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  1. #1
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    Default Pocket cameras good at flashless or low-light pics

    So here's the deal. I mainly use my camera for spontaneous and posed family photos, family vacation mementos, etc. However, my older son is mildly autistic and freaks out about the flash on a camera to the point where he won't look at a camera if he thinks there's going to be a flash. So I'm in the market for a portable, convenient pocket camera that does better than average with the flash disabled. Respectable low-light shots would also be nice, as sometimes my kids are doing something hilarious in a room that's not well lit and my current camera causes a massive flash whiteout in the picture.

    My current camera is a Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS. I've had it for years and have no idea whether it's considered quality or not.

    Budget

    * What budget have you allocated for buying this camera? Please be as specific as possible.

    $600 or under would be nice. Less is better but I'm willing to pay for quality.

    Size

    * What size camera are you looking for? Or does size not matter at all to you?

    Pocket-size is important. I'm not looking to lug a DSLR around; I want something that can slip in my pocket when we go on a family outing.

    Features

    How many megapixels will suffice for you?

    My current camera is 8 megapixels and I find that totally sufficient.

    * What optical zoom will you need? (None, Standard = 3x-4x, Ultrazoom = 10x-12x)

    Something run-of-the-mill like 3x would be fine.

    * How important is “image quality” to you? (Rate using a scale of 1-10)

    If I didn't care about image quality, would I have registered on a camera website to discuss cameras? I don't get this question.

    Do you care for manual exposure modes (shutter priority, aperture priority, manual)?

    I prefer if the camera does most of the heavy lifting itself. I'm not an art photographer trying to do all this myself; I want something that automatically knows what the "best tool for the job" for a mainstream-style photo is, and sets those settings itself.

    General Usage

    * What will you generally use the camera for?

    See the description at the start of the post.

    * Will you be making big prints of your photos or not?

    Probably up to 8x10 for framing in the house.

    Will you be shooting a lot of indoor photos or low light photos?

    Yes; see the start of this post.

    Will you be shooting sports and/or action photos?

    Yes. Kids don't stay still for movement.

    Miscellaneous

    Are there particular brands you like or hate?

    I like Sony overall but know nothing about their cameras (I have a Bravia and two Vaios and a PS2). My father, who takes photography seriously, has always bought Canons (the fancy type, not point and shoots); he's the one who got me the PowerShot I currently have. Overall, I don't have any strong feelings about brands, though I'd like something recognizable and mainstream.

    Are there particular models you already have in mind?

    I'm curious if the Sony RX-100 is the right fit for what I'm talking about; I remember reading some positive reviews in not-photography-specific tech blogs and it sounded cool. It's at the very upper end of my budget, though. If there's something out there that would be just as good for half the price, well that's that.

    (If applicable) Do you need any of the following special features? (Wide Angle, Image Stabilization, Weatherproof, Hotshoe, Rotating LCD)

    Nothing springs to mind, unless image stabilization would help with no-flash photography.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Pocket cameras good at flashless or low-light pics

    A camera's low light ability is, to a large degree, dependent on the size of its sensor. Larger sensors tend to produce better low light pictures. The Sony RX100 is an excellent point and shoot compact camera with a large 1 inch sensor that takes very good low light images. The Olympus XZ-1 is also an excellent point and shoot camera that's about the same size as the RX100 and much cheaper, though its sensor is a bit smaller and its low light images are not quite as good.

    There are several small cameras that use interchangeable lenses that have an even larger sensor than the RX100 and consequently produce low light images that are as good as or better than the RX100. They are more bulky than the RX100 and Olympus XZ-1 but much smaller than a DSLR. The Olympus E-PL2 and Panasonic GF2 are the least expensive of these fine cameras. The Sony NEX F3 is more expensive but also has DSLR-sized sensor that probably produces the best low light images.of the group. All of these cameras can be found for less money than the RX100.
    My Gear:
    Panasonic FZ28
    Canon Elph 110 HS
    Canon A720IS (retired)

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Pocket cameras good at flashless or low-light pics

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Stanton View Post
    A camera's low light ability is, to a large degree, dependent on the size of its sensor. Larger sensors tend to produce better low light pictures. The Sony RX100 is an excellent point and shoot compact camera with a large 1 inch sensor that takes very good low light images. The Olympus XZ-1 is also an excellent point and shoot camera that's about the same size as the RX100 and much cheaper, though its sensor is a bit smaller and its low light images are not quite as good.

    There are several small cameras that use interchangeable lenses that have an even larger sensor than the RX100 and consequently produce low light images that are as good as or better than the RX100. They are more bulky than the RX100 and Olympus XZ-1 but much smaller than a DSLR. The Olympus E-PL2 and Panasonic GF2 are the least expensive of these fine cameras. The Sony NEX F3 is more expensive but also has DSLR-sized sensor that probably produces the best low light images.of the group. All of these cameras can be found for less money than the RX100.
    Thanks, I'll read reviews of each of those. That was very helpful. Thank you!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Pocket cameras good at flashless or low-light pics

    Looking up dimensions, I was surprised that the NEX-F3 was barely bigger than its "compact" cousin the Cybershot RX100. It's heavier, sure, but it appears it would still fit in a jeans pocket (I don't wear hipster skinny jeans) or a coat pocket). Size aside, it appears to be better in every way, and cheaper too. Never would have thought to look there, but that seems like a great option while still sticking with a brand I know and trust. Thanks for the tip!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Pocket cameras good at flashless or low-light pics

    Quote Originally Posted by Mitlov View Post
    Looking up dimensions, I was surprised that the NEX-F3 was barely bigger than its "compact" cousin the Cybershot RX100. It's heavier, sure, but it appears it would still fit in a jeans pocket (I don't wear hipster skinny jeans) or a coat pocket). Size aside, it appears to be better in every way, and cheaper too. Never would have thought to look there, but that seems like a great option while still sticking with a brand I know and trust. Thanks for the tip!
    You're welcome. The NEX-F3 takes great looking pictures.
    sony nex f3 - Flickr: Search
    My Gear:
    Panasonic FZ28
    Canon Elph 110 HS
    Canon A720IS (retired)

 

 

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