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Old Aug 23, 2007, 1:47 PM   #11
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Juanita19 wrote:
Something that's not going to be too heavy either, as I in what's called the "pit crew" for marchind band competitions; meaning I am pushing/lugging/carrying band equipment and don't want to leave camera unattended or break it.
Among dSLRs, Olympus makes the smallest and lightest models, and in that regard, may compare favorably with the S5, FZ50 or S6000.

Until you put a long lens on it.
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Old Aug 23, 2007, 2:13 PM   #12
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How and where do the canon A-series cameras fall here? Any opinions on this line (pos/neg)? Can one grow from them?
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Old Aug 23, 2007, 3:08 PM   #13
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TheCanon A-series have always been known for their value and ease of use, be it in the full automatic or the manual mode. The standouts in the A-series cameras are the A-570IS (IS, 7.1mp, 4X optical zoom, and manual controls, under $(US) 200.00) and the soon to br released, A-650IS (IS, 12mp, 6X optical zoom and manual controls with a projected price of $399.00).

Based on your latest post about your duties as a "pit crew member" for the marching band, I would guess that the camera size is going to be right in there with the camera's ease of use. Therefore, cameras such as the FZ-30 and FZ-50, while they are very capable cameras, have to be eliminated from this list due to their very substantial camera size. It also make sense to only seriously consider cameras that have received excellent reviews, and that have the features that you, personally, are really looking for in a camera.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Aug 23, 2007, 4:05 PM   #14
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This is a tough balancing act. Your size requirements are indicating digicam is the way to go.

However, your subject matter (bands and baseball) indicate you need at least a superzoom or DSLR. A 4x zoom digicam won't give you the reach you need for these two purposes.

Whether you go superzoom or DSLR depends on a couple questions:
  • Are any of the band competitions or baseball games in the evenings or at night under lights?[/*]
  • What level of quality are you after?
Those are really fundamental questions that will drive what equipment is needed. Remember, it is ENTIRELY possible what is NEEDED is not the same as what you end up deciding to live with.

Or let me put it to you this way - answer the first question (daylight only or daylight / evening). Then, when someone recommends a camera to you - have them post photos of band/baseball (or something very similar) in those conditions. That way you can judge for yourself if the camera is capable of meeting your level of quantity. If they can't post the pictures of a similar activity in similar conditions (i.e. light levels AND DISTANCES) how can they tell you the camera will meet your needs?

Lots of people here will tell you camera A is capable of doing what you've asked and those people have never used camera A TO DO WHAT YOU'VE ASKED. Listening to that type of advice, just remember - Caveat Emptor (buyer beware).
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Old Aug 23, 2007, 6:06 PM   #15
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Well put JohnG. You forgot one "fundamental" though. The budget

DSLR are best for low-light but they cost a lot more than a compact, even the "budget" ones like the Pentax K100D or Nikon D40. Especially if you need the long zoom.

The "bridges" like the S5, FZ50, FZ8, etc. will allow a beginner to have a lot of fun before feeling the need for something more substantial. Even with indoor sports they can fit the bill with a powerful flash (i've seen pictures that prove it, and you don't need to shell a lot of money to get a slave flash). Of course in low-light they can die miserably.

Also don't think you will buy something and keep it for 10 years. Technology advance so rapidly that any model is going to be replaced after one year or so. So in my opinion it's better to begin with something that will keep you occupied until you are ready for more. And when that time will come you will have a choice of a more capable camera than now.

My 2 cents.
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Old Aug 23, 2007, 7:09 PM   #16
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Delius - I agree totally. But it's entirely possible some goals may not be achievable given other constraints. For instance, a person could decide that baseball isn't important and they are OK with taking shots just in the daylight of band - in which case there is a host of digicams that will suit the job. On the other hand, someone who wants a pocket size camera that can take close up shots of a band member 35 yards away at night probably isn't going to be able to do that with a digicam.

Also, there are other factors at play if under the lights. White balance for instance. How does a given camera do in that specific lighting situation? If someone hasn't used it how can they know? Some cameras may have great auto white balance that works in those lights - for others, a different WB setting works and others only RAW works - or maybe the camera doesn't have raw. Again, without actual experience how would someone know?

For baseball, how is the shutter lag? How good/bad is the servo focus? Does the camera even have servo focus? How is the buffer handling? Does the camera fire even if focus isn't achieved in servo (shutter priority) or will it hunt until it gets a focus lock (focus priority) or somewhere in between?

All I'm suggesting is that it's disengenious for people to say camera A will work when they have no idea because they've never used that camera in a situation similar to the OPs. I'm not saying a given digicam or superzoom CANt. But so far, I've only seen one person post band photos. He has real world relevant experience so his opinion should carry a great deal of weight. Also, we still don't know what level of quality the OP was looking for. And also what conditions they want to shoot in.

This is all important stuff. That way the OP knows the pros and cons SPECIFICALLY not what someone guesses they might be. As an example I had a friend who recently bought a DSLR - canon 400D. It's entirely possible someone has first-hand experience and photos to show the OP and they'll find the perfect match. But it's also possible that given size & cost constraints there may be some goals the OP can't achieve. At least they'll know that BEFORE they buy. Rather than make a purchase expecting to meet all goals because someone here said - yes Camera A can do that.
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