Long time DSC-W30 user, 1st time exposure probs?

  fsa259 04:53 05 Nov 2007
Locked

I have had my DSC-W30 for over a year and never came across any problems with exposure. In auto mode, even in dimly-lit rooms, the flash would light up the scene enough to capture a high quality shot. I have never had any indoor photos overexpose. The only photos which would come out too dark are where I deliberately kept the flash off.

Over the past two weeks, however, some photos would spontaneously appear extremely overexposed or extremely underexposed. Still, on auto mode, in averagely lit indoor situations in which the camera previously had no problems handling. Overexposed ones would look like I pointed it at a halogen lamp, and underexposed ones are practically black.

On repeat shots, the problem sometimes goes away. Even if the onboard histogram shows an even spread while I am pointing the camera, after shooting it appears on either extreme.

When I look at the properties of the photos, the extremely overexposed photos get shot on ISO-320, when the normal selection for the same scene is ISO-80....what makes the auto detection malfunction like this?

The really dark photos show no difference in the properties to a normal photo of the same scene, so apart from a mistimed flash, I cant work out what would cause this.


Does anyone have any suggestions on what I could try out to try and rule out a hardware/software error? Any fixes? The camera is out of warranty by three months and the Sony Centre would charge a flat fee of around GBP110.....doesnt seem like worth pursuing when I could just upgrade....

  dms05 13:51 05 Nov 2007

How about shooting with a mode other than Auto? Do you still have problems of variability?

  fsa259 08:18 06 Nov 2007

Unfortunately the same problem with variability exists. Even in Programme mode when I selected ISO of 80, 100, 200...instead of letting it auto decide, the photos were underexposed.

In a pitch black room, the flash and exposure work perfectly, lighting up the subject as if it were under studio lighting.

Photos outdoors under cloudy day conditions are as normal too...

It seems mixed lighting confuses the camera....


I understand this is a limitation on digital cameras...but what annoys me is the fact that this was a non-issue before...

  ^wave^ 10:25 06 Nov 2007

looking at what you have said i would think that either the sensor is faulty or even dirty try cleaning the lens

  hssutton 19:16 06 Nov 2007

There is no "limitation" on digital cameras.

How about checking the exif of a particular "over exposed" image and posting the result. This may give an indication as to your problem.

  fsa259 20:50 08 Nov 2007

wave: im keeping all my fingers crossed in the hope its not a sensor problem...gave the lens a clean...

hssutton: by limitation, i was referring to what some beginner's guides to digital photography claim in terms of some digital camera not being able to fully distinguish between very bright and very dark areas in the same composition and ending up over/underexposing the photo. Personally, I thought digital cameras were sophisticated enough to compensate for this...

ive included four sets of exifs:
overexposed, normal in same light conditions
underexposed, normal in same light conditions

exif for overexposed photo:
File Name : DSC02938.JPG
Directory : H:\DCIM\101MSDCF
File Size : 1490 kB
File Modification Date/Time : 2007:10:21 10:07:54
File Type : JPEG
MIME Type : image/jpeg
Exif Byte Order : Little-endian (Intel)
Image Description :
Orientation : Horizontal (normal)
X Resolution : 72
Y Resolution : 72
Resolution Unit : inches
Y Cb Cr Positioning : Co-sited
Exposure Time : 1/40
F Number : 2.8
Exposure Program : Program AE
ISO : 320
Exif Version : 0221
Date/Time Original : 2007:10:21 10:07:55
Create Date : 2007:10:21 10:07:55
Components Configuration : YCbCr
Compressed Bits Per Pixel : 8
Exposure Compensation : 0
Max Aperture Value : 2.8
Metering Mode : Multi-segment
Light Source : Unknown (0)
Flash : Auto, Fired, Red-eye reduction, Return not det
ected
Focal Length : 6.3mm
Macro : Off
Quality : Fine
Long Exposure Noise Reduction : Off
Flashpix Version : 0100
Color Space : sRGB
Exif Image Width : 2816
Exif Image Length : 2112
Interoperability Index : R98 - DCF basic file (sRGB)
Interoperability Version : 0100
File Source : Digital Camera
Scene Type : Directly photographed
Custom Rendered : Normal
Exposure Mode : Auto
White Balance : Auto
Scene Capture Type : Standard
Contrast : Normal
Saturation : Normal
Sharpness : Normal
Compression : JPEG (old-style)
Make : SONY
Camera Model Name : DSC-W30
Modify Date : 2007:10:21 10:07:55
Thumbnail Offset : 4424
Thumbnail Length : 10051
Image Width : 2816
Image Height : 2112
Encoding Process : Baseline DCT, Huffman coding
Bits Per Sample : 8
Color Components : 3
Y Cb Cr Sub Sampling : YCbCr4:2:2 (2 1)
Aperture : 2.8
Image Size : 2816x2112
Shutter Speed : 1/40
Thumbnail Image : (Binary data 10051 bytes, use -b option to ext
ract)
Focal Length : 6.3mm
Light Value : 6.6

