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Old Dec 2, 2007, 2:02 AM   #1
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and a bit more

Anyway, I am finishing up college to become and Elementary school teacher. I need a
pretty decent hybrid type camcorder.

My purposes will be:


1) taking pictures of the kids INDOORS in the classroom to capture school work and activities--sometimes that may even involve slightly low light, though most activities involve a fair amount of lighting as you all know I Probably won't ever have any need to print larger than a regular sheet of paper, and even half of that might suffice--but indoor photos capable of pulling that off and looking very presentable for future degrees/formal presentation is obviously a must.

2) Capture real life candid moments during recreational lessons/activities (thus optical zoom and sports modes is important as well as some sortof IS system and hopefully face detection/ red eye reduction, etc)

3) Capture solid video WITH solid sound for 25 or hopefully 40 minutes at a time (I will use this during my internship to record my lessons and review them with teachers, thus making sound reception from moderate (10ft?) distances of critical importance.)

4) My fiance is Japanese, so I get to travel alot--it would be nice to have something portable enough, light enough, etc, and capable enough of taking traveling photos etc around the world. Thus I didn't want to consider anything much larger than the S5, which is good since my budget is already maxed out.

5) Finally, Pictures shouldn't look horrible say from a drinking party at a restraunt of normal prints size either--at least i hope I can find all that and still have a functional social camera (non-clubbing, just regular somewhat dim social encounters).



My budget:

350 total for the camera, not too much wiggle room on moving up from there unless there was just something spectacular near that price


SO FAR:

I almost committed to the TZ3 at my earliest stages of research. Since then I have done pretty extensive research on various models, narrowed it down to the FZ18 and S5 IS and am right now leaning towards the S5 IS for my purposes. But, today I started reading about some other models I hadn't considered (there are alot of models of cameras...it is hard to really narrow it down with confidence you know?)


Any more ideas? Other Cameras I should review (reasons why you suggest it are great, but even just some top suggestions to further study would help alot too).

Encouragement to commit on the S5 IS?

(Though Whatever I do I will probably wait a few weeks in hopes of hitting some Xmas sales online since I missed black friday)

If you have read this far, thank you for taking the time, and thank you for any suggestions!
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Old Dec 2, 2007, 11:21 AM   #2
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No suggestions for an elementary school teacher weeding through all these models of cameras?
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Old Dec 2, 2007, 11:41 AM   #3
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Xmasshopping wrote:
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1) taking pictures of the kids INDOORS in the classroom to capture school work and activities--sometimes that may even involve slightly low light, though most activities involve a fair amount of lighting as you all know I Probably won't ever have any need to print larger than a regular sheet of paper, and even half of that might suffice--but indoor photos capable of pulling that off and looking very presentable for future degrees/formal presentation is obviously a must.
With or without a flash?

If you plan to take photos without a flash indoors, that means you'll need a camera capable of higher ISO speeds with a relatively bright lens. Even then, you may still get some blur with much movement.

A DSLR is better for this purpose. But, you can't record video with this type of camera.

So, you'll end up needing to compromise if you want both in the same model.

Some of the Fuji models are better than most non-DSLR cameras in lower light (because of higher usable ISO speeds). I'd probably look at the Fujifilm FinePix S6000fd

It's not going to have the image quality of a DSLR model as you increase ISO speeds. But, if you can stay away from it's highest settings, you may get some usable images if the kids are not moving much.

You'll have to look and see how it's video compares to the rest. It looks like B&H (a reputable dealer) still has them in stock at $324.95:

Fuji Finepix S6000fd at B&H

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Old Dec 2, 2007, 12:32 PM   #4
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thanks alot for the reply, I was just reading about that one actually but will give it a much more serious look. I have pretty shaky hands I suppose...though I guess I haven't ever really compared my shaking to anyone elses.., so i am not sure about non IS--though I know I won't be able to get everything, hopefully I can find a similar model to test out in store.


I would probably want to do it without flash so as not to disrupt the learning environment.


and I know people talk about the S5 having poor 400 and up ISO images, and i have seen enough examples to know that there is def notable noise as you move up to that range (though I might be able to just use my 400 ISO images in small enough prints that it wouldn't matter much after some noise ninja or other photo editing) but (this is one of my biggest questions at the moment):

would I really need to use 400 or up very frequently in a normal classroom environment?
(which would consist of stationary and moving subjects)

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Old Dec 2, 2007, 12:39 PM   #5
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What you think is well lit, may not be well lit to the camera's lens.

