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Olympus OM2n - Photo Blur


jimnorwood
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Hi

 

I gave my daughter an OM2n as a present. The first film developed seemed fine with one or two pictures that looked out of focus. I presumed this was due to her learning how to focus properly. However she's had two further films developed and in each there are a number that are blurred. The odd thing is that some taken at the same location are perfect and other not.

 

She wasn't using aperture priority but manually setting aperture and exposure using the OM2 light meter. I noticed the 500mm lens did have some bloom but I wouldn't expect this to effect the full photo ? I´ll post some examples. To me they look over exposed and washed out. So I am suspecting that this is due to the settings rather than a hardware fault ? I'm interested to know your opinion.

 

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000660080035.thumb.jpg.36cab568bf71a14b8f0103c7747ec2d9.jpg

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The first photo and last one of the building look reasonably sharp to me. The second photo with the sheep looks like there is some motion blur from using too slow of a shutter speed. I would say focus is off in the others due to user error, though as mentioned, the focusing screen could be off. You can also verify correct focus by holding the shutter open on Bulb and placing a groundglass at the film plane, then checking with a loupe.

 

The OM-2's "off the film" auto exposure system was known to be quite accurate, but keep in mind that these cameras are about 45 years old now. If she's using manual settings, try checking against a reliable hand-held meter or another camera.

 

Using a lens hood in strong lighting conditions is also a good idea, if she doesn't have one already.

Edited by m42dave
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As nothing in those photos is in sharp focus, I'd take a hard look at the lens. That, and I'd make sure that the focusing screen is properly seated.

Thanks for your help. Appreciated. Here are some from the same roll that look fine. Same lens. Sorry for the multiple sheep pictures ! If the focusing screen was off would this effect all photos ? The last looks quite washed out to me.

 

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000660060026.thumb.jpg.e2d50bd85fc00958f639e43b2797011e.jpg

Edited by jimnorwood
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I think there are several things going on here, all contributing to the blur.

 

1st shot of the couple on a rock is slightly back-focused. The waves behind the couple are pretty much in focus and the foreground not so much.

 

2nd shot of sheep has camera shake. The camera was moved during the exposure and too slow a shutter speed was chosen. It's difficult to tell about the focus due to the shake, but the lens appears to be focused just beyond the water trough.

 

3rd shot of the guy holding a card is just plain all out-of-focus, with the lens focused far too close.

 

4th shot also appears to be focused closer than the subject and also has some camera shake.

 

5th & 6th shots are focused on the foreground. 7th shot appears to be focused on the castle, but looks like the lens might have been misty or fingerprinted.

 

All of the above shots have a very shallow depth-of-field, indicating that the lens aperture was too wide for what looks like bright daylight. I suspect that the aperture of the lens might be sticking and not closing down quickly enough, if at all.

 

8th shot has camera shake again.

 

9th and 10th shots actually look reasonably sharp. But overexposure, due to a 'sticky' aperture iris will reduce sharpness and cause the highlight colour to be washed out.

 

So check that the lens iris is operating smartly. It should close down almost instantly when the shutter is fired.

 

The iris obviously isn't the cause of missed focus or camera shake though. That's user error, which can only be corrected by practise.

 

Quite honestly, film is the worst possible medium to learn camera skills with, because there's no instant feedback, and it's time-consuming and expensive to try out which settings and techniques work, and which don't.

 

Whereas the instant feedback of digital photography quickly shows what works and what doesn't. Film is no key to 'proper' photography. In fact it's a distinct hindrance to a beginner.

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While I agree with Rodeo Joe, I'll add that the OM-2n and 50 either 1.8 or 1.4 are a sharp combination. So I'll add a couple of things. Does your daughter wear glasses and if so was she wearing them when she was snapping pix? She might need a diopter correction lens so that things are sharp in the viewfinder when she focuses. Is she punching the shutter button or gently but firmly pressing it, like shooting a rifle? As far as exposure....is the battery fresh? Did she have exposure compensation on? Lastly, did she read the user's manual from cover to cover? And yes, I would check the lens, but the Zuiko lenses typically last forever (at least the ones I've owned) and rarely fall out of whack. Keep encouraging your daughter so she gets to the point where she lovs the camera and shooting with it.
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Thanks so much [uSER=2403817]@rodeo_joe|1[/uSER] and @SCL

 

I’ve sent your comments to my daughter.

 

One question about the iris. As she was taking these shots in manual mode (not aperture priority) wouldn’t the iris be closed down as soon as she manually sets it ? So to check this she just needs to stay in manual mode and make sure the Iris adjusts as she sets different f stops ?

 

I’m a bit worried that the fingerprinted castle shot might be caused by the lens bloom I mentioned although this is on a small part of the lens glass.

 

She’s 21 and had perfect eyesight ! I suggested she replace the battery as you suggest.

Edited by jimnorwood
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One question about the iris. As she was taking these shots in manual mode (not aperture priority) wouldn’t the iris be closed down as soon as she manually sets it ?

No. All modern (post 1960s) SLR cameras have an auto iris that stays fully open until the instant the shutter button is pressed. Then some kind of mechanical or electrical coupling between lens and camera-body causes the iris to rapidly close to the set aperture. Or it should.

 

Many old lenses have a migration of oil from the focus helical onto the thin iris blades, causing them to stick or become slow to operate. This can affect nearly any make of SLR lens and is a fairly common fault. DIY dismantling and cleaning requires skill and patience, while a professional cleaning of such a lens is expensive to the point of not being economical. Therefore the best course for a lens so affected is to replace it entirely with a known good sample and sell the oily lens 'as seen'.

