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Old Dec 10, 2006, 5:53 PM   #1
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I have been reading through all of the Canon vs. Nikon vs. Pentax threads, and am a bit confused. I alway thought I would stick with Canon or Nikon for the pure fact that I will be primarily shooting sports and those were the two camera brands that kept coming up in all the threads that I had been reading for sports photography. However with some of the recent posts, Pentax has slowly crept into my list of possibilities. I really never gave much thought to the whole IS thing. Does it really have that much effect on the quality of the pictures. (especially for sports photograpy....soccer / basketball). It would be nice to have it built into the camera because I know the whole lens thing can get out of control fast! My budget is around $1500 US. I thought that would at least get me a good camera body and one "half way" decent lens with or without IS as the case me be. (hoping my first lens would be something like a 18 - 200 mm lens). I know I will do another whole research thing on lens after the actual camera is decided on.Irealize I'm all over the board here, but I guess my main questions are:

Is IS that important, and should I even consider the Pentax10D?

Canon 30D? (it felt better than the XTi)

Nikon D80?

What about the D200? Is that even an option with my budget?

Thank you all for your time.

FB mom




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Old Dec 10, 2006, 6:48 PM   #2
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FB Mom-

You and I go back a long way. Perhaps you remember? We discussed Slave Flashes. Anyway, my vote would go for the Pentax K10D. With that choice, you would have a weather sealed camera that could provide IS for every lens mounted on that camera, which would be a great savings for you and keep you within your budget. You would have enough money left over to purchase another lens. Please give it some serious consideration, and we can chat some more about this. Its good to hear from you again.

MT/Sarah
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Old Dec 10, 2006, 10:07 PM   #3
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Hi Sarah! Of course I remember our chats. You were my saving grace with the slave flash (which I love by the way!) I have not done much research on the Pentax and had decided that Canon or Nikon was really the only option for me. My concern has been how fast the camera could take those action shots I have beenlonging for. I have since however learned that the lens has a lot to do with that. Slowly but surely information is starting to seep in. I would love to hear your opinions on the cameras I had mentioned. I didn't know that the Pentax was weather proof. I like that! I seriously don't see myself needing a ton of lens. I read another post where you had mention three good lens for the Pentax. I put those away in my file to research at a later date. Thank you for your reply Sarah and I look forward to some more of your knowledge.

FB Mom
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Old Dec 10, 2006, 10:38 PM   #4
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FB Mom-

Let's zero in on the problem shall we, please. The Canon 30D and the NikonD-80 are NOT IS stabilized. That means, FB Mom, that they want to sell you their VERY EXPENSIVE IS or VR lenses. The last Canon IS lens that I purchased, cost TWICE the cost of the normal, unstabilized lens. Have I gotten you attention yet?

The big difference is that the IS mechanism for the Pentax K100D and the K10D is mounted AROUND the imager. Therefore, with that kind of set-up, every lens that you place/mount anylenson your Pentax K100D or K10D ,that lenswill have the HUGE advantage of IS. You will NOT have to purchase those very exoensive IS (Canon) or VR (Nikkor lenses) to put on your 30D or D-80.

So firstly, the Pentax DSLR cameras can offer a distinct advantage (an ISmechanism mounted around the imager) that neither the Canon nor Nikon cameras can offer you. This a real/huge difference. And I really think that you should be very aware of that difference, because it a huge difference.

By selecting the really correct lens, you, FB Mom, will be able to take photos one after the other, as fast as you can stroke the shutter release. There is not a need for multiple lenses. However, we should really discuss, in some expandeddetail,what you desire to use this camera/lens for in real life.

MT/Sarah
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Old Dec 11, 2006, 10:54 AM   #5
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If your main purpose is to shoot soccer and basketball then IS is hardly even a relevant consideration IMO.

To freeze sporting action you need a high shutter speed and that generally means you will have sufficient shutter speed to stop motion blur too.

More importantly, you will need fast lenses, either f2.8 zooms or faster primes.

Search these forums for JohnG's advice on sports shooting.

Your main considerations IMO should be AF performance, buffer depth, and the availabilty of the right lenses for your requirements.

