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Old Jul 6, 2007, 12:09 AM   #1
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I am looking for an ultra zoom once again for the tennis tournaments I attend anually. Mainly I'd like a camera with sharp and quick autofocus, vibrant and realistic color representation, image stabilisation and of course, a long reach.

My main choices seem to be between the Canon S5 IS, Sony DSC-H9 and Olympus SP-550UZ (with 18x zoom). Straight out I'll say that I don't like the look of the photos the Olympus produces, too dull, grainy and not sharp enough. My Fuji S5600 seems to take a similar shot to the Olympus, and that's the main reason I'm going for a new camera.

Also, without the image stabilisation, my camera cranks up the ISO to 400+ when the sun begins to set. My images look terrible form then onwards.

A DSLR is out of the question by the time I also pay for a 100-400mm lense on top of the body.

What does everyone suggest?

Thank you.
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Old Jul 6, 2007, 4:24 AM   #2
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I'm sorry to say I can't help to answer this but I can suggest a couple of other areas to look at which will be important.

How wide the aperture is at full zoom as this along with low noise at higher ISOs is what will help to freeze the action (IS will only help to reduce camera shake but will not allow a higher shutter speed which is important for capturing sports).

How quickly the camera will take a shot from the time you press the shutter. This is essential as you will not have 5fps continuous shot or faster (5fps is not really fast enough to rely on that without good timing in tennis).

I take it you are only looking to produce shots for yourself and no other reason?

Hope that helps to find a camera that will meet your needs.
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Old Jul 6, 2007, 4:41 AM   #3
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Old Jul 6, 2007, 4:50 AM   #4
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Old Jul 6, 2007, 4:51 AM   #5
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The shots are to be published on the internet, but I have seen some really high quality photos just produced from a Kodak Z612, and I've heard that the models I mentioned have much faster shutter speeds.

For example, this image is from an Olympus C700UZ, and I'd say that it's very acceptable. Given that that particular model is not really brand new, or even top of the range at the time it was made, I was assuming that the S5 IS and DSC-H9 would be able to take an image that's quality exceeds this photo.



Here is an example of what I am getting out of my S5600, which I find good enough for most uses. My main concern is getting this quality shot in less than ideal lighting.

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Old Jul 6, 2007, 8:28 AM   #6
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Both those shots will be pretty easy to get even with slow AF as the players aren't moving however as you've said the cameras you're considering focus faster so you should be able to handle some movement.

I'm still not sure how good the results you are going get with the higher ISOs so hopefully someone else with experience will read this and reply to help out.
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Old Jul 6, 2007, 9:00 AM   #7
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tennisforums wrote:
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Also, without the image stabilisation, my camera cranks up the ISO to 400+ when the sun begins to set. My images look terrible form then onwards.
You'll still need higher ISO speeds using a camera with stablization (as stabilization won't help with blur from subject movement), unless you plan on taking photos only when your subjects are virtually motionless.

Quote:
My main concern is getting this quality shot in less than ideal lighting.
For non-stationary subjects, you need a camera with [usable] higher available ISO speeds and a bright lens (larger available apertures, represented by smaller f/stop numbers). With non-DSLR cameras, some of the Fuji models are the current market leaders in the noise area (lower noise and/or less smoothing of detail from noise reduction as ISO speeds are increased).

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The shots are to be published on the internet, but I have seen some really high quality photos just produced from a Kodak Z612, and I've heard that the models I mentioned have much faster shutter speeds
You heard wrong.

A camera must keep the shutter open long enough for the lighting, aperture and ISO speed to properly expose an image.

You can see an online exposure calculator here that may help you to understand it a bit better.

http://www.robert-barrett.com/photo/...alculator.html

Just keep in mind that most models have a largest available aperture (represented by a smaller f/stop number) of around f/2.8 on their wide end (least amount of optical zoom), and will lose a *lot* of light as you zoom in more (most have a largest available aperture of somewhere between f/4 and f/5.6 if you zoom in much). Film Speed in the calculator is the same thing as ISO speed, and the same exposure principles apply to both film and digital.

The lens on your Fuji is almost twice as bright as the lens on that Kodak if you zoom in much (that Kodak is down to a widest available aperture of f/4.8 on it's long end compared to f/3.5 on your Fuji). So, you'd get shutter speeds almost twice as fast with your Fuj for the same lighting and ISO speed.

Fuji makes a newer s6000fd (a.k.a., s6500fd) that's a little bit better for noise as ISO speeds are increased compared to your s5200/s5600. But, part of that is because of less aggresive noise reduction being used in your model. Your model's lens is also much brighter compared to the lens on the newer s6000fd if you zoom in much. So, you'd need to shoot at higher ISO speeds with the newer camera in order to get shutter speeds as fast as you do with your existing camera.