.... I’m a bit worried that the fingerprinted castle shot might be caused by the lens bloom I mentioned although this is on a small part of the lens glass.

It's a bit difficult to tell the cause of that patch of 'bloom' from the pictures. It could be loss of anti-reflection coating, which is usually fairly harmless; or an oil or grease smudge, or the result of a fungus attack on the lens. The latter two will almost certainly degrade the image quality.

 

You might try using an alcohol impregnated cleaning tissue to see if the patch can be removed - if it's a greasy spot - but I suspect it's a permanent blemish or damage to the AR coating.

 

Whatever. None of the shots shown are as sharp as I would expect and the lens seems a likely suspect.

 

To rule out the lens, I would suggest setting the camera on a tripod and pointing it at a test chart or something else flat and with plenty of fine detail - peeling painted and grained wood for example. Set the lens to f/2.8 or f/4 and take several shots using the self-timer to trip the shutter; working from the visual sharp focus and varying the lens by a 'twitch' closer and further away.

If none of the shots are pin sharp then something is definitely amiss.

 

Also, varying the aperture with the camera in Aperture-priority mode should result in a series of negatives with the same density. If not then the aperture might well be sticky.

 

These potential faults are all the 'joys' of using film in aging cameras. Not to mention the environmental impact of using a heavily plastic, silver and chemical-based method of capturing images. Something that a younger generation on a whim to try out this outmoded technology should bear in mind.

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The exposure looks OK. It's best to look at the negatives as well as at the prints or scans, which will have had their exposure adjusted during the process. Don't expect the sky to look blue in the pictures, even if the sky is fully blue overhead, it tends to be nearly white towards the horizon.
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Thanks so much [uSER=2403817]@rodeo_joe|1[/uSER] and @SCL

 

I’ve sent your comments to my daughter.

 

One question about the iris. As she was taking these shots in manual mode (not aperture priority) wouldn’t the iris be closed down as soon as she manually sets it ? So to check this she just needs to stay in manual mode and make sure the Iris adjusts as she sets different f stops ?

 

I’m a bit worried that the fingerprinted castle shot might be caused by the lens bloom I mentioned although this is on a small part of the lens glass.

 

She’s 21 and had perfect eyesight ! I suggested she replace the battery as you suggest.

 

I do not think the battery is the problem. The camera works doesn't need new battery.

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The exposure looks OK. It's best to look at the negatives as well as at the prints or scans, which will have had their exposure adjusted during the process. Don't expect the sky to look blue in the pictures, even if the sky is fully blue overhead, it tends to be nearly white towards the horizon.

I found a lot of photo finishers like to print or scan the negative light.

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Thanks again for all the tips. [uSER=2403817]@rodeo_joe|1[/uSER] I learnt a lot from your replies. Thanks.

 

My daughter has been taking film photos for years and produced fantastic results with a Rollei 35. It was me that thought she might like to have more “artistic control” with an SLR. I know these are the risks (joys) of buying a used film camera.

 

Environmental impact is an interesting theme which I know too little about. Has it been proven that buying and using a used film camera has greater environmental impact than the manufacture of a new digital film camera ? One would think so but I suspect it's not so clear cut.

 

Anyway I just wanted to point out that most of the younger generation I know getting interested in film photography don’t seem to be doing so “on a whim” but recognise both the magic and the frustrations !

Edited by jimnorwood
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Very slowly!

I probably learned more about lighting, composition, and all the important things about image-making after giving up film, than I did in the previous 40 years.

 

Sort of makes you feel sorry for the likes of Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, Edward Steichen, and a few others.

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I'm not sure if it's my monitor, but that film looks like its expired or something ? The colors don't seem to be very accurate regardless of the focusing. One thing about pictures with a large espances of the sky, is that if you want that sky to come out true-blue, then you have to meter off the sky, but then the foreground might be underexposed... If you meter off the foreground then the sky has a good chance to be blown out like what happened in some of the pictures .

 

A good graduated density filter might solve the problem, but that might be a little too complicated for your daughter. Or you can teach her about the averaging method which is also a little complicated. Please ask your daughter to gently press on the shutter instead of slapping down on it, maybe that might help. Also if she is using a 50mm lens then she must keep the shutter speed at 1/60 or above. Even if the shutter speed is at 1/60th the camera should be braced snuggly against her body to avoid any camera shake.

Edited by hjoseph7
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"In 2022, 54,400 photos are taken every second, 196 million per hour, 4.7 billion per day, 32.9 billion per week, 143 billion per month, and 1.72 trillion per year." - Conservative estimate from Phototutorial.com; since apparently 6.9 billion images are shared daily on WhatsApp. But let's stick with 4.7 billion taken per day, minimum.

 

Taken on 35mm film, that would eat up about 6.6 square Kilometres (over 2.5 square miles) of gelatin and silver coated plastic, per day. That would be a significant environmental impact alone, not even counting the processing chemicals used, or printing, or the electrical energy used in driving the processing machinery or scanning; nor the transport energy used between consumer and processing House.

 

That kind of makes the manufacture of 500 grams of plastic, glass and silicon once every few years pale into insignificance, doesn't it?

 

So probably a good job that film is in limited use.

 

In the words of an ancient anti-litter campaign "My one little piece of litter won't do any harm."

Edited by rodeo_joe|1
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Most photos today are taken on cell phones. Dinner arrives and someone has to take a photo of the food to send to cousin Mary. Few people carried film cameras all the time and would not waste film on a shot of food and wait for the film to be developed before sending the photo to cousin Mary.
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James G. Dainis
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