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Old Nov 20, 2007, 3:48 PM   #11
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Yes a DSLR is the way to go... for serious photographers. What you want is an up-to-date digital camera that can take good pictures. Features to look for are ISO 1600 (even though it'll be noisy), but since you're not going to blow them up too much, the noise won't be as noticeable (and you can do some reduction through software program).

I recommend the Canon A720 ($200 street) or SX100 for 6x & 10x zoom respectively. Although you should get close as possible and not use zoom so there's plenty of light hitting the sensor. They have manual settings too, so you can tweak settings in tough lighting conditions. They also take video too, which a DSLR can't do.
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Old Nov 20, 2007, 4:02 PM   #12
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Tough situation here.

The reason being - your shooting situation requires high iso performance, benefits greatly from low shutter lag and would benefit from burst rate (since you are admitedly not an action photographer you'll benefit from having multiple sub-second shots to select from). These are all areas that digicams are very poor at.

BUT you aren't even printing photos - just displaying on the web. So by going the DSLR route you're going to spend a lot more money.

I think the compromise is to get an entry level DSLR like the Canon XT or Pentax k100. I disregard the Nikon D40 because I suggest using a prime lens below for a cost-effective solution and the Nikon won't autofocus with prime lenses (other nikon models will but not the D40 / D40x since they don't have focus motors). Rather then spend large amounts of money on a lens - since you can control the environment and your distance you could invest in a less expensive lens f or low light - like the Canon 50mm 1.8 (about $75) to go with a kit lens. This will allow you to shoot in low light without a problem combined with good ISO 1600 performance. You'll have to do some work though - given that it's not a zoom lens you'll have to stage the shoots such that you are the appropriate distance away (maybe 20 feet). Someone from Pentax will have to suggest if there is an autofocus lens in the pentax line you could use. I think autofocus will be key for you so I don't recommend going a manual focus route. Either of the camereas will take 3 frames per second bursts of shots and will have much better shutter performance than the kodak did. And at least for Canon it will only cost an extra $70 to get a good low light lens that still autofocuses.
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Old Nov 20, 2007, 4:18 PM   #13
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Lazydacres wrote:
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Basically I really liked my Kodak but it wasn't "fast" enough,
Consider a minor cheap upgrade to a Kodak Z812is, which may, or may not, seem familiar to what you had, but has a big zoom, and image stabilisation. My Z712is (which I love) hassurprisingly good high ISO performance. It offers first 6 shots or last 6 shot(out of 20) burst shooting.The Electronic View Finder will give you a good idea of what you'll get before you push the button. Few dSLRs offer that.

If that fails move on to big money & dSLR plus the lenses you need.

The situations you describe will be challenging for any photographer/camera combination, so good luck!
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Old Nov 21, 2007, 2:34 AM   #14
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Actually I think you may be approaching this from the wrong angle.

Your primary need for the pictures is that they be good in low light and good enough to display on a web page.

Actual resolution required is no more than 1Mp or so for that purpose.

How about starting with a high-def video camera and some software that will allow you to take out a single frame for print to web. A single frame from a high-def VC will be more than adequate for web display. Video cameras also have excellent low-light performance as a rule.

And to top it all off, your primary mode of selling is actually through the videos anyway, so by going high-def you will be providing a better picture for those people who do have access to broadband.

It is possible that your current video camera is good enough and all you need is the right software. In your shoes I would investigate this option first before going out and buying a camera.

A quick google search shows that:
1. Software DVD movie players like CyberLink PowerDVD 6, InterVideo WinDVD 6Can do still frame grabs.
2. Adobe Premier can do it too (though I didn't find out whether Elements can).
3. If you run a Mac even iMovie can do a frame grab from video.
4. And a bit more googling for "frame grab" leads to things like this..
http://www.topazlabs.com/topazlabs/0...t/#000004#more

Side note:
Of course many video cameras have a still-frame shooting option, and there are hybrid cameras too. Sanyo's Xacti range and the new Canon TX1 might be worth looking into - though the still-frame capture is not likely to be very good in low light.

