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handheld indoor photos without a flash for under $1,500

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Anonymous
January 11, 2005 3:23:45 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

I would like to purchase a camera that is capable of taking handheld
photos indoors without the use of a flash in low light conditions. I
want to capture the moment as it really is, with the available lighting
without the flash lighting up the whole place. I don't want to spend a
fortune, but I don't want to end up with something that is unable to do
the job either. I'd appreciate some help since I am down to the
following cameras and I cannot make up my mind.

DREBEL with a prime lens (1.4)
Lumix FZ20 (2.8) (very reasonable, can it do the job?)
D70 with a prime lens (1.8??)
Maybe 20D with a prime lens (1.4) (expensive)


Thanks!
NH
Anonymous
January 11, 2005 7:09:51 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

DRebel with a prime lens (1.4) works well. Don't have any experience with
your other choices.
Anonymous
January 11, 2005 7:42:32 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Ned" <nedhart@hotmail.com> writes:

> I would like to purchase a camera that is capable of taking handheld
> photos indoors without the use of a flash in low light conditions. I
> want to capture the moment as it really is, with the available lighting
> without the flash lighting up the whole place. I don't want to spend a
> fortune, but I don't want to end up with something that is unable to do
> the job either. I'd appreciate some help since I am down to the
> following cameras and I cannot make up my mind.
>
> DREBEL with a prime lens (1.4)
> Lumix FZ20 (2.8) (very reasonable, can it do the job?)
> D70 with a prime lens (1.8??)
> Maybe 20D with a prime lens (1.4) (expensive)

"Low light" varies a lot. I've been shooting "available light" (or I
sometimes called it "unavailable light") indoor stuff since 1969 or so
(pretty much from when I got into photography seriously), and that's
one of the few things I can really promise you :-).

A digital SLR with decent performance at ISO 800 and 1600, and a good
prime lens (f2 or faster) will do pretty well for you most of the
time. Lower noise in low light is one of the areas where the digital
SLRs are a *big win* over the consumer cameras.

You'll also have to learn a lot about exposure; autoexposure doesn't
work too well in these conditions generally.

Before my Fuji S2, I was shooting similar work with an Epson 850z.
That camera only goes up to ISO 400 and is very noisy in low tungsten
light (it has an f2 lens, though). I still got *some* good pictures,
by incessant application and ruthless deletion, a willingness to
accept completely wonky color (or convert to B&W), and years of prior
experience. But I wouldn't recommend it (go back to 2000-2002 in my
snapshots to see examples of that; mostly without EXIF data in the
gallery version back then, but you can tell which ones are in hideous
low light by the look generally).

Handling tungsten and other weird color balance well turns out to be
an important factor for indoor low-light work, since those lights are
*never* daylight, and often people have both tungsten and compact
fluorescent lights in the same room.

If you poke through my recent snapshots (URL in sig), you'll find that
most of the recent photos have the EXIF data intact and viewable in
the gallery, and you'll see what range of ISO speeds, shutter speeds,
and apertures I'm using. Often you won't see the aperture; that's
when I'm shooting one of my old manual focus lenses that doesn't
communicate that electronically with the camera (so it's probably the
58mm f1.2 NOCT, nearly always somewhere between f1.2 and f2.8).

I can't say there *isn't* a consumer camera you would be happy with;
both through lack of complete knowledge of consumer cameras, and lack
of knowledge of your standards and skill. I don't think there's one
that *I* would be satisfied with that's significantly cheaper than the
low-end DSLRs, though.
--
David Dyer-Bennet, <mailto:D d-b@dd-b.net>, <http://www.dd-b.net/dd-b/&gt;
RKBA: <http://noguns-nomoney.com/&gt; <http://www.dd-b.net/carry/&gt;
Pics: <http://dd-b.lighthunters.net/&gt; <http://www.dd-b.net/dd-b/SnapshotAlbum/&gt;
Dragaera/Steven Brust: <http://dragaera.info/&gt;
Related resources
Anonymous
January 11, 2005 8:53:42 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

The operative phrase here is "under $1500." The answer to your question is
that, yes, you can get a very good system for available (indoor?) light that
can shoot in other conditions as an added bonus.

