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Old Nov 18, 2007, 3:57 AM   #1
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I sure would appreciate some advice from you guys that understand a little more how all thisworks together better than I do.

Long - but I figured the more info, the less traveling in the wrong direction.

1) I want to be able tocapture my son onan adult soccer field: the action even if it's across the field, and his expression at least when he isin the quadrant of the fieldwhere I am standing on the side-lines.

2) Then, I want to be able to take those family shots indoors, and some out. If I am able tocapture indoor Futball (basketball court), then that will be a bonus.

Sports: I'm assuming Image Stablization would be needed, even though we have a monopod.Expecting some $$$ here.

Don't have to be able to catch night shots - but it sure would be cool! It depends on how much $ it takes to achieve that.

- Our Pentax ZX7 (film) beganmalfxning sev yrs ago-> leaving me with an auto-focus Pentax 100-300 with Aperture listed on it: 4.7-32, Also labeled: SMCPentax-FA 1:4.7-5.8 100-300mm worked to midfield for group action shots, daytime only.

and an auto-focus Pentax 35-80 with aperture settings 4-22, Also marked: SMCPentax-FA 1:4-5.6 35mm-80mm.

If somebody doesn't mind answering a real beginner ?- How are the aperture settings 4-22 related to the "1:4.5-5.8" label? I don't understand.

Pentax IS in the camera BODY, so new lenses ought to be less expensive than Canons. BUT Do they focus more slowly? How does the shutter lag compare with Canon?

I've usually focused on the ground just ahead of the action, and waited forthe playerto enter the frame, then pan, holding that focus, andit worked a good enough portion of the time. Sometimes I used to set it to allow me to focus manually, worked half the time, but had more camera shake - didn't have a monopod.

Biggest concern, is the delay for that action shot. VERY Bad experience with the Pntx Optio Mx4.

Will 3 fps be enough? Does that help the shutter lag?

I expect to miss some, but I'd REALLY like to catch SOME of those shots.

Indoor/Outdoor - Family/maybe basketball court)/sightseeing: What would be a good lense? The one I have? Assuming I wouldn't need IS here (if I went w/Canon), right? or would I?

Canon sure sounds nice, but $$$$ - I'd be afraid to carry itANYwhere!

butw/Pentax, it sounds like I would be able to get a lot more LENSE for my $$.

Also, we've had 2 Pentax cameras that didn't hold up as long as we thougt they should have. Any Comments?

Thanks,

aj37167


Hope todecide soon - only a few games left, and family/holiday time.



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Old Nov 18, 2007, 5:57 AM   #2
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aj37167 wrote:
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Sports: I'm assuming Image Stablization would be needed, even though we have a monopod.Expecting some $$$ here.

Don't have to be able to catch night shots - but it sure would be cool! It depends on how much $ it takes to achieve that.

... Any Comments?
Just 1! :idea:

Image Stabilization works great at stopping camera shakes - which is good for low-light still photography like family shots indoors; However, it's the high shutter speeds that you'll need to freeze any actions! A higher shutter speed also eliminates camera shakes so you don't require IS for sport, what's required instead are fast lenses (i.e. with large aperture) to allow more light in for the camera to use the faster shutter speeds in low-light...
http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fo...823120#p823120




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If somebody doesn't mind answering a real beginner ? - How are the aperture settings 4-22 related to the "1:4.5-5.8" label? I don't understand.

In 4-22, 4 means the largest aperture a lens can achieve when its @ full-open - i.e. widest aperture, brightest. While 22 is its smallest setting - i.e. when the lens is fully closed down, darkest.

On a low-cost zoom however due to the constrain in design the largest aperture slide as you zoom from the widest to the longest focal lenght while the smallest number(22) usually stayed constant. What it means is @ 35mm you'll have an aperture of f/4.5, and @ 80mm it'll be slower @ f/5.8 instead. An aperture of f/5.8 at the tele position is normally too dark for indoor sports since you won't be able to obtain a high enough shutter speed to stop the subject which is in motion!
This lens will work instead with the IS in the body to take family shots indoor since the family will be standing still and the IS is effective at preventing the camera shake alone (and not the subject movements which the camera or lens IS can do nothing about!)

