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Old Dec 5, 2006, 9:49 AM   #1
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My wife currently has a Canon A85 and I have a Canon EOS film SLR. She wants a new camera that will produce acceptable images for;

Family gatherings (mostly indoor)

Indoor shots in gyms; one daughter cheers, the other plays volleyball and basketball.

Panoramic shots while on vacation.

She may also want to do some video clips.

Ithink a DSLR would be the right choice (except for the video), butreality is she will not lug around the eqipment, spend the time to learn to use the camera, and really likes the simplicity of a point and shoot. I understand that the best/only way to shoot in a gym is with an SLRso I am thinking of upgrading (for me) from film to a Pentax K100D with a Tamron 18-200mm lens (to avoid changing lenses).

I have been looking at the Sony H5, Canon S3, Kodak z612, and Fuji S6000/5200 for her. Is this what would suit her needs? If so, which one?

Thanks for any input.




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Old Dec 5, 2006, 10:49 AM   #2
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Shifty-

For your wife's needs it would be very worthwhile to possibly give some serious consideration to the Fuji S-6000/S-6500. This is a camera that is exactly the same but here in the USA, itis called the Fuji S-6000, while overseas it is sold as the Fuji S-6500. You did not list any location at all when you registered with the Forum, so I want to be careful with the model designations.

The Fuji S-6000/S-6500 is able to use high ISO speeds, up to ISO 3200,while not showing much visible noise in the photos, so I believe that this camera will nicely fill her requirements. The only area where I see a potential problem, is in the indoor gymnasium shots for volleyball and cheerleading. Would flash be allowed? If it is not, your wife would be able to take photos, but the shutter speeds would be somewhat low, and not allow for totally stopping fast action. The S-6000/S-6500 has 10.7X optical zoom and a 28mm wide angle. Take a look at the camera, and we can discuss the camera more thoroughly.

MT/Sarah
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Old Dec 5, 2006, 10:55 AM   #3
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Shifty-

The choice of a Pentax K100D is a good one. However, using the Tamron 18-200mm lens on the camera, you will face the very same problem as the Fuji S-6000/S-6500. The lens is not fast enough to get high shutter speeds for those indoor gym shots that will stop the fast action. You will undoubtedly see some fast action motion blur in those fast moving action photos if flash cannot be used.

A fast prime lens like the Pentax 50mm F 1.4 or F 1.7 would give you better shutter speeds, but you would have to be right down on the floor and close to the action. However, you must keep in mind that to stop action, you will need shutter speeds in the 1/250th of a second range, which are difficult to develop inside without flash in a gym environment.

MT/Sarah
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Old Dec 5, 2006, 11:09 AM   #4
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Sarah,

Thank you for your responseto both subjects. I have added to my profile that I live in Florida. I will seriously check out the Fuji and will surely have questions after reading the reviews.

Flash is not allowed in the gyms.

As for the lenses for the Pentax, I was simply trying to avoid switching lenses and buy a good all-around lens. Would I be better off buying the camera with the 18-55mm lens and also gettingthe additional zoom lens?

After reading your posts, I also think I need to invest in a photography course at my local CC.
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Old Dec 5, 2006, 11:32 AM   #5
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Shifty-

As a person who teaches in the Community College system myself, I must answer "yes" to your question. I tuly believe that you could find some great photography courses that will assist you in getting more from your camera, as well as having more fun with photography.

There are excellent reviews of the S-6000fd at both http://www.megapixel.net and http://www.dcresource.com. They each have a lot of info in them.

The kit lens on the Pentax K100D is a good lens, with both wide angle and some macro capabilities, so I would suggest you get it. The biggest problem with shooting indoors in a gym without flash is not just taking the photos, but in developing the shutter speed to stop the action. That was why I also suggested a 50mm prime.

MT/Sarah
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Old Dec 5, 2006, 3:33 PM   #6
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Shifty,

good choice. A digicam would not be able to do the job - it doesn't have a fast enough lens.

As Sarah mentioned, you'll need a fast prime - either a 50mm 1.8 or 85mm 1.8 to do the indoor sports shots. But, there are some downsides:

a 50mm lens is only going to be good for about 15-20 feet for low-light action. Beyond that range, focus will be very unreliable. An 85mm gets you about 30 feet.

so she'll need to shoot from the floor, not the stands.

