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Old Feb 27, 2009, 5:07 AM   #31
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So, if the XSi won't perform any better, and he doesn't like it, it's not a good choice. Right?

Either he spends a lot more money on a 40D (or the like) or he does what he can with the K200D that he has and likes. Right?
TCAV - buying the 40d doesn't help. IT'S ABOUT LENSES. 40d with kit lens = bad sports photos. Getting a more expensive body won't help him. An XSi with appropriat lens will outperform the 40d with kit lens for sports.
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Old Feb 27, 2009, 6:32 AM   #32
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JohnG wrote:
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TCav wrote:
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So, if the XSi won't perform any better, and he doesn't like it, it's not a good choice. Right?

Either he spends a lot more money on a 40D (or the like) or he does what he can with the K200D that he has and likes. Right?
TCAV - buying the 40d doesn't help. IT'S ABOUT LENSES. 40d with kit lens = bad sports photos. Getting a more expensive body won't help him. An XSi with appropriat lens will outperform the 40d with kit lens for sports.
I got it! It's about lenses. For sports, it's always about lenses.

He's got a Pentax K200D that he likes, but he's concerned about the performance of it's autofocus system.

He tried the Canon XSi because he heard it has a better autofocus system, but he doesn't like it!

If he wants a better autofocus system than the K200D has, but he doesn't like the XSi, he needs to look at something else! like maybe the 40D.

I suggested the possibility of the 40D because it gives him access to the large selection of lenses that would be appropriate for sports, but the body will cost more.

He doesn't like the XSi. He made that clear. Either he tries the K200D with its narrow selection of lenses appropriate for sports, or he skips over the XSI that he doesn't like, and finds something else that's more expensive butthat he likes and that has a better selection of lenses appropriate for sports.

People keep telling him that the XSi is good for sports, and I agree with them. But he's already said that he doesn't like it. Are people trying to talk him into buying a camera he has already said he doesn't like?
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Old Feb 27, 2009, 8:23 AM   #33
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It appears that Edward's decision comes down to available lenses. Between Pentax's lens roadmap along with Tameron and Sigma, there should be sufficient selection available in reasonably fast lenses at the telephoto end to let him do what he wants to do.

Here is the Pentax roadmap...
http://www.pentax.jp/english/imaging...ns/roadmap.pdf

Obviously Pentax is not the absolutely perfect solution, however it just may be a usable solution. I anticipate that there will be occasions that his take will exceed his expectations. On the other hand, there will be events that he comes away with nothing really usable, with a lot of in between opportunities, where he gets some good shots among a lot of not so good.

He may only be able to start with the kit lens, but in time (and saving lunch money - like all of us) plan for a new lens purchase that will help increase the number of good images.
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Old Feb 27, 2009, 8:43 AM   #34
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interested_observer wrote:
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It appears that Edward's decision comes down to available lenses. Between Pentax's lens roadmap along with Tameron and Sigma, there should be sufficient selection available in reasonably fast lenses at the telephoto end to let him do what he wants to do.
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He may only be able to start with the kit lens, but in time (and saving lunch money - like all of us) plan for a new lens purchase that will help increase the number of good images.

This is the crux of the matter. This is what Edward needs to decide up front. If "down the road" he is going to buy better equipment he is much better served in the Canon system for sports. Once you talk about using a Sigma HSM lens then the AF capabilities of the Canon system will outshine Pentax. So, buying Canon now makes sense.

If, however, he is never going to buy those lenses then the differences are small.

Or, put another way - an XSi with 85mm 1.8 lens will outperform any camera/lens combo in Pentax for basketball with exception of the K20. The 40d/50d from Canon with 85mm 1.8 will outperform anything in the Pentax lineup.

Conversely an XSi, 40d or 50dwith kit lens will perform just as poorly as a pentax camera with kit lens.

In field sports - the canon cameras with sigma 70-200 2.8 will outperform pentax with that same lens. And, of course, canon's other lenses provide an advantage - the 70-300 is USM lens is a fantastic consumer grade lens - only Oly has anything as good at the price point. The tamron lenses will perform mediocre in both systems because the don't focus fast enough even though they are sharp optically. Fast apertures aren't enough. All 2.8 lenses are NOT created equal. Shutter speed does you no good if the shot still isn't in focus.

So, as someone who actually shoots a lot of sports, here is my advice:

If you are 100% sure you will never buy good lenses for sports shooting, select whatever Camera/system best fits your other requirements - without the lenses they will all perform equally as poor.

If you think down the road you will buy those lenses then invest in the Canon system up front

Remember to get good sports photos you need the right camera AND the right lens. You also need the right technique and the right access. Without ALL of those 4 things you will get poor sports shots.

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Old Feb 27, 2009, 9:07 AM   #35
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Edward B. wrote:
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I realize that you can get a good shot from pretty much any camera, but below is an example of the shots I'd like to be able to take. Below was taken with an older Rebel with flash.


Let's look at this for a moment or two....

