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Random Bits from the Outside World => Photography Gear and Tips => Topic started by: Raoul Duke on November 07, 2012, 11:31:49 AM

Title: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: Raoul Duke on November 07, 2012, 11:31:49 AM
I'm pretty much a complete amateur when it comes to photography and have basically been using simple point and shoot cameras my entire life.  I am interested in kicking it up a notch and getting something with decent zoom lens and a few more features than the cameras I have owned in the past.  I am particularly interested in getting something that I can do long-exposure night shots with a tripod.

I looked at the Canon PowerShot SX40 HS and was impressed with the lens, but I understand that it's not good for long-exposure shots because it doesn't let you go beyond ISO 100 (I am not even sure what that means).  My price range is somewhere around $300-$400. 

Can someone recommend a decent long zoom point-and-shoot that I could use for long-exposure shots?
Title: Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: RichardM on November 07, 2012, 12:33:00 PM
I'll have to let the experts chime in with recommendations, but I can say that 15 seconds is just enough exposure time to get some stars to show up. Most of the Canons require you to hack the firmware/software to go beyond that. I'd recommend looking for something with at least a 30 second exposure time. I believe some of the Fuji FinePixPanasonic Lumix models may work well for what you're looking for. All I know is the last time I tried to take a star picture with my old Canon A720IS I got nothing but black.

Oops, I mis-remebered the camera line.
Title: Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: TexasAggieHiker on November 07, 2012, 01:24:15 PM
I've been using a Panasonic Lumix  LX3 for 3 or 4 years now and love it!  Takes pretty good shots of the stars.  They make a LX7 now.  I would look into one of them.
Title: Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: Raoul Duke on November 07, 2012, 07:03:06 PM
Thanks for the advice.  I'll look into that camera.

Any idea on how long one needs to set the exposure to capture the Milky Way in night sky photos?  Do you think 30 sec is sufficient, or do you need to set it for longer.
Title: Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: RichardM on November 07, 2012, 07:39:58 PM
Any idea on how long one needs to set the exposure to capture the Milky Way in night sky photos?  Do you think 30 sec is sufficient, or do you need to set it for longer.
It's going to depend on the camera and how good the sensor is. Check the Exif data for some good Milky Way shots. Some of TJ's recent shots show an exposure time of 25 seconds. and we all know he must have a good camera to take those shots. ;)
Title: Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: The Scorpion on November 07, 2012, 09:38:40 PM
I haven't kept up with the P&S cameras in a long time so im not sure what many of them care capable of these days, but this info should help.

Not all P&S cameras have good low light capability, meaning a few things, 1. the image will be very grainy, or 2. it  cant focus/ lack of manual focus in low light situations.

manual focus is preferred, but depending on the camera and its abilities, you can obtain auto focus, but its gonna be tricky.
you need for the sensor to be able to have a good ISO noise handling at higher ISO's like 800+. the higher the ISO# the more sensitive it is to light, meaning you can do a short exposure and get the same image brightness as a longer exposure.
Next is the f/ stops. many P&S cameras start out at f/3.2 and go to f/11. For star shots like the milky way you really need to have the lens OPEN, which means the iris in the lens is opened up REALLY big. f/1.4 is REALLY wide open, think of the pupils in your eyes opening up really wide when it gets dark, they do that to let in more light, but your focus plane gets smaller.

the exposure you need to capture the stars will need to be about 20 to 25 seconds depending on the lens focal length. Many P&S cameras start out at 24 or 28mm, and on an APS-C size sensor (1.6 crop), thats equivalent  to 38mm to 44mm in film or full frame sensors.
you need to have a wide angle such as 18 to 20mm so you can use the longer exposures. the longer the lens (24mm and up) the more star travel you will see in the exposures.

TJ has some very good night shots with the stars, but he also has an excellent full frame camera and a kick ass lens.
I do some night time shots as well, but i usually mount my camera to a tracking Equatorial mount and do exposures up to about 8 minutes.

to sum it up these are the features you should look for.

manual focus, or really kick ass auto focus that can focus on the stars
high ISO such as 800+
camera that has good low light performance (not so grainy at the higher ISO's)
wide angle lens under 24mm (might be a long shot)
f/ratio of 2.0 preferred, but don't think many P&S's go that low on the f/stops

Title: Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: tjavery on November 07, 2012, 09:59:55 PM
SV has excellent advice. Thanks for that!

