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Old Oct 23, 2007, 3:19 PM   #1
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Hello All

I'm looking for advice onpoint and shoot cameras. I'm looking for one with a faster lens than the Canon A620 that I use now. If the Canon A620 is pretty much state of the art for a fast lens, then just let me know and I will end my search right here.

What is driving this question is thatwith the A620 set to shutter priority of 1/125 second, I find that I still need a lot of light to use that shutter speed. I'd like to find a camera that gives me a little more exposure latitude, so that I can maintain the 1/125 shutter speed in early/late morning and late afternoon/early evening shooting conditions. I would be willing to forgo a zoom lens if that is necessary.

Any suggestions or advice you may have would be appreciated.






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Old Oct 23, 2007, 3:24 PM   #2
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Unfortunately, I don't think they make them anymore (point and shoot digital cameras with fast lenses).

Lenses starting out at f/1.8 to f/2 used to be relatively common. But, unfortunately, the current crop of digital cameras tends to have lenses with a widest available aperture of around f/2.8 on their wide end.

So, I'd probably shop around for an entry level dSLR model with a bright prime (fixed focal length versus zoom) on it if you want something for low light use. That way, you could get a brighter lens and a higher usable ISO speed.

In a smaller point and shoot model, the Fuji F10/F11/F20/F30FD models do much better than most since they have higher usable ISO speeds. But, their lens starts out at f/2.8 and loses light from there as you zoom in.


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Old Oct 23, 2007, 4:06 PM   #3
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While there are some P&S digicams with lenses whose maximum aperture is f/2.7, and even a few with f/2.6 lenses, the majority only do as well as f/2.8.

So if that's what you want, as JimC says, you might start looking at dSLRs.

As an alternative to fast primes, you might look at constant aperture zooms. Most inexpensive zoom lenses for dSLRs, as well as the zoom lenses in digicams, may have apertures like f/2.8at their shortest focal lengths, but the aperture gets smaller as the focal length gets longer. But there are some zoom lenses that have constant apertures throughout their zoom range. They may have a maximum aperture of f/2.8 at their shortest focal length, which would make them no better than the less expensive lenses, but as the focal length gets longer, the aperture stays constant, which means they are a lot brighter at those focal lengths.
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Old Oct 24, 2007, 12:42 AM   #4
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Without going the dSLR route, you might want to consider one with optical or sensor (NOT digital) stabilization. Usually they're claimed to allow you to shoot at shutter speed 2-3 stops slower. So in your case you could shoot at 1/30 sec when you normally shot at 1/125 sec. Of course this doesn't help if your subject needs to be frozen with a fast shutter.
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Old Oct 25, 2007, 1:42 PM   #5
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I use a Sigma 30mm EX F 1.4 lens on my Pentax K-100D, my Canon XT, and my NikonD-40 and D-50 and have had great results. I like the lens a lot and sometimes it can be rather easily found over on E-bay. I paid $309 for my most expensive one and less for the other two lenses.

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Old Nov 1, 2007, 4:08 PM   #6
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I had a similar question, since I was considering evenyually getting a more portable second camera (though I guess it would technically be a third, since I still have a semi-busted Olympus C740). I thought back to a camera I had seen someone at school with once. It was a little bit old, but every once in a while, someone makes an extraordinary camera that is undermarketed and doesn't sell, so it's phased out. I'm talking about the Olympus C3040, which has an f/1.8 lens which I believe goes to f/2.6 at full zoom. This is a stop and a half faster than anything else I've seen (i.e. than the standard f/2.8 ) As for quality, since I've never used one, I can't speak for that, but the Olympus I used performed well (though you should be advised that this model is only 3 or so megapixels, like mine was). The panorama software included by Olympus works well, as long as you follow the instructions, and the movie mode was crap. The manual controls were generally quite good, if you like to use full control.

Review:
http://www.steves-digicams.com/2001_reviews/c3040.html
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Old Nov 1, 2007, 10:34 PM   #7
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I'm very grateful for the appearance of this message, zaphodchak. It's reminded me to look back at myold digicams. My3Mpix Olympus C3020Z, similar to the C3040, had an f/2.8 lens, and I sold it, good as it was.The lens was excellent, and crystal clear.

My next digicam, (the last but one), used heavily from Jun03 to Sep05, wasa 5Mpix Casio QV-5700, and that has an f/2.0-2.5 3x zoom lens. I still use it occasionally for its external flash sync socket and its up-to-5-shot exposure bracketing, but I'd completely forgotten its extra stop at wide aperture over its successors (Casio EX-Z750, Kodak Z712is).

It's a good thing I looked atthe 5700 again just now, to remind myself, because its ready-for-action AA batteries had got rather low, even though they're 'Hybrio' cells.They're being topped up right now. Thanks!Alkaline cells didn't last very well for that purpose even though they were just running the clock & other settings.
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Old Nov 2, 2007, 7:31 AM   #8
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It seems that the trend among digicam manufacturers is to forgo fast lenses in favor of higher ISO settings, in the hope that the result will be the same. Of course, any increase in ISO results in a proportional increase in noise, especially with the smaller image sensors used in P&S digicams.

I think the digicam manufacturers have put the cart before the horse, in that, they've dropped the fast lenses before they've cleaned up the high ISO noise problem.
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Old Nov 2, 2007, 10:53 AM   #9
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Yes, it's very unfortunate, but I can see where the big savings in manufacturing come from smaller (slower) lenses, and more dense pixel sensors. Maybe if there's enough education among the mass digital camera buyer market (more pixels is not always better), then the manufacturers will start catering to image quality and low-light performance (high ISO without noise)
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Old Nov 2, 2007, 3:40 PM   #10
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Also Canon's earlier Powershot G series (up through G6, which was 7 megapixels) all had a maximum aperture of f/2.0 at wide angle. A G6 may well offer better image quality than the Olympus, though it may be more expensive. I think later G series Powershots moved to f/2.8 but added Image Stabilization which should more than make up for the half-stop difference.
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