You have virtually no separation between background and foreground, as if a wider angle of view with a smaller aperture (higher f/stop number) was being used. So, the background elements are sharp (and distracting). This looks more like a photo you'd get from a non-dSLR model, with greater depth of field than you'd want shooting this type of subject.

The primary subjects are also bit overexposed (blowing out the detail in lighter areas like the white tennis shoes and jersey). Skin tones are also being impacted. Part of this may have been because the selected focus point was not on your intended subject (the camera may have been trying to use a full power flash to reach the background, since many metering systems will weight the focus point more). Direct flash is not going to be flattering in those conditions, even if focus point is accurate.

Basketball is very tough to shoot, requiring very high ISO speeds with bright lenses to stop the action consistently, unless you plan on using a flash (which has it's drawbacks).

At ISO 1600, you'll probably need a prime (fixed focal length versus zoom) with f/2 or brighter apertures (represented by smaller f/stop numbers).

Look at some of JohnG's posts in our Sports & Action Photos Forum, and you'll find some good examples of why you need higher ISO speeds with a brighter lens. Here is one thread where JohnG used ISO 3200 with an f/2.8 zoom. You'll also see some discussion about the benefits of the 85mm f/1.8 USM over the 50mm f/1.8 in the Canon lineup (for example, the 85mm will get you more range and focuses much faster). With an model that is limited to ISO 1600, you'll want a brighter prime (zooms are not going to "cut it"), which is one reason the 40D is a better bet for sports with ISO 3200 available.

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fo...mp;forum_id=82

In the Canon lineup, you're looking at spending roughly $360 for a Canon 85mm f/1.8 USM lens that could handle it for you, assuming you have access to the sidelines.

But, if you want the flexibility of a zoom, you'll want one that can maintain f/2.8 throughout the focal range (which increases size, weight and cost), using a camera body that can give you acceptable results at ISO 3200.

You could try to get by with a 50mm f/1.8 AF lens (under $100 in Canon mount), if you're close enough (for example, shooting from under the basket). You're not going to cover the entire court with a single prime lens. So, you'll have to compromise on what shots you can expect to get good results with. Canon's 50mm f/1.8 is going to focus slower than the 85mm f/1.8 USM, and it's not going to focus accurately at anything other than very close ranges from most accounts.

With the XSi, you'll want a Canon 85mm f/1.8 USM if budget permits, shooting at ISO 1600 to stop most motion blur. A better bet would be to move up to the EOS-40D, where you'd have ISO 3200 available (so that you could move to an f/2.8 zoom at some point later if desired for more framing flexibility when lighting permits).

In the Pentax lineup, you really don't have the same choices. Pentax offered a 77mm f/1.8 Limited (around $699), but I don't know if it's still being stocked anywhere. It's probably not going to have the AF speed of the Canon 85mm f/1.8 USM. Pentax also offers a 50mm f/1.4 AF lens (around $200). But, a longer lens may be a better bet for more keepers.

There is no one perfect choice, and your expectation of quality comes into the equation. If you want to work towards photos that look like the ones JohnG took, you'll need good gear to get there (for example, higher usable ISO speeds, fast Autofocus with good predictive tracking algorithms, bright and fast focusing lenses).

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Old Feb 27, 2009, 9:23 AM   #36
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As I see it, Edward B. already has an unopened Pentax K200D that he is concerned might not have a very good autofocus system.

His choices are:
  1. He keeps the K200D and gets something like the Tamron 70-300 Di LD which, as we've seen, isn't bad for outdoor sports, and the Pentax 50/1.4 which, as we've seen, isn't bad for indoor sports, with the potential of getting the Pentax 77/1.8 later which, as we've also seen, isn't bad for indoor sports either, or[/*]
  2. He returns the K200D and buys something else. He's already said he doesn't like the Canon XSi which probably rules out the entire Rebel productline. The question we still haven't answered forhimis this: What other dSLRs should he look at? Certainly, because of the great selection of lenses,anything from Canon should be at the top of that list, but since he doesn't like the XSi, the next step up is the 40D. But what others should he consider?
[/*]
Edward B.'s clock is ticking.
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Old Feb 27, 2009, 10:00 AM   #37
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I actually have a lot better grasp on the situation, now. Thanks to everyone for their input. I really don't think I can ask for anything more – now it's up to me to make a decision.



It's not that I absolutely hated the XSi – just that the K200D felt a lot more comfortable in my hands. If I picked up the XSi, I might get used to it and I'm sure I'd grow more comfortable with it over time.



What I really need to do is figure out if I'm going to invest in lenses down the road. If I am, it looks like I need to go with Canon if I plan on taking a significant amount of sports/action photos.



If I'm not, then it looks like I'll be served just fine by the Pentax.



I suppose another option for me would be to just use the Pentax, try it out in a ton of different situations, and see if it's meeting my needs or not.



As someone pointed out, that picture I posted of the girls basketball game isn't exactly great or anything. And, right now, I'm satisfied with that shot. Not to say I'll be satisfied with it a year or even a month from now. If the Pentax ends up not being able to do what I want it to, I can try selling it and switch to Canon.

