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Old Nov 29, 2006, 9:52 AM   #1
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Hi I need some help finding a digital camera, what I need is a camera that is quite easy to use with very good picture quality that is able to take good pictures in low light conditions like concerts and school plays. The cameras I have been looking at are Canon EOS 400D and Olympus E-500 can you suggest which of these will be best for my needs or if you can suggest another camera that will be better for my needs I have between £350 to £500 to spend on the camera.


Any information you can give me on this matter would be very much appreciated


Thanks


John
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Old Nov 29, 2006, 10:07 AM   #2
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Both are nice cameras and should be able to take low light pictures. You'll need a fast lens as well (f1.4 or f1.7 will work great). Between these two cameras, I'd choose the Canon because of the (physically) larger sensor. Larger sensors equal more area for light to fall on, meaning less amplification and less noise.

What kind of low light shots are you planning?

Russ
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Old Nov 29, 2006, 4:54 PM   #3
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Also check out the Pentax k100d. It has built in stabilization which allows you to use slower shutter speeds without blur from camera shake. Also, since it's compatible with every single Pentax lens ever made, you could probably get some good deals on used lenses.
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Old Nov 30, 2006, 3:12 AM   #4
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Hi thanks for the advice, the Canon one was the one I was more leaning toward but I will also have a look at that Pentax one to. By low light mainly it will be like school plays where the only source of light is coming from the stage and night shots where there is very little light at all.


Once again thanks for the advice it is very much appreciated


John
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Old Nov 30, 2006, 5:10 AM   #5
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John,

Of those 2 cameras the Canon will better fit your needs. The Olympus has fairly poor high ISO capabilities compared to other cameras on the market.

But, as mentioned, the other part of the equation is the lens. Because you're talking about people moving on stage, getting a fast shutter speed is important. The ability to hand-hold at 1/60 of a second is not relavant. You need fast shutter speeds and IS doesn't do a thing to help you there. By all means check out the Pentax, it's a good camera. But don't misunderstand and think IS will replace a 'fast' lens for your needs - it won't.

You will need a lens with at least 2.8 aperture, and you MAY need one with an even faster aperture. The problem there is - if you need a faster lens than 2.8 that means using a prime lens. Which means you have to pick a focal length to use. If you're using a Canon camera that means one of the following:

200mm 1.8 ($3500 if you can find one) - good for about 80-90 feet.

135mm 2.0 ($900) - good for about 55 feet.

100mm 2.0 ($400) - good for about 40-45 feet

85mm 1.8 ($380) - good for about 35 feet

50mm 1.8 ($80) - good for about 20 feet

Beyond those ranges, you'll start to get very imprecise focusing leading to 'soft' subjects. So, my point here is: if you really want to get good shots you not only need the right equipment but you as the photographer need to do your part by getting close to the action. If all you can afford is he 50mm 1.8 lens then you need to make sure you're in the first couple of rows.

Whereas if your theater is bright enough to use a 2.8 lens you can get a 70-200 2.8 lens and have a lot more flexibility (of course you'll spend $800 for a sigma 70-200 2.8 or $1100 for a Canon 70-200 2.8).

I just wanted to point out that the camera is only 1/3 of the equation. The lens is the other 1/3 and your positioning is the final 1/3. All 3 are necessary if you want sharp images of people moving on a stage.


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Old Nov 30, 2006, 7:32 AM   #6
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John-

The Canon 400D is the better choice quite clearly, due to the Olympus E-500's lesser performance at high ISO settings above ISO 400. However, that is not the only possible selection.

I use a Sony H-5 very sucessfully to do a lot of stage and theater photography. Here is a sample photo taken: at ISO 400/handheld/with no flash/at a distance of 60 feet. John's rule of thirds is very important as well. Look for times when the action has peaked, or there is a "pose" moment, and faster shutter speed becomes a lesser factor.

MT/Sarah
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Old Nov 30, 2006, 9:13 AM   #7
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great example of staying within the capabilities of the equipment - you can get great shots in many environments without the absolute top notch equipment - as long as you understand your equipment and work within it's limitations.
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Old Nov 30, 2006, 8:30 PM   #8
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Thank you, JohnG-

That is exactly how I feel. We should each take every single piece of equipment and strive to get the very most from it, while knowing its inherent limitations.

MT/Sarah
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Old Dec 1, 2006, 9:58 AM   #9
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Hi thanks for all the advice everyone you have all been extremely helpful, I think I will probably go with the Canon Eos 400D.

Once again thanks for the advice it is very much appreciated.

John
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