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Old Dec 2, 2006, 8:59 PM   #1
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hey all. i need a solid unit that has a good zoom on it and wont break the bank. i am not a proffesional photgrapher but am a journalist that needs a flexible camera. good for people, places, and closeups. i use the fz5 and it takes nice shots but have noticed 2 things that bother me. first low light shots are not good at all. second, if i am taking a shot and the object moves a bit i lose clarity. i read that something called a cmos sensor helps with that. is that true? if not what camera can offer a feature to compensate for this. i have looked at the panny fz50, olympus evolt 500, and canon rebel xt. its a big jump in price and i am not even sure they have what i need, so i am hoping uou can help. thanks
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Old Dec 2, 2006, 9:21 PM   #2
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bj,

Low light and the Panny megazooms don't seem to go well together. Short of going to a DSLR, which will be pretty expensive when it comes time to start buying additional lenses for it, and if low light performance is really important to you, take a look at the new Fuji S6000. It has a 10.7x zoom, and ISO 3200 capability. It also has a manual zoom and focus ring, which are really nice features.

the Hun

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Old Dec 2, 2006, 9:49 PM   #3
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Rinnie is very correct!

(1) The Panasonic FZ series cameras does not do well in low light level shooting at all.

(2) When shooting low light level photos I have had a lot of success when usingthe new Fuji S-6000fd camera in the Program Mode, NOT the Auto Mode and manually setting the ISO

Ihave attached a sample photo from the S-6000fd. It was taken without flash in a store where the only available light was coming from overhead flourescent lighting. So I had to do three things (1) make sure the flash was in the "off" position. (2) set the WB (White Balance) to flourescent. (3) set the ISO to 1600 to compensate for the very low light level.

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Old Dec 4, 2006, 9:33 AM   #4
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what about the issue of the cmos sensor. am i correct in saying that it helps with a subject that moves as the shutter is pressed. i know the rebel xt and xti have it but are there any cheaper cameras that offer it. what about the sony h3 or h5. i know the panny's don't and not sure about the olyympus ones.
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Old Dec 4, 2006, 9:49 AM   #5
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When you're talking about 'losing clarity' with a subject moving it is most likely motion blur - caused by not having a fast enough shutter speed.

If someone moves an arm for instance (moving it up to shake hands) you need about 1/250 shuttter speed to 'freeze' that action. Quicker movements require quicker shutter speeds. A digicam in auto mode will likely provide much slower shutter speeds than that.

Now, if your subject is REALLY moving (say running) and you want to take a series of shots, some cameras have what's called predictive servo focusing: Servo meaning it tracks a moving subject and re-focuses, predictive meaning it won't just follow the subject but predict where the subject will be so it can focus faster. If you're not trying to take bursted shots this isn't likely to be the problem.

What the CMOS sensor DID buy you until the last couple of months is less noise at higher ISOs - but as noted, that was with the DSLRs. Canon's digicams oddly enough tend to perform somewhat poorly at high ISOs (at least in the 2005 and previous models - not sure about the newest ones released this fall).
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Old Dec 4, 2006, 10:58 AM   #6
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Thank you, John-

That was an excellent explanation. OK bj, You now know more about the differences between CMOS imagers and digicam imagers which are called CCD's. Fuji has worked almost a decade to develop CCD's that have light chacteristics that make them similiar, in action, tothe CMOS imagers used in DSLR cameras. That is what allows the Fuji S-6000, that I used to record the optical shop image, in my last sample to use an ISO setting of 1600,that showed little or no noise in the photo.The Panasonic FZ series cameras do no use that type of advanced CCD imager.

Notice also, that because I looked at the evf and read that the camera was going to us a low shutter speed (below 1/50th of a second, because of the very low light level in the room), I had to wait until the subjects were almost motionless, and I had to be careful to keep the camera rock steady so I could capture the scene in the photo.

Yes, it would have been easier with the FZ5 because the FZ5 has IS (Image Stabilization). But that IS just helps to stabilize the camera, it does not stop any motion in your photo scene. However, the photo when taken with the FZ5 would have much less quality to it, because the CCD used in the FZ5allows a lot of noise to become visible in the photo.

So if you want a camera that can take good photos in low light level shooting conditions without showing much visible noise in the photo,then I recommend that you look at cameras that uses this advanced CCD, namely, the Fuji F-20, F-30, and the S-6000.The S-6000 is the only ultra zoom camera using this advanced CCD.

MT/Sarah
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Old Dec 4, 2006, 11:31 AM   #7
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here's an example of motion blur. This pictur was taken at ISO 800, with a shutter speed of 1/50. I chose that speed on purpose to get the blur of the hand:



But keep in mind - what a 'good' solution for 'low light shooting' is depends entirely upon what your subject matter is. If your subject is completely stationary, a solution MAY be a tripod:



Or, it may be a camera with external flash:



Neither of which requires high ISO performance or particularly fast shutter speeds.

But, if you don't want to or can't use flash and don't or can't use long exposures on a tripod, then high ISO is needed.

If your subject is not moving, the combination of high ISO and anti-shake is a good solution.

But, if your subject is moving, then shutter speeds become important. IS is less helpful, and having simply good high ISO perforamance may NOT be enough to accomplish your goals.

proper exposure has 3 controlling factors: ISO, aperture and shutter speed.

We've talked about needing higher shutter speeds if your subject is moving. And it's been discussed that higher ISO allows you to get higher shutter speeds (e.g. if a properly exposed shot at ISO 100 is 1/15 then ISO 200 allows you to use 1/30, ISO 400 allows 1/60, ISO 800 allows 1/125 and ISO 1600 allows 1/250).

But, aperture also plays an equal part to ISO performance. The same rules as above apply. Assuming ISO 800 and a shutter of 1/15 of a second at an aperture value of 5.6, increasing the aperture to 4.0 allows a 1/30 shutter speed, 2.8 allows 1/60, 2.0 1/125 and 1.4 allows 1/250.

So, if your subject moves AND you don't want to or can't use flash to freeze the movement you may need a faster lens than a digicam can provide.

This shot was at 1/400 - you can still see some blur in the hand motion. But it required ISO 1600 and a lens capable of 2.0 aperture:



Now, you may not be shooting sports, but if your intent is to capture fast moving kids playing with toys, the requirements are not so different. For this type of shot, a tripd gains you nothing, flash is not allowed and IS gains you nothing because you're after fast shutter speeds anyway. And a digicam may not provide a lens with a wide enough aperture, even at higher ISO to get the shutter speeds you need.

So, make sure you are getting the right tool for the job - there are all kinds of different low light shooting situations - each can be solved by different tools.
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Old Dec 4, 2006, 12:25 PM   #8
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MT/Sarah

Looking at the exif on your optical shop image, it was using ISO 800and 34th sec, if you had ofbeen usingISO 1600 the speed would be double around to above 60th sec.

JohnG

Great explanation with photo's, thank you.

Regards Wirraway

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Old Dec 4, 2006, 2:23 PM   #9
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Wirraway-

Thanks for the ISO data. In that shop I had been shooting with various ISO settings ranging from 800 to 3200 with the Fuji S-6000.

MT/Sarah
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Old Dec 4, 2006, 7:05 PM   #10
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wow...i am just a journalist masquerading as a photographer. you guys are artists with this stuff. so from the little i have grasped the fuji s6000 has a good anti motion sensor and low light capability. i dont think i will ever be as versed to warrant a $1000 camera, i just would like a reliable and versatile one around 500 more or less... if the fuji combines reliability, functions, zoom, and versatility for a more advanced amatuer then i guess thats the winner. any other options are certainly welcomed.
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