Two weeks with the SX720: some questions (photo n00b)

Started 9 months ago | Discussions thread
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Wugzz New Member • Posts: 5
Two weeks with the SX720: some questions (photo n00b)

So I've had this camera for a couple of weeks now, and even though I don't know much about photography (bought it primarily for compact hiking/scenery/wildlife point-zoom-n-shoot) I came to the conclusion that the AUTO mode doesn't bring the best out of that camera, even in bright conditions.

This is a bit of a surprise because in most reviews and comments I've read (sx720 & sx730) AUTO is regarded as good/right enough to be used is most situations.

Not for me, I've discarded it completely after only a couple of days. My first concern has been the noise which is often visible even shooting outside a clear day, looking at the info it seems AUTO is way too prompt to increase the ISO sensitivity, which often ends up a nudge or two too high.

First thing I did while I wasn't yet familiar with the various modes and what X or Y do, was force lower ISO in P mode (80~400) and from there it took me only another day or two to realize every picture looks better at 80~100 anyway.

Second issue I sought to correct is the wrong brighness or contrast which also only rarely fell right in AUTO, most pictures ending up slightly too bright in broad daylight, and completely unbalanced when shooting the Moon for instance (side facing the sun way overbright not at all compensated by the camera)

I went and tried Tv, Av, M modes;

  • M : too complicated for me yet
  • Av : mmh...not sure what to expect here but I couldn't get any right shots with it
  • Tv : that one did it. with ISO prior set to 80, then controlling the shutter speed I've managed to get closer to the kind of pictures I want: least possible noise and control of the brighness in most conditions I've faced so far (clear day and Moon shots)

(Hybrid: tried it but although it lets me control the brighness, the noise issues were the same as with AUTO)

So here's my question(s): am I doing it wrong?

From the few intros to photography I've read (please excuse the noobness) as far as I got it seems controlling the aperture should be the right way to control the brightness, but it didn't work for me at least not in Av mode, and I was completely lost in M anyway.

Or are the rules different in my case because I'm forcing 80 ISO most of the time?

Should I focus on learning to shoot while controlling aperture instead, and would that help me get actually better quality shots, more detailed while retaining the low noise and controlled brighness I want?

Is M mode the only way?

And while I'm here; should I worry about manual focus?

Should I disable the stabilizer? idk if it even affects quality (I shoot long distance subjects a lot but still waiting for delivery of my tripod)

I'm investigating how to get the very best out of that little camera, which let's be honest at first I found no better than a smartphone with a big zoom, then discovered is actually better than most but ONLY if you take control.

Below is an example of typical AUTO vs. what I can get using Tv mode @ 80 ISO:

(Sorry I've tried using My Gallery but for some reason the uploads either stop or get stuck in 'processing')

(edit: fixed. now proper from gallery)

Canon PowerShot SX720 HS Canon PowerShot SX730 HS
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