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Old Aug 13, 2008, 6:46 PM   #11
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I defer to JohnG's experience and hard earned wisdom.
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Old Aug 13, 2008, 10:02 PM   #12
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to get good shots of gymnasts in motion, good "glass" is paramount. At the entry level (which is what your budget is going to allow you) you will not come close to JohnG's sample pictures.

Keeping in mind the limited budget, and keeping in mind that your pics will probably have a good amount of noise, which means that you will be limited in the size you print your photos, the cheapest combinations I can think of are:

e-510 (used about $379, new $430 body only) or e420 plus used 50-200 f2.8 lens, the used, non-swd type (if lucky, can be had for about 650).

for a few bucks less, you could get a used e-510 or new e420 and one of the sigma primes (105 or 150, both f2.8, for 400 and 650, respectively).

With a sony, you also have sigma primes at 2.5 at the same price (400 and 650).

This means you could get a reasonable kit for this for about 1000-1100. The results wont be professional, but will be decent if you are not planning on making posters and such.


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Old Aug 14, 2008, 12:56 AM   #13
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Thanks everyone for your input!

To answer some of the questions:

I held the Canon XS today and I did not like the way it felt in my hand. I suppose I would adapt though.

I am short and often take shots from above my head, so yes, the live view is at some times necessary.

I could also get accessories in the future, after my Hubby has accepted the price of the camera itself.

I am thinking I may have to give up on getting good shots during Gymnastics meets until I can put more $$ into it. I do not have floor access (I'm just the Mom). Some meets are better than others, but our home gym is very dark.
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Old Aug 14, 2008, 1:11 AM   #14
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If you need liveview because you want to hold the camera above your head, you'd need one of the newer dslrs with a tilting lcd, such as the sony a350.

Even then, it would be quite difficult to get sharp images of gymnasts in motion, as youd have a hard time focusing.

Now, if your goals are just to take more "mundane" pictures, such as your kids waling in the gym, posing still after a routine or in the podium, then you can "make do" with much simpler equipment.
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Old Aug 14, 2008, 5:00 AM   #15
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neverbug wrote:
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I am thinking I may have to give up on getting good shots during Gymnastics meets until I can put more $$ into it. I do not have floor access (I'm just the Mom). Some meets are better than others, but our home gym is very dark.
I would concur about giving up (for now). Sitting in the stands it will be EXTREMELY difficult to get good shots. You're not going to do that with an 85mm lens. And you're not going to get good shots holding the camera above your head. If your gym is very dark and you're in the stands you would probably need a camera with ISO 3200 (something the entry level Canons do not have) and a 70-200 2.8 lens (heavy lens and pricey - about $850 for a sigma 70-200 2.8).

Shooting action is difficult. And shooting with a DSLR is different than with a digicam. You have small focus points in the camera you need to keep on your subject. That's not going to happen with you trying to use liveview and holding the camera over your head. Given your situation and shooting style I think you'd be throwing money away buying a dslr to shoot gymnastics. I think you'd be VERY disappointed in the results. And, not only would you have to use the viewfinder instead - you'd have to be willing to take the camera out of auto or 'sports' mode - and spend some time learning how to set a proper manual exposure and custom WB. I know it seems odd - sports mode won't work for sports :Git will for easier sports outdoors in good light. But not for something like gymnastics.
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Old Aug 14, 2008, 6:09 AM   #16
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dlpin wrote:
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e-510 (used about $379, new $430 body only) or e420 plus used 50-200 f2.8 lens, the used, non-swd type (if lucky, can be had for about 650).

for a few bucks less, you could get a used e-510 or new e420 and one of the sigma primes (105 or 150, both f2.8, for 400 and 650, respectively).
The Olympus E-510 (and the E-410, btw) can't autofocus in 'Live View'. That would be a problem if you'll be using 'Live View' often. That's one of the improvements in the E-520 (and E-420.) I don't think the E-510 would be a good choice.

Also, the E-510 used to have a problem with thermal noise as well. When 'Live View' is used for a length of time, the image sensor would heat up, distorting the colors in the image. When the image sensor gets too hot the camera shuts off the 'Live View' feature.
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Old Aug 14, 2008, 6:12 AM   #17
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dlpin wrote:
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If you need liveview because you want to hold the camera above your head, you'd need one of the newer dslrs with a tilting lcd, such as the sony a350.
I beleive there are only three dSLRs that have 'Live View' on an articulating display. THey are the Sony A300 and A350 and the Olympus E3.

If that's important to you, your choices narrow considerably.


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Old Aug 14, 2008, 11:03 AM   #18
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You'd be surprised at how well I can shoot over my head! Even without a turning screen. Sorry, no examples.

Here are some of my shots with that old olympus. They're not frame quality, but worthy of keeping for memories. IMO, anyway.

I wouldn't likely be shooting over my head at gym meets, but in other venues. I just don't like having a camera glued to my face. My hubby has a Nikon D60 and I can't stand it. Even on a tripod I want live view. I can always play with his if I really want to figure out how these things work.

I think my best bet would be the Olympus 550/560/570 models. I am familiar with their menus and I have always been fairly happy with them for shots *other* than gymnastics.
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Old Aug 14, 2008, 11:05 AM   #19
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Another one. I know they're really noisy, but at least she's not a total blur.
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Old Aug 18, 2008, 11:15 AM   #20
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Thanks everyone for your advice! Now, I have 2 more questions:

1. What lens would you recommend for Hubby's Nikon D-60 (that I can't play with) for him to take gym pics?

2. I am going to get the Olympus SP-570. It's much more affordable. I see that there are some lenses for that camera. Would it be useful for me to get anything like that? I thought the polarizing one sounds cool for swim meets. Anything else that could be helpful for gym? I realize I'm still not going to get *great* shots, but if I could get some *good* ones I'll be happy for awhile.

thanks again!
Heather
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