ultracompact: indoors without flash

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Bucky, May 20, 2006.

  1. Bucky

    Bucky Guest

    I frequently take indoors photos of people without flash with an
    ultracompact. It needs to be an ultracompact because I want to carry it
    with me at all times since I cannot always know in advance when I might
    need it.

    I've been pretty frustrated with my Canon SD200 because it does not
    have shutter priority and frequently selects shutter speed slower than
    1/10s, which is too slow since the people may be gesturing with their
    hands. I try to compensate by manually decreasing the exposure
    compensation, but that is a tedious trial and error method. Especially
    since the SD200 meters the same scene differently every time, so it's
    very difficult to predict even in "manual" mode. Furthermore, I can
    only go as high as ISO 200 because ISO 400 is far too noisy.

    For my next camera, I am looking for these qualities to help with the
    indoor without flash conditions:
    1. Wide aperture. The SD200 has F2.8, which I believe is already
    fairly/reasonably wide, right?
    2. Shutter priority. Do any ultracompacts have true shutter priority?
    3. Highest usable ISO (preferably 400) that is not too noisy.
    4. Pixel size? (I mean physical pixel size, not number of pixels).
    Correct me if my thinking is wrong: all else being equal, including CCD
    sensor size, the camera with the lower megapixels will have larger
    pixels, and therefore take better pictures in low light conditions?

    Any other factors that would help?
     
    Bucky, May 20, 2006
    #1
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  2. Bucky

    Guest

    Fuji Finepix F30 is your solution

    Weeks away i believe

    Cheers

    202
     
    , May 20, 2006
    #2
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  3. Bucky

    y_p_w Guest

    Bucky wrote:

    > 4. Pixel size? (I mean physical pixel size, not number of pixels).
    > Correct me if my thinking is wrong: all else being equal, including CCD
    > sensor size, the camera with the lower megapixels will have larger
    > pixels, and therefore take better pictures in low light conditions?


    I don't think that matters as much as total sensor area. If you're
    going to be downsizing (let's say to 640x480) for website display,
    the apparent noise will often reduce as the pixels are "merged".

    Imagine you have two equivalent 1/2.5" sensors - one 6 MP and the
    other 3.2 MP. Take a picture with equivalent ISO 400 settings.
    Downsize the 6MP image to 3.2 MP, and I think you'd be hard
    pressed to tell the difference with the original 3.2 MP image.
    Make 5x7 prints out of the original-sized files, and I'd think you've
    be hard pressed to tell the difference. Blow up the original to a
    ridiculously large size, and I think you'll notice more digital noise
    from the 6 MP image and more "grain" from the 3.2 MP image.

    If you're zooming in on individual pixels on the original image, you'll
    probably notice the noise more. If you're taking a look at a displayed
    image, then you're less likely to notice.
     
    y_p_w, May 20, 2006
    #3
  4. Bucky

    Pat Guest

    It depends on what you are doing with the pictures. If you are just
    taking snapshots, you might want to check out a good cell phone -- very
    compact, always with you and many are very good in low light. But not
    good for action, things far away, etc., but usable for certain types of
    pictures. I'm not advocating it for most types of photography, but a
    camera that's with you beats the heck out of one that isn't.
     
    Pat, May 20, 2006
    #4
  5. Bucky

    J. Clarke Guest

    wrote:

    > Fuji Finepix F30 is your solution
    >
    > Weeks away i believe


    Assuming that the 1600 and 3200 are actually usable and not just marketdroid
    engineering.

    > Cheers
    >
    > 202


    --
    --John
    to email, dial "usenet" and validate
    (was jclarke at eye bee em dot net)
     
    J. Clarke, May 20, 2006
    #5
  6. Bucky

    Mark Guest

    The Fuji F11 is excellent indoors without flash, not perfect but
    excellent nonetheless. I wasn't even looking at Fuji's when shopping
    for a replacement for my old Canon S400 but saw that www.dpreview.com
    compared most of their subcompact reviews with the F10. I then went
    ahead and got a gray market F11 and have been real happy with it.

