially when I'm a little further away from the subject.

@AlanKlein it is a lab in Lower East Side/Chinatown called Eliz Digital. The size of the scan is 1545x1024 (resolution is 72x72). Most of the time I was shooting at f/2 to get as much light as possible as most of these pictures were not taken in full daylight + some of these pictures I wanted to isolate the subject with a low aperture.
First shot was probably shot at f/2 too.

That's not a very high resolution scan. It's only a resolution of around 1.5 MB. But you should post that full size they gave you on the web not the reduced size of 560x361 which is a resolution of only 150KB - tiny. it's hard for us to see them. Too pixelated.

Note that a 50mm lens on a 35mm camera at f2.8 only gives you about 2 feet DOF at 10'. At f8, you get about 5 feet. Here's a good DOF calculator you can check these things. F/16 gives you more DOF, but you start getting diffraction issues and very small apertures.
Depth of Field (DoF), Angle of View, and Equivalent Lens Calculator • Points in Focus Photography{%22c%22:[{%22f%22:13,%22av%22:%228%22,%22fl%22:50,%22d%22:3048,%22cm%22:%220%22}],%22m%22:0}
 
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rgnyc1992

rgnyc1992

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@vintagesnaps So for the city I remember shooting with at least f/8 or f/11, so I'm a little surprised the picture does not look more in focus.
Most of the pictures I shot were outside or had good lighting conditions, as I wanted to avoid motion blur... I'm thinking that the camera or the lens may have a slight focus problem, but I'm having a hard time determining which one.
 
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rgnyc1992

rgnyc1992

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That's not a very high resolution scan. It's only a resolution of around 1.5 MB. But you should post that full size they gave you on the web not the reduced size of 560x361 which is a resolution of only 150KB - tiny. it's hard for us to see them. Too pixelated.

Note that a 50mm lens on a 35mm camera at f2.8 only gives you about 2 feet DOF at 10'. At f8, you get about 5 feet. Here's a good DOF calculator you can check these things. F/16 gives you more DOF, but you start getting diffraction issues and very small apertures.
Depth of Field (DoF), Angle of View, and Equivalent Lens Calculator • Points in Focus Photography{%22c%22:[{%22f%22:13,%22av%22:%228%22,%22fl%22:50,%22d%22:3048,%22cm%22:%220%22}],%22m%22:0}
This is why I suspected the scan initially, but after taking a closer look at the pictures, I'm thinking it's more a focus problem. Because even if the scan is not great, the picture should not appear out of focus, right? I don't have a tripod, unfortunately.
I tried the DoF calculator and for the last picture I should have had a depth of field of about 2 feet 5 inches, which should have been more than enough to have a portrait in focus. (distance of approx. 12ft at f/2 with a 50mm).

I uploaded the same pictures again below, but at full size.

000185530013.jpg

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000185530024.jpg
 

vintagesnaps

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Could be a combination of things... looking again at the city scene the buildings don't exactly look out of focus, just a little soft. That could be the lower res scan. The railing looks out of focus being in the foreground.

You might need to test shoot another roll, be aware of being steady, try varying the aperture, and try another place for scans. As I said, I've gotten higher res scans but it depended on what it was if the cost was worth it.
 

wfooshee

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First comparison you made was to the D7100, a 24-megapixel camera. Then you state the scans were 1545 x 1024, a whole 1.5 megapixels.

The "lab" doing your scanning is geared to Grandma getting copies of her pictures to pass around with Christmas cards.

A standard 4x6 print would still only be 1800 x 1200 at 300 dots per inch, so you'd want 600 dpi to get any useful resolution. If you want something that compares to the 24MP of the D7100, then a 4 x 6 would have to be scanned at 1000 dpi. Obviously they didn't even have 300. And their 72 dpi is just a number they threw out from their software. They probably even resized their scan to make a smaller file.

If you want to shoot film, look around for a good scanner. A film scanner, preferably, one that can take your developed negatives or transparencies directly, not a glass flatbed with media adapters. (A flatbed scanner cannot focus properly on the media. It just can't.)

OTOH, once you've scanned your negatives, you're in the digital realm, with all the color-matching and dynamic range issues you'd have started with in a digital camera. Still, film is fun to shoot, especially transparencies. Good slide film is amazing, but cannot be appreciated properly once digitized.

Just to show you how bad their scan is... Here's one of my favorite lightning pics I've ever taken:
51251881538_a8fc290e5b_5k.jpg


Here's a 1-to-1 crop of a "busy" section of the lightning:
51252727145_727cf2f2ab_b.jpg


Here's that same cropped section, but the resolution reduced from what could have been from a 24-MP image to what it would look like in a 1.5-MP scan:
51251683366_2826a24f07_b.jpg


See how much of the image is just no longer there? Your scans look soft, not because your pictures are soft, but because the scans absolutely suck.
 

jcdeboever

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Web scan size, your cheapest scan size. Scanning is where they make the money and trust me, as a 35mm film shooter, it is a rabbit hole. These look fine for what they are but could be much better with a real 4000 DPI resolution scan. If you don't believe me, have them done on a greater, true resolution scan and you will be shocked at the difference. I do my own on a Epson V800 and they are fine for web but anything else, not so much, the max or effective resolution is about 2400, they claim like 10,000... misleading to say the least. Not to mention the software (VueScan, Negative Lab pro) and the skill required to get a quality scan that can resolve a larger print. I like to print mine in the dark room and it really gets noticeable in this process. If you enjoy shooting film, understand this scanning process for 35mm PRINT film has its limitations. Personally, I think these are wonderful images that you should cherish and be proud of. If you want to know if you are technically doing things right with your camera, get yourself a lightbox and a loupe and it will confirm mostly what I see... you have ample skill. All you need to decide is what you really want and have the discretionary income to meet higher expectations. For a reputable lab with strong processes, like Indie Film lab, a middle tier scan with development is about $25 dollars per roll. A lab like The Darkroom charges about 15 for the same but they are night and day different. The Darkroom is 💩 compared. I can get some really nice scans for web viewing with my V800 and that is what I bought it for.

Here is a v800 scan of an image on Kodak p3200 pixel peep and embrace the grain. This image is tack sharp and printed in the Darkroom at 8 x 12 is glorious. The second is c41 Kodak portra 400 at 2400 dpi and it is a wonderful darkroom printed 8 x 10 image. Pixel peep will show the scan limitations but normal viewing looks fine in my opinion.
EMUMay2021P3200Tmax1-19Min100-400019E.jpg
Pelican BIF Portra 400 Min9 100-400.jpg
 
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