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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    8

    point and shoot for indoor low light situations

    hello,

    i'm looking for a compact point and shoot camera which i will mainly use to make party shots. pictures of small venue concert action and people shots. so general usage will be in low light indoor surroundings. i care for very good image quality and fast performance. don't need much manual controls, it should be a reliable point and shoot compact camera.

    please let me know if i forgot any more information.

    thank you for your help.



    * Budget: +/- 300$

    * Size: compact

    * How many megapixels will suffice for you? 6-8

    * What optical zoom will you need? (None, Standard = 3x-4x, Ultrazoom = 10x-12x, Other - Specify) standard should do it, though i like the idea of a bigger zoom.

    * How important is “image quality” to you? (Rate using a scale of 1-10) 10

    * Do you care for manual controls? no

    * What will you generally use the camera for? party camera, concert live shots and people in low light situations

    * Will you be making big prints of your photos or not? no

    * Will you be shooting a lot of indoor photos or low light photos? yes

    * Will you be shooting sports and/or action photos? 50% live show (action) shots, 50% people pictures

    * Are there particular brands you like or hate? no

    * Are there particular models you already have in mind?

    - Canon PowerShot SD850 IS (Digital IXUS 950 IS) (looks good)
    - Canon PowerShot SD1000 (Digital IXUS 70)
    - Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3 (looks good, but maybe not the best for my needs)
    - Fujifilm FinePix F40fd

    * (If applicable) Do you need any of the following special features? (Wide Angle, Image Stabilization, Weatherproof, Hotshoe, Rotating LCD) maybe IS for the people shots, but i guess these features are all not so important for my needs
    Last edited by gerald9; 12-13-2007 at 11:33 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Rochester,New York
    Posts
    464
    Indoor, low light = Fuji 40 fd. It had the best high ISO image quality of the bunch.
    Doug
    Pentax K200D,Pentax 18-250,Sigma 70-300 APO DG macro
    Kodak Z915
    http://picasaweb.google.com/pas49ras

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    4,173
    Are you talking about low light without flash or low light with flash? If the former, then the F40 is probably your best choice. If you are willing to use a flash then you have many more options.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    8
    thanks to both of you for your quick replys.

    david - i normally use flash most of the time. now i'm really interested in those options you mentioned. thanks again.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    8
    i would also like to throw in the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX33 and FX50, though i just read about the FX50 being not a good indoor camera.
    Last edited by gerald9; 12-13-2007 at 02:52 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    4,173
    Shooting at concerts presents some fairly tricky problems. The stage may look well lit to your eye but it's really not, and you're too far for your flash to do any good. This is where a camera like the Fuji F40 or S6000 come in handy. They can shoot with high ISO (and no flash) without the shot getting too noisy. Most cameras will push the ISO to 400 or 800 to gather enough light and the resulting image will be very noisy. The Fujis with the SuperCCD can still take clean photos at high ISO.

    If that's really a major part of your purpose for this camera the the F40 may still be the right choice. It doesn't have much zoom, so the S6000 would be better but it's a much bigger, more expensive, and more complex camera.

    Otherwise, something like a Canon A720 would give you a bit more zoom then the SD1000 or SD850 and better image quality. The FX33 or FX55 are good too, but I prefer a camera with an optical view finder. That may or may not matter to you.

    The TZ3 is a compact ultrazoom, along with the Canon SX100 and Sony H3. I'm not sure if they really match your needs.

    None of these are great indoor cameras since you'll have to use the flash a lot, and that tends to make shots of people look washed out. But they may be acceptable to you, look at some of the photo galleries.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    268
    I agree that the Fuji is the best way to go for a compact in low light.
    Nikon D40x + 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    8
    Quote Originally Posted by David Metsky View Post
    Shooting at concerts presents some fairly tricky problems. The stage may look well lit to your eye but it's really not, and you're too far for your flash to do any good. This is where a camera like the Fuji F40 or S6000 come in handy. They can shoot with high ISO (and no flash) without the shot getting too noisy. Most cameras will push the ISO to 400 or 800 to gather enough light and the resulting image will be very noisy. The Fujis with the SuperCCD can still take clean photos at high ISO.

    If that's really a major part of your purpose for this camera the the F40 may still be the right choice. It doesn't have much zoom, so the S6000 would be better but it's a much bigger, more expensive, and more complex camera.

    Otherwise, something like a Canon A720 would give you a bit more zoom then the SD1000 or SD850 and better image quality. The FX33 or FX55 are good too, but I prefer a camera with an optical view finder. That may or may not matter to you.

    The TZ3 is a compact ultrazoom, along with the Canon SX100 and Sony H3. I'm not sure if they really match your needs.

