Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digital Cameras (Point and Shoot) > Canon

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Oct 22, 2006, 1:45 PM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 7
Default

After looking through tons of reviews and doing more research than I probably should of I ended up purchasing a Canon SD600. The camera's options and functions are truly impressive. I've taken hundreds of images and videos and still the battery isn't even drained. However, the one thing it is supposed to do well, it doesn't, take good pictures! The pictures are a bit soft but this isn't my biggest issue with the camera. The images are for the most part dark. Using natural light outside makes the images darker than what they should be. When I use it inside with plenty of incadescent light the flash does a nice job of lighting up the object you are taking to take a picture of but the surrounding areas are very dark. It makes shots in the daytime appear like its dark inside when in fact there is plenty of light everywhere.

All my images have been taken with AUTO on since I simply want a decent point and shoot camera. I keep a family web site and this is what I use my digicam for. I don't think I am expecting too much since I tried a relatives older Olympus 400 and it worked great. I don't like the functionality of the camera but I can't argue with the image quality.

Maybe I'm expecting too much from an ultra compact camera. I wonder if I move to a bigger camera would offer better images? I don't want to spend a fortune on a digicam but I consider my expectations to be pretty low, just a simple point and shoot with decent picture quality but not dark. Any guidance is appreciated.
ishtarbgl is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Oct 22, 2006, 3:11 PM   #2
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378
Default

ishtarbgl wrote:
Quote:
The images are for the most part dark. Using natural light outside makes the images darker than what they should be.
That shouldn't be the case, unless you're doing something wrong (for example, using spot versus matrix metering and metering on a darker portion of the scene; or have Exposure Compensation set to a -EV Value).

You could also have another setting impacting results (for example, contrast set to high, making brighter areas brighter and darker areas darker). Most non-DSLR models have relatively contrasty image by default, and dialing back the contrast can often help.

If it's consistently darker, regardless of settings, just use Exposure Compensation. A +EV Setting will give you a brighter image, and a -EV setting will give you a darker image.

Quote:
When I use it inside with plenty of incadescent light the flash does a nice job of lighting up the object you are taking to take a picture of but the surrounding areas are very dark. It makes shots in the daytime appear like its dark inside when in fact there is plenty of light everywhere.
There's no such thing as "plenty" of incandescent light indoors where most non-DSLR camera models are concerned. Indoor lighting is very dim to a camera's lens.

So, when you take flash photos, the flash is providing almost all of the light. The reason you have darker surroundings is because the flash needs to make sure not to overexpose your subject. If it used a brighter flash, your subject would turn out too bright (especially for closer subjects). The camera must "throttle" the flash burst length, based on your subject. So, surrounding areas don't get enough of the light from the flash for good exposure, especially with subjects at closer ranges.

In order to get more ambient light in an indoor image with flash, you'd need to use higher ISO speeds or slower shutter speeds, so that the ambient light contributed more to the exposure. If you don't use as much optical zoom, that can help, too (since the lenses on most non-DSLR models are brighter at their least magnifcation).

Quote:
Maybe I'm expecting too much from an ultra compact camera.
Probably.

Most non-DSLR models are not going to do very well indoors. If you want more even lighting, you'll want to go with a model that you can use an external flash with (bouncing it for best results).

In a subcompact model that can let more ambient light into an image, look at the Fuji F10/11/20/30 models. These have higher usable ISO speeds compared to competing non-DSLR cameras. But, they don't have the ability to use a hotshoe attached flash for even better results indoors.

JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 22, 2006, 4:34 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 822
Default

What you are descibing inside is normal for most cameras.

What you are describing outside might not be. Can you post an example? You will have to resize it to about 800x600 for it to meet the filesize requirement, then you should be able to attach it to a post.