Just think a little outside the box. Instead of focusing on the 20D, think
about a brand new 10D with two lens combinations. The Canon 50mm f1.4 and
the Canon 35mm f2.

The whole schmear will be under $1500. The setup will be brand new and just
because it ain't the latest model, remember, last year's world's best is
still probably beyond anything you can imagine as far as performance.

Jimmy

"Ned" <nedhart@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:1105475025.729118.268600@c13g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
> I would like to purchase a camera that is capable of taking handheld
> photos indoors without the use of a flash in low light conditions. I
> want to capture the moment as it really is, with the available lighting
> without the flash lighting up the whole place. I don't want to spend a
> fortune, but I don't want to end up with something that is unable to do
> the job either. I'd appreciate some help since I am down to the
> following cameras and I cannot make up my mind.
>
> DREBEL with a prime lens (1.4)
> Lumix FZ20 (2.8) (very reasonable, can it do the job?)
> D70 with a prime lens (1.8??)
> Maybe 20D with a prime lens (1.4) (expensive)
>
>
> Thanks!
> NH
>
Anonymous
January 12, 2005 2:31:32 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Ned" <nedhart@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:1105475025.729118.268600@c13g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
>I would like to purchase a camera that is capable of taking handheld
> photos indoors without the use of a flash in low light conditions. I
> want to capture the moment as it really is, with the available lighting
> without the flash lighting up the whole place. I don't want to spend a
> fortune, but I don't want to end up with something that is unable to do
> the job either. I'd appreciate some help since I am down to the
> following cameras and I cannot make up my mind.

If you refuse to use a tripod, maybe you can set the camera on something
solid and use a timer, or brace yourself against something. You can use any
camera for this. Get a two-year old Olympus D-40 or Fuji S602Z for under
$200. f your convinced you need to spend big, consider at 1.4 you might not
like your DOF. Oh, and I hope your subject is not moving!
Anonymous
January 12, 2005 4:51:31 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Thanks for the very informative response. I wouldn't categorize myself
as very knowledgeable. I've owned only two digital cameras. The coolpix
990 and a Pentax Optio S4. I loved the coolpix, but I sold it after
getting dark and blurry photos of a couple being married in a church. I
inteded to get a DSLR but I used the money to buy my wife the S4 and
only now do I have the money to purchase a replacement. BTW, the Optio
is always in MY pocket and it's so small I forget I have it with me. I
played with ISO and F stop on the coolpix and got great results but
other than that I'd say I'm a novice.
Anonymous
January 12, 2005 4:58:26 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

I agree about depth of field. You may be able to use a faster shutter
speed, but if your focus is off, you will have a unsharp. aslo, if
you are doing portraits, you will need to use an f-stop of at least
5.6 to get enough dof to make the head sharp from the tip of the nose
to the ears. Always focus on the eyes, they are where people look
first and they need to be sharp.

robert Strom

On Tue, 11 Jan 2005 23:31:32 GMT, "Dave R knows who"
<nguser2u@spamnotAOL.com> wrote:

>
>"Ned" <nedhart@hotmail.com> wrote in message
>news:1105475025.729118.268600@c13g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
>>I would like to purchase a camera that is capable of taking handheld
>> photos indoors without the use of a flash in low light conditions. I
>> want to capture the moment as it really is, with the available lighting
>> without the flash lighting up the whole place. I don't want to spend a
>> fortune, but I don't want to end up with something that is unable to do
>> the job either. I'd appreciate some help since I am down to the
>> following cameras and I cannot make up my mind.
>
>If you refuse to use a tripod, maybe you can set the camera on something
>solid and use a timer, or brace yourself against something. You can use any
>camera for this. Get a two-year old Olympus D-40 or Fuji S602Z for under
>$200. f your convinced you need to spend big, consider at 1.4 you might not
>like your DOF. Oh, and I hope your subject is not moving!
>
Anonymous
January 12, 2005 5:00:19 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Hi Dave

I didn't know a fast lens would have a problem with a moving subject
and I didn't know DOF might be a problem. I don't understand how 1.4
changes things, I thought it just allowed more light in. I will do
some searches on Google and try to dig up some information. Can't
someone just clone human eyeballs and somehow mount them on a camera?
These lenses are tricky.
Anonymous
January 12, 2005 5:03:52 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

