Playing with the manual settings on a digital camera

I have a canon S400 (Ixus) and as a point-and-shoot it’s really quite amazing. It also takes good shots with its manual settings. Trouble is I’m right at the bottom of the learning curve at the moment, and need a bit of advice. I’ve been experimenting with the various manual modes and settings with varying levels of success.

Can someone tell me what exactly ISO numbers are and how does exposure compensation fit into this? Also what the heck is white balance? (The user’s manual is actually pretty good at explaining how to do stuff, which buttons to press, but the whys and wherefores are glossed over.)

At the moment I am trying to figure out the best way to take pictures indoors with lowish light levels (indoor lighting) so that I don’t have to use flash for certain shots.
I took some test shots of my living room ranging from ISO 50 through 400 at each exposure setting (-2,-1,0,+1,+2) and found ISO 200, +1 was best. However, in other indoor areas the shots came out a little blurred and not so good. It’s a little frustrating having to take about four pictures at different settings in the hope of getting one which might be OK.

Appreciate any help. Thanks.

The blur can come from several factors:

  • The camera was out of focus, sometimes it is to dark to focus. Switch on the AF Illumination lamp in the settings, if it is off.
  • People are blurred, everything else is ok. Tell the people not to move for a second next time.
  • Everything is blurred although the cam did focus correctly. You was shaking.

Sometimes it is just not possible to hold the camera still for this long (indoors usually between 1/2sec to 1/20 sec). Some tips:

  • Zoom out. Never use zoom indoors without flash.
  • Do not shake, try to hold the cam as still as possible. Hold the cam with both hands. Press your elbows/arms against your chest/body, Do not breathe :wink:
  • Use a short self-timer (your cam has a 2 sec timer). By pressing down the button you are already shaking the camera.
  • Get a tripod
  • Use just about anything as a tripod: Table tops, chairs, bottles, boxes,books, walls… (Outdoors you can also press/hold the camera against a street-sign or a street-lamp), Just put the camera down on something or press it against something stable.
  • Tell people not to move for few seconds.
  • If you are not happy with your available exposure settings… Focus against something slightly brighter than the place you want to shoot first (same distance, otherwise it will be out of focus), then compose the image. This will result in a faster shutter speed… but a darker image - you can fix that later in an image processor with the brightness/gamma setting.

-lime monkey

Thank you for the advice. My mum sent me a book from Amazon, “Shooting Digital” by Mikkel Aaland (US $35) which is a big meaty book all abot how to take better pics with your digital camera.
I thoroughly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about digital photography.

[color=blue]If anyone has more photo tips, please feel free to share them here[/color]!
:rainbow: :rainbow: :rainbow:

kinda off-topic, but

last nite passing by 101. looked like a good pic. sky was dark, 101 like some titan’s column with blinking menacing red lights and other lights, disappearing into the misty clouds. nearby orangey illumination by a streetlamp, soft and dying. mist surrounding.

i pull out my casio digicam. click.

no battery power.


[quote=“Jack Burton”]i pull out my casio digicam. click.

no battery power.
That’s why some people have a second battery with the camera all the time… :wink:

The battery is designed to cut out just when you need it most! 2nd battery is essential IMO.