Olympus Mju cameras and low light levels

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Martin Waddell, Mar 9, 2006.

  1. My local camera shot advised against purchasing the Olympus range of digital
    cameras (mju 600/700/800) as these cameras defaullt to about a 2 megapixel
    camera in low light levels producing a subsequent grainy image on
    enlargement. The camera vendor also told me that there was no manual
    override for this reduction in megapixels with low illumination.. The
    camera is supposedly brilliant in normal light levels but quite inadequite
    if night time photography is an interest.
     
    Martin Waddell, Mar 9, 2006
    #1
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  2. Martin Waddell

    ASAAR Guest

    Why don't you try downloading the manual for these cameras. I
    suspect (just a guess, mind you) that what you've been told only
    applies to some special "low light" mode, similar to the other user
    selectable scene modes, such as "sports", "landscape", "portrait",
    etc. I'm quite sure that this reduction to 2 mp doesn't occur in
    any of these other modes, including the usual P, A, S or M (if
    available) modes. Even so, apparent "graininess" in low light
    pictures will be much more attributable to high ISO and lack of
    light than to only using 2mp. Your local dealer probably is trying
    to steer you to another camera that has a higher markup, and may
    well take poorer pictures.
     
    ASAAR, Mar 9, 2006
    #2
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  3. Martin Waddell

    Nick Hopton Guest

    Okay, I have a Stylus (mju) 800 and I think your camera-shop man is
    about right. The camera is just fine for most of the P&S pictures I
    take, including those taken with flash. But in poor light at ISOs of
    greater than about 400 the noise begins to get serious. In the special
    'available light' mode the ISO gets jacked-up to about 2500 and the
    results are dreadful.

    To be honest, if I were buying a new P&S camera today it wouldn't be the
    Stylus 800, it would be something that offered more control.

    Regards,
    Nick.
     
    Nick Hopton, Mar 10, 2006
    #3
  4. Martin Waddell

    Bill Funk Guest

    I'm confused.
    The OP says he was told that the cameras switch to a 2MP mode, and you
    say they switch to a high ISO, while saying the OP was told
    correectly.
    Which is it? 2MP or higher ISO?
     
    Bill Funk, Mar 10, 2006
    #4
  5. Martin Waddell

    ASAAR Guest

    Why the confusion? It sounds like my hunch was right. If there's
    any switching to 2mp resolution, it probably *only* happens in the
    user selectable 'available light' mode mentioned by NH. I imagine
    that in all other modes, resolution does not automatically drop to
    2mp, nor is it possible to up the ISO to "about 2500". And what's
    odd about noise getting serious above 400? Remember pushing Tri-X
    to speeds above ASA 1000? Then, as now, TANSTAAFL.
     
    ASAAR, Mar 10, 2006
    #5
  6. Martin Waddell

    Nick Hopton Guest

    In a recent message <>, Bill

    [...]
    [...]

    The camera can be set to take 3264 x 2448 pictures. But if the ISO is
    set to (or sets itself to) greater than ISO 800, the picture size is
    automatically reduced to 2048 x 1536 *or less*. One has no control over
    any aspect of this. My experience has been that when this happens the
    resulting pictures, as well as being reduced in size, are also very
    grainy. The Stylus 800 is not a good low-light camera in any mode of
    operation.

    To Martin, I'd say that there is a Fuji P&S that has been discussed here
    that is supposed to be good at low levels of light. I've forgotten the
    details, but I'm sure that someone here will be able to come up with the
    model number.

    Regards,
    Nick.
     
    Nick Hopton, Mar 10, 2006
    #6
  7. Martin Waddell

    Bill Funk Guest

    Thanks for the clarification.
     
    Bill Funk, Mar 10, 2006
    #7
  8. Martin Waddell

    Nick Hopton Guest

    In a recent message <>, ASAAR

    [...]
    [...]

    Actually, by some accounts it is. The manual doesn't explain what the
    various modes do, in terms of exposure, ISO settings, aperture, et
    cetera, but Steve's site says that when the Stylus 800 is used in
    'blur-reduction' mode the ISO is pushed up to 2500. I've only ever tried
    this mode shooting in low light and the results were truly execrable.

    Regards,
    Nick.
     
    Nick Hopton, Mar 10, 2006
    #8
  9. Martin Waddell

    ASAAR Guest

    On Fri, 10 Mar 2006 18:21:14 +0000, Nick Hopton wrote:

    ::> I imagine that in all other modes, resolution does not automatically
    ::> drop to 2mp, nor is it possible to up the ISO to "about 2500".
    If you re-read what I wrote you'll probably see that I did not say
    that the Stylus 800 can't use very high ISOs such as 2500. I said
    that I thought that it wasn't possible to get that ISO in any of the
    modes other that what you originally called 'available light' mode,
    which I assume is the same as the 'blur-reduction' mode. Or perhaps
    these are two distinct modes that the Stylus 800 that are handled
    similarly.

    As for getting execrable results in blur-reduction mode, I'm sure
    that they aren't close to ideal, but how does it compare with the
    results you'd get if you used another mode using, say, ISO 400 or
    800? Better, worse, or about the same? And is this with all low
    light levels or just in extremely low light?
     
    ASAAR, Mar 10, 2006
    #9
  10. Martin Waddell

    Nick Hopton Guest

    In a recent message <>, ASAAR

    [...]
    This is correct, sorry.
    It has an 'available light' mode and a 'blur-reduction' mode. What these
    modes (and all of the others) actually *do* is not explained in the
    manual, so I honestly don't know if there is a difference between the
    two.
    With low-light the dreaded blur-reduction mode produces pictures that
    are much, much noisier than those taken using ISOs of 400 or 800. The
    trouble is that working hand-held in low-light with ISOs of 400 or 800
    leads to slow 'shutter speeds' and the pictures come out blurry anyway.
    I really don't think there is a work-round for this problem, good as the
    camera is in decent light, its hand-held performance in low-light is
    inherently poor.

    Regards,
    Nick.
     
    Nick Hopton, Mar 10, 2006
    #10
  11. Martin Waddell

    ASAAR Guest

    Most manuals offer little more than brief summaries of the
    camera's settings. I don't know if it's that way to keep the
    manuals small enough to avoid scaring away potential customers, but
    given enough time and effort using the camera, most of it can be
    figured out. I've found that manufacturer's tech. support rep's
    (including Olympus') often aren't able to answer many simple
    questions, so they too could benefit from better manuals.
     
    ASAAR, Mar 10, 2006
    #11
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