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Old Oct 15, 2011, 5:32 PM   #1
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Default best low light $300 range camera

I am a teacher and often take photos of school events not only in the classroom, but in churches. With that comes high ceilings. I am not a skilled photographer. What P&S will give me the best photos for the money. I recently used my sons Nikon S8100 and was pleased with the results, but overall the camera has such mixed reviews I hesitate to buy it for myself. I own a Minolta Z1, which has not done a very good job in low light situations. I picked up a Canon 2200 - it's ok, but I'm thinking I could do better for the money...
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Old Oct 15, 2011, 6:33 PM   #2
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I would suggest that if you're happy with the results from the S8100- then why not go for it..! However,if you're going to be shooting indoors,maybe the Nikon P300's also worth a look- with a 24mm wide angle(ideal for interiors) and a light gathering fast f/1.8 lens(at wide angle setting). It does have full manual modes,but has your basic point and shoot options also...
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikonp300/
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Old Oct 16, 2011, 2:09 PM   #3
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The Canon S95 is $319 now. The Samsung TL500 is similarly priced, but the S95 is a far better camera imho. The brighter lenses and larger sensors will give you a noticeable advantage in low light compared to the 1/2.3" sensor cams.
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Old Oct 16, 2011, 11:27 PM   #4
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Dear Five0. Thanks so much for your reply. I have read many good things about the S95. It appears bigger than what will easily go in my pocket, but I think I definitely need to go find it somewhere. Small is great, but not as important as features. If you have anything else to suggest, I am looking for: good in low light for all school events within auditoriums, lag time between photos to be shorter than average, easy to turn flash off (due to using a camera with broken flash I developed an appreciation for no flash), quick focus for kid shots, which is 99% of my photos - kids playing. Like everyone, I want a perfect camera for a few hundred dollars. Oh ya, I do take video during classtime and send it to the parents. What parent doesn't want a video of their child in school? BTW, I see the S95 is $340 at Best Buy. Where do you see it for $319?
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Old Oct 18, 2011, 2:45 AM   #5
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It was $319 at Amazon. It's $339 there now. If you go to Best Buy, you can usually get a 10% off from the moving packets they leave on the counter at the post office.

Definitely go check it out in person. Granted, Canon has much smaller cameras, but the S95 is the smallest of the bigger-sensor-and-brighter-lens cameras (vs. LX5, EX1, XZ-1, etc).

Now, if you want fast focus, time to rule out Canon altogether. Panasonic gets the nod there, with Sony in 2nd.
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Old Oct 18, 2011, 6:43 AM   #6
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Default So, other than S95 ???

I do like to go to a store and hold a few cameras and play. Let's say I pick up the S95 and hate the way it feels. What other ones should I pick up that would be great for low light all school photos in churches and auditoriums, but also capture my kids playing with blocks in the classroom, painting, going down the slide and other things that 4 year olds do. While I'll use it for this, it's not the priority for this camera, my son plays football way down on the field somewhere, and my daughter does ballet - way up on the stage somewhere where no flash photography is allowed during performances....... Now I'll make it more complicated for your recommendations............
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Old Oct 18, 2011, 12:50 PM   #7
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Long zoom compacts focus speeds suffer at the long end of the zoom- and might prove tricky across a football field- even though they have the zoom "range".
As for the indoor performance at a distance- almost impossible,though if you crank up the iso to 1600+ and don't mind image noise,then I guess it's possible- just don't expect stellar image quality.
Perhaps someone on here could upload some pics of an indoor performance with a compact camera at range- and see if they're satisfactory to you.
Failing that- grab your son's Nikon S8100 and see how it performs in these conditions.
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Old Oct 18, 2011, 4:25 PM   #8
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Wish I could grab his 8100 again - he recently graduated basic training in the Air Force and in his first box went his camera I tried to play with it, but I guess the things I'm wanting this camera for happen during the school year, not the summer... I've loved playing with taking photos for 35 years - but while I may graduate to a big "real" camera some day, I love being able to carry a camera in my purse or pocket. I'm not sure if I would ever figure out how to work all those settings... That's why I go to places like this forum for help. Now if you need help buying a carseat for a baby, that I can help you with
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