YES. I need to be able to disable the flash.
Anonymous
January 12, 2005 5:34:52 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

I have a feeling the op is asking for a camera where the flash can be turned
off. Canon A series permit a 'no flash' selection and I would imagine this
is the norm.
Dave Cohen
"Robert Strom" <notavailable@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:q3bau0pn7e5p4n7qlqq5rtop3i1uumc6a6@4ax.com...
>I agree about depth of field. You may be able to use a faster shutter
> speed, but if your focus is off, you will have a unsharp. aslo, if
> you are doing portraits, you will need to use an f-stop of at least
> 5.6 to get enough dof to make the head sharp from the tip of the nose
> to the ears. Always focus on the eyes, they are where people look
> first and they need to be sharp.
>
> robert Strom
>
> On Tue, 11 Jan 2005 23:31:32 GMT, "Dave R knows who"
> <nguser2u@spamnotAOL.com> wrote:
>
>>
>>"Ned" <nedhart@hotmail.com> wrote in message
>>news:1105475025.729118.268600@c13g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
>>>I would like to purchase a camera that is capable of taking handheld
>>> photos indoors without the use of a flash in low light conditions. I
>>> want to capture the moment as it really is, with the available lighting
>>> without the flash lighting up the whole place. I don't want to spend a
>>> fortune, but I don't want to end up with something that is unable to do
>>> the job either. I'd appreciate some help since I am down to the
>>> following cameras and I cannot make up my mind.
>>
>>If you refuse to use a tripod, maybe you can set the camera on something
>>solid and use a timer, or brace yourself against something. You can use
>>any
>>camera for this. Get a two-year old Olympus D-40 or Fuji S602Z for under
>>$200. f your convinced you need to spend big, consider at 1.4 you might
>>not
>>like your DOF. Oh, and I hope your subject is not moving!
>>
>
January 12, 2005 7:51:54 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

A fast lense is no worse about moving objects. Yes it lets in more light
and that'll let you get more DOF at the same speed. An image
stabilization lense will let you shoot at slower speeds without camera
shake but the slower speeds will blur moving subjects. ISO adjusted up
will let you cheat a lot with a DSLR but at the cost of more noise (grain).

I'm not sure but I think some of the smaller digicams are actually
better in low light though there is again more noise & just generally a
poorer image quality. The DSLR won't be that much improvement unless you
get an expensive lens. The little digicams are more forgiving, less
hassle if you aren't into lots of fiddling & extra equiptment. You can
get a digicam with image stabilization in your budget but maybe not a
DSLR with a fancy IS lens. Plus the DSLR lense is going to be huge if
it's a good one and you probably will want 2 lenses at least because the
zoom range isn't as much.

I got a D70 DSLR & it's a lot more work to operate to it's potential.
I'm willing to do that extra work but it's a bit painful. An 8MP digicam
would have been sharper (unless I really shell out for a fancy lens). If
you aren't planning to do huge prints and not inspired to spend a lot of
time post-processing, a nice fixed lens digicam is probably a better
choice. The DSLR's have more better info but it takes work to extract
with photoshop & knowing how to set the settings & more expensive lenses.


Ned wrote:

> Hi Dave
>
> I didn't know a fast lens would have a problem with a moving subject
> and I didn't know DOF might be a problem. I don't understand how 1.4
> changes things, I thought it just allowed more light in. I will do
> some searches on Google and try to dig up some information. Can't
> someone just clone human eyeballs and somehow mount them on a camera?
> These lenses are tricky.
>
Anonymous
January 13, 2005 5:27:48 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

I would respectfully disagree that a faster lens gives more dog at the
same f-stop. DOF is a function of the size of the lens aperture. A
F1.4 lens at F. 5.6 has the same DOF as a F.35 lens at F5.6

If oyu look a t depth of field calculator you will see that the speed
of the lens is not a factor

see http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html

I just picked this as the first search result doing a google search on
"depth of field calculator"

Example from calculator
Camera: Fuji S2 Pro
Actual focal length: 85mm
Selected Aperature: F2.8 then F 1.4 then F5.6
Sunject distance: 3 feet
Toal depth of field .04 feet @ 1.4= .02 feet @F5.6= .08 feet

