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Camera Help! Getting light orbs and I don't know what to do. (Canon 550D)

Lawful EvilLawful Evil Registered User regular
edited October 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
I own a Canon 550D which I'm slowly learning to use to its full extent. However, for some reason, my camera has started to constantly overexpose everything. All the pictures I take of any shot with a light source (in any mode, whether manual until full-auto) turns the light into glowing orbs of white. I've fiddled with the settings I'm familiar with, and I'm pretty sure I haven't changed anything in the time I last used (which took pictures normally and with proper exposure). I've also updated the firmware, but it seems to have had no effect.

I can provide pictures if needed. H/A, help and advice me?

Do not believe that the impossible exists. That is why you fail.
Lawful Evil on

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    AldoAldo Hippo Hooray Registered User regular
    This is pretty damned vague. If you're just starting out I can recommend resetting the camera. It's somewhere under menu (third tab on my 500), but it's probably easiest to read the manual to find out exactly where it is.

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    ParielPariel Registered User regular
    Is the entire photo overexposed, or just the lights? It's unlikely this is a camera problem, frankly.

    Posting pictures would help.

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    wonderpugwonderpug Registered User regular
    More information would be helpful, but shot in the dark:

    rbPWe.png

    Any chance you accidentally moved the big bar on the exposure level indicator far to the +2 side?

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    Lawful EvilLawful Evil Registered User regular
    edited October 2011
    I've reset all my camera settings, and I took these photos last night and just a while ago to illustrate. Disabling/enabling peripheral illumination correct doesn't do much.

    These two were shot at night, using full-auto. I seem to have no problem when its pictures when the entire shot is equally lit, but once a light source comes into equation, the bottom shot happens.
    TYwNx.jpg
    U6oxy.jpg

    It's more prominent in the morning, when it appears that the rapture has just happened outside my room (which is a mess, I know).
    VWa3Z.jpg
    Vdlr4.jpg
    These were shot at 1/25, f5.0, 100ISO and at -2 exposure. So i'm not manually overexposing the picture.

    I'm sure this didn't occur before, since I've been able to take pictures normally before in low-light settings, and I didn't get this glowing effect ever.


    Lawful Evil on
    Do not believe that the impossible exists. That is why you fail.
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    ParielPariel Registered User regular
    edited October 2011
    I assume that bright light to the left is a window? You're taking a shot that should be much, much faster than 1/25th, if that's the case. My suggestion would be to take the same picture (pretty sure you'll need to use manual for this) at the same f-stop and change the exposure from say, 1/20 through 1/500 (maybe even 1/1000). It should give you a better mental picture of the importance of light sources to exposure.

    Bottom line, don't expect to be able to take a picture of a bright light source and be able to get a reasonable exposure across the entire frame. I'd also suggest that you head over to the Photography-on-the-net forums and look at some of the information and guides they have. They can point you to good books if that's more your thing.

    Pariel on
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    AldoAldo Hippo Hooray Registered User regular
    The one you shot in automatic looks pretty normal considering you have light shining right at you. On top of Pariel's advice you should also try to change the White Balance Correction to Clouded or TL light.

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    saltinesssaltiness Registered User regular
    What Pariel said. Also, clean your lens.

    XBL: heavenkils
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    garroad_rangarroad_ran Registered User regular
    What everyone else said, plus maybe look into fiddling with the metering options to see how you can use those to work with different kinds of light sources.

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    MonoxideMonoxide Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited October 2011
    The strange thing about the full auto photo is that I would expect the auto-exposure to try to expose for the brightest part of the scene, leaving you with something a little closer to a correct exposure on the light source itself, with the rest of the frame entirely dark. You may want to look into metering, focal points, and picture style to make sure you didn't change them. Also, put the exposure compensation back at 0 - you don't need to fuck with that knob unless you're purposely trying to underexpose/overexpose. Trust your light meter.

    Also those are all really noisy/low quality for a 550D, so check your quality and iso settings too

    Monoxide on
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    wonderpugwonderpug Registered User regular
    Lawful Evil, are you shooting by looking through the viewfinder or by having the live image projected onto the LCD screen on the back?

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    Lawful EvilLawful Evil Registered User regular
    edited October 2011
    Okay, I've been doing some reading and I'll go and see later tonight if I fixed the problem. The problem I'm having is more prominent at night, when even background light sometimes causes this effect.

    wonderpug wrote:
    Lawful Evil, are you shooting by looking through the viewfinder or by having the live image projected onto the LCD screen on the back?
    Both, but usually through the LCD screen since I wear glasses, and I can immediately see the effect of what ever settings I made. Why?

    Lawful Evil on
    Do not believe that the impossible exists. That is why you fail.
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    wonderpugwonderpug Registered User regular
    edited October 2011
    wonderpug wrote:
    Lawful Evil, are you shooting by looking through the viewfinder or by having the live image projected onto the LCD screen on the back?
    Both, but usually through the LCD screen since I wear glasses, and I can immediately see the effect of what ever settings I made. Why?

    Check out this illustration, spoilered for size:
    slr-light-paths.jpg

    When the mirror is in place for you to look through the eyepiece, the light is going along all the paths shown above except for the dashed line one to the back of the camera. Part of the light is directed to a dedicated autofocus sensor, which works far better than the processor-based autofocusing you find in point & shoot cameras, and part of the light is directed to a dedicated light meter, which again, works far better than the processor-based ones in point & shoot cameras. These dedicated sensors, all doing their thing while you're able to look through the eyepiece, are part of why SLR cameras work better and are faster at taking pictures.

    When you hit the live view button, or whatever Canon's name for it is, you flip that main mirror up so that the light goes along that dotted line path to the picture-taking sensors. You've now turned your SLR into a (very nice) point & shoot camera. Those dedicated sensors are no longer doing anything, and your camera is metering and autofocusing the same processor-based way that point & shoot cameras do it.

    Now, I don't know if this is the cause of your troubles, but the comments about the metering seeming off made me wonder if you were indeed using the live view mode, and if switching to the smarter metering system might produce better results.

    wonderpug on
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    DivebommahDivebommah Registered User regular
    The first thing that came to my mind, Lawful Evil, when you said you're getting light orbs is "Oh sweet, Ghosts!" and I'm really impressed that no one has mentioned them in this thread, yet. :)

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