Help – No pictures!

I’m getting a bit frustrated now. I bought the new camera because it has manual controls with a high zoom lens. I need the zoom lens to get close to my subject (birds in the garden) because I cannot get physically closer. Having tried it for a couple of weeks, I find that everything about the camera does work faster and more crisply. It starts up quickly, zooms quickly, smoothly and almost silently. It focuses quickly. It’s a small camera with little in the way of thumb and finger grips, so in my big hands, not so easy to handle, but overall, it is a fine compact camera and I am pleased with it.

However, my big problem is that the camera keeps turning down the shutter speed and I end up with a blurred subject. When I try to use the options for controlling the aperture or the speed everything looks good until I depress the shutter button to focus and then the camera decides what speed it will shoot at and I end up with such a slow speed that a clear picture is impossible. If I try in full manual mode, the screen stays dark because I am obviously not getting the right exposure. I have to turn the speed down to below 1/50 just to get minimum exposure. I can set a higher ISO but it doesn’t seem to make much difference to the shutter speed.

The best results are still in Auto mode where I let the camera decide everything, but the shutter speed is still too slow to stop motion blur. The exposure is ok and sometimes the bird stays still but it only has to move it’s head and the body looks fine but the head is blurred.

I have now realised that the problem is compounded by using the zoom lens. As you zoom in on the subject, the aperture gets smaller and the shutter speed is slowed.Ā  The annoying thing is that no matter what I set the controls at, the camera changes them to try and get the exposure right and ignores my moving subject (and my shaky hands lol).

Is it really so dark at this time of year that even at midday, I cannot get a decent shutter speed with a decent exposure?

Have I wasted my time buying a camera with manual controls? Is a compact camera only good in sunny weather?

Am I doing something basically wrong,Ā  or perhaps I am just having a moan when I should be practicing?

I know this isn’t a camera forum, but if anyone has the time or inclination to comment, you may just save my sanity šŸ™‚

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4 thoughts on “Help – No pictures!

  1. I use a really high ISO (2500-4000) at this time of year for my bird pictures but even so I need to use my photo editor too in most cases. I usually shoot the birds on Aperture mode. Wait a month and all will be well.

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  2. Sorry that you’re having trouble with your new camera. Without having read the manual, I would suggest trying the sports mode if the camera has one, that should give you higher shutter speeds. If that does work, then we can tackle how to set the camera up for other things as well as birds. Also, refresh my memory, which camera are you using?

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    • Sorry for taking so long to get back to you and thank you so much for your suggestions. The camera is a Canon Powershot SX700HS. It has a 30x optical IS zoom lens 4.5-135.0mm 1:3.2 – 6.9
      It does have a sports mode that takes a burst of pictures and that does give a higher shutter speed, but I have found on a dull day the speed can still be slower than 1/100th. It doesn’t help that my garden is shady with trees but of course they help bring the birds.

      Now today the sun is shining the sky is blue and shutter speeds are not a problem.
      I am going to try and put some recent photos of birds together and publish a post showing some reasonable shots and some bad. I have taken enough photos in the last couple of weeks.

      Thanks again.

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