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Best Point and Shoot (closest thing to a DSLR) thats good at low light shooting?
I currently have a Canon G7 (which has served me very well, takes very nice pics at lower iso's) and a Canon 450D (brand new, and already stretching my budget)..

To be honest, I went in to the DSLR thing perhaps a bit hastily. The 450D takes amazing shots, but I find that due to the kit lens having a max aperture of only 3.5, it's a lot harder to work with at night, and indoor shooting, in that I'm having to work with higher iso's than I'd like, or lower shutter speeds, especially when compared to the canon G7..

I simply was naive and did not think this would be the case. The predicament I'm in, is that I simply cannot afford the kinds of lenses that would give me similar fast performances to the G7 (f.28) whilst giving me the same range of zoom. I wanted to buy the Sigma 18-50 DC EX Macro f2.8, but at 300, it's outside my budget. Even the Canon 50mm 1.8, whilst fairly cheap at 70 or so, is still not sufficient what with no zoom what-so-ever. It's not exactly versatile..

So, I've considered selling my Canon 450D. Thankfully I've been offered what I paid for it already, so won't make a loss..

Now the question is, with size not being an issue. And my budget being 400 (may be able to stretch it a little if the quality is there) or below, what Point and Shoot will give me the closest to DSLR results? But most importantly, offer me the best indoor and low light performance? Something with low noise even at the higher end of ISo's, when compared to the G7, and something with full manual controls, or close enough (G7 was sufficient). Size is not an issue, I just want an all in one. Without having to spend lots on an additional lens..

Any help would be greatly appreciated...

Comments (20)

NaimC wrote:.

Now the question is, with size not being an issue. And my budgetbeing 400 (may be able to stretch it a little if the quality isthere) or below, what Point and Shoot will give me the closest toDSLR results? But most importantly, offer me the best indoor and lowlight performance? Something with low noise even at the higher end ofISo's, when compared to the G7, and something with full manualcontrols, or close enough (G7 was sufficient). Size is not an issue,I just want an all in one. Without having to spend lots on anadditional lens..

I hate to say this, because since I have one, my opinion will be suspect....

Go find a good, used R1. It's not perfect (mostly slow). But it has a big sensor, moderate high ISO noise, awesome lens (24-120mm eff), and 14-bit ADC. It also has a very useful top-mounted LCD that twists and flips and a very useful live histogram (no more "chimping"!)....

Unfortunately, Sony didn't think it wise to continue the R-series after it bought KM, so dropped the ball..

Charlie DavisNikon 5700, Sony R1, Nikon D300HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/'Experience: Discovering that a claw hammer will bend nails.Epiphany: Discovering that a claw hammer is two tools...'..

Comment #1

Sigma DP1 which has a full size (sic) aps-c sensor. Only down side is that it is fixed focal length. Nikon D40 Kit or Olympus E-420 is sub $500 and almost P&S size and you could just leave the kit lens on..

I personally just carry the Canon A570IS with me. Good camera with full manual when you need it. Decent (for a P&S) low light and dirt cheap (My 77mm circular polarizing filter cost more than this little camera that could). The D40 with the kit lens also spends a lot of time with me on casual walk abouts...

Comment #2

Wchp wrote:.

Sigma DP1 which has a full size (sic) aps-c sensor. Only down side isthat it is fixed focal length. Nikon D40 Kit or Olympus E-420 is sub$500 and almost P&S size and you could just leave the kit lens on..

I personally just carry the Canon A570IS with me. Good camera withfull manual when you need it. Decent (for a P&S) low light and dirtcheap (My 77mm circular polarizing filter cost more than this littlecamera that could). The D40 with the kit lens also spends a lot oftime with me on casual walk abouts..

Surely the A570IS dos not take better shots than the G7 I already have?.

I did look at the Sigma DP1, but a few things turned me off. Namely the high price, the fixed lens, and the terrible menu's and user interface..

Are the D40 and E-420 kit lenses f2.8?..

Comment #3

NaimC wrote:.

