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Old Oct 27, 2006, 12:03 AM   #1
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So i`m reviewing Camera`s and i get to this site that has great reviews with sample photographs of what the camera pictures look like but i notice straight awaynone are in the dark or under normal-general filament bulb or fluorescent bulb lighting. obviously we are never going to be under the control of the lighting if out and about and the general lighting will fall into the above, so why can`t there be 2-3 photos on how the cameras perform under general dark conditions with tipical settings on the reviewed camera....not to much to ask....

I say this based on CNets review of the Canon PowerShot A640, they continuously bring up that it`s dodgy in dark lighting conditions...
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Old Oct 27, 2006, 12:28 AM   #2
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So? CNET reviews eveything from Motherboads, RAM, Video Cards, MP3-Players, Cell Phones & Cameras. Do I want to get reliable info from them on any one product??????????
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Old Oct 27, 2006, 12:28 AM   #3
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CNET, huh? I just looked at this expert review. lol Sure, it's not the best camera for low light.

I'll let you in on a secret... with few exceptions, virtually any smaller non-DSLR camera model is going to be a bit "dodgy" in low light conditions, depending on what you mean by that. It looks like the CNET reviewer was complaining about the noise levels at higher ISO speeds (showing ISO 800 crops).

Up until very recently, it was very rare to even find ISO 800 on most similar models. You just didn't use them at ISO speeds that high. You use a flash when indoors if your subjects are moving (and keep your ISO speeds set to a lower value, where noise won't be a problem). If your subjects are not moving, then the noise that CNET was complaining about won't be an issue if you use a tripod and keep it set to a lower value.

With most non-DSLR cameras, you've got two choices for non-stationary subjects indoors.

1. Use a Flash

2. Get Blurry and/or Noisy Photos

Steve usually includes a flash photo in his reviews. He usually doesn't include a blurry photo without one. ;-)

If you want a smaller camera that you can use without a flash or tripod indoors, look at the Fuji F10/F11/F20/F30 models. They are far better than most at higher ISO speeds.

Just don't try to zoom in much with them, since the lenses on smaller cameras like these lose a lot of light at longer focal lengths (so, you may end up with blur from camera shake or motion blur from subject movement, even at higher ISO speeds indoors without a flash).

Most smaller cameras are not suitable for existing light photos without a flash or tripod indoors (and a tripod won't help with blur from subject movement).


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Old Oct 27, 2006, 3:12 AM   #4
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I thought this would happen...say a different site name and the moderators of this site would burst through the door with guns blazing (Another site trying to review cameras ...how dare they..:P... ). Fact of the matter is that i want to buy a camera, i look at a load of sites to see what they all say this is one CNet was another and i can`t be asked to mention the other 28... So i came here to see what they wereon about :idea: now i know..
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Old Oct 27, 2006, 3:57 AM   #5
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I've had several cameras and have found Steves to be fairly accurate. Another site I like is this: http://www.dpreview.com/. As mentioned though, most non-DSLR cameras are not going to perform will in low light but most will look pretty good when using the built in flash.

Dave
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Old Oct 27, 2006, 3:59 AM   #6
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"I thought this would happen...say a different site name and the moderators of this site would burst through the door with guns blazing..."

If you'll stick around long enough to see what this board is all about, I think you'll find that you've rushed to judgment. Even the main honcho, Steve, often refers members to camera reviews on other sites. Kalypso and JimC gave you their honest opinions of CNET reviews to which they should be entitled, don't you agree?
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Old Oct 27, 2006, 7:01 AM   #7
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I'm not sure what you expected everyone to do here. You make a post that takes a bit of shot at the site administrator and how he does his reviews, and two respected moderators give their honest opinions/offer advice. I don't see that as "guns blazing". CNET is not exactly known for the quality of their camera reviews....as was mentioned they review nearly everything electronic, and don't offer real in depth reviews on anything. It's a great site to do preliminary research or to get your feet wet, but I wouldn't look to them as experts.
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Old Oct 27, 2006, 7:50 AM   #8
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Ireally dislike cnet Asia reviews of the cameras. :roll:

They are not detailed enough.

They provide too much opinions.

They always seems in a hurry.

They only talk about the common aspects of the cameras.

They always state results without providing test results. For example; they can say a camera is noisy at high ISOs, but they do not provide a test result of it.

They always give an editor's choice tag to those cameras that they like only, not on the basis of a camera being objectively good.

Their conclusions are too simple and includes too few informations about the cameras.

The review have no technical structure at all, they just go from page one to pagetwo to page three etc...For example; I would like them to have a page exclusively about dynamic range test only, then on tothe next page about ISO testings only, andetc...I want them to be more detailed withtest results etc, not just say a few words and than that's it!

They do not provide comparisons with the other rival cameras in detail, including high ISO comparisons and image quality comparisons etc...

They always judge the cameras (dSLRs) bytheir kit lenses. They should use a standard lens for the dSLRs!

They are not consistent in their reviews. Some cameras that are noisy at high ISOs were stated to have low noise levels, whereabout a camera with a good high ISO performance was stated to be noisy.

