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Old Oct 26, 2007, 11:33 PM   #1
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What a great forum for people to join . I have spent over 2hrs reading posts and decided to join because of the great advice and friendly people.

I am looking for a camera to take pictures of my dogs and my kids in wrecking races where sometimes you cant get real close or its at night under the lights.

I thought I had decided on a Z812IS because for the cost it seemed to be a user friendly camera and would capture what I wanted.

I would like to spend around 300 to 500 but really want to buy one camera and not be disappointed and have to buy another one.

Sorry but I am the person you would write the book Camera for Dummies for.

I purchased a new computer and Photoshop so I can have great pictures and do stuff with them. I just need a camera now.

Any help and suggestions. Thanks for your time.


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Old Oct 27, 2007, 12:48 PM   #2
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flagirl-

I sincerely hate to rain on your parade, but point and shoot cameras such as the Z-812 will just not handle night photos under the lights. The bilt-in flash on every point & shoot cameras only goes out for about 12 feet. The sad truth is that kind of photo environment takes a DSLR camera with a very fast/bright lens and a good externalflash.

At what distance will your kids be at night under those lights?? If you could stay within 24 feet of your subjects, and if flash is allowed, you might get by with a Canon S-5 ($350) equipped with a Canon external flash like the 430EX ($230).

Keep in mind that you get the best photos with the Canon S-5 when you keep the ISO setting at 200 and below. The conditions you are writing about are really tough conditions for most all cameras.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Oct 27, 2007, 10:14 PM   #3
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flaggirl1956 wrote:
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I am looking for a camera to take pictures of my dogs and my kids in wrecking races where sometimes you cant get real close or its at night under the lights.
As Sarah Joyce has pointed out, these conditions will be hard for any still camera, and a big challenge for all but the most expert & well-equipped photographers. I have an alternative to suggest, if the material is for family archives rather than for publication.

Why not get a reasonable qualitycamcorder instead (or as well), possibly second-hand (like my last two)? Although I concentrate on still photography these days, our family archives are rich withcamcorder footage documenting the last decades as the family grew up. Because of the compensation of sound, live commentary, and action, video recordings provide a good record even when image quality leaves much to be desired. Nevertheless the low light capabilities of my camcorder tapes amazes me. Ordinary TV definition isn't that great anyway, and we all put up it with it for entertainment!

I would however, caution against using a still camera's video & sound facilities, and recommend a camcorder that uses good quality digital videotape rather than writing to disk or memory card.

And of course the long term future of all the video formats is in doubt, in contrast to likely long future of jpeg still images, which we can transfer to each new storage medium as it arrives.

Good luck
Alan T

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Old Oct 27, 2007, 10:38 PM   #4
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Thanks Sarah Joyce and Alan for the advice on the night photos of the kids car races. I will scrape that idea for a camera. Not that it was top on my list.

I looked at a Panasonic Lumix FZ8 today. The salesclerk said the warranty is if it is sent away to be fixed it will be back in 48hrs fixed or they give you a new one. They have only had to send one out and it was back in time . Anybody have one of these.

Cathy
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Old Oct 28, 2007, 7:41 AM   #5
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Cathy-

Here I go again, raining on your parade. I own a Panasonic FZ-7, FZ-8, and a FZ-18. They are good cameras but not especially adapted to your proposed useage. I have had to return the FZ-7 for repair and the turn around time was 14 days. So, I would not put much faith in your salesman friend.

I like Alan's camcorder idea a lot.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Oct 28, 2007, 8:38 AM   #6
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Cathy, the camcorder idea is a solid one, but if you're wanting quality still images under difficult lighting conditions, the options are very limited within the genre of point and shoot cameras. Based on the recommendations of many in this forum, I purchased a Fuji s6000fd last winter for shooting night time soccer.

It will not compete with a DSLR with a quality low-light sports lens, but it also doesn't hit the same price range (a quality sports lens alone is in the thousand dollar range). Overall, I have been pleased, and I haven't seen anything that will top it in low-light in the point and shoot category.

Just a couple of examples:





Neither of these is a great shot--there is a little motion blur and quite a bit of noise present in each. However, each was taken at ISO 3200 with the camera's zoom lens extended to its fullest, 300mm, which results in an f-stop of 4.9.

There have been new cameras introduced since then, but I haven't heard of any which has better low-light performance than the s6000. I know that is one of the knocks against the Canon S5IS.

Sarah has been one of the people who has really helped me get the most out of my camera, and advice from either she or Alan is golden. Sarah, do you know of anything that has been introduced recently that will hang with the s6000 in low light?

Paul

PS--I did move on to a DSLR (Pentax K10d), but I still love my s6000, even though my wife has now claimed it.
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Old Oct 29, 2007, 11:35 PM   #7
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Thanks Paul.

I am just looking for a good camera to take pictures now as my sister has a cam. that I can use after I was telling her about this forum.
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Old Oct 30, 2007, 8:54 AM   #8
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As long as you don't need a camera for low-light action, you can't go wrong with any of the cameras that Steve has determined are the "best".

http://www.steves-digicams.com/best_cameras.html

You ought to determine the kind of camera you want - ultracompact, compact, SLR-like, and the amount you're willing to spend. Also, you should go to a place where you can handle the cameras. Some of the SLR-like cameras are heavy and some of the ultracompacts are hard to hold.
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