Also, low light sports is very tricky. Because of the shallow DOF (only inches) focus accuracy is paramount. It takes practice to build up the right techniques for shooting in these situations - it's a lot more difficult than shooting low-light stills or action with a digicam (which has much greater DOF than a DSLR). Also there are exposure and white balance issues that mean you can't use auto modes on the camera. You have to learn a bit about white balance and exposure and how to set ISO, aperture and shutter speed to get fast enough shutter speeds to capture action, etc.

So, just a warning - a DSLR and brigth prime is essential to success but does not guarantee success. Being close to the action and practice will determine success. I only point this out because some people aren't interested in putting in practice, learning exposure, white balance, and practicing focus techniques. They want a better point-n-shoot way to shoot sports. There isn't one. So if your wife wants to stay in auto modes and not learn the ins and outs of photography - low light sports shooting isn't for her and the investment could be awaste of money. If she is interested in all that, then it can be a blast - I certainly enjoy it.
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Old Dec 5, 2006, 4:04 PM   #7
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Well said, John-

The existing light/no flash shots taken of active sports in a gym are among the most challenging of all shots photographically. Not only does it take the necessary equipment, but the needed personal learning curve, and the development of shooting techniques unique to sports shooting under low light levels. it is tough stuff.

MT/Sarah


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Old Dec 6, 2006, 8:30 AM   #8
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Sarah/John,



Thank you for all the advice. I will go with your lens suggestions for the SLR.

I am still undecided what to do for her camera. Taking the gym/action shots out of the equation, would you still recommend the Fuji, or any other ultra zoom for that matter? I read the reviews on the S6000 andlooked at some of the photos. They really are amazing, especially some of yours Sarah with the 6000fd. Are you concerned at all about the lack of IS?
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Old Dec 6, 2006, 11:42 AM   #9
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Shifty-

The Fuji S-6000/S-6500 has size and mass in its favor. Donot extend the camera in or withyour hands or armsbecause it is virtually floating, the shutter depression is almost guaranteed to cause camera movement. Use the viewfinder and/or the 2 second self timer. IS is very nice indeed, and I like it. However, with care and thought you will be able to create an effective work around.

Yes, I believe that the Fuji S-6000/S-6500 and the Sony H-2 and H-5 could be very effective camera for your wife. I would personally prefer the Fuji selections. The S-6000/S-6500 will be able to take some of the in the gym photos, but it will not be able to stop action. So with careful camera handling,your wife should be able to take some of those gym photos as well as her desired videos, and everything else she might desire, if she is willing to work with the camera.

MT/Sarah
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Old Dec 6, 2006, 3:37 PM   #10
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Your SLR is probably a good camera unless you do post processing. They have some decent ASA800 film on the market, and according to the aperture capabilities of your Canon lenses that might give good gym shots if you don't need large blowups.

On the other hand, digital is a great learning tool. Photos are free and you can get instant feedback of different techniques. If you really intend taking a photography course or studying on your own you want a digital camera with full controls. Perhaps MT could comment, but I would think your A85 would be perfect for a digital camera course. Unless it is an advanced course it would probably be oriented more toward a camera like an A85, and you have full controls to learn on. You could probably make better decisions about a DSLR after the course. If you get a S6000 it should do fine until you learn more and would also be excellent for a course. The manual control setup is evidently a little fiddly, but you have all the controls.

For your wife I don't think you could do better than the suggested Fuji S6000. She already has a very good A85 to carry in her purse. For a general purpose family camera I think wide angle capability is at least as important as a long zoom. The 28mm on the S6000 plus a decent zoom is a good combination. And the good noise at high ISO expands the versatility. After a SLR you won't like the viewfinder though. Once you get used to an EVF there are some advantages though.

I personally prefer stabilization to high ISO but I don't use my Panasonic 12X for general photography. It is perfect for wildlife and such, but stabilization isn't much use if your target is moving. I would probably buy a S6000 if they had included a hot shoe and contrast adjustments. The contrast is evidently set pretty high and I much prefer a low contrast. An external flash with a diffuser or used in bounce mode really improves flash photography.

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