Bad news about the Canon 500 HS

Two new users of the Canon 500 HS wrote in to say that, unfortunately, this otherwise capable camera, has no exposure compensation lock in any of its video modes. When in stills mode, the AEL and AFL stay in place, but when you press the video record button, AEL goes away and the video gets recorded in “auto” brightness.

This makes this camera useless for serious video.

And what’s frustrated is this:
1. ALL the previous and some other recent non-touchscreen Canon P&S cameras DO support exposure lock in video mode. Even the ones that cost just 90 bucks!

2. The manual for the camera is written in a way to make you think that you can lock exposure in video mode too.

Canon, this sucks! Make it right with a firmware update!


Steve wrote on April 11th, 2011 at 4:52 PM PST:

The cameras I’ve tested:
1) Canon A2200 – exposure and focus lock available in video mode.
2) Canon 300 HS – focus lock available, NO exposure lock
3) Canon SX230 – exposure and focus lock available in video mode

On the SX230, the focus lock is achieved by putting it into manual focus mode. The exposure lock is achieved by setting the exposure compensation. It appears to hold the actual value and not use the compensation as an offset.

One other issue I ran into with the 300 HS (and SX230, for that matter) – you can’t use the Zeikos Universal Lens Adapter that you have blogged about with this camera if you want the adapter to be mounted flush against the front of the camera. The maximum diameter of the extending lens is too large. You need to mount the adapter further away from the camera – letting in light and essentially sticking a long tube in front of the lens. The SX230 has issues with lens length, obviously.

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Eugenia wrote on April 11th, 2011 at 5:06 PM PST:

Thank you for the report Steve! If the 300 HS has no exposure lock, then the 100HS probably doesn’t either. This is so unfortunate! It seems that Canon took a huge step back with these new models!

BTW, why is the 300HS doesn’t fit on the Zeikos adapter? I believe it does! I saw the camera at Frys this Saturday, its lens and size is not that much bigger than the SD780 (which is almost too small for the adapter).

Steve wrote on April 11th, 2011 at 6:53 PM PST:

The outer diameter of the widest segment of the 300 HS lens is 38mm. The inner diameter of the Zeikos adapter is 36.75mm.

The second segment is 34mm in diameter and fits inside the adapter. The widest segment is about 10mm long at its furthest extension so that’s as close to the body as you can get the adapter.

You can use it, but you can’t mount it flush to the front of the camera (which you can do with the A2200).

Glenn wrote on April 11th, 2011 at 9:33 PM PST:

That’s the rolling shutter camera from hell featured in the Youtube video you posted the other week of the kid or woman (I couldn’t figure out that part) walking through the shopping mall, right? If so, no loss there! 🙂 Plus, I’m sure I’ve read about a few amateur photographers using it for video and complaining that the automatic focus keeps shifting whilst trying to shoot video. Or maybe that was another model?

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Eugenia wrote on April 11th, 2011 at 9:46 PM PST:

>If so, no loss there!

There is a huge loss, because NONE of the NEW models now have exposure compensation/lock, while all the old models did! And rolling shutter is something that you can deal with some stabilization. Exposure jumps you can’t do anything about.

>complaining that the automatic focus keeps shifting

That’s only because these people don’t know how to lock focus. The camera can lock focus properly. Focus simply works like a camcorder in auto mode now.

Erik wrote on April 12th, 2011 at 8:21 AM PST:

Between this and their persistent usage of PF30 or PF24 on camcorders, it’s like Canon is trying to punish consumers for not spending $500 on a camera.

CRFilms wrote on April 13th, 2011 at 2:48 AM PST:

I was tempted to get that and glad I didn’t, but you probably wouldn’t appreciate what I did get. A Panasonic GH1, and a unhackable model. It was on sale for $350+ tax, body only and despite it’s problems I’m really satisfied with it, especially comparing cost vs quality.

I got that and 4 lens adapters plus 5 used lenses off ebay for less than the cost of a body only T2i. It’s not on sale anymore but amazon has it for $399 body only. At that price it’s a great starter DSLR, imho.

