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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    20

    Best Low-light Performance?

    As I'm looking for a camera, I'm realizing I should take low-light focusing into account, since my camera will probably with me when I want to take pictures in dark places (some gatherings, if you will).

    What compact/ultra-compact camers have the best low-light focusing and performance?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    London
    Posts
    1,887
    low light photography is a mixed bag.
    for something up to say a metre away, you can get away with an AF assist (a bright light that illuminates up to a metre away for the camera to get a lock on, and focus). If you have a manual focus ring, you can do away with the af assist and focus on what you want. if it is too dark then whats the point of taking the photo.
    YOu can then use the flash which is only good for the range specified for the camera. I have the panasonic FZ20 which has a powerful flash (good for up to 7m) and i can add another one to the hotshoe if i wanted.

    What i have described here is for relatively close photography. for skyline photos, you are looking for manual controls that allow you to maually increase the aperture size (on the FZ20 you can increase it to F2.8 throughtout the zoom, which is fantastic) increase the iso sensitivity (up to iso400 on the fz20, but is very noisy at that setting) and allow the shutter to stay open for longer, hence taking in more light (up to 8 seconds).

    I have taken some nice photos at night with the panasonic FZ20, but i would not say that it is the most ideal camera for that sort of photography. However, in more experienced hands, i know that the FZ20 takes fantastic photos at night.

    Check the panasonic forum and read about it. The other option is the FZ5, which has same 5mp sensor, but is far smaller, and has fewer manual options (namely, no manual focus ring or hotshoe).

    hope this helps

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    239

    sony v1

    Sony v1 has a laser for low-light pictures as well as a night mode...
    Too Many Cams, Too Little Cash

  4. #4
    encode4u Guest

    Low Light Photography

    The low-light situation has been my nemisis for a while now. I started playing around with low light photography some time back and my Canon S4 was by far the winner compared to my Nikon Coolpix 4800 and my Olympus Dimage Z5...well forget about it with that one unless you use the Continuous Shot but watch out for the graininess and the low resolution.
    I only wish that in the digital market that manufacturers would come up with the solution to the problem. I love using the "continuous" shot feature when doing low light photography so I can possibly get 2 or 3 out of 10 but as far as the graininess goes and the blurring effect...my Canon handled it the best out of the 3 that I own.
    I'm now eyeing the Nikon Coolpix S4 (I think that is the model #)with the swivel feature but I have my reservations due to the low light issue. My Olympus I only use for outdoor or flash but as with all cameras and using flash; you end up with shiny noses, cheeks or washed out faces. I've gone to taping a small piece of white paper in front of the flash to reduce the effect of the shiny faces etc...it helps some but it is still a "flash" and the images all look like someones summer vacation shots and far from being even close to professional.
    So if any of you come up with or come across a manufacturer that is listening to what is being requested...please post it here. I believe one day that they will listen and come up with the solution.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    6

    Low Light Performance

    The Fuji FinePix F10 seems to get the most rave reviews for low-light performance because it has usable ISO of up to 1600. The newer F30 that's due out soon will have an ISO to 3200 (how they acheive it, I have no idea!). Most digital cameras of the point-and-shoot kind don't get above 300-400, which is one reason why low light shooting is so difficult. Unforutunately, to get the performance that the reviewers/owners rave about with respect to the F10, you have to manipulate the settings using the menus. I believe there is a Sony P200 and maybe something even more current that can acheive an ISO of 1,000. If you want good low-light performance, you might want to check it out, too. Good luck.
    Last edited by NewsView; 04-10-2006 at 03:58 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    32
    Quote Originally Posted by Windplume
    As I'm looking for a camera, I'm realizing I should take low-light focusing into account, since my camera will probably with me when I want to take pictures in dark places (some gatherings, if you will).

    What compact/ultra-compact camers have the best low-light focusing and performance?
    I have this same problem although I really would prefer an ultracompact since compact cameras may cause discomfort inside a pocket. At least in my kinda situations: you're in a bar or a nightclub dancing.

    Anyway, if you don't mind having a compact than I believe Fujifilm F30 is the obvious choice. For me it may be just a bit too big... And of course there are people in the net who have sold their F11s (same size as F30) and got FX01 or whatever because of the size. However, F30 should not dissappoint you.

