I set my Canon Powershot A460 to automatic mode and took photographs outdoors. When I see the to-be-photographed area on the LCD, it appears normal; but when I take a picture, the photo turns out extremely white. The more the outdoor light brightness, the whiter the picture. Because of the white, you can't see any of the objects that were photographed.

The camera is 3 years old, and I've tried taking pictures in manual mode with maximum and minimum exposure settings (+2 to -2). Same thing happens. Could anyone help out with this? I have already restored all the camera's settings to default factory settings, but the problem persists.

  • \$\begingroup\$ What about pictures which were taken in low light? Are they properly exposed? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 9, 2011 at 13:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes. Photos taken indoors in low light and photos taken indoors with flash are properly exposed. \$\endgroup\$
    – Nav
    Commented Aug 9, 2011 at 17:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ I really like the white effect! Do you know if there's any way I can set up my camera to take photos like this when I want? \$\endgroup\$
    – user7448
    Commented Dec 1, 2011 at 0:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ellie: See What does it mean for a photograph to be “high key”? and What lighting and pre- or post-processing is required for a high key image? for likely answers to your question. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Dec 1, 2011 at 2:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ This has just happened to me quite spontaneously---the camera is only 18 months old from Sony DSC-WX350------it is ok on non zoom and on video zoom but still zoom creates just a white screen \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 13:10

2 Answers 2


It sounds as if the internal light-lowering mechanism in the camera has failed. In a larger camera, this is the aperture, but in many point and shoots, using an aperture to reduce the amount of light will only increase diffraction in the extremely short focal lengths of these cameras. So it's instead a series of neutral-density (ND) filters.

The fact that this is occurring outdoors points to this as a cause - the shutter isn't fast enough to cut down the light. I'm assuming pictures taking in lower light are properly exposed?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes. Photos taken indoors in low light and photos taken indoors with flash are properly exposed. So is this light lowering mechanism a part of the hardware or the software? Will I be able to get it rectified/serviced or is this a permanent problem? \$\endgroup\$
    – Nav
    Commented Aug 9, 2011 at 17:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Nav unfortunately I don't know. To be honest I don't know how ND filters in compacts work (if that is the mechanism) but it's hardware. Might be a couple of polarisers that are activated in need... \$\endgroup\$
    – gerikson
    Commented Aug 9, 2011 at 20:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've submitted a question about how this works: photo.stackexchange.com/questions/14747/… \$\endgroup\$
    – gerikson
    Commented Aug 9, 2011 at 20:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for helping. As per the answers, if the filters slide in and out, I'm guessing the camera took some internal damage if the person who borrowed it from me had dropped it. There's no external damage, but half of their trip's photos were fine, and the rest of the trip pics were washed in white. Looks like I'll have to take it in for repair. Knowing what went wrong helped immensely. Thanks guys! :-) \$\endgroup\$
    – Nav
    Commented Aug 10, 2011 at 8:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Nav sorry to hear that you lost pics! Hope you can get it repaired in an economical manner. Please let us know if that was the problem! \$\endgroup\$
    – gerikson
    Commented Aug 10, 2011 at 9:42

You need to format the memory card.

Use the camera to format the memory card, and use the LOW format option if available.

I think the problem will be resolved.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ How formatting the card might help ? As answered by Gerikson, it's probably an internal problem causing over exposition. \$\endgroup\$
    – Olivier
    Commented Sep 17, 2016 at 8:07

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