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Old Jun 18, 2008, 6:44 AM   #21
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A couple answers:

The sony will be pretty good focus wise. Unfortunately you'll find it difficult to locate ANY reliable servo focus comparison between camras (i.e. tracking moving subjects). You can find SOME metrics that speak to focus speed but invariably they only relate to initial acquisition of a target - which is important but only part of the game in sports photography. So I don't think you'll be able to find anything that tells you how closely the two cameras compare in that category.

Is the XSi worth $400 more? No. But, as TCAV pointed out, LENSES are an important part of the equation. If sports shooting is important to you, you're not going to use kit lenses from ANY camera to do that. So, using only body price without consideration for the cost of the sports-specific lenses you will need is short sighted. I suggest you do a bit more research to determine which lenses you would use in each system to get a total cost (even if you're not buying everything now).

I would furher recommend you see actual photos taken with the lenses in question OF SPORTS. Here's the thing - sports shooting isn't easy. It's VERY demanding of the equipment. Lenses that take decent still shots can fail pretty miserably in the sports world. There are a ton of people out there shooting sports - and not just on sports shooter. And there are plenty of photos from all kinds of gear. If you can't find sports photos from a given lens it's either because the lens is too new or it isn't a good sports lens. I would say the same for any camera that has been on the market for 4 months or so. If you can't find sports shots with the camera that should tell you sports shooters aren't using it.

The reality is this - most website reviewers or magazine reviewers dont have a clue about shooting sports. And, it's difficult to quantify and scientifically test gear for sports shooting. The best way to determine whether a piece of gear is good for a specific sport is to get real-world field test reviews from sports shooters. And, of course, seeing photos. Never trust a sports shooter with no sports photos to share.

No matter what system you buy into, if you think you're going to shoot sports with any semblance of quality by only spending $500 you're in for a big shock. For what it's worth, I think Sony is right behind Canon & Nikon from a sports perspective. They don't have pro level sports camera yet, but their consumer level cameras appear to show promise. Unfortunately not many sports shooters are using them right now so it's difficult to get that field level experience. But even so, you need to understand you're not going to buy the 2 lens kit or spend $200 on a 300mm lens and get quality sports shots. If you weren't interested in sports shooting this discussion wouldn't be taking place. But if someone tells you there's a cheap solution to shooting field sports and low light I strongly encourage you to look at their SPORTS photos. Then judge for yourself whether the quality is acceptable to you.

And, as I mentioned earlier - you want LARGE PRINTS. So I'd recommend asking the person with said photos if you can print a couple out. Seeing an 11x14 print is much different than seeing a small image on a website.

So, in conclusion - I think Sony could work well for you. But you're not looking at the whole cost if all you're comparing is kit prices. So look at the whole cost and choose some lenses based upon real world sports samples you see from those lenses. Otherwise you may find like countless others you spend hundreds of dollars on lenses not up to the demanding task you've set.
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Old Jun 19, 2008, 5:47 AM   #22
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My only 2c is that the XSi sensor has lower noise at 1600 than the most of the other camera's. According to reviews it is slightly better than the XTi.
A friend has a Nikon D40x, and at 1600 you can clearly see the noise even on the camera LCD. If you want low light performance, I woul go with Canon. (I am biased since I have an XSi)
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Old Jun 19, 2008, 10:54 AM   #23
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I doubt you'd see much difference between them at typical print or viewing sizes. Some parts of the images look better from one, other parts look better from the other. Upload them to your favorite local processor, print them at 8x10" and see what you think. ;-) I sometimes use my local Walgreens Pharmacy, since they have one at the corner leaving my subdivision. You can upload them to walgreens.com and pick them up at your local store an hour later.

Here are some full size images of the same subjects in the same lighting at imaging-resource.com, all taken with the aperture set to f/8. The exposure is pretty close (although they used a slightly faster shutter speed with the Sony for roughly the same exposure in the same lighting, shooting at ISO 1600, f/8 and 1/250 second with the Sony; and ISO 1600, f/8 and 1/200 second with the XSi).

Rebel XSi at ISO 1600

Sony A200 at ISO 1600 (note that the A300 uses the same 10MP sensor, with the same image processing options as the A200).

Sony A200 at ISO 3200
(note that ISO 3200 is not available on the Rebel XTi or XSi).

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Old Jun 19, 2008, 11:12 AM   #24
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Re-read this thread (and again thanks to everyone for all the help) and got to thinking, are any of these choices really going to matter when compared to what sports photographers use? I mean - Where I can find what they use they are using "professional" cameras - so - since this is my first and obviously entry level cameras does comparing what pro's use really help? I mean I know it does help to look and know but specifically in deciding between the cameras I am looking at.
IOW - if I am starting out with the Sony 200/300 or Canon XSi - would it ever make sense to put a $3000 lens on it? The pro's don't seem to do so. So if the camera is limited (however it may be - still confused as to why a "professional" grade body has less MP and seemingly less features and cost way more than an entry level dslr but thats a whole different thread) then a decent lens (like the Sigma's mentioned) would seem to go hand in hand with this level camera. Then factor in the used lenses that are available for both seems eith minolta fitting the Sony that field is more level as it has been mentioned Sony lens choices are not as plentiful as Nikon or Canon.

