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Old Sep 1, 2009, 7:43 PM   #41
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Sarah,
Great question! I like so many others I am reading about would be much happier if I never had to learn all the ins and outs about cameras and photography that have been noted in some of the more detailed replies above. I see many places where post authors suggest that even with the correct equipment indoor action will be difficult. If that is so, is there any point in my even trying? I am a very busy working mom and I am the only person in the family even remotely likely to try to figure any of this out. So, I could just say that outdoor action once in a while and from not as far away is the best I should ever hope for. I also should be considering the budget as we are now a one income family. But $250 on something I won't be happy with is not a bargain either so I just keep asking.

Oh! I have a Canon Rebel EOS IX lite camera with an ultrasonic 22-55mm lens and a Sigma 70 - 300mm lens. But it has sat unused often due to size and issues with getting zoom lens to auto focus in certain situations. The other camera I have is a Nikon L6 from several years ago. Like the size but it is so slow to take the shot both first and subsequent. So don't get good shots with that for anything with action ever.

Rita
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Old Sep 1, 2009, 8:15 PM   #42
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Default Photo Sample from the Kodak Z-1012 Camera

Hi Rita-

You pose an excellent question. Can a digicam take an action shot. Well, yes, they can, but the result may not please everyone in the family.

Take a look at this attached photo. It was taken on a cruise ship. That is where we used to teach digital cameras. Now we are happy to stay at home, teaching for our state university, and our local Community College, after more than 605 cruises where we taught digital cameras.

A digital camera can do the job, but you might not like the results. This photo was taken with a Kodak Z-1012 camera at a distance of over 100 feet. My husband, Bradley is handicapped and on a scooter, so we are always in the very back of the theater.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Sep 1, 2009, 9:23 PM   #43
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Sarah,
That seems like a decent shot for the circumstances. I could live with that. I am not familiar with the Kodak Z-1012 in order to compare to the other cameras we were discussing. Do you consider this example to be passable, good, or very good? It is fine for me. Are you saying this example is the best I am likely to get with one of the better superzoom cameras? Or did I miss the point? Did it require many manual overrides to get the shot? Was it cropped after?
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Old Sep 1, 2009, 10:45 PM   #44
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Go for the Canon SX10, you'll get a good deal on it because the SX20 has been announced now. It is a camera you will be able to grow with if you ever want to go the DSLR route because it's as close to a DSLR that you can buy on the market right now. Check it out,you won't be sorry

Last edited by gerrydee; Sep 1, 2009 at 10:47 PM.
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Old Sep 1, 2009, 11:12 PM   #45
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rita-

Yes, that is about the best that you will get out of super zoom camera. It you want better image quality, then the next step is to go to a consumer level DSLR camera. Yes, there was indeed some manual manipulation done to get that photo. It only involved minus Exposure Compensation, and that is not very difficult, at all. Can you get it better than the photo sample, most probably not. Notice how the dance action was frozen.

My perception is that you are not yet ready to go to even the most basic and inexpensive DSLR camera, That is very understandable. Most digicam users (readoint & shoot camera users) are not yet ready to make that rather large jump in technology.to a DSLR camera.

So, now you know about how far that you can force a point and shoot camera to go. As long as that is acceptable, you are fine with a super zoom point and shoot camera. You might want to watch our testing of consumer level DSLR cameras that I will attempt to do, or at least begin, over the Labor Day weekend. thanks for your post, Rita

I sincerely hope that you enjoyed a truly great day.

Sarah Joyce

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Old Sep 1, 2009, 11:28 PM   #46
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GerryDee-

I will respect and accept your constant posts in this thread.

However, I also want readers of this thread to clearly know/understand that I have never considered the SX-20, ever, and that I returned the SX-10 that I ordered due to it being severely ISO limited and having measurably poorer image quality.

