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Old May 1, 2009, 8:15 PM   #1
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I need a super zoom digital camera for indoor sports.
My budget does not allow an SLR, so P&S category only.

I do not care how bulky the camera is, I have large hands.
I need the zoom to exceed 14X.

Could someone help me out, I would be shooting

Volleyball, Basketball, and wrestling indoors.
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Old May 1, 2009, 10:57 PM   #2
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Why 14x?

Budget?

What are your quality goals?

Are you trying to shoot pics for the local newspaper or a national sports magazine? Not going to happen with a P&S doing an indoors shooting event.

Want to shoot pictures to sell to the other parents? Don't bother, the quality of a P&Sshooting indoor sports is just not going to be up to the selling standard.

Shooting pics of your kids to share on the web with the grandparents? Want pictures for a scrape book? Ok, we got options, Lots of options:

http://www.steves-digicams.com/hardware_reviews.html

Pick a year of release and search for your criteria of 14x or better.



A few suggestions:

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2009_...anon_sx10.html

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2009_...canon_sx1.html

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2009_...odak_z980.html

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2008_...onic_fz28.html

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2008_...ji_s100fs.html

Personally I like the Panasonic FZ28, but the Canons feel really nice to the hand and are well built. The Fuji is good for shooting in poor light (amoung this group) but the price is getting up there compared to the others. The Kodak is a good value.

Willing to drop down from 14x and there are a lot more options.
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Old May 2, 2009, 4:26 AM   #3
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There are no superzoom cameras that will be good at what you want to do.

Shooting indoor sports requires very good equipment and a lot of skill to produce decent results.

Choose the superzoom with the fastest lens and best high-ISO performance, and keep your expectations very modest. Most of your pictures will be poor, but if you shoot a lot and persevere you might get a few nice shots.


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Old May 2, 2009, 5:01 AM   #4
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The guys are right you are not going to get results that most people would find acceptable for personal viewing with any of the P&S cameras they simply don't have the capabilities. The only one thata P&Swill probably do OK with is the wrestling as there isn't the same amount of movement as in volleyball and basketball, also often flash photography is allowed helping further.

Indoor sports along with night games are the most demanding areas for camera kit and generally the indoor lighting is worse. You will want the ability to shoot at ISO 3200 and an aperture of at least f2.8, now getting this with a P&S camera is not impossible with some of the wider angle lenses but the noise is simply too high to give usable shots.

We are not telling you this to be negative just to make sure that your expectations are set correctly so if you did go down this route you would know that it is almost impossible.
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Old May 2, 2009, 6:58 AM   #5
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Why 14x?

Are we talking high school sports? If so, in typical lighting, you're going to want a dSLR and you'll probably need to stick with a short prime (fixed focal length versus zoom) on a tight budget, shooting from the floor versus stands to get any keepers.

What is your budget?

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Old May 2, 2009, 11:34 AM   #6
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My budget is $550.

I just sold my Fuji S2 Pro and Sigma 28mm f/1.8 setup.

I have shot indoor games awhile back with a Canon 400d and Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6, Granted I had to post process the images in photoshop but they were taken w/o flash and were moderately acceptable. I shot with my own equitment for the school paper.

Here are my options for DSLR's (no specific order)

:arrow:#1
Sony Alpha 100
-Sigma or Tamron 70-300mm lens f/3.5 or 4 - 5.6
-Minolta 50mm f/2.8 lens (guy at volleyball game said they are perfect for all...)

:arrow:#2
Nikon D50
-Sigma or Tamron 70-300mm lens f/3.5 or 4 - 5.6
-Nikkor 50mm f/2.8 lens (guy at volleyball game said they are perfect for all...)

:arrow:#3
Canon EOS 350D/Rebel XT
-Sigma or Tamron 70-300mm lens f/3.5 or 4 - 5.6
-Canon EF 50mm f/2.8
================================================== ========
Here are my options for a Super zoom P&S (no specific Order)

:arrow:#1
Nikon P90
- Lens @ 26mm is f/2.8, Lens @ 624mm is f/5.0
- ISO up to 6400

:arrow:#2
Panasonic Lumix FZ50 / FZ50K
- Lens @ 35mm is f/2.8, Lens @ 420mm is f/3.7
- ISO up to 3200 (High sensitivity mode, probably impractical to use this high.)
:arrow:#3
Fuji S100FS
- Lens @ 28mm is f/2.8, Lens @ 400mm is f/5.3
- ISO up to 6400 @ 6mp, ISO up to 10,000 @ 3mp

:arrow:#4
Sony DSC-H50
- Lens @ 31mm is f/2.7, Lens @ 465mm is f/4.5
- ISO up to 3200

:arrow:#5
Canon SX 10 IS
- Lens @ 28mm is f/2.8, Lens @ 560mm is f/5.7
- ISO up to 1600


So... Most of these point and shoots would be equiv. to the Sigma/Tamron lenses that have a max focal length of 300mm @ an aperture of 5.6...