OK - so if you don't mind - what specific lens would you recommend for the Sony 200/300 and why (for my purposes) and what specific lens would you recommend for the XSi and why. Just asking for what you think for the larger zooms - the Sigma 70-200, 100-300 f2.8 and 100-300 f4 have been mentioned at points as have Sony brand and Canon brand. I guess Tamron isn't a recommended lens (reading dpreviews site and they seem to like the brand??)
And - would you recommend getting body only (as has been mentioned that the kit lenses will not meet my needs), only asking as it seems getting a 18-55or70 with the camera doesn't add much to the cost in many cases.
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Old Jun 19, 2008, 11:15 AM   #25
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Thanks Jim - since I will be printing the posters myself I will download those pics and run them on my printer when I get home. Hope to be able to print 16" wide prints for now looking toward life size (maybe one day)
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Old Jun 19, 2008, 12:08 PM   #26
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Personally, with a Sony solution, I'd get a used Minolta 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 APO Macro Autofocus lens for the daytime sports use, as I mentioned in one of my previous posts to this thread. It's going to be a smaller and lighter lens compared to the more expensive choices (a brighter lens like a Sigma 100-300mm f/4 is going to be larger and heavier, in addition to costing you a lot more).

If you decide you want a higher quality lens later (like a Sigma 100-300mm f/4) for daytime use, you're not going to lose much selling one of those Minolta lenses. and you'd only have around $800 total invested in a kit (A200 + 18-70mm + used 100-300mm). This lens has a good reputation (better than the Sony or Minolta 75-300mm lenses).

Minolta 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 APO Macro lens in EX condition w/ hood and caps for $299

Then, use it for a while before deciding if you need anything else.

As already mentioned, your choices are more limited right for the night games on Sony mount right now. But, Sigma is releasing their latest II version of the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro in Sony mount, and the last report that I saw was that Sigma USA was expecting delivery of this lens in Sony mount around the end of this month (so, it should start showing up on dealer shelves next month).

http://www.adorama.com/SG70200H2MAX....&item_no=5

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Old Jun 19, 2008, 12:33 PM   #27
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JimC wrote: That one must have sold (that listing is no longer there). Here are some more:

Listings for Minolta 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 APO Macro lenses at keh.com

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Old Jun 19, 2008, 12:50 PM   #28
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camconcay wrote:
Quote:
So if the camera is limited (however it may be - still confused as to why a "professional" grade body has less MP and seemingly less features and cost way more than an entry level dslr but thats a whole different thread) then a decent lens (like the Sigma's mentioned) would seem to go hand in hand with this level camera. Then factor in the used lenses that are available for both seems eith minolta fitting the Sony that field is more level as it has been mentioned Sony lens choices are not as plentiful as Nikon or Canon.

OK - so if you don't mind - what specific lens would you recommend for the Sony 200/300 and why (for my purposes) and what specific lens would you recommend for the XSi and why. Just asking for what you think for the larger zooms - the Sigma 70-200, 100-300 f2.8 and 100-300 f4 have been mentioned at points as have Sony brand and Canon brand. I guess Tamron isn't a recommended lens (reading dpreviews site and they seem to like the brand??)
And - would you recommend getting body only (as has been mentioned that the kit lenses will not meet my needs), only asking as it seems getting a 18-55or70 with the camera doesn't add much to the cost in many cases.
Alright, here are some answers:

What makes a pro body a pro body? Better focus system, more fps, much more csutomization for how everything works, more controls external to the menu system, weather sealing and build quality, better dynamic range, better high iso performance, larger sensor. Megapixels is not even close to the most important feature. It's really not. The most used pro sports camera today is the Canon 1d mkII-N. It's 8mp. And it's the most widely used pro sports camera.

So, should you put an expensive lens on an inexpensive body? ABSOLUTELY. From mid level DSLRs down the lens will have greater impact on quality SPORTS photos than the body. What you get with more expensive lenses is better IQ at maximum zoom (which you're going to be much of the time) and better quality at maximum aperture (which you're going to be most of the time). You'll also get faster, more accurate focusing out of them.

I would absolutely agree it doesn't make sense for most people to buy a $4000 camera. But spending $1000 - $2000 on a lens if the primary purpose is sports? Absolutely.

As for Tamron - the reason they don't get mentioned much is because they don't have a good enough focus system for sports. Even their latest and greatest 70-200 2.8 lens, while optically very good is deemed too slow to focus to be a good sports lens. Sigma is the only off-brand that has a decent focus motor built into their HSM lenses.

Lens recommendations in canon camp:

Sigma 120-300 2.8 $2700

after that you must choose - optimise day time results and get 100-300 f4 ($1000) or give yourself flexibilty for day and night and get 70-200 2.8 (Canon = $1100, Sigma = $850). You could add a 1.4x TC to the 70-200 for around $200. After that, the Canon 70-300 IS USM ($560). For large sports photos I would steer clear of the budget telezooms.

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Old Jun 19, 2008, 3:12 PM   #29
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What John said about good quality lenses on entry level cameras goes for everything, as far as I'm concerned. I do landscape, architecture and macros (mostly the latter) and I've discovered that a mediocre lens on any camera will ALWAYS give you a mediocre picture. I have two really good lenses and the quality I get even on a budget DSLR outshines the same scene with a poor quality lens every time. A good portion of image quality depends on the lens. If you have a set budget and have a choice of buying a less featured camera and a good quality lens - take the lens every time. That lens can last a lot longer than a camera body so think of it as an investment.
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Old Jun 24, 2008, 7:42 PM   #30
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Hello to all-

Looks like its been a couple of days since the last post here, wondering camconcay, what you ended up buying?

Posted basically the same question then read your post and all the responses (twice).




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