In your price range I would recommend the Canon 30D.
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Old Dec 11, 2006, 11:45 AM   #6
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So IS is not important when shooting sports? I will primarily be shooting soccer, basketball and karate (indoor lower light...again I'm sure I will need a separate lens for that) then the usual family stuff...vacations, holidays ect...

I figure any camera will be able to handle the family side of my hobby, it's more I want to purchase a camera that will handle my needs for quick action sports. In theory, I want to be able to push down the shutter button and get those consecutive shots.

Quick question, what is IMO and in regard to the lens, theVR mentioned, is that another form of IS?

A concern my husband had was how well the camera is actually made. (I'm not sure how to explain this, but I'll give it my best shot). We bought a Fuji 602, loved the camera, but then found out that not many people would work on it for us because it has "too many plastic parts" inside. Didn't even know that was a real problem. We do live in a small town, so being able to have the camera worked on if need be is a concern, but definitely not at the top of the list. I don't even know if I can find a Pentax around here to try yet. I may have to drive 2 hrs. south. Which again I don't mind if the camera looks good on paper. Canon and Nikon are of course everywhere. I think I need to look further into what IS is about and what it can do for me.

Thank you so much for your comments.

FB Mom




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Old Dec 11, 2006, 11:51 AM   #7
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I agree with Peripatetic in that IS is 'zeroing in' on the WRONG PROBLEM. It is absolutely a great feature - just of extremely limited use to a sports shooter. There are more important features:

Focus ability, servo focus ability, shutter lag, burst rate, buffer handling, high ISO performance are all characteristics that are controlled by the camera body and will have a much greater impact on your success as a sports shooter than IS will. In addition, max shutter speed can play a part for the outdoor shots.

The Penta K100D is not really a great sports body - only has 3fps and enough buffer for 4 jpegs. And on a bright day shooting at 2.8 apertures you may find the extra stop of shutter speed of the Canon to be beneficial (1/8000 vs. 1/4000 for all the rest). It's minor and won't be an issue until you get a 2.8 lens.

The K10 improves on this, but I haven't seen any sports shooters who use it, so the jury is still out.

But, at least as important and probably more important to success as a sports shooter is having the right lenses.

For indoor sports like basketball that means something like an 85mm 1.8 lens (around $400) or as a stop-gap a 50mm 1.8 lens (< $100)

For outdoor sports like soccer, you want a 300mm lens - preferably f4 and ideally 2.8. Your choices in this category are: Sigma 120-300 2.8 ($2200), Sigma 100-300 4.0 ($1000), Canon 70-200 2.8 plus 1.4x TC ($1100 + $250) or Sigma 70-200 2.8 plus 1.4x TC ($800 plus $200). The next tier down is the Canon or Nikon70-300 at around $550 and finally the Sigma 70-300 at around $200 (decent IQ but slow to focus).

Realize that any lens that doesn't have 2.8 is going to limit you to shooting daytime soccer. If there are evening games under lights, the 70-300 zooms will be useless.

I would toss out the idea of getting an 18-200 lens for sports use - it's a waste of money because it's too limiting a focal length for soccer use - and at 5.6 it won't take a TC well at all and is too slow for low light games outdoors and not of any use for indoor sports.

So, buying a body is only part of the equation - you need the right lenses. All 3 manufacturers should have something available in the lenses you need. But without the right lenses it doesn't matter what camera body you have, you won't have success as a sports shooter.

You'll notice at no point has the topic of IS come up - that's because it's still far down on the list of features that are helpful to a sports shooter. All else being equal it can be helpful. But all else has to be equal - IS cannot replace aperture for a sports shooter - it can't stop action and it can't create shallow depth of field (necessary for subject isolation).

For what it's worth I would see if you can get a Canon 20D - if you can gett one for $1000 that's your best camera body for the price. The added features of the 30D aren't really worth the extra $$$ for a sports shooter. But obviously the 30d is still a better overall camera.

Next on the list would be the Nikon D80, followed by the Nikon D50. The D200 suffers from poor noise performance at higher ISO so while a fantastic camera you're probably better off paying less money for one of the other Nikons.