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Old Nov 21, 2007, 10:00 AM   #15
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I agree with peripatetic, you should think about a video camera. High def would be nice, but I don't know what kind of computer you need to edit those. Also don't know if you can put HD video on a standard DVD albeit for a shorter length. If it did work, mailing out a short HD video with a nicely printed label to interested customers might increase your sales/price.

As far as catching peak motion with a burst - that is much a matter of chance unless you get to very fast burst rates, at fairly high prices. The image below shows the rate my KM5d gets at 2.5fps in terms of a horse jumping at our neighbor's.
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Old Nov 22, 2007, 12:53 AM   #16
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I forgot to add, that I am not sure if I could live without my burst feature in a new camera, as I take jumping shots and use it OFTEN. Just like the shots shown in this horse jumping picture, only one of those would be usable on my site. I used to sit there with a regular old fashioned camera and take tons of shots, then go and get them developed at one hour photo and wait for the most often dissappointing results.To think how far technology has come now!
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Old Nov 27, 2007, 9:53 AM   #17
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If you get a dSLR I think you will find that the very short shutter lag coupled with the ability to see what you just did will very quickly allow you to do what you want without using a burst. Or at least without a burst as slow as 3fps. Getting a dSLR with a burst rate much faster than that $tarts co$ting a whole bunch of money.

One thing that will happen if you get a dSLR is that you will become fussier. As an example, you would probably reject the first of these photos, and perhaps use the second.
http://members.toast.net/BillDrew/07/JumpB070902.jpg
http://members.toast.net/BillDrew/07/JumpA070902.jpg
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Old Nov 27, 2007, 10:03 AM   #18
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BillDrew wrote:
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If you get a dSLR I think you will find that the very short shutter lag coupled with the ability to see what you just did will very quickly allow you to do what you want without using a burst. Or at least without a burst as slow as 3fps.
For a jump I would agree - a burst isn't necessary. A jump is about timing the shot. BUT, for a person or animal running burst is EXTREMELY useful. It is extremely difficult - almost impossible to time a single shot of a person or animal running so you get a good stride in the photo. A burst allows you to select the best looking stride out of the burst. I agree that it will get very costly to get higher than 3fps and for the intended purpose - probably not necessary. But, for capturing shots of running horses you would absolutely WANT to use the burst feature so you can choose the best stride of the lot.

There is some confusion regarding burst rates from new action photographers. It goes like this: why do I need 10 frames per second? I don't need to take 20 photos of the same sequence. True. But it is VERY beneficial to have 3 frames in very close proximity. My camera has 10fps but I've probably only taken 1 or 2 10 shot bursts in 8,000 frames. But I take a WHOLE LOT of 2-3 shot bursts and having the fast frame rate allows for more subtle differences in a stride. If you were shooting without burst, you'd have a LOT of mediocre looking strides IMO.
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Old Nov 5, 2008, 10:27 AM   #19
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Well, My Kodak has really almost bitten the dust now. The last three photo sessions of sales horses, I have barely gotten anything I can use, everything is too blurry.

I am on a massive hunt now for the right camera. I will be taking near dusk shots, shots in an indoor riding ring, and outside action shots. I am not a professional photographer and really will have no idea about changing lenses, I would like something that is basically point and shoot.


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Old Nov 5, 2008, 11:57 AM   #20
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How much do you want to spend? If you can spend $1000, you can get a number of DSLR's with an 18 -250 mm lens. If you can spend around $600, you can get a Fuji S100fs. If you can spend $350, you could try the Sony H50. Three hundred dollars can get you a Panasonic FZ28.

If you can afford $500, you can get the Sony A200 with an 17-70mm kit lens. I would probably go for a Canon EOS 40D, which will cost between $900 and $1200, depending on what lens you get. However, if you are using this on your job, you and your customers should be immediately impressed by its image quality and fast burst mode. I think it wouuld pay for itself within a year.
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