Begging advice re Canon Powershot A560

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Wilfred Xavier Pickles, Jun 2, 2011.

  1. Greetings,

    I am decidedly unknowledgable re photography in general, digital in particular,
    and come begging advice.

    I have a Canon Powershot A560, and, to save my po' soul, cannot get the thing
    to focus on finely detailed objects.

    Need to be able to take detailed photos of things like components on a circuit
    board, i.e. chips on a pc motherboard and the like.

    I've tried numerous settings, mostly on "Auto", depress the shutter button
    halfway, and the detail remains fuzzy. An actual photo looks the same. I've
    been thru the manuals numerous times.

    No doubt I'm making silly mistake(s). If anyone has some idea what might be
    needed for proper focus, I would much appreciate it.

    Cheers,
    Will
    Wilfred Xavier Pickles, Jun 2, 2011
    #1
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  2. Wilfred Xavier Pickles

    tony cooper Guest

    On Wed, 01 Jun 2011 22:37:12 -0500, Wilfred Xavier Pickles
    <> wrote:

    >Greetings,
    >
    >I am decidedly unknowledgable re photography in general, digital in particular,
    >and come begging advice.
    >
    >I have a Canon Powershot A560, and, to save my po' soul, cannot get the thing
    >to focus on finely detailed objects.
    >
    >Need to be able to take detailed photos of things like components on a circuit
    >board, i.e. chips on a pc motherboard and the like.
    >
    >I've tried numerous settings, mostly on "Auto", depress the shutter button
    >halfway, and the detail remains fuzzy. An actual photo looks the same. I've
    >been thru the manuals numerous times.
    >
    >No doubt I'm making silly mistake(s). If anyone has some idea what might be
    >needed for proper focus, I would much appreciate it.


    The Duck has answered your question, so I'll just chime in to verify
    his answer: you're too close to the subject. The camera has a
    minimum focus distance. Move back and you should be able to focus.

    I don't know that camera, but many cameras have visual or audible
    signal that the camera is in focus. Mine has a faint "beep", some
    have a flashing light. Take your camera outside and focus on some
    distant object and then some closer object. See if it signals you
    when in focus.

    The Duck advises shooting in the "Close Up" (flower setting) mode, but
    that may be a problem. With some cameras, that mode automatically
    fires the flash, and that may cause serious glare when shooting a
    circuit board. You need the ability to turn off the flash.

    Also, note in the manual that the minimum distance in close-up mode is
    different when the camera is zoomed out than when it is not zoomed
    out.




    --
    Tony Cooper - Orlando, Florida
    tony cooper, Jun 2, 2011
    #2
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  3. Wilfred Xavier Pickles

    Ray Fischer Guest

    Wilfred Xavier Pickles <> wrote:
    >I am decidedly unknowledgable re photography in general, digital in particular,
    >and come begging advice.


    Free advice is easy, and might be worth more than you pay. :)

    >I have a Canon Powershot A560, and, to save my po' soul, cannot get the thing
    >to focus on finely detailed objects.
    >
    >Need to be able to take detailed photos of things like components on a circuit
    >board, i.e. chips on a pc motherboard and the like.


    As others have written, the camera cannot focus closer than a certain
    minimum distance.

    But if you do some shopping you'll find that you can buy a "close up"
    lens that attaches to the camera and let's you get closer to the
    subject. Probably on the order of $40 but of ... "unknown" quality.

    I found some by entering "Canon Powershot A560 close up lens" into a
    web search engine.

    --
    Ray Fischer | Mendocracy (n.) government by lying
    | The new GOP ideal
    Ray Fischer, Jun 2, 2011
    #3
  4. Wilfred Xavier Pickles

    tony cooper Guest

    On Thu, 02 Jun 2011 10:25:55 +0100, bugbear
    <bugbear@trim_papermule.co.uk_trim> wrote:

    >tony cooper wrote:
    >
    >> The Duck has answered your question, so I'll just chime in to verify
    >> his answer: you're too close to the subject. The camera has a
    >> minimum focus distance. Move back and you should be able to focus.

    >
    >http://www.dpreview.com/products/canon/compacts/canon_a560
    >
    >5 cm in macro mode. Moving back is "probably" not required.


