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-   -   good low-light semi-pocket cam? (

pianoplayer88key May 16, 2004 11:26 PM

I'm looking for something to complement my Canon S1 IS for when I want to get decent low-light shots. I have an A80 that I'm thinking of selling, and I don't want to spend the full price of the A80 on this cam, I'd prefer to spend considerably less if possible.
Basically I'd like something with relatively low pixel density so I can safely crank up the ISO for fast-shutter shots in low light without having too much image noise. Also, my intended use of this camera is mainly for action shots of people that aren't very far away, like for example 10-15 feet (at that distance I'd like to capture, if possible, a 2/3 frame - top of head to around knees or so, butwould be willing to go with full-height pictures of ppl.) As for pixels and zoom, I don't plan on blowing the pictures up. I may want to do some limited cropping and/or zooming, but not much.
What would you say would be the minimum resolution for decent quality 4" prints? Would 1280x960 be enough?
I'm thinking maybe something like 1280x960 with up to a 3x optical zoom (but if I need to sacrifice the optical zoom to get a larger sensor in the same size cam I'm willing to do that), or maybe up to 1600x1200 with a 2x or 2048x1536 fixed-lens.
Other things I would like are manual controls (with shutter speeds at least from 1/250sec to 1/2 sec and a wide aperture at least 2.8 if possible (2.4 or 2.0 or wider would be nice)), ability to crank ISO up to at least 400 (800 or even maybe 1600 if conditions call for it), manual focus (especially if the camera isn't good at focusing in low light, for example I would prefer not to have a visible-light focus assist lamp.
Oh, btw, I'm willing to look at used cameras. I'd like something that is preferably not much bigger than the Canon A80. G5 would be a bit huge but might be doable (that size, I'm not looking at that camera btw).

I already have a Canon S1 IS for telephoto shots in good light, and I'm just looking for something that will get decent nearby low-light action shots without a flash.

I was looking on dpreview, and here are a few things I found (sensor size and pixel density and resolution) (btw I'm listing a few camera models based on the 3 things in the previous "()s" not based on other criteria up above):
Olympus D-620L = 1280x1024, 2/3" = 1920ppi (pixels per inch (1280/(2/3))
Fuji Finepix 40i = 1280x960, 1/1.7" = 2176
Pentax EI-2000 = 1600x1200, 2/3" = 2400

for reference, my A80 is 2272x1704 @ 1/1.8" = 4089.6

Also, what should I be able to get for a lightly used Canon A80 that's a couple months old? (I can post pics of it later if it might help determine the cosmetic conditon. It's completely functional - like new.) As for the replacement low-light cam, I would like to spend less than 1/3 to 1/2 the price of what I can get for the A80. Would I be better off keeping the A80 considering the price vs performance in low-light, or is there another option? I have a Canon S1 IS that's good for long-zoom pics but would like a P&S (with aperture and shutter priority, full manual, and manual focus) pocket-sized large sensor low resolution no or low optical zoom cam for indoor / night action no-flash shots. And don't say get a dSLR - that is too big, and too expensive. I don't need 14 megapixels, either, for this one, seeing that I won't be enlarging the pics bigger than 4" prints.

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