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Old Mar 5, 2008, 10:34 AM   #1
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I am a newbie, so please done flame me for my ignorance. I know I'm ignorant, but everyone has to start somewhere. I visited a camera store yesterday and was treated like crap -- the clerk was condescending, impatient, and patronizing. When we left my 11-year-old said, "why was that woman so mean to you?"

I am ready to move up in complexity and am willing to learn how to use these cameras.

I will be using the camera to shoot my kids' sporting events, most of which take place in nasty, low gym lighting. So I hope to find something that will help me take decent pictures of fast-moving objects in low light. I will also be taking a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Africa this year that I would like to docment.

My research has led me to consider the Fuji models -- S9100 or S6000FD. Can anyone comment on which might be best for my needs?

Also, can you please recommend the accessories I should buy immediately as far as batteries, memory, etc.

One last question -- is it safe to purchase a camera from an online dealer I've never heard of?

Thank you very much for your time, knowledge, and patience. I am grateful.
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Old Mar 5, 2008, 11:27 AM   #2
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ChristyKay1 wrote:
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I will be using the camera to shoot my kids' sporting events, most of which take place in nasty, low gym lighting.
You'll need a DSLR to shoot indoor sports in a typical school gym. You'll also need a bright lens (the kit lenses that come with most DSLR models are nowhere near bright enough for indoor sports, unless you want lots of blurry photos, even at ISO 1600).

For best results, that means using a prime (fixed focal length versus zoom) lens, with f/2 or brighter (smaller f/stop numbers) available. For example, an 85mm f/1.8 or 100mm f/2. A budget choice would be a 50mm f/1.8 in most camera mounts.

Note that the entry level Nikon bodies (D40, D40x, D60) will not Autofocus with the primes they have available for this purpose (no focus motors built into their 50mm f/1.8, 85mm f/1.8 or 105mm f/2; and these 3 Nikon bodies require using a lens with a focus motor built in).

I'd probably look at the entry level Canon DSLR models for the best bang for the buck in suitable lenses in this market niche for indoor sports. Their 85mm f/1.8 (which is usually the preferred lens choice for indoor sports) runs a bit over $300. The 50mm f/1.8 can be found for under $100 (but, the 85mm will likely be a better lens from most vantage points). I'm assuming you'll be able to get close enough to use these and get some keepers (not shooting from the stands)

You'd probably be wasting your time trying to shoot with a non-DSLR model for most indoor sports, unless you can get some photos during pauses in the action.

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Old Mar 5, 2008, 11:59 AM   #3
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Christy,

Of the two Fuji models you mentioned, the S6000 would be better in low light conditions. However, Jim is right regarding gym pics - to capture fast moving action in a typical school gym, you will need to invest in a DSLR and fast lenses...and that will become rather expensive. Figure out how serious you are about photography, and come up with a budget.

Beware online dealers - if their prices are more than $20-30 less than what everyone else is selling a camera for, there is probably something wrong with them (as well as the camera). Don't throw your money out the window - send it to me if you don't want it anymore (LOL). Seriously, stick with reputable merchants.

the Hun
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Old Mar 5, 2008, 4:05 PM   #4
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P.S.

I'd let members know what your maximum budget is, too. We can probably suggest some used alternatives from reputable dealers that would be a better option compared to a new non-DSLR camera model for indoor sports, if budget doesn't permit a new DSLR solution with brighter lenses.
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Old Mar 5, 2008, 7:37 PM   #5
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JimC is an expert on high quality sports shooting. You will need a DSLR with a good bright lensto get top quality shots in most indoor sports venues. However, you can do ok with a few of the point and shoots. One camera I liked for this purpose was the Fuji S5200. It features a 10X optical zoom and a sensor which does better than most point and shoot competitors in low light. The S6000fd is better at the same ISO at the same aperture setting. However, the S5200 can use a relatively wide aperture - f3.2 at full zoom, whereas the S6000fd uses a narrower aperture of something like 4.9 at full zoom. What does this mean? It means that maybe you can use a lower ISO (with less noise) on the S5200 than with the S6000fd. The s5200 can be bought at a number of online etailers for less than $200.
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Old Mar 5, 2008, 7:50 PM   #6
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ChristyKay1 wrote:
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I am a newbie, so please done flame me for my ignorance. I know I'm ignorant, but everyone has to start somewhere. I visited a camera store yesterday and was treated like crap -- the clerk was condescending, impatient, and patronizing. When we left my 11-year-old said, "why was that woman so mean to you?"


Christy, don't feel bad about not having experience because all of us started from a position similar to where you are now. There is no reason for a camera store to treat you in the way you mention.

I have the s6000fd and love it, and I also have a Pentax K10 DSLR. I used the Fuji for shooting night time soccer during the 2007 season, and got some "fair" shots with it, but bought a DSLR before the football season and that's what I'm now using for shooting soccer at night.

The s6000fd will go up to ISO 3200, but must be used with noise reduction software at that level because you pick up so much noise. I tried it this year with basketball once, just to see what it would do. The results were extremely disappointing. One thing not mentioned was the slowness of the LCD viewfinder, and with basketball, focusing because a "best guess" operation because of the speed of play.