-> What you need are "fast" lenses with aperture of f/2.8 or smaller i.e. f/2, f/1.8 or f/1.4 which will allow in more light to the camera so you can achieve the faster shutter speed required to stop the actions. If you can stop the subject motions then the camera shake is also eliminated hence IS is not as useful for actions photography!
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Old Nov 18, 2007, 8:14 AM   #3
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NHL gave some great information.

The XTi will definitely be the better sports camera - it has a better focus system and it has better high ISO performance - also has better availability of lenses suited for sports use - that's a REAL problem for pentax users right now.

Anyway, you have one other problem - no kit lens is going to work for taking shots on a full size soccer field. A 300mm lens will get you about 40 yards of quality coverage - a 400mm lens will get you about 50 yards. So, first of all you better be right off the touch line and not in the stands. Second you're going to have to spend some $$$ on lenses for shooting that soccer.

Least expensive budget lens - Sigma 70-300 - $200. Not really quality and it will be slow to focus but it's only $200

Least expensive recommended - Canon 70-300 (note 70 NOT 75) - $560. Quality optics and faster to focus. But still only good for bright daylight sports work.

Recommneded daylight soccer: Sigma 100-300 f4 - very sharp and very fast to focus but not good for nighttime under lights. - $1000. But also takes a teleconverter well.

High end: Sigma 120-300 2.8. The lens I use for soccer and a great choice but $2700

after that it starts to get expensive
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Old Nov 18, 2007, 10:20 AM   #4
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some follow-up:

Indoor sports: 85mm 1.8 ($370) would be the lens of choice for basketball court type shooting - but only for about 20 feet or so.

On your concerns about shutter lag - any DSLR will do very well there. FPS has nothing to do with INITIAL shutter lag. But of course it is what is important for shots AFTER the first.

To get better than 3fps you're looking at a Canon 30D or 40D or Nikon D200 / D300.

To get night sports shots you need a 2.8 lens if you want quality shots. That gets expensive. The sigma 70-200 2.8 at $850 is the least expensive but 200mm isn't very long (about 25 yards of coverage from your shooting position). So keep that in mind. After that, you're looking at the Sigma 120-300 to get more reach and still have 2.8. After that you're looking at $4000 and up lenses.

The 40d is probably the best prosumer sports DSLR CURRENTLY available but the Nikon D300 if it lives up to expectations should really blow it away - but with a price tag to match.

The problem is - you're going to have to spend some money on lenses to do the work you want to do. So what is your budget? Most of us have to make sacrifices and can't buy the best right out of the gate. So the key will be to find the best solution given your budget.
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Old Nov 18, 2007, 11:50 AM   #5
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Only two games left, huh? What's your budget?

It sounds like you're already practiced using the 100-300mm with Pentax film cameras for daytime sports with some limited success based on prefocusing, locking, panning, etc. to increase your percentage of keepers. That appears to be an SMC lens, too (so the coatings are probably not too bad for digital from a flare resistance/contrast perspective compared to a lot of the older MF lenses).

It sounded like camera shake due to slower shutter speeds was sometimes a problem. Just use a higher ISO speed to get around that (and the same applies to film or digital). Each time you double the ISO speed, a camera can use shutter speeds twice as fast for the same aperture and lighting.

This exposure calculator may give you an idea of how ISO speed (shown as film speed in the calculator), lighting (typically measured in EV for photography) and Aperture are related to the shutter speed you can achieve.

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

To answer your questions about lens ratings:

Aperture as expressed as f/stop as a ratio between the focal length of the lens and the diameter of the aperture iris opening. So, smaller f/stop numbers are larger openings.

With a prime (non zoom) lens, you will see one aperture listed (the widest available). But, you can still use smaller apertures (represented by higher f/stop numbers).

