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advice for pictures in low-light?

 
 
Chris C
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      12-25-2003
Here's my situation:

A big part of my job is conducting in-home interviews with a wide
variety of people. With the subject's permission I document our talks
with a digital video camera and a digital still camera (mostly for
internal review, not for high-quality publication). Although I have
prior consent, it's critical that my recording doesn't disrupt the
flow of the conversation: the video--amazingly--can be unobtrusive;
the flash of my current Nikon Coolpix 3500 is not.

I love the Coolpix. I can cradle it in my hands at waist level, glance
down, and snap a quick picture. I can even palm the camera and shoot a
picture between my fingers. The battery lasts a long time, the
resolution is totally adequate, the interface is intuitive; it's a
joy. BUT ... if I'm indoors in poor light, it's hard to get decently
sharp shots. I wouldn't mind if the Coolpix warmed up and took
pictures a little faster, too.

I'm trying to decide what I can change to get the most picture quality
improvement without losing flexibility. I've thought about:

1. Improving ambient light and steadying the camera. (I do this as
opportunity allows)
2. Using the flash. (I'd rather not do this)
3. Decreasing the picture resolution? (Could this speed up the
capture, making the camera less sensitive to motion?)
4. Getting a faster memeory card? (Would this help?)
5. Getting a better camera.

As to the last, I am certainly tempted by the form factor, features,
and price of the Kyocera SL300R. I'm just a novice--any advice about
improving pictures with my current camera or a better camera choice
would be greatly, greatly appreciated.

Many thanks,

chris
 
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DHB
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Posts: n/a
 
      12-25-2003
Chris C Wrote:

"Chris C" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed) om...
> Here's my situation:
>
> A big part of my job is conducting in-home interviews with a wide
> variety of people. With the subject's permission I document our talks
> with a digital video camera and a digital still camera (mostly for
> internal review, not for high-quality publication). Although I have
> prior consent, it's critical that my recording doesn't disrupt the
> flow of the conversation: the video--amazingly--can be unobtrusive;
> the flash of my current Nikon Coolpix 3500 is not.
>
> I love the Coolpix. I can cradle it in my hands at waist level, glance
> down, and snap a quick picture. I can even palm the camera and shoot a
> picture between my fingers. The battery lasts a long time, the
> resolution is totally adequate, the interface is intuitive; it's a
> joy. BUT ... if I'm indoors in poor light, it's hard to get decently
> sharp shots. I wouldn't mind if the Coolpix warmed up and took
> pictures a little faster, too.
>
> I'm trying to decide what I can change to get the most picture quality
> improvement without losing flexibility. I've thought about:
>
> 1. Improving ambient light and steadying the camera. (I do this as
> opportunity allows)
> 2. Using the flash. (I'd rather not do this)
> 3. Decreasing the picture resolution? (Could this speed up the
> capture, making the camera less sensitive to motion?)
> 4. Getting a faster memeory card? (Would this help?)
> 5. Getting a better camera.
>
> As to the last, I am certainly tempted by the form factor, features,
> and price of the Kyocera SL300R. I'm just a novice--any advice about
> improving pictures with my current camera or a better camera choice
> would be greatly, greatly appreciated.
>
> Many thanks,
>
> chris


Chris C.,
not sure if your serious or just trolling for responses.
Seems to me that if your question & need is legitimate, your needs should be
able to be met with almost any digital video camcorder. Most camcorders
will allow your to capture & print an individual frame from the video.

If for some reason this is not a high enough quality still resolution
for your needs, consider a DSLR like the Digital Rebel / 300D with a $70
50mm f1.8 II lens. This lens will act like an 80mm lens on this DSLR due to
it's 1.6x FOV crop factor. Since DSLRs including this 1, have such low
noise you should be able to shoot at ISO 800 with more than acceptable noise
levels in most indoor lighting without a flash. Trigger the tripod mounted
DSLR by hand held wired remote.

"1. Improving ambient light and steadying the camera. (I do this as
opportunity allows)"

Yes where needed, bounce a flood light off the ceiling if it white so
they won't have a bright light in their face & fell like they are being
interrogated. Better still would be to use a large reflector to redirect
natural outside lighting toward your subjects (obviously only works in the
day time). Tripod mounted camera, absolutely!

"2. Using the flash. (I'd rather not do this)

Not recommended as it's too intrusive!

"3. Decreasing the picture resolution? (Could this speed up the
capture, making the camera less sensitive to motion?)"

No, camera resolution will only effect speed if your shooting in bust
mode, otherwise in single shot mode it has not effect.

"4. Getting a faster memory card? (Would this help?)"

No, again no effect for the same reasons as above!

"5. Getting a better camera."

Yes, a DSLR with a 50mm F1.8 lens (effective 80mm on Digital Rebel /
300D or 10D), so it can be mounted at a considerable distance away & still
take quick close-ups pictures. Again a wired remote would be the least
distracting but an IR remote might work as well but you will have to point
it at the camera which will likely be behind you.

