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Old Jan 21, 2007, 9:56 AM   #1
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I currently own a Canon Powershot A95. It meets my needs but I've noticed it has some difficulty very specifically in the sort of shots I typically take. 95% of the pictures I take are of my son, typically in either indoor or low light conditions. While this camera does pretty well with a flash indoors, it tends to wash out the subject. Also, shots without a flash are typically very blurry. I also enjoy taking night shots on trips to Disney World etc. and the flash outdoors makes it look like the shot was taken in daylight or obviously washes out the decorative lights.

I trust this site. I've used it for nearly every camera I've bought. In looking in "The BEST Digicams" section it seems there are two cameras that perform well without a flash and at night and those are the Canon S3 IS and the Sony H5. I think I'm torn between the two of them right now.

My husband gets a pretty great discount at Best Buy because he's an employee so I'm probably lmited to what Best Buy carries. That said, I'm not only torn between the aforementioned cameras but I'm constantly second guessing myself. As a result I wanted to post here to see if anyone could tell me a better camera (in the $300-$400 range) that would meet my needs.

To summarize here's what I need:
- A camera that can take great shots at night or without a flash (without blurr).
- A camera that can take great shots with a flash without washing out the subject.
- A camera that can pretty much take the above shots with little "alterations" to the settings outside of auto (or chosing a "night shot" from the dial etc.).
- A camera that does great in outdoor daylight conditions.
- Preferably a camera I can buy at Best Buy :-)

My plan is to possibly take a trip out to Best Buy today to make this purchase so I'll be waiting for some awesome responses! :G
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Old Jan 21, 2007, 10:27 AM   #2
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BamaJenn,

Over here in Florida, the Best Buy Sunday flyer has the Canon XT on sale for $550. That's not a whole lot more than your budget, especially if you can get your husband's discount on top of it. I am doing the same frustrating search as you and am not an expert on any cameras. But if you don't need a lot of zoom and macro right off the bat, it might be a better choice for the other stuff you want.

Camalot
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Old Jan 21, 2007, 10:45 AM   #3
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The XT does look like a good camera but a few of the sites I saw reviewing it mentioned that it doesn't have image stabalization. That could be a draw back for me since my issue is not really having the most steady hand in non-flash situations. Although looking at some of the samples out there... seems like that didn't matter much.

That said, it looks like the XT may be almost too much for me. I'm not sure. I really need something that can point and click as well as it can go more professional. Also the cost is a consideration. My husband rarely gets much of a discount that will be better than a sales price. Still... it's a consideration.

Can anyone tell me though of the two I listed above for consideration how they compare?
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Old Jan 21, 2007, 12:16 PM   #4
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What ISO are you using? Can you dial the intensity of the flash?
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Old Jan 21, 2007, 12:36 PM   #5
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I do a lot of workshops, and one of them is devoted to ultrazoom digital cameras. Therefore, I own more than a few of the ultrazooms. IS is a very valuable feature, especially in an ultrazoom.

Can you tell us a bit more about your desire to shoot in existing light without flash. Here is a Sony H-5 sample photo. It was taken using stage lighting only and ISO 400.



Here is another sample using existing light and no flash with a Panasonic FZ-7 at ISO 200.

MT/Sarah


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Old Jan 21, 2007, 3:15 PM   #6
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Well, as is characteristic of me in all facets of life, I went ahead and continued my research today and ended up buying the Canon S3 IS. I didn't like the feel of the Sony H5 when I picked it up and much I was honestly going to consider the Canon XT, it was just much too big for what I'm looking for.

So far it seems like a good camera. The flash doesn't wash out the subjects I shoot and shots without anything but available light seem a little better than they were with the A95. Not so much though that I'm blown away. The more I read the more I realize that I truly need to start to learn how to use the camera in something other than "auto" or a preset as I will probably get a lot more out of it that way.

So, let the learning begin. Maybe I'll pick up a "For Dummies" book? LOL!
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Old Jan 21, 2007, 3:44 PM   #7
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BamaJenn-

The "dummies" book is not very good at all. Why not check out the courses being offered by your local Community College. Sometimes the offerings are just what you are looking for to help the learning curve.

MT/Sarah
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Old Jan 21, 2007, 5:46 PM   #8
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Good idea... if I had the time! Unfortunately between a full time career and a new baby at home, time is at a premium. I suppose I can do some research online to find what I need.

Anyone out there who can tell me if I made a good purchase (i.e. between the Sony H5 and the Canon S3)?
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Old Jan 22, 2007, 3:55 PM   #9
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The main point of my post is to suggest that if you exchange the S3 for the H5, you may still not be completely satisfied.

You've probably made a good purchase with the S3 but need to experiment with the manual settings, particulary ISO, in order to get a faster shutter speed for low light conditions. Higher ISO allow faster shutter speeds andreduce the chance of blur. I recently bought an H5 (mainly for the zoom for birds), but like you, I prefer not to use flash, so low light shots had to be better than our compact digital camera. They are better but I could not say that the improvement is huge.

I think that the differences between the S3 and H5 are minimal - if you are wanting a signicant improvement in low light, you may need to re-consider a DSLR such as the XT. The experts (and I'm not one!), always recommend DSLRs for low light shots on kids in motion since DSLRs with their large sensors give much better results at high ISOs (ISO 1600 compared to ISO 400 on your S3 or my H5). DSLRs also focus more quickly.

Failing that approach, the Fuji compact (F30), or Superzoom (F6500) are recommended by most users for use up to IS1600. But they don't have IS! There are always too many choices.
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Old Jan 22, 2007, 6:00 PM   #10
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1eyedeer-

My Sony H-5 has higher ISO setting available than just ISO 400. I guess you got a different version? Is that possible?

MT/Sarah
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