Pentax optio L20 & low light

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by AndrewW, Mar 3, 2007.

  1. AndrewW

    AndrewW TPF Noob!

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    Dear All

    I bought t my wife a slim line camera (Pentax Optio L20) for Christmas.
    I have been used to using my Canon Power Shot S70 (which I am very please with)
    Both these cameras have similar number of pixels (7.1 million). How ever the Pentax takes blurred pictures in low light (including indoors), and although takes good pictures out doors, if the area is slightly dark the pictures are grainy. I have tried taking the same picture with the Pentax and the Cannon, and whilst the Cannon taken perfect shots each time the pentax often fails (appears to be a problem with low light causing blurred or grainy images?)

    Another example
    My wife took a picture of myself in a wood today came out great. From the same position she zoomed in on me, and took a shot, the picture was dark and grainy?

    Whats going on ?
    Do I have a setting wrong?
    Did I make a mistake purchasing this camera?

    Thanks

    Andrew
     
  2. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    From a bit of Googling I see the L20 has ISO up to 1600; it's probably automatically choosing a higher ISO for darker scenes and therefore you will get noticeable digital noise - the 'grain' you can see. The bluriness is probably simply due to use of a slow shutter speed. To avoid either noise or blurring I would suggest turning off the "Blur Reduction Mode" or otherwise stopping the camera choosing a high ISO (check manual for how to do this), and either use flash, or a mini-tripod (or other method of steadying the camera).

    Having said that I'm afraid I can't find much info on the L20, except that apparently it is (or was) intended for the Russian market as a "men's version" of the S7... I have no idea what that means... :|

    Of course as with anything, if you're not happy with it then return it and try something else.
     
  3. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The glass for that lens is I would assume much smaller being a small camera so the Pentax lens is probably much slower than the Canon lens so consequently will need a slower shutter speed to make the image you want in lower light.
     
  4. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    Apparently the max aperture on the Pentax is f/2.7 at the widest end; with the Canon it's f/2.8 so it's basically the same. But the Pentax is much slimmer, so if the same shutter speed, aperture and sensitivity are used on both and there's still blurring then it's probably simply because the more substantial size of the Canon makes it easier to handhold with less vibration.
     
  5. AndrewW

    AndrewW TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for all the replies

    Been doing some further investigation

    There is a focal box on the screen, which should contain the main object to be photographed.
    When the button to take the photo is partially pressed this, the camera attempts to set the correct calibration and focus. If all this is successful this box then turns green and the photo can be taken successfully.
    If the camera is unable to automatically calibrate its self the box either turns red or disappears. It is still possible to take a photo in this situation, and this is where the bad pictures appear to be coming from. I think this was down to both human and firmware. Human for not understanding the process and firmware for not attempting to stop a bad photo being taken

    I have also noticed the camera appears to have issues calibrating if all the items in the picture are of a similar colour. I have found the only solution is to point the camera at a different source then back to the correct subject. This may need to be done several times, not great if it a speed shot.

    Any thoughts?

    Andrew
     
  6. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    If it's red, that would probably indicate either that the focus is incorrect, or that the necessary shutter speed will result in blurring. The camera won't attempt to stop a 'bad photo being taken' because there are situations where you don't always want the camera saying "No, I won't let you take this shot".

    I'm not really sure what you mean about the colours being the same. Are you saying the colours in the images appear inaccurate?
     
  7. AndrewW

    AndrewW TPF Noob!

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    Sorry ZaphodB I may have confused you with the colour question. Some examples may help

    The Pentax camera has problems calibrating in the following situations

    1. Taking a picture of a cream coloured lamp shade in a corner, with a white radiator on one of the walls, and the other wall being painted cream

    2. Taking a picture of a black coat next to a black running machine standing on end.

    If the foreground and background colours are different then there are no issues taking the pictures.

    My Canon has no problems with either of the pictures described above.

    Any Ideas?

    Andrew
     
  8. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    Ah thanks for clearing that up. Now I understand the situation that causes the problem, but I still don't understand what the problem is... when you say it has problems "calibrating", do you mean problems focusing, or do you mean the image is too dark or light (exposure)?
     
  9. AndrewW

    AndrewW TPF Noob!

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    The issue is focus in this situation. It’s almost like the camera tries and gives up. Looking on the screen on the back of the camera its obvious it’s out of focus. If the camera is moved on to another target and then back again it tries again, after a few attempts its does work. It’s almost like the camera can’t distinguish the difference between the objects.



    As for the dark pictures I have not yet worked out why when a picture is taken from a distance (example me in a wood) it works, when my wife zooms in on me the picture is dark, (but still in focus).
     

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