Dpreview.com has a lot of good info on cameras. You might want to search there:
http://www.dpreview.com/products/search/cameras
http://www.dpreview.com/products/compacts/statistics

Good luck!
Title: Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: Al on November 07, 2012, 10:16:57 PM
I use that site before buying any camera.  Seems like there's a choice in point and shoot cameras: zoom; or, low light.
Title: Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: badknees on November 08, 2012, 05:44:40 AM
I haven't kept up with the P&S cameras in a long time so im not sure what many of them care capable of these days, but this info should help.

Not all P&S cameras have good low light capability, meaning a few things, 1. the image will be very grainy, or 2. it  cant focus/ lack of manual focus in low light situations.

manual focus is preferred, but depending on the camera and its abilities, you can obtain auto focus, but its gonna be tricky.
you need for the sensor to be able to have a good ISO noise handling at higher ISO's like 800+. the higher the ISO# the more sensitive it is to light, meaning you can do a short exposure and get the same image brightness as a longer exposure.
Next is the f/ stops. many P&S cameras start out at f/3.2 and go to f/11. For star shots like the milky way you really need to have the lens OPEN, which means the iris in the lens is opened up REALLY big. f/1.4 is REALLY wide open, think of the pupils in your eyes opening up really wide when it gets dark, they do that to let in more light, but your focus plane gets smaller.

the exposure you need to capture the stars will need to be about 20 to 25 seconds depending on the lens focal length. Many P&S cameras start out at 24 or 28mm, and on an APS-C size sensor (1.6 crop), thats equivalent  to 38mm to 44mm in film or full frame sensors.
you need to have a wide angle such as 18 to 20mm so you can use the longer exposures. the longer the lens (24mm and up) the more star travel you will see in the exposures.

TJ has some very good night shots with the stars, but he also has an excellent full frame camera and a kick ass lens.
I do some night time shots as well, but i usually mount my camera to a tracking Equatorial mount and do exposures up to about 8 minutes.

to sum it up these are the features you should look for.

manual focus, or really kick ass auto focus that can focus on the stars
high ISO such as 800+
camera that has good low light performance (not so grainy at the higher ISO's)
wide angle lens under 24mm (might be a long shot)
f/ratio of 2.0 preferred, but don't think many P&S's go that low on the f/stops

Noise continues to be a problem with small P&S's. The noise produced by a sensor is related the the size of the individual photosites on the sensor. Manufacturers are cramming high MP counts (sensor site density), on small sensors. The signal/noise ratio will always be higher on a larger sensor that has a lower pixel pitch. That is why a  full frame 10 MP camera will produce a much cleaner image than a P&S with a 16MP pixel count. Of course most manufacturers also heavily process out of camera jpgs at high ISO, so if you want any control you will need a P&S that will output a Raw file or TIFF. There really is something to the phrase "you must have a really nice camera", when it comes to the ability to expand the capabilty beyond well lit, static subjects.
Title: Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: steelfrog on November 08, 2012, 11:17:14 AM
I've used a Panasonic LX-5 for a while; just ordered an LX-7; let you know how it goes.
Title: Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: kevint on November 08, 2012, 12:09:28 PM
The word you want to google is "superzoom."  This is how reviewers like to refer to these high zoom point and shoot articles.  I checked and turned up this article from August.  Anything older than 6-12 months will not be helpful to you.


http://www.techradar.com/news/photography-video-capture/cameras/best-compact-camera-2012-33-reviewed-963985?artc_pg=2


I have owned, or had access to two of these over the years.  I did not like using them because they are too heavy for what I want in a P&S and the electronic zoom lacks the level of control i want.  In other words, is quick press of the zoom button zoomed more than I wanted.
Title: Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: kevint on November 08, 2012, 12:17:37 PM
Thanks for the advice.  I'll look into that camera.

Any idea on how long one needs to set the exposure to capture the Milky Way in night sky photos?  Do you think 30 sec is sufficient, or do you need to set it for longer.


