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Old Jul 3, 2010, 4:25 PM   #1
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Default A620 dark images

I'm wondering if someone can help.
We have a canon A620 that has served us well for years.
I don't know if we've managed to change something but on "Auto", many images are coming out very dark. The flash is working. Also, the LCD is displaying differently...like there's a little lag as we move the camera around.
I can't find any info in the manual about what we might have changed (or even if we could have changed something when using Auto mode). Or maybe the camera is on it's last leg.
Any help would be appreciated.

If the camera is dead, can anyone recommend something comparable?
We absolutely need the macro focus, and a quick response time (I take a lot of photos of my cats).
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Old Jul 3, 2010, 4:46 PM   #2
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Try resetting your camera back to factory defaults. It has a menu choice for that purpose.

You'll see it mentioned in the table of contents in this .pdf user guide for your camera (How to reset your camera back to factory defaults). The menu choice itself is shown on page 28:

http://gdlp01.c-wss.com/gds/4/090001...10CUGad-EN.pdf

If you go into your menus under the setup section (the icon that looks like a wrench and a hammer) and scroll down to the bottom of the choices, you'll see a "Reset All" choice (it's the very last choice on the second page of the setup section).
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Old Jul 3, 2010, 4:49 PM   #3
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If that doesn't fix it (and chances are, it's just a settings problem if it's been working fine until now), downsize an image to around 800 pixels on it's longest side and post it here so we can see what's going on with it.

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/ge...oto-forum.html
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Old Jul 4, 2010, 1:20 AM   #4
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Default before and after photos

Jim, thanks for your help. I have reset the camera's factory defaults.

I've uploaded two photos. The first I took a few days ago, and the second I just took. I tried to recreate the conditions (same floor, kitchen light on, Auto mode, auto flash).

Today's photo is dark. The best I can describe the camera's behavior is that it's not sensing that the room has a lot of light. The LCD display is dim, grainy, and very slow to "track" the scene as you move the camera around.

As for the photo subject matter, don't laugh. I was using the cans as a real-life example of how much something weighed.
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Old Jul 4, 2010, 7:35 AM   #5
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I see nothing wrong with it.

You're taking a flash photo of a very close subject with the flash providing almost all of the light (because the camera keeps the ISO speed set lower at closer range using an Auto mode).

The camera can't use a longer flash burst length (to illuminate further away areas), because that would cause the closer subject you're focusing on to be too bright, washing out all detail on them (since a much more powerful flash would be needed to illuminate the background).

You were also zoomed in more with second image (cans were occupying a greater percentage of the frame), so that the metering gave more weight to making sure it didn't overexpose the white areas of those cans).

In other words, there is nothing wrong with your camera from what I can see of those photos. That's what I'd expect taking closeups of that type of subject with flash in a room at night.

As for your LCD, that's also normal.

It's much darker indoors to the camera than it is to your eyes (that's why it needs to use a flash indoors to prevent blur, unless you're using a tripod with very long exposures and/or higher ISO speeds).

In order to give you an image you can see in a display in darker conditions, the camera has to slow down the frame rate (so it can capture more light to properly expose a frame, before it can display it and capture the next frame you see in your LCD).

If it tried to give you 30 frames per second in a room indoors at night with no ambient light coming in through window curtains, all you'd have is black LCD (since that frame rate would not allow it to "expose" each frame bright enough).

Another technique it uses is amplifying the signal from the sensor to try and make sure you can see to frame a subject in darker conditions (and indoors in typical room lighting at night *is* dark to a camera). Again, that's so you don't get a black LCD, since it takes a lot longer to expose each frame indoors at lower ISO speeds). Remember, it's not using a flash to give you the display you see. That amplification adds noise/grain (just looking using a higher ISO speed would).

In brighter conditions (indoors in daylight with some ambient light coming in through Windows; or outdoors), it can use a faster frame rate for capturing images displayed in the LCD, and can use less amplification.

In other words, there is nothing wrong with it from what I can see of those images and the description of the problem.
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Old Jul 4, 2010, 3:37 PM   #6
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Thanks for your quick & thorough feedback. I understand what you're saying about flash & speed.
Here's a photo from today - in daylight. I've taken lots of photo of flowers in the yard, and none have come out like this - super over exposed? and grainy. It's not even focusing properly.
I did a screen shot of the EXIF if that will help.
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Old Jul 5, 2010, 12:09 PM   #7
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Yes, that does look overexposed, and I wouldn't expect pattern (a.k.a., multi-segment) metering to behave that way, unless the lighting changed in between when it metered the photo and the shutter was tripped, or you were metering on something darker in the scene (like the shadow areas further away near the left bottom, further away from the camera).

Did it do that for more than one photo, or is that just a "fluke", perhaps caused by something else (i.e., focus and metering locked somewhere else before the shot was taken)?

Make sure you have focus locked on your desired subject with a half press of the shutter button first (watching for a steady light in your viewfinder or LCD to indicate focus lock), then press the shutter button the rest of the way down.

If focus was locked on a darker part of the scene (for example, one of the shadow areas near the edge of the image), that could have caused both a focus error and metering error (since most matrix metering systems weight the focus point more). You may have been too close in a non macro mode to lock focus on something other than the further away darker areas. When you use an Auto mode, the center focus point is not necessarily the one the camera is going to use. Use a non Auto mode and select your focus point instead for greater accuracy and/or make sure you're not too close to lock focus on the closer areas (like the main flower petal) if you are in a non Macro mode like you were shooting with.

Also, are you using any filters on your lens that could be causing an issue (for example, a UV filter that may be causing some light scatter/internal reflections causing a metering/focus problem)? If so, I'd try removing it. But, I think it's more likely the AF couldn't lock on the main flower petal because it was too close for a non macro mode, and ended up locking on darker, further away shadow areas instead, throwing off both the metering and focus.
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Old Jul 5, 2010, 1:03 PM   #8
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Unfortunately, that photo was not a fluke. Every photo has some sort of exposure & focus problem. A sun-lit tree with some blue sky in the background is really dark, nothing is focusing properly, and well - it's all just a mess.

I do appreciate all your help and I've learned a few things reading your posts. But, we "solved the problem" the easy way by picking up a Canon SX120 IS. It's taking beautiful photos the way the 620 used to (even better due to 40% more megapixles) . The only thing I will miss is the rotating LCD screen, but that isn't worth the extra $100.
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Old Jul 5, 2010, 1:07 PM   #9
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That's too bad (not just a fluke). How about lens filters (I'd remove any on it and see if the behavior changes)? Is the lens clean (no smudges or scratches that could be causing an issue)?
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Old Jul 5, 2010, 3:50 PM   #10
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I'm not that good of a photographer to need / use lens filters, so that's not the problem.
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