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Old Feb 1, 2005, 8:06 AM   #1
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I take quite a lot of my photos in low light - it's usually a floodlit railway yard - without flash and handheld, maybe steadied against a post or a wall.

My old Canon A70 was *excellent* in these conditions - I find I can hand-hold exposures down to about 1/8th or 1/6th of a second :-) . Unfortunately the A70 died, and my experiences since then have been with a KonicaMinolta Dimage Z3 (which usually produces speeds of over 1 sec in the same conditions), Pentax Optio 43wr (which seems to lock the shutter to 1/4 sec regardless) and Canon A80 (which was excellent, except for the preview on the LCD which showed very little - the image when taken showed fine on the LCD, however).

I have narrowed the choice of replacements down to the Canon A85 and Sony P93 - on the grounds of price, pocket-sized, use AA batteries, 640x480 video mode with sound, and able to accept add-on lenses if I decide to do that in the future.

What bothers me about just getting the Canon (which would be the easy option - I know how it all works, I have the software installed and I have a case which fits, etc) is that the movie mode is very limiting - mainly the 30s length limit, but also the 10fps quality. Most of the things I take movies of seem to be about 35-40 seconds long!

Wherever low-light performance is mentioned in camera reviews it always seems to be in terms of tripod-mounted 15-30 second exposures, which is not what I want to know! The actual quality of the image at ISO400 isn't that critical either (so long as it's not *too* noisy) - I rarely use the images at full size anyway. I am a little concerned that the Sony only goes to 1/8th sec in 'default' mode, the 'twilight' mode is locked to ISO100 and the other mode is fully manual - it could take me a while to get the right shot! Does anyone have any experience of how the Sony behaves in the dark?

I think I *want* to prefer the Sony but I'm not sure whether the better movie mode balances the 'known' low-light performance.

Any ideas, anyone?


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