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Old Sep 3, 2005, 7:05 AM   #1
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I was wondering if you could help me with a quick question. I was wondering what technology / feature I should be looking for in camera's that I want to use in low light conditions. I have had two digital cams bought for me but they are of very little use for low light conditions.

I go to alot of local live music gigs and usually all my pics come out crap. I wanted to know how I could improve on this and if you could recommend a good camera for this. Will I just have to bite the bullet and get one with an external flash?

I am a student so the lower the price the better and the smaller the cam the better too.
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Old Sep 3, 2005, 9:50 AM   #2
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My impression is that a digicam's ability in low light is determined by the price. A big sensor (high buck), good electronics, and a fast lens (something like US$2-4,000, lens only) if you want to avoid using a flash.
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Old Sep 3, 2005, 10:05 AM   #3
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Yep, I like to take photos in local restaurants and clubs that have live music, too.

See myfirst post on this pagefor the solution I'm considering:


If you're on a budget (and/or don't want to lug a larger camera around), also take a look at the new Fuji Finepix F10. It seems to be in a class by itself for higher ISO speed performance in a subcompact model right now.

It's lens isn't the brightest (so you'll want to avoid using any zoom to let more light through to the sensor), but it's photos as ISO speeds are increased have less noise compared to other subcompact models (and the F10 hashigher available ISO speeds, too).

Themain factors that are going to impact your ability to get better photos in low light of non-stationary subjects if you don't want to use a flash, are ISO speeds (in low light, each time you double the ISO speed, a camera can use shutter speeds twice as fast) andlens brightness (that's where bright primes come in, since you can buy them with larger available aperture compared to zoom lenses.

AF reliability can impact your success, too (another thing that's good about a DSLR model, since their Autofocus usually works better compared to non-DSLR models, and you've got Manual Focus to fall back on if light gets too low for it to work well).

Take a look at the online exposure calculator to get a better idea of how ISO speed (shown as film speed in the calculator), Lens Brightness (largest available aperture settings, represented by smaller f/stop numbers) and Lighting impact shutter speeds you can expect to achieve (and still get proper exposure).


The little Fuji's pics don't look too bad at ISO 800 (and you've got ISO 1600 available in a pinch). Many subcompact models don't work well at ISO speeds above around 200 or so (and even that ISO speed will have visible noise from many models).

You'restill going to get some photos with motion blur inmany indoor conditions with it (but, it's going to be better than most non-DSLR models). Even a DSLR can't work miracles if lighting gets too low (as in many restaurants and clubs),. However,your percentage of keepers should go up substantially using a DSLR with a bright prime.

Also, popular DSLR models go to ISO 1600 or 3200. I'd avoid these settingsunless necessary. But, sometimes it's better to have noise compared to motion blur.

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Old Sep 3, 2005, 2:00 PM   #4
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Noise isn't much of an issue using e.g. a tool like NeatImage. Version 5 cleans up images well.

My Casio QV-R62 at ISO 500 is teeming with noise. NeatImage took good care of it.

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Old Sep 4, 2005, 8:25 PM   #5
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For less than $300 (US) you can purchase a great low light capable camera, the Fuji F-10. It can handle ISO setting all the way up to ISO 1600, and using high ISPO settings is the real key to excellent low light digital photos.

Here is a good example of a no flash indoor photo taken with the F-10.

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