I'm an amateur so please feel free to be basic with any responses!! I have been trying to figure out how to use the different functions on my Canon Powershot SX60 HS with little luck!

I am trying to photograph birds in my garden so selected 'Tv' for shutter speed priority, thinking the camera would figure the rest out but when I select '1\1000' the picture is much darker despite plenty of daylight! I then tried altering '+-' which only seems to increase the brightness of the LCD display and not the photo...

I can't see that I can alter aperture or ISO in 'Tv' mode and am not confident in altering the three of these manually in a different setting... I can't use flash as it will likely scare the birds away (although I am trying to get a flight shot!). Am I missing something in 'Tv' mode that can allow more light in? I thought the camera was meant to pick optimal light for me according to my chosen shutter speed...?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Hello Gemma, welcome to Photo.SE. can you add a photo as example ? What are the ISO and Aperture selected by the Tv mode ? 1/1000 may be too fast for the light available and even the highest ISO and widest aperture may produce dark image. Have you tried with a slower shutter speed (1/250) ? You may want to look your exposure compensation setting. If you selected -2EV, all pictures will look dark. \$\endgroup\$
    – Olivier
    Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 10:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi Oliver, I will try uploading a photo from my computer in the morning (on my tablet at the moment). But the other settings my camera has chosen for 1\1000 are f6.3 and ISO 1600... The +\- is 0 but I can change that, I increased it in increments up to +2 which massively changed the brightness of my display but as soon as I half depress the photo button the screen dims again... I am attempting to photograph a bird taking off or landing as best I can (I know a bridge camera will have limits but hoping for a recognisable blur even if I can't completely freeze the wings!). Thanks, gem \$\endgroup\$
    – Gemma
    Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 18:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ The SX60 HS has an aperture function of the focal (equivalent focal of 3.8 to 247 mm with aperture from f/3.4 to f/6.5) and can use ISO up to 3200. Your settings seem close to the maximum camera capabilities but not at the maximum so even with a shutter speed of 1/1000 you could expect a little better (unless ISO is limited to 1600). Exposure compensation can be modified using the steps given by canon: support-hk.canon-asia.com/contents/HK/EN/8202167600.html. Is it what you are doing when you are "altering +-"? \$\endgroup\$
    – Olivier
    Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 19:00

1 Answer 1


You have not provided a sample image, so its a little hard to tell exactly, however there are a few possible causes here.

First, if the background is the sky, then the camera could be exposing for the sky which is probably much brighter than the bird, causing under exposure

Second, if the bird is in shade then it's possible that, depending on how dark or bright the shady area is, 1/1000 shutter speed might be too fast. This results in the sensor capturing less light and the camera just can't get a good exposure

Third, the camera may be set to limit the maximum ISO value that can be automatically set. A common use for this is to force the camera to use a slower shutter speed rather than a higher ISO (as a high ISO results in more noise, seen as grainy specs on the image). This is useful for nightscapes, skyscapes, slow shutter photography, etc, however, in shutter priority mode you have forced a high shutter speed. This high shutter speed combined with low ISO results in underexposed (dark) images

Hope this helps, if not let me know and I'll see what I can do to expand my answer to better cover your issue


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