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Old Feb 3, 2005, 11:45 AM   #1
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I need a good digital camera to take pics of my daughter at her gymnastics meets primarily. The meets are indoors w/ low light, no flash allowed and typically I am trying to get a good pic of her on vault or uneven bars several feet away.

I bought the Canon S1 and was disappointed with how the pictures turned out. Very dark, grainy and soft. I decided to return the camera and get one that might better fit my needs. I initially was looking at the Minolta Z3 but have seen some bad reviews so I think I have talked myself out of it - but now what? I am now looking at the Panasonics FZ3. Is this camera going towork better for methan the Canon S1? I don't want to make the same mistake but also can't afford a camera more than 400 or 500 dollars.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!! :-)
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Old Feb 3, 2005, 12:35 PM   #2
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Panasonic FZ3 will be better than the Canon S1 IS (because it has brighter lens)... so it will help a bit... However, the pics will still likely dissapoint you. Low-light pics are hard on cameras--especially ultra-zooms which usually let it less light at you zoom (except Panasonic FZ3, which keeps its aperature the same).

If you can return without any cost, you should try the FZ3... if not (i.e. if it costs to return or if you want MUCH better pics), you likely wont' find any consumer and prosumer camers that will satisfy you.

If you are sure you are only taking pics that are only a few meters from you then I would probably look at a low-zoom camera like Canon G6 (which lets in more light than any of these at wide-angle) and shoot at wide-angle (i.e. no zoom). You might have better luck. But if you zoom with the Canon G6, it will likely be worse than the S1 IS or the FZ3. (Canon G6 may cost more than $500--not sure)...


(In case you are curious, here is why you are getting grainy pics. If you want to capture action, which is the case here, you want high shutter speeds. But if you want high shutter speeds in low-light situations, which is the case here, then the camera tries increasing the ISO. As ISO increases, you get faster shutter speeds but it also produces way more noise. Ultra-zooms generally have smaller sensors than low-zooms so they produce more noise than low-zooms... Furthermore, the Canon S1 IS is thought to be one of the worst cameras in low-light so that doesn't help matters--although I think other cameras will be almost as bad in this situation)...

So to sum up, the FZ3 will be slightly better but will still be noisy... if that doesn't work, and you are sure that you are shooting stuff only a few meters from you, then you can try buying a Canon G6 and shooting at wide-angle.... if that doesn't work, then there isn't a camera that can do what you want without effort* on your part...

(* Effort would involve more advanced techniques such as using a tripod, pre-focusing, using high ISO and then using some noise removal software afterwards, etc)
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Old Feb 3, 2005, 1:35 PM   #3
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I stated previously in this forum that the Fugi S5100 took better, CLEANER, low light video, then the Canon S1, (a scary amount of noise)I had one to try, & am sending it back to Dell!,,, the Fugi is better all around, in speed, & cleaner pics, in daylight or low light!,,, even the sound quality is comparable, despite what Canon claims. It's also BETTER video then the Panasonic, and no doubt the KM Z3, the latter which is known to be flimsy with noisey pics & video. AND, as I suspected, the IS system on the Canon was not much difference, especiallyat longzoom. PLUS, the Canon had trouble focusing, where the Fugi rarely had a problem, indoors or out!,,, I would guess it does better then the Pana. or Z3 in low light focusing also. Check it Out


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Old Feb 3, 2005, 2:39 PM   #4
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MikDee wrote:
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PLUS, the Canon had trouble focusing, where the Fugi rarely had a problem, indoors or out!,,, I would guess it does better then the Pana. or Z3 in low light focusing also. Check it Out

Having several Fuji's myself, I certainly have no reason to disbelieve your statements about better video and focusing. However, I feel that the problem here isn't really a low-light focusing one, but more likely a problem of inadequate exposure. The 5100 doesn't have a lens any faster than that of the S1, so I doubt that it will make a better pic in low-light situations - in fact, no inexpensive point&shoot such as these discussed will provide and excellent result. The person above really needs a camera that will allow the higher ISO's that will allow adequately exposed pics taken at the shutter speeds needed in athletics.

PhilR.
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Old Feb 3, 2005, 3:05 PM   #5
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Thanks for all the input!!