The s6000 is about as good as you will find for a point and shoot in low light conditions. (It's far stronger in low light than the s9100, from what I have read on this forum.) However, it just can't compare with a DSLR with the right lens.

In addition to some of the cameras mentioned, another entry level DSLR you might consider would be a Pentax K100. It's a 6MP camera with pretty good performance up to ISO 3200. (Still, I would probably count on using noise reduction.) Pentax makes a really nice FA 50mm f1.4 lens that generally sells for alittle under $ 200. In a really bright gym, you can get away with an f2.8, but on most, you'll need a faster lens.

A couple of shots to show the difference I've seen. The first is from 2007 and was one of the better soccer shots I got with the Fuji.



The second was taken a couple of weeks ago with the DSLR and a 50-135 f2.8 lens in a stadium with really poor lighting.



Finally, this is a basketball shot taken in a poorly lit high school gym with the Pentax and a 50mm f1.4.....taken from the front row of the bleachers on the side.



I don't have any of the attempts to shoot basketball with the Fuji. They were simply so bad that I erased them.

Paul

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Old Mar 5, 2008, 7:58 PM   #7
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robbo wrote:
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JimC is an expert on high quality sports shooting.
I wouldn't go that far. I don't normally shoot indoor sports (other than a couple of times with a KM Maxxum 5D and Sony DSLR-A700).

But, I do look at a lot of photos and comments from sports shooters here (JohnG, Mark1616 and others), and from my limited experience shooting indoor sports, and what I can see from better sports shooters, you'll need a better solution compared to the models under consideration for decent results, if you want a higher percentage of keepers.

For example, when I've shot basketball, I needed ISO 1600 and f/2 for decent exposure using a 1/500 second shutter speed with a Minolta 100mm f/2 Autofocus Lens (and a few of those were underexposed). With an f/2.8 zoom (I used a Tamron SP 35-105mm f/2.8 AF Len for some of the images wide open at f/2.8, with a Sony A700 the last game), I needed ISO 3200 for proper exposure if I wanted to keep shutter speeds up in the 1/500 second area.

You can get some keepers at slower shutter speeds, depending on the direction of movement and how much you're filling the frame, But, I wouldn't advise it if you want a higher percentage of keepers without motion blur. You'll want a brighter prime for best results.

I'd go with a used DSLR and lens solution from a reputable vendor that has a good return policy and short term warranty on used gear (for example, http://www.keh.com or http://www.bhphotovideo.com ) if I were on a tighter budget.


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Old Mar 5, 2008, 9:04 PM   #8
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Thank you allfor your kind posts. Jim, budget is a concern right now...we're in the midst of an international adoption. Can I pull this off for $800 or less to get started? Or am I in dream land? Also, I would love recommendations for good used equipment dealers.

Your advice for starting with Canon...if I'm looking at the EOS 350D RebelXT and the Canon Standard EF USM Lens--85mm F/1.8, would I be on the right track? I'm assuming I'd need another lens to shoot "regular stuff" (non sports)? Any suggestions? (I know I won't be getting a camera and 2 lenses for under $800).

Can you recommend a good book to get me started?

Thank you very much.

Christy
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Old Mar 5, 2008, 9:10 PM   #9
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Thank you for showing me these shots -- the differences are amazing. I am talked out of a P & S. I will research the Pentax camera you suggested. By the way, if any of the kids in those shots are yours-- you've got some great looking children! Thank you again.
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Old Mar 5, 2008, 11:02 PM   #10
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For shooting sports you will need at least a 200mm lens not an 85mm. 200 - 400mm is the length your after for most sports. You may want to get a tele-extender like a 1.4x, 1.5x or 2x to get closer to the action.

I have the S-9100 its a great camera for "non sports". I used it for high School football with some decent pictures but its not a sports camera. I did use an S-5100 for baseballlittle legaue state finals 2 summers ago with somegreat results (was able to use about 25% of the photos I took) but always felt like I needed to get closer for the outfield and 3rd base. i stood at the first base fence about 14 to 16 feet past 1st base. I mainly shoot fire and rescue type stuff as well as special government events and it is a really rerally great camera for that. My 9mp fine shoots have made some very nice 16x20 prints (using on-line printing site i think its perfectposters.com)

Also if the budget can take it get a transcend memory card from newegg.com I have the 133x 16GB CF card and it rocks! Jim C recommended it to me when I needed to look for a card to use for shooting a wedding to supplimentthe 2gb and 4GB cards I already owned. I've only used it three time so far but it is hands down a great card when you need to take a lot of photos without changing cards.I used it last month when a strip mall in my area caught fire and the card kept up with my shooting, never missed a shot or had to wait a long time for the buffer to clear even shooting at 9MP. Was able to take 300 shots and had plenty of room left.

From what you've told us so far I'd say the 6000fd or a D-SLR would be best for you. The D-SLR is gonna put you over budget with a really nice sports lens.

dave
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