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Old Apr 7, 2003, 10:54 PM   #1
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Default Digicam for sports shots???

Hi. I've been poking around the forum but haven't had much luck in finding clues or answers to a particular question of mine. One of the things I'd like to shoot with my future digicam is sports (namely soccer, football, and muay Thai [kickboxing] & other martial arts). From what I've gathered (things I've read and info I've gotten from talking to some people from a local Wolf Camera) there isn't really a good digital camera for action shots. Is this true and am I just wasting my time on this?

I figured some of the things I was looking for in a digicam would help with action shots: good zoom (4x +), small f-stop, hotshoe, add-on lens capability, and AF-assist. Am I wrong to think this (I'm still a rookie)?

Any help would be appreciated! Thanks.

- Jeff
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Old Apr 8, 2003, 8:05 AM   #2
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The problem is shutter lag, from the time you press the sutter button to when the camera takes the picture. You can reduce that time on better cameras with using manual focus and other manual settings, but it's still not good enough.

You'd probably need a d(igital)SLR to capture high-speed action. Most people with consumer digicams complain about, "missing the action".
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Old Apr 8, 2003, 8:54 AM   #3
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mofo13

Your list of requirements aren't bad. I'd start with those.

Mike_PEAT is right, though. Beyond your list, shutter lag will be a serious problem. You need the shorted time between when you press the button and the picture is captured. In sports, the moments you want come very quickly and (in kickboxing) without warning. Unless you are very careful in picking you camera, you will be very frustrated.

Another thing to consider is how fast you can take two pictures back-to-back. A really good time would be about 1/3 of a second. The best digitals can do about 5-8 a second... but those cost 4-8 thousand dollars.

I believe I've seen a question or two about low shutter lag. I'd do some searching on this forum to see if you can find some back posts about it.
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Old Apr 8, 2003, 9:28 AM   #4
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Check out the Nikon d100, a friend of mine has one, he says he can shoot 5 or 6 pics in a row, the camera is not cheap, I think he paid around 2 grand for it.
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Old Apr 8, 2003, 11:35 AM   #5
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It's not how many pics in a row (most consumer cameras can do that)...it's how many pics a second.

The D100SLR can shoot approx. 3 frames a second which is getting close to 1/3 of a second.
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Old Apr 8, 2003, 1:30 PM   #6
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Thanks for the help! It makes sense to have a camera with little shutter lag. That was also something I was looking at. The bad thing is that it seems like I need a custom made camera! So would dSLR be the way to go? Due to a slight miscalc in my car payments I have a couple more months left before an early pay off so I'm limited to about $1k (US). Going a little bit (couple hundred) would probably still be doable though. This price range would probably limit my dSLR selection though, huh? I think the Oly E20 is near this price though.

Back to back pix, as of now, is not the highest priority for me. Although I am still a rookie when it comes to taking pictures, I tend to pick my shots carefully. Shutter lag is still important though. Other than the Nikon D100 are there any other cameras that you could recommend? I'll search for that Low Shutter Lag post, too.
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Old Apr 8, 2003, 1:32 PM   #7
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The fastest digital camera built is the Olympus 100RS. It has the same stabilized 10X lens as the Oly 2100UZ ("Uzi") and the Canon Pro90IS. It's only 1.5 megapixels, but shoots an astonishing 15 frames per second.

The camera is out of production now, but can sometimes be found on the Web.
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Old Apr 8, 2003, 1:41 PM   #8
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Damn.....quick response, Wildman! I haven't looked at dSLR's too much so I have none that I'm considering yet but here are some mortal digicams that I've been considering:

1. Canon Powershot G3
2. Oly 5050 (only 3x optical though)
3. Nikon 5700 (I've been told it's a bit slow)

I considered looking into the Oly C750 when it comes out but I prefer the body shape of digicams like the Nikon 5700 and Oly 5050. The more rectangular shape of the G3 isn't too awkward though just a little ugly. But hey, if it takes good pix, who cares? I also considered getting a 35mm SLR (Canon EOS Rebel 2000) but that would defeat the purpose of getting a digicam!
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Old Apr 15, 2003, 9:24 PM   #9
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If you have a $1000 to spend you should give some serious consideration to the Sony F717. Unless you want to spend big bucks on a body AND lens, in my humble opinion the 717 is the best 5 meg camera out there right now. There isn't a 'perfect' digicam for sports under a $1000. For example the 5700 I believe goes to 8x optical compared to the Sonys 5x optical but the Sony's glass is better.

Any digicam under a grand you are going to have to work at to get excellent results, the Sony included, but its VERY possible. Here's a sample.

Tom
http://www.tomofarrell.com

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Old Apr 20, 2003, 7:55 PM   #10
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It is possible to get great action shots with a digital camera. If lighting is fine, I have been able to take stop action shots at about 2fps with my camera. While there's ways to greatly reduce shutter lag, most digicams still aren't quite able to duplicate the instantaneous results of your SLR (if you doubt me, try taking a picture of a dog jumping for a treat, and catch the dog at the apex of his jump!). With practice, however, you can learn to compensate for this. If you don't have the E-100RS or S602, you won't be able to precapture multiple frames ensuring you get the shot. Turning OFF continuous autofocus and prefocusing on your subject by half-pressing the shutter release with get you very good results in good lighting. Taking actions shots inside a gym, at night sports, or other low-light situations is an entirely different situation.

Because your camera will switch to a slower shutter speed or higher ISO to properly expose the shot, you can end up with blurred shots and grainy pictures. You'll need a really good flash, preferably with a tele setting to get enough light to stop the action. The FL-40 and ProMaster 5700DX appear to be good choices for the Olympus models. I recently purchased the FL-40 flash, and I am very pleased with the results so far. Indoors, the flash will keep up with the camera in drive mode at 2fps. I can't comment yet on night events, but I will be happy to report on how it does when I have the opportunity.

A good zoom, a fast lens, and the ability to add a fast teleconverter (like the B-300) are essential items for good action shots, in my opinion. There are alternative options for hotshoes-- for example, my camera doesn't have one, but with a bracket and cord I can attach it to a TTL flash unit; it may be an option for the camera you select. An autofocus assist lamp is nice when there isn't sufficient light to focus, but I'm not sure how much this will come into play at sports events. Besides, some of the nicer flashes come with these already built in!

I hope this has been helpful, and I'm sure there's lots of folks out there who can provide you with excellent input on the subject. Be sure to check out the threads in the External Flash forum, because this has been discussed at length there also.
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