    None of these are great indoor cameras since you'll have to use the flash a lot, and that tends to make shots of people look washed out. But they may be acceptable to you, look at some of the photo galleries.
    thanks to both of you.

    david, i will make pictures in small venues mostly, so i prefer image quality and fast performance over zoom ability. i looked at the 720IS before, because it sounded like a nice camera, but i kept reading about long flash recyle times (not sure for this model or for 710IS, but the concern should be quite similar i guess), which would be a real pain for the social shots i'm planning to do with it. so i skipped this camera, as i really want a fast one. isn't the long recyle time an issue with the 710IS/720IS, due to two AA batteries? otherwise the camera looks quite good.

    so you would say, that for taking indoor pictures with flash (normally close to the object), the fuji 40fd would be the best choice in performance and image quality here? i kept reading nice things about the canon SD850, but i also noticed a bad looking indoor shot at this site's review of the SD870 (www.dpreview.com/gallery/canonsd870is_samples/), though i don't know if you can take this as an example for the SD850, too. but i really didn't expect such a image quality (background), any idea why the background looks that way in that picture?

    david - at the end you said "None of these are great indoor cameras". do you mean ALL of the named cameras? so the fuji would be the most acceptable one? i really hoped there would be some models for that purpose. i missed the last fuji 31s very close, i guess that would have been my first choice from what i read.

    two more things to mention - i don't care about the optical viewfinder, and i would need a compact camera, not too bulky.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    8
    out of a 720IS review (http://www.steves-digicams.com/2007_...720_pg5.html):

    "The shooting performance was outstanding for a camera in this class. It was able to power up and capture an image in just 1.7 seconds. The shutter lag was normal at 1/10 of a second, but fast when including the auto focus at just 4/10 of a second. When shooting in single shot mode, you can capture an image once every 1.9 seconds without a flash and 3.5 to 6 seconds with the flash, depending on the subject distance and battery life. You can also shoot in continuous or "burst" mode."

    it would all sound good, when it wasn't for the up to six seconds flash recyle time. i think i read about up to 10 seconds for the 710IS.
    edit: just checked some other 720IS reviews, where i read about recyle times between 8 to 12 seconds..

    but on the other hand, the same matter for the fuji 40fd doesn't sound all so good either (http://www.steves-digicams.com/2007_...720_pg5.html):

    "In the timing tests the F40fd was average. Power up to first image captured measured 2.7 seconds. Shutter lag performed better with 1/10 of a second when pre-focused and 5/10 of a second including autofocus. When it comes to rapid shooting, the camera was disappointing. In Long Period continuous mode the camera without flash captured an image approx. every 2.5 seconds. It will only capture 2 images before filling its buffer, then it takes nearly 4 - 5 seconds to clear. It will not shoot continuous with the flash. There are also First two and Last two picture modes that capture images every 6/10 of a second, but only for two frames. All tests where done using a standard 512MB Fujifilm xD- Picture card, 8M fine mode, flash off, preview off, all other settings at default, unless noted. Times may vary depending on lighting conditions, camera settings, media, etc."

    the canon SD 850IS sounds better here (http://www.steves-digicams.com/2007_...850_pg5.html):

    "Shooting performance was very impressive, with power up until the first image captured measuring only 1.5 seconds! Shutter lag, the delay between depressing the shutter button and capturing an image, was almost instantaneous (less than 1/10 of a second) when pre-focused, and only 1/10 second including autofocus. In single frame drive mode, the shot to shot delay averaged 1.3 seconds without flash, and between 2.5 and 3.5 seconds with flash depending on subject distance."
    Last edited by gerald9; 12-14-2007 at 01:03 AM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    4,173
    The shot that you linked too is at ISO 800, which is silly for an indoor flash shot. There is no reason to push the ISO that high when using a flash, it should be at 100 or at best 200. Any of these cameras (with the exception of the F40) will look lousy at ISO 800. This is bad choice by the photographer. The 870 has a different lens then the 850, the 850 would probably do better but at ISO 800 it wouldn't matter.

    The flash range of all of these cameras is limited to 2 to 4 meters when at full telephoto; so unless you are right next to the stage the flash won't be very effective. You'll need to shoot without flash - push the ISO up and hope for the best. I don't think flash recycle time is very important for that reason. Will you be closer then 10-15 feet from your subject? If not, that's where the high ISO of the F40 comes in handy.

    The best camera for shooting the stage in low light is a dSLR which isn't an option for you. The Fuji F31, F40, or S6000 would be the top choices to allow you to shoot without a flash. Shooting with a flash, unless you're right on top of the stage, isn't going to help.

    Party scenes, when you can get closer to your subject, are a different story. The flash on all of these cameras will allow you to take pretty good shots, but with the limitations of flash photography. Your subject will be bright and the background will be very dark.

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