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Old Apr 1, 2007, 12:20 PM   #1
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I currently have an H5 and absolutly have been very impressed with it---until recently. I have now tried to get good shots of track events and can't do so yet.

I am very green to photography, never have learned on the old film type the "basic" Shutter speed, apertures and depth of field stuff--which I admit is not a good thing trying to get into this.

I am beginning to think that I may have to go with DSLR to get what I want out of these pictures, the delay time from pressing the button to the picture actually being taken is giving me nice shots of a hurdle all by itself after the runner is long past it

Is this a learning process I have to work thru, or a limitation with the delay of these p&s cameras? I have tried the prefocus-shoot later method---no help yet. I have tried the shoot before they get there---that hasn't worked yet.

I am considering asking a friend that has a fairly nice Canon Rebel that then upgraded and gave the Rebel to his wife if I might be able to borrow that for a month or so to see if I could learn how to use it and get used to it. (I think she is very busy with her job in April and May and might not use it much)

Also considering a community education type night class on this subject.

Thoughts?

Thanks
Dan
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Old Apr 1, 2007, 12:52 PM   #2
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The pre-focused lag of the H5 is supposed to be really fast, according to this report (0.011 seconds):

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/H5/H5A6.HTM

Actually, that is faster than the XTI, measured by the same reviewer (0.105 seconds):

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/XTI/XTIA6.HTM

Maybe you're using too slow a shutter speed? Try putting the camera in shutter priority, and crank it up to 1/1000 sec, and try that. You might also try burst mode, and see if that helps.

the Hun


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Old Apr 1, 2007, 1:15 PM   #3
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I found a white paper that says the continuous focus mode on the H5 continues to focus after you half press the shutter. That is a good deal as some cameras don't do that. You might try continuous focus mode combined with a half press of the shutter to get fast response.

You might also use manual focus and pre-focus where you intend to take the photo. You can combine that with a half press and get pretty fast response.

You will likely be happier with the DSLR after you learn to use it. Try using a burst mode to get just the right moment, and pre-focus in manual focus where you plan to take the shot. The H5 has a very poor burst mode – Sony should be ashamed to even call a shot per second a burst.

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Old Apr 1, 2007, 1:31 PM   #4
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Dan,

I shoot quite a bit of sports, and I'll give you my best opinion.

It's both a learning curve AND a limitation of the equipment. There isn't a single digicam that can compete with a DSLR - not even close.

BUT, and this is a big but, you also need two other things with a DSLR:

1. The right lens for the sport

2. An understanding of how to shoot sports.

I can promise you that buying a DSLR with basic kit lens will end up being disappointing. You don't have to spend thousands of $$$ but you do have to spend a bit. And, more importantly, if you want to get a good return on that investment, you have to learn sports photography and develop good technique. As you've already noticed, it's difficult to take photos of moving subjects.

I'm not that familiar with the H5, but if it has a sports mode I would suggest using that mode. Burst is great for a running athlete but not for hurdles. For hurdles you have to nail the shot on the first shot. For running, burst is great because it's virtually impossible to nail a good looking stride on a single shot. But I do agree with rinniethehun in that when pre-focused you should see decent speed with the h5. And it should be a CONSTANT lag when pre-focused. So you should be able to work out the timing of when to fully press the shutter to get the shot.







Your friend's Rebel has a sports mode you can use, although I'm thinking he'll have to be a really good friend to loan out his DSLR for a month. I consider myself a nice guy and would help out a friend in most ways, but I couldn't see me loaning my DSLR to a novice. If he is willing, then by all means take advantage of the situation and give it a try.


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Old Apr 1, 2007, 1:57 PM   #5
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John---what type of camera were those shots taken with? And yes I understand about the loaning thing, however he upgraded to something about 5 steps above the Rebel----and his wife's job has her so busy for a good period of time coming up to the end of the school year that she can hardly think about anything else for a period of 2-4 weeks IIRC----so just maybe that would work out.

I gotta re-read that white paper and do some more practice.
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Old Apr 1, 2007, 2:10 PM   #6
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Great advice and wonderful photos as well, JohnG-

IfI remember correctly, you are shooting with a Canon 20d. And as you have so aptly stated, there is a technique to be learned when doing sports photography.

