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Any photographers here? Is there a point and shoot camera for night photography?

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Any photographers here? Is there a point and shoot camera for night photography?

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Old 01-27-19, 03:33 PM
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Any photographers here? Is there a point and shoot camera for night photography?

I’m as ignorant, if not more so, of photography than I am of auto and bike mechanics, so basically, I know nothing. I’ve only ever used point and shoot cameras with fixed lenses, never a 35 mm type camera. So any input is appreciated. Online research just has me confused.

So, is there a “point and shoot” compact, relatively inexpensive camera that would take decent night photos of landscapes, buildings, scenic views? Think “view across a lake under a full moon” or “church doors lit by landscape floodlights” or “city lights from top of a hill”.

I would like to take a lot more, and better, photos of some of the really remarkable views I see on night rides. My iPhone camera - actually decent, all I need for daytime photos that are good enough for me, but just doesn’t work well for night photos. Basically it just focuses on any light source, and everything else is lost in the photo. Pictures at night are just bright spots on black background.

I only want a small camera because I would probably wear it around my neck on a lanyard for convenience and rapid access - fast stop, point, shoot, ride away - I don’t want to have to dismount and dig a camera out of a bag or backpack every time. Anything with interchangeable lenses - 35 mm type camera - would probably be too big. And I want something relatively inexpensive (say, under $350-$400) because odds are good I’ll lose it or break it. I’m good at losing things.

Alternatively, is there some kind of app or hardware attachment that might make an iPhone into a better night camera?

A camera that would take decent night photos may not even exist at those price levels and size - I realize that.

Thoughts or suggestions? Or just hang it up as “not going to happen?’

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Old 01-27-19, 04:57 PM
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I’m a photographer but don’t have personal experience with compact cameras. Up until the last couple years I shot professional sports as a side job/hobby. The camera equipment and lenses I use are as far from a point and shoot as you can get in size and budget but the principles are the same.

First, I would not recommend shooting night landscapes in an automatic mode, I would want a compact camera that allowed manual, otherwise you get similar results as your iPhone. Second, I recommend coming up with some kind of tripod or stabilizing device. That would allow you to close down the aperture a bit for greater depth of field, lower the ISO for less noise in the image and use a slow shutter speed while minimizing camera shake. Search for
"Mini tripod for Compact System Camera" for something small and light enough to take on your rides.

I don't think you will get decent results by just stopping and hand holding a quick snap shot at night.

DPReview is a camera gear head forum with reviews. They recommend the Fujifilm XF10 and Ricoh GR II in your price range. I think these have f2.8 fixed wide-angle lenses suitable for landscape photography. I assume you know forum recommendations are usually worth what you pay for them.
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Old 01-27-19, 05:05 PM
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Old 01-27-19, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveQ24 View Post
I’m as ignorant, if not more so, of photography than I am of auto and bike mechanics, so basically, I know nothing. I’ve only ever used point and shoot cameras with fixed lenses, never a 35 mm type camera. So any input is appreciated. Online research just has me confused.

So, is there a “point and shoot” compact, relatively inexpensive camera that would take decent night photos of landscapes, buildings, scenic views? Think “view across a lake under a full moon” or “church doors lit by landscape floodlights” or “city lights from top of a hill”.

I would like to take a lot more, and better, photos of some of the really remarkable views I see on night rides. My iPhone camera - actually decent, all I need for daytime photos that are good enough for me, but just doesn’t work well for night photos. Basically it just focuses on any light source, and everything else is lost in the photo. Pictures at night are just bright spots on black background.

I only want a small camera because I would probably wear it around my neck on a lanyard for convenience and rapid access - fast stop, point, shoot, ride away - I don’t want to have to dismount and dig a camera out of a bag or backpack every time. Anything with interchangeable lenses - 35 mm type camera - would probably be too big. And I want something relatively inexpensive (say, under $350-$400) because odds are good I’ll lose it or break it. I’m good at losing things.

Alternatively, is there some kind of app or hardware attachment that might make an iPhone into a better night camera?

A camera that would take decent night photos may not even exist at those price levels and size - I realize that.

Thoughts or suggestions? Or just hang it up as “not going to happen?’


I am not aware of a camera that fits your criteria as outlined.

