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Old Mar 7, 2009, 8:55 PM   #1
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Hi people,

i previously owned a point and shoot digital camera from Canon, 860IS 8MP that takes extremely good photos in day light and maybe up till dusk. I am actually very happy with this camera except that it has problems with indoor and Night time photos.

The flash is very powerful and sometimes overwhelming. Doesnt have the ability to control the intensity of the flash. But the camera still manages indoor relatively well and sometimes if i use the Night preset function and i do capture natural indoor lights.

What really is terrible is the night function. If i am standing on top of a hill, with the entire city below me, bright with lights, i cant take good shot of it! With night mode, the photo comes up as black mess with very very dim dots of light here and there. If i take a person, night mode and flash, i get an extremely bright ghost instead. Does anyone have any experience to resolve this for my camera?

Now my gf wants to get a P&S camera and i am pretty confused as to which one to buy. I think most cameras can handle day light shots. So i would say the focus is on night and indoor shots with a bonus feature of controllable flash? What brand and model would u all recommend?:?:
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Old Mar 8, 2009, 12:33 AM   #2
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You didn't set any price limit. Panasonic LX3 would be a good place to start.

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Old Mar 8, 2009, 12:44 AM   #3
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The solution to your problem is low-tech: it's called a tripod. :-) There is no camera at any price that can do what you want.

If the thought of a big bulky tripod freaks you out then check out these critters.

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Old Mar 8, 2009, 12:19 PM   #4
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I agree with peripatetic. You may need 3 second or longer exposures for those night shots. Now if you set up the camera to stand by itselt on a flat surface and use a 2 or 10 second timer, maybe you can get a good shot. I did this with a Fuji S7000 several years back. But the shutter speedwas set for 6 seconds. The problem is that nobody can get a handheld shot with a 6 second shutter speed that isn't blurred. There is a Fuji camera, the F100fd, which takes decent pictures at high ISO's, but even it won't take good pictures at ISO 3200 and above.
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Old Mar 8, 2009, 5:34 PM   #5
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The silver bullet is not necessarily a new camera, but understanding what the camera actually does, and how to apply it to the problem at hand.

Let's take your Canon 860IS. It has the ability to use iso 1600, and it has a relatively fast lens of f2.8 at its widest angle. So using your manual you need to figure out how to use the flash, when the iso is set to 1600 and to get the f2.8 aperatue available, and go to wide angle. Now that can help, but it may not be perfect or even acceptable, but you have to try it out and understand what the camera can do with the user settings available - other than just putting it in to night mode and shooting away. Now using iso 1600 your shot if it comes out will probably be pretty grainey. If it comes out and you want less grain, set it to 800. You can also try turning on all the lights in the room that are available.

For night landscapes, you are going to need something very steady to sit the camera on. A wall, a piller, something solid, plus your going to have to hold it (the camera) down on the object so that it will not move while you press the shutter button (also try holding your breath so that you will not shake the camera). That will hopefully get you a non blurry shot. In addition, for a good quality shot your going to have to set it to iso 80, and start taking a guess on shutter times - 5, 6, 8 maybe 10 seconds (you can go up to 15 seconds). Also, again set it for wide angle to get the lowest possible f stop.

It will take some expirementation to find out what works, but the "film" is free.

So what can actually be done? Well here are some examples.


I used a Panasonic LX3 in just the intelligent automatic mode, I did force the iso to 80 (where indicated), found something VERY steady to set the camera down on and held it down with one hand while carefully depressing the shutter with the other, while holding my breath so as to not move - thus nudge the camera any. One one I just hand held the camera (the clock). A tripod would have helped - but I did not have one with me so - I improvised! Now, I do have to admit that the LX3 has a larger sensor and inherently has less noise, so its a bit better suited for the night shots, however that can be compensated for to some extent.

Now a new camera can help, but your going to have the same problem if you just select a mode and blast away.

Bottom line - you need to read the manual, and understand the inter-relationships between iso speed, shutter speed, aperature (f stop), plus how to set them (what the camera can do and what it can't do) and apply them to your specific circumstances.

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Old Mar 8, 2009, 5:57 PM   #6
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fuji f200exr

fuji 40f

Pan LX3

See sample shots on the web
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Old Mar 8, 2009, 6:50 PM   #7
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Excellent reply.

the Hun

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Old Mar 9, 2009, 1:02 AM   #8
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I thought I would swing back by and add some explanations to my previous posting.

The shutter speed - is the amount of time the shutter is open, the longer the shutter is open, the more light is let into the camera. Also, the longer the shutter speed, if you or the subject of the image moves, you get a blurred picture.

The aperature or f stop - this is the control that sets how large the iris (similar to your eye) is. A small number (f2) indicates a large opening (letting in more light) and a larger number lets in a smaller amount of light.

The ISO speed - can be thought of how sensitive the sensor is set to. A small number, like 80 makes the sensor not as sensitive, however it will be much more able to register fine details. A large number like 1600, makes it very sensitive to light, however it makes it much more difficult to register fine details, and makes the image look some what grainy.

P&S cameras usually set all of this automatically and all you do is aim and fire. However, when the setting is a bit more difficult (night light shots of a city), etc. then it may take a bit of additional help from you to get the results that are desired.

So in a dimly lit room taking pictures of folks - you might want to use a reasonably fast shutter so as to not blur the subjects (or let the camera figure out what to set it to), but help the camera out by setting it to 1600, so that the camera's sensor will be pretty sensitive and thus help the camera to select the fastest shutter speed possible. You can also help it, by selecting the wide angle option and not zoom in so that it (the camera) will select the largest aperature (the low f stop).

In the landscape night city light scene, you would probably want to help the camera out even more. Since the subject of the picture usually do not move (city lights), you can use a longer shutter speed (in the seconds), and to get a better picture with out noise or a grainy appearance, by using a lower iso speed.

Also, try things out ahead of needing to use them. Go out into the back yard at night (after reading the manual), and try things out. Burn through 10 or 20 shots with various camera settings - so that you can see how to do it and what it looks like on the camera screen after taking the picture. Down load them on the PC and see what they look like. Try the same thing around the house at night in various rooms. That is how your going to learn. Then you will know what to do in the various situations as you encounter them.

Hope that helps....
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