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Old May 15, 2008, 12:07 PM   #1
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I have children in school programs usually performed in school gyms. The light is just to low for my Sony DSC-F717 or my Canon SD700IS. The light is good enough for my Video camera. The shots are outside of flash range.

I would appriciate recomendation in the under $300 range. TIA
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Old May 15, 2008, 12:17 PM   #2
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Your Sony DSC-F717 is one of the best non-DSLR models around for indoor shooting without a flash.

It's lens is roughly twice as bright at it's wider end compared to any current non-DSLR Digital Camera model (your Sony's available f/2.0 is twice as bright as f/2.8, which is where most current models start out). Most are much dimmer as you zoom in (your Sony only drops off to f/2.4 at it's long end, wheras most cameras are going to be down to around f5 or so). For example, your SD700IS is down to f/5.5 if you zoom in much (your Sony would be more than 4 times as bright zoomed in, allowing shutter speeds roughly 4 times as fast for the same lighting and ISO speed)

IOW, for any given lighting and ISO speed, your Sony is going to get you faster shutter speeds because of it's brighter lens.

What do you have your ISO speed set to? Each time you double the ISO speed, the camera can use shutter speeds twice as fast. Noise will be higher as you increase it. But, there are some good tools available to help out with that part. For example, Noiseware and Neat Image are popular choices (and they have free versions, too).

Some newer cameras do have higher available ISO speeds. But, their lenses are nowhere near as bright as your Sony's lens (you'd need to shoot at ISO 1600 or higher with most camera to get shutter speeds as fast as your Sony would get at ISO 800, especially if you zoom in much with the compact models).

The next step up from your Sony is going to be a dSLR model. But, you'd need a bright lens to go with one to get many keepers indoors without a flash, and a dSLR/lens combination would exceed your budget.

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Old May 15, 2008, 12:58 PM   #3
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Thanks JimC. I will work with the ISO settings. My daughter is doing a violin solo this evening in the school gym.
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Old May 15, 2008, 3:45 PM   #4
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I'd probably try mixing them up some between ISO 400 and 800. ISO 800 is going to be a bit grainy, so you may need to clean them up some using noise reduction tools. But, that's the best way to get your shutter speeds up fast enough to reduce some ofthe blur from movement.

Try to time your shots when she's not moving as much (which I realize can be tough) for more keepers, and try to stay smooth with the shutter button presses to reduce any blur from camera shake (brace on something or use a monopod if you have one).



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Old May 15, 2008, 7:22 PM   #5
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I will[suB][suP] try your suggestions. I do have a monopod.[/suP][/suB]
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Old May 15, 2008, 9:19 PM   #6
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I agree with Jim and would add that you should take a look at your results with an EXIF viewer - that will tell you what ISO, f/stop, shutter speed, ... you used for the photo. Very useful when experimenting with camera settings. Likely some of the software that came with the camera will do the job. Otherwise, ask in the forum for you specific camera to find the best EXIF program for you.

Likely you will find that the photos taken at the highest ISO the camera offers will be unuseable for large prints, but could be just fine for snapshot size and web use. Experiment and find out what works for you.
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Old May 17, 2008, 5:52 PM   #7
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My thanks to you both. My photos did come out a little noisy, but I can live with it. I will checkout some of those noise elimination programs. I was setting the ISO to 400 and then canceling the setting out by going to full auto. dumb dumb dumb
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Old May 19, 2008, 7:10 PM   #8
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What is "an EXIF viewer" that you've mentioned?- Thanks.
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Old May 19, 2008, 9:32 PM   #9
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An EXIF viewer shows the data kept in the header of the image file. Exactly what it shows varies a bit with the specific camera/software combinations, but always show ISO, f/stop, exposure, date, time, and camera model. Almost always will show the sharpening/contrast/saturation settings, focal length, was flash used. Some will show things like distance focused and flash intensity.

Very useful when trying to figure out what is going on with a photo, e.g., of course it is blurry when you shoot hand held with an exposure time of five seconds. (Unfortunately, no EXIF header that I know of will tell you if you used a tripod for the shot.)
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Old May 20, 2008, 9:08 AM   #10
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Here is a popular free EXIF viewer for Windows:

http://www.opanda.com/en/iexif/

Many image editors can also show you the camera settings used.

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