Best Compact Cameras for Shooting at Night w/o flash

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by TelaMoon, Oct 21, 2008.

  1. TelaMoon macrumors newbie

    Sep 13, 2007
    Been researching this for a while... I want a compact camera that I can take when I go to concerts or am running or going to a party where I don't want to lug around an SLR. I want the best camera I can get for night shooting of concerts, evening lit fixtures, neon lights, etc... to capture the mood rather than brighten it with a flash. And also offers great pictures for daytime shooting. What compact camera offers the least amount of noise for shooting at night? I have looked into the Fuji f30 (they are hard to come by), the Panasonic Lumix DMC LX3 (one site
    claims it to be the best going, but I also read elsewhere that it takes a while to focus). I have also looked into Canon Powershot 790 because of its f2.8, the Leica D-Lux, etc... I've read about them all, but would really like to know what users of the cameras think. If anyone has any suggestions or thoughts... least amount of blur, iso settings, image stabilization, excellent pic quality, has f2.8 etc... please let me know. I really want to get one already.
  2. wheelhot macrumors 68020

    Nov 23, 2007
    Thats a good review, honestly, I don't know if PnS can took good night photographs without flash cause I always get very poor photos when night time, flash ruins the photo, no flash the photo quality look extremely poor. :(
  3. M@lew macrumors 68000


    Nov 18, 2006
    Melbourne, Australia
    In "effect" the best camera should be the Sigma DP1, just because it has a DSLR sized sensor inside giving it better noise performance over standard P&S. But the limitations of this camera definitely shine if you want to take concert photos etc.
  4. dubhe macrumors 65816


    May 1, 2007
    Norwich, UK
    I have the LX3 and rarely use the flash. Here's a pic I took when camping, it was pretty dark.

    Attached Files:

  5. Dave00 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 2, 2003
    I have several compact digital cams, and none comes close to the F30 in terms of low-light photography. Not night shots, per se, but just those indoor shots that tend to look all yellow or grainy on other cameras. It does sacrifice some in terms of sharpness (if you let it go to ISO 1600 it can get a little watercolor-ish). They've since developed the F31, and I think there is a successor to that, the F60 or something. Supposedly they're coming out with a new one that's even better. For daylight pictures the color is better on Canons. But even those with image stabilization (I have one) cannot get the non-flash indoor shots that the fuji can.

  6. carlgo macrumors 68000

    Dec 29, 2006
    Monterey CA
    Leica M8.2 with .95 lens! Take photos by moonlight and get unmatched boka and depths of field effects. When asked about the price, just casually pretend you don't actually remember something so unimportant, but that you paid around $14,000 for the two. As they gasp, start talking about your watch.
  7. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Yes the M8 would do it. But if you don't have $14K do what I did as a middle school student in the 70's Back then $5 was "a lot of money" and I wanted pictures in low light.

    Get a 25 year old film camera with an f/1.4 lens. These sell for $100 or so used and are easy to find. Many of them don't need batteries. Load it up with ISO 1,600 (or higher) film and shoot away. Later scan the film Look at cameras like these
    Olympus OM1
    Minolta srt101
    Nikon FTN
    Don't spend more than $100
  8. Over Achiever macrumors 68000

    Over Achiever

    Jul 22, 2002
    Toledo, OH, formerly Twin Cities, MN
    My DP1 is limited to ISO 800, which looks decent, but ISO 400 is much cleaner. I think due to the different Sigma sensor, the noise profile is slightly worse than other SLR-sized sensor. The colors are also slightly desaturated as well.

    I like the wide 28mm angle, but when shooting at night, this will limit your range of photos, the DP2 is a 41mm and also has a faster f2.8 lens (DP1 limited to f4)
  9. lasuther macrumors 6502a

    Feb 13, 2004
    Grand Haven, Michigan
    Look into an Olympus E420. It is a DSLR, but small. There is a kit pancake lens which is very small and has a F2.8 aperature. There are only three F1.4 lens available for the fourthirds system right now, which would be needed for really low light photography. The E420 will shoot up to 1600 ISO.

    Also, the micro fourthirds system should be coming out soon.
  10. Phrasikleia macrumors 601


    Feb 24, 2008
    Over there------->
    Heh. When I saw this thread title I thought, that's like asking "what's the best teaspoon to use for shoveling snow?"

    I second the suggestion for looking into the Olympus e-420. With the f/2.8 pancake lens, it will far outperform any PnS camera.
  11. CMD is me macrumors 6502

    Dec 7, 2006
    Keep in mind if you'll be using the zoom or not. While my F31 is a more than a stop cleaner than my Panasonic TZ4 (F31 800iso is cleaner than the TZ at 400iso), its also a slower camera if zoomed. The F31 at 3/4 zoom is already at f5 where the TZ is at a similar focal length is only at f4. Therefore the TZ can shoot at 400iso and have the same shutter speed as the F31 at 800... does that make sense?
  12. TheReef macrumors 68000


    Sep 30, 2007
    NSW, Australia.
    Yeah, or pick up any of the older smaller dSLRs of eBay for around $200 US + the price of an f1.4 50mm.
  13. jmdeegan macrumors member

    Aug 17, 2007
    I actually have 2 of the small olympus point and shoots, the ones which are waterproof/crushproof/freezeproof etc

    they have a night shooting mode, and I took a few during a night time water/lights show in aruba over the summer. ill see if i can upload them, but lets just say that for 200 bucks, I was very pleased (considering that i do have a dSLR with all the lenses intended for low light shooting).
  14. Regis27 macrumors member

    Dec 13, 2006
    Canon g6

    I would recommend the Canon g6. It has a f/2.0 lens (maxing out at 3.0) and the fewer number of megapixels means that each photosite is actually larger. You might have some problems finding one though; they're still popular as backup cameras to slrs.
  15. gkarris macrumors 604


    Dec 31, 2004
    "No escape from Reality..."
    I prefer Noritake but definitely stay away from plastic... :eek:


    Try a PnS but it needs to have a full sized sensor...
  16. CrackedButter macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2003
    51st State of America
    The Olympus E420 is terrible past ISO 400 and it hunts like a blind Eagle in the dark. It is also quite big compared. I should know I have it and gone back to a Canon 5D because of it (meaning I use both cameras now).

    Go for the recently released LX3. It does f2 AND ISO 3200. I would.
  17. gkarris macrumors 604


    Dec 31, 2004
    "No escape from Reality..."
    Yes, liked the LX3...

    nice sample pics!
  18. vciinc macrumors newbie

    Oct 31, 2008
    Cleveland OH
  19. netdog macrumors 603


    Feb 6, 2006
    There is a Canon 50mm 0.95 lens that you can often pick up on the cheap on eBay that will fit an M rangefinder (digital or film) with a simple adaptation. Used M8 bodies are going often at remarkable prices since Leica started offering $1500 on new ones.

    Short of that, the LX3/D-lux 4 is a great choice for your needs if you want a point and shoot that is capable of much more than most cameras in its class.

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