In which I wax rhapsodic about my camera

I shared my Canon calamity with you the other day. Allie mentioned in comments that Canon has a customer loyalty program that might give me an upgrade for a hundred bucks or so. I called the number today and sure enough, there are several upgrade options, including this Canon Powershot (8 megapixels, 10x zoom) for $125. Sweet, huh?

While doing some reading about the specs, I got to wondering about the specs on my broken camera. And then I dug out the notes I took at the photography session taught by the awesome MeRa Koh. If you like taking pictures, be sure to check out her recap of her BlogHer lecture. Even if all you do is sigh over the gorgeous photos, it’s worth it, I promise.

I spent much of the lecture wishing I had a camera that would allow me to tweak all the things she was explaining: things like shutter speed and ISO. As far as I knew, my camera was pretty much just an automatic, with some extra presets for closeups, etc. Well, this evening when I was reading up on cameras, I was inspired to take a closer look at my own.

Turns out the only thing broken on the camera is the flash. Also turns out it possesses manual settings that will allow me to tweak the shutter speed, ISO, AND the aperture. [[slapping head]] How silly am I? Here’s one instance where my aversion to reading the directions really made me miss out.

People. This camera, even without the flash, is way better than I thought it was. Certainly it is not an SLR. And, yes, it’s a little inconvenient that I’ll have to pull out my smaller camera when I want to take a flash picture. But I never really like the harsh light my flash throws on people anyway. And now that I can adjust my shutter speed….well, it opens up a whole new world.

Check out this picture of Eldest at the computer. She’s next to a tall window, but the picture was taken just before sunset and there were no lights on yet in the house. Plus I shot this at a shutter speed of 1/320, which is fairly standard for an outdoor photo on a bright day. Not much of a picture is it? And that’s even AFTER I lightened it a couple clicks with my photo editor. No way around it, this shot needed a lot more light.

So I set my shutter speed much, much slower- moved it all the way to 1/10 of a second– and took the picture again. Isn’t the difference incredible? That shutter speed allowed the natural light enough time to pour into the camera, letting her face be illuminated by a lovely light. She says her expression is not the best, but I think she looks wonderful. And I am just tickled to realize that even while broken, my camera is full of possibility. In fact, this lack of a flash might help me get really good at making the most of the natural light.

Of course, in really low light taking pictures of my kids who wiggle more, I’ll have to think of some ways to keep them still so they won’t blur every shot. Maybe coffee cans and cement?


  1. I took a photog class one time and what a world of difference. At the end of our four sessions the instructor said “you know everything you need to know about photography. The rest is just practice.” Beautiful picture of a beautiful girl, by the way.

  2. I took a photog class one time and what a world of difference. At the end of our four sessions the instructor said “you know everything you need to know about photography. The rest is just practice.” Beautiful picture of a beautiful girl, by the way.

  3. “Coffee cans and cement”… You just make me laugh!

    You’ve inspired me to LOOK for the directions for our camera (a camera which I really don’t like) to see if I can tolerate using it for another year!

  4. how much to get the flash fixed? seems like you’ll need it, unless this becomes your “day camera” and the handheld your “night”… kind of like switching purses 😉

    I’ll be looking for your 2009 calendar, “Concrete & Coffee Cans!”

  5. Canon said that the minimum repair cost is $99. And they said it might be more, they won’t know til I send it for evaluation. If we’re going to spend money it seems smarter to spend $125 and get the upgraded camera.

    For now, though, hubby says we ought to just do with what we have… (We’re waiting for the huge medical bills to roll in for our daughter’s hospitalization…sigh. even with insurance we’re expecting our portion to come to a fair bit, especially since we had to use a specialist who is ‘out of network’.)

    And actually the camera situation we have isn’t bad. Our other Canon Powershot is only a 5 megapixel, but it also has all the manual settings that I just discovered on the one with the broken flash….and its flash works fine.


  6. Just don’t try the concrete and coffee can trick for pool pictures. Leave that trick for the mafia!

  7. I have the exact same camera you just broke. Love what all it can do for the price. I have yet to play with the manual setting much, but it’s fun to try when I have the time.

  8. Actually I quite liked the first photo, it’s rather artsy.

    I never take flash photos myself, they just don’t look good at all in my opinion. I have a cheap Canon Powershot too and it takes incredible pictures, but I’m going to a fancier one anyway. I can’t wait to see what I can do with that!

  9. kazzles says:

    I used to have a manual SLR and only got into the 21st Century last year with my Powershot, but I do quite like the flexibility it gives me in a compact camera, you can definitely play around with it quite a lot. Trouble with digital cameras that as soon as you buy one there is better technology out and they get cheaper…. 🙂

  10. Yay for you camera. My little point and shoot Sony Cyber Shot has manual settings. I love it. Never use a flash. I know I would not lug around a bulky SLR nor be as spontaneous as I am with my point and shoot. Until I can afford both a nice point and shoot and a nice SLR my little Sony is just right!

  11. you’ve inspired me to revisit my camera instructions, I’m sure (or at least hopeful) my camera has features I’m not aware of

  12. Isn’t it cool when you discover something like this and get pushed to explore new possibilities?

    We upgraded my husband’s camera last Christmas using the loyalty program and were grateful for it since his warranty had expired. It allowed us to get a much nicer camera than we could have afforded at that time.

  13. Wow, I simply must learn more about photography. I love beautiful shots. I don’t know that I have such a great eye for framing and what to focus on and even the basic thing of all–seeing a moment with visual potential. But you’ve inspired me. I’m going to try to improve somehow, with some input and learning from people like you. Thanks for the tip!

  14. How ironic- Last night I was snapping some pictures of my cute-patootie 4-month-old and paused to wonder what secret capabilities my camera has that I haven’t discovered. 100 pictures later, I too have figured out how to mess with the ISO and other [insert camera terms here…] 🙂

  15. GREAT work!

    MeRa is soooo great isnt’ she!! So glad that you learned so much and that you have been able to revolutionize your photography. 🙂

  16. That’s a huge difference. I really need to take a photography course. Really.