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Digicam for low light action pictures

by fealloy / January 1, 2009 1:29 AM PST

As the title says I need a digital camera to take pics with action during low light conditions.
I have in mind the followind cameras:
Canon G9 or G10
Fuji f100
Nikon D40
Panasonic TZ5
Kodak D1012

Please have in mind that I take pictures with friends during low light conditions only for fun and keep memories. I am an armature photographer with 2 previous digicams:
Sony P50
Sony P100

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by fealloy / January 1, 2009 1:34 AM PST

Forgot to state that I prefer my camera to be able to get wide angle pictures.

Any other recommendations will be much appreciated.

What I want in descending order is:
1. Quality action pics in low light
2. IS
3. Wide angle
4. Portability

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Low Light
by snapshot2 Forum moderator / January 1, 2009 6:18 AM PST
In reply to: forgot

It depends.

If you want quality action pictures in low light, I hope you are talking about "while using flash".

If you want quality action pictures in low light without flash, none of the cameras you listed are suitable.
The Nikon D40 can be suitable if you have the right lens for it.
..A 17-55mm f/2.8 lens will cost about $1,140.

Perhaps you could give us more information.
1. flash or without flash?
2. define low light (indoors under room lights, dark bar/restaurant or a concert.
3. define action (sports, rock concert, normal people movement).

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by fealloy / January 1, 2009 9:52 AM PST
In reply to: Low Light

More info:
1. Without flash
2. Low lights means: bar, club, or wondering around outside and take pictures with friends
3. Action: eg. I am in Prague for holidays at old town square at 9 o clock in the evening. I admire the scenery and I want a picture that will include the scenery and my friends. With my current digital camera (sony p100) i can get wonderful scenery but blurry friends (at manual setting and 200iso on a tripod).

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by snapshot2 Forum moderator / January 1, 2009 11:24 AM PST
In reply to: info

It takes a certain amount of light to take a picture.
When the sun goes down, the only way the camera can get more light is to use a brightest lens setting, raise the ISO or slow down the shutter speed.

Your camera is probably set to f/2.8, the brightest lens setting.
And the ISO is set to 200 (its highest setting is 400).
Since you are getting motion blur, that indicates the the shutter speed is very slow.
Since the camera is on a tripod, the background comes out fine.

To stop people-motion-blur you have to use a shutter speed of at least 1/60th of a second. You are probably shooting with a shutter speed of around 1 second.

If you could shoot at ISO 3200, that would raise your shutter speed to about about 1/16th of a second. Still too slow to prevent all people motion blur.

Also the higher you raise the ISO setting, the more digital noise is generated. Digital noise is similar to the grain that is seen using film cameras with high speed film.
Here is an example of what digital noise looks like and what it does to your photos:

Usually the results with the ISO setting at 3200, is not pretty.


DSLR cameras have less noise when using high ISO settings, because of their large sensors. So if you used a DSLR camera with a lens faster than f/2.8 (something like f/1.8) you would likely get a blur free picture of pretty good quality, even if you hand held the camera.
A non zoom 50mm focal length, f/1.8 lens can be purchased for about $125. But that lens is not wide angle. Bright wide angle lenses are quite expensive. Bright zoom lenses are even more expensive.


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by fealloy / January 4, 2009 4:29 PM PST
In reply to: Info

Thank you snapshot2. That info with the lenses was something that I was not aware off.
I guess none of the above digital cameras will be able to do there job, right?
Can I find a non dslr camera that can use the stated non-zoom 50mm focal length, f/1.8 lens?

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by snapshot2 Forum moderator / January 4, 2009 11:41 PM PST
In reply to: f/1.8

Right ... none of those cameras will do the job.

Just about all of the DSLR camera makers have a f/1.8 lens at a good price. But those lenses will only work on DSLR cameras.

There is one non-DSLR camera you might take a look at.
Panasonic came out with a premium camera to compete against the Canon G10 premium camera.

The Panasonic LX3.
It has a f/2.0 lens.
The brightest lens available on a non-DSLR camera.
You can find it for about $400.

People who own the camera give it very high ratings.
It has possibilities for being better in low light than others.
(but not equal to a DSLR camera)

I suggest you read the full 18 page review of this camera.
See what you think.

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