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Old Oct 29, 2009, 7:41 AM   #1
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Hello. After 3 years of reading about digital photography, I am about to take the plunge (late in life I know (65 yrs)). I have grand daughters in cheerleading, and with cameras I've borrowed, or owned, all I get are blures and red eyes. Most competition is indoors in gyms. I was looking at the Samsung HZ25W, but am told mega zooms don't work well. Any suggestions?

Second problem. I have an old Fuji 3 mp, using smart media. When I try to transfer pics to the computer, it tells me I need to format the card. I have pics of my grand daughters from years ago, and do not wish to lose them. Any hints on what I could do?

I'm from Georgia, but originally Walla Walla, Washington, what a difference!
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Old Oct 29, 2009, 8:16 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forums.

You're going to get blurry photos with most non-dSLR camera models. Your best bet would be to start a new thread in ourWhat Camera Should I Buy? Forum for suggestions from members. But, I think you'll find that a dSLR using a bright lens (not the dimmer kit lenses they are usually bundled with) is going to be your best bet for more keepers without too much blur.

The card problem may prove difficult. I'd try reseating the card (remove and reinsert it a few times), as sometimes a bit of oxidation can cause problems with Smartmedia. Have you got a card reader?

I'd suggest that you download and install this software for the operating system you're using (Windows, Mac, Linux). It's free. You'll see a download menu choice on the left side of the main page. Then, just click on the desired operating system to download it.

http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/PhotoRec

Use a card reader if possible, and select your memory card from the list of media it finds (hard drives, memory cards, etc.), and give it a place to save the photos to on your hard disk when you are asked Where to Save Recovered Files (it defaults to saving recovered files in subfolders under Photorec, where the software is installed on your hard drive, but you can change it to something else if desired). Note that this product does not retain the original file names (but, you may not care about that), since it ignores the file allocation table entirely.

Don't worry about changing any of the other options. Just leave everything else at the defaults (Partition type of Intel, file types to recover, etc.) and it will try to recover any files that haven't been overwritten yet (and don't try to do anything like take more photos or you may overwrite some of them).

Here's a page showing you how to use this software:

http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/PhotoRec_Step_By_Step

There are some other free programs around that do a pretty good job in most cases, too. Here's one example, and it also has a nice Graphical User Interface. I usually prefer photorec. But, if you're not comfortable with a text based interface, you may want to try this one first instead.

http://www.pcinspector.de/Sites/smar...htm?Language=1

After you recover your images (and make sure you can see the larger images, not just the thumbnails), I'd make sure you format the card again before using it, using the camera's menu choice for format (not your PC).

I do that every time I reuse a card (format it again using the camera's menu choice for format). That way, the card always starts out with a fresh FAT (File Allocation Table), just the way the camera expects it, since the camera is performing the format.

As for Georgia, it's a super place to live. :-)
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Old Oct 29, 2009, 10:48 AM   #3
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Thank you. You provided mush more that I expected. I must admit, some is over my head, but I'll print it, and ask questions at the camera store.

I was thinking a mega zoom, but when advised they are not all they are cracked up to be, and for only a couple hundred more I could get a DSLR, why not? The two things which scare me is (1) the bulk and (2) being tied to a brand lens.
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Old Oct 29, 2009, 11:40 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by JOEGA View Post
Thank you. You provided mush more that I expected. I must admit, some is over my head, but I'll print it, and ask questions at the camera store.

I was thinking a mega zoom, but when advised they are not all they are cracked up to be, and for only a couple hundred more I could get a DSLR, why not? The two things which scare me is (1) the bulk and (2) being tied to a brand lens.
Welcome, Joe. While you may be a new old man, you're not the ONLY old man. heheheh I'm an old coot, too. With regards to your purchase, I own both an ultra-zoom and dslr. They both have their place and the UZ (like any other camera) is what you make it. The CAMERA does not make the photographer.... it's vice-versa. Todays UZs are every bit at sophisticated as a lot of the dslr's and require you to go beyond the "auto" mode. Even dslrs have "auto". If you're not going to go beyond that, don't expect the best even from the most expensive dslr.
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Old Oct 29, 2009, 12:10 PM   #5
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Welcome, Joe. While you may be a new old man, you're not the ONLY old man. heheheh I'm an old coot, too. With regards to your purchase, I own both an ultra-zoom and dslr. They both have their place and the UZ (like any other camera) is what you make it. The CAMERA does not make the photographer.... it's vice-versa. Todays UZs are every bit at sophisticated as a lot of the dslr's and require you to go beyond the "auto" mode. Even dslrs have "auto". If you're not going to go beyond that, don't expect the best even from the most expensive dslr.
OK, so I'm not the only old man on the block, but probably the most confused, one might mistake it for alheizmers!