The higher the ISO speed, the more sensitive the camera is to light. So, that allows you to "expose" the image faster. The faster your shutter speed, the less blur you'll have from subject movement (or from camera shake).

So, higher ISO speeds are important for photography indoors without a flash, unless your subject is stationary.

A lot would depend on how well lit the classroom is. If you have a lot of ambient light coming in through windows during the day, you may be able to get away with ISO 200 or 400 when the kids are not moving much, provided you didn't zoom in much (since most lenses lose light as you zoom in more).

But, if you have lower light (i.e., overhead lighting only), you may need higher ISO speeds, especially if they are moving.

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Old Dec 2, 2007, 12:43 PM   #6
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hm....I had read about all of that over thepast few weeks--but seeing it laid out like that...it looks like this might be difficult to find just what I need. I had been hoping the classrooms would be well-lit enough to have it around 100-200 with the occasional 400...but if what you are saying is true I may well have to cast aside my dreams of an S5.
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Old Dec 2, 2007, 12:52 PM   #7
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For indoor photos without a flash, your best choice is a DSLR model with a brighter lens on it.

For example, a Canon Rebel Xti with something like a Tamron 18-55mm f/2.8 for closer quarters or a 28-75mm f/2.8 if you don't need something starting out as wide. This types of lenses can maintain f/2.8 throughout their focal range.

Smaller available f/stop numbers represent larger available apertures (so, more light gets through, allowing faster shutter speeds for any given lighting and ISO speed).

In some lighting, you may need even brighter prime (fixed focal length versus zoom) lenses for best results. For example, a 28mm f/2, 35mm f/2, 50mm f/1.8, 85mm f/1.8, 100mm f/2). These are brighter than zoom lenses (you use your feet for zoom instead).

But, current DSLR models don't allow video recording. So, if you want to compromise and get a non-DSLR model, I'd make sure to get a camera that has higher usable ISO speeds if you want to shoot non-stationary subjects indoors without a flash.


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Old Dec 2, 2007, 1:01 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the advice so far. The s6000fd looks like a real nice choice so far (it would probably be a really easy decision of they had added in the IS I have just lost SOO many important photos in the past...like just prior to my engagement proposal...due to camera shake, I am a bit nervous without it) and I am sorry about all of the newbie questions,I have read alot over the past short period of time just to get to where I am now I appreciate your advice though, and hope my questions aren't too repetitive, without any real background experience I amstill struggling to try to weigh all the variables and determine how important each of them will be on a daily basis.



so you are pretty confident that the S5 would not suffice in these conditions, even if I kept my printing down to moderately small sizes such as an 8X8 or something like that? and ran my high ISO through noiseware?



Anybody have any idea how well the audio recording works on the 6000? that was what mostly sold me on the S5 at first, but really as long as I can hear what i am saying when teaching my class (pretty quite aside from me and the kids speaking) from far enough away to see what is happening I should be fine. Any good links to video footage of that type of situation with the 6000 or other suggestion?

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Old Dec 2, 2007, 1:23 PM   #9
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oh,and this was really funny:lol:

JimC wrote
Quote:
These are brighter than zoom lenses (you use your feet for zoom instead).


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Old Dec 2, 2007, 10:25 PM   #10
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Xmasshopping wrote:
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...3) Capture solid video WITH solid sound for 25 or hopefully 40 minutes at a time (I will use this during my internship to record my lessons and review them with teachers, thus making sound reception from moderate (10ft?) distances of critical importance.)...
This looks like a job for a proper camcorder to me. I have done quite a bit of this type of thing using Video8 camcorders, filming/recording musical and similar events of various kinds over many years. I see taking good photographs in the classroom as quite a different challenge. It is asking a lot of any single device to do the whole job, at the current state of development. Decent quality digital camcorders still use dv tape.

In particular the microphone on anything that's a really good still camera isn't likely to be up to the job. On camcorders they'll be large & often visible, and some will have sockets for good quality external mics. On a 'still' camera with video facilities they're likely to be tiny & invisible.

The still capture facility from camcorders isn't likely to be very good, as the device is oriented to TV output.

So I think it's a job for two separate purpose-designed gadgets for a few more years yet.
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