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Old Apr 21, 2009, 9:23 AM   #1
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im trying to find a camera that has:

1.very low shutter lag preferably even with focusing
2. good low light indoor pics
3. good overall pic quality and color

im hoping to get somethign in the $200 ish range, but will pay more if it fits what im looking for better. something not much bigger then the canon sx110 IS but smaller is fine. also i dont want to buy new flash cards so it needs to use SD cards.

i do like to be able to adjust settings so at least some control over settings would be good.

will be taking a ton of baby pics in the near future and i dont want to be pissed at my camera all the time for just missing the picture. but still would like to outdoor quality to be good enough to use for nature/architecture pics outdoors that could be blown up.

Im just having problems narrowing it down to begin with im sure with a few suggestions i can figure out what fits me from there.

thanks for your help!
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Old Apr 21, 2009, 9:35 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forums.

With most non-DSLR camera models, you'll need to use a flash indoors. Otherwise, you'll get motion blur from subject movement and/or increased noise in images from using higher ISO speeds.

That means the flash system will need time to recharge (which may take 2 to 4 seconds or longer, depending on the camera model, distance to subject, etc.). Some may take closer to 8 seconds. 4 seconds is considered good for a full power flash. A closer subject will allow a faster recycle time, and a further away subject will need a slower recycle time (because a longer flash burst is being used, fully discharging the capacitor).

So, make sure you consider cycle times in both good light outdoors and indoors (where flash recharge time enters the equation).

If you read the review conclusion sections for models you consider here (it's the last page before the sample images in each model's review), you'll usually find discussion about the type of things you're interested (Startup time, Autofocus Speed, cycle times between photos with and without a flash, etc.).

A good place to start your search is our Best Cameras List (models deemed to be a good value within their market niche).

As a general rule, the smaller the camera model, the more compromises you'll find on things like focal range from wide to long with good optical quality, flash range and cycle times (not as much battery capacity will impact range and cycle times), redeye (since the closer the flash is to the camera's lens, the more likely you're going to see redeye), sensor size (which can impact noise levels) and more.

But, you really need to take each model on a case by case basis to see how they compare, and decide what features are more important to you (including convenience, since size and weight enter into the equation).

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Old Apr 21, 2009, 9:47 AM   #3
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thanks for the link that is very helpful.

i guess im a bit in limbo because im looking for something better then a point and shoot but most of the prosumer cameras are more then i want to spend. that said the Nikon coolpix p5000 seems to be close to what im looking for

shutter lag is also one of the more important features that i am looking at, is there a chart that compares this that i have not found yet?

cycle times is a bit less important then the time for the first picture for me.

for indoor pictures i am hoping to find something that can take good(not perfect) quality pics without a flash

thanks for you quick reply
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Old Apr 21, 2009, 9:59 AM   #4
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blinking turtle wrote:
for indoor pictures i am hoping to find something that can take good(not perfect) quality pics without a flash
You'll need incredible lighting for that - right by a window with daylight coming in. if you don't want to use flash then you still need decent lighting but you'll have to step up to one of the fuji cameras which will increase your budget a bit in order to get better high ISO performance.

Fuji s100fs and panasonic LX3 are 2 cameras to look at
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Old Apr 21, 2009, 7:17 PM   #5
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so far i have found the Nikon coolpix p5100.

-the image quality looks to be very good

-indoor pictures seem to be good for non DSLR, 400 ISO seems to good and 800 maybe even usable on smaller prints

-shutter lag seems to be a question, some reviews complain about it but it also looks like it is at least as good if not better then most other nonDLSR digicams, so is it good and just slow compared to SLR or is it just slow?

this really seems to be as close to getting what im looking for in a sub $300 camera, and even until i get closer to $500 and those are much larger cameras to boot. my only concern is the shutter lag

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Old Apr 21, 2009, 8:11 PM   #6
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Not really sure how you came up with the P5100 as your ideal camera. I don't think it comes close to meeting any of your 3 stated criteria. It's nice to be able to make manual adjustments, but all the adjusting in the world can't make a camera take batter pictures than it is capable of doing.

Let's compare another camera in the same class as the P5100...the Fuji F100fd...

#1 - If you want the fastest shutter speed, you simply must pre-focus...there's no other way. P5100 = 0.066 sec. F100fd = 0.019 sec.

#2 - good low light indoor pics - go here:


Select the P5100 as your 1st camera

Scroll all the way down to Still-life 400

Click on it.

Click on the thumbnail to enlarge it.

Now select the F100 as your 2nd camera and follow the same procedure as above.

Compare the two pics..*****oll down to the Crayola box - which one is sharper? Which on has the more natural colors? Now, scroll over to the color swatch - compare - which looks better? Now scroll over to the brushes in the cup - what color is your coffee cup?

#3 - Still think the P5100 has good overall pic quality and color?

The P5100 has no real wide angle capabilities - 35mm vs. 28mm for the F100, it has a smaller sensor, smaller LCD...

I think the P5100 would be a disaster for your needs.

Good luck with your search.

the Hun

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Old Apr 21, 2009, 8:41 PM   #7
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blinking turtle

The review results for the Nikon P5100's performance are relatively mixed (with some reviewers indicating it can take over a second to focus on the longer end of it's lens). From what I can gather, focus mode seems to make a difference with it (face detection on or off, center point only, wide area). So, you may find that one mode works better than another, depending on conditons and subjects.

When reading through reviews, keep in mind that one review site may have a different method of testing cameras compared to another, with different lighting and subject types when measuring a camera's performance.

Use them as a guideline when comparing cameras within the same review site. But, don't assume that your results will be the same. There are too many variables involved.

A camera that may be able to focus in a a few tenths of a second outdoors, may need *much* longer to focus in dimmer light indoors (especially if the camera doesn't have an Autofocus Assist Lamp).

Subject contrast also makes a big difference (for example, the camera may struggle to focus on a solid color subject as compared to a subject with multiple colors and patterns).

As for image quality at ISO 400 or ISO 800, that's not enough to handle indoor photos of a non-stationary subject in typical home lighting at night if you don't want to use a flash (unless you want motion blur from any subject movement). Indoor lighting is much dimmer to a camera than it appears to human eyes.

I'd assume you'll need ISO 1600 or 3200 for people photos indoors without a flash (and even then, you'll need to stay on the wide end of the zoom range, since the lenses you see on most compact models like that one are very dim as you zoom in more).

If you have any rapid movement, you'll see blur, even at ISO speeds that high in typical home lighting at night. Taking photos of people indoors without a flash can be challenging, even using a dSLR with higher usable ISO speeds and a brighter lens. In the daytime with lots of ambient light coming in through windows, you may be able to do a little better.

When you can't use a flash indoors, you often have to watch your subject very carefully, prefocusing with a half press of the shutter button, then wait for (or anticipate) a pause in movement before pressing the shutter button the rest of the way down to take the photo.

That is one way to reduce shutter lag (since you're prefocusing the lens ahead of time, then waiting for an opportunity to get a good shot without too much blur from subject movement). But, getting good results that way takes practice. Don't assume that it's easy, even using a camera that's better suited for those types of images.

So, as mentioned in my first post to this thread, I'd assume you'll need a flash for indoor photos (unless you're talking something other than people photos) for best results. You can still prefocus on your subject to reduce shutter lag (although flash recycle times will come into the equation for any followup shots).. Using a flash, you can keep ISO speeds set lower and end up with less image degradation from noise.

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