    Presumably the new F30 will be just as good.
     
    Mark, May 20, 2006
    #6
  7. On 19 May 2006 16:29:08 -0700, Bucky <> wrote:
    > For my next camera, I am looking for these qualities to help with the
    > indoor without flash conditions:
    > 1. Wide aperture. The SD200 has F2.8, which I believe is already
    > fairly/reasonably wide, right?
    > 2. Shutter priority. Do any ultracompacts have true shutter priority?
    > 3. Highest usable ISO (preferably 400) that is not too noisy.
    > 4. Pixel size? (I mean physical pixel size, not number of pixels).
    > Correct me if my thinking is wrong: all else being equal, including CCD
    > sensor size, the camera with the lower megapixels will have larger
    > pixels, and therefore take better pictures in low light conditions?


    The Fuji ultra-compacts such as the F10 and F11 have good reputations
    for low-light performance, though I don't know off-hand if any of them
    have shutter priority modes.

    > Any other factors that would help?


    What's your price range? What range of focal lengths do you want (most
    ultra-compacts are 35-115mm or thereabouts; if you want longer or wider,
    it'll narrow the field of possibilities considerably)?

    -dms
     
    Daniel Silevitch, May 20, 2006
    #7
  8. "Bucky" <> writes:

    > I frequently take indoors photos of people without flash with an
    > ultracompact. It needs to be an ultracompact because I want to carry it
    > with me at all times since I cannot always know in advance when I might
    > need it.
    >
    > I've been pretty frustrated with my Canon SD200 because it does not
    > have shutter priority and frequently selects shutter speed slower than
    > 1/10s, which is too slow since the people may be gesturing with their
    > hands. I try to compensate by manually decreasing the exposure
    > compensation, but that is a tedious trial and error method. Especially
    > since the SD200 meters the same scene differently every time, so it's
    > very difficult to predict even in "manual" mode. Furthermore, I can
    > only go as high as ISO 200 because ISO 400 is far too noisy.


    I know this situation; it's my primariy shooting environment for the
    last 30-something years. You'll find lots of examples of it in my
    snapshot album (URL in the .sig); many of them of mediocre technical
    quality and worse artistic quality, but hey, it's my *snapshot* album
    :).

    Of the current cameras in anything like that size range, you want the
    Fuji F10 or F11 (F11 not officially available in the US, but in
    practice you can get it). Or perhaps the upcoming F30, based on
    advance reports.

    I have the F11 for my compact (to go along with a DSLR for when I'm
    serious; I had a Fuji S2 for a few years, and this spring upgraded to
    a Nikon D200).

    The F11 has many drawbacks in the user interface. And, while the
    advertising material seems to claim it has manual exposure, and
    there's a place for it in the menu system, so far as I and friends can
    figure out it doesn't *actually* have manual exposure. Bummer. It
    also has no histogram display. Triple-bummer. What it *does* have is
    usable ISO 1600.

    > For my next camera, I am looking for these qualities to help with the
    > indoor without flash conditions:
    > 1. Wide aperture. The SD200 has F2.8, which I believe is already
    > fairly/reasonably wide, right?


    It's about the fastest you're going to find on a P&S. I'd consider it
    the low end of "fast" lenses. I use f/2 and faster lenses on my DSLR
    a LOT.

    > 2. Shutter priority. Do any ultracompacts have true shutter priority?


    Some don't? I'm shocked. *Ultra* compact is an extreme requirement
    though; the Fuji F10/F11 is at the small end of the compact range, at
    least as I define it; NOT an *ultra* compact. Given that shutter
    priority is just software, in cameras already full of software, it's
    crazy not to have it, and every P&S I've examined has it -- but of
    course I've only examined a small portion of the market.

    > 3. Highest usable ISO (preferably 400) that is not too noisy.


