My camera has been flashing U4 quite a bit. Often when I try to take a picture the U4 flashes and I have to try several times before the camera will take a picture. Sometimes turning it off and on helps, sometimes it doesn't. Then the other day I was going to check how many pictures were left and it was flashing "0". So, I manually rewound the film and took it out. Any suggestions?
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Re: U4--what does this mean?
U1-U9: these are technician codes indicating that there is a malfunction in the zoom mechanism of your camera, most likely electronic in nature - a defective IC chip and/or bad circuit board. Repair cost would easily exceed the value of the camera. You should be aware that, just as with today's small digital cameras, both mechanics and electronics of smaller point-and-shoot 35mm cameras consist for the most part of light-duty plastic and fragile electronics. If they last a couple of years they're doing well.
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When your flash light (I mean the part that gives the flash) or the capacitor that stores the power for the flash are defect. you won't see a flash. When a red light comes on, when actually the flash should fire, the most likely the capacitor is defect. The electronics sensed it could not reach the voltage needed to fire the flash.
It also could mean your battery can't deliver enough to charge the capacitor, but is that was the case the battery indicator should tell you.
Be aware your camera is not a professional DSLR with external flash lights.
Most camera's will get warm or even hot when you take several pictures with the flash on in a short time. Most manuals do have a warning about using the flash. Sometimes the camera is only allowed to take a picture with the flash on, once a minute or even once in a couple of minutes. When the camera becomes hot, it will prevent itself against overheating, by not charging the flash again.
Still it can be possible something els is wrong with your camera, but try to shoot with the flash, with greater intervals and look if you can use the flash any longer. Also when the battery is drained, the flash won't charge. When shooting continuously, you will drain your battery much quicker.
The build in flash, will be useful within several meters (15 to 20 feet) if it is really dark.
Your camera should be capable of taking pictures in poor light conditions. Try to shoot in automatic mode. The mode dail to AUTO. (green camera symbol). Then view the picture with info. There you can see the ISO, Aperture and shutter time. From there you can experiment for darker or lighter pictures. For this you can choose M, A,S or P.
In each of these modes, you can use the following steps.
On top of the camera, close to the shutter release button you see a little knob with a +/- sign. If you press that button, you should see a 0.
If you see a - figure, this means the picture you shoot all be darker than normal. If you see a + sign with a figure it means the picture will be brighter. While pressing that button and turning the command dail, you can choose -3 to +3 EV. That is much darker and much brighter.
If you shoot many pictures in bad light conditions, you could buy an external flash. A Nikon flash will work very good and automatic, with your camera, because camera and flash will communicate and help each other to make better pictures. Cheaper external flashes can work too, but most of the time you must change settings manual on the flash. Never use old flashes, that were build for analog cameras. They sometimes switch with a voltage higher than your camera can handle. The camera can be damaged by such a flash.
Your camera has a small flash unit that can throw a bright burst of light to help illuminate dark scenes. It takes quite a bit of electrical power to put out that burst of light, and it takes several seconds to build up a sufficient charge before it can put out another burst of light.
Most likely your white balance setting needs to be adjusted. You didn't specify the model of your camera, so I can't tell you exactly how to change it (your manual should say). Your camera should have several settings: "A" or "Auto" "Daylight/Sun" "Tungsten" or "Indoors" or "Incandescent" "Fluorescent"
and possibly also: "Flash" "Cloudy" or "Shade"
When taking flash pictures, the "Flash" setting should be best. If you don't have a flash setting, then "Daylight" or "Sun" will be the best.
Human eyes adjust quickly and easily to different colors of light, but cameras see light as it is, so indoor light will look yellow, outside bluish, fluorescent greenish, etc. So digital cameras shift the colors in the image to try to make white objects appear white like they would to your eye. But sometimes they mess up and don't get it quite right. That is where the manual white balance settings come in. If you play with these settings, then you will find you can improve the color quality of many of your pictures.
I believe that means the range is from 4 seconds exposure to 1/1000 second exposure time, and does not refer to the number of flashes.
Some cameras will flash several times before the main flash while taking a picture if it is set to red-eye reduction (because the first 3 flashes make the subject's pupils go smaller).
Under normal flash photography, there will be only one flash.
If you set the camera to automatic, it will do most ofthe work for you.
There are so many variables that effect your exposure. Batteries, ISO rating, shutter, aperture, etc.
Remember your pictures are digital, and you should have a good graphics program to make adjustments (e.g. Paint Shop Pro, Photoshop, Photo Deluxe, etc.). I suspect your pictures are under- exposed due to weak batteries from using the flash so much. The only batteries suitable are NiMHs. NiCad or Alkalines will not cut it.