I have no idea what a bright lens is, and still at work, so have not had time to go to a photo shop.

My wife and daughter want to leave the camera on auto, only I want to play around with it. Gives me something to do and keep the mind sharp. But, alas, the megazoom is within our budget more that a Cannon 7d and 400 mm lens. (As you can tell, I have no idea how strong a lens I need).
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Old Oct 29, 2009, 12:26 PM   #6
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I have no idea what a bright lens is, and still at work, so have not had time to go to a photo shop.
.
A 'bright' lens is one that lets a lot of light in. Not every lens lets the same amount of light pass through. In photography, we judge the 'brightness' of a lens by a measurement called APERTURE. Think of a lens as having an opening - like an eye. The wider that opening, the more light that gets in. Aperture is a ratio of the size of that opening to how physically long the lens is.

Like any other measurement, there is a scale of values for aperture. The scale is (from widest opening down to narrowest) F1.0, f1.4, f2.0, f2.8, f4.0, f5.6, f8.0, f11, f16, f22, f32.

So, the lower the f-number the wider the opening and the 'brighter' the lens. When people talk about a 'bright' lens they typically are talking about a lens capable of f2.8 or better (better being a lower f-number).

For a while, companies stopped making digicam lenses capable of f2.8. I think a couple of cameras have them now but the focal length (e.g. 50mm, 100mm, 400mm) for those is quite small.

Bright lenses require larger glass elements in the lens. So they are larger and heavier than their counterpart lenses. They also typically have sturdier 'housings' - metal instead of plastic. As an example, Canon makes a 70-300 f5.6 lens. It weighs 22.2 oz. and costs $549
Canon's 300mm f4.0 lens weighs 41.6 oz and costs $1300
Canon's 300mm f2.8 lens weighs 89.6 oz and costs $4300
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Old Oct 31, 2009, 4:12 PM   #7
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Hi, Joe;
You've got a difficult task, taking pictures of cheerleading competitions indoors. The 'bright' lens is what we used to call a 'fast' lens - allows faster shutter speeds in a given amount of light. There are drawbacks, though- the wider aperture means less Depth of Field (we usually abbreviate to DOF), so your focus has to be spot on, and if all the people are not lined up parallel ( actually perpendicular to the camera lens), you will get blur from the limited DOF. Not a problem if you only want to focus on just one subject, though.
My preference for this would be to get a powerful external flash, whether you opt for DSLR or superzoom type cam. Again, there are limitations - you will need to be within the flash range to get good exposure. It will take care of motion blur, though. You may still end up with redeye, unless you use a flash bracket which moves the flash further away from the lens centerline.
Lots of options available - as in any racing. speed costs money - how fast do you want to go?

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Old Oct 31, 2009, 5:13 PM   #8
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Wow! Sounds a bit dissapointing. Both grand daughters will be doing cheerleading. The oldest is in Sting Rays, and has really made progress and it has really helped her self confidence. Improvements in her social life and school work.

I am begining to think no matter how much or little I pay for a camera, I am going to experience problems. Shy, perhaps of buying RED. But RED is around 7K and 4 mp, not sure how I'd justify that purchase with the family. With the feedback I've received I am now leaning to checking out camcorders, and settling for a Sony, the new 7 fps just now out. I can't remember the modle number.
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Old Oct 31, 2009, 6:16 PM   #9
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I used to get dragged along to night football (high school games) in S.C. with my old film gear. 400 or 800 speed film, and Vivitar 285 flash got me 'acceptable' (to me - my friends were thrilled) pictures of friends' daughters on the cheerleading squad. Indoors, you are likely to have more ambient light. I can't really give any recommendations for video, as I don't use it.

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Old Nov 6, 2009, 11:40 AM   #10
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Thanks Brian for the response. As with underwear, I am always changing my mind. My daughter says most competition for cheer you can't video, so a still camera is still in the hopper. If I ccan convince tham of a dslr, I am thinking of the Nikon D5000. Or, D90 is it drops in price. I read Sara's notes and it appears Nikon has the bewtter pro cameras, so if I am going to invest and be investing in glass, I might as well start with the name which will make me tha happesest in the long run. Have you or anybody reading this purchases froim swoops? They are showing how many Nikons (D90s) have been purchased for $36.00. It costs $0.60 cente per bid.
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