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Old Oct 12, 2006, 6:55 AM   #21
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Correct, there are plenty of digicams that offer ISO 1600 or 3200.

What I would caution you about is to seek out real life photos of similar nature (not test shots of labels or close ups of a face but shots from a distance of moving subjects like you'll be shooting) to determine if the noise levels in a given camera are acceptable to you. I've shot thousands of low light action shots and I can promise you the noise signature of a camera in those conditions is different than the label test shots you see in reviews. And completely different than a portrait close-up.

So, be cautious here - judging useful noise levels based on those test shots is potentially a dangerous thing to do.

You'll also want to invest in noise reduction software with whatever you choose: Noiseware, Neat Image and Noise Ninja are all well liked.



Goo luck.
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Old Oct 12, 2006, 7:47 AM   #22
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Quote:

Correct, there are plenty of digicams that offer ISO 1600 or 3200.

What I would caution you about is to seek out real life photos of similar nature (not test shots of labels or close ups of a face but shots from a distance of moving subjects like you'll be shooting) to determine if the noise levels in a given camera are acceptable to you. I've shot thousands of low light action shots and I can promise you the noise signature of a camera in those conditions is different than the label test shots you see in reviews. And completely different than a portrait close-up.

So, be cautious here - judging useful noise levels based on those test shots is potentially a dangerous thing to do.

You'll also want to invest in noise reduction software with whatever you choose: Noiseware, Neat Image and Noise Ninja are all well liked.



Goo luck.



John, thanks for your advice; I hope you can bear with me for a while.

I just study and read the reviews for the sake of getting an idea how good or bad a digital camera is; at high ISO. So lets say the Fujifilm Finepix F30 produces clean and detailed images at ISO 400 - ISO 800, I get the idea that it is good at high ISO performance. (I will also observe the re-viewer's opinion)

(Currently, the reviewsseem to be the best way for me to know the cameras.)

I don't think peoplewill like me to fill forums up with "How is your experience with camera A - Z; how is this, how is that etc...?" or"How is the ISO performance of camera A, and how it compares to cameraZ etc...?" I think I might getbanned!:lol:

I agree with you that the reviews are not everything, however, I do think that they are informative. :-)

BTW, now I will only try to inform people about thetechnical part, and let people like you inform on the experience part.

Regards.






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Old Oct 12, 2006, 8:02 AM   #23
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The biggest problem with reviews is that they fail to give you any context. They'll say, This wondercamera2000 has the best noise performance!. They omit (in its class), therefore making thier statement all but useless.


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Old Oct 12, 2006, 8:05 AM   #24
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Quote:

The biggest problem with reviews is that they fail to give you any context. They'll say, This wondercamera2000 has the best noise performance!. They omit (in its class), therefore making thier statement all but useless.

Usually review sitessuch asdpreview (& more professional sites) will state the words "In it's class".


For example, the Fujifilm Finepix F30 Zoom was stated to have the best high ISO performance in it's class. (Of ultra-compact pocket-able cameras)
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Old Oct 12, 2006, 8:28 AM   #25
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I stand by my statement. DO NOT JUDGE HOW WELL A CAMERA WILL PERFORM IN LOW LIGHT ACTION BASED UPON TEST SHOTS OF A LABEL OR CLOSE UPS OF A PERSON's FACE. That is a completely different scenario than what you will be shooting in. Noise characteristics will be different with the theater shots. Noise will be much worse for any camera in that instance.

So, we're not talking speculation or theory here. We're talking about "I need a camera that produces good shots in a theater". I am trying to state as clear as I can that you need to see shots from that camera in that type of setting to judge whether it will produce acceptable quality shots. PERIOD. Reviews do not test cameras under these condittions. You want to find examples from people that have actually used the camera. I'm not saying Benjamin should not voice an opinion. I'm just saying the REVIEWS that opinion is based upon are not necessarily valid in this context - they do their tests in a much simpler environment.

