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Old Jul 28, 2004, 2:20 PM   #1
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Sorry..but have a very newbie question. I just recently got an s400 as a gift and tried using it at a wedding reception. It was low light/dark and i tried taking pics...however whenever using the flash..the pics come out very dark. Can someone explain to me what I need to do to do it correctly? All all other non digital cams I have..the flash works fine in low light/dark conditions. Thanks
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Old Jul 28, 2004, 3:47 PM   #2
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If the subject of the photo was dark, then you probably too far away for the flash to work properly.
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Old Jul 28, 2004, 4:09 PM   #3
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As Rob already pointed out, you were most likely outside of your camera's rated flash range. This is a common mistake.

The S400 flash has a maximum range of 11.5 feet (3.5 meters) at full wide angle. However, when using zoom, the flash range begins dropping (because not as much light reaches the sensor through the lens as more zoom is used). So, at full zoom, this range is reduce to only 6.6 feet (2 meters).

What is bright to the human eye, is not to the cameras lens. So, you must use the flash, and stay within the maximum ranges above. Otherwise, you have one of two problems:

1. Underexposed photos with flash, if you are not within the stated range

2. Motion Blur without flash, because the shutter speeds will be too slow for proper exposure of the images without getting blur from camera shake and subject movement.

So, use the flash indoors, and make sure to stay within the stated flash range. Also, keep the lens set to it's widest setting (least amount of zoom) for best results.
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Old Jul 28, 2004, 4:31 PM   #4
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Great. Thanks all for the replies. That makes a lot of sense...almost too simple. However, yes I believe I was out of range. Wow...now I feel dumb (haha). So basically my Canon S400 is not really good for distance shots greater than 11-12 feet in low light/dark conditions huh?
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Old Jul 28, 2004, 4:56 PM   #5
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Pike1775 wrote:
Quote:
Great. Thanks all for the replies. That makes a lot of sense...almost too simple. However, yes I believe I was out of range. Wow...now I feel dumb (haha). So basically my Canon S400 is not really good for distance shots greater than 11-12 feet in low light/dark conditions huh?
Well.... you may be able to "squeeze" a *little* more out of it. From what I see from your models specifications, flash range was based on "Auto ISO".

If you've used film, you'llsee different speeds of fim (for example 100, 200, 400, 800), somtimes with the packages showing which ones are best suited for certain conditions.

The higher the ISO rating, the more sensitive the film is to light.

Your camera will let you leave it set to Auto ISO (where it may be increasing ISO speed in lower light), or you can set it yourself to a fixed value (100, 200,400).

I'm not sure how Canon sets the ISO speed indoors with flash. They are probably NOT going to go as fast as ISO 400. So, you could set the ISO speed yourself to a higher value, and perhaps squeeze out a little more flash range.

My guess is that their Auto ISO is going to max out just shy of ISO 200 in this type of camera. So, by setting up to something like ISO 400, you can probably get more range (probably around 15 feet at the full wide angle lens setting).

However, be warned, that you may not like the results. Increasing ISO speed amplifies the signal from the CCD sensor, and this also amplifies noise (similiar to film grain). So, you'll need to experiment with it to see what to expect.

Your camera does not support an external flash. However, you can also purchase something known as a "slave flash". This type of flash is designed to fire at the same time the camera's main flash fires. However, because the camera is not aware that you have a light source other than it's built in flash, you will have a very difficult time getting properly exposed images -- especially since your model does not have manual exposure.

So, my suggestion would be to accept it's limitations, and let your "feet" act as the zoom indoors in larger rooms (like the wedding reception you took photos at).

The S400 is a fine little camera, and you have the convenience of it's small size. However, it's flash is not really suitable for lighting up larger rooms. Your best bet for that, is to buy a larger camera modelthat supports an external flash.


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Old Jul 29, 2004, 11:40 AM   #6
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Perfect. Thank you very much for the detailed response. It helps tremendously.
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