For the mechanics of taking pictures of the milky way, etc, I found this resource on TJ Avery's blog. 


http://www.thomasjavery.com/notes/starshots.pdf


For a objective assessment of camera sensors, I recommend the DxOMark website:


http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Cameras/Camera-Sensor-Ratings


I believe the sensor rating most applicable to what you want to do is "dynamic range." 
Title: Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: Flash on November 08, 2012, 01:41:34 PM
I purchased a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX9V last summer and I am still figuring out all the things it can do...  :eusa_doh: Overall good camera, but what I really like is that it GPS tags all the shots. Great for remembering not only where I was, but which way was I looking.  ;)
Title: Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: kevint on November 09, 2012, 09:37:23 AM
Another article just appeared on star photography from a first timer's position.  One key point from this is that wide angle is key for this kind of photography so don't ignore that aspect of your camera decision.


http://www.mattk.com/2012/11/08/what-i-learned-on-my-first-star-photo-shoot/



Title: Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: Raoul Duke on November 09, 2012, 08:12:31 PM
Another article just appeared on star photography from a first timer's position.  One key point from this is that wide angle is key for this kind of photography so don't ignore that aspect of your camera decision.


http://www.mattk.com/2012/11/08/what-i-learned-on-my-first-star-photo-shoot/

Thanks for all the info and excellent articles, Kevin and the rest of you.  I'll let you know what I decide on camera-wise.  Even better, I'm heading to the park next weekend, so hopefully I'll be able to post a decent photo trip report!
Title: Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: perterra on November 10, 2012, 09:01:46 PM
A tripod and the ability to shoot manual is about the most important. I shot this with a Canon S90 last month. Set it to manual, focused it and set it on the hood of the truck with the timer going. Far from perfect but I didnt play around with it, and I should have had a tripod. Most important thing is to become very familiar with your camera.
(http://i59.photobucket.com/albums/g305/perterra/cityofrocks.jpg)
Title: Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: badknees on November 10, 2012, 09:26:02 PM
I have one full sized tripod and a monopod, but also have a GorillaPod with a ballhead. I really like it when you want a tripod but don't want to carry that much. it really works well. I picked it up for a great price at a store that only had one in stock and I think they were trying to clear it. Like most things , it has limitations , but it works for its intended purpose.

http://joby.com/gorillapod/ballheadx/#images (http://joby.com/gorillapod/ballheadx/#images)

(http://joby.com/img/bh2/newproduct/home.jpg)

I used it for this shot on the hood of my truck.

(http://mirrormagic.com/wordpress/wp-content/gallery/big-bend-11012012/d7k_3048.jpg)

Title: Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: Raoul Duke on November 12, 2012, 08:33:51 AM
Those are great pics, Badknees and Perterra.  Do you mind sharing what settings/exposure time you used? 
Title: Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: Raoul Duke on November 12, 2012, 08:38:00 AM
Thanks for all the advice and articles.  As it turns out, I ended up buying a DSLR.  I gave serious consideration to the Panasonic Lumix LX7 and the Canon G15.  However, the Nikon D5100 is on sale because the 5200 is coming out soon.  The price difference between the D5100 with a lense and the point and shoots was negligible, so I decided to go all in with the D5100.   So far, I'm really impressed.  I did some night shots in my front yard and was amazed at what you can do with the long exposure and ISO settings.

I'm heading to the park on Thursday evening and hope to try my hand at some night shots.  I'll post up next week when I return.  Thanks again for all the advice.
Title: Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: badknees on November 12, 2012, 08:46:52 AM
Those are great pics, Badknees and Perterra.  Do you mind sharing what settings/exposure time you used?

I used a 12-24 WA lens at 14mm. (use a wide angle if you have one). Manual mode - ISO 1600, f/4.0, 30 second exposure. Use the timer or remote release and a tripod. Focus manually.
Title: Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: steelfrog on November 12, 2012, 09:24:02 AM
Just got the LX-7; it has a much faster lens than LX-5, and new features such as pano and HDR settings.  I now want to learn how to shoot RAW with it.
Title: Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: kevint on November 12, 2012, 03:50:12 PM
Thanks for all the advice and articles.  As it turns out, I ended up buying a DSLR.  I gave serious consideration to the Panasonic Lumix LX7 and the Canon G15.  However, the Nikon D5100 is on sale because the 5200 is coming out soon.  The price difference between the D5100 with a lense and the point and shoots was negligible, so I decided to go all in with the D5100.   So far, I'm really impressed.  I did some night shots in my front yard and was amazed at what you can do with the long exposure and ISO settings.

