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Low-light digital camera?

 
 
Phil Stripling
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      12-01-2004
I was camping with friends over the Thanksgiving weekend, and one of them
had an Olympus C-2100 which he was using to shoot photos without flash --
the light of the campfire was sufficient. My wife took some photos at my
request with her Digital Rebel, and she couldn't hand hold the camera at
whatever the settings were, so the images were blurred badly.

Having a low-light digital would come in very handy at Burning Man and
other similar events, and the C-2100 appears to be discontinued. The owner
of the camera said it was the huge lens that made it possible, but as I
recall, it was only a 2.8. Any clues on whether it's the fast lens, the
small number of pixels of larger size, or image stabilization?

Anyone know of other cameras with similar low-light capabilities? (Note: a
D70 with an appropriate lens would not be a consideration, if it is the
lens that was the key.)
--
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Jim Townsend
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      12-01-2004
Phil Stripling wrote:

> I was camping with friends over the Thanksgiving weekend, and one of them
> had an Olympus C-2100 which he was using to shoot photos without flash --
> the light of the campfire was sufficient. My wife took some photos at my
> request with her Digital Rebel, and she couldn't hand hold the camera at
> whatever the settings were, so the images were blurred badly.
>
> Having a low-light digital would come in very handy at Burning Man and
> other similar events, and the C-2100 appears to be discontinued. The owner
> of the camera said it was the huge lens that made it possible, but as I
> recall, it was only a 2.8. Any clues on whether it's the fast lens, the
> small number of pixels of larger size, or image stabilization?
>
> Anyone know of other cameras with similar low-light capabilities? (Note: a
> D70 with an appropriate lens would not be a consideration, if it is the
> lens that was the key.)


What lens did you have on your DRebel ?

The lens is probably one of the most important aspects of low
light photography.. After all.. It's what lets in the light.
They all don't have the same size openings and as a result,
they can't let in the same amount of light.

If you plugged a Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens on your Drebel and set
the ISO to 800 and used aperture priority to open the lens
wide... You'd drastically outperform the C-2100 in low
light.

You don't need a new camera.. Just learn how to use what
you've got


 
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Martin Brown
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      12-01-2004
Phil Stripling wrote:

> I was camping with friends over the Thanksgiving weekend, and one of them
> had an Olympus C-2100 which he was using to shoot photos without flash --
> the light of the campfire was sufficient. My wife took some photos at my
> request with her Digital Rebel, and she couldn't hand hold the camera at
> whatever the settings were, so the images were blurred badly.
>
> Having a low-light digital would come in very handy at Burning Man and
> other similar events, and the C-2100 appears to be discontinued. The owner
> of the camera said it was the huge lens that made it possible, but as I
> recall, it was only a 2.8. Any clues on whether it's the fast lens, the
> small number of pixels of larger size, or image stabilization?


All of the above. You can sometimes do a bit better using the video mode
of a digicam and then average a few frames with registax or similar.
>
> Anyone know of other cameras with similar low-light capabilities? (Note: a
> D70 with an appropriate lens would not be a consideration, if it is the
> lens that was the key.)


The faster the lens the better for available light work. A tripod helps.

Regards,
Martin Brown
 
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sid derra
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Posts: n/a
 
      12-01-2004
"Phil Stripling" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed)...
> I was camping with friends over the Thanksgiving weekend, and one of them
> had an Olympus C-2100 which he was using to shoot photos without flash --
> the light of the campfire was sufficient. My wife took some photos at my
> request with her Digital Rebel, and she couldn't hand hold the camera at
> whatever the settings were, so the images were blurred badly.
>
> Having a low-light digital would come in very handy at Burning Man and
> other similar events, and the C-2100 appears to be discontinued. The owner
> of the camera said it was the huge lens that made it possible, but as I
> recall, it was only a 2.8. Any clues on whether it's the fast lens, the
> small number of pixels of larger size, or image stabilization?
>
> Anyone know of other cameras with similar low-light capabilities? (Note: a
> D70 with an appropriate lens would not be a consideration, if it is the
> lens that was the key.)


