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Common, Easily Fixed Digital Camera Problems

Before you think you have a lame excuse for a digital camera, here are a few things to check before sending it off to be service or replacing it. The following is a short list of issues you may be dealing with on your Compact Point and Shoot or SLR that can be fixed with out much fuss.

Everything is blurry

Although blurry images can be caused by faulty cameras and camera lenses. One or a combination of the following can also cause your pictures to turn out blurry or appear blurry and should be looked at first.

  • Dirty lens

Even if the lens may look clean it never hurts to give your lens a good once over just to make sure. Lens cleaning kits are inexpensive and easy to come by. Some kits are made just for small cameras. Your local electronics/camera store should have them on hand.

  • Make sure your camera is not set to macro mode

This setting looks like a flower for most cameras and if this mode is engaged you will only have focus for the first 1-3 feet in front of your lens, blurring everything else.

  • Image resolution

This may be true if the image looks great on the camera but pixelated on the computer screen. Make sure your camera is set to the highest resolution then give it a try.

  • Motion or Movement

Motion or movement by ether the person taking the pictures or people or objects moving while the picture is being taken. To fix this we need to speed up the shutter. however doing that can lead to an under exposed picture. Flash, Aperture and ISO can help. Check out my ISO or Aperture post for more info. The Flash will be covered later on in this post.

  • Optical Zoom or Digital Zoom

Make sure digital zoom is turned off. This is, in my opinion, a worthless feature. It’s only cropping the image and not actually zooming anything. This can result in a very pixelated image. If you still need more zoom, it may be time to step up to an SLR with a telephoto lens or a super zoom point and shoot that has a 10x or more optical zoom. Legs are a forgotten feature in photography, so if you can, walk closer.

Memory Card Problems

Memory cards in general don’t go bad. If one does, it’s usually a DOA issue or some type of physical damage…..”usually”.

  • Format

Your digital camera is like a computer and the memory card is like the hard drive. Remember to format, not delete before you use the card for the first time. Always format the card in camera and never format it using your computer. Formatting before taking pictures is a good habit to get into. Remember formatting will erase all pictures, so make sure you save to your computer first. Formatting can fix things like loading speed, images not being stored, Error messages and other strange behavior.

  • Card Locked

Common to SD. SD cards have a small tab on the side of them that you can lock or accidentally lock. If your camera suddenly tells you it can’t record make sure the tab is in the unlocked position

Short Battery Life

Your camera dies after only a few pictures.

  • Check your camera’s user guide and make sure you’re using the right kind of batteries.

Many entry level point & shoot cameras will use AA’s, but not all AA’s are created equal. Rechargeable Nickel-cadmium battery (NiCd or NiCad) or one time use Lithium AA’s that have a 2000 mAh (Ampere hour) or higher rating will give you improved picture counts before needing to be replaced or recharged. Compare this to a typical AA that has only a few hundred mAh. If your camera came with it’s own proprietary rechargeable battery, remember most only have an average life of about 1-2 years. So it may be time to replace it.

Shutter lag

You’re taking pictures and you always miss the action.

  • Slow Cameras

Some cameras can take 2-3 seconds to actually take the shot once the shutter button is pressed. If this sounds like your camera, my condolences go out to you, this is simply unacceptable. What you can do is prep the camera before the shot by holding the shutter button down half way. This will give the camera time to set up and focus. then press the button all the way down when action is right. For SLR’s you may want to try manual focus to give you more speed.

Over Exposed or Washed Out Faces

You don’t like using the flash but everything blurs if it’s not used.

  • Exposure Compensation

Exposure compensation does just that. It lowers the exposure of your picture to compensate for lack of or too much light. Next time you need the flash try lowering the exposure value (EV) by -.5 to -1 but be carful not to under expose too much as this can add an unacceptable amount of grain/noise on lower end cameras.

  • White Balance

Sometimes the auto white balance is not all that precise. Turn your WB setting to flash.

My Camera just sucks, I want a new one!

Can’t fault you there. Some cameras just can’t cut it. When you’re shopping for a new one keep the above information in mind and remember the following.

“Good, Fast, Cheap, You can only pick two.”