Can anyone suggest a camera with higher ISO's?? Would the Pana FZ20 be a better choice?
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Old Feb 3, 2005, 3:26 PM   #6
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I beg to differ with you Phil, the Fugi would focus, when the Canon wouldn't!,,, Maybe it's because it has a focus assist lamp?,,, or a better focusing system, I don't know why, but it did. Not only was there less noise all around with the Fugi, it was faster, and made the Canon look sluggish! Besides this camera has good high ISO scores, (compared to other cameras in it's class, or actually most other digicams) check the reviews. Here right from this forum, check these out:

http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...mp;forum_id=16
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Old Feb 3, 2005, 6:35 PM   #7
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MikDee wrote:
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I beg to differ with you Phil, the Fugi would focus, when the Canon wouldn't!,,, Maybe it's because it has a focus assist lamp?,,, or a better focusing system, I don't know why, but it did. Not only was there less noise all around with the Fugi, it was faster, and made the Canon look sluggish! Besides this camera has good high ISO scores, (compared to other cameras in it's class, or actually most other digicams) check the reviews. Here right from this forum, check these out:

http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...mp;forum_id=16
Dude - I agreed with you! If you go back and re-read my post, you'll find thatI said that I had no reason not to believe your statements about better focusing. However, my post addressed a separate issue - exposure -, and not focusing. I'll say it again, I would entirely believe that the Fuji is much better at focusing - in fact, I would bet it is an all-round better camera than the S1......

PhilR.


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Old Feb 3, 2005, 7:33 PM   #8
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nasticsmom wrote:
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Thanks for all the input!!

Can anyone suggest a camera with higher ISO's?? Would the Pana FZ20 be a better choice?
Nearly all cameras have high ISOs but the problem is that you get noise--a lot of it--as you increase ISO.

Most of the ultra-zooms get very noisy when you boost ISOs so I don't know if FZ20 would really help there.

I'm not an expert but the Canon G6 is supposed to have good ISO performance so you might want to look into that. The downside is that this isn't very good if you zoom (not to mention the fact that it doesn't have high zoom to begin with)...
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Old Feb 3, 2005, 10:04 PM   #9
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As quoted from imaging resource:
[*]Image Noise: Better than average image noise. The Fuji S5100 generally has pretty low noise for a 4-megapixel digicam, and seems to do a good job of not trading away too much subject detail to achieve its low noise levels. The noise levels were very low at ISO 64 and 100. Noise increases somewhat at ISO 200, and becomes quite apparent at ISO 400, but even there, the levels are lower than I'd expect from a camera of this price/performance range.

[/*][*]Night Shots: Surprisingly good low-light performance, with bright exposures and fairly low noise at even the darkest light level of this test. Poor AF performance in dim lighting, but the bright green AF-assist light helped quite a lot. The Fuji S5100 produced clear, bright, usable images down to the 1/16 foot-candle (0.67 lux) limit of my test at the 200 and 400 ISO settings. At ISO 100, images were bright as low as 1/8 foot-candle (1.3 lux), and at ISO 64, images were bright as low as 1/4 foot-candle (2.7 lux). With both ISO settings, the target was visible at the lower light levels, just slightly too dim for use. The Auto white balance setting resulted in a warm cast, which increased at the lower light levels. Image noise remained moderate at the lower ISO settings, though it increased to a moderately high level at ISO 400. Still, results are good at the higher sensitivity. With its autofocus-assist illuminator turned off, the S5100 was only able to focus at light levels a bit darker than 1/2 foot-candle. With the AF illuminator in use though, it could focus in more or less complete darkness. All in all, very respectable low-light capability for a camera of the S5100's class.

[/*]
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Old Feb 3, 2005, 11:09 PM   #10
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MikDee wrote:
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As quoted from imaging resource:


[*]Image Noise: Better than average image noise. The Fuji S5100 generally has pretty low noise for a 4-megapixel digicam, and seems to do a good job of not trading away too much subject detail to achieve its low noise levels. The noise levels were very low at ISO 64 and 100. Noise increases somewhat at ISO 200, and becomes quite apparent at ISO 400, but even there, the levels are lower than I'd expect from a camera of this price/performance range.

[/*][*]Night Shots: Surprisingly good low-light performance, with bright exposures and fairly low noise at even the darkest light level of this test. Poor AF performance in dim lighting, but the bright green AF-assist light helped quite a lot. The Fuji S5100 produced clear, bright, usable images down to the 1/16 foot-candle (0.67 lux) limit of my test at the 200 and 400 ISO settings. At ISO 100, images were bright as low as 1/8 foot-candle (1.3 lux), and at ISO 64, images were bright as low as 1/4 foot-candle (2.7 lux). With both ISO settings, the target was visible at the lower light levels, just slightly too dim for use. The Auto white balance setting resulted in a warm cast, which increased at the lower light levels. Image noise remained moderate at the lower ISO settings, though it increased to a moderately high level at ISO 400. Still, results are good at the higher sensitivity. With its autofocus-assist illuminator turned off, the S5100 was only able to focus at light levels a bit darker than 1/2 foot-candle. With the AF illuminator in use though, it could focus in more or less complete darkness. All in all, very respectable low-light capability for a camera of the S5100's class.
All well and good, but none of that will help nasticsmom in any way.

By the way, no one disbelieved you when you stated that the Fuji focuses easily in low light, so one has to wonder why you are still trying to prove the point....

PhilR.
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