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maki Sep 7, 2003 10:22 AM

Indoor & Outdoor, not blurry, good colors.

I'm looking for a new, more advanced camera because I'm sick of my powershot S200(first digital camera) that seems to be incapable of taking quality indoor shots, or maybe I'm just too picky, but I don't usually see 35mm camera shots that look like my S200's digital shots.

I love taking pictures outdoors - my camera works great there(until the sun starts to set). My problem is though, I want to take pictures indoors, too. Good ones. :) My problems with the S200 are described under the Canon forum with subject Canon = Blurry?.

I'm looking for a camera that does something..something I don't yet know.. I don't know if I want to be able to set my shutter speed really fast..have a great flash that doesn't drown out backgrounds into a blackness and make subjects into a burst of sun.. or something that makes a camera capable of taking GREAT outdoor and indoor pictures, without being on a tripod and having not a single hair moving. Can anyone help me out here? What camera/s do you own that work in most any case, and create quality pictures? I'm willing to spend $500-$700, a little more if necessary, to get at least something better than my current, S200.

I was looking at ones like the Canon G's, but am afraid by Canon after having this S200 from them. Also, the Sony CD Mavica's and some of their other, cybershot's. Kodak? Any help and advice.. I've been looking for thoughts about certains cams on these forums but wanted to specifically ask my question.. Thanks...


JimC Sep 7, 2003 10:42 AM

One thing you'll need to look at is the light gathering capability of the camera's lens. The better the light gathering capability of a lens, the faster shutter speed you can use - helping to reduce blur due to camera shake/subject movement.

Most compact cameras are going to have a maximum aperture of about F2.8 at full wide angle. But, when using Zoom, the amount of light reaching the lens decreases dramatically. With most subcompact models having a maximum aperture of around F4.9 at full zoom.

Some camera models have better light gathering -- for example: the Sony DSC-F717 is rated at F2.0 at full wide angle, and F2.4 at full zoom.

The Canon G series cameras are also much better than most (G2, G3). Some of the more expensive Olympus models also have better light gathering capability (C-4040z, C-5050z).

Look at the specifications for the models you are considering to see the maximum apertures available at both wide angle and full zoom -- rated something like F2.0/F2.4, with the first number indicating full wide angle, and the second number indicating full zoom. The lower the number the better.

Another way to increase the useability of a camera is to use higher ISO speeds (which increase the CCD Sensitivity, allowing faster shutter speeds for the same aperture used). But, this will also increase noise levels in a photo.

The aperture scale (indicated by F Stop) is exponential (F2.8 is twice as dark as F2.0, F4 is four times as dark as F2.0). So, the light gathering capability of the lens can make a dramatic difference in the cameras's to use faster shutter speeds to reduce blur due to subject/camera movement.

ISO Speed is linear. For example: ISO 200 is twice as bright as ISO 100, ISO 400 is 4 times as bright as ISO 100. So, if the correct exposure at ISO 100 would be 1/50 second, using ISO 400 would allow you to take the shot at 1/200 second (4 times as fast).

Different model cameras will have their strengths and weaknesses. For example: physical size, battery life, low light focus capability, flash strength, light gathering capability of the lens, lens range (wide angle -- zoom capability), manual control of image processing (shutter speed, aperture, ISO speeds, color, contrast, sharpness, and more), resolution (which can impact how large of prints a user can expect to get), speed of operation (startup times, shot to shot times, focus lag, shutter lag), and much more.

There are always tradeoffs in a camera's design. For example: I recently purchased the new Konica Revio KD-510z (world's smallest 5 Megapixel Camera with a 3x Optical Zoom). It's great for my needs, but others may have unique needs.

You can read my "user review" of the camera in this thread:

A user must take into consideration many things, since no one camera is perfect for all shooting conditions. The more a user understands them, the better off they will be, so that they pick the best camera for the conditions they will be using the camera in.

Make sure any camera you consider meets your needs (flash strength, features, maximum apertures available, etc.). If not, consider a larger camera instead. The Canon S45 and S50 models are very good cameras in a slightly larger size, and have a greater flash range than the more pocketable models.

If even more range and flexibility is needed, as well as a faster lens, ability to take an external flash, add-on lenses, etc., then consider even larger models -- like the Canon G3, Sony DSC-F717, or Olympus C-4040z/C-5050z models -- since these offer faster lenses, with the ability to use external flashes.

For me, pocketability was a bigger factor, and I am pleased with my decision.

Good Luck!

JimC Sep 7, 2003 10:59 AM


You may be able to help your camera by changing some of the settings.

For example: in Auto Mode, the camera will vary the ISO speed between ISO 50 and ISO 150.

But, you can change the ISO speed to something different, for example: ISO 200 or ISO 400 -- which increases the gain of the CCD for low light shooting. The downside, is that this will also increase noise in a photo, but it allows your camera to shoot with a faster shutter speed to reduce blur, and will give better exposed photos in lower light conditions.

This is similiar to using different film in a 35mm camera for different lighting conditions. For example: using a film rated at ASA 200 (versus ASA 100) allows you to shoot with shutter speeds that are twice as fast in the same lighting conditions. ASA 400 film allows shutter speeds that are 4 times as fast as ASA 100. Just like with a digital camera, there are also tradeoffs using faster film (the higher the ASA rating, the more grain you will see in a photo).

Experiment with these settings, using higher ISO Speeds to see if the results are acceptable.

Also, your camera is rated at F2.8/F4.0 (full wide angle/full zoom).

If you avoid using Zoom, your camera is able to gather much more light -- again increasing useability in lower light conditions (since more light can reach the sensor at wide angle).

Also, pay attention to your range from the subject. Your camera's flash is rated at maximum range of 9.8 feet at full wide angle, but because not as much light reaches the sensor when using zoom, the flash range is reduced to a maximum of 6.6 feet at full zoom.

Again, with a subcompact camera, there are always tradeoffs (light gathering capability of the lens and flash strength being too big ones).

Cameras like the Olympus C-4040z, C-5050z, Sony DSC-F717, and Canon G2/G3/G5 have much faster lenses compared to a subcompact camera, able to gather more light for lower light conditions -- allowing faster shutter speeds to prevent blur.

maki Sep 7, 2003 12:36 PM

Thank for the great information and help. I'll be sure to look out for these things. I have tried the ISO speeds on my S200, but have still noticed significant blur with even ISO 400 and the noise becomes unbearable. Hopefully I'll find something good enough to meet my needs.. I'll see what happens. Thanks again.


jawz Sep 7, 2003 1:36 PM

When I was in the market for a compact camera, I was considering the S200, but passed it by when I read in user forums on other sites that the S200 is notorious for its poor auto focus ability under even modestly low light. Which I would say is what you have experienced.

The auto focus problem was theoretically fixed in the S230.

maki Sep 7, 2003 2:08 PM


Originally Posted by jawz
When I was in the market for a compact camera, I was considering the S200, but passed it by when I read in user forums on other sites that the S200 is notorious for its poor auto focus ability under even modestly low light. Which I would say is what you have experienced.

The auto focus problem was theoretically fixed in the S230.

Actually, I found the auto focus to be a high point of my S200, using the half-way shutter release it would usually focus just fine for me. Maybe I was just so disgusted by the low light pictures and it's flash.


JimC Sep 7, 2003 2:18 PM

You may want to try a slave flash with it, too. Some of these units come complete with a flash bracket that attaches to your camera's tripod mount.

Some are more flexible than others (fire on first flash or second flash from camera).

Most are fairly inexpensive.

You may have to experiment with exposure settings, but it may allow you to easily extend the range of your camera indoors.

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