first off: i used to have a c-2100uz and it was just a great cam for the
time and still is. for 2mp it really created outstanding images. you should
still be ale to find some pieces on ebay for around 300 bucks - which i
think it's still worth (i am not sure about its successors - might be worth
checking that out).

i now have a d70 - and agree with the others that the lens is probably a
really important (and pricey) issue with low-light photography. personally
i - so far - only had problems when using it at a night soccer game that was
artificially lit - but still it didnt cut it. but then again, i have lenses
from the more affordable end of the scale, and these kinda action shots
would probably require more sophisticated lenses. other than that i only use
it in low-light when i am out for night-photography - which i really enjoy a
lot - but we are talking 5-10 seconds exposure and up here - so it really
has nothing to do with you initial question anymore.

take it easy!
sid


 
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Michael Meissner
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      12-01-2004
Phil Stripling <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:

> I was camping with friends over the Thanksgiving weekend, and one of them
> had an Olympus C-2100 which he was using to shoot photos without flash --
> the light of the campfire was sufficient. My wife took some photos at my
> request with her Digital Rebel, and she couldn't hand hold the camera at
> whatever the settings were, so the images were blurred badly.
>
> Having a low-light digital would come in very handy at Burning Man and
> other similar events, and the C-2100 appears to be discontinued. The owner
> of the camera said it was the huge lens that made it possible, but as I
> recall, it was only a 2.8. Any clues on whether it's the fast lens, the
> small number of pixels of larger size, or image stabilization?
>
> Anyone know of other cameras with similar low-light capabilities? (Note: a
> D70 with an appropriate lens would not be a consideration, if it is the
> lens that was the key.)


It is a combination of image stabalization, low noise, relatively fast (f/2.
lens that made the C-2100UZ a unique camera. I still can't replace everything
it does for me in one camera and one lens today. Also, you do have to wait for
a point where people aren't moving too much. I've taken hand held pictures of
non-moving items up to 1/2 second with C-2100UZ, and 1/10 for people (and some
of the shots had blurred hands if you look closely). Compared to other
prosumer cameras it had a relatively large sensor size, so the noise was less
(but presumably the noise for the same ISO is even less on your rebel).

In theory, if you put a 28-135IS lens on your rebel, it should give you image
stabalization (or use a tripod/monopod), though you effectively lose an f/stop
since it is a slower lens (and given it is a consumer lens, it might be soft
wide open, which means losing even more stops of light). Note that in a DSLR,
the depth of field is much smaller than on a prosumer camera like the C-2100UZ,
so things may not be in focus like they would be if you use f/3.5 on both
cameras.

The closest current prosumer camera to the C-2100UZ is the Panasonic FZ20, but
note it has a much smaller sensor and more aggressive JPG, so noise at ISO 400
should be higher (but you can clean it up). I suspect the electronic
viewfinder is also not as bright in really dim light.

--
Michael Meissner
email: http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed)
http://www.the-meissners.org
 
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Phil Stripling
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      12-01-2004
Jim Townsend <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:

> What lens did you have on your DRebel ?


Louise has whatever came with the standard kit. I'm sorry to say I have no
clue what it is. The zoom lens is all I know.

>SNIP<
> If you plugged a Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens on your Drebel and set
> the ISO to 800 and used aperture priority to open the lens
> wide... You'd drastically outperform the C-2100 in low
> light.


Louise generally uses manual in low light situations, but she also uses a
tripod, so maybe a 50mm 1.4 would be something for her to consider.

>
> You don't need a new camera.. Just learn how to use what
> you've got


Always good advice, although it means we don't get to buy new toys so it's
often forgotten.

--
Phil Stripling | email to the replyto address is presumed
The Civilized Explorer | spam and read later. email to philip@
http://www.cieux.com/ | my domain is read daily.
 
