Slow taking pic, flash flashes multiple times while lenses acts like it is trying to focus
Ok, it is hard to explain, but I will try my best. My camera didn't do this when we first got it, but I think hubby messed with it. We have tried resetting to factory (or at least hubby alleges he has), and it still does it.
When I go to take pictures, it doesn't matter what mode, except sports mode sometimes....
I depress the button, the flash just keeps flashing and making a clicking sound, you can hear something (I think the lense/camera) focusing. If you are looking through the view/eye piece, you can see the picture coming in and out of focus. It can take up to 30-60 second to take a picture, or you may not be able to take a picture at all, no matter how many times you repeat the process. Also, at times, when I use the sports mode (which I use a lot because I have a real young baby (6 1/2 wks), one very active toddler, and one active child which I am trying to take pictures of, they come out blurry.
BTW - I have tried to just take a picture of a blank sheet (ie a bed sheet) with nothing on it or moving through it...and the same thing happens, although it seems to take a bit less time for the picture to eventually take.
Help please, I am trying to get my kids christmas picture done so I can get christmas cards out.
Re: Slow taking pic, flash flashes multiple times while...
The evolt cameras use the flash bursts as a "autofocus help". Try to find points with high contrast or edges to point one of the three autofocus points at (you see these points while looking through the viewfinder and they flash red as soon as the camera is focused).
So, flash bursts basically mean "too low light" some other situation which is hard for the camera to focus. In such situations, try to switch to MF mode (manual focus). Or you could buy an external flash (e.g. Olympus FL-36) which has a red light for autofocus assistance instead of flash bursts.
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There are two likely reasons for the blurry pictures. One possibility is, as you surmised, a slow shutter speed. Try mounting the camera on a tripod or other stable support. You might also try turning on the flash.
The other reason is focus, or lack thereof. You didn't specify what cameras you have, but if they're Coolpixes, they most likely have a close-up or macro mode that will allow the lens to focus closer. If you're using a DSLR, you will need some other way to focus closer. Macro lenses, extension tubes, and close-up filters are three ways of achieving this.
I own an F70 with similar lenses. I am not fully familiar with the F80, and therefore can't be sure what I am saying will halp, but I believe it is the next model of similar specs as mine. However, from your description, I think what you are saying is that the little red light that flashes, before the photo is taken and when you have the flash mechanism up, is no longer working, and that your camera is haveing difficulty getting a fix on the focus in automatic focus mode?
This red light is not the 'red eye reduction' flash, but rather a red light (so it doesn't make your subjects blink / squint too early) that helps the camera focus: Auto focus mechanisms need light too. If your light has stopped working, then that would explain why the camera can't focus. This should however only occur in low light conditions.
-Obviously, if it's still under warranty - take it back.
-Get it repaired
- OR if that's going to cost too much or you were thinking of doing so anyway, a dedicated flash unit MAY solve the problem. Most flash units have there own red light to aid autofocus. At any rate, you could take it in to a store and test a flash unit in-store to see whether it helps with the problem. If a dedicated flash unit didn't help (make sure you try it in a dark room - ask them to take it into a back room and try it) then it might suggest another problem such as: the camera is failing to send the signal to the red light to flash rather than the light not working. After all, the red light would be an LED, which have extremely long lifespans.
I remember reading a review of the K100D that mentioned that it had poor low light performance. I know mine has a really hard time focusing in low light situations. It does the sweeping back and forth & most of the time never ends up taking a picture. (Even when it bursts the flash to try to focus.)
I've just started experimenting by using a flash light aimed at the subject I want to focus in low light situations, and the camera seems to be able to focus & take a shot more reliably.
If this works, I'm going to rig up something to hold the flash light underneath the camera so that I can use it more often.
This is the camera trying to give itself enough light to focus with.
As it uses contrast to focus with you will get problems in low light conditions. There's no way round this I'm afraid except to light the subject better. As it's a digital camera and you're not wasting film, try manual focus and see what results you get.