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Which low light camera? K100D Super or A700?
The title may seem strange... why am I comparing cameras from different classes? Well, I'm looking for a camera that will perform well flashless indoors under low-light. My subjects will most often be people... sometimes posing, but other times candids, so sharpness at wide aperture is more important to me than a fast shutter speed. Canikon is out because I've settled on in-body IS so I can use stabilized fast prime lenses, and that's led me to the two cameras in question. I'm not so much price sensitive as camera weight and feel.

I'm leaning towards the Pentax because I like the idea of the 6MP sensor and the low noise at high ISO and can live with the slower shooting speed and without the niceties of the Sony. I would jump on the Sony in a heartbeat if I were more impressed by the high ISO shots I've seen on this site... but I'll reserve judgement until I see more samples. Given my situation, are there compelling arguments for either of these cameras that I should consider? Perhaps other cameras I should include in my search? I'd welcome input from anyone who owns one or both of these and has experience shooting under low-light conditions...

Comments (16)

Sony DSLR-A700, Minolta 100mm f2 Autofocus Lens at f/2.5, 1/40 second, ISO 3200, Tungsten White Balance..

Straight from the camera jpeg fine (not even extra fine) except for downsizing..

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JimChttp://www.pbase.com/jcockfield..

Comment #1

They both have advantage over Canon and Nikon due camera body IS (SSS) .Camera body IS (SSS) works perfectly with fast (f/1.4, f/1.8, f/2) lenses.

Nikon and Canon users may need monopod at these situations..

Pentax could be very good performer with Limited lenses, and older faster AF primes. But I personally would go A700 because I got good results with it's predecessor Minolta 7D + primes..

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-http://www.stan-pustylnik.smugmug.com..

Comment #2

IS isn't going to help with people shots unless you can get a reasonable shutter speed with the other two parameters: aperture and ISO. IS will get you down to 1/8 s or possible down to 1/4 s, but there aren't many people, unless they are dead or sleeping, that capture well at these speeds..

Stan P posted some excellent shots in low light, but with the EXIF stripped it is hard to tell which parameter enabled them..

Brian A...

Comment #3

Grend wrote:.

The title may seem strange... why am I comparing cameras fromdifferent classes? Well, I'm looking for a camera that will performwell flashless indoors under low-light. My subjects will most oftenbe people... sometimes posing, but other times candids, so sharpnessat wide aperture is more important to me than a fast shutter speed.Canikon is out because I've settled on in-body IS so I can usestabilized fast prime lenses, and that's led me to the two cameras inquestion..

But you'll need a fastish shutter speed to freeze motion - and neither Pentax or Sony make fast primes. The best they can do can't match the Nikon or Canon lenses for speed (or price). And the same is true of third party lenses like the Sigma 30mm f/1.4..

Nikon D200 + 50mm f/1.8 lens (very cheap) wide open, 1/250 sec, ISO 720:.

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Alex.

Http://akiralx.smugmug.com/..

Comment #4

Alex Leach wrote:.

But you'll need a fastish shutter speed to freeze motion - andneither Pentax or Sony make fast primes..

I beg to differ regarding Pentax primes. They make some of the nicest primes available. Short primes are a Pentax strong suit. Looking at B&H for fast primes today I see the following available:.

Pentax:43mm f/1.950mm f/1.435mm f/2.077mm f/1.831mm f/1.8.

Sigma:28mm f/1.824mm f/1.820mm f/1.8.

Http://www.bhphotovideo.com/...ilm_SLR_Interchangeable_Lenses_for_Pentax.html.

Also consider you can find many other Pentax primes second hand at places like KEH.com..

Here's a link to lens information for Pentax K mount lenses:http://kmp.bdimitrov.de/.

Here's a link to tests of lenses from a variety of manufacturers:http://www.photozone.de/8Reviews/index.html.

Regards,.

Alex.

Http://akiralx.smugmug.com/..

Comment #5

Hugo,.

My shots were done with minolta 7D DSLR with Sigma old prime AF 24mm f/2.8, at ISO 400, Aperture priority at f/2.8, Spot metering mode. Here is link with exif visible http://www.stan-pustylnik.smugmug.com/gallery/3430605#192709636.

Sony A700 is full compatible with following fast Minolta Maxxum(Dynax) prime lenses:.

16mm f/2.8 AF fish eye20mm f/2.8 AF24mm f/2.8 AF28mm f/2.0 and f/2.8 both AF35mm f/1.50mm f/1.4 and 1.7 AF85mm f/1.4 AF100mm f/2 and f/2.8135mm f/2.8Sony 135mm f/1.4 STFMinolta 200mm f/2.8Minolta 300mm f/2.8Minolta 400mm f/4.5.

For people who want to check MTF of these lenses - http://old.photodo.com.

I use Minolta camera with various Minolta, Sigma, Tamron A mount lenses. You are welcome to check out shots I do.http://www.stan-pustylnik.smugmug.com..

Comment #6

Thanks for all the replies, I'm quite impressed with the low-light shots posted and would be thrilled if I could reproduce similiar results. I am, however, a bit confused by Alex's comment that neither Pentax nor Sony make fast primes. As mrx points out, Pentax makes a 50/1.4 and 43/1.9. Is Pentax's 50/1.4 not as "fast" as say the Nikon 50/1.9? Assuming that the Pentax (and Sony) 50/1.4 lenses are equally fast as a Canikon equivilent spec lense, wouldn't I be able to achieve an adequate shutter speed AND get IS to boot with the Pentax or Sony? Looking at the spec sheets, the K100D Super maxes it's shutter speed out at 1/4000 and the Sony at 1/8000. These seem good to me, unless I'm missing some crucial understanding of how shutter speed adjusts with aperature given the same spec lense between brands?.