K.M.Lo wrote on April 14th, 2011 at 8:33 PM PST:

Hi Eugenia
Powershot A1200 — can lock exposure and focus in video mode.

No zoom , no exposure change during recording. good for me.

image quality is so so, cant ask too much from $97USD camera


dana ray wrote on April 16th, 2011 at 6:09 PM PST:

HI, I had the sun valley video. the 300 does have exposure lock. I can lock it at any setting. YOu have to move the lens to find the right amount of light, i.e. 2.7 but then you hold down the shutter half way and hit the -/+ button and voila it stays right there. thought you’d want to know. thanks dana ray

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Eugenia wrote on April 16th, 2011 at 6:20 PM PST:

Thank you for the info, sounds promising. What do you mean “move the lens” though? BTW, to make sure, you’re talking about the video mode here, right?

dana ray wrote on April 16th, 2011 at 6:28 PM PST:

HI I mean move the camera around or put your hand over the lens to make the aperture open up. Then lock it. But I just tried it again and
I may be wrong. It may be canceling the lock when the video button is pushed. I have to do more tests. I’ll let you know. thanks dana

dana ray wrote on April 16th, 2011 at 7:14 PM PST:

Hi again, after filming the same scene with a video camera it appears
setting the shutter speed and exposure and then locking it, has no effect. It seems the video mode overrides the other controls. I hope I’m wrong. Somebody else check my results please. bummer, dana ray

ps. focus does stay locked

Steve wrote on April 16th, 2011 at 7:36 PM PST:

As dana ray has discovered, you can lock exposure in still modes on the 300 but it forgets it when you shoot video.

I haven’t found a way to trick it.

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Eugenia wrote on April 16th, 2011 at 8:03 PM PST:

Yeah, Canon really screwed up this time. Their BIGGEST feature compared to the competition is now absent from their new models. What a blunder.

Michael wrote on April 17th, 2011 at 5:24 PM PST:

But the SX230 can lock exposure and focus in video!? Can someone confirm this. I think about getting one for video, but don’t want to waste money.

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Eugenia wrote on April 17th, 2011 at 7:48 PM PST:

I know Steve said that it’s got a lock, personally I have my reservations for it, until I see actual footage from it with the exposure locked, and the lens panned from dark to light conditions. Personally, I think that none of the new Canon cams, the ones with the dedicated record button, have exposure locks.

Steve wrote on April 18th, 2011 at 6:25 AM PST:

I’ll see about posting a test file for the SX230 tonight. The test I did was going from above my desk to below my desk (light to dark).

If you look at the manual for the SX230 (from Canon’s site), page 119 describes “AE Lock/Exposure Shift” in movie mode.

I think part of the key to all of this (although they are not consistent) is whether the camera has a separate movie mode or not. On the 300HS, you can’t set the camera to movie mode (as might be found on a mode dial). On the SX230, you can set it into movie mode – it’s there on the dial. You can also take a movie anytime using the dedicated movie record button but you may not have the same level of control (I haven’t tested it).

Steve wrote on April 19th, 2011 at 8:33 AM PST:

Vimeo doesn’t seem to want to accept my uploads right now. I’ve got a couple example files and I’ll upload them when I can.

Steve wrote on April 19th, 2011 at 6:39 PM PST:

Previous links are backwards

Example video on Vimeo:

Canon SX230 Example – Auto Exposure

Canon SX230 Example – Exposure Locked

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Eugenia wrote on April 19th, 2011 at 6:52 PM PST:

Thank you, appreciated for doing this. So it seems that indeed, only the cameras with separate video mode have exposure lock.

glenn wrote on April 20th, 2011 at 1:14 PM PST:

So does the a1200 and the elph 100hs have confirmed exposure lock?

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Eugenia wrote on April 20th, 2011 at 1:29 PM PST:

From the new models, only the A1200 and the SX220/230 do. Not the 100/300/500HS, or any model that doesn’t have a dedicated movie mode, but instead it just has a movie recording button.

Juan Urquhart wrote on April 20th, 2011 at 6:29 PM PST:

It’s the end of the reign of canon in P&S video …really sad…they could have done it right…

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