I'm heading to the park on Thursday evening and hope to try my hand at some night shots.  I'll post up next week when I return.  Thanks again for all the advice.

Sounds like you are set.  You probably have a tripod if you've already tried it for night shots but if not, you can put one on your Christmas list.
 
Looking forward to some cool shots.
Title: Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: perterra on November 13, 2012, 04:13:36 PM
15 seconds, F2.0 and an ISO of 800

This was shot in the back yard just south of Dallas looking at the pleades cluster as a jet flew past. 15 seconds, f2.0 and ISO of 100 with the same camera, just used a tripod. I have a DSLR but rarely carry it anymore.
(http://i59.photobucket.com/albums/g305/perterra/IMG_6022-1.jpg)
Title: Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: Raoul Duke on November 22, 2012, 08:02:08 AM
So I went to the park this past weekend in hopes of trying my hand at some night shots.  Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate and the night skies were obscured by clouds almost every night.  On Sunday night, my last night in the park, I camped in the Basin and hoped to get a shot of Casa Grande outlined by the stars.  However, the clouds didn't cooperate so I went to bed bummed that I didn't get the opportunity.

I slept in a hammock under the canopy and had a good view of the sky. I woke briefly at around 2:00 a.m. (as I always do when camping) and was greeted by clear skies and tons of stars!  I quickly got up, set up my cheesy tripod, and took a few shots.  I didn't have a remote shutter control, so there is lots of noise, but I am happy with my first try.

(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8210/8207246086_659effa4c5_c.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/raoulduke101/8207246086/)
DSC_0363 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/raoulduke101/8207246086/) by raoulduke101 (http://www.flickr.com/people/raoulduke101/), on Flickr

I also tried some night shots the night before when we camped at SW4 (I'll post a full trip report with more pics):

(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8349/8207682087_57771a1a0a_c.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/raoulduke101/8207682087/)
DSC_0245 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/raoulduke101/8207682087/) by raoulduke101 (http://www.flickr.com/people/raoulduke101/), on Flickr

(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8205/8208769206_6aae8f3e06_c.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/raoulduke101/8208769206/)
DSC_0243 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/raoulduke101/8208769206/) by raoulduke101 (http://www.flickr.com/people/raoulduke101/), on Flickr

Here is a view from the South Rim, showing the lights of the small town of Santa Elena in Mexico.

(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8209/8208770486_883206e4a0_c.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/raoulduke101/8208770486/)
DSC_0232 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/raoulduke101/8208770486/) by raoulduke101 (http://www.flickr.com/people/raoulduke101/), on Flickr
Title: Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: tjavery on November 23, 2012, 09:03:52 AM
Just to follow up on this.... The subject of small point-n-shoot type cameras seems to come up a lot. I found this list of the top 5 (as recommended by Dpreview):

http://www.dpreview.com/articles/6698413448/dpreview-recommends-top-5-compact-cameras
Title: Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: mule ears on November 23, 2012, 12:25:48 PM
Amazon has an incredible deal on the Canon s100 for Black Friday, $229 almost $200  off.  I just ordered one to replace my s90 that I have really liked.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=xs_gb_AP1VWLO1S4TRN?t=slicinc-20&tag=slicinc-20&ie=UTF8&docId=1000856581&pf_rd_p=441937901&pf_rd_s=right-1&pf_rd_t=701&pf_rd_i=20&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=0EG73CJNZM02QTX97YA4
Title: Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: Raoul Duke on November 23, 2012, 02:17:45 PM
They also have a great deal on the Lumix LX7: $299 down from regular price of $499.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/search/ref=pe_36550_26986960_pe_02/?rh=i%3Aphoto%2Cn%3A502394%2Cp_6%3AATVPDKIKX0DER&hidden-keywords=B008MB719C%7CB008MB70TI%7C&ie=UTF8 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/search/ref=pe_36550_26986960_pe_02/?rh=i%3Aphoto%2Cn%3A502394%2Cp_6%3AATVPDKIKX0DER&hidden-keywords=B008MB719C%7CB008MB70TI%7C&ie=UTF8)
Title: Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: mule ears on November 23, 2012, 03:54:26 PM
They also have a great deal on the Lumix LX7: $299 down from regular price of $499.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/search/ref=pe_36550_26986960_pe_02/?rh=i%3Aphoto%2Cn%3A502394%2Cp_6%3AATVPDKIKX0DER&hidden-keywords=B008MB719C%7CB008MB70TI%7C&ie=UTF8 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/search/ref=pe_36550_26986960_pe_02/?rh=i%3Aphoto%2Cn%3A502394%2Cp_6%3AATVPDKIKX0DER&hidden-keywords=B008MB719C%7CB008MB70TI%7C&ie=UTF8)

