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Digital Photography

Zoom Versus Camera Shake

SUMMARY: Why zooming into a picture may make your digital camera photographs blurry, and what you can do about it.

Does your camera have a zoom lens? If so, heed this warning.

The more you zoom into a subject, the more you have to take care in being still when taking your photograph. Zoomed lenses cause photographs to be very susceptible to "camera shake", which can result in very blurred images. And, unfortunately, your digital camera's picture preview mode, with its lack of detail, may not show that the photographs you took were blurred - you may only find out after you copy the pictures to your computer!

If you are taking photos in the daytime or in other extremely lit situations, you won't have to worry about this as much. The more available light, the less time the digital camera requires to take an exposure, and the less chance camera shake can affect the result.

However, if you are taking pictures of moving subjects or in low-light situations, you need to be careful to keep the digital camera as steady as possible, or use a tripod if available. Or, better yet, try to get close to the subject (as long as that is safe!) so you don't require zooming in so much.

In low-light situations, you may want to consider manually adjusting the shutter speed so the digital camera takes pictures more quickly. However, this can result in photographs with washed out colors, or completely blank images in extreme circumstances, so you need to experiment.

Return to the Digital Photography page.

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The MalekTips website was created in 1998 by Andrew Malek of Envision Programming. The page's goal is to freely disperse computer-related tips, hints, and informative articles. Tips are organized to be easy to find, and are presented clearly, in easy-to-understand language. MalekTips also provides information and links to public-domain, open source, freeware, shareware, and commercial software available for download.