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Old Mar 11, 2004, 10:10 AM   #1
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Default Small Cameras, Dark Photography

Hey! New to the forum. Glad to be here. Two quick questions.
1) I take lots of nightclub photos and I dislike using a flash. I would a digital that takes good photos in low-light. Oh yeah, movement is also a problem. People are dancing and stuff, so a slow shutter speed is not a good option. Any suggestions for the appropriate camera?
2) I would also like a small, pocket-sized camera that I can easily carry with me at all times. I am looking at the Exilim line, but was wondering if anybody has any suggestions. It doesn't have to be really high quality, 2mp is fine, just something that takes good shots with a quick reaction time.

Thanks so much!
James
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Old Mar 11, 2004, 10:45 AM   #2
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Unfortunately technology isnít at the point you need. The closest you could get might be a Canon G1 from Ebay. It isnít a pocket camera but the smallest thing I know of with an f2 lens you might be able to pick up anywhere near your price range. And even that isnít really going to let you take pictures of things in motion inside a club without a flash.

The G1 does have a hot shoe for when you realize you probably canít take the shots without a reasonably powerful flash.
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Old Mar 11, 2004, 11:08 AM   #3
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For the kind of conditions you specify, you need ISO in the thousands, while virtually all digicams--and certainly all in the pocket size range--have noise trouble with ISOs over 200-400. My advice would be to get a film camera and use high-speed film (ISO 3200 or whatever's available), and then scan the photos if you need them electronically. Otherwise--flash is about all there is.
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Old Mar 11, 2004, 12:50 PM   #4
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Whoops! I was unclear. My point 1 and point 2 are for two *different* cameras. I am planning on getting one "good" camera to take the dark and action shots, and then, in addition to that, one pocket camera to carry with me all the time for candid life shots.
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Old Mar 11, 2004, 2:35 PM   #5
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The fastest lens I know of on a prosumer type camera is f2. That isnít going to get indoor action shots at a club. You could consider a pricey DSLR with a very fast lens. Even then it would be marginal.

Another approach for low light photography is stabilization. Stabilization allows you to take handheld shots in fairly low light but does nothing for subject movement. The available current cameras with stabilization are the Canon S1, Minolta A1 and A2, and the Panasonic FZ10.

What I would recommend is a Canon G3 or G5 and a Vivitar 285HV flash. With that camera the zoom flash will reach out to about 70 feet. That is a non-dedicated flash unit and relatively inexpensive for the power.

I wouldnít switch to digital until I could get enough pixels to compete with 35mm, so I wouldnít personally get a point and shoot 2Mp pocket camera. The Pentax S4 recently came down enough in price with a rebate because of the release of the S4i that I went down a Mp for the smaller camera and carry that now. 4Mp is marginal for me, but the little camera is really nice.

Another alternative for you to consider is the Sony V1. It is marginally pocketable and the smallest camera I know of with a hot shoe. You could get a smaller non-dedicated flash unit for the clubs and have a carry everywhere camera. With the Vivitar 285Hv you would have to go to ISO200 to get the full 70 feet, but you can get to probably 50 feet with ISO 100. If you donít need that flash range a smaller flash unit would be more appropriate for that small camera. Pick one up in a store and decide whether it is small enough to fill your small camera requirement. It has the terrific Sony holographic focus assist for low light, so anything within about 10 feet will be easy to focus on. You can also frame it in very low light.

There isnít a magic technology that is going to allow you to take indoor action shots without a flash in limited light though.
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Old Mar 11, 2004, 4:15 PM   #6
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Cool, thanks for the info! Yeah, I realize that I can't have everything, I am just looking for my best options. Like I said, I am looking for two separate cameras. One that takes as good low-light photos as is possible at a decent price. I am not worried about its size or anything like that. I dislike using flashes in clubs because you tend to lose a lot of the background color in the club lights. Plus, it is harder to take action shots that way. People see it happening and pose, or get self-conscious.

Then I am also looking for a second camera, a small pocket-sized one. It need not be maximized for dark pictures, I'm just looking for which one is the best deal. I would like one that has a good reaction speed, so when I turn it on, or hit the button, there is not a lot of delay.

Thanks for all your help!
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