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nbie May 30, 2004 12:55 PM

Hello all,

I recently purchased my first digital camera (Casio EX-P600... 6mp/4x zoom) since I got a good deal on it and it seemed like the kind of camera that would last for a long time. High expecatations..

Now, my outdoor shots look quite nice but I am having terrible trouble with indoor shots. I tried taking indoor pics in a medium-lighted auditorium, but of something about 20 ft away... I know flash range is about 10 feet, but my pics are coming out darker than the actual lighting. Also, the people came out a bit grainy. Are these things normal with all cameras? And what should I do to fix it?

2nd problem, my indoor shots (even well-lighted ones) often use flash anyways, so the picture comes out whiter and brighter than it is in reality. Is this normal? When I turn off flash, the pictures come out a bit blurry, so it seems like a lose-lose situation.

Well, maybe it's just my high expecations and inexperience with cameras... but as of now I'm really disappointed. But I would REALLY appreciate any help you guys can offer. Thanks a bunch.

p.s. I chose this camera over the Canon Powershot S500... do you have any idea if a camera like that would have the same struggles?

slipe May 30, 2004 1:41 PM

You will have the same problem with just about any camera with a lens that is f2.8 at wide and f4 at telephoto. And that applies to almost everything in that size range. There just isn't usually enough light indoors to handhold a shot without flash or image stabilization. And the image stabilization just helps with camera shake and will not freeze a subject that is moving.

The graininess is caused because the camera boosts the ISO to try to give you a decent exposure. Blurring is motion blur caused by camera shake at slow shutter speeds.

Your eyes adjust to the light and it looks fine to you, but it isn't enough for most fixed lens cameras.

You can tone down the flash in the record menu – your choices are limited to high, normal and weak. Most cameras give a better flash adjustment range.

You might get a little tabletop tripod. The Ultrapod is nice because it weighs only 2 ounces and the velcro strap will let you use poles or chairs as a tripod:

eric s May 30, 2004 2:28 PM

I wanted to repeat slips comment about how your eyes work. What looks like "ok but good enough" light for the human eye is not good enough for camera. You can see in much lower light than a camera can take a picture. It can be rather frustrating.

That is why you think the auditorium has enough light to take a picture but it really doesn't.


nbie May 30, 2004 2:35 PM

Thank you very much for the replies... so basically, I have no reason to worry about the indoor shots? Is there anything at all that I can do to get these shots? (besides using an ext flash)

Now, 2 more things if I may... first, is it okay for CLOUDY to be my default WB? Seems like it's the best setting for more vivid pics.

Second, my outdoor shots look a bit boring and slightly underexposed/dark (on a sunny day). Is it because of the sunlight shining, camera's fault, or what?

Thanks again... really appreciate it.

slipe May 30, 2004 2:48 PM

A lot of people use cloudy WB because they like the output better. If you like it there isn't anything wrong with using it. I usually use auto white balance except in difficult indoor lighting. I use spot metering a lot and find I get a pretty good WB range by pre-exposing on different elements of the picture in auto WB.

You can't use an external flash with that camera that I know of.

If the images are too dark in sunlight you can boost the EV a little. Make sure it isn't already set to a minus value – that is easy to do with many cameras and will give dark pictures if you don't catch it in the display. It is in green in the display and has a + or – before it.

eric s May 30, 2004 7:05 PM

The boaring-ness could be lack of contrast. Try loading a picture into your favorite editor and playing with the contrast setting. If that improves things you can see if your camera has an incamera setting to increase contrast.

I find that the contrast is a bit low on my 10D, making them look a little flat and dull out of the camera. So I just increase it in an editor. Since every picture needs a different amount of contrast bump I don't do it in camera. Means more work for me in the "digital darkroom" but it means better results when I'm done.

As for the flash question, slip isn't exactly correct. I believe you can buy flashes that will trigger based on the on camera flash. You won't get a lot of fancy functionality from it, but it should work. What I don't know is how much the camera has control over it. Can the external flash be told to flash as long as the internal flash? Then if the camera can stop the internal flash when it thinks it has enough light then the external would stop too. Just thinking creatively. You should if you can add a flash to that camera (including an external flash trigger by the internal flash) in the flash section of this forum.)


nbie May 31, 2004 12:25 AM

Thanks again... I am really close to returning this camera because I've gotten so frustrated.. Especially for a 'high-end' camera, auto-modes and lighting is just terrible. I guess I'm stupid for buying into it and not going with a quality brand like Canon. =/

This just goes to say, specs don't make a camera.

BB May 31, 2004 4:54 PM

I seriously doubt the Canon S500 is going to be able to deal with your indoor shots much better than the Casio. Both those cameras have fairly weak built-in flashes and no image stabilisation.

The Casio does have a big advantage over the Canon, namely it has an a sync port for an external flash. So if you're willing to go that route, it would likely be capable of superior results to that of the Canon in low light situations.

Regarding the outdoor shoots looking "boring"... All the sample shots I've seen on the net from Casio seem to lack the "punchy" colors that many competitors have such as the Canons. I would assume Casio's images are closer to reality and that Canon is simply upping the the contrast/color-saturation slightly. Many manufactures do this because they know people tend to prefer that "rich color" look. If your Casio has a menu setting for the color and contrast, you might be able to make it have the same look.

I really think you're expecting too much from a consumer camera though-- most of them lack the quality of optics and image sensor necessary to handle low light situations. I think if you add an external flash and a tripod, you can get much closer to the results you're expecting.

nbie May 31, 2004 6:58 PM

You could be right that I'm expecting too much... btw, it's not so much the flash that is the problem. Although I'm no expert, it seems to me that it's something with the auto-mode and the settings it chooses, and maybe the lack of the AF assist lamp. Thing is, many outdoor sunlight shots are coming out dark. Also, sometimes parts of pics are way overexposed while the rest is not.

Hmm... I'll have to really give it thought... pretty confusing.

and a question... is it normal for non-flash indoor pics to be a bit unfocused/blurry?

BB May 31, 2004 11:09 PM

When you say your indoor non-flash shots are coming out blurry, what shutter speed are you using? If you're using your camera's "auto" mode, then it is likely choosing a slow shutter speed. That slow shutter speed combined with the slight shake from your hand is enough to make even a static subject come out blurry. And it gets even worse if your subject is a person or anminal that is moving (even slightly!).

This is normal and likely not a problem with your camera. Use flash and/or force your shutter speed to a faster setting and you should see better results. On my Panasonic FZ-10 I find I typically need to get down to at least 1/60 sec for good clear results. Yet, the auto mode will routinely select slow speeds like 1/4 sec that more often than not yields a blurry shot.

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