The non-Fuji models won't do as well as ISO speeds are increased (more noise/grain and/or smoothing of detail from noise reduction), and you'll need higher ISO speeds to help reduce motion blur from subject movement in less than optimum lighting. Some of the other cameras do have stabilization. But, that only helps with blur from camera shake, and will not help with blur from subject movement. Use a monopod or tripod with your Fuji if shutter speeds get too slow to help out with the camera shake part.

To do appreciably better than your Fuji for non-stationary subjects in less than optimum lighting, you need a DSLR with a bright lens (you'll want a lens that can maintain f/2.8 throughout the zoom range, which adds size, weight and cost).

December is 5 months away. You'll see a number of newer cameras introduced during the coming months. So, improvements may be seen.

But, with current non-DSLR cameras available, I'd stick with what you are already have unless you value something else about a newer model (AF speed, cycle times between photos, etc.). Then, increase the ISO speed to help with motion blur as much as possible, using noise reduction programs to help clean them up.

Popular products include Neat Image, Noiseware, and Noise Ninja



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Old Jul 6, 2007, 10:39 AM   #8
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I agree with everything Jim says except that the maximum aperture of the Fuji S5200 is f3.2, not f3.5, at full zoom. I know because I have one. The f3.5 shows up at less than full zoom, maybe at 7X optical zoom. I know this is unusual and I was surprised when I first saw it, but I checked it out several times. I have the S9100, which is just slightly better noisewise than the S5200, but which, like the S6000fd, has the smaller aperture at full zoom.
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Old Jul 7, 2007, 9:00 AM   #9
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I believe a 4/3 DSLR like the ones offered by Olympus would better serve your needs. I saw in the paper this week that they were offering the E510 with two lenses - one with a zoom that goes up to 150mm (that is 300mm 35mm equivalent when you factor in the 2x factor of the 4/3) for $999. Possibly you can find the E500 with the same lens combo, the modelthe E510replaced, for about $600-700 (about the price it was selling for before it was discontinued). The advantage the DSLR has over the super zoom is higher ISO capability, faster focusing and you may be able to catch action shots due to faster response. A better choice for action is the Canon D30 (5 frames per second), but the cost of the Canon over the Olympus is much greater. I feel that Olympus DSLR would give you much better results than a slow super zoom withtheir tiny sensors, slow response times, much noise at higher ISO's. Stabilization will mitigate your movement when taking photo's, but it will not stop player's action that you are trying to catch action at a tennis or sports event (there the DSLR's capacity to use higher ISO's with less noise will be a large advantage).

Good luck with your decision.
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Old Jul 7, 2007, 9:37 AM   #10
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howardfuhrman wrote:
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I believe a 4/3 DSLR like the ones offered by Olympus would better serve your needs. I saw in the paper this week that they were offering the E510 with two lenses - one with a zoom that goes up to 150mm (that is 300mm 35mm equivalent when you factor in the 2x factor of the 4/3) for $999.
Those are slow (not very bright) lenses and are not suitable for low light sports use (and the OP's biggest concern was getting better shots after the sun starts setting).

For example, that 40-150mm lens that comes in that kit has a largest available aperture (represented by smaller f/stop numbers) of f/5.6 on it's long end.

The camera the OP is currently using has a lens that's almost 4 times as bright on it's long end (it's at f/3.2 on it's long end according to robbo, which is only 1/3 stop down from f/2.8 ). Note that f/2.8 is exactly 4 times as bright as f/5.6

So, you could shoot at ISO 400 with the existing Fuji camera and get shutter speeds almost as fast as you could using ISO 1600 with that Olympus lens if you're zoomed in much. If you used ISO 800 on the Fuji, you'd get shutter speeds close to twice as fast as you would shooting at ISO 1600 with the Olympus.

Or, if you wanted to use ISO 1600 in a pinch (not recommended, but sometimes a lot of noise is preferred to motion blur) on the Fuji, you'd get shutter speeds almost 4 times as fast as you would using the Olympus at ISO 1600 on the long end of that kit lens.

The aperture scale (in one stop increments) goes f/1.0, f/1.4, f/2.0, f/2.8, f/4.0, f/5.6, f/8.0, f/11, f/16, f/22, etc. With each one stop move to a smaller aperture (represented by larger f/stop numbers), you will need shutter speeds twice as long for proper exposure for the same lighting and ISO speed.

For low light sports (and night sports under the lights falls into that category) with a DSLR, you'll want a lens that can maintain f/2.8 throughout it's focal range, at a mininum (indoor sports may require an even brighter lens), using a camera capable of shooting at higher ISO speeds (i.e., ISO 1600 or faster) for a higher percentage of keepers with less motion blur.


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