Not the most ideal thing in the world, but I'm sure I wouldn't be the first person to switch systems.



If I think I'm going to end up doing that, though, I need to take a hard look at the benefits of Pentax vs. Canon.



The more I look at it the more it seems like the only major benefit the Pentax has for me is the ergonomics. I like the use of AA batteries, but I can live with propietary. I like that the camera feels more solid and is weather-sealed, but I'm not going to buy a weather-sealed lens which likely invalidates that bonus a little bit. And the XSi might be just as well built – just doesn't feel like it. I like that the kit lens has a manual focus ring and a metal mount – but if I buy more lenses down the road, then they likely won't have plastic mounts like the XSi kit. And for all I know, it really doesn't even make a difference whether it's a metal mount or plastic as far as durability. I like the idea of built in image stabilization, but in practice I don't know how much I'll use it.



I have a feeling that either way I go, I'll probably regret my decision within a month.



lol



Everyone here has been a huge help, though, seriously. I also registered over the Pentax Forum and got some good advice, but, obviously, most of the comments I got there were from people who primarily use Pentax. It's been very helpful to hear from both sides.
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Old Feb 27, 2009, 10:06 AM   #38
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If I were going to stick with Pentax, I'd at least go to the K20D for indoor sports use. After recent price drops, you can find a K20D kit for roughly the same price as an XSi kit now. But, you'll still want something brighter than the kit lenses for indoor sports, and I wouldn't expect the AF performance you'll get with some of the competing models.

In the Canon lineup, I'd look at the 40D. It's slightly higher (around $899 body only) than the other kits. But, you'd have more flexibility with it compared to the XSi, and you'd have more lens choices for sports use (not to mention faster Autofocus) compared to the Pentax offerings.

If indoor sports is a primary use for the camera, I'd consider this old saying: "Buy cheap, buy twice". ;-) You'll want to make sure you have tools that give you the results you want (and quality is going to be subjective, so only you can decide if your results are acceptable to you).

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Old Feb 27, 2009, 10:11 AM   #39
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TCav wrote:
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As I see it, Edward B. already has an unopened Pentax K200D that he is concerned might not have a very good autofocus system.

His choices are:
  1. He keeps the K200D and gets something like the Tamron 70-300 Di LD which, as we've seen, isn't bad for outdoor sports, and the Pentax 50/1.4 which, as we've seen, isn't bad for indoor sports, with the potential of getting the Pentax 77/1.8 later which, as we've also seen, isn't bad for indoor sports either, or [/*]
  2. He returns the K200D and buys something else. He's already said he doesn't like the Canon XSi which probably rules out the entire Rebel productline. The question we still haven't answered forhimis this: What other dSLRs should he look at? Certainly, because of the great selection of lenses,anything from Canon should be at the top of that list, but since he doesn't like the XSi, the next step up is the 40D. But what others should he consider?
Edward B.'s clock is ticking.
[/*]

Man, when you put it like that, it really gets my heart pumping, pumping full of dread!

I've looked at the 40d - it's too expensive for me right now. I mean, I could afford it probably, but I'd feel uncomfortable spending that much money on a camera up front without knowing that I really needed it. Kinda like buying a Ferrari when all I need is a car to drive back and forth to work. I can get a new XSi with kit lens for $650. That's about the top of my budget right now. I looked at the 20D and 30D as well, but it didn't seem like there was a huge difference in price between those two models and the 40D. Maybe I wasn't looking in the right spot – I checked Amazon and B&H, since those are two online retailers I'm most comfortable dealing with.

That said – if anyone thanks there's an entry-level camera out there that I've neglected, I'm open to suggestions. I did try out Nikon and am definitely not interested. Partly because the handling – I know, everyone loves them, and partly because of some irrational feeling towards the brand due to working with what I know think was simply a poor set-up.
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Old Feb 27, 2009, 10:48 AM   #40
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From Canon, there's the XSi and the 40D. You've already said the 40D is too expenmsive, and that you don't like the XSi.

From Nikon, there's the D60 and the D80. The D60 has an autofocus system that's not as good as the Pentax K200D that you already have, and the D80 which costs more than the Canon XSi but less than the 40D, so it might be acceptable.

From Pentax, there's the K200D that you already have, and the K20D. With the right lenses, the K200D might do ok. The K20D costs as much as the Canon 40D, so it's probably out.

From Sony, there's the A200, A300, A350, and A700. The A700 has the best autofocus system, but it costs more than the Canon 40D, so it's out. The others may or may not have better autofocus systems, but the selection of fast primes is smaller than for Pentax, and the ones Sony does have are a lot more expensive.

From Olympus, there's nothing that has a better autofocus system than the K200D, and their fast lenses are very expensive.

Any of these will suffice for "handshake shots at award ceremonies", but the sports shooting is the crucial factor. I suggest that you might give the XSi one more chance, and if you think you can use it effectively, jump on it, but if you have any doubts, stick to the K200D and live within it's shortcomings (real or perceived.)
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