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Old Feb 11, 2004, 9:58 AM   #1
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Default No Flash Allowed Shooting

Okay, I have read many reviews, personal comments etc. Here is the question.....I need to know what the BEST low light digital cameras there are. I mean able to focus and take a pretty good pic (minimal noise) without the use of a flash in dim lighting and at times without the use of a tripod (for moving subjects).
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Old Feb 11, 2004, 10:10 AM   #2
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Problems with your request:

Low light means slow shutter speeds and large apertures. Slow shutter speeds without tripod support and with subject movement will not produce a good picture, regardless of what camera you choose.

Digital noise is a function that is directly related to the ISO chosen, with lower ISO's producing the least amount of noise. With lower ISO's, you need more light to produce the image.

In answer to your question, I would say the BEST would be the Canon 1Ds coupled with the 50mm f/1.2 lens, but even that may not work for the requirements you impose.
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Old Feb 11, 2004, 10:55 AM   #3
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Default Re: No Flash Allowed Shooting

Originally Posted by robert_nc
focus and take a pretty good pic (minimal noise) without the use of a flash in dim lighting and at times without the use of a tripod (for moving subjects).
This is a job for good old film. It's a shame that high resolution, fine grain, fast films only appeared just in time to be overwhelmed by the digital revolution. Digital's not quite there yet for sensitivity in demanding conditions.

You've just persuaded me to keep my OM-10 in good working order!
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Old Feb 11, 2004, 12:00 PM   #4
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A stabilized lens will give you a couple of f stops and let you handhold down to 1/4 to 1/6 second according to how steady you are. But even that isn’t enough for “low” light. And even in light bright enough to get good exposures at those speeds the “(for moving subjects)” in your requirements eliminates the possibility of shooting at those speeds even though the background will be sharp. You need a fast shutter speed to freeze action.

Except for pricey surveillance cameras that use image enhancement to give you a green image there isn’t anything in existence that is going to be able to do what you are asking. You need enough light hitting the sensor to expose the image and you can only do that by:
Getting more light on the subject – floods or flash.
Getting a bigger lens to let more light in – but there is a practical limit.
Leaving the lens open longer to let more light in – stabilization or a tripod, but doesn’t work for moving subjects.
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Old Feb 11, 2004, 5:04 PM   #5
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To me, low light is something like a good reading light: about f/2, 1/10th sec, ISO=200. That is defined by the limits of my old camera, but the new ones (non DSLRs) don't seem to be much more than a couple of stops better. Even with image stabilzation since that seems to come on cameras with less aperture than some other cameras.

Experiment to figure out what you need and what you can do with the amount of light available. Use a film camera, or get a cheap digicam with manual controls. Depends on what you mean by "low light", and when you can quantify that, you will know if you can do what you want to do.
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