Recommendations for indoor digital camera

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Tony Vinayak, Sep 17, 2004.

  1. Tony Vinayak

    Tony Vinayak Guest

    Hi,

    I've been using digital cameras for several years, and my current one is
    Sony Cybershot DSC-P1 (3.3 mp). It works great except under low lights:
    the flash just doesn't seem to be powerful enough to shoot beyond maybe
    10 ft. Night-time indoor shots are way too dark. So am looking to
    upgrade the camera, looking for:
    - Compact camera, easy to take around anywhere. So the form-factor is
    important.
    - Atleast 3 x optical zoom (more the merrier)
    - Atleast 3 mp (am not crazy about way too many megapixels either)
    - PERFORMS WELL UNDER LOW LIGHT CONDITIONS

    I like the form-factors of Canon Powershot SD110 (only 2x optimcal) and
    Sony DSC-T1 (low-light reviews are bad), but they don't seem to cut it.

    Anyone have any suggestions, especially based upon experience?

    Thanks,
    Tony
     
    Tony Vinayak, Sep 17, 2004
    #1
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  2. Tony Vinayak

    JK Guest

    A digital slr.
    A compact camera will have a small sensor, and won't be good in low light.
    The 400 and especially 800 ISO mode(if it has one) will be very noisy.
    A large camera with a large sensor and a lens that lets plenty of light
    through will be good in low light situations.

    Nor do any small cameras. You need a digital slr.
    A Canon Digital Rebel would be a not so expensive choice. If you put
    a 50mm f1.8 lens on it and crank it up to 1600 iso, you can take
    photos in very light without using a flash or tripod. It is not small
    though.
     
    JK, Sep 17, 2004
    #2
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  3. Tony Vinayak

    Tony Vinayak Guest

    Thanks JK.

    Whilst I understand the relative limitations of smaller cameras, which
    one among the compact cameras would be pick of the lot?

    Tony
     
    Tony Vinayak, Sep 18, 2004
    #3
  4. Tony Vinayak

    Grim Guest

    In the digicam (non dSLR) class, the camera with the fastest lens in the
    Olympus C-5050. It has a F1.8 lens, and a 5MP sensor. The C-4040 is a 4MP
    version with the same F1.8 lens. The 4040 isn't made anymore, so you'd have
    to get one used. The 5050 is being replaced by the 5060, but stay away from
    the 5060 because its lens is only F2.8. The camera is compact, but still on
    the large side of compact digital cameras. I don't think you'll find an
    ultra-compact camera with a fast lens.
     
    Grim, Sep 18, 2004
    #4
  5. Tony Vinayak

    bob Guest

    I don't think any of those tiny flashes is ever going to light up a room,
    regardless of camera.

    Part of the reason I bought my Coolpix 5000 is it has a standard flash
    shoe, so I can mount a real flash.

    I used it last Christmas to shoot pics of my neice and nephew (opening
    thier gifts in my inlaw's dark, dark, living room at night) and it worked
    great (with a flash attachment).

    Bob
     
    bob, Sep 18, 2004
    #5
  6. Tony Vinayak

    JK Guest

    The C4040 has an f2.8 lens. The C5050 was discontinued long ago. The C5060
    lens is only f2.8 at its widest anngle setting. At telephoto, it is much
    slower.
    it isn't just a fast lens that is needed, but also a low noise 800 iso or 1600
    iso
    mode for taking photos in the lowest light with a flash or tripod. Most cameras

    don't even have an 800 iso mode, and in the small cameras that have it, it is
    very noisy. The best answer for a digital camera to use in low light without
    a flash or tripod is a digital slr. It is large, but that is what is needed to
    do
    the job properly. A fast lens on the digital slr is also needed.
     
    JK, Sep 18, 2004
    #6
  7. Tony Vinayak

    H. S. Guest

    Apparently, _Tony Vinayak_, on 09/17/04 16:40,typed:
    My 2 cents: do NOT get a camera that has no low light focus assist
    lamp. That rules out Nikon coolpix cameras (not sure if the recent
    models have one). From my experience, the Coolpix cameras without this
    feature are virtually worthless indoors (under conventional family
    illumination conditions).

    ->HS
     
    H. S., Sep 18, 2004
    #7
  8. Tony Vinayak

    H. S. Guest

    Apparently, _bob_, on 09/18/04 09:49,typed:
    How true.

    We have Canon Elan IIe and were thinking of buying a digital camera.
    After all was said and done, Canon G5 was in our hands. Two of the major
    factors were:
    1) We had the 380EX flashlight
    2) The low light focus assist lamp in the G5 (hmm ... not that makes me
    think, wonder if the EX380's focus assist lamp works in G5..?)

    And by mounting the 380EX on the G5 the performance obtained under low
    light conditions, indoor as well as outdoors, is comparable to what I
    get with the Elan IIe (well ..ahem .. obviously :)

    ->HS
     
    H. S., Sep 18, 2004
    #8
  9. H. S. wrote:
    []
    Yes, recent Coolpix cameras have this feature.

    However, the lack of this feature hasn't stopped me taking photographs
    under the conditions you describe - you may need to take a little more
    care focussing than with outside photographs, though.

    Cheers,
    Davdi
     
    David J Taylor, Sep 18, 2004
    #9
  10. Tony Vinayak

    H. S. Guest

    Apparently, _David J Taylor_, on 09/18/04 13:43,typed:
    Taking pictures indoors of a kid who will not sit still is pretty
    difficult without the low light focus assist lamp. However, if you are
    taking pictures os a family sitting right there and moving is a low
    easier. My earlier observation was based on these conditions.