    I don't have that camera, but I think the minimum distance is much
    longer than that if the lens is zoomed out. That's a significant
    point because the tendency is to zoom when doing a "macro" shot by
    someone who doesn't understand this.
    >>
    >> Also, note in the manual that the minimum distance in close-up mode is
    >> different when the camera is zoomed out than when it is not zoomed
    >> out.

    >
    >Yes;
    >
    >To summarise:
    >
    >* Get close (6" or less)
    >* have the lens at minimum zoom
    >* flash off
    >* engage macro (flower symbol) mode
    >
    >I would also recommend a tripod; in macro shooting,
    >depth of field is VERY shallow. If you move, even slightly,
    >from the time you focus to the time the shutter opens,
    >you may well get an out of focus shot.
    >


    --
    Tony Cooper - Orlando, Florida
    tony cooper, Jun 2, 2011
    #4
  5. Wilfred Xavier Pickles

    tony cooper Guest

    On Thu, 02 Jun 2011 16:00:05 +0100, bugbear
    <bugbear@trim_papermule.co.uk_trim> wrote:

    >tony cooper wrote:
    >> On Thu, 02 Jun 2011 10:25:55 +0100, bugbear
    >> <bugbear@trim_papermule.co.uk_trim> wrote:
    >>
    >>> tony cooper wrote:
    >>>
    >>>> The Duck has answered your question, so I'll just chime in to verify
    >>>> his answer: you're too close to the subject. The camera has a
    >>>> minimum focus distance. Move back and you should be able to focus.
    >>>
    >>> http://www.dpreview.com/products/canon/compacts/canon_a560
    >>>
    >>> 5 cm in macro mode. Moving back is "probably" not required.

    >>
    >> I don't have that camera, but I think the minimum distance is much
    >> longer than that if the lens is zoomed out. That's a significant
    >> point because the tendency is to zoom when doing a "macro" shot by
    >> someone who doesn't understand this.

    >
    >I've agreed with you on that point once, but I'll do it again if you like.
    >
    >Yes.
    >
    > BugBear (a little confused)


    I wasn't thinking of directing the point to you. I was directing it
    to the poster who asked about this. Your level of knowledge is
    greater than his, so what you see as obvious may need emphasis for him
    to understand.

    A person who needs to be told that his camera has a minimum focussing
    distance needs all the plain-talk emphasis we can provide.

    >>>>
    >>>> Also, note in the manual that the minimum distance in close-up mode is
    >>>> different when the camera is zoomed out than when it is not zoomed
    >>>> out.
    >>>
    >>> Yes;
    >>>
    >>> To summarise:
    >>>
    >>> * Get close (6" or less)
    >>> * have the lens at minimum zoom
    >>> * flash off
    >>> * engage macro (flower symbol) mode
    >>>
    >>> I would also recommend a tripod; in macro shooting,
    >>> depth of field is VERY shallow. If you move, even slightly,
    >>>from the time you focus to the time the shutter opens,
    >>> you may well get an out of focus shot.
    >>>

    >>


    --
    Tony Cooper - Orlando, Florida
    tony cooper, Jun 2, 2011
    #5
  6. On Wed, 1 Jun 2011 21:17:03 -0700, Savageduck <savageduck1@{REMOVESPAM}me.com> wrote:

    >If you are shooting with your subject closer than the minimum spec
    >distance (for your camera that is 1.5 ft.) you will need to enable the
    >macro feature. Check your basic user's guide Page 15. It is the little
    >flower & leaf symbol on the Func/Set wheel to the right of the display.
    >
    >< http://gdlp01.c-wss.com/gds/3/0900001213/01/PSA560CUGba_ENg.pdf >
    >
    >You will probably also need good light for shooting those circuit board parts.


    That got me "over the hummp".

    Some combination of the Canon symbols, the 2 manuals, etc has long
    perplexed poor me. I figgered I was missing something simple.

