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Old Aug 24, 2004, 8:01 AM   #1
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I went to the wiggles concert last night with my new s410 and in low light my pictures where coming out dark. I have read the manual etc.. and am having a hard time figuring out how to fix, deal with the problem. I need some advice! Trying to save myself the stress of the learning curve.......
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Old Aug 24, 2004, 9:19 AM   #2
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You were probably trying to use flash. This will be useless at a concert. The flash on your S410 has arange of around 11.5 feet at wide angle, dropping down to around 6.6 feet at full zoom. The range drops because more than twice as much light reaches the lens at it's widest setting, versus it's full zoom setting.

You'll need to shoot with flash forced off so that the camera will use slower shutter speeds. You will also want to increase your ISO speed. Each time you double the ISO speed, the camera can use shutter speeds twice as fast. I don't know how much "Auto ISO" is increasing it; but you could manually set it to ISO 400.

The downside of using higher ISO speeds is that your photos will have more noise (similar to film grain). Basically, increasing ISO speed is increasing the gain of the CCD (amplifying the signal from the light hitting it's photosites). This also amplifies noise.

Fortunately, the4MP 1/1.8" CCD in your model haslower noise than most models in it's class (I'd definitely prefer it to a model using a 5MP 1/1.8" CCD). Also, you can get tools to reduce noise. Here are some popular ones:

Noise Ninja: http://www.picturecode.com

Neat Image: http://www.neatimage.com

Noiseware: http://www.imagenomic.com (note that this one is free, but it does strip the EXIF from the image header, which contains information about the camera settings used for the photo).

You may have a VERY difficult time gettinguseable shots from your camera model. This is because shutter speeds may be too slow to prevent motion blur in concert lighting. If you don't use zoom it will help a lot (because much more light reaches the lens at it's widest setting).

The tiny lens on a compact model really isn't suited for low light (unless you use a tripod and are shooting a still subject, in which case it will work fine). This is because the lens simply can't gather enough light for proper exposure unless shutter speeds are slower (which will cause motion blur in many conditions when you are outside the range of a flash).

I don't want to discourage you -- only set your expectations. Try shooting at ISO 400 with flash forced off, holding the camera as still as possible and slowly squeezing the shutter button - keeping the amount of zoom used to a mininum. Then, use the noise reduction tools I mentioned above to reduce noise in the images. Take lots of photos, and you may be able to get some that are useable without too much motion blur at a concert.

For concert lighting conditions, a DSLR is usually recommended. These models can shoot athigher ISO speeds with lower noise. A bright (larger apertures, represented by smaller f/stop numbers) lens is needed to go with one in lower light (which can increase the cost substantially).

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Old Aug 28, 2004, 2:36 PM   #3
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Thank you for the advice JimC!
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