Which Compact is best For Low Light?

Started Jan 14, 2014 | Discussions thread
Chris R-UK Forum Pro • Posts: 18,603
Re: Which Compact is best For Low Light?

OneDullGuy wrote:


I've been really happy with my Canon SX110 for some years now but I'm finding that it';s struggling to shoot in low light conditions. My son is a competitive swimmer and the pools aren't the best lit areas around, so I'm looking at moving to another camera but one that can shoot well with a long zoom (I'll be sitting in the stands).

I realise that a DSLR is the answer but I'm also looking at having it to travel with, so something that can fit in my pocket would be great.

Oh, and I've come across a lot of cameras in the past that have shocking shutter lag. I think that technology has moved on now so it isn't such a problem, but I would like to have it where the shutter opens when I press the release button, rather than a couple of seconds later.

I have a budget of up to £300 (I know, not a lot) but I'm hoping to get a good deal in the sales.

Any advice would be great.

I am afraid that a long zoom, low light, ability to fit in a pocket and under £300 don't go together.  You will have to compromise.

To get a camera that is better in low light you really need a large sensor and that means that the lenses will be larger, especially a long zoom lens.

Some suggestions:

  • Panasonic FZ200.  It won't fit in your pocket and it has a very small sensor but it has a long zoom and a "fast" (large maximum aperture) lens which to some extent compensates for the small sensor.  A little over £300.
  • Sony RX100.  It will fit in your pocket and it has a large sensor but it doesn't have a long zoom and it costs over £300.
  • Nikon S1 with kit lens plus a 30-110mm lens.  This has the same sized sensor as the Sony RX100, quite a long zoom if you get the 30-110mm lens and it will just about fit in your pocket with the kit lens on it.  It also has very good focusing.  However, it costs over £400.
  • Used Panasonic or Olympus Micro 4/3 camera.  You will need to get a telephoto lens to go with it which will take you over £300 and it will be bigger than the Nikon, but it has a larger sensor than any of the others above.
  • Look for a used or an entry level DSLR camera with a kit lens and something like a 55-250mm telephoto lens.  Biggest sensor and fastest focusing but also the biggest camera and probably £400-£500.
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