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Old Dec 1, 2006, 11:56 AM   #1
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Well my better half has finally said maybe I can get a new camera. I had pretty much settled on getting a Pentax K100d as what I want to mostly shoot is sports (horse shows and kids sports) both indoors and out. So I figured I need the better low light capability and increased autofocus speed and better burst mode of the dslr's. BUT... when I really get honest with myself, no matter how much I say I want to learn photography, the bottom line is that I will probably mostly use it in auto mode or in a scene mode so it will be a very expensive (but flexible) point and shoot. Also, I really would like the pic's to come out of the camera ready to print. I don't have time to pp each picture for 15 min's before printing. Even more importantly, even if I had the time, I honestly can't tell on the screen what is better and what is worse. When I look at review pictures, say with sharpness set to 0, +1, and +2 for comparison, I see no difference. That doesn't bode well for me adjusting my own pictures with photoshop! One other thing about vision, I can't seem to see very well in the evf of the superzooms, my son has fuji s5200 and I can't use either the evf or lcd in sunlight. I do wear glasses and they are too strong to be able to go without and use the diopter control. So the optical viewfinder of the dslr is attractive. Why exactly can't they put an optical viewfinder on superzooms if they can on dslr's?

So I guess the real question is, is there a point and shoot out there that would do the job for me, or should I buy an entry level dslr and use it as a point and shoot until such time as I have time to really learn about photography?

Also, if I do go dslr, I was thinking the Pentax k100d with kit lens, and add the 50-200 mm immediately. Most of my shooting is on the long end (horse shows, soccer) and 200 mm even really isn't enough. If budget is really limited would I be better served by getting the body only and adding the Tamron 28-300?

Thanks in advance for any and all help any my apologies for the super-long post.

Peggy


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Old Dec 1, 2006, 12:54 PM   #2
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Peggy-

There is one inherent problem with DSLR cameras in general, and the Pentax K100D in particular. Photos generally taken directly from the DSLR camera are expected to be post processed. Therefore, I think you would do better by using a ultrazoom such as the H-5 which would give you excellent photos right out of the camera, based on your workflow.

You might also consider downloading a free copy of Picasa2 from Google. It is an amazingly simple program to use and does a good job very quickly. I recommend it to my students who really don't like post processing.

I own and use the Pentax K100D and the Sony H-5 extensively so I am speaking from hands on use. I will be happy to answer any other questions and to provide sample photos if you desire.

MT/Sarah
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Old Dec 4, 2006, 11:13 AM   #3
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MT/Sarah

Thanks for the reply. I really do like the ease of use of the super zooms, but I really don't like the evf. Also I am concerned about their ability to capture action shots, the main reason I want a new camera is because I have missed so many horse show shots especially in indoor arenas. Do you think the latest superzooms are capable of handling that? If not, I will resign myself to doing some post-processing and getting dslr. I will download Picasa, thats a great idea. I have Photoshop elements, but have mostly used "quick fix".

Peggy
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Old Dec 4, 2006, 11:53 AM   #4
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pmanza wrote:
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MT/Sarah

Thanks for the reply. I really do like the ease of use of the super zooms, but I really don't like the evf. Also I am concerned about their ability to capture action shots, the main reason I want a new camera is because I have missed so many horse show shots especially in indoor arenas. Do you think the latest superzooms are capable of handling that?
Peggy
Peggy, I have yet to see any good examples that show ANY digicam on the market, superzoom or not is capable of low-light sports shooting. I've seen several examples of some very decent low-light shots from newer digicams but they were of stationary subjects - COMPLETELY DIFFERENT than shooting low light sports. The problem is you don't just need good high-ISO performance you also need fast shutter speeds which means you often need a lens capable of a wider aperture (wider aperture lets more light in and allows you to use quicker shutter speed) than any digicam can provide.

