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I have a Canon Ixus 430 (2004).

When the room is flooded with sunlight on very sunny days, then the flash refuses to flash (in Manual mode) - it seems assumed that there is enough light without flash.

(Of course, this results in photos that are not sharp - afterall, it's still an indoor photo).

Is there any way I can force the normal flash to flash even in very sunny weather (in manual mode)?

(and I don't want the other flash options such as 'night' or 'focus on background). And I have tried the 'Daylight' setting (full shining sun icon in Func.), but not good...).

Thanks

  • Does your Ixus have manual controls? I mean, P, Tv, Av, M. You could try P mode first; it might have a setting for the flash. Almost always, in full auto mode, the flash is permanently on full auto, i.e. it may flash or may not flash depending on situations. – juhist Jul 22 at 12:28
  • Also, you said manual mode, so it may have it after all... What shutter speed are you using? What aperture? How do you set the ISO sensitivity? – juhist Jul 22 at 12:29
  • Also, please don't tell to change/adjust the ISO: I have spent time testing all the ISO settings on this camera, including Automatic, and found that 200 ISO gave the best photos all-round to my taste. – Floralie Jul 22 at 12:32
  • Oops, sorry, I didn't see I already had answers! Wow thanks - let me read them first... – Floralie Jul 22 at 12:33
  • P, Tv, av don't ring a bell. – Floralie Jul 22 at 12:35
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Look at https://files.canon-europe.com/files/soft24061/Manual/IXUS500IXUS430_CUG_EN.pdf and specifically the page 58.

There are several modes:

  • Auto
  • Auto with red-eye reduction
  • Flash on
  • Flash off
  • Slow synchro

Specifically, test the "flash on". I also recommend using a low ISO speed such as ISO 50 or ISO 100 with flash. The rules change with flash: when you have plenty of light, low ISO is preferable.

Your camera apparently doesn't allow to change aperture, and shutter speed control is limited, so those aren't the issue.

Oh, and don't expect too much from the feeble flash in your small pocket camera. Your camera weighs only 215 grams. A good flash itself weighs about twice that, and that doesn't even include the weight of the camera!

You should be looking for external dumb optical slave flashes, that detect the flash of your feeble integrated flash in the small pocket camera, and add another more powerful flash. It takes more than 215 grams to obtain a flash that is useful as a fill flash in sunlight. Sunlight is very bright!

  • Thanks so much! Wsa interrupted for a moment but I'm going to look into all this. Yes I can see that lowering my ISO when there's more light makes sense; I'll try that too. Not sure how I would attach an external flash to this small thing, there's a kind of hole underneath, but I think it may be for fixing on a tripod... Many thanks again! – Floralie Jul 22 at 13:11
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    Lower ISO settings can be a digital "pull" after ADC of the camera's native ISO sensitivity, which is often ISO 200 for smaller sensored compacts. In which case they only reduce dynamic range without giving any real improvement in image quality. – Michael C Jul 23 at 3:57
  • I thought I'd posted a question yesterday at the end, but it doesn't seem to be here. It was: is there a way to place votes on answers? I can't see any vote I can click. Also, I don't get alerts to new posts by email. – Floralie Jul 23 at 7:30
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I have a Canon Ixus 430 (2004).

For North Americans, this would be a Canon ELPH S410 or S500. :)

Is there any way I can force the normal flash to flash even in very sunny weather (in manual mode)?

Yes. On page 58 of the user manual there is a Flash on setting in the camera menus that will force the flash to fire with every shot. And this is only available in "Manual mode".

However, what the camera/manual refers to as "manual mode" is similar to the "P" (programmable auto) mode on higher-end Canon cameras. I tend to say that for "serious" photography the three features I want in a camera are "PSAM" modes (with Canon, that means M/Av/Tv/P modes on the dial), RAW capability, and maybe a flash hotshoe. The Ixus/Elph models tend not to have these things; the S/G/G#X Powershots do.

Given that you're using a 4MP 2004 consumer camera, it's not surprising you're having problems with shooting in low-light. The older sensor tech, maximum ISO setting of 400, and lack of controls are all against you when it comes to low light. I think possibly your only option is to use the camera on a tripod with the flash... or consider saving up for a newer camera. :) The used market in P&S cameras has gotten pretty good given the recent advances in smartphone cameras, and you could probably pick up, say, a 2012 12MP Powershot S110 (which does f/2, RAW, and has PSAM modes and can do iso 1600 pretty well and can be set to iso 6400) for less than US$100.

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The direct answer to your question, setting "Flash On" in the menus of your camera, has already been given.

But I am not sure you are on a good track here: you'll get significant changes in exposure (and thus increased sharpness) only when overpowering the ambient lighting and for scenes "flooded with sunlight" this will both significantly change the character of the scene as well as being unrealistic with the built-in flash of a small (for its time) compact camera. The flash of those cameras works to rescue actually dark scenes and for lifting shadows (like in backlit scenes) to a level where you can do something useful with the photograph, possibly with post processing.

I'd recommend that you consider retiring your camera: for not much more than the price of postage, you should be able to find cameras of somewhat similar age but with image stabilisation which would help to address the camera-side part of the unsharpness problem. There is a certain danger of getting caught in a spiral of updates to still-quite-affordable but better old cameras but your low-light requirements will eventually make the price relevant by ending up either with newer/larger sensors or with respectable external flashes. In the mean time, you have fun. And the feared "gear acquisition syndrome" loses much of its homewrecking potential with a decade of lag.

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