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Old Mar 20, 2004, 1:13 PM   #1
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Default Dog Photography - Which Camera?

Hello! I have been doing research for months now on cameras and continue to go back and forth on which to purchase. My requirements are the following:

1) I am taking pictures of fast moving dogs in a photojournalistic style. I need a camera that hits the shot immediately, no lag time. I am getting a lot of blinks instead of eyeballs with a Sony F707 that I am borrowing.
2) Camera must produce acceptable 8x10 OR 11x14 prints w/ no visible noise
3) Under $1000

I have gone from Digicam to SLR many times now.

Cameras that I have decided on and then changed my mind are the following:

1) Canon Digital Rebel: I can't read enough good things about this Camera but every store I go to they seem to LOVE the Nikon D100 and they trash the CMOS Chip to no end.

2) Sony F717

3) Minolta Dimage A1

I would LOVE any advice.

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Old Mar 20, 2004, 2:03 PM   #2
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The killer is issue #1 vs. #3. I know someone who does what you are talking about.

Shutter lag (the time between pressing the shutter and taking the picture) is long on most digital cameras. Its a cost saving thing, and really annoying.

The other problem is auto focus speed. Dogs move fast, and require fast AF. Most cameras can't do focus tracking or even autofocus very fast. So they don't work.

What this person did was where you'll have problems with #3. They got a Nikon D100. The got some fast focusing lenses and now they get the picture they want. But it will cost more than $1,000 to go that route. Sorry.

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Old Mar 20, 2004, 2:49 PM   #3
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Most good cameras anymore have very short shutter lag times if you pre-focus. You need continuous focus to be able to do that with moving subjects though. Continuous focus will maintain the focus if something isnít moving directly toward or away from the camera at more than about 9 mph. This speed capability increases as the distance from the camera increases. Panning with the dogs at a greyhound race would present no problem for the continuous focus unless the dogs were coming toward you.

Another thing to consider is the lag in an EVF. They can have up to a 1/10 second lag and you have to lead something you are panning or the subject will be further back in the picture than you would have thought based on the shutter release.

A DSLR is your obvious choice IMO. The CMOS sensor tests out very well compared to CCD. The proof is in the pudding and the sensor works well. http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canoneos300d/page19.asp

I generally prefer the A1 to the 717 because of the stabilization. But stabilization doesnít do anything for subject movement and you might be better off with the faster lens on the 717. I can only rate the tracking focus of the A1 based on the continuous focus on my D7i. That seems to work well and the A1 tracking focus will continue to track something that moves from the center of the frame. It also puts a little symbol on what it is focused on which is a big help.
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Old Mar 20, 2004, 4:10 PM   #4
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I can understand why people would love the D100 more than the DRebel, but it also costs $600 more. I would listen to the advice of people that use the cameras everyday (i.e. users on the forum) more than the salesman in the store who is probably looking off a spec sheet, and probably wants to sell you a more expensive camera. The CMOS chip is great. It seems like you would be happier with a DSLR's performance than anything else. They all seem to have a very short shutter lag compared to point-n-shoots. I would seriously consider the Digital Rebel or the Nikon D70 which should hit the shelves soon.
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Old Mar 20, 2004, 4:16 PM   #5
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Simple, Nikon D-100... Check my site on PBase and you will find lots of Fast action shot of Dogs and Horses... Shot with the D-100. You will also Need Fast glass also....Now if the price is to much, from what I have read about the Nikon D-70 I would think it would work very well... If you are shooting indoors, Top Flash sync speed on the D-100 is 1/180. The D-70 is 1/500 Flash sync speed a Big, Big plus for this camera... Good Luck...
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Old Mar 20, 2004, 6:45 PM   #6
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Default Re: Dog Photography - Which Camera?

Originally Posted by Willyjeen
1) Canon Digital Rebel: I can't read enough good things about this Camera but every store I go to they seem to LOVE the Nikon D100 and they trash the CMOS Chip to no end.
I would suspect they do this because the D100 is in stock and the 300D is not. Why sell you on something they can't sell you.

I bought my 300D from the Circuit City online store, had it shipped in two days and had the ability to return it to the nearest store within 30 days if I didn't like it.

I still have it.
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Old Mar 20, 2004, 10:01 PM   #7
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Dslr is the way to go, weather Canon or Nikon is a religous choice both have their support fanatics. Though both are excellent camera brands. I'm in the Canon camp myself .

