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Old Jun 8, 2010, 1:38 PM   #1
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Default Best Camera for Photos of Kids

I recently purchased the Sony DSC-Hx5v but after using it for a couple weeks, I am not sure it is the right camera for me. I mainly take candid photos of my own kids and those in my classroom. Also, of my kids' school performances (on stage across cafeteria) and sporting events. Many of these venues do not have the best lighting. I have played with the settings on the Hx5v and am not satisfied with the lack of consistently good photos. Many are blurred or too dark....etc. I love the Burst feature but it is not worth it to me to have to wait 16 seconds for them to be processed.

I need help please in deciding if there is another camera that best suits my needs. I would like a good zoom, fast shutter speed (so I don't miss something in a sporting event or performance!), good low light performance, good (nonblurry) action shots.

The video is not that important and I don't need it to be pocket-sized, but not huge and heavy either.

I don't have a lot of time to play with setting between shots, so the more automatic the better.

Please give me some advice. Should I return the Hx5v for something else? If so, what?
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Old Jun 8, 2010, 2:24 PM   #2
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Uturn-

Welcome to the Forum. We're pleased you dropped by.

Lot of zoom and a low light capability don't usually go together in a semi or fully automatic camera. Canon has their new SD-4000, that is pretty impressive. But I purchased a Kodak Z-915 on E-Bay at $81.00 with the thought that I would be passing it on to the grand children as soon as they were ready for a camera.

But whoa! I have been continually amazed by this Z-915 camera. It has 10X optical zoom and it seems to easily handle increased ISO settings with good image quality and very reduced noise.

Here is a photo that I took of my husband yesterday evening in our Great Room right at sunset without flash. The camera used F 4.5 at 1/50 th at ISO 400. I will be continuing to test this camera, but thus far it has been wonderful. It is small enough that I carry it everywhere now in my purse. It looks like it would do well for kids. I am very familiar with kids photos as my husband and I raised 8 children.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jun 8, 2010, 2:31 PM   #3
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Thanks! Is the Z-915 what you would most recommend for taking pictures of active kids? What is the time lag between snapping pictures?

Do you have any recommendations for using the HX5v for shooting pictures of kids?? I have looked through many threads and all of the photos that I have seen posted are of landscapes or flowers and such....with one or more of still people (like your husband above). Is the HX5v better for those types of shots rather than for active children?

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Old Jun 8, 2010, 2:56 PM   #4
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Let's be clear - you're not going to get decent sports shots with a digicam. So you need to rein in your expectations a bit. If it's indoor sports especially you can forget getting quality results. That is a a job for a DSLR with proper lens. So it's a question of how important those sports photos are to you.
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Old Jun 8, 2010, 3:11 PM   #5
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well, the sports photos aren't very frequent. Mostly it is typical kids shots (candid).

However, I am not an experienced photographer but would love to learn to be.
How hard is it to learn to use a dslr?
Is there a such thing as a basic dslr?
Which dslr would you recommend to start with (considering my needs above) and what is price range?

If I decide to forgo the sports shots, what digicam would you recommend for active kids shots?

Thanks for your help!!
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Old Jun 8, 2010, 3:13 PM   #6
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Uturn-

Thanks for your reply. There is very little shutter lag with the Z-915. I also shoot with DSLR cameras as well, and I would agree with JohnG that a DSLR camera can do a better job. But that is comparing the performance of an $81.00 camera to a $600 to $1,000.00 camera. Yes, I would surely expect a camera costing 10 times as much to produce a better photo, that is only logical.

We are just senior citizen, retired folks. I will see if we can set up some action shots with the Z-915 and then I will post them for you. Keep in mind you can order the camera from Amazon, try it and then return it, because Amazon has a bullet-proof 30 day return policy that guarantees no charge, and no hassles for returns made within 30 days of purchase.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jun 8, 2010, 3:16 PM   #7
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Thanks Sarah Joyce,
How would you compare the Z915 with the Sony HX5V that I purchased?
in terms of shot-to-shot speed
action shots
overall IQ
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Old Jun 8, 2010, 3:40 PM   #8
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Uturn-

I own both the Sony HX5 (now up for sale on E-Bay, does that tellyou anything??) as well as the Kodak Z-915, and over 100 other cameras. I am a professional digital camera instructor. I teach for our local Community College, and our State University. I also have master degree in aeronautical engineering, as well as my doctorate in Mass Communications. So I am no stranger to cameras.

The Z915 is a much better camera than the HX5 is you don't need HD video. The Z915 has fast shot to shot times as well as very good image quality.

DSLR cameras has come down in price and there is now a group of DSLR cameras that we refer to as "entry level DSLR cameras." A good example of that class of camera is the Pentax Kx, the Canon XS, the Nikon D-3000, and the Sony A-230 cameras. All of those cameras are around the $500 price level.

Camera manufacturers have made a concerted effort to make these entry level DSLR's easy for a P+S shooter to make the transition. Just like I am doing, I would bet your local Community College has some good digital cameras courses that could provide a excellent learning opportunity for you.

Sarah Joyce

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Old Jun 8, 2010, 3:46 PM   #9
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That is a great help, Sarah Joyce!!! Thanks!
So....would those entry-level DSLR cameras be significantly better for what my needs are? Worth the jump in cost?
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Old Jun 8, 2010, 4:09 PM   #10
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Uturn-

Yes, you would see a measurable improvement in image quality and in shot to shot times, because DSLR cameras have imagers that are 15 to 20X larger than P+S cameras.

However, at the outset you are going to need the camera body and kit lens+a good external flash, so that will bump your budget up to around $750 to $850. I just want to be sure that you know that.

Only you can make the budgetary decisions. I am very happy to be an ongoing information source for you, as long as you understand that I am going to tell it like it is. I will not sugar coat the facts.

Sarah Joyce
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