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Old Dec 21, 2003, 5:18 PM   #1
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Default Z1 Sport pictures

Can someone show me some indoor sports pictures.
I have a basketball site, and I have a Sony 717, some times I get avarage sport picture some times they are very bad.

Can the z1 make a better job?
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Old Jan 3, 2004, 6:20 PM   #2
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although I can't show you any pictures, I can tell you that sports like basketball are notoriously hard to photograph.. I have had the Z1 for 2 weeks, so have only attended a couple of sporting events..

My best pictures have come about by
1. Manually focusing, for example, just in front of the hoop, and waiting for a player to slam-dunk.. then took the shot at the highest shutter speed, the results have been excellent..
2. Similar to above, but focus lock, i.e. half press and hold the shutter on an object about the right distance away, then wait for the player to be in the right position and take the shot, the Z1 has a 0.09 second lag in this scenario, and has again allowed me to take some great shots..

for moving targets I have used the Z1's continuous focus system, I just set the dial to sports/action, and this contonuously focuses, even as the shutter is depressed..
I get about 50/50 good/bad, it depends on how much lighting there is, sometimes the lighting has been excellent, and the pictures have been stunning, I had about 8X zoom, filling the frame with the players head/arms as he jumped for a 3 pointer.. and the picture was great..

Having only just got the Z1 (2 weeks..) And only photographed a couple of events, its hard to say if its massively better then any other digicam I've used, since usually I've had to manually focus, and wait for the action to come to me!!! so my success rate with this method has been high, although you obviously need the higher shutter speeds, 1/500 -> 1/1000 and you are laughing.. moving targets has always been tricky for me.. and it seems others..

When I get back home later next week, I could post some shots.. I assume you only want the good, not the bad???

I am suspicious of whether the Z1 will be better the the F717, its more about technique.. as I've learned, cameras just cant do it all for you..
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Old Jan 4, 2004, 10:50 AM   #3
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I'd say a big NO. Although it can focus faster, it's noise level would be virtually unusable for indoor sports.

Outdoor sports are one thing -- Indoor sports are quite different. What's bright to a human eye, is not to a cameras lens. A camera like the Z1 uses much smaller photosensors in the CCD, and has dramatically higher noise levels in low light and higher ISO speeds, compared to your Sony DSC-F717

For indoor sports, I would not consider anything without a very fast lens (i.e., F2.0), and a larger sensor.

I'd personally want something like your Sony DSC-F717 as a minimum camera for indoor sports (F2.0/F2.4 lens) -- with the understanding that I may have a high percentage of borderline photos, with limited print sizes.

In order to get fast enough shutter speeds to prevent motion blur, you'll need to shoot at pretty wide apertures, and higher ISO speeds.

Even some Sony DSC-F717 users have a hard time getting good action photos of some indoor sports - either because of too much noise trying to shoot at ISO 800, or motion blur trying to shoot at ISO 400.

As a general rule, you'll want to use a Digital SLR with a Fast (able to gather more light) Lens for best results. Chances are, the lens alone would exceed the desired budget.

The problem is that you need to use higher ISO speeds so that the camera can use a fast enough shutter speed to prevent motion blur. This increases the sensitivity of the signal coming from the camera's sensor, but the downside is increased noise (similiar to film grain using higher speed ASA 400 or ASA 800 Film), only it can be much worse.

Your Sony does have an ISO 800 option that can help (with the understanding that noise will be high).

A Digital SLR has a much larger sensor, and can shoot at higher ISO Speeds with lower noise in low light conditions. You'll also want a lens with better than average Optical Zoom, to get closer to the action. The faster the lens, the more expensive - especially in longer focal lengths (more zoom).

A zoom lens is rated by the light gathering ability of the lens at both full wide angle, and at full zoom. You'll see a rating that looks something like F2.8/F4.0. The first number is the light gathering capability of the lens at full wide angle, and the second number is the light gathering capability of the lens at full zoom. Less light can reach the sensor through the lens when using zoom with most cameras.

Aperture (indicated by F-Stop) is exponential. The lower the number the better.

F2.0 is twice as bright as F2.8; 4 times as bright as F4.0; 8 times as bright as F5.6.

Lower F-Stop number = Larger Aperture = Faster Shutter Speeds Required for Proper Exposure

Higher F-Stop number = Smaller Aperture = Slower Shutter Speeds Required for Proper Exposure

As a general rule, for a stationary subject, you want to use a shutter speed of 1/focal length. For example: at a focal range (zoom amount) equivalent to 200mm, you want a shutter speed of 1/200 second. For 300mm focal length, you want a shutter speed of 1/300 second. Using a tripod can help, as can the use of a Stabilized Zoom lens.

Here is a table that may help you to see how the Lens Rating, and lighting conditions impact shutter speeds you'll need to use:


Indoor Sports in usually have an EV Value of around 6. This table is based on ISO 100.

ISO speed is linear. ISO 200 is twice as sensitive as ISO 100; so you can double the shutter speeds used. ISO 400 is 4 times as sensitive as ISO 100, so you can use shutter speeds 4 times as fast.

The best Consumer Camera for attempting Sports Photos indoors would probably be your Sony DSC-F717. It's lens only "stops down" to F2.4 at full 190mm Zoom. At ISO 400, this would allow shutter speeds to be somewhere around 1/200 second in a gym, or 1/400 second at ISO 800 (with very high noise). This should be fast enough to reduce most blur. The photos will have very high noise, so print sizes may be limited.

You can also try a product like neatimage or Noise Ninja to help.



Unfortunately, in low light conditions, a camera like the Z1 will be DRAMATICALLY worse than your DSC-F717 (with it's smaller, denser sensor, and slower lens).

You Sony uses a 5MP 2/3" Sensor, and has less noise than competing models at higher ISO speeds.

The problem with a camera like the Z1 is low light is pixel pitch (size of the photodiodes). It's tiny 3Mp sensor has a pixel pitch of only 2.7 Ám. This compares to 3.4 Ám in the 5MP 2/3" Sony CCD used in the Sony DSC-F717.

As the pixel pitch gets smaller, noise increases dramatically in lower light at higher ISO speeds. That's why you're seeing so many complaints about noise in the new 8 Megapixel Sony DSC-828 (it also uses a tiny 2.7 Ám pixel pitch -- just like the Z1).

A MUCH better solution would be a camera like the Nikon D100 or Canon EOS-10D, using a fast lens. However, these cameras runs around $1,500.00 (not counting the cost of the lens). These cameras perform much better at higher ISO speeds, because their sensors are much larger than the other models I mentioned -- and can shoot at higher ISO speeds with lower noise. The also focus very fast, helping to reduce shutter lag.

There is a newer, low cost model -- the Canon EOS-300D (a.k.a. Digital Rebel). It's available for $899.99 for the body only (but a fast, longer zoom lens would probably cost you as more than your camera).

Bottom Line: Your Sony DSC-F717 has the lowest noise levels at higher ISO speeds, and the "fastest" (able to gather more light) lens; compared to any other non-DSLR camera at it's focal range. To do better for low light, indoor sports, you'll need to invest in a Digital SLR.
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Old Jan 6, 2004, 7:36 AM   #4
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Buy a Canon Digital Rebel - if it is affordable for you - & at least the 28-135mm IS zoom, & the 75-300mm zoom & a Good Flash. I tried mine once at a indoor College basketball game - I was under the goal almost & shooting at ISO 1600 & got one "keeper" & it was Horrible! I did not use a Flash. About to buy a new one.
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