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Old Apr 11, 2008, 7:29 PM   #1
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What is the best compact camera to handle low light situations without getting blurry pictures? (Or too much noise, butnoise being of secondary importance.)

Ipredominantly take pictures indoors or in the evening and movement seems extremely hard to capture with the Nikon Coolpix s700 that my girlfriend has, despite its pretty low shutter speed and aperture and a 3200 ISO option.

Are other factors perhaps more important?

Is another camera better suited for the task? Perhaps one with an option to manually set the shutter speed and aperture?

I've read that the Fujifilm Finepix F31fd is really good at highISO settings, but it seems flawed in a lot of ways, often suffering from purple fringing, slow macro focus, and in most other circumstances than low light, it just generally seems like a somewhatpoor to average camera.

Is there a camera out there that is superior in both low and high light settings, perhaps even having a cutting edge feature set to boot? Perhaps a newer Fujifilm?

Or what about the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W130, the Olympus Stylus 1200or the Canon PowerShot SD1100, which are three other cameras I've been looking at.

Which compact camera would you recommend? (Not necessarilyany of the above.)

I've got400$ to spend, (but preferably less!)

Thank youso much in advance.

Johannes.

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Old Apr 11, 2008, 8:25 PM   #2
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Difficult problem today, given the higher megapixels and small CCDs. The Fuji F31fd is typically mentioned as the correct camera for your situation. There are upgraded models, but they add more MP and do not perform as well with higher ISOs. Your girlfriend's Nikon S700 is supposed to perform well in low light, especially given it's 12MP CCD sensor. I suspect you would have to move to a dSLR to achieve your goal, since all point and shoot cameras do not perform well in low light, when compared to a dSLR.

Image noise and stopping action with P&S cameras is more difficult than it is with dSLRs. Here is an article about image noise found in the 12MP Canon G9 (I have one), and even the "top of the line" G9 cannot compete with a dSLR.

http://www.photoaficionado.com/tips/noise_g9.html

I was just reading a similar request on another forum, and someone there suggested the Panasonic FS3, or the newer FS5 with better optics. These cameras have less MP than the Nikon, so they might generate less noise, but probably not. I found a review for the FS3,and for the FS5. Here's the FS3 review links;

http://www.digitalcamerareview.com/d...sp?newsID=3362 (FS3)

http://www.trustedreviews.com/digita...mix-DMC-FS5/p1

Using manual controls will certainly give you options to control your exposure settings, rather than roll the dice with the camera in control. However, you will have to move to a larger camera, or a more expensive one like the G9.

Dennis


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Old Apr 11, 2008, 8:55 PM   #3
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Dennis has provided a good answer. Take for example the attached photo. It was taken several years ago using a Fuji F-10 high ISO capable camera. However, the key issue is that the F-10 was only a 6 mp camera, so it performed better than a camera with more mp.

Sarah Joyce



Here is another example, but this photo was taken inside the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg where absolutely no flash is permitted. The photo was taken with a Pentax DL DSLR camera. And it too, was a 6mp camera.


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Old Apr 12, 2008, 3:01 PM   #4
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Thanks so much for the answer. I read the article on noise on P&S cameras and after a little more research it helped me decide for the thebrand newfollow up to the Fuji F31fd, theFuji F100fd as it supposedly has the same capabilitiesas the Fuji F31fd in low light settings. (And it seems about on par with the G9 in the low light pictures I've seen.)

It seeemed like the perfect choice as it hasa rich feature set too and the overall IQ looks very impressive. But then I read thatthe current batch of F100fdhas problems with apurple band at the left side of images getting more and more visible as you go above 400ISO in dark settings.

So now I'm contemplating either holding out for a fix to the purple band on the F100fd, orgetting a Nikon s600 ora Panasonic TZ5. The TZ5 seems like a good all round contender, with not too shabby IQ, but I'm not sure if its good enough for low light high ISO situations where I want to stop action.

Does any of you have experience with either one?

Do you have the the link to the thread you mentioned on the other forum? Sounds like it could be a good read.

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Old Apr 12, 2008, 4:01 PM   #5
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Regarding the F100fd IQ issues, I have looked at quite a few pics, and I offer the following observations: Some cameras exhibit a fine pink band along the left hand edge of the photo when taken at wide angle and ISO 1600 or higher. I have seen photos taken with this camera at ISO 1600 which did not show any pink banding, therefore it would not seem to affect every camera. I have only seen one photo which exhibited the pink band that was taken at ISO 400. I have yet to see a photo taken at ISO 100, 200, or 800 that had the banding issue.

Considering most compact cameras do not offer 28mm focal lengths or usable ISO 1600 performance, the issue seems rather minor. If it did occur, it could easily be removed with PP, or simply cropped out of the picture.

However, I don't condone any manufacturer continuing to ship cameras with known issues. I would assume Fuji will resolve the issue, if they haven't done so already. Personally, I would not buy a camera which had not received several favorable professional reviews from reliable sites. If the reviewers don't report experiencing the banding issue, I would assume the issue has been resolved. If you decide to buy one without waiting for reviews, I would suggest you test the camera before you buy, to ensure that camera is not afflicted.

the Hun

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Old Apr 13, 2008, 5:52 PM   #6
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fillyjonk-

I had some spare time this afternoon, so I pulled out the Fuji F-20 camera and set up a handheld ISO 1600 shot. To make it more difficult I went to the max zoom:3X optical zoom, which forced the exposure to F 5.5 at 1/150th.

It is not perfect, but for a handheld ISO 1600 shot it looks pretty good.

Sarah Joyce


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Old Apr 14, 2008, 8:07 PM   #7
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I went to the local store today and tried out both the Fuji F100fd and the Panasonic TZ5, comparing them side by side, and Iended up buying the TZ5.

Comparing the sameISO settings, the TZ5seemed noticeably better at avoiding blur and stopping motion and it seemed to have about the same or a little bit better IQ at the same settings.

(Though the IQ difference was hard to judge due to the better LCD of the TZ5, but zooming in on the finished pictures while viewing them side by side afterwards,gave a good idea about both detail and level ofnoise.)

Granted, the store wasn't a particularly low light setting, but if high ISO performance in regards to stopping motion indoorin store light says anything about the abilty to stop motion in lower light situations, then the TZ5 seems like asolid choice.

That reasoning might be flawed in a number of ways, but I'm finding out in a little while when the battery finishes charging. Here's hoping!

Thank you so much for all the helpful posts!

Johannes
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Old Apr 14, 2008, 8:37 PM   #8
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Johannes-

I offer my congratulations to both you and I. We both purchased the Panasoic TZ-5 today! I have high hopes for the TZ-5. I owned the TZ-1 and enjoyed it a lot, though, I thought it was measurably limiteddue to its capabilities.

I truly believe thatwe bothmade the corecct decision. Enjoy your camera, as I will mine. And most important of all, Post a few photos.

Have a great day!

Sarah Joyce
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