If you are talking about outdoor pictures in shady areas, yes they might appear darker than to your eye, especially if shooting you have a brighter area in the background. But pictures in sunlight should be good (especially if the light is on your subject).

kenbalbari is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 23, 2006, 9:33 AM   #4
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 7
Default

Thanks for the comments. They are helping me understand a bit of what I'm faced with here. I've played a bit with the exposure compensation and ISO settings (100 - 800). In some cases this helped.

What I find most frustrating is that I wish the AUTO mode really wasa happy medium for most environments. What is weird is I don't even consider myself someone who would heavily critique these images. All I really want is a day to day, point and shoot camera that delivers acceptable images, not something perfect every time (I know that would be asking too much).

I'm at work now but I'll attach some images later that might display a bit of what I'm seeing here.

While I seem to be venting (not toward anyone here of course, just the industry in general I guess) let me mention something else. Why in the world is there a need for this megapixel war? When I use the best quality setting on this camera the images come out to be 4 megs!! In my mind that is ridiculous and such a waste of space. The Olympus C2000 I had ages ago could produce beautiful 1600 x 1200 images that were less than one meg. The tragedy is that if I drop the resolution down on this camera indeed the images look worse so I'm practically forced to use the highest setting.

I beginning to sound like my Father ("back in my day"). Someone please stop me
ishtarbgl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 23, 2006, 7:59 PM   #5
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 7
Default

OK, here are two images that I just took displaying what is frustrating me here. These were taken in AUTO with the highest picture quality and then resampled down to 800 x 600. The first one is a close-up pic of my son. He is in an extremely well-lit room and yet everything except is almost completely black.

http://www.thewoodhood.com/sample/brady.jpg

Next, I took one of him withmore room to display the image a bit more. Every single light in the house is on with about 5 overhead lights in the very room he is jumping in. This picture gives the impression that it is very dark in the room when in fact it is extremely bright. Note the two lights in the kitchen. They are on and yet the room itself appears dark in the image. I could swear every other digicam I had in the past did not exhibit this issue.

http://www.thewoodhood.com/sample/bradyjump.jpg

Just for a frame of reference look at the image takenbelow. This is the original image taken with my mother-in-laws older model Olympus 400.This was taken inAUTO mode with hardly any lights on in the room. Notice how everything can be seen in the background? This appearsmore accurate to me whereas the SD600 appears completely inaccurate.

http://www.thewoodhood.com/test/2006.../0P1010001.JPG


ishtarbgl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 23, 2006, 9:30 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 438
Default

Hi there! I don't see anything wrong withthe first two pictures. Exactly whay I would expect from a compact camera. I would say both came out pretty good. To get a brighter background you could use sync flash but that slows down the shutter speed and if your subject is not still (such as your son) or your hand is not steady enough the picture will look blurred.

Your comparison picture is not a good one because it appears that outside day light is coming into the room from the left side throughan open door not visible in the picture.
luisr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 23, 2006, 9:45 PM   #7
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378
Default

ishtarbgl wrote:
Quote:
OK, here are two images that I just took displaying what is frustrating me here. These were taken in AUTO with the highest picture quality and then resampled down to 800 x 600. The first one is a close-up pic of my son. He is in an extremely well-lit room and yet everything except is almost completely black.

http://www.thewoodhood.com/sample/brady.jpg
What you're seeing is perfectly normal. As I mentioned before, if the camera tried to use a stronger flash in order to better expose the background, you'd end up with an overexposed subject, especially if the subject is closer. Your subject was very close. So, the background is going to be underexposed.

You'd get the same thing with most any other similar camera model shooting a subject from a distance that close in typical room lighting with flash.

The flash provides virtually all of the light in most indoor environments. What you think is good light is very dim to a camera. If you try to take a photo without the flash using the same camera settings (aperture, ISO speed, shutter speed), you'd get a very dark frame.