That too is a great camera and deal and to your original question of this thread, is the only one of the P&S cameras that has 60 seconds as its longest/slowest shutter speed.

The really hot camera in this category right now is the Sony DSC-RX100 but it is wicked expensive too.
Title: Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: tjavery on November 24, 2012, 12:59:02 PM

That too is a great camera and deal and to your original question of this thread, is the only one of the P&S cameras that has 60 seconds as its longest/slowest shutter speed.

The really hot camera in this category right now is the Sony DSC-RX100 but it is wicked expensive too.

The RX100 has a Bulb mode  ;)
Title: Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: mule ears on November 24, 2012, 04:30:22 PM

That too is a great camera and deal and to your original question of this thread, is the only one of the P&S cameras that has 60 seconds as its longest/slowest shutter speed.

The really hot camera in this category right now is the Sony DSC-RX100 but it is wicked expensive too.

The RX100 has a Bulb mode  ;)

tj do you have any further opinion on the RX100?
Title: Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: tjavery on November 25, 2012, 09:48:50 AM
tj do you have any further opinion on the RX100?

Yes. It is freakin' awesome. For what it is (a very small camera, especially compared to DSLRs), it's amazing.

I bought one a few weeks ago to replace my aging and slightly busted up Canon G11. The best thing about the RX100, to me, is that it comfortably fits into my pockets. The G11 did not (too big).

Some of the highlights that I've observed so far:

- Very responsive and accurate autofocus (almost as good as a DSLR and 10x better than any compact p-n-s I've ever used before)

- Very responsive and quick shooting. It's quick to AF and then fire off a shot. Then it's ready for another shot quickly (again, the responsiveness is comparable to a DSLR, and it's far better than any compact p-n-s I've ever used).

- Really good high ISO performance (although there is a lot of noise reduction being applied.... I've compared the RAW files to the out-of-camera JPG files, and it's obvious that there's a lot of NR going on. However, the NR that is applied is very good and the resulting photos are very clean and sharp)
* Note that I've not tested long exposures (ie exposures longer than 1 second) yet in low light.

- Size. It's just so small. This does present some handling issues. It's easy to press buttons when you don't mean to. It will quickly slide out of your paws if you're not careful. But these issues can be overcome with experience and frequent use. It's like any camera - you have to use it a lot and become familiar with it.

And for some of the cons:

- There is no viewfinder (ie no optical or EVF type viewfinder). You compose entirely from the LCD on the back. But to be fair, the camera wouldn't be this small if it had a viewfinder. The LCD is fairly bright and does pretty well in bright sunlight.

- The battery is small (b/c the camera is small). It does have fairly good battery life, but it's not as good as my old G11 (which has a much larger battery). The good thing, for me, is that I can charge the battery in-camera and it takes the same plug (micro USB) as my phone.

- The price. It's high. Very high. But when you consider what this camera has and what it can do (especially having a large sensor), it somewhat justifies the price.


Here are some images that I've taken over the past few weeks. I've left the EXIF intact on these files so you can see the shooting settings. Take note of the ISO in a few of these  :icon_lol:


(http://www.thomasjavery.com/temp2/rx100-0167.jpg)

(http://www.thomasjavery.com/temp2/rx100-0219.jpg)

(http://www.thomasjavery.com/temp2/rx100-0293.jpg)

(http://www.thomasjavery.com/temp2/rx100-0498.jpg)

(http://www.thomasjavery.com/temp2/rx100-0561.jpg)

(http://www.thomasjavery.com/temp2/rx100-0633.jpg)
Title: Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: badknees on November 25, 2012, 11:25:00 AM
I checked out the ISO on the concert photo and 3200 looks usable for web posting. Question? Was this one RAW and rendered in Photoshop or did you just re-size and post a .jpg straight out of the camera?

