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Old Dec 13, 2007, 10:17 PM   #1
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I'm very disappointed with my current digital camera. It's a Sony Cybershot, 3.1 mpx camera. I HATE that the picture is snapped about 3 seconds after I click the button when I have the flash on. And, it takes a long time (5-10 seconds) before I can take another picture. I'm also frustrated with how grainy the photos look, even when printed out in 4x6, forget enlargements! They're awful. Oh, and I hate how the flash gives these three false flashes before the real flash. In group shots, everyone thinks the photo has been taken already and is already leaving their positions!

So, I'm a very amateur photographer, but I want to learn more and I want to start getting some good photos of some important events.

I have a 1 year old son who moves very quickly and I have a horrible time capturing good photos of him. Actually, I've resorted to taking photos outside only, where I don't have to use the flash, then I try to take about 20-50 photos, as quickly as possible after each other, hoping that maybe ONE of them might turn out ok. I'd really like to take some photos of him indoors, while he's moving, and still catching him in the photo!

The other event we try to use the camera for is races and triathlons, with very little success. Those bikes go by so fast that I often catch the person who is behind my husband in the race.

Although the option to zoom is desireable, it's not as important to me as capturing a photo when I actually hit the button (and not 1 or 5 seconds later).

If I go with a DLSR camera, I definitely want it to be entry-level. I don't mind bulkiness and I don't mind carrying around a larger camera bag. Price is a bit of a concern, but more important is that I get a good camera to capture shots of people that move quickly.

My dad has an old Canon AE-1 camera (shutter is broken) but he's offered me his 3 lenses and his flashes if they'll fit on any camera I end up buying. Will these lenses fit any new DSLR cameras?

I still need to do a lot of research, but I need help in determining whether it is truly a DSLR camera that I need!




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Old Dec 14, 2007, 10:19 AM   #2
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No offense loanko, but from what you say, it sounds more like your problems are the result of a lack of knowledge, rather than a poor camera. Yes, your camera is a dinosaur by today's standards, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be capable of taking a decent picture for printing at 4x6. I think the purchase of an expensive DSLR, for you, would only highten the confusion, and won't guaranty your pictures will meet your quality standards - kinda like buying a Lamborghini to go grocery shopping - you need to learn how to take pictures first.

All digital cameras have shutter lag (including DSLR's)...some more than others. All digital cameras have less lag when you pre-focus (depressing the shutter release half-way until the camera focuses on your subject) prior to taking the picture. In many cases, the difference between pre-focus lag and full autofocus lag can be a factor of 10 or more. Are you pre-focusing?

All flash units take time to recharge between firing...some more than others. Even entry level DSLR's can take from 3 to 5 seconds to cycle when using the built in flash. If you want faster, you need to consider an external flash unit. You don't need a DSLR for that, just a camera with a hot shoe.

In order to capture a fast moving object passing by your location, you have to 'pan' the camera...that is, moving the camera with the action as you take your shot. Are you panning?

Your camera is making three false flashes prior to firing, because you have it set to red eye reduction mode - did you try shutting it off? If you do, it won't do that any more, and your flash shot cycle time will drop.

Regarding graininess, have you tried setting you camera to a lower ISO? It's possible it's currently set to the maximum, which would tend to create grain in the pics.

Try making a few adjustments in your camera and your technique, and see if things don't improve a bit. Then maybe you can decide which features you should be shopping for on your new camera.

the Hun

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Old Dec 14, 2007, 11:34 AM   #3
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I certainly don't deny my lack of knowledge. I defintely want t(and need) o learn more about how to take better pictures.

I often pre-focus, but to be honest, I've not noticed that this reduces the time it takes to actually capture the photo.

For the action shots, I've tried moving the camera with the action, but usually these photos turn out blurry. So, my stratgey now is to take photos front-on (rather from the side) as much as possible. That usually means sitting just about on the race course and taking the photo as the athlete approaches me. For these shots, I do not pan at all, instead I try to hold the camera as steady as possible.

