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Old Dec 28, 2006, 12:53 PM   #11
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JohnG wrote:
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Tina,

If the primary purpose of the camera is to take sports photos and if you want to take photos at night then to get good shots you need a DSLR.

You can get acceptable shots from a digicam during day games - not great shots, but acceptable. At night games you won't get even acceptable shots from any digicam on the market.

Yes the fuji s6000 has decent high iso performance for a digicam - but it has limited reach (for things like soccer), and there is more to sports shooting than just acceptable ISO 1600 images - focus speed, frame rate, shutter lag, servo focus ability, shallow DOF - these are all other components of good sports shooting - and all areas that digicams suffer greatly in comparison to DSLRs.

But,there is a downside - DSLRs are heavier, you need multiple lenses (there is no single all-sport lens), you'll spend a lot more $$$$ on a DSLR if you want decent sports images. And, capturing good sports photos is tough work - having the right tools is a necessary requirement to producing good sports photos but it isn't a gaurantee. There is a lot to learn and it requires a lot of practice to get better. And, post processing is a large part of the process. So, do not be fooled by non-sports shooters or by Canon's advertisements that you can buy a DSLR and kit lens and you'll just snap off great sports shots.

So, what am i saying? I'm saying a DSLR is the only way you're going to get night sports shots at all - and it's the best way to get a large number of quality day shots. But, only if paired with the right lenses for the job and only if you're willing to put the time and practice in to learn sports photography. If you aren't willing to put that time in, then buying a DSLR is a waste of money.

Let me give you some specifics regarding what I'm talking about:

Let's take soccer: the field size will determine how much focal length you need. Little kids, a 70-200mm lens mounted on a DSLR (200mm becomes 300 or 320mm) is good enough. Full size soccer field you need a 300mm (450-480mm equivelent) lens at a minimum.

Now, add in low light, night games - that mean's you need a lens capable of 2.8 aperture throughout the zoom. So, the Nikon 18-200 is out the door (great general purpose lens - just not a good sports lens). You're now in the realm of a 70-200 2.8 (Sigma makes one for $800 for Nikon and Canon - used to for Pentax but I think the pentax mount on the new version of this lens is still unavailable). If you want the Canon or Nikon version that's $1100 - $1600. And remember, 200mm is really too short for full-field soccer (mounted on any of the entry level DSLRs a 200mm lens is good for sports shots out to about 25 yards - maybe 30 - if your goal is to end up cropping down tight on the action).

If you want more reach and STILL want the ability to shoot at night - the next step up is the $2200 Sigma 120-300 2.8 lens - it's the lens I use, ,and besides the cost it's a big heavy lens.

If you're nott using a 2.8 lens at night, then you are forced to use an external flash gun. It's a less expensive option, but it will get you some shots. Not as many shots because you have flash recycle times, the flash doesn't have great range and the shots you do get will be of lower quality (flash looks harsh, produces monster eyes on players at night). But, it is another option.

Now, if you want to go indoors - things become both simpler and more complex. If you're talking indoor sports at the High School or below level this means you'll need completely different lenses - what is called a 'fast prime' a prime lens is a lens that doesn't zoom at all - it maintains one constant focal length. Fast in this case means it has an aperture value of 2.0 or better. Zoom lenses aren't that fast and thus aren't' capable of good indoor sports shots in the lighting prevalant in most below-college level gyms. For basketball, volleyball etc you could start off with a 50mm 1.8 (Canon's is $80, Nikon's is $120).

Starting to get the idea? Shooting sports is complicated - low light sports even more so. The lens you use for soccer is going to be different than the lens you use for indoor sports in 90% of the cases. And, while you can get a 50mm 1.8 lens for $80 to shoot indoor basketball or volleyball, you have to spend at least $800 to get a lens capable of nighttime field sports - and even then, that $800 lens is going to be limiting for a sport like soccer (at least in football you can move along the sidelines with the line of scrimmage - you can't do that in soccer).

