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LCD Image Brightness and Flash Too Bright
on April 15, 2012
After reading most of the reviews, I decided that this would be a great gift for my sisters birthday. The price was affordable and there did not seem to be much of a huge difference upgrading to the newer models. In addition, I was looking for a simple point and shoot camera that would take quick shots, to avoid that "oh please take that damn shot" moment, as you wait. The specs state 1.5 seconds, which is very respectable... until you use the flash. More on this below.
This camera is very compact and easy to store in your pocket. The video is pretty clear and easy to record. The buttons are located in good locations and the color Red was very well received, making it easy to locate.
Now for the problems:
1) IMAGE BRIGHTNESS ON LCD SCREEN: The major problem, at least with the camera we received, is that the image brightness displayed on the screen does not match to those you will see on your computer. Of course, this is not a surprise, since the lcd on the camera only shows a small amount of pixels but the problem is not the clarity or color, but that of brightness. Photo's taken in low light situations with no flash will look bright enough on the camera's display but once you transfer to your computer, they are very completely dark and extremely grainy. Likewise, photo's taken with a flash look washed out on the screen but once transferred, look not as bright. Decreasing the screen brightness on the camera did nothing to elevate this issue. Defective screen?
2) FLASH TOO BRIGHT:The flash is too bright and not controllable in either automatic or manual modes. This results in photo's that look too flash exposed and too many highlights in the face. Luckily, if the ISO setting is low enough, the photo's can be corrected in any photo editing software.
3) AUTO ISO TOO HIGH & GRAINY: Although automatic mode is indeed handy for people who do not want to or know how to adjust settings. The flaw here is that the Auto mode decides which ISO setting to use, which in most situations is exceptionally high (i.e ISO 400 with Flash, ISO 1600 without). The higher the ISO the more grainy the images will be and the less pixel brightness information you have for photo retouching or correcting.
The fix for this is to use manual mode and change the auto ISO to a value of 100 or 200. Make sure that your flash is set to auto or OFF, and this should result in a much better quality looking image with no pixel grain. When the flash goes off, you might get an overexposed image that is too bright, but since you have a lot of pixel information, you will most likely be able to adjust that in any photo editing software.
4) TOO SLOW WITH FLASH: Although photo's taken without a flash are taken at an impressive 1.5 seconds, once you include the flash, that time dramatically increases to 3-4 seconds, where your models have to wait patiently with there frozen smiles that turn to grins.
IMPROVEMENTS NEEDED (likely by purchasing another model):
1) ISO Max, this way you can guarantee that the camera won't select such a high setting of ISO 1600. ISO 400 should really be the high limit.
2) Flash brightness control. This would eliminate the need to correct for this in a photo editor. Auto Flash brightness based on ISO would be ideal.
3) Ability to reuse last auto setting for next photo. This way, the camera does not need to recalculate focus, red eye, settings, etc all over again.
4) An LCD that displays correct brightness of photo's taken (if my camera is not a defect).
NOTE: In my defense, I should have been more aware that taking photo's in low lighting would result in a high AUTO ISO setting of 1600. I actually didn't notice that ISO until the day after. However, when I viewed this through the camera's lcd screen, they looked quite bright (even the darks were bright enough) and overexposed when using a Flash. Being very impressed with the low lighting photo's, I decided to avoid using the flash for more than half the photo's..... BIG MISTAKE.