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Old Jul 11, 2007, 11:08 PM   #1
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I bought my daughter-in-law a Coolpix S9 for Christmas. She is not at all experienced with digital cameras and is not a complainer. She mentioned that she must be doing something wrong with her settings, as she was having problems with the indoor pictures. I suggested she keep working with it. Now, I have looked at all the pictures she has taken since Christmas. I fear the camera has a manufacturer's defect, now that I have seen the photos. Every single indoor picture is so dark they have to bedeleted. The outdoor pictures are beautiful. Does anyone know if terrible indoor (flash) pictures are the nature of this model (surely not)....or if the camera was malfunctioning from the get-go, is there any way Nikon would do anything about the problem at this point (was a Christmas gift--no receipt now). :sad:
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Old Jul 11, 2007, 11:55 PM   #2
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I'd post an example of what you're referring to and let forum members take a look.

Chances are, there is nothing wrong with the camera, and either the settings are at fault, or your daughter is not using it within the rated flash range.

Maximum flash range for the S9 is rated at 10.5 feet at the wide angle lens position (least apparent magnification), dropping off to only 8.5 feet at the telephoto zoom position (most apparent magnification). The lens loses light as more zoom is used so flash range drops off. It's a pretty weak flash (but, typical for a camera this small), and that rating may even be a bit on the optimistic side (which is one reason why it's a maximum range).

This is an Auto ISO rating (the camera is increasing ISO speed to get this much flash range). So, if ISO speed has been set to a lower value, flash range will be even shorter.

You'll find a "Reset All" menu choice in the Setup menu that resets everything back to defaults in case a setting was changed causing the issue. I'd use it and try it again. But, chances are, it's just the flash range (a common mistake is thinking that these little camera have a more powerful flash than they do, so users exceed the rated range and get underexposed images).

If that doesn't solve it, and you are within the maximum rated flash range, post a sample photo. See this post on how to attach an image:

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fo...amp;forum_id=2

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Old Jul 12, 2007, 9:54 AM   #3
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I will get the camera from her and try the reset idea. Honestly, I don't see how posting an example would be very helpful, because almost all of the pictures taken with flash are almost completely black; you can barely make outthe image that was intended to be taken.


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Old Jul 12, 2007, 10:07 AM   #4
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That would let us look for anything obvious causing the issue (settings, something in the image that could be throwing off the metering, etc.).

An image has an EXIF header in it that contains things like camera settings (shutter speed, aperture, metering mode, flash mode, etc.) used that can be read by a number of image editors.

Download this program (it's free):

http://www.irfanview.com

Ater opening an image (File, Open), go to Image, Information, EXIF and you can see those settings.

That gives members a lot of info on what may have been going wrong. I'd also use it to downsize the images. I'd make one around 640 pixels wide for posting under the Image, Resize/Resample menu choice (leaving the box for retaining Aspect Ratio checked) before saving it using the File>Save As option if you still see a problem after resetting the camera back to defaults. Then, you can attach the downsized image to a post here and we can see both the image and the settings the camera used for it to help troubleshoot the issue.


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Old Jul 12, 2007, 10:22 AM   #5
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Again, the most likely problem is that she had something set wrong (exposure compensation settings, metering mode, flash forced off, trying to use a shutter speed too fast in low light without flash, ISO speed set to low for enough flash range, etc.) , or was just exceeding the rated flash range.

I'd reset it back to defaults first and see if that fixes it. If not, post a downsized sample and we can take a look and see if we can figure out what's going wrong.


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Old Jul 12, 2007, 10:26 AM   #6
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I have downloaded the program you suggested. However, you're probably right that I should try the reset idea first. At the risk of exposing my own ignorance (I've had three digital cameras and have had no problems, really, but I am very inexperienced), would you define "telephoto" and "wide angle" in context. I always thought telephoto and wide angle were supplemental lenses you could use with SLR cameras. On a point-and-shoot, I only know about "zooming" and not zooming. Is that the same as "wide angle" and "telephoto" in this context?

After we try resetting everything, I'll take some sample photos and then use the downloaded program to try to post an example.
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Old Jul 12, 2007, 10:30 AM   #7
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Right. If you don't zoom in any (subject appears smaller in viewfinder, with the widest angle of view), more light gets through to the sensor, and you'll have a little bit longer flash range (maximum range of 10.5 feet using Auto ISO).

If you zoom in (subject appears larger in viewfinder with a narrower angle of view), you'll have less light getting through to the camera's sensor, and your flash range will drop a little bit (maximum range for this model is 8.5 feet if you're zoomed in so that your subject appears larger, provided your ISO speed is set to Auto).

If the ISO speed is not set to Auto, your flash range will be shorter than rated.

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Old Jul 12, 2007, 10:38 AM   #8
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Actually, since I just figured out how to use the downloaded program, if you woldn't mind taking a look at a sample photo BEFORE I try the reset thing (I do not have the camera in hand, can't get it for a day or so, and am very curious about what you might be able to tell me from one of the photos as it is now)...I followed your instructions on opening, resizing/resampling, and saving.
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Old Jul 12, 2007, 10:39 AM   #9
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P.S.

I see in Steve's review here that he got best flash results at about 4 feet from a subject using a mid-zoom position. So, it's not the best flash around. ;-)

He may have been using a lower ISO speed for that, though (each time your double the ISO speed, flash range increases by 1.4x, and since the camera is rated using Auto ISO (where the camera is increasing it as needed), lower ISO speeds would probably result in a *very* short flash range.

A weak flash is typical for a camera that small. But, your photos shouldn't be coming out totally black unless you're doing something wrong (probably a settings issue), or exceeding the rated range.
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Old Jul 12, 2007, 10:43 AM   #10
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bkford wrote:
Quote:
Actually, since I just figured out how to use the downloaded program, if you woldn't mind taking a look at a sample photo BEFORE I try the reset thing (I do not have the camera in hand, can't get it for a day or so, and am very curious about what you might be able to tell me from one of the photos as it is now)...I followed your instructions on opening, resizing/resampling, and saving.
That image contains no EXIF header (where the camera settings are kept). When you use the File>Save As menu choice, make sure the box to retain the EXIF is checked (it should be by default, although they may have changed it in newer versions).

If it was checked, then you did not use the original image from the camera for downsizing (it was already modified by an editor that stripped out the header, as some editors will do). So, you'd need to downsize the original (not an edited version), making sure the box for retaining EXIF is checked in Irfanview when saving, and post it for us to see the settings.

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