    But if you're like me and really need a small camera, you're in trouble. No ultracompact seems to handle low light good without flash. However, I believe the newest top-of-the-line ultracompacts can handle themselves at least somewhat decently in those situations. The question is: which handles is the best. FX01 has cool features but it's noisy. Z850 isn't all that exciting. SD630 and SD700IS may quite decent, or not (note that I personally would choose F30 over SD700IS because they are about the same size and F30 certainly seems to be better in many areas than SD500IS). Then there are the Sonys: T9 and T30. T9 you can get now and if you've read the reviews you know that it should be a great stylish ultra-compact. However, the low light performance isn't good. T30 should be improving on this and it is marketed as a more party-oriented camera with SuperSteadyShot, ISO 1000 and a better flash.

    In short, if you don't mind the not-so-ultracompact size, Fuji F30 is the winner, and if you abosolutely need an ultracompact, waiting for first T30 reviews might be a good idea.

    I also want to point out that most people will probably say the same thing to you over and over again: Fuji Fuji Fuji F30 F30 F30 F10 F10 F10. And admittedly they are justified to do so as Fuji F-series is considered as the dominant low light performance leader in compact-to-ultracompact class. But they are NOT ultracompacts. You mentioned gathering: I assume you mean somewhere along the lines of home parties, occations in bars and restaurants, situations where the light are dim, there are a number of people present and there may be some drinking involved. You might want to think about the following: a camera like F10 is great in that situation no doubt but how happy are you going to be if the price of getting great pics is having to carry around a camera that causes some discomfort inside a pocket due to its size. Of course if you regularly wear a really loose-pocketed jacket in these gathering or a bag, or don't mind wearing a belt pouch, or if you don't mind carrying around a bigger camera, then choose Fuji. But if you're like me and you really want to be able to enjoy the situation and not let anything (like a camera making your pocket bulge and causing some minor discomfort) bother you, you might stick to the truly ultracompact class.

    Finally, I do want to say that Fuji F30 is not THAT big and it may well be the case that my suspicion of it being a bit too big for me is false. However, again there are people who HAVE owned F11s and HAVE sold them because they were not as pocketable as they wanted.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    2
    Quote Originally Posted by JungleRoom
    I have this same problem although I really would prefer an ultracompact since compact cameras may cause discomfort inside a pocket. At least in my kinda situations: you're in a bar or a nightclub dancing.

    Anyway, if you don't mind having a compact than I believe Fujifilm F30 is the obvious choice. For me it may be just a bit too big... And of course there are people in the net who have sold their F11s (same size as F30) and got FX01 or whatever because of the size. However, F30 should not dissappoint you.

    But if you're like me and really need a small camera, you're in trouble. No ultracompact seems to handle low light good without flash. However, I believe the newest top-of-the-line ultracompacts can handle themselves at least somewhat decently in those situations. The question is: which handles is the best. FX01 has cool features but it's noisy. Z850 isn't all that exciting. SD630 and SD700IS may quite decent, or not (note that I personally would choose F30 over SD700IS because they are about the same size and F30 certainly seems to be better in many areas than SD500IS). Then there are the Sonys: T9 and T30. T9 you can get now and if you've read the reviews you know that it should be a great stylish ultra-compact. However, the low light performance isn't good. T30 should be improving on this and it is marketed as a more party-oriented camera with SuperSteadyShot, ISO 1000 and a better flash.

    In short, if you don't mind the not-so-ultracompact size, Fuji F30 is the winner, and if you abosolutely need an ultracompact, waiting for first T30 reviews might be a good idea.

    I also want to point out that most people will probably say the same thing to you over and over again: Fuji Fuji Fuji F30 F30 F30 F10 F10 F10. And admittedly they are justified to do so as Fuji F-series is considered as the dominant low light performance leader in compact-to-ultracompact class. But they are NOT ultracompacts. You mentioned gathering: I assume you mean somewhere along the lines of home parties, occations in bars and restaurants, situations where the light are dim, there are a number of people present and there may be some drinking involved. You might want to think about the following: a camera like F10 is great in that situation no doubt but how happy are you going to be if the price of getting great pics is having to carry around a camera that causes some discomfort inside a pocket due to its size. Of course if you regularly wear a really loose-pocketed jacket in these gathering or a bag, or don't mind wearing a belt pouch, or if you don't mind carrying around a bigger camera, then choose Fuji. But if you're like me and you really want to be able to enjoy the situation and not let anything (like a camera making your pocket bulge and causing some minor discomfort) bother you, you might stick to the truly ultracompact class.

    Finally, I do want to say that Fuji F30 is not THAT big and it may well be the case that my suspicion of it being a bit too big for me is false. However, again there are people who HAVE owned F11s and HAVE sold them because they were not as pocketable as they wanted.
    '

    how abt Finepix V10? or Olympus Mju710?

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