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Old Aug 24, 2005, 9:04 AM   #1
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Which long zoom camera can take beautiful pictures in low light condition as well as the Fuji F10. Please advise. Many thanks.
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Old Aug 24, 2005, 9:13 AM   #2
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Well, if you're talking non-DSLR models, none of them. The F10 is really in a class by itself for higher ISO speed performance in a non-DSLR model. Fuji has some new models coming out, but I'm not convinced the noise levels will be as good as the F10 yet. I'll reserve judgement until seeing some reviews.

But, even the F10 isn't going to work very well at longer focal lengths. The lens on the F10 stops down to a maximum available aperture of f/4.9 at full zoom. So, more than twice as much light reaches the sensor through it's lens at the wide angle position. Even using higher ISO speeds, f/4.9 is probably not going to be bright enough for many indoor conditions without a flash.

I'm afraid you'll need to go with a much larger and heavier solution if you really need longer focal lengths in low light.

I'd probably take a look the new Konica-Minolta 5D. It's got built in anti-shake (to reduce blur from camera shake, which will be magnified as more zoom is used), and will sell for $799 in the U.S. for the body only.

The lens is what will cost you. You'll want to either stick with bright primes indoors, or at a minimum, a zoom with a constant aperture of f/2.8 throughout it's zoom range. How long do you need the lens for low light use? You can get a Sigma 70-210mm f/2.8 for around $850 new now. I've seen these selling used in the $400-500 range lately if you shop around. But, this is a larger and heavier solution. You'll have a 1.5x crop factor (a.k.a., focal length multiplier), so this lens would work like a 105-315mm lens on a DSLR like the KM 5D.

If you don't need longer focal ranges indoors, something like a 50mm f/1.7 prime would be a good bet. You can find these for around $50 used now, and it's a small and light solution for existing light shooting without a flash. Then, buy a lighter zoom for outdoor use (you may not want/need the weight of an f/2.8 zoom in better light).



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Old Aug 24, 2005, 9:40 AM   #3
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Great answer but an answer that I did not want to hear :-)

I would have bought the F10 if I can at least zoom it at 6x. For $300 it is truly a bargain.

Thanks much for the quick response.






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Old Aug 24, 2005, 9:46 AM   #4
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Exactly what conditions are you looking to use the camera in?

You may be able to get by with one of the Super Zoom models if your subjects are stationary shooting without a tripod. Some have anti-shake or lens stabilization built in now to help reduce blur from camera shake, and some have f/2.8 available at full zoom shooting ISO 400 (which will be noisy, but may be sufficient depending on what you're shooting).

I'd give more info on what you're trying to shoot.

Also, you can use a flash if it's permitted and you can get close enough to stay within a camera's flash range (or the range of an external flash) to get around the need for better high ISO performance.




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Old Aug 24, 2005, 10:17 AM   #5
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I want to congratulate you on one of the best answers I have seen to the problem I have-low light shooting of action at long focal lengths without toting an expensive cannon.

I am hoping that Fuji will have enough sense to take the F-10 and make changes so that it can be used in more advanced (user set) modes.

SLK
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Old Aug 24, 2005, 10:49 AM   #6
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I would mainly use camera for taking wedding pictures at dinnerreception. Thanks for your help Jim.
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Old Aug 24, 2005, 11:03 AM   #7
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cuthien wrote:
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I would mainly use camera for taking wedding pictures at dinnerreception. Thanks for your help Jim.
OK, now you're starting to worry me. ;-) Go into a little more detail there. Are you talking professionally (mostly wedding pictures) or just a friends and families weddings for fun?

What print sizes are you looking for?

Do you mean wedding receptions or weddings and receptions (the "wedding pictures at dinner reception" part isn't very clear)? Do you need to take photos where flash is not allowed at Weddings (i.e., during the ceremony in some cases)?


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Old Aug 24, 2005, 11:39 AM   #8
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A friend asked me to take photos on her wedding day. I am not worry much about the ceremony part as it will be outdoor. At night, there will be dinner reception and I dont think there will be much light there - there would be lot of candles. I can use flash but I just dont want to get into extra equipment, horseshoe, etc....

Now is a good excuse for me to get a new camera as this is for my wife's best friend andmy wife would let me buy new toy. I just can't pass on this golden opportunity. $500 is max that I can spend.


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Old Aug 24, 2005, 12:49 PM   #9
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OK...

First of all, read this. Even though it's primarily based around film cameras, many of the same things apply to Digital (especially concerning spare equipment).

Amateur Wedding Photography by Karen Simmons

What's your timeframe? I don't think you really need an Ultra Zoom type camera for the wedding reception you're talking about. But, if you want one for other purposes, some of the newer Fuji models should be hitting the stores soon. Some vendors are taking preorders now:

http://www50.shopping.com/xFS?KW=fuj...s5200&FD=0

This one will have ISO speeds up to 1600 (but I don't know how the image quality will be, or if that ISO speed is available at all resolutions). I also don't know how good or bad it's Autofocus will be (and the difficulty of using manual focus if needed).

As for it's built in flash, it's showing a range of 4 meters/13.1 feet. But, I've got a feeling that's wrong (even though it's listed that way in the specs and users guide). Or, it's based on lower ISO speeds. The S5100 (which maxes out at ISO 400, and Auto is likely to be more like ISO 200) has a 14.8 feet range (it's lens is slightly brighter at f/3.1 versus f/3.5 of the S5200 at full zoom). It looks like the flash is probably the same one.

So, given the aperture differences, and the increased ISO speed of the newer S5200, I suspect that the flash is not rated correctly (I think it's likely to be much further). You should get 1.4x the flash range each time you double the ISO speed. We'll have to wait until we see some reviews to find out. They could have limited the range to speed up recycle times (but I doubt it).

Personally, I'd buy a camera based on what you want more for long term, versus what you may want for just one wedding reception. Flash should be fine at a wedding reception and you can remove some of the redeye using software later if you get any. But, I'd encourage a model with an external flash if possible (or at least one with the flash located further away from the lens). I'd be more concerned about Autofocus in low light. You canuse your feet for zoom.

I'd make sure to bring a spare camera, too. Heck, it may be easier to buy an inexpensive used 35mm with a bright lens and shootfilm. I just found a used Maxxum 7000 on Ebay not long ago for $49 including a 50mm f/1.7 lens and a small Minolta 1800 flash. You can get relatively clean ISO 800 film now (for example, Fuji Superia X-TRA 800), and have fast manual focus at your disposal if light is too low for reliable Autofocus (with an f/1.7 lens that's more than twice as bright as an f/2.8 lens).

But, you don't really want to use higher ISO speed film, or higher ISO speed camera settings if you can avoid it.

I'd still use a flash if I were you (staying within the flash range), and I'd make sure to practice a lot ahead of time in the same conditions with any cameras you plan on bringing along.


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Old Aug 24, 2005, 2:23 PM   #10
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Thank you Jim - I really appreciated you taking the time to help me. I've always wanted a long zoom camera and getting a camera for my friend's wedding is just an excuse for another camera. I will wait out for the Fuji 5200 or perhaps Kodak P8500 which are both due to come out in a couple weeks or so. Thanks again for the great advise.
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