Anyone else have serious Red-Eye with the Canon A640?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Paul D. Sullivan, Jan 21, 2007.

  1. I'm pretty shocked with a couple of the problems with the Canon
    A640, primarily with indoor shooting.

    In particular, there is very serious Red-Eye problems even though
    the Red-Eye Reduction is enabled.

    My Olympus C5050 looks nearly perfect by comparison. I may get 3
    out of 100 shots on the C5050 that show a bit of Red-Eye, even
    with reduction active on that camera.

    But on the A640, I'm getting about 20-30 per 100. It's downright
    maddening. I am in Program mode, have Flash turned ON, Red-Eye
    Reduction turned on and everything else pretty much at default,
    and this thing seems flat-out horrible at Red-Eye Reduction.

    Am I missing something here? Or have other people found this to
    be the truth also?

    The other issues I've been able to work around pretty much. I
    disabled Digital Zoom, set the Auto Focus to a Center setting so
    I can have more predictable results when composing a pic, and all
    that seems to have been fine.

    But this Red-Eye issue is baffling me.

    When the camera takes a good pic, it looks REALLY good,
    especially outdoors. But this Red-Eye thing is making it nearly
    useless for indoor shots at important events, like Christmas,
    Birthdays, etc.

    If anyone has some tips / suggestions / feedback, I would greatly
    appreciate it.
    Paul D. Sullivan, Jan 21, 2007
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  2. Is the axis of the flash spaced any differently from the axis of the lens on
    the two cameras? The more space, the less red eye.

    Red eye reduction is a series of pre-flashes which will cause the irises of
    the subject's eyes to close somewhat before the actual picture is taken.
    The efficacy of this varies widely.
    Charles Schuler, Jan 21, 2007
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  3. Paul D. Sullivan

    Dave Cohen Guest

    Red eye is a fact of life with any of the A canon's and I suspect most
    other similar digitals (and perhaps film). The red eye reduction doesn't
    seem to help. The good news is virtually even the most basic editors
    plus the do-it-yourself kiosk's do an adequate job of removing. Try
    Irfanview, Faststone, Picasa for freebies. I long ago stopped worrying
    about it. However, if you take at a slight angle you may avoid the problem.
    A more serious problem is some people's eyes will close with pre-flash
    or focus assist, I don't know which, and fail to open in time for the
    actual shot. My wife is very prone to this.
    Dave Cohen
    Dave Cohen, Jan 21, 2007
  4. Paul D. Sullivan

    Roy G Guest


    You said it all when you said "Red Eye Reduction". These systems don't
    really work all that well.

    Red Eye is almost inevitable with any P & S Digi Camera. They are even
    worse at it than P & S Film Cameras because they are smaller and the Flash
    window is even closer to the lens.

    The only thing that solves the problem is to use a Flash Gun on a bracket,
    well away from the lens. I take many hundreds of indoor Flash shots every
    year of people, and never get Red Eye.

    Roy G
    Roy G, Jan 22, 2007
  5. You said it all when you said "Red Eye Reduction". These
    Thanks for the reply.

    My Oly C5050 does a fantastic job with Red Eye Reduction by
    comparison. It hardly ever generates Red Eye. Plus, the flash
    on my Oly seems much brighter (and whiter) than the one on the
    new Canon.

    But the detail on the Canon is INCREDIBLE and even though the
    flash seems less powerful, it does a better job of showing softer
    skin tones and such.

    I'm kinda torn. I've been used to the excellent results of my
    Oly over the years, I was hoping that this new camera would be as

    The Canon is superior in ourdoor shots by quite a bit - the level
    of detail is great and the focus seems more crisp than on the

    I guess I'll have to try some red-eye post processing. I have
    Paint Shop Pro 7.04, Irfanview and will download Fast Stone and
    maybe try iPhoto on my Mac.

    I wish I did not have to do the post processing, but I'd hate to
    just junk the $330 A640 for indoor shots just because of the
    Red-Eye and the weak flash.

    I'll post results later.
    Paul D. Sullivan, Jan 22, 2007
  6. Red eye is a fact of life with any of the A canon's and I
    I guess if I had known about the extent of the Red-Eye problem
    with the Canon A640, I may not have gotten it after all. The
    flash on the thing is pretty weak too, it seems, even though it
    does a better job with flesh tones than the Olympus C5050.

    I swear - the C5050 and its Red-Eye Reduction system really works
    well. And the flash is stronger, and whiter, but tends to wash
    out skin-tones a bit by comparison.

    I'll try Faststone and see if it works. The method in Irfanview
    doesn't work that well compared to the one in Paint Shop Pro
    7.04, but I feel like the pic is sort of "un-natural" compared to
    when I snap a pic and don't get Red-Eye. I can't seem to match
    the look in Paint Shop Pro with what I think it should look like.

    In the Canon Menu, there is something called Flash Sync, which
    has 1st Curtain and 2nd Curtain, and Slow Synchro (on or off) - I
    could try messing with that. I also wonder if there is some way
    to juice that flash up to make it stronger without having to
    purchase an add-on.

