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Problems with my Canon SD1100 IS

I'm feeling a little misled by all the postive hype and reviews that have been given to the Canon SD1100IS. It takes great pictures where there is adequate lighting, but when I try to take pictures in low light settings I have a heck of a time getting a decent shot. All my low light and night shots come out WAY too dark and the color of my light blonde hair turns gold or brassy orange, as do most of the objects around me. People look strange, for lack of a better word, and if I try to adjust different settings I either wash out faces or everything gets even darker. I hate to say it, but I'm really starting to regret this purchase. Maybe my settings aren't correct, but I feel like I have tried every combination possible! I have no idea how to fix these problems. Any suggestions?

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Canon SD1100

In reply to: Problems with my Canon SD1100 IS

There are usually work-arounds for shooting in low light.
We can probably help if we know a little more.

Regarding low light situations:

Are you taking pictures with or without flash?

If you are talking of pictures with flash:
How far are you from your subject?
Are you using any optical zoom?

...
..
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I hope this helps!

In reply to: Canon SD1100

I try doing both.

When I take a picture in low light without flash people look better, normal I guess you could say, but the picture of course is way too dark as a whole. I've taken pictures of myself an arms length away and I have had someone else stand about 5 feet away as well.

When I take pictures in low light with flash I either get the discoloration everything being saturated in orange and gold tones or I completely wash everything out with too much light if I mess with some of the settings. The background shows up very very dark as well either way, and both ways people look un natural. In all of my flash experiences, people themselves turns out looking just awful in general. When I don't use flash their features and color look MUCH better, but of course no flash=not enough light. I've tried taking my flash pictures at the same lengths as I mentioned earlier.

I'm not quite sure if I am using optical zoom or not. I'm zoomed out the farthest I can go with the manual zoom on top of the camera if that is what you are asking?

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Canon SD1100 IS

In reply to: I hope this helps!

I suggest you start by doing a total reset of the camera.
I am sure that you have been trying out various bells and whistles on the camera and you could have inadvertently set something wrong.

Go to page 175 of the Camera User Guide and follow the instructions to reset your camera to factory specifications.

Now go to page 14 and set your camera to Auto mode.

..........

Regarding the use of Flash:
That camera has a flash range of 11.4 feet.
Meaning....anything beyond 11.4 feet will be dark or black.
If you are using any zoom, the distance is drastically reduced.
Rule of thumb - do not use zoom when taking flash photos.

Flash photos taken of people at closer ranges should be well lit while anything behind (beyond) the people will be very dark. The camera automatically reduces the brightness of the flash to provide for proper brightness of the people (not the background).

........

Regarding low light shooting without flash:
In low light, the camera will choose a slower shutter speed and also will increase the ISO setting.

A slower shutter speed means that you are likely to get a blurred photo due to camera movement, unless you use a tripod to support the camera or set the camera on a solid surface.

A higher ISO setting will result in more "noise" than usual.
(noise adds a grainy dull look).

If you use zoom in low light, that will cause the camera to use even slower shutter speeds and higher ISO speeds.
Rule of thumb - do not use zoom when shooting in low light.

Take a test shot in low light without the flash:
Set the camera on a table and take the picture.
(Remembering that the shutter speed will be slow, so don't jostle the camera.

That should give you a good photo with natural colors.

..........


Now try some new shots and see what kind of results you get.

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Where was the hype?

In reply to: Problems with my Canon SD1100 IS

Not to sound harsh, but exactly where did you find these positive hype reviews? Most reviews (including here at Cnet) state that the camera has color issues when not in good light. As a matter of fact, other than adding image stabilization, the SD1100 was generally regarded as worse than the SD1000 that it replaced.

The most positive thing I have seen about the camera is it takes "average pictures for cameras in its class." The key there is the "cameras in its class" part. These diminutive cameras with the lousy placed flash and no manual controls are just terrible for taking pictures in anything but good even lighting.

Sadly, I don't really know what to tell you to do other than to pick up a decent photo editor, and start tweaking the pictures afterwards to fix the lighting and color balance issues.

This doesn't have to be expensive (or cost anything at all). Programs light Photoshop Elements run as little as $79 and you can even download GIMP (which is free, but not for the faint of heart as it is has a lot of controls and thus can be very confusing for those not used to using GIMP or the full Photoshop product).

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Ohh don't worry

In reply to: Where was the hype?

Not harsh at all! Doing lots of general searches for Canon SD1100IS reviews have me tons of positive feedback. Store reviews and customer reviews gave me good feedback as well. I did a thread on here about getting the canon versus another brand like sony and everyone said go with the canon. Even on cnet, I didn't see the bad reviews, but the camera was labeled as 4/5 stars and I didn't see much in the way of negative feedback there either to be honest. stevesdigicams.com & http://www.dpreview.com/ also gave very good reviews. I searched around reading reviews all over the place, I don't think I ever found one that said it didn't take good pictures in low light or that it was worse than the SD1000. I only only wish that I had found the reviews you are talking about! I must have been looking in the wrong places or misread something..I don't know. I feel grossly misled.

Factory settings and changed settings both give me horrible low light pictures at any distance. If a camera only takes good pictures in good lighting then there's no point in paying near $200 for it. $200 is probably the cheap end of the camera line up, but still, if it doesn't take perfect low light shots, it should at least take decent ones. I can't even call the shots I took with the SD1100 decent...

Any suggestions on a different camera?? $200 at most, maybe a little more than that??

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It can be confusing

In reply to: Ohh don't worry

The problem to some extent, I guess, comes from how the reviews are done. In fairness they do not put point and shoot cameras like the SD1100 IS against a dSLR, because there is just no way to compare them, so when they say "good quality pictures" it is based on similar models of camera, and no camera in this price range is good in low light situations, so that is just a "given." But if you look at the conclusions that dpreview.com gave, you will see things like:

"It's also obvious that Canon, like most of its competitors, has not found the magic potion yet to get rid of the two evils that haunt small sensor cameras: limited dynamic range (clipped highlights) and excessive noise at high sensitivities."

So, they don't get overly critical of the poor low light performance, because as you see from that quote, NONE of the manufacturers have solved this problem yet with tiny sensor cameras.

It is because of that I am hesitant to recommend another camera as well. Personally I have been satisfied with the S3 I use when I don't want to use my dSLR, and my wife likes her S5. They are not great in low light, but I find personally that cameras like these with a pop up flash (as opposed to that silly little LED flash stationed right near the lens) to be better at at least evening out the color and have generally less noise than cameras like the SD1100 IS. This probably holds true of other models by different manufacturers but my only experience is currently with Canon (and previously) Olympus so I can't say with any degree of certainty what others will do. Also, cameras like these generally run slightly higher than your current budgetary limits ($299 or so and up).

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