Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A compact camera for photographing rain in a city?

Yesterday night when I was in Helsinki it was raining heavily and there were interesting photographic views, for example a lighted tram, lighted buildings, wet cobblestone etc., which would have (probably) made a nice photo, provided that I would have had a real camera with me.

The Nokia E90 cameraphone failed miserably. I took several shots, all of which failed (blurry, fuzzy, wrongly focused etc.).

But are there really althernatives in the compact camera category? A classic low-light choice is Fujifilm Finepix F31fd, which is no longer produced. The current Fujifilm cameras such as F60fd and F100fd are worse in this regard.

A possible choice is Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3, which has generated a lot of interest. The sample pictures are reasonably good at ISO 400, but there is a lot of noise above that. (Perhaps shooting RAW would help a bit.) However, the wide f/2 lens and excellent OIS (optical image stabilization) would help in low-light situations.

So, although LX3 is not cheap and not perfect, it is an attractive choice. A big strength of this camera is the excellent feature set and convenient controls and handling, including manual settings.

I'm still waiting how Canon responds to the product announcements by Nikon, Panasonic and Olympus. Unfortunately, I don't see that the situation with serious compacts will soon improve. Canon especially has an attractive market in SLRs which it will protect as much as possible.

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