I have a Google Pixel 2 phone that has a camera feature called "Night Sight" and it's pretty cool but the image quality is limited, IMO.

There is a new breed of camera referred to as "mirrorless". Just as size is a subjective, cost is also.

This link will take you to a review of a typical "mirrorless" camera.
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Old 01-27-19, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Midway View Post
DPReview is a camera gear head forum with reviews. They recommend the Fujifilm XF10 and Ricoh GR II in your price range.
+1. Both have bigger sensors than most compact cameras, and big sensors is the name of the game in low light photography. Both would be significantly better than a phone camera, especially noticeable in low light.
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Old 01-27-19, 05:45 PM
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manual override on the shutter?

Mostly, with film cameras you got a tripod to hold the camera steady, on longer exposure times..
and used a delay so you didn't bump it pushing the button..

Consider reading photo magazines @ library?






...

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Old 01-27-19, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveQ24 View Post
I’m as ignorant, if not more so, of photography than I am of auto and bike mechanics, so basically, I know nothing. I’ve only ever used point and shoot cameras with fixed lenses, never a 35 mm type camera. So any input is appreciated. Online research just has me confused.

So, is there a “point and shoot” compact, relatively inexpensive camera that would take decent night photos of landscapes, buildings, scenic views? Think “view across a lake under a full moon” or “church doors lit by landscape floodlights” or “city lights from top of a hill”.

I would like to take a lot more, and better, photos of some of the really remarkable views I see on night rides. My iPhone camera - actually decent, all I need for daytime photos that are good enough for me, but just doesn’t work well for night photos. Basically it just focuses on any light source, and everything else is lost in the photo. Pictures at night are just bright spots on black background.

I only want a small camera because I would probably wear it around my neck on a lanyard for convenience and rapid access - fast stop, point, shoot, ride away - I don’t want to have to dismount and dig a camera out of a bag or backpack every time. Anything with interchangeable lenses - 35 mm type camera - would probably be too big. And I want something relatively inexpensive (say, under $350-$400) because odds are good I’ll lose it or break it. I’m good at losing things.

Alternatively, is there some kind of app or hardware attachment that might make an iPhone into a better night camera?

A camera that would take decent night photos may not even exist at those price levels and size - I realize that.

Thoughts or suggestions? Or just hang it up as “not going to happen?’

First off P&S auto mode (as mentioned) won't give you great night shots. You have to learn manual. Also, the budget you have is tight for finding a camera to meets your requirements. You could consider a used "sony rx100 ii" which I have. It does OK with low light given the lens f/1.8; however, I know how to adjust the settings + do post-processing. It can't compete with a Sony A7RII..just can't. Whatever you get, also consider getting a portable tripod, learn to shoot using the camera's built-in timer (OR get a remote trigger) and study up on manual settings/post-processing. Take a look on @ ebay and see if any deals exist. If you do, just make sure the camera takes clear pictures @ f/8.0 with no spots. The Sony has a tendency to get dust in them, due to the zoom lens, but I know a
trick to remove dust.
If you are curious about the size, go to Best buy and look the latest RX100 version. They haven't changed in size much at all....just the price of them are insane now. Best of luck!
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Old 01-27-19, 09:16 PM
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Found this page.

https://www.camerahouse.com.au/blog/...mpact-cameras/

Most good point and shoots have a night scene mode. But look for one that allows you manual exposure control too. Then play with it.
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Old 01-27-19, 11:41 PM
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Many recent APS sensor cameras (roughly half the sensor size of a 35mm film frame) have impressive low light sensitivity with low noise. And auto exposure modes can work remarkably well at night -- usually only a little tweaking to the exposure compensation control is needed.

The tricky bit is focusing. Few cameras can reliably autofocus in dim conditions, especially without any high contrast objects or surface to lock in on.

Depth of field data and zone focusing can help, with the lens stopped down a bit. But at f/2.8 or wider apertures focusing becomes more critical.

I've done a lot of nighttime photography with my various P&S and auto-everything digital cameras -- Nikon V1, Fuji XA1, Ricoh GRD4. I have to use manual focusing or, with the Nikon and Fuji, switch to my old manual focus Nikkors with adapters. But they all handle auto-exposure pretty well with adjustments to the exposure compensation control. It's easy to experiment since results are instantaneous.

