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Old Oct 19, 2008, 8:12 PM   #1
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I am looking for a camera I was hoping to use at my son's high school basketball games. I was hoping to continue with some sort of point and shoot because once high school is done I probably won't need it for anything other than vacations, and every day use. Is there any point and shoots out there that would work? Other wise what would my best option be?
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Old Oct 19, 2008, 8:35 PM   #2
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jodiw wrote:
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I am looking for a camera I was hoping to use at my son's high school basketball games. I was hoping to continue with some sort of point and shoot because once high school is done I probably won't need it for anything other than vacations, and every day use. Is there any point and shoots out there that would work?
I haven't seen any examples from a point-and-shoot that I would consider acceptable. The best point and shoot I've seen at high ISO was the F30 but that camera has been gone for over a year. Manufacturers have pursued more megapixels so the newer digicams have fairly poor high ISO performance. And I still never saw any photos from that camera I thought were acceptable for basketball.

Even beyond that, there is the issue of focus performance.

I understand your hesitance to go with a DSLR. I will add that shooting low light sports is difficult. Even with the best equipment it takes a lot of practice to develop the proper technique necessary for success. So, not only do you have to spend the money you also have to spend time learning HOW to shoot sports and how to post process sports images.

To shoot HS basketball you will need either a 2.8 aperture lens and ISO 3200 in the camera or 1.8/2.0 prime lens and ISO 1600 in the camera.

Canon & Nikon are the leaders in sports photography - they control about 99% of the pro sports market and probably 90% of the amateur sports market. BUT, here's the rub:

Nikon D60 is not a great sports camera. It has a sub-standard focus system for sports cameras and without a built in focus motor it cannot autofocus the short nikon 1.8 /2.0 lenses you would likely use in basketball.

On the Canon side, the XSi has only ISO 1600. So you're limited to using prime lenses which are more restrictive (you can't zoom and the DOF is shallow).

The Sony cameras are decent but the entry level models have poor high ISo performance and I have yet to see evidence their AF performance is up to the competition. By the 2nd tier A700, Sony competes well but not at the entry level.

You could get by with the Canon XSi and 85mm 1.8 (another $370).

Moving up to the Canon 50d, Nikon D90 or Sony A700 would allow you to use a 70-200 2.8 lens.

But that's all a lot of money - and you STILL need to want to put in the time to learn how to shoot basketball. It's tougher than it looks.

Only you can decide if it's worth it to you to spend the money and time learning.
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Old Oct 19, 2008, 8:59 PM   #3
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You're probably going to need a dSLR with a bring prime (fixed focal length versus zoom) lens for best results. You'll probably need an f/2 or brighter lens (represented by smaller f/stop numbers) to get your shutter speeds up into the 1/400 or 1/500 second neighborhood in a typical high school gym at ISO 1600.

I'd probably look at the Canon dSLR models with an 85mm f/1.8 USM lens if budget permits. On a tighter budget, you may be able to get some keepers with a Canon 50mm f/1.8 AF lens. But, an 85mm is usually preferred, as the distance you'll be able to get accurate AF at will be a bit more limited with the 50mm. You won't cover the entire court with that type of solution. But, you'll want something that bright for a higher percentage of keepers without any blur from subject movement. Another camera to look at would be the Sony A200. A new Sony 50mm f/1.4 would run you around $349 in that mount (but, you could get a used Minolta 50mm f/1.7 AF lens for under $150). An 85mm is usually the preferred choice, (with Canon's 85mm f/1.8 USM solution being the lowest price between those options). The Sony/Carl Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 (which is a brighter lens) runs around $1299 now (although you can find a used Minolta 85mm f/1.4 for around $750 in Excellent Condition at vendors like keh.com)..

Nikon's entry level models like the D40, D40x and D60 don't have focus motors built into them like other Nikon models. These entry level bodies require that you use lenses that do have motors built in (like Nikon's AF-S or Sigma's HSM lenses). Nikon's brighter primes in 50mm and 85mm don't have focus mtors built in. So, you wouldn't be able to use a Nikon 85mm f/1.8 with one of their entry level models if you wanted Autofocus. The same thing applies to the Nikon 50mm f/1.8 AF lens (won't Autofocus on an entry level Nikon body). If you go to a higher end Nikon body (D80, etc.), then you can have Autofocus with those lenses.


