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Old Oct 28, 2005, 7:25 PM   #21
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Robb wrote:
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Sarah/ultrazoom/mtclimber
I don't have much to add to this thread, but please tell me these are NOT all the same person!


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Old Oct 28, 2005, 8:05 PM   #22
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Sybil???

the Hun


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Old Oct 29, 2005, 9:14 PM   #23
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Came in late on this one! My thoughts/experiences. First of all, you should know I'm not anywhere close to a professional, but consider myself capable. I have a Panasonic FZ-10 and for outdoors AND concerts it does fine IF set up properly (it is 12x plus I have a Canon TCON 14B zoom for it.) If you don't know the 'ins and outs' of apetures etc. and don't want to learn, the camera will probably frustrate you. dSLR is definitely the way to go IF you have the bucks since the dynamic range will be greater and you'll be able to take non-flash shots more often with them. Personally, I don't think anyone should buy a dSLR until they've 'grown' with a non-dSLR but that's partially because I see dSLR users who get crappy pictures, don't know it, OR think it is because of the camera and not them. So while you definitely CAN get better images in low-light using a dSLR, your mileage may vary anyway if you set it up wrong (though you do have a better chance of success.)
Even if I owned a dSLR, I'd still own a small pocket camera. In fact, I just ordered a Fuji F10 (can't get the F11 in the USA) for 'people' pictures. It is small enough to fit in my pocket so I can carry it around and is supposedly the best small footprint camera for low light imaging (1600 ISO). Yes it will probably be quite noisey if the pictures are blown up, but I don't expect such pictures to be larger than a 4x6 or 5x7 anyway. At those sizes it will be fine. I bought it because a) my wife is too intimidated by the larger cameras b) I get tired of being a 'tourist' lugging the larger camera around and c) while it does ok indoors, it's too 'hard' to get good 'people' shots with, especially in low light. Please note, I've searched and searched and have come to the conclusion that a small camera is a pretty big compromise. The perfect 'ultra' does not exist and probably won't in the near future. I'm hoping my F10 will do well for the 'people' shots. For the larger camera, if you can swing it a dSLR is the better way to go, but the ultra-zoom non dSLRs CAN work. There area TON of images at the Panasonic forum and others. Check them out !
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Old Oct 29, 2005, 10:34 PM   #24
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When Sybil went on vacation, didn't she usually bring the 15 other personalities along with her?

http://stevesforums.com/forums/view_...397060#p397060

...whoops...

the Hun

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Old Nov 1, 2005, 2:51 PM   #25
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One thing I don't like is the lights. Were they fluorescent lights?

What can be done to fix that?

I too am looking for a new camera with a good dynamic range and wide ISO for indoor low light shots.

Rebel /20D The 20D is a bit old and there should be something coming out sooner??

KM

schmiedel wrote:
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Hi,

As promised, here are some photos taken with the S2 with low light, handheld and with equivalent focal lengths from 28 to 100mm, shutter speeds of 1/20s to 1/6 (here you can see what IS does for the camera). Aperture was always 2.7 I think, and ISO 400.









You can see the third one is kind of overexposed, this was because I played with exposure compensation (it's not a good picture, I just upleaded it to show different situations). I like the last one most, it was taken with 1/6s and 100mm zoom, it's a great shot assuming it was taken at 1.00AM, without moon and only with the lighting you see in the pictures. You can see the 1/6s on the blurry dancing people.

This were my first experiments with the S2, with a tripod I would have gotten even better pictures, but I am 100% sure there's nothing to do to take night pictures with the quality of a dSLR.

Regards
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Old Nov 1, 2005, 5:57 PM   #26
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Okay, I think I`ll toss my 1 cent (sorry...ain`t even got 2 cents) inworth of concert pic info. I bought the PanasonicFZ20about 7~8 months ago with the idea of concert (low Light) pics. What attracted me to the FZ20 was the 2.8 lense, with 12x zoom, and image stabilization. Image stabilization seems to work well on the FZ20.

The camera does indeed seem to have a lot of noise at the 400 iso setting. The biggest drawback of the FZ line in low light situations is the electronic viewfinder just about goes to black! Half the time I can`t see exactley what I`m shooting at in low light! For that reason I am saving up now for a Pentax DS2 DSLR. I understand that Panasonic that has somewhat improved the viewfinder situation with the new FZ30, but that it`s still not anywhere as sharp as a DSLR.

The FZ20 can take some good existing light concert pics. With some simple, andFREE downloadable pic editing software like Irfan view, and noise ware, the picture quality does indeed make a marked improvement.

