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Old Jan 25, 2007, 9:04 AM   #1
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Hi everyone. I have my Fuji S5600 at the moment, and it was fine for a while, but I've moved on and feel ready for a better camera. I don't want to venture into DSLRs just yet.

So basically, I will be taking photos of pro tennis, full telephoto and fast movements, sometimes with the need for ISO 400. The S5600's image quality is not up to the standard I am after, so if the new camera can't handle noise either, I might as well forget it. But having said that, the S5600 does not have image stabilisation, and I'm not too educated in this, but won't that prevent the ISOs from getting over 200 in most situations?

I am not concerned on budget really, because it will give me something to work towards this year. It should have 12x optical zoom and it needs to have a wide lense, and the autofocus is VERY important for my photos, I need the player to be central with the background out of focus.

I guess what I am asking is, what is the best camera aside from any DSLRs?
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Old Jan 25, 2007, 10:56 AM   #2
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Optical image stabilization helps with camera shake. So it's good in low light situations which require slower shutter speeds. But it doesn't help much in action situations, like shooting pro tennis. You normally need a fast enough shutter there that you are already able to hand hold the camera without getting blur from camera shake.

As for high ISO noise, the newer Fuji S6000 is a bit better than your older model. But it's really more of an incremental upgrade overall. If you want noticeably better image quality, you probably will need to consider a DSLR. Also, a dSLR would help get that background blur you want (the shorter focal lengths in the smaller sensor cameras give them much more depth of field).

There are entry level DSLR models now for under $500. The K110D can be had right now for about $400 after rebate with a kit lens. But, for what you are shooting, you would need another lens for more zoom as well; it would be $600-700 minimum to even come close to the 370mm equivalent zoom range of your S5100.

You might look at used DSLR and lenses if you want to keep the price down.

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Old Jan 25, 2007, 12:42 PM   #3
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I have the Fuji S6000fd, and while it is a fine camera and probably the best non-DSLR for what you would like to do, I agree with Ken thata DSLR is the only way to meet the requirements you have set.
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Old Jan 25, 2007, 1:50 PM   #4
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Olympus today (01/25) announced the SP-550 which features image stabilization, and a zoom lens spanning 28mm to 534mm, or 18X optical zoom. Perhaps that camera might better address your neeeds.

MT/Sarah
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Old Jan 25, 2007, 3:41 PM   #5
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Well, sounds like 3 requirements:

long zoom

Good servo tracking focus

shallow depth of field



Plenty of ultra zooms with enough reach. But the problem is the other 2 requirements. I don't know of any ultra zoom with a large enough sensor to provide you with a shallow depth of field at telephoto ranges. Doesn't exist to my knowledge

As for servo tracking (the ability of the camera to track a moving subject) - this isn't something the camera gurus really test. This ability goes hand in hand with the depth of field issue though. When you have a deep depth of field like most digicams, you don't need as accurate of servo tracking as you do when you have a shallow depth of field. Since reviews don't really tackle this issue, your best bet is to find someone that shoots sports with a given camera being recommended. Then look at gallery level results (look everyone can have 1 great shot - even I have a couple good wildlife shots-you want to see how a camera performs on the whole not just for one image). Tennis is pretty restrictive so you may not find many photogs that shoot it - but maybe you can find one that shoots another sport.

The other attributes to consider are shutter lag- how long does the camera take to focus and take the shot when you press the shutter button (pre-focusing for a sport like tennis probably isn't a viable solution except on a serve) and frame rate. These are also areas where a digicam doesn't get a lot of money spent. I think shutter lags have gotten better but still not in the same league as the DSLRs. And with the speed of a pro game, you'll want fast responsiveness to get good shots.

So, if you are willing to give up some of your requirements (background blur, possible fast/good servo tracking) there are probably some superzooms out there. It all comes down to what your expectation is of the final photos. If all you want is some fan shots it's probably not worth the expense of a DSLR solution (which requires the body plus appropriate lenses so maybe $2000). So, what's youre level of expectation regarding the quality of the shots?
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Old Jan 26, 2007, 7:01 AM   #6
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Thankyou for all of your input.

Perhaps the quality I want is too demanding for a non-SLR. I am getting decent shots out of my S5600, but I expect better and I know that the new S6000 probably isn't a significant enough improvement for the added expense.

What do people know about the Panasonic FZ30 (I think that's the one) and the Fuji S9000 series?

Also, for the limited number of tournaments I can attend each year, I don't think buying a DSLR is worth it, they really aren't very versatile or practical in most situations.


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Old Jan 26, 2007, 7:18 AM   #7
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TennisForums-

With the prices of consumer DSLR cameras quickly approaching the prices of the upper level point and shot cameras, if it were me, I would consider a DSLR. You will get better image quality, better camera versatility, and more "savers."

I think that JohnG makes a strong argument.

MT/Sarah
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Old Jan 26, 2007, 8:27 AM   #8
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As a former S9500 (S9000) owner I have to say that I don't think this would be the camera for you, the Lens is rather slow and difficult to hand hold at the longer focal length's although PQ wise it's very good, but I only found this whilst using manual settings.

Forget about ISO 1600 on it to!, ISO 800 is only just ok.

I think a DSLR is the way to go, low noise at high ISO etc.

I sold my fuji for £190 and put it towards a D80 and I regret nothing.






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Old Jan 26, 2007, 11:49 AM   #9
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The FZ30 has the advantage of being slightly faster than the Fuji S9000 (not that much faster though) and has the excellent Leica lens. However, there is very little noise reduction in the software, so forget using anything over 200 ISO without using some sort of extra software (Neat Image, Noise Ninja etc.). You'll lose some of that extra detail when you do, though. I had it for a month a year ago and sold it (at a loss) because I just didn't like the quality of the pictures. I bought a Pentax dSLR and have been MUCH happier.

A dSLR can be as practicalas you want to make it - all photography is a compromise and where do you want to make those compromises? If you aren't willing to compromise on quality (Ifound out that I wasn't), then you have to compromise somewhere else. I decided that carrying extra weight and equipment was a very small price to pay for getting the quality I wasn't willing to give up.

If you are really dead-set against a dSLR, there's a new Sony camera out that sounded interesting (H-5). I don't know if it would bemuch better than what you have, though - the small sensor sizes of these cameras don't allow for small depth of fields.
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Old Jan 26, 2007, 1:18 PM   #10
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Quote:
What do people know about the Panasonic FZ30 (I think that's the one) and the Fuji S9000 series?

Also, for the limited number of tournaments I can attend each year, I don't think buying a DSLR is worth it, they really aren't very versatile or practical in most situations.
The Fuji S9000 does not really offer improved IQ over the S6000.. in fact, I've read a review or two where the feeling seems to be that the S6000's IQ is actually better.

Quote:
I am getting decent shots out of my S5600, but I expect better
How much better do you expect the S5600 to get?

As far as "worth it", you can get a Pentax K100D DSLR w/kit lens for $500 after rebate. That's not much more than the Fuji 9100. Granted, you will have to buy a zoom lens, but you won't always need to take it with you. And I think the K100D is only a little larger than the Fuji 9x00.
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