So, if your goal was simply to get better day-time soccer shots there would be some easy answers. But your goals incluce night time soccer and indoor sports - so there is NO digicam solution and no one-size-fits-all DSLR solution.

The question now becomes: how badly do you want to shoot sports. There are some good sports shooters here that can help you out, but for your goals you'll be wasting your money or have to restrict your goals (to say indoor sports only or daytime outdoor sports only) if you only go part way. And by part way I mean both in equipment you get and in how much time you put into learning technique and post processing.

After all this you may decide to stick with just daytime shooting - that's OK too, people here can help with that as well. Let us know which way you're leaning.
John,

First, thank you much for all the help.
Yes, the primary purpose of the camera is to takesoccer photos and while most games are during the day, some of them will be at night and I will have to be there, on the field, trying to get some good shots. However, I do not do this for a living (which means that it does not have to be perfect or else...), it is more like a hobby I haveandI publish the pics on the Club'swebsite.

I read on one of these photo's forum that comparing the FZ30 against the fuji s9000 and the Canon S3i, photos at higher ISOs would be much better by the Fuji. On the other hand the Canon is suposed to be umbeatable in color quality, while the FZ30 OIS is a must for shooting sports.

Perhaps I should haveformulated my question diferently and asked about these 3 choices, which one would be best for me, given my $$$ limitations...

Cheers,

Tina

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Old Dec 28, 2006, 12:55 PM   #12
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JohnG wrote:
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rfortson wrote:
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That shot was taken with ISO 1600, 1/400 and aperture of 1.8.
Jonh,

Which camera did you use to shoot this one? Looks pretty "acceptable" for me...

Tina
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Old Dec 28, 2006, 1:01 PM   #13
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TinaSport wrote:
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Jonh,

Which camera did you use to shoot this one? Looks pretty "acceptable" for me...

Tina
Tina - the shot was taken with a Canon 20D DSLR and an 85mm 1.8 lens. You will not get shots like this with a digicam, which is precisely my point. You are only going to get shots like this with a DSLR. Many DSLRs on the market are capable of shots like this as long as they are paired with a comparable lens. You are NOT going to get shots like this with a DSLR and kit lens.
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Old Dec 28, 2006, 1:12 PM   #14
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TinaSport wrote:
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John,


I read on one of these photo's forum that comparing the FZ30 against the fuji s9000 and the Canon S3i, photos at higher ISOs would be much better by the Fuji. On the other hand the Canon is suposed to be umbeatable in color quality, while the FZ30 OIS is a must for shooting sports.

Perhaps I should haveformulated my question diferently and asked about these 3 choices, which one would be best for me, given my $$$ limitations...

Cheers,

Tina
Tina - I will say again, none of the cameras will get you acceptable shots at night under lights of a moving player- you need to adjust your expectations. It's like asking: which of these cars is going tobe bestfor trailering my34 foot boat- the Honda accord, Toyota Camry or Nissan Altima. They are all great cars - just not capable of towing a boat that size. The cameras you are considering are all great cameras just not capable of taking shots of a moving subject under the ligts and getting good results. They just aren't. The fact that it's only a hobby doesn't change the laws of physics. So, it's best to go into things with the right level of expectations.

That asside -none of these cameras has acceptable high ISO performance. The Fuji F30 and Fuji s6000 are the only cameras with halfway decentISO 1600 performance. The f30 is too short for soccer use. The s6000 is still a bit short but it does have the best ISO 1600 performance of any superzoom on the market. But it is not image stabalized.

The Canon has more reach and is stabalized so it's a better choice for day-time soccer.

So the question is: Do you want to maximize your daytime soccer shots or do you want slightly less quality daytime shots with the hopes of getting some passable shots of players standing around at night?
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Old Dec 28, 2006, 1:41 PM   #15
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Hi Tina,

The Fuji S6000fd's zoom is 300mm, which is pretty short compared to the range of the Sony H2/H5 or the Canon S3IS. Remember to measure zoom by the range (in the S6000fd's case its 300mm) and not the magnification factor - 10.7x, 12x, whatever.