Quote:
Next, I took one of him withmore room to display the image a bit more. Every single light in the house is on with about 5 overhead lights in the very room he is jumping in. This picture gives the impression that it is very dark in the room when in fact it is extremely bright. Note the two lights in the kitchen. They are on and yet the room itself appears dark in the image. I could swear every other digicam I had in the past did not exhibit this issue.

http://www.thewoodhood.com/sample/bradyjump.jpg
That one is a tad underexposed, (looking at the image as a whole) probably because the lighter furniture in the foreground fooled the metering. Even still, the closer furniture is overexposed (blown highlights/loss of detail in lighter areas, because the flash burst was too long). But, overall, it was a good effort from the camera in those conditions, and if it tried to use a longer flash burst, the closer furniture would have been even more overexposed. It's a compromise type shot.

Quote:
Just for a frame of reference look at the image takenbelow. This is the original image taken with my mother-in-laws older model Olympus 400.This was taken inAUTO mode with hardly any lights on in the room. Notice how everything can be seen in the background? This appearsmore accurate to me whereas the SD600 appears completely inaccurate.

http://www.thewoodhood.com/test/2006.../0P1010001.JPG
Not bad (other than some blown highlights in areas, and a slightly overxposed subject).

The Olympus used a 1/40 second shutter speed. The Canon uses a 1/60 second shutter speed with flash. So, the Olympus is letting a bit more ambient light into it's flash photos.

Most manufacturers go with around 1/60 second as the best compromise (like Canon is doing). The reason that shutter speed is selected, is because in brighter condtions (not room lighting which is very dim, but sunlight coming in through windows) you'd get more motion blur using a slower 1/40 second speed like the Olympus is using.

In most indoor conditons (i.e., at night in typical home lighting), you're not going to get any motion blur with a flash photo at 1/40 second, because the flash itself freezes the action. That's because the subject is only exposed enough to see during the very short flash exposure (usually 1/1000 second or faster). So, you can freeze action at even slower shutter speeds (the room would be very dark without the flash).

But, you see a lot of complaints about motion blur with cameras that use 1/40 second (like the Oly) or even slower shutter speeds with flash in daytime conditions (because of ambient light coming in through windows). So, the best compromise tends to be a slightly faster 1/60 second shutter speed with flash, letting a bit less ambient light in compared to the Oly.


JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 23, 2006, 10:43 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 822
Default

The Olympus shot really did have more light to deal with, where the Canon shot was taken after dark. Our eyes do such a good job of adjusting to available light that we don't realize how much brighter that daylight is than our indoor lamps.

But I do think the Olympus did a better job of exposure and metering. You could try using +1/3 EV on your indoor shots, or even +2/3. And I suspect you could use a bit higher ISO than was chosen automatically. Unfortunately, Canon doesn't include ISO data in their EXIF, so I don't know what was used. But I would bet that that camera is as clean at ISO 200 as the Olympus was at ISO 125. And you might get acceptable results even at ISO 400 (but you won't want to go higher than that).

A higher ISO will expose more in the same amount of time. This in effect allows the flash to light more of the room.

There are cameras that might do a better job of this than that Canon (the Fuji F20 and F30 in particular are very good at preserving background in such indoor and social shots with flash). But that camera should be at least capable; maybe even a bit better than most.

kenbalbari is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 27, 2006, 10:59 AM   #9
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 7
Default

Thanks for the comments. What I'm still struggling with is comparing the SD600 to older model digicams I have. The images from the older cameras are not nearly as detailed as the SD600 but I could give up some of that to have better images in low light.

After reading much of this forum and countless other reviews I see the Fuji F20 and Fuji F30 constantly mentioned for their ability to work well in low light. The one thing I can't gather from the reviews is whether or not people are making these statements with their ability to adjust the manual settings or the camera in AUTO mode just does a better job with low light shots.

My goal is to simply have a point and shoot camera but I would like some improvement with low light shots. Can someone speculate on whether they think the Fuji F20 might offer some improvement over the SD600 using AUTO mode in low light?
ishtarbgl is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 8:44 AM.