I currently have a Canon G7 (which has served me very well, takesvery nice pics at lower iso's) and a Canon 450D (brand new, andalready stretching my budget)..

To be honest, I went in to the DSLR thing perhaps a bit hastily. The450D takes amazing shots, but I find that due to the kit lens havinga max aperture of only 3.5, it's a lot harder to work with at night,and indoor shooting, in that I'm having to work with higher iso'sthan I'd like, or lower shutter speeds, especially when compared tothe canon G7..

Hmmm. There has to be more to this than you've said above. The 18-55 IS kit lens is f/3.5-5.6, and the G7 is f/2.8-4.8. That's just 2/3 stop slower, so you could 100% compensate for the slower lens by increasing the ISO speed by 2/3 stop to get the same exposure. And because of the much larger sensor in the DSLR, that should result in less noise and more depth of field control than the G7 - for _better_ night and indoor shots..

Are there other issues you haven't mentioned? Do you just not like the bigger camera? (Not everyone does.) Do you feel limited by the shorter zoom? Is it possible that you just haven't yet got over the initial learning curve?.

I'm not saying a DSLR is right for everyone, and it could be that it's not right for you. I'm just suggesting that the reason you gave doesn't seem to stack up...

Comment #4

Steve Balcombe wrote:.

NaimC wrote:.

I currently have a Canon G7 (which has served me very well, takesvery nice pics at lower iso's) and a Canon 450D (brand new, andalready stretching my budget)..

To be honest, I went in to the DSLR thing perhaps a bit hastily. The450D takes amazing shots, but I find that due to the kit lens havinga max aperture of only 3.5, it's a lot harder to work with at night,and indoor shooting, in that I'm having to work with higher iso'sthan I'd like, or lower shutter speeds, especially when compared tothe canon G7..

Hmmm. There has to be more to this than you've said above. The 18-55IS kit lens is f/3.5-5.6, and the G7 is f/2.8-4.8. That's just 2/3stop slower, so you could 100% compensate for the slower lens byincreasing the ISO speed by 2/3 stop to get the same exposure. Andbecause of the much larger sensor in the DSLR, that should result inless noise and more depth of field control than the G7 - for _better_night and indoor shots..

Are there other issues you haven't mentioned? Do you just not likethe bigger camera? (Not everyone does.) Do you feel limited by theshorter zoom? Is it possible that you just haven't yet got over theinitial learning curve?.

I'm not saying a DSLR is right for everyone, and it could be thatit's not right for you. I'm just suggesting that the reason you gavedoesn't seem to stack up..

Size is not an issue. I quite like the size actually, the 450D is a perfect weight too. Not too heavy like some of the other DSLR's, but not too light either. You are correct about compensating the smaller aperture by increasing the iso. Problem is, I'd prefer not to increase the ISO. Though the 450D does have a lot less noise than the G7, the gap is not as substantial as I'd like, purely because I'm having to compensate with the ISO.



I may be able to get a suitably light image from the G7 at 1/15 2.8m at 200 ISO, and to get a similar level of light, I may have to use the same settings but on ISO 400 or more on the 450D. The problem occurs when to compensate I have to switch from 800 ISO to 1600. 1600 is were the noise really starts to creep in, there's even a touch at 800 ISO..

I realise there was always going to be some noise, I simply expected lighter results for 570. I'd assumed that a DSLR's 3.5 would be as light as a non DSLR's 2.8. But I was very mistaken. If only the 450d came with a lens similar to the one it came with, but something a tad faster (2.8) it would have been perfect...

Comment #5

Recently on ebay a Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 EX sold for 150.Also a Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 EX sold for 270.This is pretty decent fast glass at a constant f/2.8 and much better quality than P&S.If you look around there are bargains to be had within your budget.PJT..

Comment #6

Wombat 52 wrote:.

Recently on ebay a Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 EX sold for 150.Also a Sigma50-150mm f/2.8 EX sold for 270.This is pretty decent fast glass at aconstant f/2.8 and much better quality than P&S.If you look aroundthere are bargains to be had within your budget.PJT.