ISO is currently set to the maximum, and I've never tried changing it. I will definitely try that. And, I've just turned off the red-eye reduction, and those false flashes are gone. Thanks for that tip!

I'm scared of the DLSR cameras because I know so little about photography.

I went to a camera store today, and told the sales rep the same thing I wrote here last night. She said that my shutter lag problem is more an issue of age, and that all new point-and-shoot digital cameras are better today than they were several years ago. She thought that the DSLR cameras were beyond what I need and what I work with, and suggested insteaad the superzoon/DSLR-like cameras. Because of the action shots that we try to take, she suggested the Panasonic Lumix FZ18... so I'm going to do some reading and research on that camera. I think I'm also going to look into photography classes.






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Old Dec 14, 2007, 1:54 PM   #4
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I would agree with rinniethehun that a DSLR is probably not the best solution for you at your present stage. The newer P&S cameras certainly have much faster auto focusing and lower shutter lag than your old Sony, and you can learn a lot with an ultrazoom such as the FZ18 together with knowing more about situations and appropriate settings. Your two main shooting interests are quite demanding on technique and equipment, so don't expect fantastic results even with the FZ18 or equivalent (I would also look at models such as the Canon S5IS which has a hot shoe for external flash).

It is much easier and cheaper to pick a suitable P&S/Ultrazoom as a complete solution than an entry level DSLR and the right lens/lenses for your interests. The latter will undoubtedly give superior results but needs a lot more commitment and expense to get such results.
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Old Dec 15, 2007, 7:02 PM   #5
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Thanks for the thoughts. I was really overwhelmed with the idea that I might need to get a dSLR. I'm much more comfortable with the idea of getting a P&S with a large zoom.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"A question with regards to your hot shoe for an external flash. Under what conditions would the built-in flash on the FZ18 not be suitable? I find with my current camera, my night-time indoor shots turn out very shadowing and the colours are all off. Is this a function of a poor built-in flash? Poor lighting conditions? Or some setting on my camera?

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"I also signed up for a general tips/techniques photographyworkshop that runs in January. In February, the store is also running special workshops specific to various cameras that I'm going to sign up for once I decide on which camera to go with.

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Old Dec 16, 2007, 4:02 AM   #6
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Built in flash units usually have quite a restricted range (which is probably the reason for your shadowy pictures with loss of colour), they point straight at the subject (which gives shadows), and they often take a long time to recharge.

An add-on flash (you ideally need a hot shoe on the camera), can be more powerful (with more battery power), but most important, it can be positioned to bounce light of say the ceiling onto the subject(s). This gives more light on the subject without the harshness of direct flash so pictures look mouch more natural.

http://www.planetneil.com/tangents/f...hy-techniques/gives good explanations of flash techniques. Have fun choosing your new camera!
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Old Dec 16, 2007, 9:42 AM   #7
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loanko wrote:
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.....She thought that the DSLR cameras were beyond what I need and what I work with, and suggested insteaad the superzoon/DSLR-like cameras...
This is sound sense, at least to start with. Some of 'hybrid superzooms' are so cheap they are excellent tools for learning. One of them might even do everything you need.

For example, my Kodak Z712is produces results well comparable with my old film SLR & lenses, much more easily, with a single lens, in a small, light unit which cost me little over half the priceI paid for my first digicam in 2002. It has image stabilisation and a live preview in an electronic viewfinder with which I can judge exposure in advance. You'd probably have to sacrifice the latter if you moved on to a budget dSLR.

It has little shutter lag if prefocused, or if the release is half-pressed. It can bea 'point&shoot' if you really want that, but you'd do better to learn how take control of these wonderful modern machines. They're clever, but nowhere near asclever as you, after a bit of study.

The issues to consider between superzooms & dSLRs are well discussed by my friendly local camera shop at http://www.wrexham-cameras.com/WHATS...ST-KOD-CAN.htm

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