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Old Nov 30, 2003, 9:16 PM   #1
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Default indoor digital performance

My daughter is on a college equestrian team and all the horse shows are indoors. Flash photagraphy is prohibited. Does any one have any experience with any reasonable cost (400 - 800$) camera with good indoor focus and performance.
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Old Dec 1, 2003, 7:08 AM   #2
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Default Fred- Indoor Flash

Fred -
My daughter trains Arabians, so I know your problem.

Digital point and shoot cameras are not at their best under low light. Performance varies slightly, but if you read a lot of the posts, you will find this is a major complaint across the board.

Artificially lit Arenas are lousy setups even for film cameras.
Time exposures are out of the question.
I have had various results with wide open lens and forcing the shutter.
Try to get her on the near side of the ring as close to you as possible and just shoot as many different shots as possible.

I generally try to get her after the event in a more photo friendly area.
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Old Dec 1, 2003, 12:24 PM   #3
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As the other fellow said - consumer digicams and low-light action shots are very difficult if not impossible. The only camera(s) that I would recommend for that sort of environment would be ones with a stabilized zoom lens such as the new Panasonic FZ10. The image stabilized lens will let you work at slower shutter speeds and helps eliminate camera shake. To be honest though, nothing short of one of the more expensive SLR type cameras is reallygoing to do the job right. Even with a SLR type camera it will still be a 50/50 chance of good and bad pictures.

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Old Dec 1, 2003, 2:30 PM   #4
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The only camera(s) that I would recommend for that sort of environment would be ones with a stabilized zoom lens
I have seen this recommendation a few times before from other people but find it puzzling. A stabilised lens helps eliminate camera shake effects on exposures longer than say 1/60th but such exposure times are not much good for moving subjects such as basketball players and trotting horses?
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Old Dec 1, 2003, 3:29 PM   #5
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Well - a stablized lens would reduce the blur from camera shake, so it's not without it's merits. Motion blur from camera shake and subject movement should be additive (so removing the blur from camera shake should help -- especially at longer focal lengths). In fact, I suspect that at higher zoom settings, more blur is being caused by camera movement.

You may be also be able to get by with a Consumer Camera like the Sony DSC-F717 (which has a realtively fast F2.0/F2.4 lens, allowing for faster shutter speeds without stabilization), as well as a better noise profile compared to most other cameras in it's class. However, it's focal range isn't anywhere near as good as the Panasonic's.

Although I haven't seen any tests comparing them, I do suspect that the Sony's larger 2/3" 5MP CCD, has a much better noise profile than the smaller 1/2.5" 4MP CCD used in the newer Panasonic at the same ISO speeds.

However, you still may not be happy with the results (with a high percentage of your photos being unusable from motion blur or noise, limiting print sizes, too.)

A Digital SLR with a fast lens (F2.0 or wider aperture) is a much better choice.
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