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Old Oct 19, 2008, 9:12 PM   #4
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I see JohnG beat me to it. lol I was checking prices on some of the 85mm lenses before I finished responding and didn't notice the post.

What's your budget? On a real tight budget, I did notice Cameta Camera has factory reconditioned Nikon D50 models (an older 6 Megapixel Camera) for $399 now. You'd still need a bright lens to go with it (but, this older model has a focus motor built in, so Nikon's brighter primes would Autofocus on it). Here's an example:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...m=110298578994

Just be very careful buying Nikon gear on Ebay, as you want to make sure it's intended for sale in the U.S., with a Nikon USA manufacturer's warranty. If you buy a camera that's not intended for sale in the U.S., NIkon USA will refuse to service it. Cameta is reputable and doesn't sell gray market Nikon gear (but, you'll find a lot of vendors that are selling gear that isn't intended for sale in the U.S.). But, you'd probably get better Autofocus performance with one of the newer Canon models.
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Old Oct 20, 2008, 7:32 PM   #5
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Your budget and willingness to learn your equipment are going to impact this issue.

Want to shoot pictures like JohnG has posted on this forum are going to be next to impossible with a low cost (or high cost) point and shoot camera.

(By the way, I shot some college sports many years ago. Speed of your equipment is absolutely the most important factor to achieving reasonable results.)



How bad/good are point & shoot cameras? Yes some of those cameras open up to f/2.8. BUT that setting is not fixed at f/2.8.... as the lens lengthens (zooms)the f-stop number very quickly gets bigger allowing less light to reach the sensor. Often even with a little bit of zoom thelens is as slow as f/5.6 or even f/8.

For example I amsitting in my very bright private office... my low cost dslr at my side. The camera says with ISO 1600 I am able to shoot as fast as 1/60 of a second at f/5.6 with my lens zoomed out to the max. 1/60th is just barely fast enough for capturing theslowest runner on the elementary school team. With my slow kit lens I am stuck.

I mention my office setting for a reason. It looks bright. It is as bright as a modern classroom (I have done pictures at various local schools), and by far brighter than any gym that I can remember. But most people grossly overestimate the amount of available light, especially when light is bouncing around ina confined space, and gyms are really quite dim.



But you say, your neighbor/friend/mother-in-law or whatever has one of those nifty dinky point and shoot cameras and they work wonderful for taking picturesdown at the lake, theGrand Canyon, the flowers in the flower bed etc. Hey, I own one of those nifty dinky point and shoot cameras and they do work well.... for casual snaps OUTSIDE. They just don't take great pictures in specific settings, like low light and fast action. If you are happy with the results you have seen from the nifty dinky point and shoot cameras by all means buy one. There are some nice point and shoot cameras that will do well for casual snapshots. But I think you will be back on this forum saying "I spent $200,$300 or even $500on a camera and the pictures sux". And they will. Remember, low light and fast action are beyond the capabilities of most cameras on the market.


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Old Oct 20, 2008, 10:42 PM   #6
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The Fuji S100fs, an ultrazoom point and shoot, would probably work OK - but it's over $600.

Lower priced ultrazoom possibilities are the Panasonic FZ28 and Sony H50.

But for the best results you'll have to spring for a DSLR with a sharp lens.
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Old Oct 22, 2008, 3:41 AM   #7
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I will suggest you the Fuji S100fs, an ultrazoom point and shoot and it's over $600.

And lower priced cameras you can get are ultrazoom Panasonic FZ28 and Sony H50.

But the best to spring for a DSLR with a sharp lens.


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Old Oct 22, 2008, 9:07 AM   #8
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richardmiller wrote:
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I will suggest you the Fuji S100fs, an ultrazoom point and shoot and it's over $600.

And lower priced cameras you can get are ultrazoom Panasonic FZ28 and Sony H50.

But the best to spring for a DSLR with a sharp lens.

Hmm. Sounds familiar.
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Old Oct 23, 2008, 1:25 PM   #9
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That's pretty funny!

the Hun


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Old Oct 24, 2008, 4:42 PM   #10
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I think that there are lots of good point & shoot cameras out right now. Get what you can work with ie. manual settings. Photography should be FUN. I think a lot of people foreget that sometimes. Learn to use the camera and have fun. Photography is art if you like the photo I say too bad on the rest of the world.
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