    I'll keep searching. I'm hoping someone here can help me with
    the rest - the Canon manuals are very sparse and lacking in
    detail or explanation. I'm a bit disappointed. Perhaps I should
    have waited and got another Olympus, but the 4x Optical Zoom and
    10 megapixel capacity were real draws on the Canon.


    Anyway, I do apprecite the help.
    Paul D. Sullivan, Jan 22, 2007
  7. Paul D. Sullivan

    Ron Hunter Guest

    The worst feature of this is that many people respond by closing their
    eyes, or squinting. Fixing red-eye is MUCH easier than correcting for
    closed, or squinted eyes. I don't use the red-eye reduction feature.
    Many cheap, or even free (Irfanview) programs have excellent red-eye
    Ron Hunter, Jan 22, 2007
  8. Paul D. Sullivan

    Mark² Guest

    That has little to do with your specific camera, and everything to do with
    the angle of difference between the lens to subject and the flash to
    subject. The Also, the farther away you are, the worse this problem will
    be, since you tighten the angle differnce as you back away. This is a
    common problem for ANY camera whose lens and flash are so close together.
    Check the distance from the flash to the lens on both cameras. If they are
    both the same, then the reason has to be either your distance from the
    subject, or the darkness of the room--leading to dilated pupils.
    All a red-eye reduction function does is attempt to shine a bright light at
    the subject, which tightens they pupils a bit (and makes them grimace, in my
    opinion!). The rest is up to you.

    Beyond that, it has always baffled me why they put the flash SO close to the
    lens on those tiny little cameras, when they could at least move them a BIT
    farther. It may be that they are combatting idiots who will cover the flash
    with their hand if its any further out...but I don't know.
    Stop zooming so far (which usually means you're quite a distance away), try
    to illuminate the room better...and last but not least...get accustomed to
    the very quick red-eye fixes available via software. For group shots (where
    you HAVE to back up), place a bright lamp right next to you, as this will be
    a far more effective "pupil reducer" than a frown-inducing series of flashes
    from your camera...just as people are supposed to be smiling at you.

    Other than that... just remember that this is one of many reasons
    shoe-mounted flashes on SLR/DSLRs are so useful.
    Mark², Jan 22, 2007
  9. Paul D. Sullivan

    ASAAR Guest

    Your C5050 probably did produce much less redeye than the A640,
    but it's very unlikely that it was due to its RedEye Reduction, as
    that feature is little better than a placebo, no matter how it's
    implemented by any camera. The redeye is much more likely to be
    due to either the camera having a greater distance from its flash to
    the lens's axis or perhaps to differences in focusing or metering
    methods. If you use the center of the frame for metering and
    focusing, you (and most other people) will tend to put a subject's
    head, and therefore their eyes in the part of the frame that will
    produce the greatest amount of redeye. Keep the subject's eyes away
    from the center of the frame, and if you can't for any reason
    pre-focus on off-center subjects, and are using either the Center
    Frame for AF, or Spot Metering, try using AiAf or FlexiZone instead
    of the Center AF frame for focusing, and Evaluative or Center
    Weighted Avg. instead of Spot exposure metering. This will make it
    less likely that you'll position your subjects dead center in the
    deadliest redeye generating part of the frame. This generally works
    for me, but when I mess up and forget to keep the subject's eyes
    away from the center of the frame, I can get some amazingly large,
    blazing red eyes, suitable for the hounds of the Baskervilles.
    Sometimes the redeye is appropriate, as in one shot I took of a
    nephew, zoned out, oblivious to the world while at the controls of
    his Sony Playstation. :)

    The C5050's flash might be brighter, but whiter? I have the
    similar A620 and I've seen no problem with the flash not being
    "white" enough. Are you using Auto WB? That could be causing the
    flash to be less white than you'd like. You can also dial in a bit
    more flash using Flash Exposure Compensation. See page 70 of the
    A640's manual.

    P.S. I just saw in another of your replies that you "set the Auto
    Focus to a Center setting", and while you said it may produce more
    predictable results, it may also be part of the reason you're
    getting so much redeye in your pictures, as I predicted! :)
    ASAAR, Jan 22, 2007
  10. Paul D. Sullivan

    Mike Fields Guest


    One thing I have not seen anyone mention that does help with
    red-eye is ambient room lighting -- the brighter the room, the
    smaller the pupils and the less of an effect you see (I did notice
    that Adobe CS2 has an option on the red-eye reduction for changing
    the pupil size, but have not played with it yet). Mark is right in
    that it is all about the angle between the lens and the flash to the
    eyes. As Mark pointed out, the farther you are away, the more
    of a problem also as the angle gets smaller - many people don't
    understand that -- if you are a ways back and zoom in on them
    more than you could with the old camera, you will see more
    of the red-eye.

