Frustrated by your crappy camera?

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Original Post

bomobob says

Thinking you really need a more expensive one?

This is just a very quick demo to illustrate that it's much less about the tools than what you do with them.

For this experiment I used a really cheap Kodak Easyshare camera, the kind that would break if you sneezed on it.

So here's a picture taken with yesterday's 50 cent lightbox-shmightbox setup. It's hand held, everything on fully automatic and macro on the camera. So, turned on, and the dial turned to the little flower icon, nothing else:

Does it look familiar? Running out to buy an SLR isn't going to solve this problem, but here's what will.

First, I put the camera on a tripod so it's nice and steady. You can see the slight blur in that photo, and we really don't want that. (I was sure my hands were steady!)

Next I manually set the ISO from AUTO to 80. See all the grainy looking stuff on the cardboard in the front? That's noise caused by the amplifiers in the camera, and setting the ISO to its lowest number will clear that up.

What about the dark picture? Do I need more light? Nope, I have lots of light. I can't stress this point enough: The camera thinks this is a perfect exposure. The white cardboard is a nice, neutral grey, and that's what the camera wants to end up with. But you don't!
So I adjusted the Exposure Compensation up 1 level (It's typically denoted by a little +/- icon) to let in more light.

And despite the darkness, the colour is a bit off. So I went into the menu and changed the White Balance setting from AUTO to Daylight, because I'm using natural light plus and OTT bulb.

And just to make sure I'm extra steady, I turned on the camera's self timer, so I could press the shutter and just take my paws off the camera.

Here's what I got:

Same junky camera. (If I'd had space, I would have put a second lamp on the left to get rid of those shadows)

Click back and forth between the two photos. Which one would you buy?

Posted at 11:32am Jul 2, 2010 EDT


I use my camera phone for most of my photos because I can't seem to get anything decent out of my SLR. I'm going to look into this.

Posted at 11:33am Jul 2, 2010 EDT

marking to read later.

Posted at 11:33am Jul 2, 2010 EDT

thanks I'm setting my cam as I read this.

Posted at 11:35am Jul 2, 2010 EDT

I didnt like how my camera worked untill I finally broke down and read the instructions. All of them. and then experimented and read the instructions again untill I understood them. Now I like my camera.

Thanks for the info BomoBob!!!

Posted at 11:36am Jul 2, 2010 EDT

That is true Bomobob- i actually started to play with my camera more adjusting the settings and some of my newest pictures look more crisp. Still working on the lighting but getting there.

Posted at 11:36am Jul 2, 2010 EDT

I agree! I have a middle of the road point and shoot and I just purchased a dslr. My point and shoot pics are just as good. I can't wait to get better with the dslr though! I should mention I didn't buy it for etsy but for personal use. It kills me to see people run out and spend 1000 on a camera when chances are the pics will turn out the same or worse!

Posted at 11:36am Jul 2, 2010 EDT

Marking - Many thanks bomobob for all your tips. I am working my way through them and getting a better understanding of why my photos are crap! Your advice is so clear and non technical. Really appreciate you taking the time to share.

Posted at 11:37am Jul 2, 2010 EDT

hahaha - I'm gonna send you my daughter's toy digital camera and see what you can do with that....

Posted at 11:37am Jul 2, 2010 EDT

Agreed. So many people ask me what SLR they should buy and I often tell them that what they have RIGHT NOW is sufficient; they just need to learn how to use it better. If you have a good eye, you can make anything look amazing.

Posted at 11:38am Jul 2, 2010 EDT