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Old Apr 4, 2008, 6:14 PM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2005
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Excuse the smiley, there's something wrong with this column.

4 years have passed with my very great first camera. Age shows, however, as the mechanic ring (or however you call it) is malfunctioning ever so now and then (especially when wanting to snap a movie), the battery case is damaged (it can't close by itself anymore) and I am fed up with the lack of image stabilization, even though I do have a very steady hand. Also, I recently bought an 8-GB Sony MS Duo, but it's frustrating (though understanding) that this camera doesn't support it completely (meaning all the 8-GB).
The thing is, I don't like to take pictures with flash. I really tend to make pictures without the flash ruining the whole colour and atmosphere of the moment. I like to take pictures of a band performance, but then again: without the flash and so that's a problem, with having to use about 1/8 shutter speed for enough light.
Is a DLSR an only solution for this? Or is a truly solution, with some (Sony) non-DLSR's as an option?
I checked the H9 for instance. Is the IQ compared to the W-12? Or is it really a totally different camera? I know it's a zoom thing, which is not a priority, but because of it it does have this nice image stabilitization. I do see that the review of dpreview is not loving, though really not bad. I also don't really know where I fit as a consumer.
The main thing I want is to be able to take pictures, possibly with action as well, in many sort of lighting environments, so also quite dark circumstances like (band) concerts. Movie mode would be a nice extra.
I also see the W130, which doesn't seem like a bad choice, either, even though I haven't seen a review of it at dpreview. And the price (€200,-) is really not that bad either (H9 for €300 is quite cheap too, I must say), why the Manual option has been removed, I do not know. Any recommendations or other options? Thanks.
So, in short, the thing I want it to do is, being able to take pictures in low light and during movement of the object.
Examples of pictures I've taken:

Examples of pictures I've taken:
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Old Apr 4, 2008, 10:30 PM   #2
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The challenge, as I am perceiving from your statement, is the ability to take a low-light photo of action sans flash. There really is no way to do this other than an SLR with a fast lens, and even then results can be hit or miss, if having sharp focus is important to you.

The best digicams for your needs may be the Fuji S6x00 and 9x00 series cameras, which, though lacking mechanical image stabilization, performs better at ISO 400 and above better than any other ultrazoom.

How much zoom do you need?

If you are willing to do some post-processing on your pics, programs such as NeatImage and Noiseware can really help with the noise situation.

Re: movie mode, please note that no SLR records movies - at least, none to my knowledge...

In addition to reviews here and at DPReview, also check out DCResource.com. Jeff Keller does an excellent job.

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Old Apr 5, 2008, 10:29 AM   #3
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You've taken some nice shots there, but one thing I noticed was that all of the pics you posted in this thread were taken at ISO 100...most were taken at F2.8...and all were taken with very long exposure times (slow shutter speeds). The fastest shutter speed you used was 1/15 sec, in the group shot in the mirror. That is nowhere near fast enough to stop any kind of action (e.g., the individual removing the coat in that pic is blurred). You need at least 1/250 or faster shutter speeds to freeze action. Even if you hold the camera very still or use a tripod, if your subject moves, you'll get blurry pics. The only way to prevent that is to use faster shutter speeds. The cameras you've suggested herein won't necessarily be any better. Your camera (and I'm going to assume you meant to say you owned the W1, not the W12) has a maximum aperture of f2.8. The W130 is the same and the H9 is f2.7 (no appreciable difference). Therefore (assuming the same lighting conditions), if you select an ISO of 100, and open the lens up all the way to f2.8, your shutter speed will be the same, 1/15 sec. Even a DSLR with a kit lens won't be any different. If you use a DSLR and shoot at ISO 100, f2.8, you will be limited to a shutter speed of 1/15 sec. In order to get faster shutter speeds, you have to increase the ISO setting on your camera. In many P&S digicams, that is synonymous with increasing noise. Most can't handle ISO's greater than 200 without starting to look a little noisy. Go up to ISO 800, and the noise starts getting really ugly. ISO 1600 is little more than a joke on most P&S's. That's where DSLR's have an advantage - they can handle higher ISO's without losing IQ to noise - to a point...and some are better than others, and can do a decent job at ISO 3200. Couple that with a fast prime lens of f1.8, and you might be able to get decent shots of a concert...and you will also be out several thousand dollars. I guess it all boils down to how badly you want to capture photos in low light situations.

I found it odd that you are trying to decide between another Sony compact and a Sony SLR-like camera to solve your low light woes. Does that mean camera size is not an issue? Or are you limiting yourself to those models that fall within a certain price range? If you go here, you can compare sample images of those cameras, taken of the identical subject under identical lighting conditions:


Which looks best to you...the W130 or the H9? Select that one as your first camera, then select the Fuji S6000 as your second...you'll have to select ‘all' cameras at the top, since the S6000 has been discontinued by Fuji. Anyway - see a difference? As brokenbokeh (love that name) mentioned, the Fuji cams are a bit better than the rest at higher ISO performance. However, Fuji seems to have gone over to the dark side and temporarily abandoned IQ for silly things like more MP's and shooting modes in their current model lineup. Two new models look promising...the F100fd and the S100fs. Check them out before you decide. No professional reviews out yet, but there's quite a few amateur pics floating around.

Good luck with your search.

The Hun

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