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Old May 12, 2010, 7:41 AM   #11
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There is shooting sports and shooting sports....... yep, that helped you didn't it. You can shoot the sport to capture the action and atmosphere, or you can shoot to get a great sports photo.

It sounds like you are looking for the former, capturing fan shots, for fun use. The good thing is that this will give much more affordable prices.

Will you get much better results from a dSLR than a superzoom, depends on how close you are getting. If you are within 40 or 50 yards then you are potentially going to see some differences (talking day games here) by having a dSLR and a xx-300mm lens. However going outside of this then there is little gain apart from lower light shooting due to improved high ISO settings.

If you are shooting with a dSLR at these ranges then the old photojournalists rule might be f8, however for sports shooting you want the shutter open as wide as possible (smallest f number) to let in as much light, increasing shutter speed and also reducing the depth of field so that the background is less distracting.
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Old May 12, 2010, 8:34 AM   #12
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For MLB from the stands, he'll need a long lens. A focal length of 300mm will be marginal, and most shots he'll be able to get will have the players with their backs to him. The best results will be when shooting across the diamond, as in, capturing a play at first base when shooting from the stands on the third base side, or capturing a play at second base from behind the plate. For that, you'll need a lens that goes out to 400mm or even 500mm, and good ones don't come cheap.

Many Minor League Stadiums are smaller, so he may be able to get away with 300mm, but certainly nothing smaller.

He'll also need a camera body with a fast autofocus system. Canon has that market segment sewn up for entry level dSLRs.

Adorama sells factory refurbished Canon dSLRs with a store warranty of 1 year, the same length as the manufacturer's warranty on a new camera. A refurbished Canon XSi (12MP) is available for $455, and Adorama also sells a factory refurbished Canon 70-300 IS USM lens for $480. They also have a used one for $434, and KEH.com has one for $429. That's the least expensive kit that I think stands much chance of getting good results.

He can try adding a 1.4X teleconverter to get more reach, but he'll also lose AF.
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Old May 12, 2010, 9:27 AM   #13
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OK. The truth is it is difficult to get great sports shots from a MLB ballpark. Because you simply don't have the right spots to shoot from. Just a fact of life for us fans. Additionally, each ball park has their own rules regarding what camera gear they will allow. For what it's worth, a 300mm lens on a DSLR would require field box seats to get quality results and that would be for only 1/2 the infield. I think you could spend a lot of money on a DSLR solution and still get just plain mediocre shots. Again because you just don't have good angles for photography. Also realize that at night games, your eyes think there's a lot of light, but there really isn't. You need high ISO AND expensive lenses to get fast enough shutter speeds. Those lenses are either going to be WAY, WAY too short (70-200 2.8) or way, way too expensive and too large to bring in to a ballpark (400mm 2.8).

I think there are a couple options. If quality shots are important than your son has to be committed to buying expensive seats to get close enough. If he can get those field box type seats in the infield he can get decent shots with a DSLR and good long (300mm - 500mm) lens. If he can't afford those types of seats I think spending money on a DSLR solution with a primary purpose being MLB photos is going to be wasted money.
And by the way I speak from experience.

As TCAV mentioned though, minor league parks are a much better opportunity for good shooting positions.
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Old May 15, 2010, 11:43 AM   #14
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just to throw in from the title . these are from my s5is, takin form third base (yes i coach) I am quite happy with the performance of the s5 and i'm sure the newer versions are even better . But personally i'm interested in taking it to the next level. Neither picture is perfect , but i thought it did a good job capturing for the price it was .....(for those of you who know batting , neither child drops there elbow now when swinging lol)
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Old May 15, 2010, 6:13 PM   #15
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Default It depends on the light

If you go to mostly daytime MLB games, you can get decent shots with a camera like the FZ35. I have taken thousands of shots at Seattle Mariners games with a variety of superzooms and three Pentax DSLR's with telephoto zoom lenses. If you focus on the action at home plate or at first base with a runner racing to beat the throw, you can get some very good shots in good light. I have a Casio FH20 with a superfast burst mode at 7 and 8 megapixel resolution that is great for that. I had a Panasonic FZ28, which was also good. It was better at low light but didn't have such an awesome burst mode. However, when shadows cover the field and the sun goes down, it is hard to freeze action with a superzoom or even some DSLR's because you can't get a fast enough shutter speed without raising the ISO settings so high that the pictures taken will be incredibly noisy and lacking detail. In that case you need a DSLR which does well at high ISO's AND a bright/fast lens. My Pentax K-X is good at high ISO's but my 55-300mm lens is not particularly fast so for OK pictures, I have to go up to at least ISO 3200. The resulting pictures are fine for me, but will never make their way into a newspaper.
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