On a side note, it seems that the S6000fd has a bit better low-ISO performance than the S9100.

To me, having a wider angle (28mm vs 36mm) was more important than the greater zoom.

Here is a quick photo I just took. The cap is about 70ft away from me. I leaned against the deck rail, extened the zoom all the way, and snapped. Other than resizing the pic, no cropping or editing was done.

Hope this helps,
Chris

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Old Dec 28, 2006, 2:35 PM   #16
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JohnG wrote:
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TinaSport wrote:
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Jonh,

Which camera did you use to shoot this one? Looks pretty "acceptable" for me...

Tina
Tina - the shot was taken with a Canon 20D DSLR and an 85mm 1.8 lens. You will not get shots like this with a digicam, which is precisely my point. You are only going to get shots like this with a DSLR. Many DSLRs on the market are capable of shots like this as long as they are paired with a comparable lens. You are NOT going to get shots like this with a DSLR and kit lens.
I undestand Jonh. Please take a look at some of my recent shots, and see what I can do with my FZ20 and maybe you will help me to improve. Again, thank you much!!!

http://www.8p.com.br/tinasport/flog/a21908/#a21908

Cheers,

Tina




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Old Dec 28, 2006, 3:00 PM   #17
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Tina,

I took a quick look. The biggest area I can see where you can improve is you need to shoot tighter to the action. This means leave your camera at full zoom unless the players won't fit in the frame anymore. You've got a great shot of a header in there. You need to have more shots that tightly framed. It also means recognizing the limitations of your gear. You've got a 430mm equivelent lens on that camera but that is still only good for about 40 meters. When you are done editing, you want the action to fill the frame (on occasional shots, a wide angle works to show how large the crowd is but for 90% of your shots you want to be tight):

Second - try to get faces in the shot. There are rare great action shots with no faces, but not many. It is faces and peak actionthat make great sports shots. And, to get good detail in faces you need to shoot tight. and not try to exceed the range of the lens in use. So, work on getting faces - if you can't see facial detail, there's a good chance the shot isn't that good (another reason the header in your gallery is a good shot). Most of your shots are from too far away or not zoomed in tight enough to show enough detail. If your player's back is to you it's probably not going to be very interesting.

I have only a slightly longer focal length with my main lens, but I work to fill the frame and show faces. That makes a huge difference:













Timing - gain an understanding of the shutter lag your camera has and time your shots better so you get peak action. In many of your shots there isn't anything very interesting going on. It might be more interesting if you could see the faces, but without the faces, most of the action just isn't peak.

Those are the biggest things you can do to improve the quality of your shots - and they apply to any camera you use.


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Old Dec 28, 2006, 3:52 PM   #18
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John, not only are those awesome photos, but the commentary was great, too. Thanks!
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Old Dec 28, 2006, 8:47 PM   #19
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flippedgazelle wrote:
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John, not only are those awesome photos, but the commentary was great, too. Thanks!
Glad you found them both useful! I try to include photos to illustrate points I'm trying to make. And, I try to pass on what I learned. My learning curve was accelerated because individuals with more experience took time tohelp me out. So, just trying to keep that type of thing going! Glad I was able to help you somewhat!
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Old Dec 29, 2006, 5:35 AM   #20
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JohnG wrote:
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Tina,

I took a quick look. The biggest area I can see where you can improve is you need to shoot tighter to the action. This means leave your camera at full zoom unless the players won't fit in the frame anymore. You've got a great shot of a header in there. You need to have more shots that tightly framed. It also means recognizing the limitations of your gear. You've got a 430mm equivelent lens on that camera but that is still only good for about 40 meters. When you are done editing, you want the action to fill the frame (on occasional shots, a wide angle works to show how large the crowd is but for 90% of your shots you want to be tight).....

...Those are the biggest things you can do to improve the quality of your shots - and they apply to any camera you use.

John, thank you so much.
Great shots (someday I will get there...:?), and awsome comments. I have printed them and will keepin my camera bag to read them again and again!

Cheers

Tina
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