Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > What Camera Should I Buy?

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Feb 23, 2010, 11:15 PM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 9
Default Need camera that functions well in flash/low light $500-800 range

I've been tasked with taking photos for several social events this year and need something that has a good flash and functions well with motion in low light situations like snapping candids on the dance floor or in a dark bar. The photos will ultimately make their way into a professionally produced memories book, (think high school year-book) so they need to be very good.

Currently I only have a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T50 but know I need to move up as I'm spending too much time post processing my shots to get decent pictures, if I can at all. Only my stubborn persistence with Photoshop has made any of the shots I've taken to date passable.

I'm not opposed to a dSLR if that's what it takes to get good photos. I've been very unimpressed with any of my previous point and shoots' abilities to take decent indoor/night shots with a flash, even my two beloved (and now, sadly, defunct) Canons were not great in that environment. I'd like to stay in the lower end of the $500-800 range, but since this will be my last camera purchase for awhile, I don't want to skimp on quality if it means spending more.

My other big requirement is a good image stabilizer, since I'm going to be moving around a lot and possibly having a drink or two, besides.

Any thoughts or suggestions are appreciated.
Geekette70 is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Feb 23, 2010, 11:42 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
shoturtle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Frankfurt AM
Posts: 11,348
Default

Well a DSLR will give you the best results. But depending on what you define as good low light performance there are couple bridge camera that are pretty good.
__________________
Super Frequent Flyer, no joke. Ex Patriot and loving it.
Canon Eos 60D, T1i/500D, Eos1, Eos 630, Olympus EPL-1, and a part time Pentax K-X shooter.
shoturtle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Feb 23, 2010, 11:46 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
shoturtle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Frankfurt AM
Posts: 11,348
Default

You may want to check out this thread, there are some examples of low light photos between a dslr and bridge camera in low light.

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/wh...-prosumer.html
__________________
Super Frequent Flyer, no joke. Ex Patriot and loving it.
Canon Eos 60D, T1i/500D, Eos1, Eos 630, Olympus EPL-1, and a part time Pentax K-X shooter.
shoturtle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Feb 24, 2010, 2:55 AM   #4
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 9
Default

Thanks, I actually checked out that before I posted. Very good info and it was precisely that thread that made me think a prosumer wasn't what I really wanted.

I think I've narrowed it down to the PENTAX K-x. I'm 4'11" and have small hands, so the size/fit is good, it's low light ability is amazing, it's in my price range and I absolutely LOVE it in red! (No one's going to try to lift my camera and not be noticed!)

What do you think?


Quote:
Originally Posted by shoturtle View Post
You may want to check out this thread, there are some examples of low light photos between a dslr and bridge camera in low light.

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/wh...-prosumer.html
Geekette70 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Feb 24, 2010, 7:19 AM   #5
Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 8,529
Default

The K-X is a great choice. The key to successful shots is using an external flash and focus assist beam. And that is true with any camera solution. So make sure whatever you decide you budget for the external flash.
JohnG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Feb 24, 2010, 8:32 AM   #6
Senior Member
 
shoturtle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Frankfurt AM
Posts: 11,348
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Geekette70 View Post
Thanks, I actually checked out that before I posted. Very good info and it was precisely that thread that made me think a prosumer wasn't what I really wanted.

I think I've narrowed it down to the PENTAX K-x. I'm 4'11" and have small hands, so the size/fit is good, it's low light ability is amazing, it's in my price range and I absolutely LOVE it in red! (No one's going to try to lift my camera and not be noticed!)

What do you think?
It is a great choice, if you want to add a flash, the metz 48 for the pentax is quite good. Or if you want to fore a flash, get the pentax FA 50mm F1.4 lens, set it to Aperture priorty at 1.4-2.0 bump up the iso, and it will do a very nice job in low light without a flash.
__________________
Super Frequent Flyer, no joke. Ex Patriot and loving it.
Canon Eos 60D, T1i/500D, Eos1, Eos 630, Olympus EPL-1, and a part time Pentax K-X shooter.
shoturtle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Feb 24, 2010, 8:54 AM   #7
Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 8,529
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by shoturtle View Post
It is a great choice, if you want to add a flash, the metz 48 for the pentax is quite good. Or if you want to fore a flash, get the pentax FA 50mm F1.4 lens, set it to Aperture priorty at 1.4-2.0 bump up the iso, and it will do a very nice job in low light without a flash.
The difficulty with wide apertures for social interaction indoors is twofold:
1) motion blur. Subject hands and heads move - so when taking photos at 1/30 you see blur. That's not good for photo book publication.

2) depth of field - social interaction you often want multiple people in focus. wide apertures make that difficult.

There is a reason why wedding photogs - the kings of low light social interaction photography - use flash rather than wide aperture alone to capture reception shots. It's a definite bonus to be able to get shallow DOF when you want it but first and foremost you need to capture the shot - and in many social interaction situations you don't have time for do-overs.

Again, we're talking about a level of quality to be able to publish (albeit for private distribution). Not about just getting some snapshots. Quite different situation than say someone wanting some low light clubbing shots where flash may not be appropriate.
JohnG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Feb 24, 2010, 9:22 AM   #8
Super Moderator
 
Mark1616's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 7,397
Default

John is right, I wouldn't even consider this without an external flash, it will not only allow you to get the depth of field you require and assist with focusing but will also enable you to get some interesting effects as shown below.

The last really need some more contrast and saturation but it will do as a quick sample.
Attached Images
   
Mark1616 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Feb 24, 2010, 1:31 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
shoturtle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Frankfurt AM
Posts: 11,348
Default

That is why I put both options on the table, flash and bright lens. Not sure exactly what the op has in mind to shoot and what the op defines as low light.
__________________
Super Frequent Flyer, no joke. Ex Patriot and loving it.
Canon Eos 60D, T1i/500D, Eos1, Eos 630, Olympus EPL-1, and a part time Pentax K-X shooter.
shoturtle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Feb 24, 2010, 2:45 PM   #10
Super Moderator
 
Mark1616's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 7,397
Default

Also the benefit of a bright lens, even if you stop it down for the desired shot when using flash is it will generally focus better due to being brighter in the first place.
Mark1616 is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 5:15 PM.