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Old Feb 20, 2008, 10:53 AM   #31
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Got it, Tcav. Thanks once again.
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Old Feb 21, 2008, 10:46 AM   #32
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I'd like to interject some thoughts that seem to be overlooked here. It seems discussion has focused solely on IS/VR/AS. That's all fine and dandy, but to me that is far from the most important attribute guaranteeing success for sports and wildlife.

Not sure what wildlife the OP is shooting but they did mention both day and night baseball. For such things, anti-shake really isn't very beneficial. What IS important is optical quality at long focal lengths, wide apertures (2.8) and focus systems. Throw in the night baseball and high ISO performance becomes an issue.

So far I haven't seen any evidence that Oly or Pentax can compete with Canon & Nikon in the AF department - especially when we're talking continuous focus. The latest review of Oly's E-3 over at dpreview indicates the low light AF performance is sluggish - not a glowing thing for the flagship model (note: to be honest the review indicated it did very well in many other aspects - but for the OPs stated needs that's still a big strike). Also high ISO performance is still lagging behind the APS-C cameras.

Now, from the few folks I've seen that use the A700 it appears their focus system is much improved, as is their high ISO performance. But now we get into the lens cost issue. It isn't just the old lenses either - Sonys coming out with a new 70-300 that's significantly more expensive than the canon and nikon offerigns. And yes there are used lenses on the market but you have to accept that and some people prefer to buy new gear not used.

So, bottom line for sports and wildlife, Pentax & Canon have the proven track record for success, proven focus systems and large selection of BRAND NEW (not hunting on ebay) lenses. Sony appears to have everything in the camera body needed to compete for sports and wildlife but lens cost and availability would be the two areas of concern. If you're ok with those caveats then I think Sony is in the mix.

Look, don't get me wrong. Any of the DSLRs being considered will get you better shots than you're getting now if paired with the correct lens. But it's a question of relative improvement. Canon, Nikon and Sony will give you the most improvement and canon / nikon can do so with less expensive kit and easier to find lenses.


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Old Feb 21, 2008, 12:02 PM   #33
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JohnG,

Thank you a ton for injecting a new angle with more information. Iappreciate it, as I do TCav and all contributors to this thread.

The funny/sad part of this is that my S5 has a 432mm equivalent at f3.5 which takes great shots at a baseball night game. Problem is that 8MP on a 1/2.5 sensor is just not up to a dSLR. My IDEAL would be an S6 with an APS-C at 8 or 10 MP, but that would (a) cause it to size up and (b) destroy the 400D and probably the 450D since the S5 is already IS, swing LCD, spot meter capable etc, etc. and I wouldn't need to carry another lens.

Oh well, I can dream. Thanks again.

JG




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Old Feb 21, 2008, 12:14 PM   #34
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JohnG wrote:
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But now we get into the lens cost issue. It isn't just the old lenses either - Sonys coming out with a new 70-300 that's significantly more expensive than the canon and nikon offerigns. And yes there are used lenses on the market but you have to accept that and some people prefer to buy new gear not used.
Don't compare list to street prices. ;-) They have a competively priced budget 70-300mm, and the new 70-300mm lens is a G lens (so far, reserved for lenses with the highest optical quality) that's going to come in at a list price of $799

Amazon is showing their original price for the Canon 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM at $983, with a current price of $690. It's all over the board elsewhere ($787 at target, or as low as $549 at some of the dealers now stocking it (I'm seeing some recent price drops on it). The average seems to be around $649.

The Canon also doesn't come with a hood. That'll probably set you back another $40. So, some prices I'm seeing for the Canon lens and hood are actually higher than the new Sony 70-300mm G (comparing Sony's list price to Canon street prices), and many are within around $100 when you factor it in.

Sony is now taking orders for 5 DSLR models (with 3 of them shipping). That's 5 times as many dSLR models as they were taking orders for prior to the a700 introduction, and they're not done yet. In fairness, it's my understanding that the A100 is no longer in production and I don't know how long existing stock will last.

You can find Sony gear discounted at some vendors now. For example, you can get the a700 for $1,259 at berger brothers. But, it's $1399 at sonystyle.com

As Sony gears up production (and it looks like they're just getting warmed up good, I think they'll do whatever they need to do in order to gain marketshare. As marketshare increases, dealers will also start being willing to buy and stock more of their gear, which probably means volume price breaks from their perspective.

The last full year numbers I saw from IDC (2006) for global marketshare showed that Sony was already the second largest manufacturer of digital cameras behind Canon. AFAIK, the 2007 numbers for global marketshare are not out yet.

They're just the "new kid on the block" with their dSLR lineup, which they've just added 4 new dSLR models to (A200, A300, A350, A700) with more to come like their full frame flagship due out later this year. Given that more consumers tend to be moving towards a dSLR now, that looks like a good strategy, especially since they already have a huge distribution network in place. We also haven't seen all of their lens plans yet (some of the prototypes are still under wraps as to specs and pricing).

I think it's just a matter of time before you start seeing more dealers carrying their dSLR and lens lineups, with the same kind of price breaks you tend to see on Canon and Nikon gear.

