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Need help in choosing a digital camera
Currently I am using an N1 digital camera from Sony. The camera is fine except that it is very prone to shakyness than a larger camera. I find setting the ISO higher in dimmer lighting conditions certainly helps. However, there are a lot of visible colored noises in the resulting images expecially from the ISO 400 onwards. I definitely prefer non colored noises than the colored ones. So far, this problem has been my greatest limitation in photography and it is keeping me from taking photos in dim lightings most of the time.

Another limitation I have is when I am taking long exposure shots...the 30 second long exposure mode is just sufficient for night time shots at the ISO 64 setting, but in darker places, the EV values are negative and I need longer exposure abilities...I wish the camera can go longer than the 30 seconds because I don't like the higher ISO qualities. Finally, I have another problem;..

Comments (5)

The noise and depth of field type issues are pretty much part and parcel of dealing with a small sensor digicam. The alternatives are the Sony R-1 or getting into the dslrs. I'd suggest closely checking the reviews here and elsewhere on the R-1. It has some very advanced features but some compromised implementations. Dslrs may prove to do what you need even more easily, cost will grow out of the budget pretty quickly as well...

Comment #1

Thanks Craig Gillette for your advice. The R1 looks to be the most suitable one for me at the moment and I certainly know it's compromises such as RAW file size, RAW speeds in general, ISO 1600 - ISO 3200 (Noisy), and "rather straightforward" 3 steps image parameter adjustments eg. - normal and + for saturation, contrast & sharpness settings...but it's lens seems to be unbeatable whenever I start looking for DSLR lenses...the high quality ones cost way too much! So far all the affordable lens range of DSLRs are rather crappy in terms of reviews and user opinions... At first, I was considering the Nikon D70s with the 50mm F1.8 Nikon prime lens, but then the quality of that 50mm F1.8 Nikon prime isn't great in quality...then I considered the Nikon D50 this time with the Nikon 50mm F1.4 prime lens that cost way more than the F1.8 one. However, I read a negative review of the costly 50mm F1.4 prime lens and dropped the whole plan altogether since those lenses are no where near the quality of the R1's lens at all. I am limited to 900 USD you see. Once again, it seems like the R1 is the cam for me.....

Comment #2

You might want to look at Canon's Digital Rebel XT also known as the 350D. It has a 23mm X 15mm CMOS sensor with 8.2 MP. It can shoot in very low light at a high ISO with little or no noise. Lens are good, especially if you venture into the L series of the professional line. An excellent camera, at the high end of you budget...

Comment #3

Thanks Jefferson. In summary, I think that all those (Now officially selling) cameras like the NIKON D50, NIKON D70s, CANON EOS 350D, OLYMPUS EVOLT E-500, SONY ALPHA A100 dSLR, and the SONY CYBER-SHOT DSC-R1 fixed lens prosumer are all great cameras. All of them surely have prominant high points over the rest of the mentioned cameras and I would like to be very honest with myself. Based on my level of information I have today after researching intensively, I have noticed the following "STRONG" points of the respective cameras mentioned in here; (Everything mentioned below only applies to the mentioned cameras in here; atleast from my intention). The Nikon D50 tips the competition in having the lowest noise levels at ISO 1600 while maintaining the most details in it's captured images. The camera also have the best dynamic range in terms of measurements and thanks to this site for that dynamic range test! (It was better than nothing to give me the idea).

The D50 can also clearly use all of it's ISO with ease as well, but the Nikon D70s' noise characteristics are very different; prabably not only different to the noise characteristic of the D50, but also different to the rest of the competition. The noise characteristic of the Nikon D70s at the higher ISOs are mostly mono chromic and mostly luminescent like (Colorless) instead of having noises from the red channel, chroma like or with chroma blotches. So this is the big advantage of it (For my case and for many other photographers as well). I also heard that chroma noises are hard to remove in comparison to mono chromic ones. The image quality of the D70s is also top notch with the cripness and original quality, images looks really natural to my eye.

Finally, it has the viewfinder gridlines and superior build quality (based on reviews and comments!). Not forgetting to mention, it also have an adjustable spot metering circle! The Canon EOS 350D has it's set of strong points as well;.

