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Old Jun 3, 2005, 9:36 AM   #1
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Okay, i've search this forum for a while trying to find an answer to my question.

I currently have the sony f828, and love it. But i find myself mostly taking pictures in poorly lit areas, mostly at friend's house during a party. So i try my best, turn my aperature to f/2.0 set the shutter speed to something like 1/2 a second, enough to make the image brighter and hopefully not too long to make people look too blurry. Didn't work too well, except for when they sat really really still.

So, i'm planning on taking the 2 camera approach, digital camera and a digital slr.

My question is this:
How well does a digital slr hold up at night, compared to a digital camera (and compared to a sony f828 if possible)? Would it hold up in my situation? Low lighting and most likely gonna be snapshots of people doing embarrasing stuff.

I feel like i'm wasting money, but i love photography, mostly of my life, i have 10 gigs stored up from my first digital camera, 6 cameras ago.
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Old Jun 3, 2005, 10:08 AM   #2
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ustink007 wrote:
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I currently have the sony f828, and love it. But i find myself mostly taking pictures in poorly lit areas, mostly at friend's house during a party. So i try my best, turn my aperature to f/2.0 set the shutter speed to something like 1/2 a second, enough to make the image brighter and hopefully not too long to make people look too blurry. Didn't work too well, except for when they sat really really still.
What ISO speed were you shooting at?
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Old Jun 3, 2005, 1:55 PM   #3
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hm.... i complete forgot to play with that. I had it set to auto....
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Old Jun 3, 2005, 2:22 PM   #4
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Well, I think that the DSC-F828 defaults to around ISO 160 max using Auto ISO.

But, it isless sensitive than it's actually rated. It's ISO 160 is actually around ISO 125.

Each time you double the ISO speed, you can use shutter speeds twice as fast. Most DSLR models have an available ISO 1600 (and most non-DSLR models max out at ISO 400). DSLR models with have much lower noise for any given ISO speed, too.

But, even a DSLR can't perform miracles. You'll need some light to work with to prevent motion blur with moving subjects.

If you were getting 1/2 second shutter speeds using the DSC-F828 with Auto ISO at f/2.0, you should be able to get shutter speeds up to around 1/15 second or so at ISO 800, or around 1/30 second or so at ISO 1600 in the same lighting, using a lens with the same aperture on a DSLR. This is still not fast enough to stop motion blur in many conditions (unless your subjects are relatively still).

Most household lighting is actuallybrighter, and should allow faster shutter speeds than this.

Here is an online exposure calculator you may find handy:

http://www.robert-barrett.com/photo/...alculator.html

BTW, ISO 1600 is likely to be less noisy with popular DSLR models compared to ISO 400 on the DSC-F828. But, you may still not like the results if you need ISO speeds this high.

You could go with an even brighter prime with a DSLR.But, Depth of Field is much shallower with a DSLR model at any given 35mm equivalent focal length, focus distance and aperture. So, this can present a problem in someconditions (trying to get closer and more distant subjects in a room in focus). Of course, being able to get a shallower Depth of Field (to help your subjects stand out from distracting backgrounds) can also be an advantage with a DSLR.

Have you considered simply using a flash with your DSC-F828? That way, you could use faster shutter speeds and/or smaller apertures and let the flash freeze the movement (since the subject is not exposed well enough except during the short flash duration with most settings/conditions).

Motion Blur is probably the most common problem reported from new Digital Camera owners (and owners often mistake motion blur for focus problems), and the cause is usually because they are trying to take photos of moving subjects indoors without a flash.

The solution is simply using a flash to freeze the action, or using the highest ISO speeds possible to try and minimize motion blur. If you opt for the higher ISO speeds, then there are some good tools to reduce the appearance of noise. Some popular tools:

Neat Image

Noiseware

Noise Ninja

Short answer:

If you need to take existing light photos of non-staitionary subjects without a flash, then a DSLR with a bright lens (not a kit lens) is going to be a MUCH better choice, since they can shoot at much higher ISO speeds (with lower noise).

But, if you can use a flash, then you may find your existing camera to be perfectly adequate.

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Old Jun 3, 2005, 2:29 PM   #5
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jim is right...a dSLR won't work miracles..but is definetely a step in the right direction from a compact digital..

you could get a 50mm f1.2, and at iso 800, get decent shutter speeds..
or, you could pick up a decent flash (one you can bounce) and bounce the flash off the ceiling...that gets rid of the ugly shadows, but allows fast shutters..
lol, won't be very sneaky with the flash though..
so that might be a problem, especially if you're shooting embarassing moments

Vito
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Old Jun 3, 2005, 2:38 PM   #6
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ah, thank you very much, very informative for me. Anyways, now i need to being researching on dslr. Was looking at the rebel xt or the olympus e300. Ill do some searches.
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Old Jun 3, 2005, 2:50 PM   #7
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ustink007 wrote:
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ah, thank you very much, very informative for me. Anyways, now i need to being researching on dslr. Was looking at the rebel xt or the olympus e300. Ill do some searches.
For existing light use without a flash, be aware that the E300 has higher noise levels compared to other entry level DSLR models (it's using a smaller Kodak sensor compared to the Sony sensors used in entry level Nikon, Pentax or Konica-Minolta DSLR models; or the Canon developed CMOS sensors Canon uses in it's DSLR models).

The E300's normal ISO range is 100-400 (using an ISO boost function to get to 800 or 1600, which will be quite noisy)

Olympus is coming out with some nice f/2.0 zoom lenses to help "even the playing field" (since zoom lenses for other brands start out at f/2.8 ). But, these lenses are going to be quite pricey, and you may want something even brighter considering the ISO speed limitations.

IMO, you're better off going with another brand using a bright prime if existing light photography is your primary concern. IOW, foryour desired use, I'd go with the XT,between the two DSLR models you're considering.
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Old Jun 3, 2005, 9:02 PM   #8
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ustink007 wrote:
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So, i'm planning on taking the 2 camera approach, digital camera and a digital slr.
007

Once you have the XT you'll never go back.... Ever.

I jumped from the 717 and i was very successful with it. I really loved it... I can't evenimagine going back to it.

dale
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