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Old Dec 15, 2011, 3:25 AM   #1
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Default struggling with the HS20

Hello all,
I have read alot on here and seen so many nice shots with this camera. I bought it after so many good reviews, but I am not sharing the same experience. Most of my pictures are of my kids at sporting events. I have not been able to get a decent shot of the kids playing basketball in the gym. Even without using much zoom, the pictures are not what I was expecting. I have tried alot of settings, but I am no pro, not even close, barely even amateur status. Based on the shots I have take outdoors, I am guessing that our Lake photos and watersports in the summer will be awesome, but is this camera capable of taking a decent motion pic in a gym?

I can still return it to amazon if this is not the camera for me, or do I need something to complement it.

Thanks in advance for any help.
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Old Dec 15, 2011, 5:36 AM   #2
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Shooting indoor sports is just about the most difficult thing to achieve with anything other than pro' equipment- a responsive DSLR with a fast(wide aperture)zoom lens- costing many,MANY times more than your HS20..!
The only way you'll have a chance is to shoot wide open(enabling fastest shutter speeds possible) in aperture priority with a very high iso setting(1600+),evaluative metering,centre area focus and continuous focus tracking. You could also use Manual mode and assess exposure with a couple of test shots- as lighting is usually consistent indoors- prioritising speed again,with the fastest shutter speed available to you.
1/400th sec and upwards is usually required for sharp shots- provided you can get the light in required...
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Old Dec 15, 2011, 6:22 AM   #3
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so, basically, you are saying I can't use the zoom at all, and then it is still not going to be ideal.

I guess besides my original question of settings, Do I have the right camera?

During the summer, we are on the lake, wakeboarding, tubing, surfing. Also various other sports and outdoor activities.
Fall it is football time, under the lights.(not a make or break)
Winter it is in the gym with basketball.
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Old Dec 15, 2011, 8:51 AM   #4
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Well- the more you zoom,the smaller the aperture gets- thus,lets less light in- hence the need to increase iso settings to get the light/shutter speed required for sharp shots...
The widest your aperture can be at full zoom is f/5.6 on the HS20- however- one thing that springs to mind is a digital zoom that I had on Fuji's S100/200 and is on my SX40HS...and I wonder if the HS20 has it...
In effect,the 2x digital converter STARTS from the wide end of the zoom- thus,you can get to a longer EQUIVALENT zoom setting at a wider aperture-
For example,if the HS20 is at F4(wide open) at 300mm- with the 2x digi' converter it will be 600mm(equiv') at f/4.
The digital converter will degrade IQ slightly,but it may get you the image you want...

Further investigation revealed a "instant zoom" feature on the HS10- which is basically the same as above- it was located on the top of the four way controller. However- on the HS20,the RAW button now seems to be there... Perhaps the HS20 has it somewhere else..?

Last edited by SIMON40; Dec 15, 2011 at 9:25 AM.
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Old Dec 15, 2011, 9:36 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by uttitanfan View Post
I guess besides my original question of settings, Do I have the right camera?
Not for indoor sports.

That kind of photography is *very* demanding on the gear and photographer's skill level.

You'll want a dSLR with a bright lens and good AF system, with acceptable noise levels at ISO 3200+.

As a general rule of thumb, you'll want minimum shutter speeds of around 1/400 second for basketball. In typical gym lighting, that means using ISO 3200 and f/2.8; and in some gym lighting you may need higher ISO speeds or brighter aperture settings.

The zoom on your HS20 is not really bright enough for indoor sports if you zoom in any, plus your camera's high ISO speed performance isn't going to be good enough. The lens on your camera has a widest aperture setting of f/2.8 at it's widest zoom position, dropping off to f/5.6 on it's longer end as you zoom in more. So, by the time you zoom in much, you'd be at around f/4 with it (only half the light of f/2.8), meaning you'd need to be shooting at around ISO 6400 in typical gym lighting to get shutter speeds up to around 1/400 second to freeze motion. You could try it and see what you get. But, I suspect the image quality is going to be unacceptable trying to shoot at ISO speeds that high with camera like the HS20; and if you try to use lower ISO speeds, you're going to see more motion blur.

So, you need to be looking at dSLR models with good high ISO performance (giving acceptable results at ISO 3200 or higher), combined with a bright lens with f/2.8 or brighter apertures (smaller f/stop numbers) available at any focal length you use. dSLR models have much larger sensors compared to models like your HS20, so their larger photosites for each pixel allow them to gather more light so you get better high ISO speed performance. You still want to take each one on a case by case basis though (as some sensors have lower noise compared to others when you get into ISO 3200+ ranges). But, you'll also need a bright lens to go with one (the "kit" lenses that come with dSLR models are not suitable for indoor sports, as they're just not bright enough).

In a zoom lens, the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM is a popular budget choice. It's available for Nikon, Sony, and Pentax dSLR models, and sells for approximately $800. But, it's officially discontinued now, since Sigma has a newer model with OS (Optical Stabilization) built in, and the newer model is selling for around $1399. So, existing stock of the lower priced model without OS at some dealers may not last long (and the camera manufacturers' 70-200mm f/2.8 zooms will tend to cost more than the Sigma).

Another way to approach it is to use a prime (fixed focal length versus zoom lens). An 85mm is a popular choice for that purpose (basketball), and on a really tight budget, you can probably get a some shots with a 50mm. But, you'll need to be shooting from the floor versus the stands to get close enough to fill the frame more with your subject (to get accurate focus and more detail). So, you can't really cover the entire court with that type of setup. But, it would be lower cost and allow you to get some shots.

What's the most you could stretch your budget for a camera/lens combo for shooting basketball?

What you may want to do is start a new thread in the What Camera Should I Buy forum and mention what kind of photos you want to take (indoor sports, etc.) and what kind of budget you can put towards a camera/lens combo for that purpose. One way to approach it to save a little on the camera body would be to go refurbished. But, your lens cost can be substantial if you want a zoom that's bright enough (able to maintain f/2.8 throughout the zoom range). So, you may want to consider going used for a lens (from a reputable dealer). With primes (fixed focal length lenses), you'll have more options at a lower cost (but less flexibility for framing).
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Old Dec 15, 2011, 11:02 AM   #6
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While the HS20 is an AWESOME camera it is not a sports camera. I can get really good action shots with it outside etc but in an indoor gym or poorly lit football stadium the images are ok but not WOW. By comparison my Pentax K-5 does 2,000% percent better at sports. For almost everything but sports the HS20 is the best camera I have ever used and called it AWESOME but a D-SLR gives you better burst batches and sports shots.

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