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Old Oct 22, 2006, 5:47 PM   #11
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For low light you need:
- camera with not noisy high ISOs
- fast lense
- tripod or some kind of image stabilisation.

Olympus isn't camera for low light situations. It is noisy at high sensitivity.

So, you have to go for Canon, Nikon, Pentax or Sony.

Pentax and Sony have advantage vs Nikon and Canon because they have in-body image stabilisation. You'll be able to use some fast 50mm prime with image stabilisation. Nikon and Canon provide IS through their lenses however they are very expensive and there are no "stabilised" fast normal-short telephoto primes as I know.

So, in your place I would narrow my choice to Pentax K100D and Sony a100. K100D as a 6Mpix camera while Sony a100 is 10Mpix. Unfortunately those 10Mpix came at price of noise in high ISOs. K100D has noticeably less noise in high ISOs.

Therefore in your place I would get Pentax K100D and 50mm f1,4 or 135mm f2,8 if you need more reach. Notice however, that you'll need to buy 135mm telephoto lense used, it's no longer in production.

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Old Oct 22, 2006, 7:40 PM   #12
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Old Oct 22, 2006, 7:41 PM   #13
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These where shot with a Canon S3 IS, from 35 to 40 feet from the stage. No flash, hand-held. Focal lenghts are 150 to 400 (35 mm equiv). Shutter speeds are 1/13th to 1/60th. They are not perfect but not bad for a $400 rig. I like the S3 for theater/dance because it's completely silent while zooming, focusing and shooting. It shoots excellent video and you can take still shots while recording video.
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Old Oct 22, 2006, 10:56 PM   #14
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Quote:
So, in your place I would narrow my choice to Pentax K100D and Sony a100. K100D as a 6Mpix camera while Sony a100 is 10Mpix. Unfortunately those 10Mpix came at price of noise in high ISOs. K100D has noticeably less noise in high ISOs.
Yup, the A100 is actually even a bit worse than the E500 at high ISOs (to my eyes anyway). Though maybe the fact that it has IS would make it still a bit of an improvement, the K100D is better.

Really, I think the E500 ought to be able to handle it fine with the right lens, but most of the right lenses for this purpose on a tight budget don't seem to be available yet. There are some really nice lenses available, but not much in inexpensive primes, or f2.8 standard zooms.

There is a Sigma 18-50 f2.8 which is supposed to be available soon, but I don't see it anywhere yet. The Zukio 50mm f2 is a great lens, and the Sigma 30mm f1.4 and 105mm f2.8 are very nice (and available), but those are about $400+ each. There's a few other interesting ones announced but not yet available. But it's not like some of the other brands where there's a cheap 50mm f1.8 for under $100.

For someone starting out, I think they might be willing to spend $400 on a good bright standard zoom as their main lens. But buying primes at $400 a pop can be a bit intimidating if you're not really sure what you need yet.

In addition, it appears that this is the main purpose of this camera. So even if you can do it well enough with the Olympus, you might as well try and get the camera that does it best for that price.

In Pentax, Canon, or Nikon, you could get one of the bright zooms mentioned, or this Tamron 17-50 f2.8 (not mentioned yet) for around $400, and then add one inexpensive prime that's even brighter, and have your bases mostly covered. It seems as a long telephoto isn't really needed here (community theatre where you can get fairly close).

http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showp...uct/355/cat/23


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Old Oct 22, 2006, 11:27 PM   #15
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Bill:
Nice job. The E500 is at least a stop better than that camera in high ISO performance. But it looks like you're not really needing higher ISO to get those shots. The lens on that camera is f3.5 at full zoom (432mm equivalent). That's twice as bright as the Olympus kit lens is at 35mm (70mm equivalent). So you're already gaining back the high ISO difference in the lens alone. And that's before accounting for the advantage of having IS.

Still, I think the Olympus with the right lens should do as well (maybe even stopping a bit more motion with a faster shutter). Though your shots also demonstrate that a bit of motion blur can also be used to good effect.

But this is why I'd like to see a sample. Your stage show may be better lit than a community theatre production. Or maybe we're dealing with camera settings that could be improved, or blur from a shaky hand, or even a defective camera or lens. It's always easier to rule out the simple stuff first.

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Old Oct 23, 2006, 1:49 AM   #16
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I expect to get to a show this Thursday or Friday and will post after that.

It seems that I'll need to spend at least another $400+ regardless. I can stay with the E500 and get a better lens or go with another brand. If I buy the digital rebel xti with the kit lens, addthe EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III and EF 50mm f/1.8 II lenses I'll be out of pocket about the same amount spent for the E500 and a $450 lens. I like the feel of the E500, it fits my hand better than the canon,but maybe I'd get used to it.

Anyway, I'll post a couple of pictures after the show.

Thanks again for everyone's help.
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Old Oct 23, 2006, 5:42 AM   #17
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Thanks JimC, for that very informative post of yours...Now, I'm also looking at F/2.8 zooms that starts longer & also ends longer. (Something which I had completely ignored last time)

BTW, I alsoagree that the Nikon D50 and the Nikon D70s are very good low light performing dSLR cameras. (They would be my 1st choice for indoor concert shots)
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