Again, to the OP I am just suggesting you ask people for actual photographic examples before you make a choice. That's all. Just like if you were buying a camera for landscape purposes - you want to see landscape photos taken with the camera. Want a camera for portrait shots - it helps to see portrait shots people have taken with the camera. Same thing here - at the end of the day, what's important is how the camera behaves in the real world. If people are able to get acceptable shots with a camera in the same situation you're in and you can see their photos and like the quality that's all that matters. It doesn't matter what some reviewer said good or bad.
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Old Oct 12, 2006, 12:25 PM   #26
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I wonder which camera belowwill be the better one for indoor social shots without flash; under dim lightings;

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX1:

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Panasonic continues to offer innovation where most manufacturers have become content with an endless round of 'me too' product and minor upgrades. The LX1 is a perfect example; a camera designed for serious photographers, a camera that has the potential - on paper at least - to be the ideal replacement for a digital SLR when you don't want the bulk, or weight hanging round your neck. It has, without doubt, the best manual controls of any camera in its class, and the Leica lens is undoubtedly sharp (there's rumors the LX1 may end up re branded as a Leica D-Lux 2). Of course I'd prefer a mechanical zoom and a real focus ring, but I'm happy with the balance between functionality and size the LX1 offers, and I found myself reaching for it more often than any other camera on my desk at the moment. So, yes, I liked the LX1 a lot. The 16:9 widescreen mode may be a bit 'love it or hate it' (I personally loved the creative options it gave me), but you can always switch to a more conventional aspect ratio without losing too many pixels. The image stabilization system is a real boon for hand-held photography, the handling excellent and the sheer enjoyment factor puts it way ahead of many of its competitors.

If you feel a 'but' coming on, here it is. To release a camera so obviously aimed at the serious photographer, to add so many usable manual controls, to put a razor-sharp Leica lens on the front and then to drop in a chip / processor that is so noisy you can't use it above ISO 100 is quite simply unforgivable. It's like buying a Ferrari and discovering it maxes out at 55 mph.

Now I'm going to qualify this slightly; at ISO 80 and 100 the results are slightly noisier than most 6 and 7MP cameras, but they also show a lot more detail and look a lot sharper, so this is probably more a reflection of Panasonic's approach to noise reduction than a serious problem with the chip. You can tease some amazing results from the LX1 at low ISOs if you're prepared to do some work - specifically shooting in raw mode and tweaking the parameters in Adobe Camera Raw (forget the supplied software - it's worse than useless). At ISO 200 and 400 noise is a serious issue, and you certainly won't want to print very large, but again the inherent quality of the lens means there's plenty of detail, and if you're prepared to do some work yourself (either using noise reduction software or shooting raw), the results are just the right side of acceptable. Of course having an effective IS system to a certain extent reduces the reliance on high ISO in low light, but it doesn't mean you'll never use it. Finally, how important an issue noise is will vary from person to person - take a look at the sample gallery shots and make your own mind up.

We had real difficulty deciding between Above Average and Recommended for the LX1; it is capable of delivering stunning resolution, sharpness and detail - and is stuffed to the gills with useful photographic features, but for a camera to exhibit this level of noise at ISO 80 in 2005 is pretty unforgivable. Take a look at the full size shots, print them if you want, and decide for yourself if you're happy to make a compromise on noise in order to get all that detail.
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasoniclx1/page15.asp

Fujifilm FinePix F30 Zoom:

Quote:

The FinePix F30 offers a tantalizing glimpse of how very different compact cameras would be if all manufacturers put as much effort into developing sensor and processing technology as they do into designing and marketing pretty cameras with features no one ever asked for. Our tests show that the F30's sensor gives you at least a two-stop advantage over the best that conventional CCD technology can offer, and in many cases a three-stop advantage, with ISO 800 output that can rival some cameras at ISO 200.

