View Full Version : Best compact camera for low-light

02-06-10, 02:14 PM
I'm looking for some advice/recommendations. I'm planning to replace my Ricoh Caplio R5 which I use for taking photos at gigs - so I'm looking to buy something with a good zoom that does well in low/inconstent lighting conditions where you can't use a flash.

It should be reasonably rugged - whilst it won't get dropped, it should be able to stand up to an evening being taken out of and put back into a pocket without using a case.

I've looked at the Fuji F70EXR & F80EXR and like the look of the F70 as I'm not particularly bothered about HD video but wondered if anyone had any other suggestions that I should consider?

I realise that I'm probably looking for the Holy Grail of compact cameras, but if you don't ask...

Nigel Atherton
02-06-10, 02:42 PM
You don't mention a budget but if you have 300 to spare (or a bit less if you shop around) I'd suggest taking a look at the Sony Cybershot HX5 (http://www.sony.co.uk/product/dsc-h-series/dsc-hx5v).

As well as a 10x optical zoom, its Exmor CMOS sensor and Bionz processor produced the best image quality and lowest noise at ISO 1600 in its category in our recent tests. It has a few party tricks up its sleeve too which could be useful to you, especially the Anti Motion Blur Mode. This produces "crisp low-light images with reduced subject blur by combining six successive frames into a single image with less noise." Useful for gigs I'd have thought. I've used this feature on other Sony cameras that have it and it works pretty well. The HX5 isn't the smallest compact around but you can still fit it into a pocket.

Sony's WX1 (http://www.sony.co.uk/product/dsc-w-series/dsc-wx1) incorporates a broadly similar spec, including this feature, into a smaller camera, with a 5x zoom, for under 200. Alternatively the Fuji F200 EXR (http://www.fujifilm.co.uk/consumer/digital/digital-cameras/advanced-compact/finepix-f200-exr) also has a 5x zoom and good high ISO performance for around 150.

02-06-10, 02:45 PM
The F70EXR is a cracking little camera, and decent in low light. I found the F80 EXR not quite as good due to the excessive pixel smoothing. Some of the Canon models, such as the S90, are good at handling low light, but in most cases it's worth limiting the zoom as that'll maximise the amount of light the camera can capture.