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Old Sep 5, 2004, 12:58 AM   #1
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I'm considering changing from film to digital. I do a lot of photography for my amateur theatre company, and so need a long lens and low light capability. I'm currently using an Olympus OM-1, with 35-200mm lens and 800 ASA film. The problem is I can't afford the digital SLR's that are currently on the market. Can anyone here recommend a camera that's not an SLR, yet takes good photos under low light conditions? (I'd need at least 4MP).
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Old Sep 5, 2004, 3:29 AM   #2
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Buy a digicam that can adjust manually the Aperature Size, Shutter Speed, Exposure & ISO.
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Old Sep 5, 2004, 11:23 AM   #3
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The problem is that the tiny sensors in the non-DSLR camera models will have very high noise levels as ISO speeds are increased. This is because the photosites for each pixel are very tiny, and can't gather as much light as the much larger photosites used in the DSLR sensors.

With the "super zoom" models, noise starts to become objectionable in low light at anything much over ISO 100 (although ISO 200 is generally usable after cleaning the photos up). But, you'll need higher ISO speeds to keep the shutter speeds fast enough to prevent blur from camera shake and subject movement.

Some of these models do have stabilized lenses which can help with the camera shake part, but it can't help with the subject movement part.

If you can get by without about the same focal range (zoom range) that you have now, and if you don't need larger prints (so that some of the noise/motion blur blends in more), you may want to try the Minolta DiMAGE A1 (5MP 2/3" CCD). It has anti-shake technology to help reduce blur from camera shake.

Or, give the Sony DSC-F717 a try. It's lens is twice as bright as most other non-DSLR models, starting out at f/2.0 at wide angle, only stopping down to f/2.4 at full zoom (190mm equivalent focal length). Like the Minolta DiMAGE A1, the Sony DSC-F717 isalso using a 2/3" 5MP CCD (so the photosites for each pixel are larger than the smaller 1/2.5" and 1/2.7" sensors you'll see in the "super zoom" models).

These two models (Sony DSC-F717 and Minolta A1) will also go to ISO 800 (but you don't really want to go there, because noise will be very high). I'd try to stick with ISO 400 if possible (which will still have high noise). Both of these models have been replaced with newer 8MP Models, but if you search around, you may still be able find dealers with them in stock.

Then, use one of the software tools to reduce the noise. Here are 3 popular ones:



http://www.imagenomic.com/ (this one is free).

Whatever camera you choose, I'd make sure to buy it from a vendor with a no restocking fee policy, in case you find the image degradation using higher ISO speeds to be unacceptable.
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