Hmm, 150 is definitely a good deal. Not sure about 270 though. I'm just finding it hard to justify the extra spend when I already went over budget with the 450D itself. I decided it was worth it to spend the extra over a 400D for the Live Preview alone though..

I'll have a look around. But from the sounds of things, no P&S actual comes close to a DSLR?..

Comment #7

NaimC wrote:.

I may be able to get a suitably light image from the G7 at 1/15 2.8mat 200 ISO, and to get a similar level of light, I may have to usethe same settings but on ISO 400 or more on the 450D..

Yes, but ISO 400 on the 450D should be somewhat less noisy than ISO 200 on the G7. It's difficult to make a straight comparison unless you use an external RAW converter to ensure identical noise reduction - and you don't have that option with the G7 of course. But any other result would be very surprising..

And remember that this comparison is only of relevance when you are unable to use the lower ISO speeds on the 450D. Most of the time, the issue just doesn't arise..

The problemoccurs when to compensate I have to switch from 800 ISO to 1600. 1600is were the noise really starts to creep in, there's even a touch at800 ISO..

Something tells me you are looking harder at the 450D images than you are at the G7 images! This is entirely understandable of course, I would do the same with a new camera. But it can trick you into being more critical of the new camera than the old..

I agree that ISO 1600 is pretty noisy - at least, my 400D is and I imagine the 450D will be similar. But that sort of noise level comes in much earlier with the G7..

If high-ISO speed photography is a very big concern for you, and a major reason for your upgrade, then whatever you do, do not sell the 450D. There is no non-DSLR which comes even close. Instead, start shooting RAW and learn about RAW conversion for maximum control. There's a learning curve but stick with it. Also, get yourself a copy of Neat Image for industrial-strength noise reduction. There's a free version you can experiment with, but I bought the top-of-the-range Pro+ version for maximum integration with Photoshop and even that is not especially expensive..

Http://www.neatimage.com/download.htmlhttp://www.neatimage.com/purchase.html.

I realise there was always going to be some noise, I simply expectedlighter results for 570. I'd assumed that a DSLR's 3.5 would be aslight as a non DSLR's 2.8..

On that specific point - in theory, f-numbers mean the same on any camera/lens. So f/3.5 on a DSLR (or any camera) is 2/3 stop slower than f/2.8 on the G7 (or any camera)..

Lastly, buying a used Sigma 18-50/2.8 was mentioned in another post. Be careful here - the current version is highly recommended but the earlier version is not. Two ways to tell the difference - the later lens has "Macro" in it's name (printed on the barrel so there can be no mistake) and the later lens takes 72 mm filters (was 67 mm)...

Comment #8

NaimC wrote:.

Wombat 52 wrote:I'll have a look around. But from the sounds of things, no P&S actualcomes close to a DSLR?.

Correct..

This is why I am still shooting my D40. The 6mp on a APS-C sized sensor yields great results. I hadn't found anything better until the D300 and D3 shipped..

I still carry the D40 with a 50mm 1.8 on it frequently for those birthday parties and indoor family events...

Comment #9

I guess I may just have to save up to fork out for a new lens then...

Comment #10

Have you thought about getting a 2nd hand Fuji F30/F31fd. For a small compact it'll give you good ISO performance indoor up till 1600. I've just sold mine and can testify to the lowlight performance. It has an Intelligent flash as well which gives surprisingly natural results. It can take 2 shots consecutively, one with flash and one without. It's pocketable, f/2.8 with 1/1.7" sensor, 36-108mm zoom and aperture and shutter priority modes..

There hasn't been a compact model with a better sensor built since..

Http://www.digicamreview.co.uk/pentax_k100d_dslr_review.htm.

Check out this reiview link, it compares ISO shots with the K100D and E-400 dSLRs. It can't quite compete with the K100D but easily outperforms the E-400...

Comment #11

Stargooner wrote:.

