Turning People into Phantoms

Argh. The purpose of this post is to demonstrate my frustrations while trying to take photographs. I like to blame my camera for the problems, but I’m open to the idea that it might be user-error. So everyone knows, the camera I’m using is a Kodak EasyShare CX7530. I understand that this is sort of a chump camera. I bought it because it was cheap and easy, not because I really thought it would take great pictures. For the record, I’ve blogged about how much I dislike my camera previously, here. Consider this a follow-up post, with pictures to demonstrate my frustrations.

For my first demonstration, consider the following two photos, in which I try to capture the image of my wife as we wait at a red light while cycling. The first photo is taken in the “Auto” setting, with auto-flash on. It was starting to get a little dark, so it flashed. It captured Melanie ok, but the flash made it seem much darker outside than it really was. This photo gives the impression that we were cycling at night. We weren’t.

So for the second photo, I turned the flash off. This photo much more accurately represents the ambient light levels, but now Mel’s all fuzzy. Turning the flash off always makes my photos fuzzy.

For my second demonstration, consider the following two photos, in which I try to effectively capture some Halloween decorations. The first photo is too dark, because by now, it is getting dark out.

Luckily my camera is equipped with a “Night” setting, presumably for taking photos at night. As this photo clearly demonstrates, the “Night” setting does effectively alter the light levels so that it doesn’t even look like it is dark. I think that’s pretty neat, and have always been impressed by the lighting tricks the “Night” setting uses. However, this photo is fuzzy. Using the “Night” setting always makes my photos fuzzy. As a result, I have never gotten a good photo using the “Night” setting.

As it turns out, though, “Night” is a very incomplete label for this setting. It would be more accurately labeled the “Night/Turn Everyone Into Ghosts” setting. Consider the following photos, in which I attempt to capture an image of Melanie on a bicycle. These were also captured using the “Night” setting.

Admittedly, these “phantom” photos are pretty cool (especially since we were on our way to a Halloween Extravaganza), but they certainly weren’t what I was hoping for. At first I thought it was a pretty funny joke my camera was playing on me when it kept insisting that Melanie was a ghost, but about 15 photos later, it wasn’t funny anymore and I just wanted a photo where Melanie was not completely transparent.

So I’m still in the market for a new camera, but it’s going to be tough to find what I’m looking for. Mel and I are very sensitive to the physical size of the camera. I need to find a camera capable of taking high-quality photos, but I’m not ready to start carrying around a LARGE camera. Any camera that requires a neck-strap, or that is too big to stick in my pocket isn’t going to work for me. Also, my dream camera would only occasionally think it’s funny to turn people into phantoms.

2 comments to Turning People into Phantoms

  • My camera (which is a Nikon) has the same problem. Maybe it is also user-error on my part as well. Maybe not. Either way, if you figure out how to solve this problem, please let me know! šŸ™‚

  • The hard thing is that you really need a tripod in those low-light settings. And you also need the subject to not move. Maybe you can carry around a large lamp to point at the subject so that you can still get an accurate depiction of surrounding light while still getting the person in focus!