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Old Nov 4, 2010, 12:36 PM   #1
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Default Best sub $400 camera for high ISO IQ?

I'd like to get my wife a camera for the holidays that can deliver great results with a 1600+ ISO. Does that exist in the under $400 range? That's my only requirement since our family camera fills all our other needs but it's a FZ100 and is limited in low light.
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Old Nov 4, 2010, 12:54 PM   #2
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Canon S95 ($359 best price I have seen), Panasonic LX5 ($389 best price I have seen) or Samsung EX1 (cheapest of all)

None of them do very well at ISO 1600+ but they're as good as you're going to get unless you want to go to a micro 4/3 camera.

I own an S95 and the pics are usable for small prints up to ISO 1600 but that's the absolute limit. The comparative reviews give the S95 a slight edge over the LX5 at high ISO, though it's really negligible. I'm not sure about the specifics on the EX1 but performance will be in line with these. I think the EX1 will probably so slightly worse based on Samsung's handling of noise.

S95, ISO 1600, resize only



S95, ISO 1600, resize + Neat Image @ default settings

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Old Nov 4, 2010, 2:29 PM   #3
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that is about it s95 or the s90 for the sub 400 dollar range.
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Old Nov 4, 2010, 4:47 PM   #4
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S95 is xcellent.Do also look up the new Nikon S8100.It's fast, 5fps and has 10x zoom if that's an advantage,and it is < $300. But if U increase your budget a notch the Canon G12 and Nikon P7000 are xcellent lowlight p&s cams with the Nikon having a slightly longer zoom 7.1x, around $450.
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Old Nov 4, 2010, 5:47 PM   #5
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inest in topaz denoise 5 it does a good job of cleaning up noisy images without destroying detail - is a 30 day trial to try before you buy might be cheaper alternative to a new camera
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Old Nov 4, 2010, 7:44 PM   #6
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with denoise you will need photoshop element, or cse, or aperture as it is a plug in. If you do not use those software editor. It will not work.
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Old Nov 4, 2010, 7:54 PM   #7
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I imagine you were thinking of point and shoots, but just in case ...
If you want a DSLR w/ good low light performance, you can get the Sony A500 or the Pentax K-x with kit lens for under $500 at various etailers. The A500 is $399 with free shipping from one place. You might want to check it out www.resellerratings.com first, though. I have the K-x and think it is very good at low light, much better than my Fuji F70exr, which was in the top tier of low light point and shoot cameras.
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Old Nov 4, 2010, 8:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fayyaz View Post
S95 is xcellent.Do also look up the new Nikon S8100.It's fast, 5fps and has 10x zoom if that's an advantage,and it is < $300. But if U increase your budget a notch the Canon G12 and Nikon P7000 are xcellent lowlight p&s cams with the Nikon having a slightly longer zoom 7.1x, around $450.
Nikon S8100 can't keep up with the other cams listed in low light or high ISO. The Nikon P7000 looks good on paper but has gotten very poor user reviews, mainly due to focusing and usability issues. The Canon G12 is a good option though it's low light performance may be slightly below the 3 models I mentioned due to the lens (2.8 vs 2.0/1.8).
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Old Nov 5, 2010, 6:28 PM   #9
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Thanks for the info. I've got time so I'll be trying to run over to Sammy's and try a few of those mentioned. I am leaning towards P&S because it's easier to learn, but definitely am open to anything. It's a present after all.
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Old Nov 5, 2010, 6:32 PM   #10
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not all point and shoots are easier to learn, and dslr's aren't actually that hard - although sometimes their menus and manuals make them seem harder.
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