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Lazydacres Sep 25, 2007 7:49 PM

Okay, I am sure you all might be able to help me!

I have a small business that relies on my camera! I take pictures of horses, and need something that will take burst pictures, so that I can get a lot of pictures at once, and choose the best one of them.

Right now I am using a Kodak easy share that takes 5 pics at once. I would like a camera that takes better "low light" pictures though, as sometimes we are out taking pictures near dusk and with winter coming, we have the cloudy days to contend with. Basically I really liked my Kodak but it wasn't "fast" enough, and now it is broken so I am on the hunt for a new camera.

So, any suggestions? I would really like to keep it under $800 if at all possible.

slipe Sep 26, 2007 1:14 PM

I doubt you will be really happy with anything but an entry level DSLR. With a kit lens for general purpose work and an aftermarket telephoto you should be able to stay within your budget. If you want an unlimited burst and good limited light capability I think it is the only thing that is going to work for you.

I think Pentax with stabilization and bright viewfinders are a good choice, but there are good reasons to go with other entry level DSLRs as well.

JohnG Sep 26, 2007 1:34 PM

To add to slipe's comments - even a DSLR by itself might not do the trick. Without external lighting capturing action shots at dusk can be impossible. So, without a light setup you would have to use a flash in those instances. If you can't or don't want to use a flash then you may not be able to get shots PERIOD even with the best DSLR if the horses are moving.

As an example I was shooting a rodeo a month ago. It was outdoors and they had some lights but they were pretty low quality. I was shooting with a 2.8 lens at ISO 6400 or 2.0 lens at ISO 3200 and the results were pretty poor - the lighting was THAT bad. And you're talking about $5,000 worth of camera/lens equipment being used. AND, they had at least some lighting.

Now, if the horses are stationary things get a bit easier. Then it becomes a matter of quality and what level of quality you can settle for. There are some digicams on the market that have somewhat usable ISO 1600 performance. The level is still quite a bit lower than what a DSLR can give you. But the question is whether or not the quality is good enough for you.

Personally I would advise a DSLR - in overcast conditions and dusk outdoors you'll be shooting a lot at ISO 400-1600. In those conditions I haven't seen any acceptable digicam results for PRINT work. Now, you don't say what type of business. If all you need is some small sized internet photos - that's completely different than trying to sell 8x10 prints.

So, how do the photos fit into your business? And, what level of quality are you wanting to achieve?

robbo Sep 26, 2007 2:53 PM

Both of the previous posters have much more experience and expertise in photography than I do. I have owned about ten digital cameras (just one DSLR) in the last 7 years. DSLR's almost always produce noticeably better pictures in low light. The one non-DSLRcamera that you might want to consider is the Fuji S6000fd. I think its ISO 800 images are pretty good. It also has 28mm wide angle shots available. You should be able to get it for less than $350 online. No, it's not as good as the DSLR's, but it would be much better than your previous camera. If you want a budget DSLR, consider the Pentax K100d, which is available online for about $450 with a kit lens.

Lazydacres Nov 20, 2007 8:16 AM

I have an internet sales business, where I take shots of the horses in action and they are mostly put on the website in small pictures. I have tried putting up better quality larger pictures, but folks with dial up always complain that they can't access my website then.

JohnG Nov 20, 2007 8:19 AM

Lazydacres wrote:

I have an internet sales business, where I take shots of the horses in action and they are mostly put on the website in small pictures.

Yes - but are you selling the PICTURES themselves? Or selling something else and the pictures are just for display purposes on the site.

Lazydacres Nov 20, 2007 8:39 AM

No, I am not selling the pictures. I am selling the horses, hopefully via the pictures on the website.

I remember when I first got into the horse business, folks would send me one, maybe two pictures of the horses doing nothing and expect me to base my decision on that alone.

I decided that I would try to find a way to provide 25-55 pictures of each horse doing everything possible and also provide video clips as well. My current camera was knocked off a table by one of the 4 legged critters and the back part of it where the LED screen is, is cracked now. Lately the camera has been getting dust on the inside of the lens and even pictures on sunny day are coming out crappy quality now, because of this. I decided it was time for a new camera and am hoping to find something "better" for what I need.

Most of my shots are motion shots, and the hard part is trying to take pictures on a cloudy day or near evening, or in an indoor riding ring. I am probably asking for the impossible!

For an idea what we are going to be doing with this camera, check out . As you can see, I am clearly not a photographer that should be selling pictures!

JohnG Nov 20, 2007 8:49 AM

OK. That makes a difference then.

But let me ask this - would you really make a purchase of a horse based upon still images of the horse in motion? I don't know much about the buying of horses - but I would THINK you would be able to tell more by video of the horse and stills of the horse at rest . Does a still shot of the horse in motion really tell you something as a potential buyer?

I'm not trying to be argumentative - just trying to understand what it is that you're trying to capture in an image that a potential buyer would look for - and whether a still image of a moving horse can convey the right information. Is it just that the horse is CAPABLE of movement? or is there something you see in the muscle tone? Or can you tell something by the stride?

Lazydacres Nov 20, 2007 8:52 AM

It shows stride, head carriage and the fact that yes indeed, someone WAS riding the horse english or western or over jumps. I myself usually see the horse in person if I am buying it and demand a video if I can't. I do provide videos, but some folks can't see the videos due to their computersand are just going my reputation and lots of pictures.

mtngal Nov 20, 2007 12:42 PM

If I understand your situation - you are taking pictures of horses for sale, and most likely under conditions that you control, rather than at horseshows, so you can get relatively close to the action. You want sharp pictures that show off the horse's conformation as well as action, to get buyers interested in looking at them, pictures that don't need to be huge as they will be posted on the internet. This set of criteria opens up your options more than if you were shooting pictures at horseshows to sell - you wouldn't need anything more than a 6 mp camera. I agree with everyone else that a dSLR is really the way to go, though, because you need faster shutter speeds.

The one time I tried to shoot ahunter/jumper show with a dSLR was very informative. I use Pentax cameras and was shooting with a K10 (though a K100 would probably have been better). It was a very overcast, Southern California day and I had no trouble outdoors with the DA 50-200 lens, a relatively inexpensive, not very fast, zoom (it's often packaged with the K100 and kit lensas a second lens kit), where I stood beside the rink (pretty much wherever I felt like). Then I moved to the indoor ring (and grandstand)and discovered that it was definitely not fast enough at f4.5 (the widest open the lens will go at the zoom I was using), even at ISO 1600. I got a few decent pictures, but too many with motion blur to recommend the lens for indoor horseshows over fences.

I now have a faster zoom lens, but it isn't as long (50-135)- I think it work wellfor your purposes because it would allow faster shutter speeds (less motion blur) and you can get close enough to your subject to be able to compensate for the shorter zoom (assume you could often be in the ring with the horse/rider).

The good news is the Pentax K100 is one of the less expensive dSLR cameras. The bad news is the lens I have is one of their more expensive models - it costs about what your whole budget is. You couldprobably get the K100 with the DA 50-200 lens for around your budget, and it would most likely have better pictures than your Kodak, but I think you'd really need a faster, more expensive lens. And you could probably get a similar set-up with any of the other dSLRs (like Nikon or the Canon xti, etc.).

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