Canon S50 Horrid Night Photos

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Ryan, Sep 3, 2003.

  1. Ryan

    Ryan Guest

    Is it me or the camera?

    I have had several Canon Digital cameras including an S40, S45 and now
    S50. All the cameras have gotten excellent reviews and I think they
    take outstanding indoor and outdoor daytime shots.

    But, I am so frustrated with the all of them and especially my new S50
    at night. I use the auto setting and I get nothing but black. I use
    the night setting, and I get a blurry photo unless I hold the camera
    perfectly still for several seconds.. which is very difficult to do
    99% of the time and I can't lug a tripod around with me.

    However, my friends with plain old 35mm cameras snap great night shots
    all the time! I love my digital cameras, what can I do to improve
    night shots? It's gotten to the point that I stop using my digital
    once the sun goes down and switch back to a regular 35mm at night.
    That doesn't seem right to me.
    Ryan, Sep 3, 2003
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  2. Ryan

    Zol. Guest

    What exactly are ytou trying to take a photo of ? If it`s people @ night
    (say upto 12foot away) then the `Night-scene` mode on the canon camera would
    work in a way that the flash will expose the people and then then exposure
    will carry on to capture the background (you will need steady hands or
    tripod for best results) however if you want to take photos of a night
    skyline then this mode is useless for this - use `Manual(M)` or `Shutter
    Speed Priority(Tv)` - you can read a brief decription on-line @ or read the manual -
    without knowing what you are photographing it`s a bit difficult to make
    definative answers ... Zol.
    Zol., Sep 3, 2003
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  3. Ryan

    FOR7b Guest

    Is it me or the camera?
    You are doing something wrong. Get a book on low light photography. There are a
    number of good ones currently in circulation out there and apply what you learn
    to your cameras features and capabilities. I'm sure the S50 can do what you
    want, within reason.

    FOR7b, Sep 3, 2003
  4. Ryan

    Jim Townsend Guest

    Normally digicams perform the same way 35mm cameras do. The only difference is
    there is a CCD where film normally would be.

    Exactly how much light are you shooting under and what subjects are you
    shooting? Are you trying to using the flash on subjects over 10 feet away ?

    Could you have your digital ISO set to 50 and the 'plain old 35mm camera' is
    using ISO 200 or 400 film ?

    It's hard (if not impossible) to diagnose your problem with the info you've
    provided.. Can you provide links to examples, can you provide the EXIF info
    from these bad low light photos ?
    Jim Townsend, Sep 3, 2003
  5. Mostly you, some the camera.
    This suggests that your friends know how to use their 35 cameras at
    night better than you understand your S50. Fundamentally, there isn't
    much light available at night (duh) so you have to make the most of what
    you have using a slow shutter speed, wide aperture, and high film speed.
    Your friends are likely making use of all of these, and you should learn
    how too.

    If you set the camera to Auto, you can't get slow shutter speeds, so
    don't use auto. The "night" setting is probably there to provide a
    particular sort of cooperation between flash and available light, but
    for just plain night photography you probably should be using Av, Tv, or
    M shooting modes so you can see the compromise between shutter speed and
    aperture that the camera is using.

    Sometimes you *will* need to use a tripod, or brace the camera against
    a stationary object, to get unblurred photos. Practice.

    The largest aperture of the S50 is f/2.8 in wide angle, even worse in
    tele. Your friends with SLRs probably have faster lenses, and you can't
    do anything about that.

    Your friends are probably also shooting with higher ISO film. You can
    set the ISO of the S50 fairly high too, but you'll have to do it in the
    menu - the "auto" mode won't go above about ISO 100 or 150. When you do
    this, the images will get noisier. This is the price you pay for having
    a tiny CCD in the camera.

    A digital SLR will fix the latter two problems, but at a significant

    Dave Martindale, Sep 3, 2003
  6. Ryan

    Jeff Guest

    Zol's right. If you use "night mode" to shoot people at night, the
    flash will properly expose the foreground (at the proper aperature)
    and the shutter speed will properly expose the background (at night
    this could take several seconds). A tripod is usually a must in this
    Your friends camera doesn't have such a sophisticated mode on their
    camera. Their camera might always shoot at 1/60th shutter when
    triggering the flash, regardless of how dark the background is.
    Therefore, the background of your friends photo's are usually too dark
    (but allows hand-holding of the camera).
    If you use the AUTO setting on your S50 it would do the same thing as
    your friends camera (but doesn't make for the best photo).

    Note, using Tv or Av could have the same effect as "night mode" if you
    use the menu option of "slow-sync".

    I highly recommend buying one of those "mini-tripods". Usually small
    enough to fit into your pocket. Get the one with the ball-and-socket
    head. This allows you to set it on almost anything and still keep the
    camera level. This also allows you to get into the shot using the

    Jeff, Sep 4, 2003
  7. Ryan

    JK Guest

    Or that the friend might have 400 or 800 ISO film in his camera, and a
    50mm f1.4 or f1.8 lens? To try to get the most from your camera in
    low light, set the ISO to 400, and the zoom to wide angle. Use a tripod
    (even if it is a mini one), or brace your elbow(s) against a wall, table,
    lamp post, or other stable object.
    Shirt pocket sized cameras have a lens that doesn't let much light
    through at the telephoto end.
    JK, Sep 4, 2003
  8. Ryan

    Gav Guest

    I havn't got my S50 yet, but from using other cameras I can understand your
    problem. You will have a real problem holding the camera still, almost
    impossible. I tend to sit my camera on something solid tripod if you have
    one or a wall or something if not. Then I set the 10 second timer, prepare
    my shot and stand back and watch, then you are not going to move the camera
    in any way. Never had a problem yet and I have no fancy equipment.

    Gav, Sep 4, 2003
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