    Mike Fields, Jan 23, 2007
  11. Paul D. Sullivan

    ASAAR Guest

    If ambient lighting can be increased to the point that the flash
    isn't needed, the problem might be solved. But if not, more likely
    than not the room lighting won't match the flash's color temp. This
    may not be too much of a problem for the subject if a custom WB can
    be created, but it wouldn't likely be a good match for the rest of
    the room, which would lack the same mix of flash and room lighting.
    If the indoor shots are being taken during daylight hours, instead
    of using the camera's anemic, virtually useless anti-redeye
    preflash, you could have the subjects walk outside where the much
    greater, sustained brightness (especially if the sun isn't
    concealed) would quickly constrict the iris. This would produce a
    much smaller, less red pupil in the pictures than the camera's
    anti-redeye light could hope to attain. The photographer might need
    to have some talent herding cats, though. :) If not, I imagine
    that having the subjects look at an unshielded incandescent bulb for
    5 to 10 seconds would also have a much greater effect.
    ASAAR, Jan 23, 2007
  12. Paul D. Sullivan

    Ron Hunter Guest

    Note that zooming REDUCES the flash range, since most lenses lose some
    of their light collecting power when zooming. IE a 2.8 lens may well be
    only 5.6 when zoomed. This means more light is needed to give a good
    image, and red-eye will be more prominent.
    Ron Hunter, Jan 23, 2007
  13. Paul D. Sullivan

    Ron Hunter Guest

    Herding everyone outside at a baby shower? Might look a bit funny
    opening presents under the trees... On the other hand, I have seen
    really terrible red-eye in pictures taken outdoors too, so this is, at
    best, only a partial solution.
    Ron Hunter, Jan 23, 2007
  14. Paul D. Sullivan

    ASAAR Guest

    Oh no. You're not one of "them" are you? If you learn how to
    turn off the flash, you won't need to carry those lithium AA spares
    with you whenever you're out taking pictures. <g>
    ASAAR, Jan 23, 2007
  15. Paul D. Sullivan

    Maurice Hood Guest

    Do not have a problem with my a710 as I use Canon's editing programme.
    Regarding flash. On my a710 you can alter the flash intensity. Read the
    for flash details.
    Maurice Hood, Jan 23, 2007
  16. Paul D. Sullivan

    Ron Hunter Guest

    When it is overcast, the flash will come on, or in shade for a 'fill
    Ron Hunter, Jan 23, 2007
  17. One thing I have not seen anyone mention that does help with
    I'm finding that the default flash strength on the A640 is lower
    than I would have expected.

    After reading comments here, I have started trying shots with the
    flash output adjusted higher.

    The A640 has a default of ZERO and can move 6 steps down and 6
    steps up, from -2 to +2. So from Zero, I move up 3 notches and
    it sets it to +1. 3 more notches and it sets it to +2.

    +1 is giving better results and seems to result in LESS red-eye
    being produced in the first place. +2 carries this even further,
    but seems to wash things out and appears to simply be TOO strong
    in terms of intensity.

    I will continue testing as family situations crop up in the hopes
    that the Red Eye issue can be minimized.

    Thanks much for the information. I do appreciate yours and ALL
    the responses I have gotten. Most have been very helpful.
    Paul D. Sullivan, Jan 23, 2007
  18. The worst feature of this is that many people respond by
    I have tried a few apps mentioned here, and find much to my
    surprise, FAST STONE IMAGE VIEWER seems to have about the easiest
    to use while giving pretty darn good results.

    The ability to drag a banding oval shape is helpful for those
    situations where a full circular pattern can't be used because of
    eyelid droop or what not, and allows me to be more accurate than
    the square selection method some others limit me too.

    So, of the 3 main ones, Paint Shop Pro, IrfanView and FastStone,
    I'm liking FastStone's quick and easy method best.

    I have not yet tried iPhoto on my Mac to see how that compares.

    I'll plow forward and post back if I find something even better
    than FastStone.

    Thanks very much for the help. It is appreciated.
    Paul D. Sullivan, Jan 23, 2007
  19. Red eye is a fact of life with any of the A canon's and I
    I've boosted the flash intensity from the default of 0 to 1 (can
    go up to 2, but 2 is somewhat washed out) and that seems to have
    helped some.

    Also, I have found that FastStone seems to give me the best
    results with the least amount of effort. Bandable oval selection
    is helpful indeed.

    Picasa just drives me nuts - it feels very slow, and way too many
    tie-ins to commercial stuff.

    Irfanview and the square selection are less descriminating and
    Paint Shop Pro's method doesn't work as "naturally" as I like,
    and it doesn't handle non-circular stuff well for me.

    So, for now, the boosted flash intensity to help avoid / lessen
    the problem in the first place and FastStone for red-eye
    reduction where possible.

    Thanks for the help.
    Paul D. Sullivan, Jan 23, 2007
  20. On my a710 you can alter the flash intensity. Read the manual
    Can raise it to +2 via 6 steps if I wish. I find +2 is too
    intense, but +1 seems pretty good. Perhaps that will help
    minimize the Red Eye effect from the get-go and reduce the amount
    of after-editing I have to do.

    Thanks for the tip - it seems a good one.
    Paul D. Sullivan, Jan 23, 2007
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