S404 Shooting Tips

Woodland shots

Woodland can get quite gloomy, so watch your shutter speed. If it drops below 1/30s at full wide, or 1/100s at full telephoto, try boosting the film speed to ISO 200 or else look for something you can brace the camera against to avoid camera shake.

Watch out for high contrast situations, such as in the woods with patches of sun shining through or glare off a smooth rock surface. If this is the case, try a shot with -0.7EV exposure compensation. You can generally recover detail from an under-exposed picture, but there isn't much you can do if the highlights are burnt out

I haven't often experienced focus problems in the woods, it may be that the verticals of the trees provide a good target for the auto-focus. One condition you might get a focus miss, is if you are in fog or mist. If the focus lock hestitates, you might want to switch to manual focus.


All these pictures were shot indoors and show the S404 in a variety of different lighting conditions, including natural and incandescent light and fill flash.

In cases where the camera had difficulty focusing due to poor light I used manual focus.

I did use a tripod to reduce camera shake with some of the house pictures. I did not use a tripod for any of the travel pictures, but tried to brace the camera or myself to reduce camera shake.

Tips for night shots

Shutter speeds tend to be slow for night shots, potentially resulting in camera shake. Use a tripod if practical, if not try to brace the camera against a solid object, such as a wall or tree.

Autofocus doesn't work well in very low light situations. Manual focus will work better for this type of shot.

If you are looking to capure scenes with the natural lighting conditions, similar to the pictures in this gallery, turn the flash off. At close range it will simply replace the natural lighting with bright white lighting. It's not powerful enough for longer range shots (10 feet and over).

The S404 sets exposure quite well in Auto, typically increasing ISO to 200 and using the widest available appeture for low light shots. If you have a very bright subject, you might want to try a shot with -0.7EV exposure compensation to avoid blown highligts.

Tips for shooting on the seashore

Lighting tends to be fairly bright at the seashore and the S404 will do pretty well in Auto mode.

You can get bad glare from the ocean, so if you are taking a family portrait with the ocean as a backdrop, you might want to consider using fill flash.

You can encounter a fair amount of salt spray from the ocean, especially if conditions are windy. A UV filter to protect you lens from seaspray can be a worthwhile investment.

Tips for snow shots

The S404 does pretty well with snow scenes. There is usually plenty of light, so few focus concerns.

Watch out for pictures that are nearly all white. In this situation, the camera might tend to underexpose. If this is the case, try a shot with +0.7EV exposure compensation.

If your picture only has a little snow, you might loose the highlights on the snow. In this case, try a shot with -0.7EV exposure compensation.

Tips for shooting macro shots

The Macro mode on the S404 is pretty limited. The zoom is fixed and the closest you can get is about 4", but you can still get some nice close ups.

Depth of focus tends tends to be fairly shallow in macro mode, so make sure the red focus rectangle locks on the part of the subject you want in focus. If it won't focus lock on what you want in Auto, switch to manual or spot focus.