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Old Jan 24, 2004, 11:19 AM   #1
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Default indoor photos

I would like to get some coaching on buying a digicam that will take adequate indoor photos without flash. I will be in historic structures where no flashes are allowed. It will be my first digital and I do plan to move up to the Canon Rebel DSLR but would like to start with something cheaper. Specifications or cameras to look for appreciated.
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Old Jan 24, 2004, 12:49 PM   #2
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You have two choices Ė buy a camera with a stabilized lens or carry a tripod.

This is a shot that was posted on a thread on another board. It is a handheld shot with his elbows resting on a railing. Notice the EXIF data at the bottom Ė a full second of exposure. You canít do that without a stabilized lens. In this case he used a Minolta A1. http://www.pbase.com/image/25374336

If you are seriously considering a DSLR I would just go directly there as opposed to getting the A1. I think the A1 is probably the best overall prosumer camera on the market, but there is no sense paying that much money for an intermediate step to DSLR. Get a stabilized lens for the DSLR.

The Panasonic FZ10 is the other current stabilized camera. It is about $200 cheaper than the A1. It has a 12X stabilized lens that works well, albeit with some CA at long tele. The difference in price is in the camera. The lens is great but the camera is a lower end budget camera. Even so it is useable and takes great handheld indoor shots once you get the white balance sorted out. My personal best with the FZ10 has been 1/6 second hand held with a sharp shot. I think I can improve that with a little practice to 1/4. It does have full manual capability.

A third stabilized camera that is still available is the Panasonic FZ1. If you are planning to get seriously into photography I donít think you want 2Mp images from a purely point and shoot camera. There is a firmware upgrade you can buy that gives it some advanced capabilities, but it is still 2Mp. It is very compact and light though.

There is a lot to be said for just getting a competent compact with manual capabilities and carrying a compact tripod.
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Old Jan 24, 2004, 8:49 PM   #3
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First figure out what "low light" is for the situations you want to shoot in. f/2.8, 1/10sec, ISO100? Shutter speed and f/stop have exactly the same meaning in digital and chemical phtography. ISO has roughly the same meaning in the sense that the higher the ISO the worse the grain/noise. In general, the highest ISO, or the two highest ISOs, for a digicam are pretty much useless.

It seems that the best predictor of good results at high ISO is price. If you want to take pictures in very low light, it will cost more. A lot more.

My impression is that Image Stabilization gains about two stops over what you can hand-hold without it.
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Old Jan 25, 2004, 6:00 AM   #4
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A question I've sometimes thought about, is assuming you have a stabilised lens, that only avoids the tripod so exposure times will still be long. Also is the stabilisation as effective on a wide angle shot and how much sensitivity is lost with the zoom lens - compacts can be quite poor.

Does noise increase as the exposure gets longer even if you selected 64 or 100 ISO? My first thought is this is the area of diminishing return and the only solution is larger much faster lenses and a more advanced, larger area sensitive sensor. I'd definitely be considering NeatImage noise reduction or similar for this work. Perhaps the solution is to look at alternatives to a full size tripod (mono pod, or body support?) then select the fastest, lowest noise camera, maybe trade lower pixel res for sensitivity and smaller prints, then the image stab if you can afford it. VOX
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