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Bert
10-08-2005, 06:08 PM
I'm trying to use my Canon PowerShot A510 (3.2MP, 4x Zoom) to take pictures of my computer's BIOS screen. However, I can never get any clear, crisp pictures; I've seen many, many pictures of BIOS screens online and they all look crisp and clean.

When I have the camera use flash the words look pretty good, but there's a HUGE white flash in the middle of my screen. I've used the Auto without flash and Landscape modes, and sometimes it gives me okay pics, but many times it just gives me horrible pics where the words are fuzzy and smudged out. How can I take better pictures of my BIOS?

Thanks for any help.

Bill Markwick
10-09-2005, 03:54 AM
I'm trying to use my Canon PowerShot A510 (3.2MP, 4x Zoom) to take pictures of my computer's BIOS screen. However, I can never get any clear, crisp pictures; I've seen many, many pictures of BIOS screens online and they all look crisp and clean.

Thanks for any help.

Ideally, you should use screen capture software instead of a camera - that's usually why the screen shots you mentioned look so good. However, the BIOS provides a special challenge - on some computers you can only access it during booting, and then there's no operating system for the software. If you can access it from Windows or DOS, there's hope. If you're interested in this method, put "screen capture software" into Google and you'll get lots of hits. Some of the programs are free.

But if not:

- reduce the ambient light as much as possible to reduce screen reflections.
- adjust the monitor for maximum sharpness.
- if you have white balance, you might want to adjust it to reduce blue: monitors are about the same as a blue sky.
- use a slow shutter speed or a mode that has one, because the screen scan is constantly in motion.
- try several different exposures, because what the camera likes is not always what your eye sees.

I've taken lots of screen shots for publication using various cameras, and trying different settings should get you what you want. (And as you found out - forget flash.)

Regards,
Bill

Bill Markwick
10-09-2005, 10:35 PM
Further to my first reply: you can't get camera shots as good as a screen capture. The best you can say about them is that they're adequate. Here's a shot of my BIOS with the techniques I used.

1. A tripod is pretty much essential, or a firm surface. You need to be able to experiment with the camera distance. I had it back about 4 feet. If you get closer, you'll probably get curvature from wide-angle perspective or barrel distortion.

2. The shutter speed was about 1/10 to avoid scan lines, and the exposure was adjusted for deeper colors.

3. To avoid those pesky moire patterns that keep turning up, I had to move the camera back and forth and adjust the zoom to vary the size of the image on the camera's sensor. At some point the patterns either disappear or they're reduced enough to be acceptable. This part can drive you crazy.

4. The sharpness won't be great, and the example below is even worse after reduction for posting.

Regards,
Bill

MBCook
10-18-2005, 10:50 AM
I can tell you what I had to do once. A few years ago (before I got a digicam) I had to do the same thing. If you have a TV-Out on your computer, they usually function during POST (when the BIOS is up). If you hook that to another computer with a TV tuner, you can get a shot easily.

As for an actual photo, the other guys advice (especially the tripod) will help. If you only need a picture of one spot on the screen (not the whole thing) then you should be able to work that out easier. If you take the picture from the side (not dead on, but at an angle) you may be able to alleviate the flash problem, but the screen won't be straight.

If you search online, you should be able to find more tips. People used to have to do this to get screenshots of game times and scores for Nintendo Power (with film cameras) so they used to publish advice (in line with what's here). There must be more places out there that tell you how.

Remember, if you are using a CRT, that would be JUST LIKE photographing a TV set, so you can google that.