  fsa259 20:50 08 Nov 2007

exif for normal photo in above conditions:
File Name : DSC02937.JPG
Directory : H:\DCIM\101MSDCF
File Size : 2 MB
File Modification Date/Time : 2007:10:21 10:07:28
File Type : JPEG
MIME Type : image/jpeg
Exif Byte Order : Little-endian (Intel)
Image Description :
Orientation : Horizontal (normal)
X Resolution : 72
Y Resolution : 72
Resolution Unit : inches
Y Cb Cr Positioning : Co-sited
Exposure Time : 1/40
F Number : 2.8
Exposure Program : Program AE
ISO : 80
Exif Version : 0221
Date/Time Original : 2007:10:21 10:07:29
Create Date : 2007:10:21 10:07:29
Components Configuration : YCbCr
Compressed Bits Per Pixel : 8
Exposure Compensation : 0
Max Aperture Value : 2.8
Metering Mode : Multi-segment
Light Source : Unknown (0)
Flash : Auto, Fired, Red-eye reduction, Return detecte
d
Focal Length : 6.3mm
Macro : Off
Quality : Fine
Long Exposure Noise Reduction : Off
Flashpix Version : 0100
Color Space : sRGB
Exif Image Width : 2816
Exif Image Length : 2112
Interoperability Index : R98 - DCF basic file (sRGB)
Interoperability Version : 0100
File Source : Digital Camera
Scene Type : Directly photographed
Custom Rendered : Normal
Exposure Mode : Auto
White Balance : Auto
Scene Capture Type : Standard
Contrast : Normal
Saturation : Normal
Sharpness : Normal
Compression : JPEG (old-style)
Make : SONY
Camera Model Name : DSC-W30
Modify Date : 2007:10:21 10:07:29
Thumbnail Offset : 4424
Thumbnail Length : 13656
Image Width : 2816
Image Height : 2112
Encoding Process : Baseline DCT, Huffman coding
Bits Per Sample : 8
Color Components : 3
Y Cb Cr Sub Sampling : YCbCr4:2:2 (2 1)
Aperture : 2.8
Image Size : 2816x2112
Shutter Speed : 1/40
Thumbnail Image : (Binary data 13656 bytes, use -b option to ext
ract)
Focal Length : 6.3mm
Light Value : 8.6

