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A small camera for stage photos?

by amcom1 / January 12, 2010 4:58 AM PST

Can anybody recommend a decent point and shoot camera for stage photos. Got two kids and occasionally they have performance on stage. My current Canon A610 just can?t do the job. Don?t like the DSLR because they are too bulky. Also it would be nice if the camera can do optical zoom in video recording.

Is a Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3 or a FZ35 good? They have > 10x optical zoom but not sure if they can take stage photos.

Thanks a lot.

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re: A small camera for stage photos?
by MarkatNite / January 12, 2010 11:40 AM PST

A few questions:

What's your budget? If you can afford it, I would strongly recommend you go with an m4/3 camera (Oly E-P1/2, Pany GF-1) because, with the right lens (i.e. Pany 20mm f1.7), you will get much better low-light performance in a package that's not a heck of a lot bigger than the FZ35 that you're considering.

What video res/frame rate do you need? If you can't afford the any of the above m4/3 cams, I would recommend the Canon S90 (f2.0 and 1/1.7 sensor) over either the ZS3 (f3.3 and 1/2.33 sensor) or FZ35 (also 1/2.33 sensor but f2.8 lens) for low-light situations. However, max video is 640x480@30fps.

Why the interest in a superzoom (10x+)? In a typical (small-ish) high school theater, the 300mm zoom of the ZS3 will probably be overkill, and the 400mm FZ35 moreso.

HTH - Mark

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It Depends
by snapshot2 Forum moderator / January 12, 2010 11:46 AM PST

It depends upon why you say "Canon A610 just can't do the job".

If you object to the performance of the A610 video during stage performance, you should really look at getting a Camcorder.

If you object to noise in the A610 photos, a new camera is not going to help.

If the A610 just doesn't have enough optical zoom, the FZ35 will be a better choice than the ZS3. But you need to be ready to learn how to use the manual controls on the FZ35.

So, why do you object to the A610?


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by Bermellon / January 12, 2010 1:37 PM PST

You are asking too much.
That's because stages are dark and there's only a way to take a decent picture without flash: long exposure.
Compact models are automatic, so manual exposure it's almost impossible (Thanks to Sony, this feature was removed in every compact model).
Long exposure has a problem. It will not see moving objects, and a tripod is necessary.

Anyway, Sony made a different kind of Sensor that catches more light.
The model is DSC-WX1 so it's a nice idea to go to a Sony Shop and check it. Not sure if it Zooms in Video Mode.

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stage photos....
by Papa Echo / January 12, 2010 10:49 PM PST

Sometimes, you need to use the right tool for the right job,whether you like it or not.... Stage photography means low light and movement.... What you need is a entry level model works like a P&S...

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stage photos
by amcom1 / January 13, 2010 2:50 AM PST

Thanks for the input and recommendations.

My budget for this is about $350 so obviously both E-P1/2 and GF-1 that Mark mentioned are out of my range. I checked Canon S90 on People are happy with the low light capability but too bad it doesn?t allow optical zoom during video recording, though 640x480@30fps is acceptable. Super zoom is a plus but not essential. Usually I was sitting about 50 feet (15 meters) away from the stage.

The complaint for my old A610 is the picture quality of stage photos. It is quite fuzzy and some ?grains? on the picture, thought the photos other than stage shooting are very good.

DSC-WX1 may be a good choice. According to the product description, it has ?Exmor R CMOS sensor for stunning low light performance?. It can do HD video and optical zoom during recording. But I need to do more research on this.

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re: Exmor R CMOS sensor for stunning low light
by MarkatNite / January 13, 2010 11:16 AM PST
In reply to: stage photos

Speaking of new sensor tech, there's also Fuji--e.g. their S200EXR--so you may want to have a look at that, as well. Especially since the Sony WX1 doesn't shoot RAW, while both the Fuji and Canon S90 do. (FYI RAW can be helpful because stage lighting can often throw off a camera's auto-white balance, but RAW allows you to correct this "in post".)


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Finepix S200EXR
by amcom1 / January 13, 2010 10:10 PM PST

Thanks Mark. Will do some research on this.

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