Now, more than likely this won't be your last body, so you need to realize you're buying into a camera system. Like it or not, Canon and Nikon control 99.9% of the pro sports shooting market. This is a market both manufacturers go after. Canon in particular places a large emphasis on sports shooting. What this means is that future bodies and lenses are often going to take their market into account. Since sports shooting is part of their target market it's likely the needs of the sports shooter will be considered.

It's going to be VERY difficult for Sony or Pentax to make strides in the sports shooting market - their cameras are aimed more at the entry level market. So, you may find in4 years time that they may not pay as much attention to the areas important to the sports shooter. I have absolutely no way of knowing one way or another - but it just seems to make sense - Canon and Nikon have a strangle hold on that market but are vulnerable to other markets I don't see why Pentax or Sony would attack on this front.

Last but not least - the best advice I can provide is to seek images taken with equipment being suggested by folks. Make sure the images are relevant. If you don't see indoor sport pictures or outdoor field sport pictures from a given camera and/or lens - that should tell you something. THere are a lot of sports shooters out there and soccer and basketball are common sports. If you can't find images from a given camera or lens it's fairly safe to assume either the gear is not suited to the task or is too new and as yet unproven. So please seak photo evidence for how good gear performs. one word of warning: sports shooting isn't easy so you may need to look at several photos's work before coming to a decision. A bad photographer, given the best equipment, will still take bad photos.

Good luck in your search!


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Old Dec 11, 2006, 12:02 PM   #8
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some additional answers / info:

VR is the same as IS - it stands for Vibration Reduction.

A note regarding your desire to just hold down the shutter button and get a sequence of shots. In the long run, this won't work very well. In some situations it can be very beneficial - if there is constant and ongoing action on the field you may find several interesting shots in a 7 or 8 shot burst.

But, more often than not, timing is more critical. Once you miss the shot you've missed it. And even the 5 fps of the Canon isn't enough to save you. It's better than the 3fps of the rest, but still not fast enough to catch shots you've mis-timed.

for most instances, it's the first shot that counts because that's the shot with peak action:









In the beginning, the "spray and pray" method as it's called will help you. But eventually you have to get timing down if you want to capture peak action. Where I find the faster bursts still helpful is when capturing someone running - people's stride can look really bad, and it's very difficult to time a stride. So, having a fast burst rate allows me to take 3 shots and select the one with the best looking stride.



Oh, and on build quality - the Canon 20D, 30D and the Nikon D80 have excellent build quality (as opposed to the Canon 350 or 400 which still have too much of a plastic build quality for my tastes).

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Old Dec 11, 2006, 12:10 PM   #9
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FB Mom-

The purpose of IS, or Shake Reduction, as Pentax referrs to it, is to compensate for those small involuntary movements that the camera user makes while taking the photo or photos. IS or SR does nothing at all to stop movement within the actual photo. However, as you know, camera movement, can also blur a photo just as easily as a shutter speed that is too slow.

If you need a very fast burst mode, the Nikon and Canon cameras will most probably provide a higher and more sustaned burst mode. I urge you to go over the specifications of each camera very carefully before making a decision.

VR is a Nikon term that means Vibration Reduction. The upper level, higher priced IS capable lenses are designated as VR lenses. IMO is computer short hand for "in my opinion."

I have no way at all to determine if Canon, Nikon, or Canon utilize plastic or nylon components inside the camera or for camera parts. Unfortunately, I am not a camera repair person.

MT/Sarah
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Old Dec 11, 2006, 6:56 PM   #10
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Thanks for the info JohnG. I am fully aware that I am buying into a "system", so that's why I'm not rushing out to make any purchases. To be honest, unless something seriously goes wrong with whatever camera I buy, I don't plan on buying another camera. It seems to me, weather I go with the Pentax, Canon or Nikon, any good lens in going to run me about $500 +, without IS which seems doesn't really need to be in the equation for Canon or Nikon since it won't help anyway. I don't see myself spending $1000 on a lens, that is just way too out there for me. With that said, Canon 20D or the Nikon D80 look to be my best bet (with still having some budget left for a good lens). If I went with the Nikon/Canon lens you mentioned...the 70-300 for $550, what f. stop would that be and could I use it in indoor pictures (karate/basketball)...until I was able to purchase the correct lens for that? Thanks again for the info JohnG.

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