Hope this clears things up

Robert Strom

On Wed, 12 Jan 2005 16:51:54 -0800, paul <paul@not.net> wrote:

>A fast lense is no worse about moving objects. Yes it lets in more light
>and that'll let you get more DOF at the same speed. An image
>stabilization lense will let you shoot at slower speeds without camera
>shake but the slower speeds will blur moving subjects. ISO adjusted up
>will let you cheat a lot with a DSLR but at the cost of more noise (grain).
>
>I'm not sure but I think some of the smaller digicams are actually
>better in low light though there is again more noise & just generally a
>poorer image quality. The DSLR won't be that much improvement unless you
>get an expensive lens. The little digicams are more forgiving, less
>hassle if you aren't into lots of fiddling & extra equiptment. You can
>get a digicam with image stabilization in your budget but maybe not a
>DSLR with a fancy IS lens. Plus the DSLR lense is going to be huge if
>it's a good one and you probably will want 2 lenses at least because the
>zoom range isn't as much.
>
>I got a D70 DSLR & it's a lot more work to operate to it's potential.
>I'm willing to do that extra work but it's a bit painful. An 8MP digicam
>would have been sharper (unless I really shell out for a fancy lens). If
>you aren't planning to do huge prints and not inspired to spend a lot of
>time post-processing, a nice fixed lens digicam is probably a better
>choice. The DSLR's have more better info but it takes work to extract
>with photoshop & knowing how to set the settings & more expensive lenses.
>
>
>Ned wrote:
>
>> Hi Dave
>>
>> I didn't know a fast lens would have a problem with a moving subject
>> and I didn't know DOF might be a problem. I don't understand how 1.4
>> changes things, I thought it just allowed more light in. I will do
>> some searches on Google and try to dig up some information. Can't
>> someone just clone human eyeballs and somehow mount them on a camera?
>> These lenses are tricky.
>>
January 13, 2005 5:27:49 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

I meant that at the same speed a faster lense allows you to close the
aperture and get more DOF. Sorry if I said it wrong.


Robert Strom wrote:
> I would respectfully disagree that a faster lens gives more dog at the
> same f-stop. DOF is a function of the size of the lens aperture. A
> F1.4 lens at F. 5.6 has the same DOF as a F.35 lens at F5.6
>
> If oyu look a t depth of field calculator you will see that the speed
> of the lens is not a factor
>
> see http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html
>
> I just picked this as the first search result doing a google search on
> "depth of field calculator"
>
> Example from calculator
> Camera: Fuji S2 Pro
> Actual focal length: 85mm
> Selected Aperature: F2.8 then F 1.4 then F5.6
> Sunject distance: 3 feet
> Toal depth of field .04 feet @ 1.4= .02 feet @F5.6= .08 feet
>
> Hope this clears things up
>
> Robert Strom
>
> On Wed, 12 Jan 2005 16:51:54 -0800, paul <paul@not.net> wrote:
>
>
>>A fast lense is no worse about moving objects. Yes it lets in more light
>>and that'll let you get more DOF at the same speed. An image
>>stabilization lense will let you shoot at slower speeds without camera
>>shake but the slower speeds will blur moving subjects. ISO adjusted up
>>will let you cheat a lot with a DSLR but at the cost of more noise (grain).
>>
>>I'm not sure but I think some of the smaller digicams are actually
>>better in low light though there is again more noise & just generally a
>>poorer image quality. The DSLR won't be that much improvement unless you
>>get an expensive lens. The little digicams are more forgiving, less
>>hassle if you aren't into lots of fiddling & extra equiptment. You can
>>get a digicam with image stabilization in your budget but maybe not a
>>DSLR with a fancy IS lens. Plus the DSLR lense is going to be huge if
>>it's a good one and you probably will want 2 lenses at least because the
>>zoom range isn't as much.
>>
>>I got a D70 DSLR & it's a lot more work to operate to it's potential.
>>I'm willing to do that extra work but it's a bit painful. An 8MP digicam
>>would have been sharper (unless I really shell out for a fancy lens). If
>>you aren't planning to do huge prints and not inspired to spend a lot of
>>time post-processing, a nice fixed lens digicam is probably a better
>>choice. The DSLR's have more better info but it takes work to extract
>>with photoshop & knowing how to set the settings & more expensive lenses.
>>
>>
>>Ned wrote:
>>
>>
>>>Hi Dave
>>>
>>>I didn't know a fast lens would have a problem with a moving subject
>>>and I didn't know DOF might be a problem. I don't understand how 1.4
>>>changes things, I thought it just allowed more light in. I will do
>>>some searches on Google and try to dig up some information. Can't
>>>someone just clone human eyeballs and somehow mount them on a camera?
>>>These lenses are tricky.
>>>
>
>
Anonymous
January 13, 2005 7:56:01 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Two solutions:
1) Image stabilizer - Leica digitals usually have them. You can use
them + faster ISO settings to get what you want to a degree. See
reviews of the cameras at www.dpreview.com www.imaging-resource.com etc.
for how well they'll do.