Here`s a sample concertpic from the FZ20. I do use a lot of exsposure compensation, and the shutter speeds are usually around (and sometimes below) 1/30th of a second at iso 400. At that low of a shutter speed, stabilization is important. Yes, I did use noise ware to clean it up a bit, and to sharpen it.

S`later, JH :G
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Old Nov 1, 2005, 6:21 PM   #27
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That wasn`t the pic I meant to post,...but you get the idea. I copied the pic from aboveand did a quickie "tweaking" with the editingsoftware.

S`later (again), JH:G
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Old Nov 1, 2005, 7:16 PM   #28
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John H wrote:
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....The biggest drawback of the FZ line in low light situations is the electronic viewfinder just about goes to black! Half the time I can`t see exactley what I`m shooting at in low light!
John, I think that's the single biggest drawback to the FZ20, and probably other cameras in that line prior to the FZ30. I haven't found it a problem at a concert where stage lights are used; that's really not a low light situation, although there's usually an unlit background that really brings out the noise. But in very dim light, it is a problem.

The other thing worth bearing in mind is that the Panasonic FZ cameras are not for people who don't want to do post processing. Sometimes it's noise, sometimes it's color balance, but I find the images almost always need some touching up. Anyone who gets excited when they encounter the advertising slogan, "Print your photos without having to use a computer!" should probably stay away from these cameras.

The new Fuji ultrazooms are also worth considering.

Catching up on an earlier post: Charlie, I think you'll really like the combination of Fuji F10 and your FZ. That's what I use, and I feel I'm prepared for most situations. I don't plan to print as large at 13 x 17, so I'm not going to lose a lot of sleep over the noisy 100% crop!

I think the ideal ultrazoom would combine the Panasonic (Leica) lens, the Fuji sensor, and Canon's ergonomics (but with the Panasonic focus ring). Of course, that's not going to happen!
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Old Nov 1, 2005, 9:09 PM   #29
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Hi,

Sorry for the delayed answer. About my picture, I don't really remember if it was fluorecent light, but it was some kind of power-saving lamp for sure. However, the main problem with these pictures was that all the lighting in the scene came from these lamps, so there was not much to do to avoid these spots to become overexposed if you wanted to see anything else (I think even with a dSLR it would have been an interesting challenge to get a stunning picture out of that scene). However, what i wanted to show is the average quality you can get with the Canon S2 in really bad lighting conditions; I'm pretty sure I would have gotten better results in some theatre with a stage illuminated from the back, but well, that's not the point of this thread anyway. :G

To add some info, I had a great time with both the LCD screen and the viewfinder during these scenes, I really almost never use the viewfinder in the Canon, even in bright sunlight I can use the screen without trouble. However, when using the viewfinder, it works great, no matter what light conditions are present.

Another great feature of the Canon S2 is that the screen always tries to preview the picture according to the shutter speed, ISO, aperture, and other settings you choose (if it's in auto mode it will also work this way). When not pressing the shutter halfway down, it's somewhat imprecise, but when focusing it just shows the image with coloring and brightness quite similar as it will result, so normally if you can't see it on the screen you will for sure not see it on the pictures (the only exception to this rule is when using flash, of course).

Regards
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Old Nov 1, 2005, 9:34 PM   #30
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By the way,

I want to add another comparision. Check this picture:



Please click on the thumbnail to see it in full size (to avoid too much bytes on this page).

I took this picture with the Canon Powershot S2, full zoom (432mm equivalent), ISO400, F/3.5, 1/25s. These values seem to show a tripod picture, but NO, it was taken handheld from outside the church (let's say 100 feet from the picture). The picture is not resized, I just cut out the area, so it's a 1:1 cut of the 5MP image.

A dSLR would have gotten a far better result using a tripod, but never handheld unless you had a Canon dSLR with a 1000USD+ Canon IS lense or a Konika-Minolta 5D/7D with some good zoom lense.

This picture is really far away from being a professional shot, but with some noise reduction and a little color treatment, it could be printed with decent quality on 4X or maybe even a little more.

So, returning to the thread's title, it's clear that all depends on if you're doing it professoinal, do not hesitate to buy the 500-1500USD dSLR camera and some stunning, expensive lenses to get really good results. The same applies if you can spend the money and that makes you happy (I would really spend it if I could).

However, if you're going to spend around 500-600USD to take pictures as a hobby, and you need the best possible results, look for a camera with IS, this can really help on ultra-zoom pictures. My best choice between the Kodak, Panasonic, Sony and Canon was the Canon, however every camera has it's market (if it hadn't it wouldn't even be sold). So it's a matter of comparing features and image quality, maybe newer Fuji models with image stabilization and high ISO capabilities can get a good place in this market (I am not really a Fuji fan but it's a matter of opinion)..

Regards
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