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Why is my Canon 600d taking really dark photos?


I'm using a Canon 600d with a EFS 18-55mm lens. I'm in the M setting on the dial with the shutter speed at 1/125 and f/5.6 and the phots are coming out really dark even though the room is bright. Please help?



It isn't "bright" enough. Smiley Frustrated


When in "M" you need to look at the light meter in the view finder and set the lens accordingly.

When using "M" you need to set three things the aperture, the shutter and the ISO.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!


Change the iso to 1600


Stop using the M (manual) mode until you understand it fully.


You can't just choose a shutter speed and an aperture. As ebiggs mentions, you need to take a meter reading and then set the camera up appropriately. As Derekp13 mentions, indoors with artificial lighting you will likely need to use a higher ISO.... but just switching to 1600 is sheer guess work. It might work... or not.


I highly recommend buying a copy of the book  "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson. It's around $18 on Amazon and might be the best money you ever spend on your photography hobby.  


Until you get the book, read it and understand it, set the camera to P (program) mode and the camera will select both the shutter speed and the aperture for you, based upon the meter readings it takes. You'll still need to watch for warnings about over or underexposure and adjust the ISO when needed (higher in dim conditions, or lower in bright light).


There are more highly automated modes on the camera, but by using P, Av, and Tv, which are also automatic modes but allow you to give some input to what the camera does, you are taking the first steps toward learning to use the camera in full manual (M) exposure mode.


Alan Myers

San Jose, Calif., USA
"Walk softly and carry a big lens."
GEAR: 5DII, 7D(x2), 50D(x3), some other cameras, various lenses & accessories


I was just saying to try 1600 to see the difference. It should be a huge difference.

Don't buy books, watch some youtube tutorials.

Actually... I WOULD buy the Bryan Peterson "Understanding Exposure" book... probably one of the most recommended books for those who want to learn to take control of their DSLR and learn to shoot on manual.  The Scott Kelby Digital Photography series of books is also commonly recommended (I think that's up to 4 volumes now) -- but I think the Bryan Peterson book is probably more popular.  These books use common language and wont confuse you with technical terms with a presumption that you know all the terminology... they teach you the terminology, but the books are designed for those just starting out.


The ultimate goal is to understand how to determine when you have the right exposure... if you can shoot in manual you can shoot in any mode.  With that said... I do actually use ALL the modes on my camera -- not just manual.  There are reasons the other modes exist.  


As for videos... this one should hopefully be a good primer to understand exposure and how you can trade off one part of the exposure setting, but make up for it by balancing out another part of the exposure setting.


BTW, you'll learn about "equivalent exposures" -- but they're not really equivalent.  When you trade one setting for another, you get nuances... some exposures are better for freezing action.  Some better for creating selective focus (focus only on your intended subject with everything else deliberately blurred).  Some are better for landscapes where everything is in focus.  Some are better for keeping noise minimized in low light shooting.  Some are better for "blurring" moving parts of the shot to imply motion.  The list goes on and on -- the point is, picking the right exposure combination is a creative process.


I do NOT normally suggest you crank up the ISO as a way to improve the light becasue the camera will increase the amount of "noise" in the image.  The image will start to look grainy.  If you shoot JPEG then the camera will attempt to reduce the noise via software smoothing processes... but this has the side effect of softening the image (focus will not look as sharp.)


This is why it's a good idea to read a good book or watch a few good videos to make sure you understand it.  It's actually not very hard, but may take some practice to get it to really sink in.  I find that even after explaining it to people, they don't "really" get it until they do a few exercises/experiments of their own -- and then the light bulb comes on and you "get it".


Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da

"... until they do a few exercises/experiments of their own  ..."


Experience is the best teacher. Go out and shoot. Shoot lots, the film is free. Smiley Very Happy

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!

"... the film is free..."


Yeah, it's only the shutter repairs, other mechanicals of the camera and lenses, sensor cleanings, memory cards, batteries, software, hard drives and regular upgrades that will cost you a fortune. Smiley Happy


But seriously, yes it's a good idea to shoot and practice a lot, too. Make some mistakes and learn from them.


And a good basic book about photography can really help you make sense of it all.


Alan Myers

San Jose, Calif., USA
"Walk softly and carry a big lens."
GEAR: 5DII, 7D(x2), 50D(x3), some other cameras, various lenses & accessories


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