Much easier than my early experiments with nighttime film photography. Lots of bracketing, even with reciprocity failure data. Lots of experiments with painting with light or multiple flash pops. However the one camera I had that was remarkably adept at nighttime auto-exposure was the Nikon F3. While not as accurate as the OM4/T beyond several seconds, the F3 usually produced very good results in long exposures, up to an hour or longer, on auto-mode even tho' technically it was supposedly only able to meter up to 8 seconds. In actual practice it would keep the shutter open as long as necessary, for nighttime photos under moonlight. The difference was the OM4 could adjust as lighting changed, such as the influence of passing cloud cover over moonlight.

Good post processing software is critical. There are some one-click or quick fix tools but they're usually hamfisted and too obvious, or create visible artifacts or exaggerate noise. Adobe Lightroom is pretty much an affordable standard for basic processing. And there are many handy compatible plugins. Occasionally I'll use DxO, Nik effects, and various HDR and film emulation plugins. Mostly I just use Lightroom because it doesn't create a clutter of TIFFs with each save or iteration of a file.
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Old 01-28-19, 05:06 AM
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Have a look at this. Very handy, tremendous zoom capability. There is a newer version, B700 I believe, but I'm happy with my 500. In the interest of honesty, I'm a Nikon geek.

https://www.amazon.com/Nikon-COOLPIX.../dp/B01C3LEBW6

.. includes VR technology and very good low-light capability. It's my carry along on my bike. My other gear is too bulky.
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Old 01-28-19, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveQ24 View Post
Alternatively, is there some kind of app or hardware attachment that might make an iPhone into a better night camera?
Read up on how to set the ISO and exposure compensation (I think an iPhone camera lets you set those). For night photography, you want to set the ISO high and probably set exposure compensation to darken the image (otherwise auto exposure might make night shots too light).

Setting the ISO high helps in low light but has the negative effect of adding noise to the image, so only set it high when you need it. (I mentioned big sensors earlier because big sensors allow higher ISO with less noise.)

You can tinker around with these settings and practice some night photography to see what your phone camera can do in low light.
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Old 01-28-19, 04:43 PM
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I wound up getting a micro 4/3 camera which with the kit lens can fit in a coat pocket but I wound up also getting a telephoto for it that definitely requires a bag. I have seen some point and shoot cameras that do great work in other circumstances (like underwater) but they were in the ~$400 range...
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Old 01-30-19, 05:04 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Mostly, with film cameras you got a tripod to hold the camera steady, on longer exposure times..
and used a delay so you didn't bump it pushing the button...
^ This works.

Compact cameras should have a timer, so even if you are holding it in your hand you can avoid/minimise any movement because you are not pushing the button at the time of exposure. Good for 1-2 seconds if you relax.

Resting against something to steady yourself. A post, wall, anything.
Buying a clamp or other mount - smaller than a tripod, but same outcome.

RTFM: There is probably a night time mode (or a few) on a modern point and shoot camera.
I've found that locking the flash off usually 'forces' the camera to do a good job in the AUTO mode.
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Old 01-30-19, 05:14 AM
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Originally Posted by JonnyHK View Post
I've found that locking the flash off usually 'forces' the camera to do a good job in the AUTO mode.
Yes, frequently selecting "flash" results in about 1/60 th second exposure. Not nearly enough for a dark or night scene.
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Old 01-30-19, 05:23 AM
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Originally Posted by bobwysiwyg View Post
Yes, frequently selecting "flash" results in about 1/60 th second exposure. Not nearly enough for a dark or night scene.
I like the modern cameras that will sync with the flash at much longer times. Means you can get a much warmer image without the harsh shadows, especially if you are bouncing a tilt head flash unit. I'm using an OM-D.
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Old 01-30-19, 07:22 AM
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Originally Posted by JonnyHK View Post
I like the modern cameras that will sync with the flash at much longer times. Means you can get a much warmer image without the harsh shadows, especially if you are bouncing a tilt head flash unit. I'm using an OM-D.
I think you are referring to fill-flash?? If so, not sure that aids one of the OP's primary needs though.
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Old 01-30-19, 10:57 AM
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Night photographs