Have you thought about getting a 2nd hand Fuji F30/F31fd. For a smallcompact it'll give you good ISO performance indoor up till 1600. I'vejust sold mine and can testify to the lowlight performance. It has anIntelligent flash as well which gives surprisingly natural results.It can take 2 shots consecutively, one with flash and one without.It's pocketable, f/2.8 with 1/1.7" sensor, 36-108mm zoom and apertureand shutter priority modes..

There hasn't been a compact model with a better sensor built since..

Http://www.digicamreview.co.uk/pentax_k100d_dslr_review.htm.

Check out this reiview link, it compares ISO shots with the K100D andE-400 dSLRs. It can't quite compete with the K100D but easilyoutperforms the E-400..

Just checked out dp's review. Quite surprised at the ISO 800 performance. Very surprised indeed. Is there a similar model with more MP's? Also, does it have manual controls? Lastly, how would you say the picture compares to the Canon G7's?.

Thanks..

Comment #12

Stargooner wrote:.

Have you thought about getting a 2nd hand Fuji F30/F31fd..

My daughter has an F40, and while it is a very good camera I don't think it would address the OP's problem. It does have a slightly larger sensor than the G7 if I recall correctly, but if there is any image quality benefit accruing from that it must be very slight..

I'm aware that the F30 has slightly lower per-pixel noise than the F40 - just a different trade-off against resolution, overall they are very similar..

I do agree with you about the flash - very good...

Comment #13

Steve Balcombe wrote:.

Stargooner wrote:.

Have you thought about getting a 2nd hand Fuji F30/F31fd..

My daughter has an F40, and while it is a very good camera I don'tthink it would address the OP's problem. It does have a slightlylarger sensor than the G7 if I recall correctly, but if there is anyimage quality benefit accruing from that it must be very slight..

I'm aware that the F30 has slightly lower per-pixel noise than theF40 - just a different trade-off against resolution, overall they arevery similar..

I do agree with you about the flash - very good..

I've noticed dp haven't done a review of the F40 yet. Any idea how it compares image quality wise to the F31fd? Because the F31fd performs very well at ISO 800. I can't believe how cheap it is either...

Comment #14

NaimC wrote:.

I've noticed dp haven't done a review of the F40 yet. Any idea how itcompares image quality wise to the F31fd? Because the F31fd performsvery well at ISO 800. I can't believe how cheap it is either..

The F40 is very much like the F30 but it has more pixels on the (approx.) same size sensor, and all other things being equal that means more *per pixel* noise - so it looks noisier if you view it at 'actual pixels' on screen. But if you compare two prints side by side so that you are looking at the total image noise instead of 'pixel peeping', there should be little or no difference..

The F40 does have a few advantages over the F30:.

- Higher resolution gives more scope for cropping.- Takes SD cards - *much* better than the XD cards that the F30 uses.- Slightly slimmer.- Still available!.

The biggest single disadvantage is less manual control..

I really don't think these cameras will solve your problem but if you want to find out more I would suggest a post on the Fujifilm Talk forum...

Comment #15

Steve Balcombe wrote:.

NaimC wrote:.

I've noticed dp haven't done a review of the F40 yet. Any idea how itcompares image quality wise to the F31fd? Because the F31fd performsvery well at ISO 800. I can't believe how cheap it is either..

The F40 is very much like the F30 but it has more pixels on the(approx.) same size sensor, and all other things being equal thatmeans more *per pixel* noise - so it looks noisier if you view it at'actual pixels' on screen. But if you compare two prints side by sideso that you are looking at the total image noise instead of 'pixelpeeping', there should be little or no difference..

The F40 does have a few advantages over the F30:.

- Higher resolution gives more scope for cropping.- Takes SD cards - *much* better than the XD cards that the F30 uses.- Slightly slimmer.- Still available!.

The biggest single disadvantage is less manual control..

I really don't think these cameras will solve your problem but if youwant to find out more I would suggest a post on the Fujifilm Talkforum..

