How many flashes from a digital camera?

eluminator

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 7, 2002
Messages
1,750
Location
New Jersey
I've got a simple fixed-focus digital camera that's quite handy for taking simple "snapshots". In the last few weeks the pictures taken inside in dim light are dim. I'm guessing the strobe is not putting out as much light as it used to. According to the service screen, it's only been used 370 times.

Is this about the normal limit for an old HP photosmart 320 camera?

Is there a cheap replacement for this camera? I'm guessing I could buy one of these on eBay for under $25, but if the strobe is going bad on that one also, it would be useless.

Actually my sister likes to borrow this camera because it's simple to use. I'm trying to train her on using my adjustable focus camera. If that works, I can forget about this one.

The probem with my somewhat old and cheap adjustable focus camera (HP 735) is it sometimes fails to achieve focus in dim light unless you play around with it. I don't think she wants to bother about that, and I don't blame her.

Do the current crop of cameras have a focus problem when used indoors at night in a room that's not particularly well lit?

I know you guys have some awesome cameras but I'm only interested in cameras that are cheap, easy to use, automatic flash etc, and get hundreds of pictures on NiMH or lithium AA cells.
 

Lynx_Arc

Flashaholic
Joined
Oct 1, 2004
Messages
11,212
Location
Tulsa,OK
xenon strobe modules should flash thousands and thousands of times without problems. You may have a weak battery or a bad electrical connection or contact corrosion somewhere. I don't know much about focus, I am having some problems with it as the digital camera I use has a really clunky manual focus mode and the autofocus is clueless closer than about 3 feet.
 

Flying Turtle

Flashaholic
Joined
Jan 28, 2003
Messages
6,507
Location
Apex, NC
Most of the higher end, and some not so high, digital cameras have some type of autofocus assist lamp. According to the feelings of most camera site reviewers this feature is almost a requirement.

Geoff
 

daloosh

Flashaholic*,
Joined
Jan 28, 2004
Messages
1,569
Location
New York
Should generally last for years, like Lynx says. Even inexpensive focus-free point and shoot film cameras are good for thousands of flashes.

I suppose you could be having a battery problem, or a metering problem. I've never had this camera, but 1) others have said the flash on that camera sucks 2) if the camera has a little sensor to meter the flash on the front, could a finger be obstructing the sensor? For example, if I hold my finger in the wrong place on the front of my Nikon, the flash reflects into the sensor and stops the flash prematurely.

Digital camera prices are down, and looks like that HP you have sells for around $40 on ebay. I have to mention I recently bought a new Canon S410, an older 4megapixel digicam, for less than $200.

daloosh
 

eluminator

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 7, 2002
Messages
1,750
Location
New Jersey
Thanks for the info.

It's not weak batteries. It's not a finger in the way. I doubt it's a metering problem because the exposure is good in bright light. It's only when it depends on the strobe for most of the light that the picture is darker than it should be.

I agree the flash always was fairly weak. I guess it just got weaker. I think I will stick with the HP 735 for the time being. I've got a total of $75 invested in my cameras so far, and I want to keep it that way.

Some day I may look around eBay for a cheap one with the little light on the front. I friend has a "great" camera with the light on the front. But it uses proprietary batteries which are expensive and don't last long. So it's usually incapable of taking pictures in any conditions. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif
 

Datasaurusrex

Enlightened
Joined
Jun 29, 2003
Messages
665
I just picked up a slightly used 6-megapixel Canon Digital Rebel with a 2 gig card for $600... wow takes great pics /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif

And I can fit something like 600 pics on the card at full resolution! (not raw)

Next comes the lenses :::groan:::
 

lightnix

Enlightened
Joined
Jan 2, 2003
Messages
249
Location
Kent, UK
[ QUOTE ]
eluminator said:
Do the current crop of cameras have a focus problem when used indoors at night in a room that's not particularly well lit?

[/ QUOTE ]
Mine certainly does, (or did, until it gave up the ghost a few weeks ago /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif ) I used to switch to a manual focus setting of around 6-8 feet, which was good for most of the indoor shots I took in dark rooms (mainly people at parties). I don't like flash much anyway and generally carry a pocket tripod around with me if I "know" I'm going to be taking pictures.

I was talking to a friend who runs a camera shop about what I should replace my digital compact with. His general view was that most digital compacts are poorly manufactured and simply not designed to last longer than a few years. According to him, the most common problems centre around dry solder joints.

His recommendation was either spend the money and get a digital SLR or buy an Olympus compact. Olympus have the best optics (still the No.1 factor for producing good quality pictures) and a long, proven track record as camera makers.
 
Top