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    Cyber Akuma's Avatar

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    Default My pictures all turned out horrible! (blurry and over-exposed)

    Ok, let me start out by saying I know very very little about photography. I pretty much just leave it on Auto. I mean, I know how to switch between different presets (Auto, Portrait, Night, HDR, etc.) and that you can tap to focus there.... that's about it. I don't know how to set ISO levels or anything else.

    Anyway, so I was at a 3-day event a few weeks ago, and was hoping that my M8 was going to be a huge quality boost over my EVO 3D. Sure, the photos would be 4MP instead of 5 (Though most of my photos were 2MP anyway since I mostly shot in 3D) but I figured the phone being several years newer and having high low-light performance would offset that.... boy was I wrong.

    I noticed that my indoor photos were kinda fuzzy and blurry, even with my hand held still (thank you HTC for removing the OIS...) so I resorted to taking the same photos 2-4 times and hope I can pick a "best shot" out of the batch later when I could review all my photos on a PC. (Yes, I know I can hold the shoot button to make it auto-snap quick images, but I wouldn't have time to review and select the best out of each one for each photo I took). Even with this many of them even with perfect focus were still pretty terribly grainy/noisy, some even out of a batch of 5-6 remained blurry.

    Outdoor where there is a lot of sunlight...... had it's OWN problems! Any object, sign, wall, or person clothed in white was overexposed to near comical levels! I had taken many shots, both with the subjects in focus and out (on a shaded area so it used more light on the subjects) and both on auto and flash off. This resulted in photos that were kinda badly over-exposed to photos that were so badly overexposed anything with white in it just looks like a bunch of white blobs! Even of the ones where it managed to get decent exposure on the subjects, the image was overly dark and anything not in focus which was white was still overexposed to the point of any and all detail being lost. (Seriously, it was so bad that there were signs which just looked like a solid white rectangle or circle, no words or symbols could even be noticed on them).

    I took over 2000 photos (over 4 gigs worth) during those three days, mainly just mashing the shutter button at slightly different settings and angles hoping one out of every 20 or so would at least be usable... and to say that I can even get 100 to 200 "passable" photos out of these 2000+ would be a stretch!

    The other day I was experimenting with the HDR option that I was advised to try which should hopefully alleviate these under/over exposed issues. Purposely shooting white objects in bright outdoor conditions in different conditions with HDR on and off. Didn't really help. The condition or light focus on which I shot them in HDR mode seemed to not matter, but the image was still fairly over-exposed. Not AS bad as when the focus is off the white object, but still pretty close (and still nowhere near as good as when the focus IS on the white object). On top of that, many of the HDR photos looked washed-out and with dulled colors (I thought HDR made colors more vivid?).

    So I am at a loss, I don't know if this is a problem with my new expensive phone which I am stuck with's camera, if I am just using it horribly incorrectly, or both. (I remember several reviews mentioning over-exposure being an issue, but I didn't expect it to be worse than my EVO 3D, and it was mostly for background objects).

    Does any have any tips or advice on what I can do?
  2. #2  
    wizzrah's Avatar

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    Default Re: My pictures all turned out horrible! (blurry and over-exposed)

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyber Akuma View Post
    Ok, let me start out by saying I know very very little about photography. I pretty much just leave it on Auto. I mean, I know how to switch between different presets (Auto, Portrait, Night, HDR, etc.) and that you can tap to focus there.... that's about it. I don't know how to set ISO levels or anything else.

    Anyway, so I was at a 3-day event a few weeks ago, and was hoping that my M8 was going to be a huge quality boost over my EVO 3D. Sure, the photos would be 4MP instead of 5 (Though most of my photos were 2MP anyway since I mostly shot in 3D) but I figured the phone being several years newer and having high low-light performance would offset that.... boy was I wrong.

    I noticed that my indoor photos were kinda fuzzy and blurry, even with my hand held still (thank you HTC for removing the OIS...) so I resorted to taking the same photos 2-4 times and hope I can pick a "best shot" out of the batch later when I could review all my photos on a PC. (Yes, I know I can hold the shoot button to make it auto-snap quick images, but I wouldn't have time to review and select the best out of each one for each photo I took). Even with this many of them even with perfect focus were still pretty terribly grainy/noisy, some even out of a batch of 5-6 remained blurry.

    Outdoor where there is a lot of sunlight...... had it's OWN problems! Any object, sign, wall, or person clothed in white was overexposed to near comical levels! I had taken many shots, both with the subjects in focus and out (on a shaded area so it used more light on the subjects) and both on auto and flash off. This resulted in photos that were kinda badly over-exposed to photos that were so badly overexposed anything with white in it just looks like a bunch of white blobs! Even of the ones where it managed to get decent exposure on the subjects, the image was overly dark and anything not in focus which was white was still overexposed to the point of any and all detail being lost. (Seriously, it was so bad that there were signs which just looked like a solid white rectangle or circle, no words or symbols could even be noticed on them).

    I took over 2000 photos (over 4 gigs worth) during those three days, mainly just mashing the shutter button at slightly different settings and angles hoping one out of every 20 or so would at least be usable... and to say that I can even get 100 to 200 "passable" photos out of these 2000+ would be a stretch!

