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TCav Oct 23, 2005 10:33 PM

I have a Nikon CoolPix 880 that I have been very satisfied with, except for a few things that I believe a new dSLR will correct.

One of the most significant problems I've had with the CP880 is shutter lag, but not your typical, everyday shutter lag.

You see, the photographs I care the most about are of my wife on horseback while she competes. These photographs are the result of constant panning (as she rides around) and zooming (to frame her and her horse as they move closer and then further away) of a high contrast subject across a variety of quickly changing backgrounds. This constant panning and zooming causes the autoexposure and autofocus systems to work themselves into a tizzy, often to the point where shutter lag is as much as 10-15 seconds, sometimes to the point that the camera doesn't actually take the picture, and a few times the camera has actually shut itself off.

I'm considering a dSLR that, either via a special lens (i.e. Nikon 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S VR Zoom, Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM), or built into the camera body (i.e. Konica-Minolta Maxxum 7D), will allow the AE/AF systems to work faster. I know that the various technologies involved are only billed as allowing you to take photos at slower shutter speeds while panning, but I'm hoping that these might also help with the problem I'm having.

Does anyone out there have any experience with what I'm talking about, or have any thoughts on the subject?

BTW, I've posted this message in the Canon Lenses, Nikon Lenses, Konica Minolta Digital SLR, and the New Technology forums and will be monitoring them all.

cameranserai Oct 24, 2005 7:52 AM

Well, let's start by saying that the problem you are having is very well known amongst all the point and shoot cameras. To get a picture you first have to pre frame and half depress the shutter and then press to avoid shutter lag, but with a moving subject it isn't at all easy to get a photo that is then in focus. Any DSLR will give you instantaneous shutter response which will obviate the problem, so your question pose actually doesn't concern the VR or USM lenses per se at all.

First I assume you are taking photos outside in good light, because that is an important consideration here. Most lenses can cope with sport in bright light, but only expensive ones can cope in poor light. The benefit of image stabilisation is that you can get away withfaster shutter speeds for any given aperture thus helping the depth of field issue. The lens you give as an example, the 24/120, isn't exactly an outdoor sports lens but will coipe if you are close enough, but far more I would recommend something like the Sigma 70/300 which will give you good results, or if the budget runs to it go for the Nikon 70/300. Some say the Sigma is better and cheaper, but personally I don't have any knowledge thereof.

I have several VR lenses and yes they are very effective, but I reflect that over 25 years I have plenty of good sports photos with older lenses which were either manual or quite slow autofocus. It is all a matter of knowing your equipment and technique.

In conclusion any DSLR will cure your problem, but whether you want to go as far as VR or USM I'm not sure, especially since you are shooting in good light (I hope) and horses aren't as fast as racing cars! Best of luck.

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