Point and Shoot that's good in low light?

Destin

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Alright guys, so I'm kind of the un-official fire dept. photographer in my volunteer fire department. Thing is, they won't allow me to use my own camera gear, which means that I have to use the cameras that they keep on our trucks. Those cameras are "bridge" cameras that were made in about 2002, so they're just slightly outdated and TERRRRRRIBLE at night.

Anyway, I'm trying to talk them into getting a new camera to keep on our rescue truck (it goes to the most calls). Ideally a small dslr DSLR (d3100) and a 35 1.8 would be the best option, however the budget is tight.. like it's gonna have to be under $250. So the dslr route is out. Gonna have to get a small point and shoot.

Features that are important to me:
-Must be able to produce acceptable images in low light situations for calls at night. Not professional, clean results, but I wanna be able to get sharp photos that aren't killed be noise.
-Long Battery life.. preferably runs on AA's as we have a TON of them at my fire hall for some other equipment that takes them.
-Durability. It's going to take a decent beating living on a fire truck. Rain. Snow. Freezing temps. Heat. Getting dropped. Preferably something built to be durable or waterproof would be nice.


I totally understand that this is asking ALOT out of my budget. Just wondering if there is anything out there that might fit the bill somewhat? Not sure they'd go for buying used, but I'm open to suggestions.

I know NOTHING about the insanely fast changing point and shoot market because I generally don't need to know about them, my knowledge is in DSLR's. Someone help! lol
 
What you're asking for is sort of impossible with a $250 budget.

The best I can recommend woudl be a used D70 ($200) and a used 50mm f1.8 af-d ($100). While it's a very old camera, it will still produce better low-light results then any new $250 point and shoot. Battery life on the D70 is also the best of any nikon dslr made before or since.
 
My Canon SX130IS is resonably good in low light, runs on AA cells, but I don't know how it is in the 'durability' department. It also has no eye-level finder, just a 3 inch LCD screen. The image stabilization woks well. The current model is the SX150IS.
 
Even a great DSLR with an F1.0 lens won't do much good if you're shooting at night with insufficient lighting.
Using flash may be your best/only option much of the time. If you're not going to be shooting moving people (with the intent of getting a sharp photo), then a tripod (or any sort of support) would help. Maybe something like THIS, on the hood of your truck.
 
Even a great DSLR with an F1.0 lens won't do much good if you're shooting at night with insufficient lighting.
Using flash may be your best/only option much of the time. If you're not going to be shooting moving people (with the intent of getting a sharp photo), then a tripod (or any sort of support) would help. Maybe something like THIS, on the hood of your truck.

I have my own monopod that I can use for it, that isn't an issue. Also have a suction cup mount that I made up to hold flash units if I want to get creative and stick it up high on a truck.

As far as flash, it would have to be off camera, because otherwise all you'll see is the reflective lettering on out turnout gear. Obviously I'm set up to do OCF with my personal equipment, but not with a cheap crappy point and shoot.

The scenes aren't totally dark though. 2 of our trucks have 5000 watt light towers on top of them. I've used my D80+50 1.8 to shoot a few of our training nights, and with the light from the trucks was able to pull f1.8, 1/30th of a second, and iso3200. It's dark, but there is light.

I'm currently looking at the nikon s9100 due to some research I did online.
 

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