2) Fast lens - f/1.0 is great! but if not, faster is better.

In Japan, even FujiFilm has thought of this for the 35mm P&S camera
line and recently released the Natura S 24mm f/1.9 (very fast for a P&S)
P&S camera. When used with 1600 ISO film, you get amazing results at
night and indoors.

See http://fujifilm.jp/personal/filmcamera/35mm/naturas/ind...
for their comparison pictures vs. a regular slow 35mm P&S to see
what faster lenses can do for you.

=-

http://www.uscoles.com/exposures.pdf

Print and use this calculator to give you an idea how much difference
f/stops can get you. Here, assume you've got a f/3.5 regular camera at
1/30th second (something like what you may get in a bright room at
night), then compare vs. how the shutter speed changes at various,
faster f/stops.

You can literally go from fuzzy to tack sharp by jumping to a faster
lens (eg. f/3.5 to f/1.0) at night.

---

ISO speed is another way. Here, if you buy a camera that can go to
faster ISO speeds w/o much degredation or noise (eg. EOS 1DS-II), you
can easily jump right up to 400-1600 ISO w/o any problems at all. This
plus a fast lens can do wonders!
Anonymous
January 13, 2005 10:25:46 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Ned" <nedhart@hotmail.com> wrote:

>I didn't know a fast lens would have a problem with a moving subject
>and I didn't know DOF might be a problem. I don't understand how 1.4
>changes things, I thought it just allowed more light in. I

Fast lenses don't have problems with moving subjects.

Fast lenses do have more shallow DOF when used wide open.

Here's an example with the 50/1.4 on a film camera shot at 1.4, 1/60th, and
ISO 1600:

http://canid.com/current/christmas_2004_6.html

Not my greatest shot and won't make the cut to be put on the rest of my
site, but it's an ok family snap. Don't be afraid of using a 1.4 lens.
Plenty of depth of field. My daughter hardly ever stands still. I believe
she qualified as a moving subject. :) 

The problem with many cheaper dSLRs is the sensor size is smaller than a
normal 35mm frame. That means a 50mm lens is magnified to an 80mm lens.
The camera shake is magnified, too. You'll need a faster shutter speed to
keep the camera clur similar. A 35/2 lens isn't usually very expensive.
That will give you an effective 50mm focal length. And wide open, it will
give you the depth of field as if you were shooting a 50mm on a film camera
stopped down one more stop.

A 20D plus a 35/2 can be had for about $1700. Close enough to your $1500
budget. :)  If you want low light, I'd really go for the 20D over the
digital rebel. The 20D's higher ISO settings are allegedly much cleaner and
free of noise.

--
Eric
http://canid.com/
Anonymous
February 23, 2005 12:25:05 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

>I would like to purchase a camera that is capable of taking handheld
>photos indoors without the use of a flash in low light conditions. I

Depending on what you're taking a picture of, you may do better with a
nice 1.4 lens, or with an image-stabilized lens. I use the Canon
35-135 IS indoors to take pictures at 1/10sec, and they look great.

Another option is a wide angle lens. Remember (without image
stabilization), you can generally take a sharp handheld picture with
an X-mm lens at speeds down to 1/X, so with a 50mm, 1/60 is roughly
the lower limit. But with a 22mm lens, 1/20 should still be sharp.

-Joel

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