Kodak DC-280 Can't take pictures of black amps

I rebuilt Dyna amps and put "RETRO" black front panels on them, I can't get a picture of the front that is in focus. So it would make sense to call Kodak and see what they say. Guess what they say? Give us your credit card number and we will tell you what we think is the problem . If Albert Porter is out there I'll bet you can solve the problem...Or someone that takes pictures for Audiogon of black amps???
I don't know anything about this camera but the following advice will be good for any digital:

1. If you are using the default settings you must be far enough away from the subject for it to focus. I would guess no closer than two feet.

2. If you have changed any of the settings you may have it set to macro mode which is used for close up photography.

3. If you do not have a tripod then set the camera on the edge of a table or something. Most focus problems are from moving the camera by the action of triggering the shutter.

4. With every digital camera I know of where you cannot find the source of your problem do this: Remove the batteries, place the switch to the "on" position, leave the camera sit for 20 minutes, turn the switch "off", install fully charged batteries, reset all features to the default value. (I think they are Widows based....hehe)

5. When really in doubt, read the owners manual.

IMHO, if the camera does not work, toss it. Discontinued digital cameras aren't worth investing money for repair. I love Kodak film but prefer cameras made by Nikon.
I think Lugnut is correct...if the camera doesn't have macro mode, you might need to be 2-3 feet away for it to focus. If it has macro mode, turn it on and see how close you can get.

Is there a focus lock? If so, you might also want to try focusing on something that's the same distance away and then aim at the amp instead. Your camera might have trouble focusing on something that's all black (maybe?? It's just a guess. One of my cameras is like that with gray).

That camera focuses to 9.75 inches in macro, so I don’t see how your getting too close and throwing off focus, unless as Phild suggests, it cannot operate on a solid color in low contrast.

The problem could be the ISO (light sensitivity) of 70. In low-light conditions, the camera's Auto-ISO function increase its effective ISO rating to 140, but this is still very slow (in relation to film ASA) and could be causing slow shutter blurring (as suggested by Lugnut).

It’s possible to override the camera's ISO rating by using the Exposure Compensation function to adjust exposures from -2 to +2 exposure equivalents (EV) in half-step increments. Doing this and setting the ASA or compensation to a HIGHER number will underexpose the black, making it actually black.

For those that don’t understand, camera meters read what they are pointed at and the resulting exposure make the subject 18% gray. That is why you overexpose to make white look white and underexpose to make black look black.

There’s a version of Photoshop called LE that comes with scanners and some cameras. If you can snag a copy of that, you can improve sharpness as well as making changes to brightness, contrast and color.

Let us know how you do.
I have tried this photo taking in all light from outside to inside to flash to no flash and different distances. You do understand that I'm having this problem with a digital camera not a 35 MM. I have taken pictures of the same amp in white and had a perfect picture. I'll try starting fresh tomorrow and reprogram the camera...Thanks Will

I hope my post didn't confuse the issue when I stated that I love Kodak film. I realize you are dealing with a digital camera and my advice was tailored to that application. When I stated that I love Nikon cameras that love is based on experience.

I began doing virtual tour photography in its infancy and luckily for me the vendor of the software (Ipix) had already evaluated the cameras, tripods and tripod heads. I purchased a Nikon Coolpix at the time based on this analysis and have considered myself lucky. At one time I was taking over 2000 images per week. Other web photographers complaining of exposure and/or focusing problems commented on the superiority of my shots.

Initially I wasn't a big fan of digital because of a lack of detail in the darker areas of a photograph but learned to adjust my exposures to compensate as recommeded by Albert. I rarely take a 35mm image any longer because I love my camera so much having become proficient with Photoshop and Photopaint. I've had the opportunity to compare cameras along the way and appreciate the metering of the Nikon and the Nikkor glass used in the lens.

Although I've made a fair amount of money taking photos for web use I do not consider myself a professional photographer like Albert. Where I use a Coolpix, he likely would use a D-1. And, I'm not saying that any other camera won't do the job. It's just that, in my experience, I have very few problems producing a usable image with my gear.

One last thought, since the photo is of a black amp. You may wish to try a B/W setting. I did that for one of my photos I used in an ad here in Audiogon. I was having a color problem and didn't want to invest the time in setting up lights, etc.

You may need to change the metering settings if they are selectable. If not, you probably can set up the shot, focus on another object that is the same distance from the lens, hold the shutter down where the camera is ready to fire, and then move the lens to the amp you want to photograph and take the image.

Good luck.
You need more light on the subject, this will allow the camera to focus and set the aperture/shutter speed properly...

One of the things I have noticed is that when this black panel has a white faced meter in it, the picture seems to get all washed out looking and you can't read the numbers on it after you take the pictures. I'm going to try different exposures tomorrow and see what happens. I can take a picture of a tube and it looks great; but, when I take a picture of my beautiful amp it's all out of focus. Thanks for your help.