But, having said that, shooting sports - particularly in low light just isn't going to work with a 'point and shoot' approach. You're not going to get good results using the auto modes on any camera for low light sports. And about 90% of your shots would be GREATLY improved by post processing. Contrary to what the Canon commercials would have you believe - good sports shooting is very difficult work. There are a lot of variables at play that simply aren't at play in most still shooting environments. It is very demanding of equipment but also of the photographer. So, what's my point? My point here is: buying a DSLR is not going to garantee you good sports shots - not by a long shot. I've seen plenty of very poor sports shots from DSLR owners and I've seen some pretty darn good shots from digicam owners - the difference being the knowledge and skill of the photographer. So, I caution that without the desire to learn photography, learn sports photography ins-and-outs and learn some post processing you could spend thousands of $$ and still get poor action shots. So don't be mislead that a DSLR is a magic bullet.

Now for soccer, let me say this: more is better. On a 1.5 or 1.6 crop DSLR body, a 200mm lens is equivelent to 300 or 320mm. That 320mm equivelent is good for about 25 yards of coverage if you want to be able to fill the picture with your subject. That's not very far. If you're planning on shooting from the stands, don't waste money on expensive gear - you could buy the best gear out there and you'll still get poor results. You've got to get down to the field - as close as you're allowed. If that's 10 yards away from the field outside a fence then with a 200mm lens you aren't going to have very much to work with (only another 15 yards of field coverage). Putting a 300mm lens on one of those camera bodies buys you an additional 10-15 yards. You also have to realize that with consumer grade lenses you'll be limited to sunny-day shooting. In other words, not heavily overcast and not at night under the lights (at least by me, most of the HS soccer games are played in evenings under lights). For that bad lighting you need a lens with a 2.8 aperture. SO, the 12x superzooms are around 430mm in equivelent focal length - around where the DSLR is with a 300mm lens - or about 40 yards worth of coverage.

For indoor shooting I would still say you'll need both the DSLR AND a lens with 2.8 OR FASTER aperture depending on the lighting. Most times you need to use a fixed prime lens - not a zoom because zoom lenses typically stop at 2.8 as the widest available aperture. That often isn't enough in low light situations to allow you to get the shutter speeds you need to stop the action.


I don't want to discourage you at all, I just want to make sure you're well informed about what taking action photos entails. There is NO magic box camera that will do it for you - you have to work at it and be willing to learn photography and post processing. And, from all empiracle evidence (i.e. photos) I've seen I have never seen a digicam capable of low light sports photos. But, even if you buy a DSLR you'll need to spend some decent $$$ on lenses AND be willing to get close to the action if you want decent shots. If you're willing to do all that, sports shooting is a lot of fun and very rewarding. If you're not, then you can end up wasting a lot of money and still be very frustrated with the results you get.
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Old Dec 4, 2006, 1:03 PM   #5
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Peggy-

John has described very well all of the factors and the problems encounteredwith sports photography, especially in a low light environment. It is challenging/tough shooting, and that should be made very clear at the outset.

Your desire to bypass post processing is one of the biggest impediments in tackling this problem.DSLR images just require post processing, that is a given. Therefore, if you don't want to do post processing, that will eliminate DSLR camera from seriousconsideration. I don't say that to discourage you at all, but those are the facts.

That leaves ultrazoom cameras as the next possibility. I personally know of a professional who began taking Horse show shots with a Canon S-2, but has since switched to a DSLR camera. However, shooting fast action via an evf is both difficult and tough. Yes, the images directly from the ultrazoomcamera, will be better than those from a DSLR camera, but those images will also benefit from good post processing.

Thus, quite clearly, post processing adds both quality and acceptability to the images from any camera. John also made another good point that I would like to underscore as well: Sports Photography, be it of Horse Shows or of Socer Games, require a measurable learning curve to master technique and your camera. Sports Photographymakes heavy demands on a camera and the photographer. John takes excellent sports photos and he is speaking from a whole lot of experience. And he is not kidding when he says you have to be willing to get right down there in the horse show ring to get the shots that you want.

My speciality is low light level stage and theater photography, another demanding type of photography. So you have to determine how much you want to do in terms of getting up close, how much you want to learn, especially in terms of post processing, and what kind of camera investment you want to make and then to thoroughly lear to get the most out of your equipment.