    The other day I was experimenting with the HDR option that I was advised to try which should hopefully alleviate these under/over exposed issues. Purposely shooting white objects in bright outdoor conditions in different conditions with HDR on and off. Didn't really help. The condition or light focus on which I shot them in HDR mode seemed to not matter, but the image was still fairly over-exposed. Not AS bad as when the focus is off the white object, but still pretty close (and still nowhere near as good as when the focus IS on the white object). On top of that, many of the HDR photos looked washed-out and with dulled colors (I thought HDR made colors more vivid?).

    So I am at a loss, I don't know if this is a problem with my new expensive phone which I am stuck with's camera, if I am just using it horribly incorrectly, or both. (I remember several reviews mentioning over-exposure being an issue, but I didn't expect it to be worse than my EVO 3D, and it was mostly for background objects).

    Does any have any tips or advice on what I can do?
    I'm just going to throw it out there and say this: Is the lens clean?

    Tip: If it is too bright outside, try cupping the area around the camera with your hand.
  3. #3  

    Default Re: My pictures all turned out horrible! (blurry and over-exposed)

    Okay, is there a TLDR version for those of us who don't feel like reading the novel in the OP?
  4. #4  
    wizzrah's Avatar

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    Default Re: My pictures all turned out horrible! (blurry and over-exposed)

    Quote Originally Posted by bigoldthor View Post
    Okay, is there a TLDR version for those of us who don't feel like reading the novel in the OP?
    Basically, the pictures he took with the M8 were not to his expectations, and he was just wondering if it was something on his side that he was doing wrong.
  5. #5  
    Kaenon11's Avatar

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    Default Re: My pictures all turned out horrible! (blurry and over-exposed)

    I'm guessing the lens cover has a lot of hairline scratches.

    Posted via Android Central App
  6. #6  
    Patrick Schroedl's Avatar
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    Default Re: My pictures all turned out horrible! (blurry and over-exposed)

    Taking a look at the M8's camera controls... make sure that EV is typically set to 0, and try experimenting with different manual ISO values. Increasing the ISO adds noise, and since the camera can't change its aperture, it increases the ISO or shutter speed to get enough light. The full manual mode requires you to set the exposure values yourself, but can also be invaluable for figuring out what's causing your problem. Set a low ISO (the options should be 200/400/800/1600) and fast shutter speed (1/250th or faster, given decent lighting) and see what you get.

    You can also take a quick look at the metadata on the images to see if the camera is repeatedly using high ISO or slower shutter speeds when it might not make much sense (i.e. bright outdoor settings). If you have Google+ Auto Backup enabled, just fire up Google+ (or the Photos app on mobile) and take a look at the image details. Without sample images and associated metadata to look at, it's hard to say if there's a problem with the device or if it's just having a hard time with many of your shots.

    HDR mode works by combining multiple shots to even the exposure between lighter and darker areas of a scene. The app will use data from the higher-exposure shots to fill in darker areas and data from the lower-exposure shots to fill in brighter areas; this preserves detail and local contrast but may end up lowering the perceived contrast of the full image (after all, the brights aren't so bright and the darks aren't so dark). Take a look at these photos from the Nexus 5 photo/video samples post:

    1) Auto vs. HDR+
    2) Auto vs. HDR+

    In the first set, notice the sky appears less exposed in the HDR shot, while the building appears more exposed. The blue in the sky doesn't appear as vivid, however the HDR shot looks much more like what you would see with your own eyes. In the second set, notice that pretty much everything outside the arch is overexposed, as is Hard Rock's neon sign. The HDR shot properly exposes the sign, and gets much closer with the outside scene. Don't be surprised if colors aren't quite as vivid with HDR, but they shouldn't be entirely muted. I've found my phones often pick different white balance settings when using HDR modes than standard shooting modes, so that may play in to the color differences as well. As far as I can tell, the white balance is the same in the first set, but different in the second set (check out the change in color on the interior stonework).

    Edit: also, as said above, debris or damage on the camera lens covering can certainly affect exposure and white balance.
    wizzrah and quelquehomme like this.
  7. #7  

    Default Re: My pictures all turned out horrible! (blurry and over-exposed)

    Examples?

    Sent from my T-Mobile Note 3 using AC Forums.
  8. #8  

    Default Re: My pictures all turned out horrible! (blurry and over-exposed)

    I was ready to ditch this phone because of the same issue and go back to the iphone. I called ATT who forwarded me to their technical department...they had me reset the camera to default settings and then we got disconnected. So after hours of googling, here's what I found. It's the large lens on the back of the phone..it has a coating for some reason on it that is easily scratched..thus, fuzzy, blurry, awful photos. So with a qtip and some scrubbing bubbles and some elbows grease I removed the coating and wallah..perfect pictures! I think you can use just about anything..alcohol, nail polish remover, etc. I just grabbed the closest thing I could find. Why no one tells you this is a mystery. But it worked strange as it sounded.
    Eclectech likes this.
  9. #9  

    Default Re: My pictures all turned out horrible! (blurry and over-exposed)

    Quote Originally Posted by Peggymcgehee View Post
    Why no one tells you this is a mystery. But it worked strange as it sounded.
    There's a large thread about the lens coating issue here with many different suggestions on the best way to clean it off. I was partial to the Magic Eraser method and it worked flawlessly.
  10. #10  

    Default Re: My pictures all turned out horrible! (blurry and over-exposed)

    Most likely the same issue I had, super blurry "dreamy" looking photos. Lens coating was covered with scratches for some reason. All you need to do is get rid of the coating by using a cotton swab and some rubbing alcohol. I just rubbed and rubbed until the coating came off, and ta da! Lens has no scratches and my photos finally come out crystal clear again.

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