With a zoom lens, you usually see two apertures listed (the largest available aperture at wide angle zoom setting, and the largest available aperture at the full telephoto zoom position). When in between the widest and longest focal length of the lens, the largest available aperture will fall somewhere in between the apertures shown.

Many high quality zoom lenses can maintain a constant aperture throughout their zoom range (with f/2.8 being the most common). So, you'll only see one aperture listed for this type of lens (the widest available, since you have that aperture available at all focal lengths supported if desired). But, you can still set it to smaller apertures (higher f/stop numbers).

Even though lenses are rated by their largest available apertures (smallest f/stop numbers), most lenses can be set to use apertures of f/22 or smaller.

When you vary the aperture, you're controlling the iris in the lens (which like a pupil in your eye, can be opened up to let in more light or closed down to let less light in). So, this impacts the shutter speeds you'll need for proper exposure (since more or less light is getting through to the sensor). Aperture also impacts Depth of Field.

The aperture scale in one stop increments (with larger than f/1 apertures possible but very rare in lenses) 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... With each one stop move to a smaller aperture (represented by higher f/stop numbers), you will need shutter speeds twice as long for proper exposure for the same lighting and ISO speed (only half the light gets through compared to a one stop larger aperture).

I read through both some professional and user reviews of your Pentax ZX7 and an entry level Pentax model would probably give you the same or better performance from what I could gather.

That model looks like it was missing some of the features that you may want and focus mode was switched to continuous automatically when movement was detected. Some complaints I saw indicated that it wasn't fast enough switching focus modes and so the first couple of frames were usually blurry when it did, etc. Some hunting, etc.

I see that complained about with various DSLR models, too (and some of that is just because they're programmed to fire even if they don't have a lock when you press the shutter until they can achieve it and keep firing).

But, most let you control the focus mode more than you could on your ZX7, too (most will let you leave a camera in continuous focus versus switching to it when movement is detected using their automatic focus modes).

On the low budget side, you could probably grab a Pentax K100D Kit and get by with your existing 100-300mm lens for the outdoor stuff and still get some keepers for the remaining outdoor games.

You will have a narrower angle of view (more apparent magnification) using it on a Pentax DSLR model since it's sensor is smaller than 35mm film. It will give you roughly the same angle of view you'd have using a 150mm-450mm lens on a 35mm camera.

I found an MTF Chart at http://old.photodo.com for Pentax 100-300mm lens that]'s probably the same design, and it's not the highest quality lens around in that focal range (getting a bit softer on it's 300mm lens), grading in a low end 2.4

But, stopped down to f/8, center sharpness didn't look too bad, and it didn't drop off too much through about 12mm from center at most focal lengths. You really wouldn't care much about anything past that anyway on a DSLR (since doesn't use the the entire image circle because of it's smaller APS-C size sensor).

The typical consumer grade 70-300mm lenses probably wouldn't do a lot better stopped down on their long end and you'd save a couple of hundred bucks over a solution with a lens like the Sigma 70-300mm f/3.5-5.6 APO by using your existing lens + Pentax probably has one of the least expensive camera kits around.

Your lens is not worth much though (you can buy them for a bit over $100 brand new), and a $200 Sigma is probably better overall. So, there are probably better lenses (optical quality, focus speed and more), even in budget choices. But, there isn't going to be a lot of difference between them.

A kit with an 18-55mm lens in it (giving you the approximately same angle of view you'd have using a 27-82mm lens on a 35mm camera) is only $436 delivered from buydig.com (a reputable vendor) right now:

http://www.buydig.com/shop/product.aspx?sku=PKK100D1855

Then, use it for the remaining two games with what you have, take lots of holiday snapshots with it using the 18-55mm kit lens with flash (external if budget permits) and decide if you want to spend more money on something better or not later.

If not, put it on Ebay and you probably wouldn't lose too much compared to the prices of cameras later (you'd probably get more bang for the buck in one of the newer models likely to be lauched leading into the PMA show in February, where manufacturers often launch new camera models). Consider the difference between what you paid for it and what you sell it for later a rental fee. :-)

Even if you didn't get but $300 for the kit, you'd have spent less than $150 (and the higher end advanced amateur models available now would probably have dropped in price some after the first of the year anyway.