MT/Sarah
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Old Apr 1, 2007, 2:17 PM   #7
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Dan,

You mention soccer in the main line of your post. I don't have experience shooting track and field, but I have several years experience with shooting soccer with ultra-zooms.

I can't agree more with John that you will definitely get your best results with a DSLR. If budget is not the defining characteristic, by all means, you are better off going that route. I drool with envy looking at some of the shots others in this forum get. For me, two factors forced me into the Fuji s6000fd--budget and the fact that much of the time, I have a student manager shooting my soccer matches (I'm a HS coach), and I didn't want to turn over that expensive of a camera to a kid, as good as she is.

One other major consideration you should look at is day-time vs. night-time shooting. If you're looking at HS sports, night shooting is going to be a major factor. If you're using a DSLR, you're going to have to get a fast enough lens to operate under stadium lights. I'm not familiar enough with the H5 to know how it performs at night, but the fact that the s60000 would go up to ISO 3200 was the major reason I selected that particular camera, and the reason I'm extremely happy with the quality of what I'm getting. If you're interested in examples, look in the Sports and Action Photos section for threads about soccer that I have started. You'll see that we get some pretty decent shots, but they don't compare with the DSLR.

One thing I'm curious about. The Fuji has a "High Speed Shooting" mode that can be chosen in set up. That way, the 1/2 focusing depression is bypassed. This allows far faster shutter reaction time. You might check if the H5 has something similar.

From all I've read, the H5 is an excellent camera. I really suspect the only way you're going to see substantial improvement is to go the DSLR route.

Good luck, and let us see what you get.
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Old Apr 1, 2007, 2:21 PM   #8
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BTW Dan,

Everyone here has mentioned the importance of technique in sports photography. John has been kind enough to post guides on shooting techniques for various sports in the Sports and Action Photos forum. I have worked through the one on soccer and it has resulted in tremendous improvement in the quality of shots I take, and the ones my student manager takes.

They are very worth the time to read.
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Old Apr 1, 2007, 3:16 PM   #9
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I will mention something that hasn't been mentioned before, and that may or may not be pertinent.

Many professional sports venues restrict cameras that have removeable lenses, or that have long or large lenses. They do this because they want to restrict access to the images of players and events for licensing purposes. If you are considering getting a dSLR for professional basketball, baseball, or football, you may not be able to get in with it.
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Old Apr 1, 2007, 7:36 PM   #10
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acs55812 wrote:
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John---what type of camera were those shots taken with?
Sarah is correct. I shoot with a 20d. I should also mention these shots were taken with a Sigma 120-300 2.8 lens (now selling for around $2500 I think). But that balances against the fact that those shots were the first ever I took of hurdlers - with some practice I could produce better with that lens.

Track is a relatively easy sport to shoot though, so using a 350D or 400D or Nikon D50 / D80 or Pentax or Sony DSLR should still produce excellent results. The biggest difference you would notice with a consumer grade lens for track is: The background would NOT be as blurred. You could get sharp photos but you'd see much more of the background.

The only DSLR on the market I would say to definitely stear clear of is the Nikon D40 - with it's stripped down autofocus system it's a poor choice for a sporting camera.

Otherwise, the Canon 30d, 400d (and finally 350d) and Nikon d80, d50 and d200 are the best consumer sports cameras on the market. As all-around cameras, Pentax and Olympus make some great cameras but I haven't seen enough work from sportshooters to say whether or not the cameras (and available consumer lenses) are good for sports shooting purposes. They may be - or they may be not. But I would caution you against taking advice on buying a camera for sports work based on opinions of folks who don't shoot sports. Sports shooting is very demanding of equipment and a camera that works well for other purposes may not be up to the task of sports work. So, my advice is: when considering any camera for sports work - find someone who uses that camera (or at least that system and understands the differences in camera models) FOR SPORTS. Even if it's the sony H5. Your best advice is going to come from other folks who shoot sports with the H5.

With DSLRs it's easier to give advice regarding sports shooting. Digicams are very different from one another regarding what functions they have that are usable for sports. So while I could give you generic advice for how to use any DSLR to get better sports photos, it's tough for me to do so with the H5.
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