    Many Thanks,
    Will
    Wilfred Xavier Pickles, Jun 3, 2011
    #6
  7. On Thu, 02 Jun 2011 10:25:55 +0100, bugbear <bugbear@trim_papermule.co.uk_trim> wrote:

    >To summarise:
    >
    >* Get close (6" or less)
    >* have the lens at minimum zoom
    >* flash off
    >* engage macro (flower symbol) mode


    Nice little summary. Seems to work pretty well:

    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/8/testcloseupslot1mobo.jpg/

    >I would also recommend a tripod; in macro shooting,
    >depth of field is VERY shallow. If you move, even slightly,
    >from the time you focus to the time the shutter opens,
    >you may well get an out of focus shot.


    I'll try to use a tripod for anything really important. There's
    one around here somewhere.

    >Here's a closeup shot of a pair of earings I took long ago with
    >a 2 megapixel Canon A60, an ancestor of your camera.
    >
    >http://i48.photobucket.com/albums/f234/bugbear33/photo_tech/black_jewel.jpg
    >
    >http://www.dpreview.com/products/canon/compacts/canon_a60


    Neat!

    Brief mention: I leave the zoom alone for detail shots. Also avoiding
    flash almost exclusively. Trying to keep it as simple as possible.

    Thanks,
    Will
    Wilfred Xavier Pickles, Jun 3, 2011
    #7
  8. Wilfred Xavier Pickles

    TheRealSteve Guest

    On Thu, 02 Jun 2011 09:38:41 -0400, tony cooper
    <> wrote:

    >On Thu, 02 Jun 2011 10:25:55 +0100, bugbear
    ><bugbear@trim_papermule.co.uk_trim> wrote:
    >
    >>tony cooper wrote:
    >>
    >>> The Duck has answered your question, so I'll just chime in to verify
    >>> his answer: you're too close to the subject. The camera has a
    >>> minimum focus distance. Move back and you should be able to focus.

    >>
    >>http://www.dpreview.com/products/canon/compacts/canon_a560
    >>
    >>5 cm in macro mode. Moving back is "probably" not required.

    >
    >I don't have that camera, but I think the minimum distance is much
    >longer than that if the lens is zoomed out. That's a significant
    >point because the tendency is to zoom when doing a "macro" shot by
    >someone who doesn't understand this.


    I have this camera and use it for ebay and craigslist sale shots.
    Things like coins, camera parts, etc. The macro works very well.
    You're right that the min focal distance is much longer zoomed in. If
    for some reason you can't get right up on the subject, the zoomed in
    min focal distance is 1.1 ft. That lets the camera cover an area
    3.7"x2.8". Not bad.

    If you want the max magnification with 7.1 megapixels covering an area
    of only 2.4"x1.8", zoom out and get close, as close as 2".

    This should work great for components on a circuit board.

    Steve
    TheRealSteve, Jun 3, 2011
    #8
  9. Wilfred Xavier Pickles

    ASCII Guest

    bugbear wrote:
    >Wilfred Xavier Pickles wrote:
    >> On Thu, 02 Jun 2011 10:25:55 +0100, bugbear<bugbear@trim_papermule.co.uk_trim> wrote:
    >>
    >>> To summarise:
    >>>
    >>> * Get close (6" or less)
    >>> * have the lens at minimum zoom
    >>> * flash off
    >>> * engage macro (flower symbol) mode

    >>
    >> Nice little summary. Seems to work pretty well:
    >>
    >> http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/8/testcloseupslot1mobo.jpg/

    >
    >Yep - that's not bad at all; the softness is probably due to
    >the 1/25 exposure time. To improve on this, you either need more light,
    >to get the exposure quicker, or a tripod, so the exposure
    >doesn't matter. As I mentioned before, a tripod (or
    >other means of fixing the camera) would also be beneficial
    >to accurate focusing.
    >
    > BugBear


    Here's a couple macro shots from a Canon Powershot;
    http://www.datafilehost.com/download-a92d9873.html
    hand held, no flash, compact flourescent lighting.
    ASCII, Jun 3, 2011
    #9
  10. Wilfred Xavier Pickles

    tony cooper Guest

    On Fri, 03 Jun 2011 10:23:05 +0100, bugbear
    <bugbear@trim_papermule.co.uk_trim> wrote:

    >Wilfred Xavier Pickles wrote:
    >> On Thu, 02 Jun 2011 10:25:55 +0100, bugbear<bugbear@trim_papermule.co.uk_trim> wrote:
    >>
    >>> To summarise:
    >>>
    >>> * Get close (6" or less)
    >>> * have the lens at minimum zoom
    >>> * flash off
    >>> * engage macro (flower symbol) mode

    >>
    >> Nice little summary. Seems to work pretty well:
    >>
    >> http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/8/testcloseupslot1mobo.jpg/

    >
    >Yep - that's not bad at all; the softness is probably due to
    >the 1/25 exposure time. To improve on this, you either need more light,
    >to get the exposure quicker, or a tripod, so the exposure
    >doesn't matter. As I mentioned before, a tripod (or
    >other means of fixing the camera) would also be beneficial
    >to accurate focusing.


