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Author Topic: Another Camera Question...  (Read 1879 times)
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Location: Richmond, VA

« on: January 23, 2012, 05:08 PM »

I have been tasked by the powers above to research cameras for use at work. Basically the price needs to be reasonable (whatever that means) and the camera should be good at taking low light/nightime pics. The camera is for taking pictures of automobile crashes that could very well be in no/low light situations. I am guessing reasonable means below $700 ($500 would probably get more praise from the boss fyi).

You pros got any recommendations? I am assuming a dslr would fit the bill the best, but open to any suggestions.

Thanks alot,
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« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2012, 05:39 PM »

First, read this:

Well, no light situations.... no normal digital camera will do anything.

Low light situations..... you want  the biggest sensor and fastest lens you can afford.

The number of megapixels is not as important as how much surface area the sensor has.

The big boy cameras (Nikon D3X etc have "full size" sensors (same size as a 35mm film negative),
or about 9 square cm.

My Nikon D5000 has a form factor of 1.5, yielding a sensor of about 4 cm2.

You should probably be looking at something like the Nikon D7000, but it is still too much money.

My pocket camera these days is the Canon S100.

It is about $500 by the time you get a card, spare battery and case.
It has image stabilization, f2.0 lens and a sensor size of (0.42 cm2) which is good for a small camera.

Tell your boss if he wants to dance to the music, he has to pay the piper.

From your description, it reads as if you are unable to use a strobe.

A strobe can make a world of difference.
I bought this one last year. It was about $500.


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Location: ‪‪‪‪‪‎Chico, Ca

« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2012, 07:30 PM »

What kind of zoom range would suit you or will that not be a factor? Hopefully if you'll be shooting in low light you can get close to your subject and won't be in need of a large focal length.

If your shooting low light having an infrared focus helper on the camera is critical, be sure to check that the camera's you consider have one.

Some camera's electronic viewfinders perform dismally in low light if at all, other then the SLR's there are not anymore camera's with optical viewfinders so be sure you ask to try the camera in a low light situation. I don't know how many retailers might let you into a storeroom or someplace where you could turn off or dim the lights.

My old Konica/Minolta lacked both those features and although it could take an acceptable picture in low light you had no idea whether you had the subject in frame. And although it was the fastest point & shoot from shutter press to capture in daylight lacking the helper infrared light it would take many seconds to focus in low light.

"Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see" John W Lennon

"People do not quit playing because they grow old, they grow old because they quit playing" George Bernard Shaw
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Location: Melbourne, Australia

« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2012, 12:35 AM »

There's maybe another approach you could try, lets assume you've got free range to wander the scene, ISO is an important tool here, you'll need 'big' numbers like 1600/3200/6400 the higher the better. but it will very effectively give you better low light outcomes

BUT it will get 'noisier' and noise is an interpretive down side, if you only need the position of 2 trucks in relation to each other for instance then noise is annoying but not a game ender.

And if you're not looking for an Ansel Adams quality prints it might get you over the line. actual examples of shots will help here.

Another key feature to also look for is small Aperture lens numbers, like:1.4/1.8/2/2.8 these numbers are about letting lots of light in, add even a smallish flash to these and you get quite adequate range.

A camera that I like in the price bracket is the g series Canons (G12 currently) and also my personal carry around camera the Panasonic Lumix LX5, not spectacular in low light but not terrible either

Just my .02c worth


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