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Old Sep 20, 2004, 5:10 AM   #1
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Hi everyone,

I went to a wedding over the weekend and the photographer was using a Nikon D70 (I THINK). This had a small white light at the front which came in very poor lighting conditions. I think this is called a speed light, which is ment to produce more light making it easier to take photo's in poor light.

Two questions, does it improve the the light conditions?

Can you get a fixed lens camera similar to the Minolta A1 OR A2 with this function?

I hope some one out there knows what I'm on about, Thanks.:|
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Old Sep 20, 2004, 8:50 AM   #2
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RobT wrote:
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I went to a wedding over the weekend and the photographer was using a Nikon D70 (I THINK). This had a small white light at the front which came in very poor lighting conditions. I think this is called a speed light, which is ment to produce more light making it easier to take photo's in poor light.

Two questions, does it improve the the light conditions?

Rob, the white light you saw come on was a Focus Assist Lamp. It does not improve the lighting conditions for taking photos. It's designed to help the camera see better for focusing. With the D70, you have a menu option that lets you disable it if you prefer not to use it (some people find them annoying, but they do improve a camera's ability to focus in low light).

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Can you get a fixed lens camera similar to the Minolta A1 OR A2 with this function?
The Konica Minolta DiMAGE A1 and A2 models do not have a focus assist lamp (although they have much better than average low light Autofocus for cameras without one).

Yes, you can get fixed lens cameras with Autofocus Assist Lamps. If you read the reviews here for any models you are considering, Steve usually discusses each camera's low light focus ability in the review conclusion sections.

However, also consider a camera's ability to takenice photos in low light. For example, if you were indoors where flash was not allowed (as in some Wedding Ceremonies), then a model like the D70 (provided you used a bright lens), would be vastly superior to a non-DSLR model.

This is because it's larger sensor has dramatically lower noise levels as ISO speeds are increased (which you will need to do if taking photos of non-stationary subjects indoors without a flash to reduce motion blur from subject movement). Also,a DSLR will also allow shooting at much higher ISO speeds than are even available on the non-DSLR models.

Now, cameras like the DiMAGE A1 and A2 can help reduce blur from camera shake in lower light (thanks to their anti-shake system). However, this won't help for subject movement.

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Old Sep 20, 2004, 2:34 PM   #3
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I've seen some people do this - A small battery powered video light inserted in the hot-shoe of the camera.

I've never done it, but the guy said: it works great and add some "warmth" to the picture !!! :-):-):-)
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ist&sku=144312
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Old Sep 21, 2004, 3:13 AM   #4
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Would this idea work with moving subjects?

I have bee looking at the A1 or A2 and had never seen this light before. I would like a camera with the same optical zoom spec, would these cameras take good shots of moving subjects at low light or would you suggest another camera?

Thanks

Rob
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Old Sep 21, 2004, 7:35 AM   #5
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For low light and moving subject, IMO a dSLR is probably the only viable option:
1 - A dSLR has a dedicated and independent AF systems based on phase detectors with the sole purpose of tracking focus independent from the capturing CCD.
2 - The dSLR's CCD are just plain bigger gathering more light
3 - You can get faster lens - ie with larger aperture collecting more light which will help both the AF and the CCD.
4 - ... They do cost more though with fast lenses and macros with the same capability than the A1/A2
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Old Sep 21, 2004, 11:51 AM   #6
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Thanks

Cost is my problem and I liked the idea of not having to change lenses all the time. I,m not to keen on carting around different lenes all the time. The non slr type cameras with a good telephoto lens appeal to me. The image quality in low light is a mayor concern tho!
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Old Sep 21, 2004, 12:30 PM   #7
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RobT wrote:
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Cost is my problem and I liked the idea of not having to change lenses all the time. I,m not to keen on carting around different lenes all the time. The non slr type cameras with a good telephoto lens appeal to me. The image quality in low light is a mayor concern tho!
Rob:

It depends on what you mean by "low light". If you mean existing light shooting indoors without a flash (of non-stationary subjects), you'll probably want to go with a DSLR. The non-DSLR models tend to have relatively high noise levels as you increase ISO speeds (and have limits on the highest ISO speed that can be used).

For non-existing light shooting, you can get a single lens with approximately the samefocal range ofcameras like the A1 or A2; so that you're not swapping lenses as much (one of your concerns).

If it were me (and everyone has different needs for image quality, lens brightness, etc.), I'd buy something like the Sigma 18-125mm f/3.5-5.6 DC lens with one of theentry level DSLR models (buying the body only, versus the camera kits).

This lens is available in popular mounts (for example: Canon, Nikon, Pentax). It's designed specifically for Digital Cameras with a "crop factor". So, it can't be used on 35mm film models. This keeps the lens size and weight down for DSLR models, since they don't need an image circle as large as 35mm film.

On one of the entry level Nikon models (like the Nikon D70 with it's 1.5x crop factor) or the recently announced Pentax *ist DS, this would give you a 35mm equivalent focal range of approximately 27-187mm. On the Canon models (like the Digital Rebel, EOS-10D, or EOS-20D, with their1.6x crop factor), this would give you a 35mm equivalent focal range of approximatley 29-200mm.

My reasoning would be that this one lens would cover just about any focal length I'd personally need. It's not the brightest lens(but neither are the kit lenses offered by Canon or Nikon). You'd need to decide if the quality was good enough for your needs. For my limited needs, it would be perfectly acceptable.

You would want a brighter lens (or lenses) for existing light use (or for indoor sports, night sports, etc).

For casual use in existing light indoors, you can buy a 50mm f/1.8 lens for either Canon or Nikon models for under $100.00 from most vendors. This would be equivalent to 75mm on a Nikon D70; or 80mm on a Digital Rebel.

Of course, there is always Flash, if you want to keep the size, weight and cost down by going with one of the all-in-one models like the DiMAGE A1, and conditions require more light than the camera will be capable of shooting at without objectionable noise levels and/or motion blur (provided you will be able to use the flash, and stay within the rated flash range of any flash you buy for the camera you choose).

I'd give more detail on what types of low light shooting you need to do. I'm sure forum members could offer some suggestions.


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Old Sep 21, 2004, 1:24 PM   #8
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RobT wrote:
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Thanks

Cost is my problem and I liked the idea of not having to change lenses all the time. I,m not to keen on carting around different lenes all the time. The non slr type cameras with a good telephoto lens appeal to me. The image quality in low light is a mayor concern tho!
... I kind of agree with you here! I have a 10D already and seriously looking at the A2, for the cost of just 1 Sigma superwide or macro lens, for its convenience and portability (until this 20D release which kind of change my priority a little bit! :-):-):-))
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Old Sep 23, 2004, 7:37 AM   #9
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Thanks for the help but I still can not find any cameras with a fixed lens that have the Auto focus assist lamps on them. I would like to have a look at some before buying a new camera.:roll:
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Old Sep 23, 2004, 8:23 AM   #10
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How about most Canon's (which have the AF assist)?

... the A1/A2 works quite well without the AF assist though than similar cameras with it, have you actually tried it?
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