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Customer Discussions > Photography forum

What is the best camera good for night and underwater for a beginner?


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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 23, 2012 10:23:27 PM PDT
E. Pike says:
I'm just getting started, and this will be my second digital camera, but I love taking pictures, especially when in the water, and would like to learn more about taking pictures at night too. What is a good and reasonable priced camera that also wouldn't break the bank?

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 26, 2012 3:12:25 PM PDT
EdM says:
Your post presents numerous problems. First, there is no hint at what YOU THINK is a reasonable price range. Second, optimizing a camera choice for water exposure is a totally different thing from a camera for night photos. Third, in many cases, it is the skill and technique of the photographer that may be more important in doing a particular type of photography. You provide no thoughts on what kind of camera you are thinking of.

On night photography, generally, the larger the camera's sensor, the more low light ability the camera has. So, "full frame 35 mm DSLRs" are very good, but cost ~ $2000 and up. Normal APSc and Micro 4/3 cameras are next [lumped together], and these generally cost $500-$1000 and more. Some compact cameras that are low priced do not do well at night photography, although they can be used with tripods and skilled technique.

This article mentions some better P/S cameras that have abilities that allow for maximizing night photography results in the P/S camera style, but they are towards the more expensive end. It is true in photography, that you generally get what you pay for.

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2385965,00.asp

This article is from about a year ago, so the Canon S95, e.g., might be found for less, as it has been superseded by the Canon S100 and there is even a forthcoming S110.

We have no idea if this price range is reasonable to you or not. There is a whole separate bunch of cameras that have some water resistance. When you spend a significant part of the cost basis of a camera on a better, water resistant housing, that means that that cost basis must come out of some other part of the item's design. Anyway, here is a comparison of some of these, as of the time of the test:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/Q311waterproofcompactgrouptest

Bear in mind that you can do searches here on Amazon for "Waterproof camera", e.g., and read the user reviews to get some idea.

There are resources for learning how to shoot better, such as on the internet, or books maybe from a local library or here, e.g., especially for low light including night photography, on the technical aspects of getting a good exposure:

Understanding Exposure, 3rd Edition: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera

For photography generally, consider

Bryan Peterson's Understanding Photography Field Guide: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera

Complete Digital Photography

There are any number of good books. and they can be searched out on Amazon by using search terms like "photography handbook" or "night photography". I have not seen the next book about night photography, but I have several books written by Bryan Peterson, above and Freeman, below, and they are excellent books, IMO.

The Low Light Photography Field Guide: The essential guide to getting perfect images in challenging light

You can also go to specific book examples, and then check out on that page, the "Amazon Best Sellers Rank". The Understanding Exposure book, e.g., has this rank:

"#1 in Books > Arts & Photography > Photography > Equipment, Techniques & Reference > Reference
#1 in Books > Arts & Photography > Photography > Equipment, Techniques & Reference > Equipment"

So, poor books don't gain that ranking, especially over time. There are also Amazon user reviews.

Good Luck.

Posted on Nov 4, 2012 1:09:24 PM PST
E. Pike says:
Thank you for the help. I am just trying to find something in the $150 price range that is water resistant and takes good pictures at night. I am just barely a beginning photographer, so would like something basic and affordable.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 4, 2012 2:10:14 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 4, 2012 2:11:06 PM PST
Unfortunately "basic and affordable" and "water resistant and takes good pictures at night" are really diametrically opposed. And we aren't even talking a full /dive/ rated system.

A water resistant (snorkel depth -- 10-30 feet; splash resistance can be had with a good clear zip-lock bag <G>) housing for a regular P&S can easily run $50-100. So you can probably assume any snorkel grade P&S itself will have $50-100 of the cost tied up in just making it water resistant.

Night capability is, as has been mentioned, inversely related to the density of the pixels on the sensor (that is, large area sensor with low MP count is better than small area sensor with same or higher MP count). These sensors cost more to produce (on the blank wafers, a manufacturer can only fit a few large sensors vs many small sensors AND a defect in the blank could affect 25% [say four sensors per wafer] of the production while only affecting 10% [say ten small sensors per wafer] of the smaller design).

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 4, 2012 2:55:19 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 4, 2012 2:56:48 PM PST
Neo Lee says:
All cameras are good at night when used on a tripod, to take photos of night landscapes, that is, anything that moves will likely look blurred beyond recognition. Any camera can take photos of people at night too. It's just you have to ask them to stay very still for a couple seconds, or you would have to use flash.

Expensive cameras allow you to shoot handheld at night and still get all the pedestrians frozen unblurred. You're not going to find a camera like this under 300 dollars.

Posted on Nov 7, 2012 8:42:42 PM PST
JCUKNZ says:
Good on you Neo, you beat me to it :-) Note tripod or other firm support. Resting it on a table with a pencil or fork [whathaveyou] under the lens to raise it so you don't take half the table works well if the room isn't vibrating. Tripod won't be any good then either.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 8, 2012 6:35:51 PM PST
E. Pike says:
thanks, I ended up getting a pentax wg-1 bundle that included a tripod so I will be using that to take night pictures, and will let you know what I think of it when I start using it. The feedback here has been very helpful.
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Discussion in:  Photography forum
Participants:  5
Total posts:  7
Initial post:  Oct 23, 2012
Latest post:  Nov 8, 2012

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