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Old Aug 26, 2009, 10:51 AM   #11
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anthony_b-

I shoot all the time, using point and shoot, super zoom cameras, at ISO 800 and have good results. But there is indeed a technique to be learned to do that. That is all part of learning the photo craft.

That being said, a DSLR will probably produce a somewhat better photo (better image quality) if you are using a fast lens suited to the distance you are shooting from, and also make the proper camera adjustments.

You see, anthony_b, taking good photos in a low light level environment is very much UNLIKE taking photos on a sunny afternoon at Grandma's house. Low light level photos take some adjusting of the camera to get the best image, and that is required whether you are shooting with a point and shoot camera or a DSLR camera.

Well that is good input, anthony_b! It sort of turns the whole discussion in a different direction. Perhaps we ought to discuss, at length, what is really needed to set up low light level photos.

You are busy so I will not blab on and on. Have a good day.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Aug 26, 2009, 11:38 AM   #12
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I would also like to ask if there are other requirements you might have. For instance, do the kids participate in any organized sports? Do you think they might in the future? Indoor sports or outdoor sports?

Yes. It matters.
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Old Aug 26, 2009, 12:16 PM   #13
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Tcav, I have two boys that play baseball and my older girl plays indoor voleyball. Plus school recitals and stuff. We live in Florida so we're outdoors a lot (beach, Disney, Universal Studios, zoo, parks)
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Old Aug 26, 2009, 12:30 PM   #14
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Just to summarize from a few of the OPs statements:
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I know that down the road slr users would get extra lenses, but for my needs that would not be a concern at this time
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My gripe is low light performance
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Tcav, I have two boys that play baseball and my older girl plays indoor voleyball. Plus school recitals and stuff.
I just need to confirm some things. I'm assuming you do NOT intend on taking many photos of your kids in sports. Please correct me if this is not the case. No DSLR with kit lens and no digicam on the market is going to take good indoor volleyball photos. Recitals can be tricky things too. Sarah has some good digicam examples from cruises with stage lighting but that's completely different than many school auditoriums. So, for recitals I thiink again you'd be disappointed with any digicam or DSLR with kit lens.

If low light is causing you angst, please provide the specific low light situations you want to take photos in. As mentioned, technique is important but so is the right equipment for the job. For example - if you want photos at volleyball - most times flash photography is prohibited. In most gyms I shoot in, you need an F2.8 lens and ISO 3200-6400 to get decent shots. No digicam is capable of delivering the goods and no DSLR kit lens will do a good job either. There are also a numer of other considerations if volleyball is what you want.

If it's indoor parties or kids playing then a good external flash is what is needed (on either a digicam or DSLR)- built in flashes aren't very good even on DSLRs. And those same high ISOs / wide apertures you might use for sports are poor choices for indoor parties and kids playing because the lighting isn't good enough to stop subject movement and you often want more depth-of-field than an aperture of 2.0-2.8 can give you.

There are other types of situations where a tripod is the most appropriate solution for low light.

So, my point is - there is no single 'low light solution' that works for everything. What works for a stage show on a cruise won't necessarily work in a school auditorium which might not work in a gym with faster movement which is different than a living room with kids playing or a party going on which is different than city scapes at night.
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Old Aug 26, 2009, 12:37 PM   #15
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For sports/action, you'll need a fast AF system, and the two dSLRs you're looking at don't really qualify.

For baseball, a telephoto zoom lens that goes out to 300mm (on an APS-C dSLR) will cover the infield from the dugout; from the stands you'll need something longer.

For indoor sports, a lens with a maximum aperture of f/2.0 or larger (numerically smaller) will allow you to use a shuter speed fast enough to capture the action. Something with a focal length of 85mm if you're shooting from courtside would do ok, but from the stands you'll need something longer. Pentax has a 77mm f/1.8 which might work, and Sony has an 85/1.4 and a 135/1.8 but they are very expensive. Canon and Nikon have a better selection of lenses like this, and they're less expensive as well.

For recitals, the action isn't as fast as for sports, but you'll need something that goes out to about 200mm with an aperture of about f/4.0, so you can use a shutter speed fast enough to capture dance.

For baseball, the Pentax K20D or Sony A700 might do well, but for the volleyball, you should look at something from Canon or Nikon.
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Old Aug 26, 2009, 12:37 PM   #16
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anthony_b-

Give us a rough estimate as to what percentage of your photos are taken under low level lighting conditions, please?

Low Light Photos are a priority
Family photos are a priority
Any problems with Flash Range?
Are sports photos on that priority list?

I am not being overly inquisitive, I am just trying to get a better bead on the best camera.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Aug 26, 2009, 12:42 PM   #17
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Another piece of useful information might be your budget for this.
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Old Aug 26, 2009, 1:12 PM   #18
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Budget is $500......Percentage of shooting

60% outdoors (sports or parks/beaches)
40% indoors (family gatherings, birthday parties)
10% indoors school functions / night outdoors


When it comes to sports, I'm not getting too complicated. I basically take photos of them batting or on the field. I was able to get decent shots with my p/s when they were close to the stands...
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Old Aug 26, 2009, 1:19 PM   #19
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It seems like a Superzoom would be the fit for me I guess (Panasonic fz35). I'm just puzzled that it seems like you really can't do anything with the basic DSLR kit...I would imaging that I would get at least or better IQ then a regular p/s....Not to many parents in the stands have $2k worth of gear and are able to take some nice shots.
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Old Aug 26, 2009, 1:59 PM   #20
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You can do a lot with a basic dSLR kit. You can do as well or better than a Superzoom, within the limits of the kit lens. The difference is where you go from there. No superzoom will be able to shoot your daughter's volleyball games. No superzoom will capture the action during a play at second base. No superzoom will be able to capture a low noise photo of a dance recital without a lot of motion blur. For those kinds of things, you need a dSLR and appropriate lenses.
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