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Old Feb 21, 2008, 1:56 PM   #35
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JimC wrote:
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I think it's just a matter of time before you start seeing more dealers carrying their dSLR and lens lineups, with the same kind of price breaks you tend to see on Canon and Nikon gear.

Jim - I don't doubt that's true. But time is relative. You had similar predictions when the A100 came out. Given a few more years they may actually be there. Heck, even a year from now who knows? But that's still a big fat 'WHEN???'

The whole point is to cost out immediate and short term (1 year out) needs including lenses and accessories. Too many people focus on the cost of the body only (oh, this camera from brand x is $100 cheaper than the camera from brand Y - meanwhile brand x may not have the lenses you need or it may cost you more money). So, when you're ready to buy cost out what it will take to outfit yourself in Nikon , Canon and Sony including the necessary lenses and accessories required for the shooting needs at hand (mentioned ones being baseball and wildlife). And not just focus on the cost of the body.

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Old Feb 21, 2008, 2:15 PM   #36
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Well, reading through the thread, it sounds like he wants to use between 300mm and 400mm (35mm equivalent angle of view) for sports and wildlife, based on hopw he's been using his existing camera (although he didn't mention the type of sports he wanted to shoot unless I missed it with a quick skim).

Any of the new Sony DSLR models (A200, A300, A350, A700) should be fine for daytime sports. For night sports, I'd probably skip the new 14 Megapixel A350 model (although ISO 1600 doesn't look too bad from samples I've seen).

From reports I've seen so far, all of the new Sony models (A200, A300, A350, A700) are going to have class leading AF performance, even with non-USM lenses. Heck, just a few days ago, I saw one person testing the A200 and A700 mention that he thought the new A200 was bit faster than a Canon 40D, but not as fast as the A700.

We'll have to wait for more tests and real world reports from sports and wildlife photographers to get a better feel for how they compare. But, I've been impressed with what Sony has done in this area. From repots I'm seeing now, apparently they did upgrade both the AF motor and AF algorithms in the new entry level bodies, too. So, they should be ahead of most other manufacturers for equivalent priced bodies.

As for a combo to meet the OP's stated requirements, that depends on budget. ;-)

You could go with a budget choice like the Sony 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6, Sigma 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6, and others; go with a higher priced model like the Sigma 100-300mm f/4, or go with something like the new Sony 70-300mm G lens (which will probably start shipping next month). I might be tempted to go with a "Bigma" (Sigma 50-500mm), too. I've seen some pretty impressive results from someone shooting BIFs with an A700 using one.

You could also go used, A Minolta 100--300mm f/4.5-5.6 APO Macro AF lens at around $300 would be my first choice for daytime sports), usually in stock at reputable dealers like keh.com, bhphotovideo.com and adorama.com. Although, I'd be tempted to go with a Minolta 100-400mm instead (usually in the $500s).

For night sports, I'd probably see how the new Tamron works. At $699, I've got a feeling it's going to have the best "bang for the buck" in the 70-200mm f/2.8 lens category. Adorama is taking preorders for it now. So, it shouldn't be too long before we start seeing it on dealer shelves.


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Old Feb 21, 2008, 2:36 PM   #37
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Thanks for chiming in Jim C.

Jim, my sport tends to be baseball, both day and night. My wildlife (such as my wolf series) tends to be large mammals in confined, but distant, settings. I presently use the Canon S5 IS SZ. I'm not too worried about the short end (36mm eq is fine for me) but from50-80mm range (for people & portraits) out to 300mm eq or so with IS is pretty much a must have for what I like to shoot.

By the time ya'll are down you should delete my posts and publish it. So now SONY is in it.

Thanks yet again. Keep it goin'.
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Old Feb 21, 2008, 3:08 PM   #38
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One thing you may want to consider is that you can pickup up a brand new Canon EOS-30D (body only versus kit) now for $799 at Adorama.com after some recent price drops, or $899 for the 30D with an 18-55mm kit lens. That would give you 5 fps, something you don't get with the other under $1k models, if you're on a tight budget. I'd go that route versus one of the entry level models.

See this thread discussing it:

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fo...mp;forum_id=37

If budget permits, I'd give strong consideration to the Sony A700. Of course, I'm biased, since I bought one. ;-) I think it would be better suited for sports compared to the entry level models. You can get one for $1259 now at http://www.berger-bros.com

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Old Feb 22, 2008, 6:26 AM   #39
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JimC wrote:
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For night sports, I'd probably see how the new Tamron works. At $699, I've got a feeling it's going to have the best "bang for the buck" in the 70-200mm f/2.8 lens category. Adorama is taking preorders for it now. So, it shouldn't be too long before we start seeing it on dealer shelves.
Adorama and Amazon are both taking orders on the lens (I have one pre-ordered through Amazon), but it still looks like it's going to be a while till they are shipped. My initial shipping date from Amazon was by February 18th, then put off to March 18th. Other indications we have discussed over on the Pentax forum have it being as late as May before the Tamron lenses start shipping to the U.S. (I really hope I'm wrong on this.)

Paul
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