Hope this information helps. If cost is a problem than do option #1 &
set your camera's ISO higher & consider reasonably priced noise reduction
software such as "Neat Image".

Hope this information is helpful.

Respectfully, DHB


 
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David J Taylor
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Posts: n/a
 
      12-25-2003
> 1. Improving ambient light and steadying the camera. (I do this as
> opportunity allows)


Something in the Nikon swivel range, 990, 995, 4500, allows a much greater
flexibility in lens orientation relative to the body. So in low-light
situations you can rest the body on a stable surface, table, desk, shelf
etc., and move the lens to cover your subject. It gives a flexibility and
potential for really sharp pictures that no other format offers....

These cameras are now available quite cheaply.

Cheers,
David


 
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Dave B.
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      12-25-2003
Why not crank up the ISO setting ?

Dave

"Chris C" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed) om...
> Here's my situation:
>
> A big part of my job is conducting in-home interviews with a wide
> variety of people. With the subject's permission I document our talks
> with a digital video camera and a digital still camera (mostly for
> internal review, not for high-quality publication). Although I have
> prior consent, it's critical that my recording doesn't disrupt the
> flow of the conversation: the video--amazingly--can be unobtrusive;
> the flash of my current Nikon Coolpix 3500 is not.
>
> I love the Coolpix. I can cradle it in my hands at waist level, glance
> down, and snap a quick picture. I can even palm the camera and shoot a
> picture between my fingers. The battery lasts a long time, the
> resolution is totally adequate, the interface is intuitive; it's a
> joy. BUT ... if I'm indoors in poor light, it's hard to get decently
> sharp shots. I wouldn't mind if the Coolpix warmed up and took
> pictures a little faster, too.
>
> I'm trying to decide what I can change to get the most picture quality
> improvement without losing flexibility. I've thought about:
>
> 1. Improving ambient light and steadying the camera. (I do this as
> opportunity allows)
> 2. Using the flash. (I'd rather not do this)
> 3. Decreasing the picture resolution? (Could this speed up the
> capture, making the camera less sensitive to motion?)
> 4. Getting a faster memeory card? (Would this help?)
> 5. Getting a better camera.
>
> As to the last, I am certainly tempted by the form factor, features,
> and price of the Kyocera SL300R. I'm just a novice--any advice about
> improving pictures with my current camera or a better camera choice
> would be greatly, greatly appreciated.
>
> Many thanks,
>
> chris



 
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Tore Lund
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Posts: n/a
 
      12-25-2003
Dave B. wrote:
> Why not crank up the ISO setting ?


Because that cranking handle is missing on the Coolpix 3500
--
Tore

 
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JK
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Posts: n/a
 
      12-25-2003
The lenses on these are quite slow at the telephoto end. These would
be poor choices for his application. A Digital Rebel with a 50mm f1.8
or 50mm f1.4 lens would be great. He can crank the ISO up to 1600
on it if he needs to for shooting in extremely low light. If that is too
expensive and bulky, an Olympus C5050 with its f1.8-2.6 lens might
do the job? A Canon G3 or G5 with their f2-f3 lens might also be good?

David J Taylor wrote:

> > 1. Improving ambient light and steadying the camera. (I do this as
> > opportunity allows)

>
> Something in the Nikon swivel range, 990, 995, 4500, allows a much greater
> flexibility in lens orientation relative to the body. So in low-light
> situations you can rest the body on a stable surface, table, desk, shelf
> etc., and move the lens to cover your subject. It gives a flexibility and
> potential for really sharp pictures that no other format offers....
>
> These cameras are now available quite cheaply.
>
> Cheers,
> David


 
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David J Taylor
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      12-25-2003
> The lenses on these are quite slow at the telephoto end. These would
> be poor choices for his application. A Digital Rebel with a 50mm f1.8
> or 50mm f1.4 lens would be great. He can crank the ISO up to 1600
> on it if he needs to for shooting in extremely low light. If that is too
> expensive and bulky, an Olympus C5050 with its f1.8-2.6 lens might
> do the job? A Canon G3 or G5 with their f2-f3 lens might also be good?


With respect, what you are proposing as a DSLR solution would cost 5 to 10
times my suggestions.

Perhaps you have not owned one of the swivel-body line of Nikon cameras
and am not therefore aware of their capabilities in that area? I suspect
that neither the Olympus not Canon solutions offer a swivel body. We have
had some quite remarkable results.

Happy Christmas,
David


 
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Paul Rubin
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      12-26-2003
"David J Taylor" <(E-Mail Removed)-this-bit> writes:
> Something in the Nikon swivel range, 990, 995, 4500, allows a much greater
> flexibility in lens orientation relative to the body. So in low-light
> situations you can rest the body on a stable surface, table, desk, shelf
> etc., and move the lens to cover your subject. It gives a flexibility and
> potential for really sharp pictures that no other format offers....
>
> These cameras are now available quite cheaply.


They also can't AF worth a darn in low light.
 
