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Old Dec 21, 2002, 8:21 AM   #1
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Default 3800 - Impossible to see subject in low light?

I just bought my wife a 3800. Neither one of us has any prior digital camera experience. I was playing around with it for the first time in the evening, inside our house. There were not a lot of lights on in the room, but I could see everything just fine. When I tried to take a picture, I could barely make out anything through either the EFV or the LCD. When I took a picture though, it seemed to come out fine, even without a flash. Why? Is this a problem with all digital cameras? Or is there a special setting on the 3800 that will help with this that we simply have not discovered yet? Thanks in advance for any thoughts or help.
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Old Dec 21, 2002, 9:19 AM   #2
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This is a general comment: Most evf's and lcd's suffer this problem. You usually have settings for lcd brightness, but these will only be right for a particular background light level. In addition, the cam will be processing your captured image, so what you see on the display before the shot, may not represent 'adjusted exposure' afterwards.

Always trust the cam and editing software to do a better job after the pic has been taken. The most important job of the lcd is to see sufficient, to frame the shot -providing the cam will focus. Because the lcd is smaller, it will give an apparent bright image on post view, so play with pics in your photo-editor to get a feel for what works in low light. A low light pic on an lcd can look impressive, but at normal print sizes can be very smeary, noisy and may lack focus. Think about the output, and don't regard the lcd/evf as a picture quality monitor.

So what most of us do is turn on the post view option, shoot, check the framing is OK, with some experience it is possible check the post view for exposure - to the extent it is either about right -or the flash didn't fire. Bit hit and miss I'm afraid. Your warnings in the evf are also very important- but you won't get much with flash turned on.

Digital SLRS are more WYSIWYG. but V.pricey.
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Old Dec 21, 2002, 10:10 AM   #3
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An absolute joke really.

Optical viewfinders often show only 85% of the realshot and EVF's are bloody USELES in low light.

Another reason why digitals still have a long way to go.

Bend over Mr/Ms consumer.
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Old Dec 21, 2002, 12:16 PM   #4
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Yes, shooting at night can be frustrating, it's all down to the limited contrast range and bit budget allocated to the lcd displays.

I often wonder if a bit of wire, formed into a rectangle and 'plugged' on to the hot shoe with blu-tack would be a hi-tech alternative - weren't they called Sports viewfinders?? low on batt consumption as well!
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Old Dec 23, 2002, 2:30 PM   #5
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Unfortunately, most people seem to buy a digital camera before they read all the reviews and forums on the Web: bad mistake. If you do some research (a major function of the Web), you can find out LOTS about the deficiencies of just about any camera, old or new.
The unfortunate part with cameras with EVF, is that all retailers have brightly lit showrooms, so you can't see how the EVF performs in darkness until you purchase it. There are workarounds for the deficiency however. I have posted workarounds on this and other major Fuji forums.
If "AF!" shows, stick to wide angle or find a brighter object at same distance to pre-focus on; use BOTH eyes to center the subject: left eye to see subject, right eye to see AF brackets in finder. Superimpose the two and click away. You will get much MORE in the frame than appears to your brain using this method, but at least you can take the picture.
The other alternative is to position light source(s) which are visible in the finder at the desired position(s) in the frame to create the composition you want, and use one of those points to pre-focus on.
I DO NOT recommend you fiddle with the LCD/EVF brightness settings: set them to what seems to be the correct value for what is actually captured on the card. If not, you may be tempted to change the exposure setting to get a good finder image, and end up with an over/under exposed card image.
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Old Dec 24, 2002, 10:05 PM   #6
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All EVF's suffer from this, I own a s602 and bought the 3800 for my parents, the 3800's is atleast twice as dark in low light than the s602, of course it also has half the pixels so that maybe a reason, this info doesn't help you of course, but it made me feel better about the s602, the 602 also focuses much better than the 3800 in low light. Don't feel bad about poor low light focus though because the nikon 5700 also suffers from poor low light focus and cost $1,000+usd.

I really wish the 3800 had an optical view finder, but i think because of the long zoom this was not possible, can someone tell me if that is the case? Why have an EVF when you can't really change any of the info on it? I like being able to see the shutter speed, apeture settings,etc. in the evf on my s602, but if i couldn't change them then i don't see the point of being able to see them.
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Old Dec 25, 2002, 6:28 AM   #7
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Unless you buy a dslr, you'd think, apart from parallax issues, it's the zoom and info displays which lock the design into lcd/evf.

Would we buy a 3Mpix cam with fixed lens, no zoom, auto only, optical finder and runs for a week on 1 re-charge? There probably is a market for this cam, but not at the mo. in high pix ccd's. Still it might be nice to have the evf for setup and choice to use optical for low power.
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