Thanks...

Comment #7

Stan P wrote:.

Nikon and Canon users may need monopod at these situations..

The first shot is at 1/200 s and the second at 1/250 s. Why would anyone need a monopod? Even the third, at 1/20 s, shouldn't be much of a problem at 24 mm..

All this is beside the point, the shutter speeds for shooting people, unless they are sleeping or playing dead, are going to be handholdable with a 24 mm lens. Higher usable ISO sensitivity is a much greater advantage in these situations than IS..

Brian A...

Comment #8

I have a Pentax K100D and use it regularly to take pictures of my children indoors w/o flash. The lack of noise at ISO800 is impressive; I can get good A4 prints to hang on the wall no problem and the results look much better than I used to get with ISO400 colour print film. I don't know about the new Sony, sorry..

As you have pointed out, Pentax DO make some excellent fast primes - that is the strong suit in their lens lineup. Ultimately, if you want to spend money on good lenses, the lens lineup is more important than the features on the camera body when you decide which system to choose..

Best wishesMike..

Comment #9

An f/2 lens is an f/2 lens based on specifications. Some however are created more equally than others, one of the reasons for the price differences. The description of the type of photo's you want to take leads me to think you want good, usable, high ISO and a lens rated at f/2.0 or faster (bigger aperture, smaller number). Mate that to a 6 megapixel dslr and you have a very capable tool..

Maybe you should think about which focal length lens you'll need and buy the body that fits it. For concerts you'll probably want a longer lens. For indoors at home you'll want a wider lens, say something in the 24mm to 30mm range..

I suspect you understood the technical details correctly prior to your original post..

Regards and happy shooting,..

Comment #10

Take a 50 mm f 1.8 lens, this will give good low light resultstake a 75 mm f 3.5 lens, and the results could be not as goodhttp://s185.photobucket.com/.../albums/x223/eirianfa2002/?mediafilter=imagesMike Rudge..

Comment #11

Brian,.

You asked me about exif I have you hones answer. I think many users will instantly go with high ISO without using othe options..

I just checked exposure possibilities with that lens at Aperture priority and saw that ISO 400 will handle this light well..

With 1/20 shutterspeed % of successful shots would be higher then with body without IS..

Http://www.stan-pustylnik.smugmug.com..

Comment #12

If I were doing that I would pony up a Canon 5D, prices have dropped and are about to drop even more. It's at LEAST the 2 stops in-body IS gives you better in terms of ISO Image quality that either of the 2 cameras you listed. Plus you have the advantage of much higher maximum IQ when the light is good. I love my Fuji S5 but can't recommend it over 5D for this because sharpness just doesn't hold up as well to 3200, though at 800-1600 the colors and tonality hold true better than any other camera I've seen...

Comment #13

Grend wrote:.

The title may seem strange... why am I comparing cameras fromdifferent classes? Well, I'm looking for a camera that will performwell flashless indoors under low-light. My subjects will most oftenbe people... sometimes posing, but other times candids, so sharpnessat wide aperture is more important to me than a fast shutter speed.Canikon is out because I've settled on in-body IS so I can usestabilized fast prime lenses, and that's led me to the two cameras inquestion. I'm not so much price sensitive as camera weight and feel.I've handled both of these in a camera shop and very slightly preferthe feel of the Pentax, although both fit fairly well in my smallhands. I'm leaning towards the Pentax because I like the idea of the6MP sensor and the low noise at high ISO and can live with the slowershooting speed and without the niceties of the Sony.

But I'll reserve judgement until Isee more samples. Given my situation, are there compelling argumentsfor either of these cameras that I should consider? Perhaps othercameras I should include in my search? I'd welcome input from anyonewho owns one or both of these and has experience shooting underlow-light conditions..

HiDid you make a decision yet?.

I have had pc problems other wise would have replied earlier..

The Pentax K100d (and K100d super) is probably close to the best bang for buck going...as an entry level camera...that said it is also a very good low light camera...one of the best short of cameras costing several times the price...so I can see why you would consider it. For low light I would get a K100d and some decent lenses over a higher spec camera and kit lens any day...given the same amount of money to spend..

Any way here is an K100d iso 1600 pic from the Festival of the Dead touring Metal festivalThe band is Heathen Ritual Taken with a 17-35 Tamron lens.

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This is from the same festival. From the band The Amenta.

This was shot with an old manual focus tamron 70-210 3.8-4 lens stopped down a little and at ISO 3200.

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I would never recomend a K100d if you need to machine gun sports pics but for just about anything else it is fine to great..

Neil.

Link back to flickr..

Comment #14

I realise the focus is out on the second pic...thats me...not the camera and I uploaded the wrong pic and since it took around 10 goes to post I have given up on reposting a better pic..

Neil..

Comment #15

Thanks for the feedback and pics. I've more-or-less decided on the K100D Super, but I haven't pulled the trigger yet. I've not found anything comparable in it's price range with my desired features, plus I'm worried that the replacement model from Pentax will join the megapixel race and perform worse at high ISO. I'l probably pick one up closer to Christmas plus either the fa43 or fa50...

Comment #16

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