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Which Digital Camera? Dynamic Microphones
Old 12th September 2007
  #1
Lives for gear
 

Question Which Digital Camera?

Off topic? But I want it for photographing gigs. Does that count? Can I stay, Steve?

I'm looking for a camera that can take decent night shots without the use of a flash. I would mainly use it for concerts so I need something that will look good with stage lighting. I am willing to spend around $200, either new or used. So if you know of a good camera in the $300-350 range new then maybe I can find it in my budget on the used market. Thanks in advance, and rest assured that you will be viewing pictures taken on this new machine.
Old 12th September 2007
  #2
LX3
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Hey there... if you can still find one, try and get a Fuji F31fd. It was finally discontinued a couple of months ago. Secondhand maybe?

Fuji nailed it with that camera - then dropped the ball again with most of the follow-ups.

It's the best low-light compact digital camera there's been by quite a wide margin (and the video it shoots is good fun too). Switch the flash off, crank up the ISO and you're away. Small and light enough to strap onto your belt, so you can forget about it until you suddenly need to take a picture.

However, nothing takes low-light pictures as well as a digital SLR. The problem with an SLR is you can't carry it around everywhere while you're on a gig. I used to take an SLR out with me when I could be bothered, but the problem was, when inspiration struck, it'd be in a bag somewhere with all my kit, instead of where I was. Doesn't matter how good a camera is if you don't use it. Plus, if anything's going to grow legs at a gig, it's an expensive digital camera and lenses.

And of course, an SLR is rather out of your price range!

Still, when you really need quality, you can't beat an SLR... This, for instance, is my Canon 20D (and expensive lens):

http://www.lx3.co.uk/gallery/large-26.html
http://www.lx3.co.uk/gallery/large-27.html
http://www.lx3.co.uk/gallery/large-3.html

While this is the Fuji F31:

http://www.lx3.co.uk/gallery/large-20.html
http://www.lx3.co.uk/gallery/large-17.html
http://www.lx3.co.uk/gallery/large-14.html

HTH. Sorry, short question followed by one of my characteristcally long answers.
Old 12th September 2007
  #3
Lives for gear
 

Those are amazing photos (I recognize the last SLR one). It looks like the 20D is going for around $550 without a lens, so I'll probably hold off on that for a little while. Although that's eventually where I want to be. If I'm surprised by a couple of nice gigs then I may have to spring for an SLS. I have a Fuji E510 and it's not the greatest, but I may give the F31 a shot.

Thanks for your help.
Old 12th September 2007
  #4
LX3
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Canon's 20D is quite old now (in digital camera years that is) and Canon have just released the 40D which is the new equivalent.

But you equally wouldn't go wrong with a Nikon D40x, which is considerably cheaper I think. Or a Canon 400D for that matter.

But bear in mind my note about size/weight. If you want something convenient, I'd stick with a compact like the Fuji - if you want to get snaps of people and gear and setups without having to faff about with a big heavy camera around your neck, you'll get more mileage out of a compact, believe me.

Let's put it this way, I bought the Fuji specifically because I was lugging my Canon to gigs and never taking it out of its bag!
Old 12th September 2007
  #5
LX3
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Regarding the Fuji, see here. Explains things better than I can:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/fujifilmf31fd/

Paul
Old 15th September 2007
  #6
Gear Nut
 

Be aware, if you go the dslr route, that it is a never ending journey into gear sluttery, of the likes I have only experienced with remote audio gear madness. However, if your like me, that might just be right up you alley Lenses can get extremely pricey, and you will quickly see limitations in consumer lenses and will only want the best. A good lens is par for the course price wise for a good mic. Spendy to say the least.

Good luck in your quest for the right camera for your purposes.
Old 15th September 2007
  #7
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I know. I think I would get addicted quickly. I'm probably going to go with the compact Fuji when I get some cash. I need to spend any large amount of money I happen across on gear and other business stuff, not toys. One day, though...
Old 15th September 2007
  #8
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Tibbon's Avatar
Agreed that the SLR route is a hard one to go down. My D200 still costs me a ton no matter what.

Speaking truthfully however at a show you encounter darkness. This leads to slow shutter times. It's hard. You either need fast lenses (VERY EXPENSIVE) or high iso speeds (which makes it noisy).
Old 15th September 2007
  #9
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tibbon View Post
Agreed that the SLR route is a hard one to go down. My D200 still costs me a ton no matter what.

Speaking truthfully however at a show you encounter darkness. This leads to slow shutter times. It's hard. You either need fast lenses (VERY EXPENSIVE) or high iso speeds (which makes it noisy).

Your right about that. My canon 70-200L f2.8 is fast, but I still have to shoot at iso 1600 or 3200. Primes can get you some really fast glass, but I certainly don't like changing lenses any more than I have to in the field. Thank goodness for noiseware. Works miracles in post.
Old 16th September 2007
  #10
LX3
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Yup. Those shots from the 100 Club used a Canon 70-200 f2.8L. Wide open at 1600 ISO. It was relatively bright in there too.

F2.8 is okay though... there aren't many telephoto primes around that are any faster.

That lens is about $1200 (or £1000 over here).