I see. You know what, I think I'll just keep my G7 and the 450D..

I'm thinking of investing in a new lens now. Problem is, I don't know whcih to go for out of the Sigma 18-50 EX DC Macro (new version) f2.8 and the Tamron 17-50 2.8. Decisions decisions...

Comment #16

The F40 can't be compared and neither can the latest Fujis. The earlier models are highly sought after, just sold mine for 160 (200 new). There's just no other smallish compact model that comes close in IQ terms. Just type in F30 or F31d in to the search on the Fuji discussion see what people have said...

Comment #17

NaimC wrote:.

You know what, I think I'll just keep my G7 and the 450D..

Good decision..

I'm thinking of investing in a new lens now. Problem is, I don't knowwhich to go for out of the Sigma 18-50 EX DC Macro (new version)f2.8 and the Tamron 17-50 2.8. Decisions decisions..

Well, I have the Sigma and I am very satisfied with it. Those two lenses are exactly equivalent as you obviously realise and you would be happy with either I am sure, but the reasons I chose the Sigma were:.

- Closer focusing (this was a big factor for me).- Very slightly better build quality (but both are very good).- Zoom and focus rings work the same way round as Canon lenses.- Better background blur quality ('bokeh')..

- The Tamron is said to be noisier focusing but I have to say I didn't hear any difference when I tried out the two lenses..

The Tamron has one key advantage which will be important to some people:.

- Several degrees wider.

But my view is that if you want to take more than just the occasional shot at 17/18 mm then neither lens is a good choice - the Canon EF-S 10-22 is *much* better. Currently the 10-22 is about third on my 'wish list' .

I see no clear difference in image quality (apart from bokeh as noted above) - it seems to depend which review you read. Both lenses are sharp and distortions/aberrations are low to very low. Flare doesn't seem to be an issue with either lens. The Sigma is very slightly larger but holding the two in your hands you would barely notice..

So I walked out of the shop with the Sigma - but if one thing is certain, you will read the opposite opinion too...

Comment #18

Steve Balcombe wrote:.

NaimC wrote:.

You know what, I think I'll just keep my G7 and the 450D..

Good decision..

I'm thinking of investing in a new lens now. Problem is, I don't knowwhich to go for out of the Sigma 18-50 EX DC Macro (new version)f2.8 and the Tamron 17-50 2.8. Decisions decisions..

Well, I have the Sigma and I am very satisfied with it. Those twolenses are exactly equivalent as you obviously realise and you wouldbe happy with either I am sure, but the reasons I chose the Sigmawere:.

- Closer focusing (this was a big factor for me).- Very slightly better build quality (but both are very good).- Zoom and focus rings work the same way round as Canon lenses.- Better background blur quality ('bokeh').- The Tamron is said to be noisier focusing but I have to say Ididn't hear any difference when I tried out the two lenses..

The Tamron has one key advantage which will be important to some people:.

- Several degrees wider.

But my view is that if you want to take more than just the occasionalshot at 17/18 mm then neither lens is a good choice - the Canon EF-S10-22 is *much* better. Currently the 10-22 is about third on my'wish list' .

I see no clear difference in image quality (apart from bokeh as notedabove) - it seems to depend which review you read. Both lenses aresharp and distortions/aberrations are low to very low. Flare doesn'tseem to be an issue with either lens. The Sigma is very slightlylarger but holding the two in your hands you would barely notice..

So I walked out of the shop with the Sigma - but if one thing iscertain, you will read the opposite opinion too..

Excellent post. I think you just nailed all the reasons why I am already leaning towards the Sigma. Thanks. .

Will order my new lens tonight....and not tell my other half lol...

Comment #19

You can still use the lens on the next upgraded body you purchase. So, it is not like sinking it into a P&S with the lens attached..

In good light, there are only a handful of P&S digicams that get into the same IQ ballpark as a DSLR. You already own one of them. As far as DSLR quality, I use my DS with a wide angle prime to take birthday photos where the only light comes from the candles. The results look real...

Comment #20

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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