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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2011 5:23 pm 
Hi everyone, I'm looking for a camera that can handle reasonably well low light shooting.
These are the cameras my budget would allow:

Nikon D5100
Sony Nex-5
Canon 550D/600D
Pentax K-r/K-x
Nikon D90
Sony SLT-A-33

I'm not focused on a specific brand, since I don't have any lens.

Please advice, thank you.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2011 5:42 pm 
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People will argue the differences between the camera sensors, but being realistic the differences the lens will make is much bigger.

What areas of photography are you looking at? From there we can see what (affordable) lenses are available and then can look to combine that with a suitable body.

Also consider the bodies listed are quite varied physically, so you might find a particular style more to your tastes putting other factors aside.

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Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
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3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2011 6:56 pm 
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I agree with popo. With the sensors being so close in terms of light sensitivity, the lens you use will make a much bigger difference in terms of low light performance.

A larger aperture or lower f/stop number lens can allow more light in at a set shutter speed. What you should bear in mind that a larger aperture doesn't answer all of the problems as some lenses need to be stopped down for optimum sharpness.

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DSLRs: Canon EOS 70D, 30D
Lenses: Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM, EF 50mm f/1.8 II, EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM

CSCs: Panasonic DMC-GF3
Lenses: Panasonic Lumix G 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2011 7:44 pm 
thanks for your answers.
I will mostly shoot night bokehs, landscapes and maybe some basic astrophotography.
I was going to buy the nex-5 + sel18-55 + minolta md 50mm f1.4, because I found a good deal, but the lack of physical buttons on the nex is holding me off.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2011 9:48 pm 
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Hey Elv, welcome to the Cameralabs forums!

As the others mentioned, considering that all of these cameras have exceptional sensors (some better than others, but overall pretty similar) what it would really come down to is the lens. Considering how important the lens is, I'd hold back on the NEX-5, because of its lack of lenses for the NEX system. If you go with the Nikon or Canon, you'll get a much better selection of lenses to choose from, plus a plethora of third party lenses.
I've found that Nikon seems to have a better selection of crop frame lenses than Canon does, they make three DX wide angles (one of them being a fisheye which is great for astrophotos), plus the 35mm 1.8 DX. However, if you go Canon you can get their 50mm or 85 1.2 L which is great for night portraits. The only 1.2 lens that Nikon makes is their old 50mm 1.2 AI-S, which is manual focus and won't meter on their entry level bodies.

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Gear: 7 Nikon Nikkor AI-S and AF-S lenses, SB-700 flash, Nikon D7000, Nikon FM, variety of accessories

"There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs."
- Ansel Adams


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 10:32 am 
Thanks EvanK :)

I will go ahead and try nikon d5100 and canon 550d then, since they seem to cost nearly the same.
I noticed that the nikon d5100 does not have a built in focus motor.
Does this negatively affect the lens availability?


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 11:23 am 
Yes,you need AF-S lenses (with built in AF motor) to focus. My advice is get the 35mm F/1.8. Very good for low light,very sharp,contrasty & light weight.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 11:57 am 
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The same is true of the 550D with regards to relying on the lens to have an AF motor being built in.

Lenses are plentiful and widely available for both brands (in-house and third party).

_________________
DSLRs: Canon EOS 70D, 30D
Lenses: Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM, EF 50mm f/1.8 II, EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM

CSCs: Panasonic DMC-GF3
Lenses: Panasonic Lumix G 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 3:43 pm 
Every time I hear someone talking about low-light performance, I automatically think that they are looking for day-time performance in dark situations. To be honest, most cameras can handle low-light pictures -- but you'll need a tripod to get proper low-light exposures in many cases.

However - if you mean handheld shots in poor light where an af-assist light is sufficient help, or are looking for less noise (we used to call this grain, right?) then that's a different thing.

Not trying to be cantankerous -- just pointing out that low-light photography means a bunch of different things to different folks, that's all.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 9:11 pm 
For "good low light performance" I mean having a good noise/detail ratio at high ISO. I do not expect my night shots to be crystal clear, I was just wondering which one of those cameras would suit night photography better.
I'm sorry if I wasn't very clear, I am new to digital photography.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 9:24 pm 
Elv - Can depend quite a lot on your budget. If you need good low-light and higher-ISO, there are run-out prices on the Pentax K-X now. But the Pentax K-R might be better for the purposes you mention, and doesn't cost much more. It's slightly better on low-light, though the K-X is very good. And it has much better LiveView - 921k dots against the K-X's 230k dots. Both can magnify to focus, but the K-R is much sharper for that.

The K-X uses 4 x AAs for power - rechargeable AA Eneloops are recommended. If you prefer Li-Ion power-pack, the K-R has that - but also has an optional adaptor to use 4 x AAs. So you can use the longer-lasting AAs instead - or, use a power-pack and a spare - but have the adaptor in the bag - so on a long day out, or on a trip, if you run out of power - can buy some AA Alkalines - or the much better Lithiums - to keep going.

A Pentax body also allows the use of many hundreds of film-era manual lenses - K, M, and A series without an adaptor, and the very good screw-mount M42 Takumar / Asahi-Pentax with adaptor. It's a way to get some very good primes at low cost. Example - a good Takumar f/4 300mm prime for under $200.00 - and the same in K-mount (no adaptor needed) for not much more.

But - if you need a very fast setup for sports, etc - Pentax might not be first choice - a midrange Nikon with selected lenses can suit those uses rather better. I see your budget can cover the now bit older Nikon D90 - so have a close look at the more recent D7000 - it's a bit more cost, but has the new 16.2Mpix sensor, and the later than D90 Expeed2 processor.

If that sounds more towards your needs, ask Razvan, give a more detailed needs description - he's pretty well-up on the Nikon range.

Regards, Dave.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:20 am 
There's only one problem with Pentax...they don't really have a lot of bright aperture lenses. So,stick to Nikon. Canon doesn't have a 35mm F/1.8 & it's 50mm F/1.8 is less sharp than the newer Nikon. (sharpness is very important when you work in difficult conditions like low light,you want the best results after all)


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 9:10 am 
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I just bought my 35mm f/1.8 today and I absolutely love it, it's small, sharp and should be great for low light photos. Also, I've heard that the 50mm f/1.8 would be an excellent lens for portraits.

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-Evan

Gear: 7 Nikon Nikkor AI-S and AF-S lenses, SB-700 flash, Nikon D7000, Nikon FM, variety of accessories

"There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs."
- Ansel Adams


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 10:32 am 
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May I add there's many Sigma, Tamron and Tokina etc. lenses? And while Canon dont have 35 f/1,8s, they have the 28 f/1,8 which is almost the same as the 35mm, because 35x1,5 or 28x1,6 isnt that much different...

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Panasonic DMC-FZ18, Panasonic DMC-FZ28, Canon G5, Canon 350D, Canon 50D + BG-E2N
Tamron 17-50 2.8, Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM,
Canon 18-55 II plus lots of Minolta MD/M42 lenses and bodies


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 10:53 am 
sure,but there's no third party lens sharper than the nikon 35mm f/1.8. & the canon 28mm is not in the same league.


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