Maybe hold off and wait just a bit, the Eos 10D has dropped from 2400$cdn to the mid 1900$cnd over the last few weeks.
The Drebel has dropped about 200$cdn in ths same time. I suspect they will come down even more in the near future as newer models hit the shelves, and age a bit.

Electronics devalue themselves quickly Which is good if you want to buy last years tech.
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Old Mar 21, 2004, 12:50 AM   #8
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Since I brought up the D100, I wanted to say that I actually think both the D100 and 10D are very good cameras. Either could do the job. I only stated the D100 because that is what the person I know did. It wasn't intended to rule out the 10D. Heck, I own it and like it and believe it could do it (without having tried it myself.)

As for the DRebel.... I don't know if it's focus tracking is good enough. That is more a comment about me than the camera. I just don't know, it very well could be. The same goes for the nikon D70. I bet it could do the job too, I just don't know enough to recommend (or not recommend) it.

But the problem in all those solutions is the cost. I don't believe any of them are enough below $1,000 that you will have money left over for the other necessary items. A good CF card, a flash for fill, batteries... probably more. If you *really* only have $1,000 for the whole investment, then you're really only spending $700 or so on the camera AND lens and the rest on the extras.

So, can you spend more if you believe is that a DSLR is basically garrantied to be able to do it (with the right lens)?

Because if the answer is no, then everything listed here but Slipís comments should be ignored. The 717 might (if it has good AF speed, good focus tracking, and low shutter lag) be good enough to do the job.

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Old Mar 22, 2004, 10:33 AM   #9
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so true, we get so caught up in the what woud do the best job, not what would do the best job at XXX$cost. I know I am guilty of this

Shoot you are right, a decent strobe either canon or nikon can set you back close to 500$cdn (there I go quoting funny money again).
A couple of hunderd for storage cards, A hundred of so for a spare batteries. It all adds up very quickly. Even with a P&S, you will still need the stroage card/batteries and a real strobe.

Sigh, I think I just depressed myself again
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Old Mar 22, 2004, 2:35 PM   #10
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Truthfully, if you're doing this professionally, you can't get what you need for that price range in a digital.

I've gotten great motion shots of my dogs with nearly every digital camera I own (over 25) but having a few samples of the nature: Look what I did with my (substitute any camera here) digicam - is not the same as being able to "depend" on getting the shot.

Having used nearly every professional and near professional model available, I can tell you that you will NOT get consistent results with the following:

1. Any fixed lens digicam
2. Canon Digital Rebel, Canon D30, D60, 10D, Nikon D100, Fuji S1, Fuji S2, Sigma SD9, Sigma SD10

Your best bet if you budget can be stretched is either the Canon EOS-1D or Nikon D2H.

If you can't afford one of these, look at some of the discontinued Kodak Pro models which can be found for around $1800 now.

The problem is two fold. First you need absolutely consistent autofocus and predictive autofocus. The prosumer models (Canon D200, 10D, D30, D60 - Nikon D100, etc.) simply don't have predictive autofocus. This means you take your chances after the first shot in a burst when the subject is moving toward or away from you. Second, you absolutely must have fast burst shoot capabilities. You can't trust a three frame burst to do the job.

The Canon EOS-1D and Nikon D1H (or the new Canon EOS-1D Mark II) shoot 8 frames per second. Even if your skill level as a photographer is very high, you will get your share of misses simply because you can't predict when the dog will close an eye or turn it's head, etc. You need help from the law of averages.

The "only" fixed lens camera I've ever used (I own this one and also the Fuji S602Z and Fuji S7000Z) which can possibly do what you want is the 1.5 megapixel Olympus E-100RS. This one is discontinued, but still available. It has a 10X optical stabilized zoom lens which is reasonably fast, it takes very nice progressive scan images at up to 15 frames per second, uses CF types I and II media (along with SmartMedia) and for reasonably close up subjects can print quite satisfactory 8x10's.

There just isn't another fixed lens digicam and that includes my F828 Sony, S602Z, S7000Z, Olympus E10, Canon D30, Canon 10D, and even my Canon EOS-1DS which reliably get fast, clean motion shots with unpredictable subjects. It simply takes the burst capability to "insure" a high probability of getting at least one excellent frame in these situations.

Yes, there will be plenty of people posting shots showing that they were able to do what you want with "Camera X, Y or Z" and as I said earlier, I have good samples from any of my 25 or so digicams, but the operant word is "reliably." There simply is no substitute for the capabilities of a fast lens, superior autofocus, high burst speed SLR for reliable results consistently.

Best regards,

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