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Old Aug 1, 2004, 2:10 AM   #1
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I'm seeking a camera for an organization. Their shooting will be all indoors with relatively low-light conditions. Obviously, they want a camera with an external hot shoe so they can add a good flash. They are limited to point-and-shoot models because of their budget (less than or equal to $600 for the camera AND the flash). Used cameras are fine. Since the shots will be used exclusively on web pages or in a newsletter, high-megapixels are a low priority. What they WILL need is an autofocus system that will be both rapid and accurate in low light. If they had the money, a SLR would be ideal when used with manual focus. Unfortunately, that is probably out of their price range. What brands / models should I be looking at for them? Informed opinions appreciated. Thanks!
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Old Aug 1, 2004, 5:05 AM   #2
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The Olympus C-5050 has a very fast f1.8 lens. I've seen factory refurbs on eBay for around $400. (I've owned both Oly C-5060 and Minolta Dimage 7 refurbs and both looked and performed as new.) An Oly FL-20 flash seems to go for $125-$135. You didn't say what the organization would be shooting. The C-5050 is 35mm at wide angle. A CLA-1 adapter, 43-55 step up ring, and WCON-08 converter would take that down to 28mm, but it would probably bust your budget, also. Of course, although the C-5050 is simple enough to use as a point-and-shoot, it's capable of much more than that. In fact, I've heard that it's even being used by some professional photojournalists. Have you ruled out point-and-shoot cameras with flash sync ports rather than hot shoes? You could certainly save some bucks, and one might very well fit your needs.
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Old Aug 1, 2004, 6:42 AM   #3
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Another thing about the C-5050, it has an internal focus assist beam which is good for lower light levels for ~15feet.
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Old Aug 1, 2004, 10:57 AM   #4
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I currently have a Minolta Dimage 7 with the 7i firmware upgrade. It struggles in low light. The focus frequently racks all the way in and out and then gives up and stops (still out of focus). Unless the Nikon is **significantly** better than the Dimage, it won't work either for our use. Is it?
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Old Aug 1, 2004, 11:56 AM   #5
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Wfat about the G series Canons? The G2 is often available very cheap usedwhile the G3 and G5 are available everywhere (G3 is often discounted).

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Old Aug 1, 2004, 12:02 PM   #6
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The Canon PowerShot G series is high on my list of candidates. I haven't heard from anyone about its low-light focus capabilities, though. If it won't autofocus quickly and accurately in low light situations, the external flash shoemeans nothing. Do you happen to be familiar with the focus times in a medium-dark room? Thanks for the reply!
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Old Aug 3, 2004, 5:02 AM   #7
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I ended up buying a used Sony DSC-D770 SLR via e-Bay. Since my needs are web-publishing and newsletter printing only, and since low-light work with an external flash are my only use, the Sony looks fine. The manual focus and optical SLR viewfinder were the clinchers. Thanks to those who responded.
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