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Help! My husband can't keep his eyes open with flash!

A Wilson , Sep 10, 2008; 09:37 p.m.

Hi! I am in the market for a new camera. I have narrowed it down to the Sony Cybershot H10 and H50. Problem is, I really would like the H50 for some of the features and my husband can not keep his eyes open when the flash is on. I've had a Fuji Finepix camera for the last 4 years, and most of the pics he has his eyes closed. We've tried everything. Is there a way I can "dim" the flash or something? I know that sounds crazy, but none of the Canons or Olympus cameras worked either. I am at a loss. HELP! :) Thanks, A Wilson


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Michael Axel , Sep 10, 2008; 09:40 p.m.

Many cameras have pre-flashes to get the subject to blink before the final flash. I don't know which models that would be, but must of these manufacturers have them. I think it's called pre-flash on these consumer cameras.

Matt Laur , Sep 10, 2008; 09:40 p.m.

Try turning off the anti-red-eye feature. That emits a quick burst of light BEFORE the exposure so that people's pupils will contract, which reduces the amount of red-eye reflection that's recorded when the shot actually happens. It can be somewhat effective. But, some people's reflexes or sensitivity are such that their reaction is to blink, just fast enough to be caught that way by the actual exposure that occurs a split second later.

Howard Vrankin , Sep 10, 2008; 09:42 p.m.

With my son, I just say "Click!" He blinks. I trip the shutter while his eyes are back opened. I know, it sounds crude. But it works.

Ronald Moravec , Sep 10, 2008; 09:44 p.m.

My daughter in law can not be photographed with a reflex camera and flash. The delay causes an automatic closing. I just use my rangefinder which does not have to wait for a mirror to rise and lens diaphragm to close.

Use continuous light and a tripod.

Eric A , Sep 10, 2008; 09:59 p.m.

Scotch tape or staples. You can clone out the staples latter.

Jim Strutz - Anchorage, AK , Sep 10, 2008; 10:04 p.m.

Another thing to try is to ask him to close his eyes, and then open just before your click. Or to blink quickly and deliberately a half second before shooting. This works for some people.

A. J. Jacobs , Sep 10, 2008; 10:31 p.m.

I have the same problem with flashes. Try to have the person shut their eyes then count to three and have them open then take the photo.

Richard Cochran , Sep 11, 2008; 12:10 a.m.

Most modern digital cameras put out two bursts of light. The first one is to measure the light, and the second one actually illuminates the subject as the photo is being taken.

The problem is that these two bursts of light may be timed such that some people will have blinked due to the first flash, and their eyes will be closed when the second flash fires and the picture is taken.

I generally use an old fashioned flash which was designed before digital cameras. It only puts out one burst of light per photo. The burst is so quick that nobody has ever been able to react to it fast enough -- People often tell me they blinked, but when I look at the photo, I see wide open eyes. By the time their eyes react to the flash and start to close, the photo has already been taken.

I know, that's not terribly helpful if you're looking for a modern P&S camera. If you can find one with a hot shoe and manual settings, you might be able to use an old fashioned auto flash. But I'm not aware of any digital P&S camera that doesn't have a pre-flash when using its built-in flash unit. Some high end DSLRs have a built-in flash with the ability to let you turn off the pre-flash and make the built in flash only produce one burst per photo, but the ones I know of only give you this ability if you set the flash power completely manually (The Nikon D200 works this way).

If you can take your husband to a camera store and take some test shots of him, you might discover a camera where the two bursts of flash are fast enough that he can't blink in time. Or maybe one where the bursts are slow enough that his eyes are back open by the time the photo is taken.

John H. , Sep 11, 2008; 12:13 a.m.

Would a rear curtain synch flash (flash fires after shutter opened rather than at beginning ) capability help?

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