MT/Sarah
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Old Dec 4, 2006, 4:46 PM   #6
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Thanks John and MT for your replies. I think I may have been too strong about pp. It appears that I will need to pp to get the results that I want. At this point I am leaning towards dslr and applying myself right away to learn the camera and photoshop elements. My hubby is being supportive of this new hobby so that will really help.

I've checked out the different dslr's and decided that I don't like the C*n ergonomics at all, I do like the Oly but want better low light performance, ditto Sony, so that leaves me the Nikon D50 and Pentax K100d. I am comfortable with the ergonomics of both of these cameras. If you had to choose which way would you lean? I was set on Pentax because of SR until I saw Ritz Camera sale this week. They have a D50 with 28-80 f3.3-5 G lens, and 70-300 f4-5.6 G lens kit for $699. The Pentax with kit lens (18-55) and adding on the 50-200 would cost a bit more, but maybe the glass is better? The Nikon wouldn't be much of a deal if I ended up replacing the lenses immediately.

I really appreciate your thoughts

Peggy
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Old Dec 4, 2006, 5:47 PM   #7
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Peggy,

Can't help you much on those lenses. But I will say none of the lenses mentioned is likely to be right for the indoor action shots. You would need a zoom lens with 2.8 aperture throughout AT LEAST and more likely a 'fast' prime with 2.0 aperture.

So, whichever solution you go with, go in with the expectation you'll need a different lens for your indoor horse shots. I would recommend not trying to solve that problem initially. Get the camera and lenses and learn those. Once you have the camera and starter lenses we'll be able to figure out what focal length and aperture is best for your indoor lens (i.e. you can use whichever telephoto you have to take test shots with - it won't be able to get the shutter speeds you need but it will be able to help you determine what the focal length is you need and it will tell us what exposure is required - from there we can figure out what aperture you need - whether a 2.8 zoom will be good enough or whether you need a prime lens).


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Old Dec 4, 2006, 7:26 PM   #8
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John, I am not hammering on you, as I really respect your photos. However, what most beginners coming to DSLR camera do not realize is that DSLR cameras are indeed a continuing investment program because of the added lenses that are needed. I think it is really important the new folks know that right up front.

IMHO I would go with the Pentax K-100D camera due to it being equipped with SR or IS in Pentax terms and I would purchase the kit lens which is quite good and a Sigma 70-200mm F 2.8 lens. That way you will be much more properly equipped to start taking your indoor horse show photos, and learning your camera and some post processing.

That is just a possible suggestion, Peggy. That is just how I would do it. What do you think, John?

MT/Sarah
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Old Dec 6, 2006, 11:41 AM   #9
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Thanks everyone for your comments. I went to Ritz last night equipped with my SD card, and tried both the D50 and K100d. Like the size and feel of the K100d better but D50 is ok. Love the burst on D50, K100d not so hot. Auto white balance on the D50 is way better than Pentax. What setting do you need to change Pentax to for indoor shooting to get rid of yellow cast? I read somewhere that it needs to be set to one of the wb modes, just don't remember which one. Detail seemed better on K100d, maybe that is an example of more in camera processing, and how D50 images definitely need to go through Photoshop?

Need to go back again with my card and take more pic's. The store clerk kept taking the cameras away from me and changing the settings. This time I want to go in with defined things to take images at, ex iso 200, 400, 800, 1600 of same object. Do you guys have any suggestions for what paces I should put them through to help make a decision?

We have a comm college about a mile from my house, think I will look into courses for winter semester. Told my hubby we should take one together.

Thanks again

Peggy
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Old Dec 6, 2006, 11:47 AM   #10
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Are you saying that a non-PPed dSLR image is usually inferior to a good P&S image? I enjoy photography very much, but once I have to do anything more than click to remove red-eye, all the love is gone.

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Peggy-

There is one inherent problem with DSLR cameras in general, and the Pentax K100D in particular. Photos generally taken directly from the DSLR camera are expected to be post processed. Therefore, I think you would do better by using a ultrazoom such as the H-5 which would give you excellent photos right out of the camera, based on your workflow.
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