    The F11 goes to 1600, and I find it usable. But it depends what
    you're doing with it. I'm used to seeing quite a lot of film grain at
    EI 1600, too.

    > 4. Pixel size? (I mean physical pixel size, not number of pixels).
    > Correct me if my thinking is wrong: all else being equal, including CCD
    > sensor size, the camera with the lower megapixels will have larger
    > pixels, and therefore take better pictures in low light conditions?


    Yes, all else being equal. And one way the Fuji F10/F11 wins is it
    has a bigger sensor than nearly all others (by a tiny bit, anyway; a
    1/1.7" sensor rather than 1/1.8"; lots of the ultra-compacts have
    1/2.5", MUCH smaller).

    > Any other factors that would help?


    Noise elimination software. I use Noise Ninja. Neat Image is also
    well thought of. These have a lot of things to adjust, and too
    extreme settings can make for really plasticy unreal-looking surfaces;
    but tasteful use can reduce the visible noise without impairing visual
    sharpness. It's definitely worth using in this sort of extreme
    situation.
    --
    David Dyer-Bennet, <mailto:>, <http://www.dd-b.net/dd-b/>
    RKBA: <http://www.dd-b.net/carry/>
    Pics: <http://dd-b.lighthunters.net/> <http://www.dd-b.net/dd-b/SnapshotAlbum/>
    Dragaera/Steven Brust: <http://dragaera.info/>
     
    David Dyer-Bennet, May 20, 2006
    #8
  9. "J. Clarke" <> writes:

    > wrote:
    >
    > > Fuji Finepix F30 is your solution
    > >
    > > Weeks away i believe

    >
    > Assuming that the 1600 and 3200 are actually usable and not just marketdroid
    > engineering.


    It depends on your standards. I use the 1600 from my F11 a lot, and I
    compare it to the 1600 from a Fuji S2 (former DSLR) and Nikon D200
    (current DSLR). I also compare it to film. It's not bad, especially
    if you manage to expose it properly.

    There are a bunch of examples in this directory of my snapshots
    <http://www.dd-b.net/dd-b/SnapshotAlbum/data/2006/02000-february-misc/>.
    Check the EXIF data for camera and ISO, but most are the F11 at 1600.
    And if I'm remembering right and if I followed my procedures, these
    have not had noise elimination software applied. Underexposure, and
    plain deatil-free middle-colored backgrounds will exacerbate the
    visibility of the noise a LOT. If anybody wants to take a much more
    careful look I can send them camera-originals of a few of these.
    --
    David Dyer-Bennet, <mailto:>, <http://www.dd-b.net/dd-b/>
    RKBA: <http://www.dd-b.net/carry/>
    Pics: <http://dd-b.lighthunters.net/> <http://www.dd-b.net/dd-b/SnapshotAlbum/>
    Dragaera/Steven Brust: <http://dragaera.info/>
     
    David Dyer-Bennet, May 20, 2006
    #9
  10. Daniel Silevitch <> writes:

    > The Fuji ultra-compacts such as the F10 and F11 have good reputations
    > for low-light performance, though I don't know off-hand if any of them
    > have shutter priority modes.


    The F11 does (I have one). The reviews say the F10 does as well.

    The manual says the F11 has manual exposure, too, but I have never
    been able to figure out how to work it, nor have friends. I'd almost
    say they were going to put it in, but the software didn't make the
    cutoff, and they forgot to take out the menu entry for it (I do
    software development professionally). Anybody know how to use manual
    exposure on the F11?
    --
    David Dyer-Bennet, <mailto:>, <http://www.dd-b.net/dd-b/>
    RKBA: <http://www.dd-b.net/carry/>
    Pics: <http://dd-b.lighthunters.net/> <http://www.dd-b.net/dd-b/SnapshotAlbum/>
    Dragaera/Steven Brust: <http://dragaera.info/>
     
    David Dyer-Bennet, May 20, 2006
    #10
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