Digital Camera for Low-Light & Indoors

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by applekid, Dec 13, 2005.

  1. applekid macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2003
    #1
    I was wondering, does a digital camera that handles low-light, indoor situations well exist? I'm using a digital camera at the after school program I work at, but the image quality sucks without a flash. I know this happens with digital cameras, but I was wondering if there's a camera today that doesn't get any noise and doesn't blur under low-light situations without a flash indoors.

    Flashes are pretty annoying for the small rooms in the library, and it sure seems like basic film cameras handle these situations much better. I'm letting the kids use the camera to create a yearbook project with the photos they take. At the moment, we've been using a HP Photosmart 425. It handles the indoor situations better than my own old Nikon that I have at home, but I still see some grain, noise, and blurs.

    I have a $400 budget to buy a new digital camera for the library (preferably a consumer-level camera). Help me out!
     
  2. generik macrumors 601

    generik

    Joined:
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    #2
    Are you looking for an SLR or a P&S?

    For a DSLR it is really all in the lenses you choose.. for a P&S... well it gets tricky.. but my guess is that the Canon G series of cameras should do well for your needs.
     
  3. applekid thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #3
    Yeah, I'm talking P&S.

    EDIT:

    Jeez! Are you suggesting I need a camera with a huge lense or an SLR? Good ol' film cameras are looking better again... Or I'll have to stick with flash.

    If what I'm talking about is impossible, anybody mind suggesting a decent digital camera for under $400. As long as the resolution is better than 3 megapixels, handles SD cards, has a rechargable battery, and has a decent interface, I'm cool with that.
     
  4. generik macrumors 601

    generik

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    #4
    I'm not sure, but most P&S cameras I see have pinholes for apertures, and such cameras do fair badly in dark conditions.

    But you are right on one thing, they are getting better, so things might have improved since then.
     
  5. e²Studios macrumors 68020

    e²Studios

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2005
    #5
    My Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II does spectacular indoors :D I cant plug this camera enough, i love it.

    My Sony DSC-T1 does great outdoor shots and with enough light indoor also, but before i got my Canon
    DSLR I would stick to a film SLR and scan the negatives for indoor and low light situations as most small P&S digital cameras in general don't handle low light all too well in my opinion.

    Ed
     
  6. applekid thread starter macrumors 68020

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    Jul 3, 2003
    #6
    Just to clarify...

    Alright, here's the situation...

    The library is lit like any basic office building or school building: fluorescent ceiling lights. Just about every digital camera I have used in these situations require the flash to be turned on to take a clear picture. I don't particularly like to use flashes, but unfortunately it appears I have no other choice with digital cameras. I will tell you the film cameras we used had no problem without using a flash.

    The person actually using the camera is going to be a middle school student, not me. So, an SLR is out of the question.

    The reason I don't like flashes is because a) the room is bright enough as is b) when we're taking picture of speakers, I rather not blind them c) colors get funky and messed up with overexposure or underexposure, etc.

    So, trying this again: Are there any P&S cameras that can handle the situation well?

    Or am I just better off continuously using the flash?
     
  7. e²Studios macrumors 68020

    e²Studios

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2005
    #7
    Adjust the ISO on the camera to a higher setting if you can do that, i know my Sony DSC-T1 is able to adjust the ISO settings Auto/100-400. At times the Auto modes use flash too often in my opinion and gives photos a washed out look. Judge it by sight, light meter or whatever it is you prefer use. The DSC-T1 actually has an amazing array of manual settings on it. Word to the wise the T line of sony cameras although small and very easy to carry around suffers from a VERY weak flash.

    Ultimately the best solution is probably a SLR or a DSLR that can use a flash that you can "bounce" instead of having it directly aimed at your subjects. I dont believe there are any P&S digital cameras that allow you to aim the flash, and if there were the flashes included on them are usually pretty lightweight anyhow.

    Ed
     
  8. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
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    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #8
    Define well?
    If you aren't going to use a flash, you have to change the manual controls of the camera to increase the sensitivity (ISO), take a longer exposure, and/or use a tripod.
    There's a tradeoff between the size of the lens, the quality of the lens and the amount of light it collects, so... a small P&S may not be the best choice

    All sensors will add noise as you increase the sensitivity (ISO) but some cameras are worse than others.

    Low Light Shooting Tips

    This group discusses the Fuji F10 which has an ISO 1600 mode (Most digicams top out at ISO 400 and are poor above 100) as being the only smallish camera that will perform in low light.
     
  9. adk macrumors 68000

    adk

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    #9
    A general Rule is that the Smaller the CCD chip, the noisier the photos. I don't know if CCD size is readily available, but a big lens is always a good indicator.
     
  10. e²Studios macrumors 68020

    e²Studios

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    #10

    I think most are, here is the size for my Sony DSC-T1 1/2.4" 5.1-Megapixel Super HAD™ CCD for up to 2592x1944 stills

    This review is for the DSC-T1 but im sure the OP can search for other cameras on the site. This is a spectacular site for Digital Camera Reviews in my opinion. http://www.steves-digicams.com/2004_reviews/t1.html

    Ed
     
  11. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

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    #11
  12. mrhoggy macrumors newbie

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    Dec 6, 2005
    #12
    I'd suggest the Canon S80 because it has a wide angle lens which is useful indoors
     
  13. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
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    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #13
    The S70 reviews well for low light work as does the Canon S80 . "Usable in all but the lowest light" The S70 has a Sony 7 MP sensor chip which is apparently lower noise than most, so the ISO Can be cranked up to 200 or 400 for usable results.
     
  14. mrhoggy macrumors newbie

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    Dec 6, 2005
    #14
    The S80 is the newer model and is more compact with a bigger screen.
     

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