Also, does the camera cooked jpg look better than what you can do in ACR?

Looks pretty good. Have you tried any prints from the High ISO stuff?
Title: Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: tjavery on November 25, 2012, 12:49:59 PM
I checked out the ISO on the concert photo and 3200 looks usable for web posting. Question? Was this one RAW and rendered in Photoshop or did you just re-size and post a .jpg straight out of the camera?

Also, does the camera cooked jpg look better than what you can do in ACR?

Looks pretty good. Have you tried any prints from the High ISO stuff?

All of the posted photos were in-camera JPGs that I just resized in PS.

I've messed around with the Raw files just a bit... enough to know that the in-camera JPGs have a heavy dose of NR applied. But I'm pretty impressed with the NR applied and the resulting JPG straight from the camera.

I haven't messed with ACR yet. But I have used the Sony software a bit. I can't really report anything back yet because I've just not spent enough time with it yet to form any solid conclusions.

No, I haven't tried printing yet.
Title: Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: badknees on November 25, 2012, 03:24:29 PM
I checked out the ISO on the concert photo and 3200 looks usable for web posting. Question? Was this one RAW and rendered in Photoshop or did you just re-size and post a .jpg straight out of the camera?

Also, does the camera cooked jpg look better than what you can do in ACR?

Looks pretty good. Have you tried any prints from the High ISO stuff?

All of the posted photos were in-camera JPGs that I just resized in PS.

I've messed around with the Raw files just a bit... enough to know that the in-camera JPGs have a heavy dose of NR applied. But I'm pretty impressed with the NR applied and the resulting JPG straight from the camera.

I haven't messed with ACR yet. But I have used the Sony software a bit. I can't really report anything back yet because I've just not spent enough time with it yet to form any solid conclusions.

No, I haven't tried printing yet.

Waiting for the full review!  :icon_smile:
Title: Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: mule ears on November 25, 2012, 04:32:44 PM
tj do you have any further opinion on the RX100?

Yes. It is freakin' awesome. For what it is (a very small camera, especially compared to DSLRs), it's amazing...

- The price. It's high. Very high. But when you consider what this camera has and what it can do (especially having a large sensor), it somewhat justifies the price.


I have been researching a new pocketable P&S as my canon s90 had some issues on the last trip that I attributed to too much fine sand.  The 3 that came to the top were the Panasonic Lumix LX7 that for me had lots of good things including ND filters but was too heavy and bulky.

The Sony RX100 but was too expensive and (right now at least) only in camera battery charging, for the last trip I had batteries waiting in all my resupply boxes.  I couldn't see spending that kind of money when I might tear it up too with too much dirt.

I settled on the Canon s100 for a very good price, much improved over the s90, not much behind the newest s110 and to some degree expendable.  I will wait for the RX100 to go down in price and to get some more track record but for now it looks like a winner in many ways.
Title: Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: tjavery on November 25, 2012, 06:55:35 PM
I took some time and processed a raw file several different ways. Here's the result. You should be able to click this to see the full sized version.

(http://www.thomasjavery.com/temp2/0167comp.jpg)
Title: Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: badknees on November 25, 2012, 07:21:24 PM
I took some time and processed a raw file several different ways. Here's the result. You should be able to click this to see the full sized version.

(http://www.thomasjavery.com/temp2/0167comp.jpg)

To my eye, No NR in RAW with the Neat Image PI looks best. Keeps some detail. Have you tried ACR yet to compare to the Sony Converter?
Title: Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: tjavery on November 25, 2012, 09:19:02 PM
To my eye, No NR in RAW with the Neat Image PI looks best. Keeps some detail. Have you tried ACR yet to compare to the Sony Converter?

Yeh, the Neat Image plug-in is pretty good at killing the noise. But also the Sony files seem to clean up really well. That's just my unscientific opinion at this point. I've had a lot of experience cleaning up Canon files, and the Sonys seem to clean up better.

No, have not tried ACR yet.
Title: Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: kevint on November 25, 2012, 09:58:41 PM
I would agree (and I think the Neat Image documentation suggests) that no other noise reduction should be used upstream of Neat Image.