  fsa259 20:51 08 Nov 2007

exif for underexposed/almost black photo:
File Name : DSC03131.JPG
Directory : H:\DCIM\101MSDCF
File Size : 1400 kB
File Modification Date/Time : 2007:11:08 20:27:56
File Type : JPEG
MIME Type : image/jpeg
Exif Byte Order : Little-endian (Intel)
Image Description :
Orientation : Horizontal (normal)
X Resolution : 72
Y Resolution : 72
Resolution Unit : inches
Y Cb Cr Positioning : Co-sited
Exposure Time : 1/40
F Number : 2.8
Exposure Program : Program AE
ISO : 80
Exif Version : 0221
Date/Time Original : 2007:11:08 20:27:56
Create Date : 2007:11:08 20:27:56
Components Configuration : YCbCr
Compressed Bits Per Pixel : 8
Exposure Compensation : 0
Max Aperture Value : 2.8
Metering Mode : Multi-segment
Light Source : Unknown (0)
Flash : On, Red-eye reduction, Return detected
Focal Length : 6.3mm
Macro : Off
Quality : Fine
Long Exposure Noise Reduction : Off
Flashpix Version : 0100
Color Space : sRGB
Exif Image Width : 2816
Exif Image Length : 2112
Interoperability Index : R98 - DCF basic file (sRGB)
Interoperability Version : 0100
File Source : Digital Camera
Scene Type : Directly photographed
Custom Rendered : Normal
Exposure Mode : Auto
White Balance : Auto
Scene Capture Type : Standard
Contrast : Normal
Saturation : Normal
Sharpness : Normal
Compression : JPEG (old-style)
Make : SONY
Camera Model Name : DSC-W30
Modify Date : 2007:11:08 20:27:56
Thumbnail Offset : 4424
Thumbnail Length : 6547
Image Width : 2816
Image Height : 2112
Encoding Process : Baseline DCT, Huffman coding
Bits Per Sample : 8
Color Components : 3
Y Cb Cr Sub Sampling : YCbCr4:2:2 (2 1)
Aperture : 2.8
Image Size : 2816x2112
Shutter Speed : 1/40
Thumbnail Image : (Binary data 6547 bytes, use -b option to extr
act)
Focal Length : 6.3mm
Light Value : 8.6

  fsa259 20:51 08 Nov 2007

exif for normal photo in above conditions:

File Name : DSC03138.JPG
Directory : H:\DCIM\101MSDCF
File Size : 2 MB
File Modification Date/Time : 2007:11:08 20:28:38
File Type : JPEG
MIME Type : image/jpeg
Exif Byte Order : Little-endian (Intel)
Image Description :
Orientation : Horizontal (normal)
X Resolution : 72
Y Resolution : 72
Resolution Unit : inches
Y Cb Cr Positioning : Co-sited
Exposure Time : 1/40
F Number : 2.8
Exposure Program : Program AE
ISO : 80
Exif Version : 0221
Date/Time Original : 2007:11:08 20:28:38
Create Date : 2007:11:08 20:28:38
Components Configuration : YCbCr
Compressed Bits Per Pixel : 8
Exposure Compensation : 0
Max Aperture Value : 2.8
Metering Mode : Multi-segment
Light Source : Unknown (0)
Flash : On, Red-eye reduction, Return detected
Focal Length : 6.3mm
Macro : Off
Quality : Fine
Long Exposure Noise Reduction : Off
Flashpix Version : 0100
Color Space : sRGB
Exif Image Width : 2816
Exif Image Length : 2112
Interoperability Index : R98 - DCF basic file (sRGB)
Interoperability Version : 0100
File Source : Digital Camera
Scene Type : Directly photographed
Custom Rendered : Normal
Exposure Mode : Auto
White Balance : Auto
Scene Capture Type : Standard
Contrast : Normal
Saturation : Normal
Sharpness : Normal
Compression : JPEG (old-style)
Make : SONY
Camera Model Name : DSC-W30
Modify Date : 2007:11:08 20:28:38
Thumbnail Offset : 4424
Thumbnail Length : 12311
Image Width : 2816
Image Height : 2112
Encoding Process : Baseline DCT, Huffman coding
Bits Per Sample : 8
Color Components : 3
Y Cb Cr Sub Sampling : YCbCr4:2:2 (2 1)
Aperture : 2.8
Image Size : 2816x2112
Shutter Speed : 1/40
Thumbnail Image : (Binary data 12311 bytes, use -b option to ext
ract)
Focal Length : 6.3mm
Light Value : 8.6

  hssutton 23:44 08 Nov 2007

Limitations? well digital has less latitude than film, which means the exposure is more critical. Much the same as shooting slide film.

There are a few puzzles in the exif, but this may be due to the way that sony cameras write the exif.

Will study it and come back to you on Friday, but 3 questions. was the camera set to auto ISO? Did you process them immediately after taking them? Are non flash photos exposed OK.

  fsa259 00:24 09 Nov 2007

i must have misinterpreted something along the way...perhaps the writer of the article im recalling wasnt as experienced.

thank you very much for taking the time out to give these a look over...in answer to your questions:

-these photos were indeed taken with auto ISO.
-the camera automatically processes the photos into JPEG...it doesnt store them as RAW.
-non-flash photos do expose OK...something i didnt try before. even in shots which are underexposed with flash, come out fine without.

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