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Old May 19, 2004, 7:54 AM   #1
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For the past several weeks, I've been researching digital cameras, reading just about everything that's out there, going to stores, etc. You know you've exhausted your research when you're desperate enough to try and "decode" the camera sites from Europe and Asia just to see if there's more information available. :lol:

I now know more about digital cameras than I bargained for! At one point, I thought I might want a camera that offered manual controls, but the more I thought about my use, I think a good, point-and-shoot is the way for me to go. The "scene modes" that the point-and-shoot cameras have today, I believe,offer more than sufficient "manaul" control for my needs. I have no aspirations of becoming an amateur/professional photographer, and my everyday use will be simple and straightforward.

With that said, when Nikon introduced a $100 rebate on their Coolpix 3700, I thought I had finally found my camera. To my dismay, I found that reviewers have one consistent issue with this camera; itsauto ISO control.

I'll be using the camera in the typical way, taking shots during the day and night, indoors and out. I'm now concerned about the "noise" issue with the auto ISO control. The problem is, I don't know just how important having manual control of the ISO adjustment is. If the Coolpix 3700 had manual ISO control, I would have purchased it yesterday, but I'd like to understand just how important this function is, and if it will impact this cameras performance, based on my intended use.

Sorry for the long dissertation, but one more thing........For someone wanting a good point-and-shoot camera, which would you recommend; a camera with a large number of "scene" modes and no ISO control, or a camera with few or no "scene" modes, and manaul ISO control?

If you've made it this far, thanks for any and all input/advice.
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Old May 19, 2004, 8:49 AM   #2
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I don't know if one of the scene modes on that camera is a "sport" mode that forces the ISO to a faster speed. In bright, sunny well lit areas - not a big problem. Most cameras use ISO 50 or 64 to keep noise levels down which gives you clear photos. The problem being - indoors, low light, fast moving action - you will be severely disapointed. Stuck at ISO50 - any subject that isn't sitting perfectly still in even moderate light may blur horribly- give you that sort of ghost look. Forget someone running or unpredictable children whose head snap and turn at the slightest noise. Especially if things are out of your flash range.

I've lost a lot of pictures to poor iso choice and flash range when I was first learning digital: graduations in a large gym (I didn't think the lighting was that bad), plays, and when my dog was a puppy the only sharp pictures I have of her is when shes sleeping. I would think ISO would be settable on even the most basic of PS cameras.
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Old May 19, 2004, 9:03 AM   #3
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Thanks for the input........Evidently, the ISO range on the Coolpix 3700 is 50-200, which it sets automatically, based on the scene mode that's chosen, and the lightning of course. I guess the issue with this is that at 200, pictures become "noisy," and you have no option of adjusting it down to reduce the noise.
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Old May 19, 2004, 9:42 AM   #4
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I thought all I wanted was a simple P&S digital camera. Since I've bought one I wish I'd spent a bit more and got a bit more control. In low light my Minolta E323 consistantly selects lower ISO and lower shutter speeds than I would choose.

Next time I'll look for user selectable ISO as a minimum requirement and shutter or apperture priority would be high on the list.

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Old May 19, 2004, 11:27 AM   #5
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One thing I don't like about auto iso is that it'll sometimes choose higher iso's where a lower might have worked. I like to use the lowest iso # possible because the higher iso #'s tend to produce very noisy pictures. I used to have a cp4300 with auto iso or manually selectably 100, 200, or 400 iso. On the 4300, 100 is nice quaility, 200 is ok, but 400 just stinks. Yes, you can use cleaning programs, but they don't always get all the noise out so I'd rather just take the best picture possibe beforehand by manually selecting my iso based on my needs.
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Old May 19, 2004, 4:30 PM   #6
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I generally agree with what was said. I feel that auto-iso would bother me and I wouldn't get that feature in a camera.

Personally, I think that the basic rules of photographery are not that hard to learn. Because of that, Av, Tv, and a program mode for flash usage are good "inbetween" modes. Not fully manual, not fully automatic. If you want to stop action, use Tv, and try to get a good shutter speed. If you want more in focus, use Av and choose a smaller f-stop.

If you can't get an acceptable shutter speed in either situation, then change the ISO to improve/fix that.

If you want it even simpler than that (which is your right) then I still think you should pick one with the scene modes & manual ISO. Because without that, you'll have very little control over what the mode is doing.... and like it or not, the scene modes will make enough mistakes that you'll internalize what the settings do (aperture/shutter speed) even without setting out to learn them.

Unless you plan on giving away the camera (to a child, for example) when you out grow it, I'd purchase one with a little more growth in it that you seem to be aiming at.

Also, don't write up the feel of the camera. Make sure you hold it and look at it before you buy it. Are the buttons in good places? What about the LCD? Does it feel good in your hands? What about the weight? Size? Does it fit in your pocketbook? What about pants pocket? It you end up not carrying it for some odd reason, then what is the point of having it?

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