They judge high ISO performance by how clean the images are, when in fact, high ISO performance isvery importantlyabout good detail retention. (That is why the Panasonics can get the Editor's Choice tag) Sometimes it is also ridiculous to see them praising a camera with good high ISO performance when in fact it is usingsledge hammer N.R. to get that title. :roll:Cnet Asia clearly doesn't understand. (Lack of knowledge)

Their reviews are overall darn basic. (Not for advance people like me to read)

Don't ask me whyam Istill reading them, because I am no longer.









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Old Oct 27, 2006, 8:05 AM   #9
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Let me put it another way - to me, CNET is like Consumer Reports. They're great for a first glimpse at low end electronics - they compare like products and give you a general, layman's view about the products. That can be useful.

But, just like Consumer Reports - when you get into more complicated electronics, you really don't want the general layman's view. You want a photographer's view. So, mp3 players, low end DVD players, low end stereos, etc - CNET is a great source. But for things like mid to high range cameras, high end stereo and AV equipment you really want specialized reviews. Just my opinion for what it's worth.
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Old Oct 27, 2006, 8:33 AM   #10
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efex172 wrote:
Quote:
I thought this would happen...say a different site name and the moderators of this site would burst through the door with guns blazing (Another site trying to review cameras ...how dare they..:P... ). Fact of the matter is that i want to buy a camera, i look at a load of sites to see what they all say this is one CNet was another and i can`t be asked to mention the other 28... So i came here to see what they wereon about :idea: now i know..
I'm actually trying to do you a favor. Really. What I gathered from your post is that you want to try and find a small camera that you can use in a variety of lighting conditions indoors.

Smaller cameras will need a flash indoors, with very few exceptions, if your subjects are not stationary.

If your subjects are stationary, you can use a tripod with lower ISO speeds and keep your ISO speeds set low to get better photos with a smaller camera.

The CNET reviewer's complaints about lack of low light usability were not justified, if you compare this Canon to similar camera models (i.e., just about any non-DSLR camera).

Perhaps I was a bit blunt. But, one of the most frequent complaints you hear about smaller camera models is the problems I mentioned above. Complaints about Blurry Photos if someone is not using a flash (because shutter speeds will be too slow indoors without one), and complaints about noise if someone increases their ISO speed.

IOW, I would put the reviewer's complaints in the same class as someone that doesn't know anything about digital cameras.

Hardly a week goes by when someone doesn't join the forums and post how terrible their new [insert model here] camera is, because they're getting blurry and/or grainy photos. That's because they're trying to use one without a flash in less than optimum lighting (and what you think is good indoor lighting is very dim to a camera's lens).

This is not just a weakness of the Canon you looked at, it's a weakness with all similar camera models. By emphasising the problem with the Canon, the reviewer was not doing you any favors IMO, because it leads you to believe that other similar cameras don't have the same issues. They do.

A common misconception is that you don't have to use a flash indoors with smaller cameras. That's what I read into your post, so please correct me if my assumption was wrong. So, there is really no point in trying to include photos in a greater variety of lighting conditions with them, since the flash is going to be providing almost all of the light indoors (the ambient light contributes *very* little to a flash photo indoors with these models).

Here's the deal...

There are 3 factors that determine how long a camera needs to keep the shutter open for proper exposure: Aperture, Light and ISO speed (and this applies to both film and digital).

If you don't leave the shutter open long enough, the photos will be too dark. If you leave the shutter open long enough without a flash indoors, you'll get blur from subject movement with most cameras. If you try to increase ISO speed, you'll get noise (what the reviewer was complaining about) with digital, or more grain with film. Here are your variables:

1. Lighting (and indoor lighting is *very* dim to a camera's lens, even if it looks bright to the human eye). The Human eye adjusts for it.

2. ISO Speed -- this is how sensitive the sensor (or film) is to light. The problem with smaller cameras is that their sensors are very small compared to 35mm film (or to the sensors used in a larger DSLR). So, the photosites for each pixel are much smaller, too. That means that they generate a weaker signal when light hits them. So, the shutter must stay open longer for proper exposure. That means motion blur, unless you amplify the signal from it by increasing ISO speed. If you do that (amplify it) that means higher noise levels. This issue is not limited to the Canon model you're looking at.

3. Aperture -- this represents how much light gets through the lens to the sensor. Smaller models have similar lens specs in this area.

If you really want to shoot without a flash in a variety of indoor conditions, you'll want to look at DSLR models instead. These have much larger sensors, so the photosites for each pixel have a larger surface area, generating a stronger signal when light hits them.

In a smaller camera, Fuji has been making some progress with low light usability with some of their cameras. The F series models I mentioned above are just about the only smaller cameras around that you could get OK results with in some indoor lighting without a flash shooting moving subjects (and they'll still have to be relatively still), because they can shoot at higher ISO speeds with lower visible noise compared to models from other manufacturers.

So, if someone reviewing a smaller camera decides to "continuously bring up that it`s dodgy in dark lighting conditions...", it doesn't sit well with me, unless they qualify that other similar camera models have the same issues.

If you read through the conclusion section for model's reviewed here, you'll see noise levels discussed. That's where you'll find the "meat" of a camera's review here, discussing the issues most buyers need to know about.

But, what's more important for cameras in this class is that you'll see flash usability discussed, too. You're going to need one with cameras in this class indoors, if you plan on taking photos of non-stationary subjects (i.e., people), and you won't be using the higher ISO speeds the reviewer was complaning about much, except in an emergency (i.e., your flash broke and ET just visited). ;-)

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