It has (Like the D50 and D70s), fully usable ISO range to it's max ISO 1600 with ease (Second only to the D50 in noise performance at high ISOs). The image quality of the EOS 350D is also very superior and is usually winning the cameras of it's level. I know it wins the Nikon D50, Sony R1, Olympus E-500, and the previous Canon EOS 300D in terms of image quality. BUT only a good lens (That is usually expensive) will actually make it really win expecially the "Hard to beat" Sony R1 (Whose image quality is still better when compared to the EOS-350D with kit lens)! The camera isn't bad at all by offering a resonable amount of CUSTOM features (eg: Mirror lock up etc...) and advance white balance options (Including fine tuning). The camera design is not bad with that refined and compact look. The speed of the 350D is also impressive to the compettion and rather similer to the D70s.

Now lets see what the rest has got to offer...

I forgot to mention that is has good dynamic range as well just falling behind the Nikon D50 and EOS-20D only. (Thanks to this site for the results once again). Now for the Olympus Evolt E-500 (Then the R1 later on)!!!.

The Evolt E-500 offers plenty of functions and controls in it's small and refined body. The camera is a neat looking camera with TONS of features!! It has color temperature settings, extensive range of white balance controls including "Kelvin", JPEG compression settings, a WIDE range of custom controls, supersonic wave filter, hyper crystal wide viewing angle LCD, pentaprism viewfinder (although it's small), Manual flash settings and flash bracketing etc etc and ETC...there are just so much functions in the E-500. It also have an extensive in camera image editing system. Like the Nikon D70s, it's ISO range have increments, so you can select between the usual ISO levels (Say between the values of ISO 400 and ISO 800 etc). This camera offers so much and it's controls are neatly laid out. Don't forget that you can select various B&W filters on the Olympus E-500 as well.

You get white balance fine tuning, temperature settings, and the custom/manual one as well. On the other hand, it also features an anti-static surface on it's APC-C size 10.8 MP CCD and CCD dust shake to counter dust. The camera also features CCD shake reduction (Image stabilizer). Other strong points includes the pentaprism viewfinder with eye start AF and larger view than the one on the E-500's. The A100 also have a high resolution 2.5" 230,000 pixel clear photo plus TFT with anti-reflective coating.

Now for the R1; This camera is a very unique fix lens prosumer digital camera with a large 10.8 mega-pixel APS-C size CMOS imager. It features an unusually high quality C.Z. Vario Sonnar T* optics that starts from a super wide (24 mm) angle F2.8 to 120 mm (5x optical zoom range). The lens is also fully mechanical in that you can turn the focus or zoom ring to perform the indicate operation. This camera is also unique in that it offers dSLR like capabilities in a fixed lens high end prosumer with a live through the LCD preview.

Nevertheless, you can also use ISO 1600 and 3200 if you need to. It features a vary angle LCD that can be flipped over to be used like a medium format (Great!!). The 2.0" LCD on the R1 is sharp and 100% accurate with grid line options. In addition, the R1 also have a 100% accurate high quality EVF that comes with a sensor to detect when it is being used or not (It functions like the main LCD and auto switching back and forth are possible). All in all, you get the live preview advantage on the R1 and things like live white balance adjustments, live meterings, live exposure preview, and very accurate aperture judgments directly from the live CMOS's view are possible.

In conclusion, all those cameras mentioned above have their very strong points. Furthermore, I think I have probably learned enough to be able to start deciding on a dSLR/prosumer personally! But more inputs would surely be more than welcomed. Bye and regards...

Comment #4

Quote:.

"I want to blur out the backgrounds to enchance the subject more, but no matter how hard I try, the backgrounds will usually still appear to be very clear and normal looking." Try the freeware program PICASA2.

It has a feature EFFECTS/SOFT FOCUS that allows you to direcct focus at a specific spot on a photo IN FOCUS and fuzzy out the rest incrementally. You control both the size and the amount of hazziness. I used it to focus on my grandkids on a crowded beach photo and it works great...

Comment #5

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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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