    I wouldn't recommend a standard tripod for use with a compact camera
    and circuit boards. I think it would be extremely difficult to
    position the camera.

    What I'd go with is a "Gorillapod".
    http://www.thinkgeek.com/electronics/cameras-photography/82db/

    They're small enough to be convenient to carry around, positionable so
    the camera can be facing downwards, and adjustable enough to place in
    situations where a standard tripod wouldn't work. They are short, but
    the poster is doing close-up photography.

    I use a tripod frequently, and the most difficult shot with a tripod
    is shooting straight down on something. There are tripods with booms
    that do this, but mine is just a standard tripod with a ball head.

    --
    Tony Cooper - Orlando, Florida
    tony cooper, Jun 3, 2011
    #10
  11. On Thu, 2 Jun 2011 07:01:32 -0500, davy <> wrote:

    >
    >I use the 650 and often take photos of PCBs.... I find it better to
    >shoot from a distance and use zoom as someone else mentioned.
    >
    >If using flash you need be careful otherwise it'll glare the image if
    >you aim 'straight on' better to use an alternative light source or aim
    >at an angle, try using a desk lamp and have the setting set to
    >incandescent lighting.
    >
    >I'm no expert in photography but it works for me.


    I'll give it a try.

    Thanks,
    Will
    Wilfred Xavier Pickles, Jun 3, 2011
    #11
  12. On Fri, 03 Jun 2011 08:40:45 -0400, tony cooper <> wrote:

    >I wouldn't recommend a standard tripod for use with a compact camera
    >and circuit boards. I think it would be extremely difficult to
    >position the camera.
    >
    >What I'd go with is a "Gorillapod".
    >http://www.thinkgeek.com/electronics/cameras-photography/82db/
    >
    >They're small enough to be convenient to carry around, positionable so
    >the camera can be facing downwards, and adjustable enough to place in
    >situations where a standard tripod wouldn't work. They are short, but
    >the poster is doing close-up photography.
    >
    >I use a tripod frequently, and the most difficult shot with a tripod
    >is shooting straight down on something. There are tripods with booms
    >that do this, but mine is just a standard tripod with a ball head.


    Same as I got.

    I may need one of these. Thanks.

    Cheers,
    Will
    Wilfred Xavier Pickles, Jun 4, 2011
    #12
  13. Wilfred Xavier Pickles

    John Turco Guest

    tony cooper wrote:

    <edited for brevity>

    > I use a tripod frequently, and the most difficult shot with a tripod
    > is shooting straight down on something. There are tripods with booms
    > that do this, but mine is just a standard tripod with a ball head.



    A more advanced tripod has a reversible center column, and/or reversible
    legs. Either way, the camera can be mounted in the way you've described.

    --
    Cordially,
    John Turco <>

    Marie's Musings <http://fairiesandtails.blogspot.com>
    John Turco, Jun 30, 2011
    #13
  14. Wilfred Xavier Pickles

    PeterN Guest

    On 6/30/2011 2:15 AM, John Turco wrote:
    > tony cooper wrote:
    >
    > <edited for brevity>
    >
    >> I use a tripod frequently, and the most difficult shot with a tripod
    >> is shooting straight down on something. There are tripods with booms
    >> that do this, but mine is just a standard tripod with a ball head.

    >
    >
    > A more advanced tripod has a reversible center column, and/or reversible
    > legs. Either way, the camera can be mounted in the way you've described.
    >


    My tripod can do that, but I have a reluctance to trust it. For that
    type of shot I use it as a bipod with each of the two extended legs
    braced against my insteps.

