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Old Apr 30, 2007, 8:40 AM   #1
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I currently have a Sony H2 and like it very much. However my daughters are playing softball and I am looking for something to catch those high speed shots. Any suggestions on some good cameras that can give me that. Or maybe where to find a little bit more infromation on the current camera that I have. Thanks.

Chad
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Old Apr 30, 2007, 9:15 AM   #2
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Chad,

What's your budget?

The H2 has some pros and some cons when it comes to shooting action:

Pros: long zoom (432mm equiv), decent focus speed, decent shutter lag

Cons: 1/1000 limit on shutter speed in manual or shutter priority.- you need faster speeds to freeze the ball (1/2000 is available in auto or program- so this would force you to use program mode to get better shutter speeds), poor 1.3 fps and slow buffer, no predictive focusing (i.e. focus system doesn't track a moving subject)

What you can do with your current camera:
  • Put it in coninuous shooting mode[/*]
  • Put it in Program mode - you may need to use exposure compensation to get good exposures on the face[/*]
  • pre-focus. Softball allows for a lot of this - you can pre-focus on the batter and keep the focus lock by keeping button half-pressed and simply work on your timing to fire the shutter when the ball arrives. Same is true for plays at a base.[/*]
  • Get right up on the fence - preferably shooting over the fence if it's low enough - even if it means bringing a bucket or step ladder to stand on.[/*]
  • Frame tightly - zoom in as much as you can - resist the urge to frame loosely - you'll get much worse results. Framing tightly will allow your focus to be better and you'll get sharper results.[/*]
  • Position - shoot from 1st base line for right handed batters, left handed pitchers, plays by short stop & 3rd basemanand runners going to first and home. Shoot from 3rd baseline for left handed batters, right handed pitchers, runners going to 2nd and 3rd and shots of 2nd baseman & 1st baseman.
[/*]
I shoot a lot of sports but I do so with a DSLR (Canon 20D). I'm not that familiar with the latest round of digicams and how much improvement there is in other cameras over the h5. Hopefully someone else can help out. What I can tell you is this:

Make sure any advice you get is from someone who is actually using the given camera for sports shooting. I can't stress this enough. Sports shooting is VERY demanding of equipment. Trust me - you don't want to buy another camera based on advice of someone who doesn't shoot sports with it. They'll have absolutely no idea what the limitations are. And, more importantly they won't have any images to show you. IMO, you should never buy a camera without seeing pictures from it FOR THE SAME TYPE OF PHOTOS you plan on taking. That way you can judge with your own eyes whether or not the camera can give you the level of results you want. So, keep this in mind when considering other digicams besides the one you already own.

And while there is no question a DSLR will give you much better results than any digicam - that's also a fairly pricey endeavor ($800-$1000 since you'll need a longer lens than most kits will include) and not everyone wants to spend that kind of money or deal with the size/weight/lenses of a DSLR. If you do, great. If not, maybe there's another sports shooter out there with a digicam that can give you another recommendation (you'll want one with at least 380mm equiv lens). Until then, hopefully the above advice can help you out.
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Old Apr 30, 2007, 2:15 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply, and the tips. I will try your suggestions out tommorrow at my daughters game. Thanks.

Price is not an option(budget). I would just like to have a camera that can produce what I'm looking for.

Chad
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Old Apr 30, 2007, 2:45 PM   #4
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If price is no object, then a DSLR will produce the best results. If price is truly not an object then the newly announced Canon 1d mk III ($4500) paired with Canon 300mm 2.8 ($4000) will give you the best results

Assuming price is somewhat of an option, the best consumer level DSLRs for sports photography are the Canon 30D, Canon 400D, Nikon D80.

But, again, it's a lot of money and commitment to go the DSLR route. So, give it a go with your current camera and come back with what you don't like or can't do with your current gear first.

Good luck!
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Old Apr 30, 2007, 3:27 PM   #5
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Thanks John.

I greatly appercitate you input.


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