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Old May 12, 2004, 3:06 PM   #1
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I'm looking to buy a digital camera for primarily concert photography. My price range is $500-600. I know a DSLR would be best, but at this point it's only a non-paying hobby. I have been wanting a Canon G5 ever since they came out, but others have suggested a Sony F717. I like the Canon's size, layoutand swivel LCD; The Sony just seems huge! But will the Canon do what I need? What about the Sony V1? The smaller LCD worries me, though.

I know who I will be taking photos of, and it will usually be in a smaller venue, oftenwith only one or two spotlights on a single artist. I'll have a front row seat but also full "roaming" permissions. The artist prefers no flash (long story) and I certainly want to respect that. Most of my photos would go on the web, with a few 4x6 prints and the occasional 8x10.

One other problem...I don't see very well, so focusing through a standard viewfinder is a guessing game. A reliable auto-focus would be a huge plus.

I've included the best photo I took at a recent concert with my cheap $69 Pentax 35mm. One spotlight, no flash,full zoom (80mm, I think) with my elbows on a solid surface. Any improvement would be very desirable! A friend of mine took photos at the same show with his G5, but he forgot he'd taken it off auto-focus so all his shots are blurry, so that didn't help me much .

I'd greatly appreciate any input or advice you could offer. This purchase will have to last me a long time. Thanks!!!

-- Steph B.
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Old May 12, 2004, 3:17 PM   #2
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The F717 has superb low light autofocus, and quality. You can shoot in night framing which allows you to see the subject in "military" style night vision (all though not as good :-)), and then as soon as you press the shutter button, it takes the picture in normal mode. Very useful for when it is dark and you can't see the subject. It also has AF Hologram assist, which helps out in low light auto focusing.

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sonydscf717/page7.asp, scroll down on this link to view the night framing and night shot displays.

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sonydscf717/page11.asp, scroll down on this link to read about low light auto focus and quality.

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2002_.../f717_pg2.html, more on auto focusing etc. etc. etc.

NightFraming NightFraming can only be used in Auto exposure mode, it allows you to use the light sensitive NightShot mode to frame the subject before taking the final shot in normal mode (flash exposure). Exposure sequence: Switch to NightFraming, a small click is heard as the IR filter is removed from the CCD, IR lights on the front of the lens come on and screen turns 'NightShot Green'. Use this 'NightShot' view to frame the subject. Half-press shutter release and IR filter is replaced screen returns to full colour, (if enabled) Hologram AF (laser focus) will lock focus on subject, IR filter is again removed and screen returns to 'NightShot' view, flash pops up if not already up . Fully depress shutter release, IR filter is replaced, flash fires and full colour image is taken. Screen returns to 'NightShot' type view.

The F717 isn't all the big. I don't know if you have actually touched it yet, but to me at least IMHO it isn't. Anyhow, I'd recommend trying to see if you can either borrow or rent it and test it out on your subject, sor similar subject.
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Old May 12, 2004, 3:29 PM   #3
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The F717 I think won't let you turn off the flash in night-framing mode, but it does have a nightshot IR mode which doesn't fire the flash (but then you'd get a greenish cast to the image, and the IR mode only works for about 10 feet from what I've heard (I don't have a Sony though)).
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Old May 12, 2004, 3:52 PM   #4
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Hmmm... I'll have to check on that. Thanks for letting me know. I haven't used it in a while so I've forgotten. But I imagine, from the picture that was posted, there will be some light to allow for a good picture at a low shutter speed without Night Framing.
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