    --
    Peter
    PeterN, Jun 30, 2011
    #14
  15. Wilfred Xavier Pickles

    tony cooper Guest

    On Thu, 30 Jun 2011 01:15:49 -0500, John Turco <>
    wrote:

    >tony cooper wrote:
    >
    ><edited for brevity>
    >
    >> I use a tripod frequently, and the most difficult shot with a tripod
    >> is shooting straight down on something. There are tripods with booms
    >> that do this, but mine is just a standard tripod with a ball head.

    >
    >
    >A more advanced tripod has a reversible center column, and/or reversible
    >legs. Either way, the camera can be mounted in the way you've described.


    My tripod does have a reversible center column.
    --
    Tony Cooper - Orlando, Florida
    tony cooper, Jun 30, 2011
    #15
  16. Wilfred Xavier Pickles

    tony cooper Guest

    On Thu, 30 Jun 2011 09:09:44 -0700, Savageduck
    <savageduck1@{REMOVESPAM}me.com> wrote:

    >On 2011-06-30 08:24:06 -0700, tony cooper <> said:
    >
    >> On Thu, 30 Jun 2011 01:15:49 -0500, John Turco <>
    >> wrote:
    >>
    >>> tony cooper wrote:
    >>>
    >>> <edited for brevity>
    >>>
    >>>> I use a tripod frequently, and the most difficult shot with a tripod
    >>>> is shooting straight down on something. There are tripods with booms
    >>>> that do this, but mine is just a standard tripod with a ball head.
    >>>
    >>>
    >>> A more advanced tripod has a reversible center column, and/or reversible
    >>> legs. Either way, the camera can be mounted in the way you've described.

    >>
    >> My tripod does have a reversible center column.

    >
    >Yup!
    >My Manfrotto has a reversible center column which can also be mounted
    >horizontally giving quite a bit of position flexibility.
    >
    >< http://homepage.mac.com/lco/filechute/IMG_0378w.jpg >
    >< http://homepage.mac.com/lco/filechute/IMG_0379w.jpg >


    My STX Pro 62 ball-head has a reversible center column, but it's a job
    setting it up for straight-down photographs and using it. My camera
    doesn't have "live view", so I have to look through the viewfinder.
    That means crawling through the legs to look down.

    Usually, I use a home-made copy stand for straight-downs.


    --
    Tony Cooper - Orlando, Florida
    tony cooper, Jun 30, 2011
    #16
  17. Wilfred Xavier Pickles

    PeterN Guest

    On 7/1/2011 4:23 AM, bugbear wrote:
    > tony cooper wrote:
    >
    >>
    >> My STX Pro 62 ball-head has a reversible center column, but it's a job
    >> setting it up for straight-down photographs and using it. My camera
    >> doesn't have "live view", so I have to look through the viewfinder.
    >> That means crawling through the legs to look down.

    >
    > I can recommend a camera with live view AND a flip
    > out screen for many of these "interesting" setups.
    >
    > BugBear (Benbo Mk1, Canon a630)


    I use a remote viewing screen. I have no problem getting down to peek
    through my tripod legs. I have a serious problem getting up again.

    --
    Peter
    PeterN, Jul 1, 2011
    #17
  18. Wilfred Xavier Pickles

    tony cooper Guest

    On Fri, 01 Jul 2011 16:09:44 -0400, PeterN
    <> wrote:

    >On 7/1/2011 4:23 AM, bugbear wrote:
    >> tony cooper wrote:
    >>
    >>>
    >>> My STX Pro 62 ball-head has a reversible center column, but it's a job
    >>> setting it up for straight-down photographs and using it. My camera
    >>> doesn't have "live view", so I have to look through the viewfinder.
    >>> That means crawling through the legs to look down.

    >>
    >> I can recommend a camera with live view AND a flip
    >> out screen for many of these "interesting" setups.
    >>
    >> BugBear (Benbo Mk1, Canon a630)

    >
    >I use a remote viewing screen. I have no problem getting down to peek
    >through my tripod legs. I have a serious problem getting up again.


    Even getting down makes my ears hurt from the high-pitched creaking of
    the joints.


    --
    Tony Cooper - Orlando, Florida
    tony cooper, Jul 1, 2011
    #18
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