Any other solution would cost you more since you've already got a 100-300mm lens.

I'd expect to see new lenses from varous manufacturers launched at PMA, too.

This Pentax model's 11 Point AF system is probably not going to be as good as the higher end models (speed, sensitivity). But, it's probably as good or better than what you were using from what I can see of user reviews. It's also got ISO speeds up to ISO 3200 you could use in a pinch (missing on the K10D).

It's got a relatively small buffer though and slow write speeds to media (after all, it is an entry level camera), and I'd be concerned that it's AF system may not be fast enough for basketball for a high percentage of keepers.

I haven't seen a lot of good basketball shots from one (but, some of that is probably the skill of the shooter and lens choices, too). A 50mm f/1.4 AF lens can be found for one at around $200 brand new right now. But, you really want something longer if budget can swing it, and about your only choice is the Pentax 77mm f/1.8 Limited if you want Autofocus. It's about $699 now at vendors like http://www.bhphotovideo.com

I'd be concerned that it may not be able to keep up well for basketball, depending on the desired percentage of keepers, especially on an entry level body, and the K10D has higher noise levels if you try to use it at ISO 1600 (and it's missing ISO 3200).

The Canon XTi is also limited to ISO 1600. So, I consider that to be a handicap. You could probably get by at ISO 1600 with a bright prime for indoor stuff in a well lit gym. It's noise level is probably lower than the K10D at ISO 1600 and it's lens choices are better.

I'd listen to JohnG about it and grab an 85mm f/1.8 for it if you go with an entry level Canon and want to shoot indoor sports.

It's also got a fast Autofocus System that's going to be better suited for Sports and you could probably push the exposure a tad and get away with it (underexpose 1/3 to 1/2 stop or so to get a bit faster shutter speeds and brighten it later, followed by noise reduction using software in a pinch.

You wouldn't want to do that unless you had to, but I'd probably go that route with the XTi before I'd try to push a 10MP image from the K10D (the Sony 10MP Sensor is not the best at higher ISO speeds). My concern with things like night sports would be the lack of ISO 3200 if you wanted to buy an f/2.8 lens and give it a shot, too.

That would be my biggest concern with a K10D (no ISO 3200, and higher noise levels at ISO 1600). The K100D is going to be better if you really want to use one in less than optimum lighting at higher ISO speed settings from comments I've seen from users of both cameras (and you may want the ISO 3200 for night sports using an f/2.8 lens later on).

For daytime use only, the K10D would probably be a much better choice in the Pentax line.

All of the cameras in the under $1k market niches are going to be a compromise in one area or another for sports, especially if you want low light sports or night sports.

If you want a better all around sports camera, you'll need to move up a notch in body and lenses, looking at models like JohnG mentioned (Canon EOS-30D/40D, etc..)

You want a camera that's going to give you fast Autofocus with higher available ISO speeds (and lower noise as ISO speeds are increased if you want to do indoor sports or night sports in more conditions with higher quality, and you'll need fast lenses better suited for sports).

What's your budget?

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Old Nov 19, 2007, 5:06 PM   #6
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All of this informations is WONDERFUL!!! I'm SO glad I found you guys, over the sales rep!

It sounds like there are more drawbacks with the Pentax then I realized - Just the type of insight I was hoping to find.

And the Canon XTi is limited to ISO 1600.

What about the Sony Alpha700? I can't remember why I wasn't going to look at it, except that I was afraid lenses might not continue to be available if Sony dropped the line. Popular Photography RAVED about it in this Dec issue.

ISO 100-6400. It is much pricier, butthe lenses appear to be a lot less. That MIght help balance out the total $.

Burst rate: 5fps, but ?? shutter lag time.

Has image stablization in the body.

Could I get around the $2700 for the 120-300 2.8 lense suggested for the Canon by going with Sony? or some other way?