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someone
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      12-26-2003

On Thu, 25 Dec 2003 08:24:06 GMT, "DHB" <(E-Mail Removed)> posted:

>Chris C Wrote:
>
>"Chris C" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
>news:(E-Mail Removed). com...
>> Here's my situation:
>>
>> A big part of my job is conducting in-home interviews with a wide
>> variety of people. With the subject's permission I document our talks
>> with a digital video camera and a digital still camera (mostly for
>> internal review, not for high-quality publication). Although I have
>> prior consent, it's critical that my recording doesn't disrupt the
>> flow of the conversation: the video--amazingly--can be unobtrusive;
>> the flash of my current Nikon Coolpix 3500 is not.
>>
>> I love the Coolpix. I can cradle it in my hands at waist level, glance
>> down, and snap a quick picture. I can even palm the camera and shoot a
>> picture between my fingers. The battery lasts a long time, the
>> resolution is totally adequate, the interface is intuitive; it's a
>> joy. BUT ... if I'm indoors in poor light, it's hard to get decently
>> sharp shots. I wouldn't mind if the Coolpix warmed up and took
>> pictures a little faster, too.
>>
>> I'm trying to decide what I can change to get the most picture quality
>> improvement without losing flexibility. I've thought about:
>>
>> 1. Improving ambient light and steadying the camera. (I do this as
>> opportunity allows)
>> 2. Using the flash. (I'd rather not do this)
>> 3. Decreasing the picture resolution? (Could this speed up the
>> capture, making the camera less sensitive to motion?)
>> 4. Getting a faster memeory card? (Would this help?)
>> 5. Getting a better camera.
>>
>> As to the last, I am certainly tempted by the form factor, features,
>> and price of the Kyocera SL300R. I'm just a novice--any advice about
>> improving pictures with my current camera or a better camera choice
>> would be greatly, greatly appreciated.
>>
>> Many thanks,
>>
>> chris

>
> Chris C.,
> not sure if your serious or just trolling for responses.
>Seems to me that if your question & need is legitimate, your needs should be
>able to be met with almost any digital video camcorder. Most camcorders
>will allow your to capture & print an individual frame from the video.
>
> If for some reason this is not a high enough quality still resolution
>for your needs, consider a DSLR like the Digital Rebel / 300D with a $70
>50mm f1.8 II lens. This lens will act like an 80mm lens on this DSLR due to
>it's 1.6x FOV crop factor. Since DSLRs including this 1, have such low
>noise you should be able to shoot at ISO 800 with more than acceptable noise
>levels in most indoor lighting without a flash. Trigger the tripod mounted
>DSLR by hand held wired remote.
>
> "1. Improving ambient light and steadying the camera. (I do this as
>opportunity allows)"
>
> Yes where needed, bounce a flood light off the ceiling if it white so
>they won't have a bright light in their face & fell like they are being
>interrogated. Better still would be to use a large reflector to redirect
>natural outside lighting toward your subjects (obviously only works in the
>day time). Tripod mounted camera, absolutely!
>
> "2. Using the flash. (I'd rather not do this)
>
> Not recommended as it's too intrusive!
>
> "3. Decreasing the picture resolution? (Could this speed up the
>capture, making the camera less sensitive to motion?)"
>
> No, camera resolution will only effect speed if your shooting in bust
>mode, otherwise in single shot mode it has not effect.
>
> "4. Getting a faster memory card? (Would this help?)"
>
> No, again no effect for the same reasons as above!
>
> "5. Getting a better camera."
>
> Yes, a DSLR with a 50mm F1.8 lens (effective 80mm on Digital Rebel /
>300D or 10D), so it can be mounted at a considerable distance away & still
>take quick close-ups pictures. Again a wired remote would be the least
>distracting but an IR remote might work as well but you will have to point
>it at the camera which will likely be behind you.
>
> Hope this information helps. If cost is a problem than do option #1 &
>set your camera's ISO higher & consider reasonably priced noise reduction
>software such as "Neat Image".
>
> Hope this information is helpful.
>
> Respectfully, DHB
>


what he said, but change the dslr to the nikon d100. it can do ISO 6400.
that coupled with a 50mm f1.4 should serve your needs. slightly pricier
than the cannon alternative though.
 
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Don Coon
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Posts: n/a
 
      12-26-2003

"Paul Rubin" <http://(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed)...
> "David J Taylor" <(E-Mail Removed)-this-bit> writes:
> > Something in the Nikon swivel range, 990, 995, 4500, allows a much

greater
> > flexibility in lens orientation relative to the body. So in low-light
> > situations you can rest the body on a stable surface, table, desk, shelf
> > etc., and move the lens to cover your subject. It gives a flexibility

and
> > potential for really sharp pictures that no other format offers....
> >
> > These cameras are now available quite cheaply.

>
> They also can't AF worth a darn in low light.


Depends on what you call low light. "Dark" I'll agree but then most digicams
have problems in extremely low light. "Low" meaning there's dim light, I
have to disagree; my Nikon 995 has no problem focusing.


 
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