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Old Oct 9, 2006, 10:10 AM   #1
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I want to buy a 12x zoom to take my son's high school football pictures from the grandstand. Image stabilization & image is very important. I will not be printing larger than 4x6 photo.

Any help would be appreciated.
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Old Oct 10, 2006, 12:16 PM   #2
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hmm well
if your situation is broad daylight the FZ7
if mostly or on occasion, its more low light, indoor stadium, evening/night
go for the H5

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Old Oct 11, 2006, 6:03 PM   #3
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I wish someone that actually ownes a FZ7 would comment on the reported noise levels. I've seen several owners comments stating that no flash pictures at concerts turned out fantastic. In Steves review he rather downplayed the noise problem and seemed to like the camera quite well.
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Old Oct 15, 2006, 1:44 AM   #4
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Quote:
I wish someone that actually ownes a FZ7 would comment on the reported noise levels. I've seen several owners comments stating that no flash pictures at concerts turned out fantastic. In Steves review he rather downplayed the noise problem and seemed to like the camera quite well.
That's because noise levels aren't that different between any of these, so they're really not the only important thing for low light photography. The Panasonics have both the best IS, and the brightest lens of the superzooms. So they're really just about as good in low light in most circumstances.

First, note that there's not *that* much difference between the H5, S3, and FZ7 at ISO 400:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/Sony..._H5_ISO400.JPG
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/Cano..._S3_ISO400.JPG
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/pana...FZ7_ISO400.JPG

And then note that these samples are shot in aperture priority mode, no zoom, off a tripod, with IS turned off, so that all the exposures are about the same. So unlike a real world low light situation, the Panasonic is not benefitting from it's slightly better IS or ability to use a slightly lower aperture at the same zoom. Once you take those into account, the small difference there pretty much goes away.

Compare even to the new Fuji S6000. I just saw some shots someone posted with this camera of a graduation ceremony, in a large theatre, in which no flash or tripods were allowed. They were able to get some shots from a balcony. And the shots were OK. It's nice to be able to get something in those conditions at all. But I think these other supersooms might have handled it about as well, just in a different way.

http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...mp;forum_id=16



From the EXIF data for the third shot, it is at ISO 1600, 66.70mm (300mm eqv.), f4.9, 1/70s.

So how are you going to get as good a shot if you can't shoot that cleanly at ISO 1600? Well for one, at 300mm, any one of the H2,H5,FZ7, or S3 would have a maximum aperture of 3.5 or better. So that's a full stop better than the 4.9 max of the Fuji at 300mm. Assuming the IS lets you shoot that shot at 1/35s, rather than 1/70s (only another stop gained), you are now getting the same exposure using ISO 400.

Shooting action, as in football, is another matter. Here, IS is almost useless. Why? Because a fast shutter is what you need to stop action, and the fast shutter at the same time will eliminate the effects of camera shake. Once your shutter is over 1/250s you aren't going to see any benefit from IS. You will want to be able to shoot at higher ISO. If you need to shoot at ISO 1600 to get 1/400s, you'd like to be able to do that. If you are shooting instead at ISO 400 with 1/100s, then the players on the field will be blurry. Maybe you'd get some good shots at that speed of players standing still on the sideline, and the IS will come in handy then at those slower shutter speeds.

SO I think the best choice of the superzooms there would be either the S6000 or the H5. The H5 has the best high ISO of the non-Fuji zooms, and it also has a longer zoom and faster lens than the S6000. Plus it has the IS if you want that. But if this is the main use for the camera, the S6000 is probably narrowly the best choice, though I'm really only guessing at that. But the high ISO performance and the face detection focusing would both be ideal, which is probably enought to offset the slower lens and lack of IS.


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Old Oct 15, 2006, 4:03 AM   #5
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yep what i see says the same as kenbalbari

this from a comparison between Canon S3is and FZ7

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canons3is/page11.asp

Pretty much the same story at ISO 400; Canon's noise reduction is less aggressive, and less 'real' detail is lost, but the results look soft next to the FZ7. That said, the Panasonic sensor obviously suffers from far higher noise, which combined with 'watercolor' style noise reduction produces an image you wouldn't want to print on anything bigger than a postcard. Again it's a matter of taste, but I'd say that - by a whisker - the Canon result is more usable, but once again it's worth noting that the FZ7's ISO 400 is measurably more sensitive than the S3 IS.
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Old Oct 15, 2006, 9:33 AM   #6
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It should of course be noted that far away the the best way to do sports photography is a DSLR.

The original poster could easily just go for a Pentax K110D and a Sigma 18-200mm f3.5-6.3, and for a total price just under $750 have much, much better results. A nikon D50 would run about $100 more with the same lens (or go for the 2 lens kit if you can find it). Or go with an Olympus E-500 2 lens kit for under $700. Or, if you want IS, make it the Pentax K100D + Sigma 18-200 for about $875.

Any of the above will give you a focal length equivalent of 300mm on the long end. Even then you are sacrificing some, you might have to shoot at around f8 with most of these lenses for real sharp results; serious sports shooters will go for bigger, brighter zooms, and even faster cameras. But results nonetheless would be a different league from point and shoot digicams.

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