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Big Bill
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      12-01-2004
On 01 Dec 2004 09:39:07 -0800, Phil Stripling
<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>I was camping with friends over the Thanksgiving weekend, and one of them
>had an Olympus C-2100 which he was using to shoot photos without flash --
>the light of the campfire was sufficient. My wife took some photos at my
>request with her Digital Rebel, and she couldn't hand hold the camera at
>whatever the settings were, so the images were blurred badly.
>
>Having a low-light digital would come in very handy at Burning Man and
>other similar events, and the C-2100 appears to be discontinued. The owner
>of the camera said it was the huge lens that made it possible, but as I
>recall, it was only a 2.8. Any clues on whether it's the fast lens, the
>small number of pixels of larger size, or image stabilization?
>
>Anyone know of other cameras with similar low-light capabilities? (Note: a
>D70 with an appropriate lens would not be a consideration, if it is the
>lens that was the key.)


Did your wife try setting the ISO higher than the default 100?

--
Bill Funk
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Phil Stripling
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      12-01-2004
"sid derra" <ng_NO_@_SPAM_emolife.net> writes:

>SNIP<
> would probably require more sophisticated lenses. other than that i only use
> it in low-light when i am out for night-photography - which i really enjoy a
> lot - but we are talking 5-10 seconds exposure and up here - so it really
> has nothing to do with you initial question anymore.


Louise has a 10-second exposure with the Digital Rebel at
http://civex.smugmug.com/gallery/303160/3/12048040
where it looks like the sun is glaring just out of the frame, and it's the
moon. :->

A failed campfire attempt is at
http://civex.smugmug.com/gallery/303160/5/12048422
and a really nice 15-second exposure at
http://civex.smugmug.com/gallery/303160/5/12048422

The night-time photos were taken after 7:00 pm; in Eureka Valley at
Thanksgiving, the sun sets at 4:10, and it's pitch black by 5:00. No
electric lights in the valley, and it's surrounded by mountains. Use the
navigation links to see other photos, if you're interested.

--
Phil Stripling | email to the replyto address is presumed
The Civilized Explorer | spam and read later. email to philip@
http://www.cieux.com/ | my domain is read daily.
 
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Michael Meissner
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      12-01-2004
Phil Stripling <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:

> Jim Townsend <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:
>
> > What lens did you have on your DRebel ?

>
> Louise has whatever came with the standard kit. I'm sorry to say I have no
> clue what it is. The zoom lens is all I know.


The Canon digital rebel kit lens is f/3.5 - f/5.6, which is 2/3 - 1 1/3 f/stops
slower than the C-2100UZ's f/2.8 - f/3.5 lens. Note that the C-2100UZ lens
tended to stay in f/2.8 for a good part of the zoom range. In case you don't
know what I mean by f/stops, the full f/stops are f/2, f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8,
etc. so if a lens a full f/stop slower than another lens, you have to halve the
shutter speed or double the ISO to take pictures in the same light. This means
if the C-2100UZ for example was shooting at 1/10 second, f/2.8, at ISO 400, you
might need to shoot at 1/10 second f/4, at ISO 800 or 1/20 second, f/4, ISO
1600 to get the same exposure.


> >SNIP<
> > If you plugged a Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens on your Drebel and set
> > the ISO to 800 and used aperture priority to open the lens
> > wide... You'd drastically outperform the C-2100 in low
> > light.


Depends on the depth of field. The UZI's f/2.8 aperture probably gives the
same as f/5.6 or f/8 on the digital rebel. Sometimes you want a large depth of
field, sometimes you don't. Of course you need to stabalize that f/1.4 lens if
you are shooting at low speeds.

--
Michael Meissner
email: (E-Mail Removed)
http://www.the-meissners.org
 
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Phil Stripling
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      12-01-2004
Big Bill <(E-Mail Removed)> writes:

> Did your wife try setting the ISO higher than the default 100?


She said she set it to 400.
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Phil Stripling | email to the replyto address is presumed
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