When I'm working, I do find it much easier on the nerves to carry a $300 compact camera around.

Wow, this is turning into CameraSlutz.
Old 17th September 2007
  #11
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Just bought myself a new SLR- a Canon Rebel XTi this summer. I'm absolutely loving using it. I got one of the mid-level Image Stabilization lenses for it. It really helps in those low-light situations- especially when I don't want to travel w/ a tripod.

For what I do, it has been fantastic. Add to that being able to take RAW image files so that I can tweak things in photoshop later has also been really cool. Still working on my chops there, but like the mixing, it takes time and a lot of doing it.

--Ben
Old 6th February 2012
  #12
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boojum's Avatar
I got a Lumix ZX3 for what you are willing to spend. It is a point-and-shoot that does very well in low light, takes HD movies, has image stabilzation, etc., etc. It has been replaced, I think, by a better version at about the same price. I've had mine for ~1 year with good luck. I got mine at Costco at an excellent price plus Costco doubles the mfr's warranty.
Old 6th February 2012
  #13
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John Willett's Avatar
 

Ooh - 5 year old thread resurrected.
Old 7th February 2012
  #14
Lives for gear
I just bought a mint used Nikon D90 body to replace my D70
Good value on the Bay
Great Camera
Old 8th February 2012
  #15
LX3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
Ooh - 5 year old thread resurrected.
Yes... seeing this thread again is making me feel quite old.

After owning a couple of other cameras since 2007, it seems that the best way to get useable results is still a D-SLR and a well-chosen lens. And that's in spite of the rash of new, large-sensor, mirrorless "compacts" on the market (I have a Panasonic GF-1, but it's not really cutting it).

Don't need the latest and greatest. My Canon 20D is still going strong and getting excellent results. Though these days I'm usually way to busy to take photographs of the gigs I do.
Old 8th February 2012
  #16
Super Moderator
 
Remoteness's Avatar
I just purchased a bunch of GoPro Hero2s (with all sorts of accessories) to play around with.

This is a pretty cool camera; in the near future the Hero2 will have a Wi-Fi BacPac with long range remote control of multiple cameras with live stream, live preview and playback via smartphones and tablets...



GoPro Official Website: The World's Most Versatile Camera


Awesome; right?
Old 8th February 2012
  #17
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hbphotoav's Avatar
 

Quite happy with a pair of D700s (24-120 f:4 and 70-200 f2.8 Nikkors, sometimes a 50 f1.8 for shallow DOF stuff) for the photo side of my biz... the low noise levels at stupid high ISOs (3200-6400) truly are making flash into an optional lighting method... rarely a necessary one.

As to small, carry around... I'm digging the FujiFilm HS20EXR ZLR ($425 or so at B&H) I picked up last year as a backup for both D700 stills and Sony Z1 HDV camcorder on a two-week eastern Europe trip. AAs for power (NiMH in most cases) and tiny for the zoom range and flexibility... but a great bit of kit for its purpose.
Old 16th February 2012
  #18
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hbphotoav's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ankaka View Post
I never use flash. NEVER. If I had enough money for a decent flash that I could direct at the ceiling rather than people’s faces and make them look 2d, then, yeah, maybe I’d use it.

Rather than that I just use my f1.4 lens at night – no problem at all! Perfect portraits.
Never is a very long time.

Last weekend I watched a young wedding shooter inside our refurbed warehouse trying to shoot moving people in extremely low light (thanks to the wishes of the bride and her mother) with no flash, and then with the flash head aimed backward, over her head, like she did in a room with 10' ceilings and light-toned walls, close in. Our ceiling is 22', a dark matte tan, and we had created a smaller, more intimate worship area using pipe and drape. Black velour pipe and drape. Eats light like candy. I suggested a bit of 2" white gaff tape around the edge of the flash to make a short, 1.5" diffuser/reflector to bounce in just enough kick to get what she needed.

Pays to know one's tools, especially if one is being compensated for a result.

I haven't used direct flash regularly since 1975, when Vivitar released the 283. It had a bracket for a 8x10 Kodak gray/white balance card to create an on-camea bounce source. Switched over to Nikon-branded SB-series (SB900 now) back in the FA days, when they finally got TTL sorted enough for consistent auto exposure.
Old 16th February 2012
  #19
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Don S's Avatar
 

Picked a Nikon 5100 and love it. Shoots RAW and has a mic input. With lens costs about $550.
Old 16th February 2012
  #20
Gear Maniac
 
avebr's Avatar
 

Any suggestions for a [very] nice but silent/noise-free digital camera?

all the best,
ave.
Old 16th February 2012
  #21
Lives for gear
 

Most digital cameras generate a shutter sound (sometimes for legal reasons so people don't take pervy photos...) but you can usually turn the shutter sounds off in the camera's preferences.
Old 16th February 2012
  #22
Gear Maniac
 
avebr's Avatar
 

Hello,

Sorry, but I don't mean 'artificial' noises, but actually those made by camera's mechanisms/mirros/etc... - at least the best digital cameras make some noises (that could be a problem during a recording, for ex.)

Any suggestions on the pro-side, but mirrorless/noiseless?

all the best,
ave.
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