A dilemma

Started 10 months ago | User reviews
ron256
New MemberPosts: 1Gear list
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A dilemma
10 months ago

This camera has been a bit of a dilemma for me.  It is a very convenient little package with a feature set that sounds amazing for a $200 camera.

The problem i have is with its aperture control.  In EXR mode, it selects open aperture for the vast majority of my shots.  This results in images that are beautifully sharp in the middle but soft and fuzzy around the edges.

In aperture priority mode [my preferred shooting mode], my only choices are open aperture, F7.1 and F10.  The F7 setting is okay at wide angle but when zoomed, it becomes too small for anything but bright sunlight.

As a result, I have replaced the 660 as my default travel zoom camera.  Although I occasionally take it out, but end up being frustrated again.

ron256's score
3.0
bad for good for
Kids / pets
unrated
Action / sports
unrated
Landscapes / scenery
okay
Portraits
good
Low light (without flash)
weak
Flash photography (social)
unrated
Studio / still life
unrated
= community average
prime
Senior MemberPosts: 1,467
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Re: A dilemma
In reply to ron256, 10 months ago

ron256 wrote:

The problem i have is with its aperture control. In EXR mode, it selects open aperture for the vast majority of my shots. This results in images that are beautifully sharp in the middle but soft and fuzzy around the edges.

In aperture priority mode [my preferred shooting mode], my only choices are open aperture, F7.1 and F10. The F7 setting is okay at wide angle but when zoomed, it becomes too small for anything but bright sunlight.

No matter what your mode dial is set to, the F660 is going to have a maximum of three apertures available to it. The f-values of those three apertures depend on the focal length to which the lens is zoomed.

The F660 does not have aperture blades (an iris) to stop the lens down; a single physical aperture adjustment is accomplished with a plate with a round hole in its center that swings into the light path.  A neutral density filter that moves into the light path then can reduce further the quantity of light that hits the sensor; the camera reports that reduced light quantity as a smaller aperture, but, technically, it is just the equivalent of a smaller aperture. The design limitations of the camera do not allow intermediate aperture settings -- between any pair of those three apertures -- at any focal length.

The maximum aperture varies with the focal length that the lens is zoomed to:  at the wide end, it can be as much as f/3.5, but at the long end, the aperture will never be faster than f/5.3.  In low light, your maximum aperture in aperture priority mode at wide angle should be f/3.5; you should have two other options, one with the plate and no filter:  and f/7.1 sounds about right for that; and one with both the plate and the ND filter:  f/10 sounds about right.  If you are seeing f/7.1 as the maximum aperture at the wide end in low light, then either the plate or the neutral density filter is in place, and should not be.  The neutral density filter should deploy only in bright light.

When you zoom to to the long end, your three available apertures should be f/5.3 (wide open), about f/11 (with just the plate in place), and something like f/16 for the plate+ND filter setting.  In low light, in aperture priority mode, you always should be able to set the camera to f/5.3.  If you cannot, your F660 needs repair.

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