Budget: $2,000 total - or the least to achieve the following:

Must haves:

1) 2 young men fill the screen at 50 yards (thks JohnG) At LEAST during the DAY, Night appropriate f-stop of 2.8 - only if total stays less than $2000.


2) Then, I want to be able to take those family shots indoors, and some out. Image Stablization nice - but not absolute.

Would the lenses suggested for indoor sports work for family life &/or sightseeing? 85mm 1.8 $370,

On KEH.com :Minolta Auto Focus 28-105 F3.5-4.5 XI/SI only, (62) 33mm SLR Auto Focus Zoom Wide Angle Lens for $40. But, I don't know what some of these notations mean.

And:28-70 F2.8-4.5 TOKINA MACRO (52) 35MM SLR AUTO FOCUS ZOOM WIDE ANGLE LENS

Also: Minolta 28-300 F3.5-6.3 TAMRON ASPHERICAL LD INTERNAL FOCUS MACRO (72)(185D) WITH HOOD, CAPS, 35MM SLR AUTO FOCUS ZOOM WIDE ANGLE LENS $115

If I am able tocapture indoor Futball (basketball court), then that will be a bonus.That, I can give up.


John: What is a teleconverter? for the Sigma 100-300 f4 $1000

What is an MTF chart?

Then, I guess I'll have to look at the Canon EOS 30D/40D. Is there a less expensive alternative? Assuming Canon is the Cadillac.

Thank You !!! for the help!

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Old Nov 20, 2007, 7:13 AM   #7
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The types of Minolta lenses you're referring to at keh.com are not suitable for low light use. They are not bright enough, and a lens like that Tamron 28-300mm you're looking at would be slow focusing, too (not to mention that it's not the greatest optical quality either). I've got that Sony you looked at. It's a nice camera. But, you'd probably end up spending even more for a lens suitable for night sports with it (the Sony lenses suitable for that purpose are a bit pricey).

$2000 budget, huh?

You're going to need to compromise in one area or another.

Yes, there are less expensive bodies compared to the EOS-30D and 40D in a Canon solution. http://www.buydig.com still has the EOS-20D in stock now for $799. This is an older discontinued model (replaced by the EOS-30D). It may be an option for you. But, you're not going to fit the highest lenses quality lenses for everything you want to shoot into a $2k budget.

I'll spend some time going through prices on some used lenses and see what it looks like you may squeese into a $2k budget that way if you don't mind used gear. Personally, I'd rather have higher quality used lenses versus lower quality new lenses if given a choice.

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Old Nov 20, 2007, 7:14 AM   #8
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aj37167 wrote:
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What about the Sony Alpha700? I can't remember why I wasn't going to look at it, except that I was afraid lenses might not continue to be available if Sony dropped the line. Popular Photography RAVED about it in this Dec issue.
I highly doubt this...

Sony has two high-end lines of lens: Their G series which are white like the L and the Zeiss brand - The issue might be the 3rd party like Sigma/Tokina and Tamron which took Minolta for dead until Sony revived it!

The A700 is an excellent camera in every way
(beside I'm a sucker for more Megapixels since I shoot small birds and more leeway in cropping save you on the tele!)
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Old Nov 20, 2007, 7:19 AM   #9
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Some of the Sigmas are starting to show up again in Sony/Maxxum mount now. For example, I noticed that B&H recently got the Sigma 100-300mm f/4 EX DG in for them.

But, some of the faster Sigma zooms are still not available (like the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 ), and they're a little scarce used due to their popularity (they've been selling in the $900s, which is more than you could buy one for new). lol

The Sony is a bit pricey ($1999 for their 70-200mm f/2.8G SSM).

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Old Nov 20, 2007, 8:09 AM   #10
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JimC wrote:
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The Sony is a bit pricey ($1999 for their 70-200mm f/2.8G SSM).
But the 70-200 f/2.8G SSM is the best 70-200 f/2.8 <PERIOD>!!! :idea:
-> It has been regarded as the best bokeh zoom since Minolta days... Guess who penned "Bokeh"?
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