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Old Mar 11, 2004, 12:57 PM   #1
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Default What is a good camera for taking pics in dark places?

What is a good camera for taking pics in dark places?
This is even if using a flash... I think the physical size of the lens might mean something, but is there a specification I could use to determine this.....
I have to take pictures in dark places and with the objects 30 to 40 ft away.
please help..thanks
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Old Mar 11, 2004, 7:44 PM   #2
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I don't know of any all-in-one camera that has a built in flash powerful enough (or has a fast enough lens) that can yield good images where the subject is 30-40 ft away in 'dark' conditions. Of course, it all depends on what you mean by 'dark' (dimly lit room, moon lit outdoor scene, coal miner's basement, etc.).

You will most likely need a farly good external flash to adequately illuminate a scene 40 ft away, so your choice of camera should focus on ones that have either a hot shoe or external flash sync connection so that you can add an appropriate external flash to the camera. My Oly C3020 is an example of a camera that you don't want for the type of low light conditions that you 've described because it has no direct means to sync an externa flash and its internal flash is quite weak to boot.

The Minolta A1 has both a hot shoe and a PC (flash sync) connector and Minolta makes an excellent external flash (5600HS-d) which supports the camera's automatic exposure mechanisms. I'm not necessarily making recommendation of the Minolta product, but rathr using them as an example of the kind of camera and flash that you should check into.
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Old Mar 12, 2004, 9:00 AM   #3
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The specification you need to look at is the maximum f-stop/aperature for the lens. BUT aperature is a reciprocal so smaller f-stop numbers mean bigger (what you want) aperatures.

In general a larger max. aperature requires a bigger lens for the same amount of zoom.

I'd suggest you look at the Canon G series - they have an external flash hot shoe and they're lenses are a bit faster than most others in the price range. Some of the Nikon Coolpix cameras also have hot shoes or the ability to add an adapter to attach an external flash. The 4500 is a bit smaller but its lens is about a full stop slower.

Can you tell us more about what you want to shoot - is it moving, can you use a tripod etc...

By the way - each f-stop allows twice/half as much light to the sensor. 2.0 to 2.8 is one f-stop, here's a short list of the basic stops: 1.4, 2, 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8.

There are two stops between 2.8 and 5.6 so there is four times more like on the sensor at 2.8 than what there was at 5.6.
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Old Mar 12, 2004, 11:44 AM   #4
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Like the previous people said, you need a camera with a hotshoe for an external flash. Any digital SLR would do the trick, but if that is out of your range, try the Canon G5, Nikon 5700, Fuji S7000, or Minolta A1.
The maximum range for most built-in flashes is around 10-12 feet so you need an external flash and a camera with a hotshoe. When looking for a flash, pay attention to the guide number; it is an indicator of range. Some flashes even have zoom heads to focus all the light in the middle for when you zoom in your camera.
Also, like it has been said, a lens with a bigger maximum aperture is better - read ursa's post.
Also, all of the cameras I listed go to ISO 800 except the Canon. A higher ISO means more sensitivity to light. Most digital SLR's go to ISO 1600 and a few even go to 3200.
If you tell us your price range, I think we can suggest just the camera you are looking for.
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Old Mar 12, 2004, 5:07 PM   #5
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I'm looking to pick up my first digital camera as well, and will have the same problem as the original poster. I need the camera to take pictures in underground mines, and will not be able to have a tripod with me. The only illumitation I'll have will be my cap lamp (similar brightness to a D cell Maglite) and the camera flash, so it will be very dark.

Can anyone recommend the most durable, smallest camera that I can get for under $600 with an external flash included? Also something with few moving parts would be great as I will be using it in dusty environments. Or is that an unrealistic price for what I'm looking for?

Thanks
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Old Mar 12, 2004, 5:43 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BazookaJoe
I'm looking to pick up my first digital camera as well, and will have the same problem as the original poster. I need the camera to take pictures in underground mines, and will not be able to have a tripod with me. The only illumitation I'll have will be my cap lamp (similar brightness to a D cell Maglite) and the camera flash, so it will be very dark.

Can anyone recommend the most durable, smallest camera that I can get for under $600 with an external flash included? Also something with few moving parts would be great as I will be using it in dusty environments. Or is that an unrealistic price for what I'm looking for?

Thanks
Take a look at the pentax 33wr (http://www.steves-digicams.com/2003_...optio33wr.html). Being water resistant it should be pretty good for keeping the dirt out. You can always wash it off later with water.

For external flash either I would modify a sunpak 383 to make it into a slave flash (IR Sensor + RTV) or pick up an inexpensive underwater slave like a Morris (do a search on BHphoto for it). A little velcro will allow you to position the slave flash.

Before you get the slave you need to find out if the camera is a single or double flash unit.
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Old Mar 12, 2004, 5:52 PM   #7
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Default Re: What is a good camera for taking pics in dark places?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nauticalpleasure
What is a good camera for taking pics in dark places?
This is even if using a flash... I think the physical size of the lens might mean something, but is there a specification I could use to determine this.....
I have to take pictures in dark places and with the objects 30 to 40 ft away.
please help..thanks
For your application don't forget the DSLR world you can get ISO 1000+ and a fast lens. Stick a high powered flash on top (even like a dumb 383) and you can get some great low light pictures. Another aspect is that you can manually focus a DSLR easier.

I recently shot a graduation at ISO 200 using a Kodak Dx6490 and was able to illuminate subjects with a Sunpak 383 at a distance of over 40 feet.
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Old Mar 25, 2004, 4:08 PM   #8
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Boozooka Joe,

I'm no expert but I think you're looking for something to get a job done then for a high end slr type camera...

check out Sony's Cyber-shot DSC-V1
http://www.steves-digicams.com/2003_reviews/v1.html

I've never used it but apparantly it can see in the dark.
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