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Russell H.
Russell H., Technician
Category: Digital Cameras
Satisfied Customers: 10779
Experience:  Working with digital cameras & questions for nearly 8 years.
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I have been having trouble getting sharp close-ups of small

Customer Question

I have been having trouble getting sharp close-ups of small flowers with my Canon Powershot A1300 (even in programmable mode with Macro on and autofocus set to centre weighted). The problem arises only when then is much stuff (grass, leaves etc) in the background, because the autofocus fails to lock onto the central image of the flower. I usually get the background in focus and the flower blurred. It's definitely an autofocus problem because if I put a plain grey card behind the flower it works much better. It seems that the centre weighting isn't working. Any suggestions (or is the camera faulty ?) ?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Digital Cameras
Expert:  Russell H. replied 3 years ago.

Hi, thank you for contacting JustAnswer.com. My name isXXXXX will do my best to provide the right answer to your question.

Offhand I would say, try for a Focus Lock and recompose. Focus Lock (on this camera, says the manual) is when you press the shutter button half-way and the frame around the center of the field of view turns green... keep holding the shutter button halfway down, and then recompose the shot, that is, move the camera until the focus is accurate on the subject you want to stay focused upon.

E.g. you could put a card out of the field of view of what you ultimately will shoot, and then Focus Lock on that (if it were at the same distance as the ultimate flower or other subject), then when Focus is Locked, move the camera to point at the actual subject, which with the Focus Locked should be in focus and stay that way when you push the shutter button all the way down.

 

Another suggestion is to disable Macro in your settings. I don't know if this would apply to be appropriate.

Let me know whether that would help with the problem, in your opinion. I may have more advice to offer on this matter.

Russell H. and other Digital Cameras Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Russell, yes I figured that out already and tried it as a work-around, and it does work but it's a bit hit & miss, and shouldn't really be necessary. I really want a more reliable solution, so that the camera functions as advertised... Is there a way to narrow the central field to get a more accurate auto-focus, for example ?

Expert:  Russell H. replied 3 years ago.
Try using Auomatic Exposure Lock (AEL):

- hold the shutter button down halfway, then
- tap the bottom of the screen
- AEL should display on-screen
- to turn that type of lock Off, release the shutter button and tap the bottom of the screen again. 'AEL' on the screen will disappear.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

It's the focus (not the exposure) that's the problem, and anyway the A1300 doesn't have a touch-sensitive screen...

Expert:  Russell H. replied 3 years ago.
I'm sorry if I gave advice that seemed inapplicable to the case.

I can think of no better advice than to have you use Manual Focus for such shots, if the Autofocus mode of the camera is not producing better results.

If that is not satisfactory, perhaps Tracking AF (Tracking AutoFocus) might be something to try. It is usually appropriate only to moving subjects, but might possibly help with your particular problem.

Let me know if you need any help, or any specific information about the above suggestions, or any related issue. Thanks.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Russell: I have tried using tracking AF and that doesn't work either. It just refuses to focus on the central object (a flower) when there is a detailed background (grass). Basically the Centre weighting doesn't work. Actually it doesn't work for the exposure either: when I use a light grey card for a background, the shots come out very under exposed (so it's seeing too much of the background). I think there must be a bug in the software so that it's seeing the whole frame all the time, more or less, for both focus and exposure... Is there a firmware update that I could get ?


Unfortunately the A1300 doesn't provide a manual focus option (which would be really useful). I gather that loading CHDK might provide that: would that be worth trying, do you think ?

Expert:  Russell H. replied 3 years ago.
I don't know about loading CHDK, so I can't say.

As for a firmware update - which might possibly help, if applied correctly and with care - there is none listed for the A1300 model.

I do not know what else to suggest. It may be that the camera needs repair for a fault in the centre weighting of the auto-focus... or that it is simply limited in its capability, more likely.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Ho, hum, I guess I'll have to complain to Canon. Thanks for trying anyway.

Expert:  Russell H. replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for consulting JustAnswer.com.

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