Given that most 'average' casual snapshooters are likely to use their camera at (dimly lit) social occasions more than at any other time, this is a real, significant advantage; allowing flash-free photography without blur. More serious photographers will welcome a camera that brings the low light capabilities of a compact a step or two closer to those of most digital SLRs. It's also, surprisingly, significantly better than the F10, something I must admit I doubted would be true when I started this test.

Of course the Super CCD chip isn't magic; it's a bit bigger than the average CCD, and the pixel arrangement is such that more of the surface area is used to gather light - so it is more sensitive, but there's a limit to what you can do with a chip this small. At ISO 800 you're beginning to lose fine detail to noise reduction, and ISO 1600 / 3200 - though better than any CCD camera by a long stretch - are hardly what a serious user would call 'photo quality'. These settings are fine for snapping your friends in the pub, where fine detail isn't too important, or for producing small prints, but they are really pushing the capabilities of the sensor a little too far. But let's not lose sight of the fact that the F30 blows away all its competitors at anything over ISO 200, which is no mean feat.

The F30 is also fast and a lot easier to use than the F10, with more features to boot. The battery life is superb, though this has in part been achieved by setting the default screen brightness too low for use in bright light (turning on the high speed focus mode also reduces the headline 580 shot per charge life).

On the downside the F30 is not as impressive on bright sunny days as it is indoors or at night; sure, the sharpness and low noise are still there, but the tone curve often produces images that lack highlight or shadow detail, yet can look a bit flat. You'll get some amazing results if you know your way around Photoshop (or similar), but I often (though by no means always) found the 'out of camera' results slightly disappointing. Add to this the tendency to over expose and you've got a camera that really needs to be used by someone who knows what they're doing to get the most out of it.

So, whilst it would be unfair to label the F30 a 'one trick pony' (no matter how good that trick is), it is fair to say that it really shines in low light, whereas in daylight - especially bright daylight - it is merely competent. If I'm being brutally honest this sensor deserves a better camera - or at least one with some control over things like contrast, sharpness and saturation. The good news is that the recent announcement of the S6500fd certainly suggests that Fuji isn't going to abandon this sensor for a while yet.

To sum up, the F30 is far and away the best low light compact camera on the market today, bar none. It's the perfect 'social' camera for the DSLR owner who doesn't want to lug all his or her gear to parties, and it is - in expert hands - capable of superb results in any light. I would even go as far as to suggest - funds permitting - getting one for low light work even if you already own a camera you use for daylight shooting... So then, Highly Recommended unless you rarely shoot indoors or at night.

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/fujifilmf30/page16.asp


Reply to John:

Isn't it true that a camerawith better high ISO performance would be the better one for indoor shots, theater shots, and (or) action shots?

Would you crank up your ISOlevel if your camerais not going toproduce quality results?






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Old Oct 12, 2006, 12:30 PM   #27
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BenjaminXYZ wrote:
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I wonder which camera belowwill be the better one for indoor social shots without flash; under dim lightings;

Ummm, just a question - what does indoor social shots have to do with theater action? Two completely different situations.
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Old Oct 12, 2006, 12:35 PM   #28
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Reply to John:

Isn't it true that a camerawith better high ISO performance; would be the better one for indoor shots, theater shots, and (or) action shots?

Would you crank up your ISOlevel if your camerais not going toproduce quality results?
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Old Oct 12, 2006, 12:39 PM   #29
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a grainy/noisy shot is better than no shot at all!!
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Old Oct 12, 2006, 12:43 PM   #30
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a grainy/noisy shot is better than no shot at all!!

So? When the review states that the F30 have a very good high ISO performance. (Which would be ideal for my indoor social shots), I shouldn't take any heed?

One the other hand, if the review states that the LX1 have a poor highISO performance (Which could be detrimentalfor my indoor social shots), I should not take heed?

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/fuji...zoom/page7.asp

Would I choose the camera on theright if high ISO performance was my priority?

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