A simple snapshot at night often doesn't really work. The camera is trying for a moderately lit result, so it can over expose the actual dark scene.
Try some settings that just about every phone camera has:

HDR
This is "High Dynamic Range". The camera takes a few exposures and merges them -- an overexposed one to see details in the shadows, a normal exposure, and an underexposed one to see detail in the highlights. Then it tries to use the best parts of each of these. It often works very well, and is automatic when switched on.
iphone examples (these are a bit extreme, with some of that "HDR look")

Exposure compensation
A scene at night can be very dark, with just some of the scene lit up. Cameras set on auto try to brighten up everything, which isn't necessarily what you want in the photo.
Try setting exposure compensation to -1EV or -2EV and see what it looks like. This makes the whole image darker, so the shadows are more realistic.
iphone 8 example.


Photo editing software
Editing software lets you fix and adjust the photos. It ranges from simple "one-click auto" fixes, to complex, powerful edit capabilities.

Ohio River flood pictures
Original shot, on my fairly expensive, large sensor LX100.
The background is very dark. ( exposure: F2.7, ISO 1600, 1/20 sec -- hand held! )



A quick edit, adjusting the shadows and smoothing the fuzz/grain from the high ISO:
The railing and people are just slightly brighter, but the background has been brightened enough to see details. It's close to what it looked like in person.


Brightened up a lot more. This just looks wrong and fake. But you can see how much software fixes can adjust a photo.


the LX100. A fast lens, reasonably large sensor, and quite small. Cool manual controls if needed. It's a bit fragile (avoid dusty conditions and don't get it wet), and a little too large to put in a pocket. Not for everybody, but I like it.

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Old 01-30-19, 11:00 AM
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It would push you budget to its limit at $398, but the Sony RX100 mk1 is also good for night exposures (maybe not quite as suited as the Ricoh and Fuji noted above, but more versatile otherwise)- you can even use a bulb mode if controlled with phone, otherwise 30sec max exposure. That is the oldest version of the RX100, the most current version is mk6, but the sensor is not better for that application and the lens is slower on the latest $1200 version so it is less suited for night photography.
Maybe a used one?

But at same price you will likely get better results with a used DSLR and a used wide angle lens. But larger than you want.
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Old 01-30-19, 11:36 AM
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Olympus pen went interchangeable lens W/O going DSLR.. still has back monitor https://cameras.olympus.com/pen/en-us/
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Old 01-30-19, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by bobwysiwyg View Post
I think you are referring to fill-flash?? If so, not sure that aids one of the OP's primary needs though.
Related to fill-flash, but longer sync speeds are *technically* different.

Not directly related to OPs needs, just came up as part of the conversation.

Locking the flash off should give you longer shutter speeds than1/60th - hence the need for stabilisation.
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Old 01-30-19, 02:48 PM
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A bean bag (hacky sack) makes a great adjustable and stable platform for compact cameras.
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Old 02-07-19, 11:31 AM
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Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom smartphone/compact camera(10X optical zoom):

Sunsetting by 1nterceptor, on Flickr

Nabana No Sato Light Festival by 1nterceptor, on Flickr

Night time videos and more pics:

Additional info: all media are untouched; no editing what so eva, no color/saturation correction, nothing.
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Old 02-07-19, 12:39 PM
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You need a tripod to do a good job of this kind of photography. Cameras take pictures of light, and there isn't much in the dark.
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Old 02-07-19, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by noisebeam View Post
A bean bag (hacky sack) makes a great adjustable and stable platform for compact cameras.
Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
You need a tripod to do a good job of this kind of photography. Cameras take pictures of light, and there isn't much in the dark.
A tripod is nice, but not necessary - what is needed is for the camera to be stable from wind and vibrations and without touching it. 80%+ of my night photographs are taken without one.
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Old 02-07-19, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by noisebeam View Post
A tripod is nice, but not necessary - what is needed is for the camera to be stable from wind and vibrations and without touching it. 80%+ of my night photographs are taken without one.
Point was I'm sure, you need a way to stabilize it rather than hand holding. I'd like to see one of your photos of a distant scene that you took at night in the middle of a field if no tripod is needed. You can't get that shot laying the camera on the ground in the grass to keep it stable.
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