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Old May 6, 2013, 8:51 AM   #1
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Default Any cameras with manual long exposure, good low-light, & quick infinity focus?

Years ago, I was spoiled by a lowly Kodak DX3900 that had a wonderful button on top for setting the camera to infinity focus. That was perfect for taking constellation photos. Unlike so many other cameras nowadays, where you have to hunt through menus, it only took one press and you were set.

Our old Canons, which we really like for daytime shots, are particularly bad in this regard, requiring many, many steps to get to an infinity focus. (You get to the setting area and then have to go through, step by step, several feet at a time, until it finally gets to infinity. It's a nuisance!)

For constellation photos, one needs 15+ seconds manual exposure and really good low light response.

A zoom of 8-10+ would be good for bird photos.

Any recommendations of a camera that would fit the bill? Given we already own so many, a low priced and non-DSLR camera preferred.

It would also be good if it could be remotely controlled, say wirelessly, for the bird photos, or even the star fields on cold nights (one could stay inside nice and toasty!).
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Old May 6, 2013, 4:58 PM   #2
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G'day mate

over 100 views and not a response - hmmm

without being rude - you are asking for a hell of a lot ...

= For constellation photos, one needs 15+ seconds manual exposure and really good low light response.
= A zoom of 8-10+ would be good for bird photos.
= Any recommendations of a camera that would fit the bill? Given we already own so many, a low priced and non-DSLR camera preferred.
= It would also be good if it could be remotely controlled, say wirelessly, for the bird photos, or even the star fields on cold nights (one could stay inside nice and toasty!).

You are not going to find all the above in a low-priced, non-dSLR camera
I suggest that you look to a 2nd-hand 'budget' priced dSLR which comes with a 7x - 10x zoom lens, where the lens has a focus scale

I have a Pentax Kx with Sigma 18-125 which can do all your above except for the wireless comms bit ~ maybe it's somewhere to start looking

Hope this is helpful
Regards, Phil
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Old May 6, 2013, 5:17 PM   #3
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The infinity focus switch on some Kodak camera's was indeed a very handy feature- I first came across one on a Z740- and found it particularly useful for landscapes on hazy days where there was little contrast for the AF to lock on to- and of course would be ideal for the application you suggest.
Sadly,it's a very rare feature these days and until Canon's new A1400,I hadn't seen this feature for years- though of course,it's not a single button press today...!
Maybe manual focus would be the best option these days- though on lower priced cameras,low resolution EVF's or screens make things quite tricky- and good low light performance is also a weakness on low end cameras.
When you say constellation shots, do you intend to shoot single constellations,or whole sky shots,which of course would require a wide angle lens- and in my experience camera's with a sharp wide angle lens rarely have the zoom range your looking for.
I need to think on this one... what's your budget...?

Just a point of note-
My FZ-150 has a "Starry sky" mode in the scene presets, with the option of 15 or 30 sec exposure.
I'm guessing this sets the AF to infinity by default as it seems to lock on perfectly every time.
In Manual mode you can select up to 15 secs shutter speed....

Last edited by SIMON40; May 6, 2013 at 5:30 PM.
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