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Old Nov 29, 2004, 9:21 AM   #1
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Hi friends. What do you think is the best ultrazoom in low light and indoors? Minolta Z3, Olympus C-765 or Panasonic FZ3? Is the AF lamp really important in these conditions?


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Old Nov 29, 2004, 9:46 AM   #2
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An AF assist is definately desirable for low-light photography. Manual focus is also a good idea. Reason: a camera thinks everything is darker thaneverything actually is. It uses contrast detection to focus, which is hard in low light levels. A bright beam of light has a high contrast with a dark surrounding,so a camera with a built-in assist will activate the lampin less than ideal lightingto provide the necessary contrast for auto focus.

An internal flash isn't very powerful (with most cameras anyway), so you may want a hotshoe-equipped camera. For so far as I know, all flashes havetheir ownAF assists. All current flashes should have them.

Flash exposure compensation, as well as being able to adjust the output, are important if a lot of flash photography will be done (to prevent overexposure).

Flashes and AF assists are only really useful at close range (they won't have as far a reach as the lens on a super zoom). Laser orinfrared AFlamps are the only AF assits that have a long range.

For prolonged exposures you should use a tripod (even for cameras with IS).
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Old Nov 29, 2004, 10:26 AM   #3
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For indoor sport shots, you need high Isos - in order to freeze the action.....but the consequence of higher Isos is high noise levels.....maybe you should go for a Digital SRL - low noise even at Iso 400.

The Af assitant lamp helps a lot to auto-focus the image in low light conditions, but it does not prevent from taking blurred picturesif the subject is in motion - for exampleduringa bascketball game.....I mean, whenthe available light is notso strong like a sunny day, you needhigher Isos tobe able to set faster shutter speeds but yourare gonna gettoo baddarkpictures. -

Do not only consider the shutter speed for indoor shots but the aperture and the Iso.

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Old Nov 29, 2004, 10:51 AM   #4
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If you can use the flash & the subject is within flash range then IS is not really an issue. If the subjects are furter away then you'll need either IS or a tripod/monopod.

The FZ3 would probably do a little better job at higher zooms as it has a fixed F2.8 aperature. The IS also does a good job with non-flash photos. I've gotten focused, hand-held shots down to 1/15 sec. shutter speed, as long as the subject isn't moving of course. Be forwarned that all of these cameras are going to produce very grainy photos at ISO-400, which you will use a lot in low light without a flash.

An AF assist light will make it much easier to focus on closer subjects in low light. AF assist has about the same range as the flash on my FZ3 (about 10-15'). Further away than that and you will need either manual focus, or some type of light source to focus with. I've seen it mentioned in the forums that a laser pointer works well for this.

If you take a lot of low light shots, and can use a flash, I would look at an external flash as a requirement. You will eliminate red-eye, and have many more options for lighting the subject. I think the Z3 has a flash shoe. The C-765's big brother, the C-770, also has a flash shoe. The C-765 & FZ3 can use an external slave flash. A good external flash can be bought for under $100.

I own an FZ3 and it does pretty good indoors, especially with the built-in flash. The only problem I've had so far is red-eye, but I think I had the camera in auto-flash instead of red-eye reduction. I don't take a lot of indoor flash shots.
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Old Nov 29, 2004, 9:41 PM   #5
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Hi yaall!

I have just ordered FZ20 and have been trying to get some first hand info about it's inddor capability. I had been sold on to Canon S1 IS but had to change my decesion because of it's bad indoors performance as stated by many. I cannot afford to have two cameras for different uses. I wan my camera to be able to do long zooms as well as indoors with or without flash.

Have I made the right decision in choosing FZ20 over Canon?
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Old Nov 29, 2004, 10:06 PM   #6
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IMO... The FZ3 puts the Canon S1 IS to shame, and the FZ20 (which I own) is even better.

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Old Nov 29, 2004, 10:41 PM   #7
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I currently have a Canon S1 IS. Main reason I got it, besides the 10x zoom and the flip & twist LCD, was because it takes CompactFlash, which I already have, and it takes AA batteries, of which I have several sets of rechargeables that are also used in other things like AM Stereo radios, MP3 CD players, etc.

So... currently I have a Canon S1 IS, a conversion lens adapter, a couple "cheap" conversion lenses that I had gotten with an A80 (and don't work with the S1 IS), and several CF cards - standard ('02 or '03 (not sure) ones that are too slow for 640x480 30fps video) 1GB and 512MB CF cards, a 256MB SimpleTech card, a 128MB Dane-Elec card, and a 64MB Lexar 12x, all too slow for 640/30 video. I also have a 4GB Hitachi microdrive that's broken (it's not a 44C, but it's dead I think). I also have an A70 with a jammed lens.
So, assuming I sold all the camera related stuff that I have and bought new equipment....
What would be the best thing I could get for no more than whatever I should be able to sell all that stuff for, that could do everything it does, including (and/or plus where applicable)
have a lens that goes to at least a 360 to 400mm (higher preferably) focal length
when turned off is no bigger than the S1 IS
has a fast lens (F/2.0 or faster at wide angle would be nice, and no slower than F/3.2 at full zoom)
gets much better shots at high ISOs (for example taking into account how densely the pixels are packed on the sensors of the following cameras (the camera I'm looking for would have a less dense sensor) than a Canon G6, Olympus C-7000 or Sony P150
at least 4 megapixels (5 would be nice but not at the expense of not being able to get semi-usable ISO 800 shots)
of course since the S1 IS takes 640x480 30fps movies for up to a gig or an hour, I want this camera to at least match or beat that.
Also I want to be able to use longer shutter speeds than 15 seconds - my outdoor landscape "midnight-with-no-moon-that-looks-like-noontime-on-sunny-day" shots are underexposed and noisy even at 15 seconds, F/2.8, ISO 400 (btw I'm talking about rural-area shots, not city shots)

So what would be something decent that I could use to just basically replace what I have? It must have a flip & twist LCD, a larger FOM than the S1, take AA batteries (or cost no more than a set of AA NiMH's to replace if it's Li-ION), CompactFlash (or if I get rid of the CF the cost for the same amount of memory (including the broken microdrive) in whatever format this camera takes must be included in the cost of what I sell the other stuff for), must NOT require Memory Stick or MS Pro as its only source of media, and must be better at non-flash action shots in low light, and outdoor landscape midnight-look-like-noon shots. Suggestions, based on currently available or soon-to-be-announced/released cameras? I don't need it by the holidays but I want to be able to get it soon after.
Basically I plan on not spending any more $ - just basically replacing what I have now.
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Old Dec 3, 2004, 2:21 AM   #8
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I'm a big Panasonic fan myself, so the FZs would be my first recommendation. The f2.8 lens with image stabilization makes for minimal blur.

But just for the sake of completeness... Don't forget some of the Fujis also have f2.8 lenses, and take very sharp pictures. I think the S7000 would be a good indoor camera as well, especially as the Panasonics do get a little grainy under poor lighting.


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