I have shot with the lens before and have got good results with post processing.

Can these point and shoots compete is my question, which one would you guys choose for acceptable school new paper publishing results.:roll:




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Old May 2, 2009, 12:39 PM   #7
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aeroelectro wrote:
Quote:
I have shot with the lens before and have got good results with post processing.

Can these point and shoots compete is my question, which one would you guys choose for acceptable school new paper publishing results.:roll:
What you are forgetting is the dslr has a BETTER SENSOR. It's not just about aperture - it's about the noise performance of the sensor.
Quote:
Can these point and shoots compete is my question
You don't seem to want to hear this but the answer it "NO" they can't

Quote:
which one would you guys choose for acceptable school new paper publishing results.
None of them are acceptable for publishing. I know you don't like this answer - but you not liking it doesn't change it. You're asking the question "I need to pound these nails, which of these wrenches will do the best job pounding nails" - the answer is none of them will. You need to use a hammer.

As far as DSLRs are concerned -none of the options you've listed are going to do very well. And they're all several generations old. The Canon or Nikon DSLR will do the best (with 50mm 1.8 (not 2.8 )lens for basketball/volleyball). The sony is a very poor choice - poor af performance and very poor high iso performance.


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Old May 2, 2009, 12:42 PM   #8
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JohnG wrote:
Quote:
You're asking the question "I need to pound these nails, which of these wrenches will do the best job pounding nails" - the answer is none of them will. You need to use a hammer.
I'm sure I could do a pretty good job with a wrench , as for photographing sports with these options it really wouldn't work.
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Old May 2, 2009, 1:46 PM   #9
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JohnG wrote:
Quote:
... You're asking the question "I need to pound these nails, which of these wrenches will do the best job pounding nails" - the answer is none of them will. You need to use a hammer.
I've had some luck with Cresent Hammers, though every attempt at using Monkey Hammers has been disappointing. :-)
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Old May 2, 2009, 1:56 PM   #10
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aeroelectro wrote:
Quote:
I have shot indoor games awhile back with a Canon 400d and Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6, Granted I had to post process the images in photoshop but they were taken w/o flash and were moderately acceptable. I shot with my own equitment for the school paper.
What kind of post processing? If you were brightening an underexposed image, you were getting more visible noise, just as if you'd used a higher ISO speed to begin with. You don't want to try that with a point and shoot model if you want any detail left in an image.

To get shutter speeds up to around 1/400 second (which is about the minimum you want to use for most indoor sports in typical high school gym lighting to reduce the number of photos with motion blur), you'd need to shoot at around f/2 at ISO 1600 if you want proper exposure.

That means using a brighter prime (i.e., Canon or Nikon 50mm f/1.8, not a 50mm f/2.8 ), unless you want to push the exposure a stop when using an f/2.8 lens (brighten it later with software, which means visible noise levels would be as high as if you were using ISO 3200 to get the same shutter speeds).

If you tried to use a consumer grade 70-300mm f/4-5.6 lens at it's wider zoom setting, you'd need to underexpose the image by 2 stops using ISO 1600, getting as much noise as if the camera had an ISO 6400 setting). That can get pretty ugly from an entry level dSLR, and you sure don't want to do that with a point and shoot camera.

At f/5.6 (the widest aperture you'd normally have when zoomed in much with a consumer grade 70-300mm zoom lens), you'd want to use ISO 12,800 to get shutter speeds up to around 1/400 second or so (or brighten one using software by around 3 stops, which is going to mean very high visible noise with virtually no detail left).

Now, you can probably get some good shots from time to time at a bit slower shutter speeds. For example, using around 1/200 or 1/250 second at ISO 1600 with an f/2.8 prime or zoom. Just take them when you see pauses in movement and/or have less movement across the frame (speed and direction of movement will play a role in how much blur is noticeable). Your percentage of keepers is going to be pretty small though.

A large number of them still going to have motion blur from subject movement at shutter speeds that slow using f/2.8 and ISO 1600. I'd use a brighter lens instead (or use a camera model that does better at ISO 3200 if you want to use a lens at f/2.8 ).

As for your dSLR options, the Sony Alpha 100 has relatively high noise levels. The newer A200 is better (but, still not that great at higher iSO speed settings). It's around $499 new, and you can get a used Minolta AF 50mm f/1.7 lens for around $100 used. That way, you could shoot at ISO 1600 with relatively good shutter speeds. In the Canon and Nikon lineup, look at their 50mm f/1.8 AF lenses (usually around $100 or less new).

Do you have any originals (not post processed images) from any photos you thought were acceptable from your 400D using a 70-300mm f/70-300mm f/4-5.6? That way, we could look at the exposure you were getting and see the settings for aperture, shutter speed and ISO speed that were being used. That would give members a better idea of the lighting conditions you're shooting in.

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