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Old Feb 23, 2006, 10:12 AM   #1
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I'm looking for a camera in the $500 price range that will take good photos at concerts. Preferably 6 megapix but 5 will suffice. I also would prefer a pop-up flash because I have red eye in every pic from cams that don't have a pop-up flash...the red eye reduction doesn't seem to work very well. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I've read the pc world reviews, the user ratings on the Circuit City site and browsed around this site and I feel like a dog chasing my tail.
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Old Feb 23, 2006, 1:35 PM   #2
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Go for high ISO and a fast lens - don't think flash will work. I did some pics at the theatre and at concerts... The light is ok in most cases since artists will have spot lights on them or else. You need a "snappy" cam to capture the moment. Continuous shooting helps too.

My Oly 770 is nothing I'd recommend - low light focussing is bad in general and even worse at telephoto end.

SO you need:
- usable high ISO
- fast lens
- fast and reliable focussing, working in low light too.
- fast continues shooting (people move and gesture on stage etc.)

I usually squeeze 5-15% good pictures handheld at full telephoto out of a session - you might do better with better experience.
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Old Feb 23, 2006, 5:01 PM   #3
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Why not take a look at the Fuji S-5200. It can use up to ISO 1600 and has 10X optical zoom. You often see them on e-bay.

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Old Feb 24, 2006, 7:38 AM   #4
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I'm going to be photographing a concert too and had a friend tell me that I needed to make sure I used spot focusing too. I didn't see this mentioned. Does everybody agree?
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Old Feb 24, 2006, 8:22 AM   #5
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The S5200 is one of the cams I have been considering...here are the reasons I have not settled on it yet. According to PC World magazine reviews

"In low light, however, the camera struggled: Though the ISO setting can be pushed up to 1600, images taken at high settings showed a lot of noticeable noise. You can push the shutter speed up to an impressive 15 seconds, but there's no dark field subtraction or other noise reduction mode, so noise becomes a big problem at longer exposures. "

"And it's sometimes a little difficult to tell whether your photos are in focus or not, since the LCD screen is rather small."

Thanks for your input, I may end up buying the S5200 but I'm hoping that if there are any cams better suited to my needs someone will list them here.
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Old Feb 24, 2006, 8:53 AM   #6
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A lot will depend on the lighting. At a major event, you may be able to get by with something that gives you ISO 400 or 800 if you've got a bright enough lens.

But, at smaller venues with poor stage lighting, you may need ISO 1600 or 3200 with a bright prime (so, you're getting into DSLR territory and would be outside of your budget).

I can remember trying to take some photos at a concert in a nightclub in the Beaufort, SC area a while back with a camera limited to ISO 400, using it's largest available aperture (f/2.8 ).

Only one or two photos out of about 100 were even usable at all the stage lighting was so bad, even at smaller viewing sizes (and even those had some motion blur). I really needed a DSLR with a bright lens in those condtions.

In some of the smaller clubs in my area, light is even worse than that.

Viewing/Print sizes also come into play. At smaller sizes, any image problems (noise, blur) aren't going to be as noticeable, especially if you clean them up with tools like Neat Image or Noiseware

One other thing to take into consideration.... many venues won't allow a camera that looks too "professional", and some venues don't let you take photos at all. So, I'd make sure to check with organizers of any concerts you plan to take photos of.

As for lack of noise reduction on longer exposures for a model like the Fuji 5200, that's not going to be of any significance at all shooting at concerts.

For cameras that have a "dark frame subtraction" noise reduction feature, it only works on longer exposures anyway (usually 1 second or longer). It works by taking a second photo after you take a longer exposure, simulating the lens cap on. It then looks for hot pixels in the dark frame exposure and replaces the same pixel locations in the photo with values from adjacent pixels.

That kind of system can work reasonably well (as long as exposures aren't too long), since both the real photo and dark frame photo were taken at the same time, with the same settings, at the same camera temperature, hot pixels would usually be in the same place in both.

You won't need to worry about that type of noise reduction systrem for concerts, since if your shutter speeds are that slow, your photos would be too blurry to use anyway.


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Old Mar 3, 2006, 10:08 AM   #7
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I'll be making my purchase next week and was planning on getting the Fujifilm S5200, but I just checked out the Canon PowerShot G6 and it looks pretty good. Any thoughts?
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Old Mar 3, 2006, 10:18 AM   #8
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The Canon G-6 is a fine camera with a fast F 2.0 lens, however it is limited to a maximum ISO setting of 400 and limited zoom. You would get morelow light level capabilitywith the Fuji S-5200 with its much high maximum ISO setting, even though it only has a maximum (the brightest) aperature of F 2.8.

Why not buy the S-5200 with a try it kind of purchase. Meaning that you could return it if it did not do well with your primary goal of concert photos.

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Old Mar 3, 2006, 10:20 AM   #9
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If you are very close to the stage, the lens on the G6 is twice as bright as most (starts out at f/2), so with better stage lighting, you might be able to get away with it (taking lots of photos so that you have some that aren't as blurry).

But, as you zoom in, it loses about half the light on the long end. So, you'd need shutter speeds twice as long.

The Fuji mentioned has a much longer zoom lens, and it's going to be about as bright at the same focal length the G6 maxes out at (equivalent to 140mm). The Fuji also has ISO 1600 available, allowing shutter speeds 4 times as fast as ISO 400 (the max on the G6) at the same aperture settings in the same lighting.

You don't want to use ISO 1600 unless you really need it because noise will be higher. But, if light is low, it's nice to have.

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Old Mar 3, 2006, 10:25 AM   #10
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Thank you. Both responses were very helpful.
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