General Question

zina's avatar

Which small (pocket-sized) digital cameras are good with clear low-light no-flash shots?

Asked by zina (1653points) September 2nd, 2007

at least 7 megapixels, has an optical viewfinder, hopefully under $500 or so

i read previous questions here on digital cameras

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9 Answers

Fallstand's avatar

ones that have high ISO’s

figbash's avatar

Definitely not the Canon SD750, if you’ve been tempted to buy that one. I fought with mine all vacation to try and get it to take low-light shots and wound up with a lot of irritated subjects and missed opportunities. It’s the perfect little camera and takes amazing pictures, otherwise.

bob's avatar

Get a camera with a fixed lens. These lenses tend to be faster—they let in more light than zoom lenses, so you can get better shots in low-light conditions. The Ricoh GR Digital is one good option, but there are others. You can see all Flickr photos taken with the GR Digital here.

Your camera should also have good ISO options, but getting a faster lens in the first place will give you better pictures.

rovdog's avatar

I don’t know how many times I’ve wished my Canon Elph had a faster lens. If you gave up the pocket option- you could get a small DSLR and a superfast lens for those low light shots- but that wouldn’t be answering the question. I like my Elph and the new ones have higher ISOs up to 1600 now, which should help but I think it introduces noise into the image. There are also cameras with two built in lenses: a fixed one and faster wide angle lens and zoom lens- for Bob’s idea. I think Kodak makes some of these. In low light, like out a dinner or something, I usually just set my compact camera on the table and try to use it as a tripod, but I get a lot of pictures of people’s waists.

andrew's avatar

I’m surprised that no one has mentioned the Fuji handhelds—they have a huge ISO and are great for low light. amazon

andrew's avatar

ps the fuji f30 can take iso 1600 shots with no noticible noise…

picklez's avatar

the ones with the lowest f-numbers (this is what “faster” means). these folks are right about the high ISOs, but the higher the ISO you use for a given scene, the grainier the image will be. i would just compare the f-numbers of the cameras out there and pick the one with the lowest. you will see that these are probably the most expensive, however…

HeNkiSdaBro's avatar

ps the fuji f30 can take iso 1600 shots with no noticeable noise…
That is not completely true. Small compact cameras with their small sensors produce loads of noise even at lower ISO speeds such as 200–400 already. The Fuji compacts are indeed known to handle this pretty well, but still produce lots of noise at ISO 1600. Even My Canon 40D dSLR does generate noise at that high a speed.

What is true though is that you will be looking for the fastest lens possible (lowest f. number) and a camera with well known high ISO speeds. Another HUGE factor would be getting a camera with image stabilisation, like some Canons with IS or some Nikons with VR (same thing). That will let you shoot more stable in low light conditions. Good luck!

steelmarket's avatar

Low-light photography means noise, regardless of what camera you have. Some bodies do handle it better than others, no doubt. But, when I have no choice but to shoot at 1600, as I frequently do shooting sports at night, I run my images through Noise Ninja and it (almost miraculously) helps tame the noise. Go to for more info.

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