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Old Jan 11, 2005, 8:39 PM   #1
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I just bought a canon A75 and am wondering if I should return it for something else? For the most part, this camera works just fine for taking pictures of my 3 kids, but I've recently had problems taking pictures at a ballet recital. The photos came out dark and blurry (It was a small theater and I was sitting in the first row of the balcony.)

Is there a special setting that I should put the camera on whenever I'm taking pictures of my children's recitals in dark theaters, or should I look into buying a different camera?

Overall, I think this is a good camera with lots of great features. I especially like the continuous shooting mode (which allows me to get fairly good pics of my fast-moving children), movie mode with sound, AA batteries, my kids LOVE it when I hook the camera up to the TV and they can see themselves on TV, the option of a waterproof housing (so that we can take the camera to the beach or in our family kayak), and the option of adding a zoom lens....although after reading about Image Stabilization, that leads me to believe that the optional zoom lens is basically useless without image stabilization, am I right?

So is this camera useless for taking pictures inside a dark theater? If so, which cameras are good replacements?
The most important features to me are:
1. fast shutter speed
2. good enough zoom with image stabilization for recitals
3. movie mode with sound (doesn't have to be great quality)
4. waterproof housing (to take to the beach or kayaking)
5. AA batteries are definitely convenient

Please help! My daughter's talent show is coming up soon! Thanks :?
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Old Jan 12, 2005, 1:04 AM   #2
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There can be a number of factor causing the dark photo. It may be that the stage is dark, or you have the wrong setting, or the stage is too far away for your flash to make a difference, also when you zoom in you may only have f4.9.

There is a problem I found with my A95 which may also affect your A75 (see posting title A95 Auto ISO problem). I found this also on the A80. Canon is looking into this now.

You can try testing byfinding an area with about the same brightness and distance as the stage; set to P mode and manually adjust for ISO200 or 400 (400 may be a bit grainly) and take the shot again. You should get a brighter picture.

I know the G5 has a brighter lense so it will be better for low light situation. I don't know enough about the other makes to help, perhaps others will.

Good luck.
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Old Jan 12, 2005, 12:46 PM   #3
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For the price, especially if you like the water housing, it's hard to beat the Canon A series. I have the same trouble with shooting in dark surroundings. Also, your objects are moving, so that's going to make things even gnarlier. Are you using a tripod? That might help, also, you should be either using P mode and playing around with the ISO, having the AV at the largest aperture (smallest f stop value).

Or, you could use manual mode, no zoom, lowest aperture, tripod, and shutter speed like 1/10.

As far as the zoom lense, let me know if you get one, I'm debating whether or not I should.

The Canon A series is definitely a recreational camera, serving most purposes, yet I have a lot of trouble in low light situations as well. If you find a good low light camera, do let me know, I've kind of surrendered the A80 that I have to low light situations if I'm not using a tripod, and even then it's difficult. All and all though, you can't complain about the Canon A series in outdoor situations! Aloha:G
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Old Jan 13, 2005, 1:27 AM   #4
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Bill_CA wrote:
Quote:
You can try testing by finding an area with about the same brightness and distance as the stage; set to P mode and manually adjust for ISO 200 or 400 (400 may be a bit grainly) and take the shot again. You should get a brighter picture.
I tested this setting in my darkened home, as far away from my moving daughter as possible, and it seems to help a lot. Not sure how it compares to the stage, but we'll see. I also tested the sports mode, and it seems like what you and Kaiserbowl have suggested works better. Thanks. While testing all of the different camera settings I also found out that I can pump up the exposure and boost the flash.

Quote:
when you zoom in you may only have f4.9.
As a newbie, I'm not quite sure what this means? What is the desired f___?

I'll also check out the auto ISO and the G5. Thanks a lot. I appreciate your input.

Kaiserbowl wrote:
Quote:
Are you using a tripod? That might help, also, you should be either using P mode and playing around with the ISO, having the AV at the largest aperture (smallest f stop value).

Or, you could use manual mode, no zoom, lowest aperture, tripod, and shutter speed like 1/10.
I don't have a tripod yet, and bringing one to a child's show with two other small children in tow doesn't seem very practical.... oh wait... I've got a miniature tripod that I got for free with the camera (it's about 4 inches tall)! :G. I guess I could possibly place this mini tripod on the balcony ledge and hope that no one accidentally knocks it over the edge... I'm not so sure I want to take that risk. Besides, when you want snapshots of your kid dancing on stage, they move around so much that a tripod may be too stationary to have the kid in focus at all times. Not using the zoom is not an option unless I'm willing to stand in line way ahead of time to beat the crowds to sit in the very first row. With two toddlers? Forget it!

I'm not sure when I'll be getting the zoom lense. They're pretty pricey, and you have to buy the attachment also. I'm starting to wonder if it's better to get a camera with a longer zoom in the first place? The Canon S1 IS looks great except for the fact that a lot of people complain about the lack of the af-assist lamp, which the Canon A cameras DO have, and yet we still have problems in low light? I'm hoping that my problem was just my own lack of knowledge about taking pictures, and not my camera, because it is a great camera in every other situation...and yes, the price and special features can't be beat. As a former Hawaiian local, I'm happy to say Mahalo and Aloha.

By the way, I forgot to mention that I took a few movie clips of the show, and they turned out a lot better than the photos! I was also able to retouch the dark photos in Photoshop so that you can at least see the figures dancing...but they're still very blurry. (Not bad, considering they were pitch black before). I'll know NOT to use the auto setting next time!:idea:
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Old Jan 13, 2005, 12:31 PM   #5
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It's hard to take low-light pics (especially moving people in a theater) with any camera... You may find several other cameras that may be slightly better but not by a whole lot... don't expect anything in low-light...
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Old Jan 14, 2005, 3:45 PM   #6
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How far away from the "action" were you? I think the A series of camera has a flash rating of something like 8-12 ft. I could be wrong. This basically means your flash won't do you much good taking a pic of something beyond 12 ft.

You won't be able to keep the shutter open longer because the motion would be blurred. So the next thing would be to try opening up the apperature as large as you can. And sit as close as possible to the action.

We have a G6 and an A85. If you like the A75, stick with it for now. It is a good camera and very mobile. By that I mean it will fit in your pocket and is a quick point-shoot camera. The G6 is bulkier, but a great camera. It has a lot more bells and whistles than the A series.

Hope this helps a little.

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Ryan
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Old Jan 16, 2005, 12:56 PM   #7
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I know what you mean about the tripod being too cumbersome. Consider getting a monopod. Basically, a stick you can use to steady your camera.
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Old Jan 16, 2005, 2:02 PM   #8
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Just a point as someone has already alluded to, you willnot get great sharp low light shots on ANY consmer digicam for this type of appliation. Don't bother returning your a75 and hoping a G series or some other more expensive camera will help, it won't. The only cameras that do low light well are Digital SLR's in the >$1000 range when set to ISO of at least 1600. Again to echo what others said getting a tri or monopod and setting it to ISO400 are the best you can do for now. ISO 400 will have noise butthere are many commercial and free noise reduction applications out there to help fix things up a bit. Good luck.



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