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Old Jan 5, 2007, 11:05 AM   #11
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slackermt wrote:
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Another question - does an external flash use the camera's battery power? If so, should I invest in a battery pack to mount onto the bottom of the camera? I would think that if it does use the camera's battery that it would drain it a lot faster.
The flash uses it's own battery source. Some flashes have the ability to use an external battery pack - usually it's wedding/event/sports photographers that go this route - where you are taking 500 flash pictures and often in burst mode - so you need the extra life and quicker recharge time a battery pack provides. For home use, a good set of NiMh rechargables (2500mah or better) is all you need for your external flash.
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Old Jan 5, 2007, 11:25 AM   #12
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Does Nikon make a better quality camera than Canon for shooting with less noise in low light situations with the kit lens? I know there probably isn't a clear answer there and it may spark some debate, but I'd like some of your thoughts on that.
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Old Jan 5, 2007, 12:47 PM   #13
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slackermt wrote:
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Does Nikon make a better quality camera than Canon for shooting with less noise in low light situations with the kit lens? I know there probably isn't a clear answer there and it may spark some debate, but I'd like some of your thoughts on that.
No. Nikon does not make a non-pro camera with better high ISO performance. In the Nikon line, D80 and D50 have the best high ISO performance, followed by the D70 and D200 which have lesser performance.

The Canon cameras used to be much better, but now the difference between the D80/D50 and the Canon lineup is pretty small.

Remember though - with a kit lens - don't plan on taking man available light shots - shutter speeds will be too low.

But, let me add something else: noise is not dependent upon the lens - you don't get more noise with one lens over another. It's dependent upon ISO value, camera sensor, camera's processing / noise reduction and proper exposure.

For any given camera, getting the exposure correct in-camera is your best way to reduce noise. And by 'correct' I mean that you get the exposure the way you want to see it and don't have to adjust the brightness/levels etc in post processing. If you like bright photos, a given camera may expose a photo in low light at up to a stop below what YOU might like - so you either adjust in post processing and bring out a ton of noise or you adjust the exposure (usually meaning a slower shutter speed since you'll already have ISO cranked up and be shooting at widest aperture) in camera. So that's yet another reason to use fast (f2.8 or better) lenses when shooting at high ISO.

I shoot a lot of sports - night time football, soccer, indoor basketball, volleyball - so I spend a lot of time shooting at ISO 1600 and 3200. And, having a 5 month old I do quite a bit of in-home shooting. So, please listen when I say: Don't plan on buying a camera with kit lens w/o external flash and plan on doing available light shooting in your house - it isn't going to work. It's understandable if you can't afford a better lens or flash right off the bat - but it's important you set expectations before spending $800 on a camera. Until you can get a faster lens, plan on using the camera's built-in flash for your shots most of the time. When you can buy an external flash, you'll get much better flash pics. When you can buy a good fast prime you'll get great available light shots (whether moving or stationary depends on the available light in your house).
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