    I must say though that the exposures outdoors are pretty nice.

    ->HS
     
    H. S., Sep 18, 2004
    #10
  11. H. S. wrote:
    []
    Not a subject I've needed to take!
    Yes, indeed. I'm thinking of upgrading the 5700 to an 8800 at the moment.

    Cheers,
    David
     
    David J Taylor, Sep 18, 2004
    #11
  12. Tony Vinayak

    Grim Guest

    Liar. It has a F1.8 lens, same as the C-5050. See for yourself:
    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/specs/Olympus/oly_c4040z.asp
    If "long ago" = "a few months", then yes. But you can still buy them new.
    Which is why it sucks for a low-light application.
    And you won't find that in a compact digicam, which is what the original
    poster wants. Thus, his only other option is to go for a fast lens.
    But he's asking for a COMPACT camera! What's the point in telling him to get
    a dSLR?!? That's like telling someone that's shopping for a compact car to
    go out and buy a Hummer!
     
    Grim, Sep 18, 2004
    #12
  13. Tony Vinayak

    JK Guest

    My mistake. I had it confused with the C4000.
    No, it is like telling someone who wants a vehicle with a roof that
    he needs to get one that has more than two wheels.
     
    JK, Sep 18, 2004
    #13
  14. Tony Vinayak

    H. S. Guest

    See? This is what I mean. If you buy such an expensive camera like Nikon
    Coolpix 4300 and you can't take such pictures .... then what's it's
    point? If is takes really nice pics in daylight (yes, it actually does),
    is that reason enough to be stupid enought and not include low light
    assist lamp?

    I mean, really, what the #$(& was Nikon thinking? People should get used
    to using a laser pointer to help it focus?

    ->HS
     
    H. S., Sep 18, 2004
    #14
  15. Unfortunately the f/5.2 lens at telephoto quickly dampened my enthusiasm for
    the 8800 as a possible replacement for my Olympus C-2100UZ (which is f/3.5 at
    telephoto).
     
    Michael Meissner, Sep 19, 2004
    #15
  16. Michael Meissner wrote:
    []
    That's one reason why I said "thinking of" rather than "committed to".
    The other cameras being considered are the Canon S1 IS and the Panasonic Z
    series which have an IS f/2.8 lens. Sadly, these other cameras have far
    fewer MP which reduces the ability to selectively enlarge somewhat.

    Now if they fitted the Panasonic f/2.8 IS lens onto the 8800 body......!

    Cheers,
    David
     
    David J Taylor, Sep 19, 2004
    #16
  17. Tony Vinayak

    Popeye Guest

    I also own a Sony DSC-P1 and wanted to solve the same low-light
    problems you describe. While others in this thread have suggested
    that you find a camera with a fast lens, my strategy was simply to get
    more light. So the first requirement I had for a new camera was to
    get one with a hot shoe and a powerful external flash. I don't think
    any compact digital camera will have a good enough internal flash to
    take pictures from 20+ feet across a room.

    To make a long story short, I recently purchased Sony's DSC-V1 camera
    and HVL-F32X external flash. The camera is compact (similar in size
    to your P1) and has a hot shoe and many advanced low-light features
    including laser-illuminated focusing and slow-shutter noise reduction.
    Although rather expensive, the F32X external flash is fully
    integrated with the camera electronics through the hot shoe. In
    automatic mode, the F32X will preflash to provide light for the camera
    exposure metering, and then the camera controls the strength of the
    flash while the final image is being recorded.

    Although I am still learning how to use the advanced features of the
    V1 camera and F32X flash, I am happy with the pictures so far and
    satisfied that I will now be able to take good indoor photos. Plus I
    can keep using the memory sticks I already own. Sony recently dropped
    the price of the V1 and it can be found on the web for <$400; the F32X
    can be found for <$150.
     
    Popeye, Sep 19, 2004
    #17
  18. Tony Vinayak

    JK Guest

    That leads to red eye though. A flash that is far from the camera might
    eliminate red eye, but the photos may still have an artificial look from the
    flash. You might also have trouble getting the camera to focus properly.
    The best solution is to use a digital slr and a fast lens.
     
    JK, Sep 19, 2004
    #18
  19. Something with an f/2.0 or faster lens and a 1/1.8" or larger sensor.
    Fewer pixels also helps; a 3 or 4 MP camera is likely to be less noisy
    than a 6 or 7 MP camera, all other things being equal.

    Dave
     
    Dave Martindale, Sep 19, 2004
    #19
  20. Tony Vinayak

    Grim Guest

    Well yeah, but NOT all other things are equal. A 6 or 7 MP camera with the
    same size sensor as a 3 or 4 MP camera will only be more noisy on a
    pixel-for-pixel level. However, the 6MP camera will have far more pixels,
    and if you shrink the image down to 3 or 4 MP, the noise will be the same.
    Noise (over the entire image) is a function of the sensor size, not the
    number of pixels. You can always reduce noise by shrinking a large-MP image
    down to a small-MP image. You can't ever get more detail by taking a 3 MP
    image and blowing it up to 6 MP.

    Noise complaints about high megapixel cameras is a red herring. If the image
    is printed, it will show no more noise than a print from a 3 or 4 MP camera,
    and the 6 MP print will have a lot more detail!
     
    Grim, Sep 19, 2004
    #20
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