Personally, when I started using Lightroom 3, I could no longer see the benefit of Neat Image.  LR3 seemed to do as good or better without all the profiling and confusing settings of Neat Image.  My understanding is that LR4 is another step up in noise processing.


Either way, it is amazing what can be done now adays.  Oh how I used to hate shooting 400 ASA color film with the grain and harsh contrast.  Now I don't even mess with noise reduction below 800 ISO.
Title: Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: Al on November 25, 2012, 10:57:47 PM
I have been wrestling with what camera I want for Christmas  . . . my rule of thumb has always been, when it is time to buy a new camera, whether I can get at least twice the camera for the same price as my last one . . . a G9 @ ~ $600.  The Sony appears to fit the bill. 

An issue is whether or not to spend my money on a SLR body that costs about the same and start investing in lenses?  Buying an SLR seems like buying a cow.  Minimal skills otherwise.

Title: Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: badknees on November 26, 2012, 08:22:05 AM
I would agree (and I think the Neat Image documentation suggests) that no other noise reduction should be used upstream of Neat Image.


Personally, when I started using Lightroom 3, I could no longer see the benefit of Neat Image.  LR3 seemed to do as good or better without all the profiling and confusing settings of Neat Image.  My understanding is that LR4 is another step up in noise processing.


Either way, it is amazing what can be done now adays.  Oh how I used to hate shooting 400 ASA color film with the grain and harsh contrast.  Now I don't even mess with noise reduction below 800 ISO.

I too have quit using Neat Image. I currently use LR 4 and find the NR more than good and find no need to go through the extra step of messing with Neat Image. They do however, a NI plug-in for LR.
Title: Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: Traces of Texas on November 26, 2012, 11:33:01 AM
Very informative thread and lots of good opinions.

I am really liking that Canon G15.  I need to have something that I can carry with me all the time. As Ansel Adams said, the time to take the picture is when you see the picture.  Carrying the 5D Mark III and attendant lenses is such a big production. Worth it but impractical on a daily basis.
Title: Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: Al on November 27, 2012, 10:40:46 PM
TJ, have you tried portraits?  Is there a red eye problem?

Thank you,
Al
Title: Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: tjavery on November 28, 2012, 10:04:18 PM
TJ, have you tried portraits?  Is there a red eye problem?

Thank you,
Al

Surprisingly, no. Not yet at least. I've not shot many using the flash. But the few that I have, there has been no red-eye. (and I say that I'm surprised because the body is so small and the flash is relatively close to the lens)

It does have a cool feature. The flash is a pop-up type. It's on a hinged mechanism, and you can actually manipulate where the flash points if you want to (on one axis). By default, it faces straight forward. But you can tilt the flash up with your finger to bounce it off the ceiling.
Title: Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: Al on November 28, 2012, 10:15:23 PM
Thank you! Love it.  One of the most important functions my camera must fulfill is to take dog pictures.  I have an external flash for the G9 with a diffuser which I tilt when taking portraits of the dogs.  The lack of hot shoe was worrying me.  I know what I want for Christmas!

Thank you again,
Al
Title: Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: Al on November 28, 2012, 11:44:21 PM
Not that we think our dogs are cute:

(http://www.bigbendgallery.com/uploads/files/BoBo_Attack_s.jpg)

A G9 shot from a few years ago. 

Al
Title: Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: Al on November 28, 2012, 11:57:06 PM
Probably the G6: Doleful comes to mind:

(http://www.bigbendgallery.com/uploads/files/Cheeto HoHo Ho.jpg)

It is that time of year.

Al
Title: Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: mule ears on November 29, 2012, 06:24:02 AM
Probably the G6: Doleful comes to mind:

(http://www.bigbendgallery.com/uploads/files/Cheeto HoHo Ho.jpg)

It is that time of year.

Al

I'm thinkin' embarrassed to be dressed up in such a way.
Title: Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: Robert on November 29, 2012, 08:45:06 AM
Al, Nice shots of your Rat Terrier. Looks similar to mine.

Mule Ears, I saw your posting on the s100 Amazon deal and wished I could justify the upgrade but don't have a good enough reason. I didn't realize that your s90 was having problems until I saw you mention it in another post.
Title: Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
Post by: Al on November 29, 2012, 08:07:32 PM
Robert, just one Rat dog?

ME, he SO looks forward to Christmas!