I think it is very important to set the record straight. Now if you want to discuss the Canon XS DSLR camera, GerryDee, that is a lot different. The Canon XS DSLR camera is a very capable camera. You might want to follow our testing of the Canon XS DSLR camera against the Sony A--230 DSLR camera that will begin this Labor Day weekend.

We look forward to your sincere, truthful, interest and any realistic, on topic comments, that you might want to make about those two DSLR cameras only, as we conduct our side by side photos test with the Canon XS DSLR camera and the Sony A-230 DSLR camera this weekend. Now you know that you know the rules, please observe them, GerryDee. Thanks!

Have a great day, GerryDee!

Sarah Joyce

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Old Sep 2, 2009, 11:49 AM   #47
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Rita - It was no problem about your inserting 12 situations. With exception of the horse shows - our needs are extremely similar!! Thanks for chiming in!!
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Old Sep 2, 2009, 2:56 PM   #48
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The bottom line here really revolves around what photo image quality is acceptable for your use. I posted an on stage photo sample for Rita from a super zoom camera, the Kodak Z-1012 camera. That represents what you can expect out of a point and shoot camera by using some photo craft and experience.

Yes, a DSLR camera will produce better photo image quality, providing a bright lens (at least F 2.8 at the zoom range you are shooting with; even brighter lenses, such as F 2.0, F 1.8, or F 1.4 are even better) are used, due to its measurably larger CMOS imager. But, you must realize those better camera and lens specifications come at a price. so in this post we are just going to focus upon the technique I use with a point and shoot camera.

Your camera has to match up with your budget. If it exceeds your budget, you probably won't be a happy camper in the long term. Remember that whenever you zoom out with you camera, the aperture on almost every lens, begins to reduce in size and the camera will have to use long and longer shutter speeds to compensate for the dimmer/darker aperture. If you have any action going on, keep track of the shutter speed your camera is using to prevent blurring caused by body parts in motion. Hands and feet are the most common blurring areas.

In most well lighted school plays, dance performances, or music recitals, you are going to have action taking place on stage. Therefore, if you can use flash, use flash. However, most flash units that are built into cameras are very weak and only have an effective flash range of 10 to 14 feet. Yes, a few cameras do have greater flash range such as the Sony H-20 that has an effective flash range of 20 feet. But only a few cameras can do that. You probably won't be able to get the kids on the stage to come within that small flash range of your camera's built-in flash unit on most point and shoot cameras.

So you have two options: (1) if your camera is equipped with a hot shoe, you can use an external flash unit. Most mid range external flash units have an effective flash range of 20 to 25 feet. If you have no hot shoe on your camera, you still have an option. You can use a slave flash that uses the light from your camera's built-in flash unit to " trigger" the slave flash. However, investing in a slave flash is an added expense, around $(US) 100.00. Most mid range slave flashes have an effective flash range of 20 to 25 feet. (2) When you cannot realistically use flash, then you move to this option: you turn the flash off and you numerically increase the ISO setting of your camera. How high can you increase the ISO setting. That will vary from camera to camera. On the Kodak Z-1012 point and shoot super zoom, through experimenting I knew that I could use ISO 800 and still obtain a reasonable photo.

Taking photos with your point and shoot camera without using a flash and increasing the ISO setting is really different and requires some experience. Here is how I usually do it. I get there EARLY (an hour ahead of curtain time is what I usually plan to do.) I attempt to position myself at, or a near as possible to stage center, as far up front, as I can get for two reasons: (1) you don't want to have to shoot around other folks or over their heads. Try to get an unobstructed position so taking your photos is easy. (2) the nearer to the stage you can get, means that you will have to use less zoom, and your camera's aperture will not be as dim as it is at your maximum zoom.

You are there early, this is the time to take some practice shots, make sure your camera is set up just the way you want it. Here is what I do:set the camera to the "P" for Programed Auto mode, increase the ISO setting to ISO 800, and then, using your camera's Exposure Compensation feature, you set in -1.0 EV on the Exposure Compensation, and be sure your camera's IS is switched on, as you will be shooting at measurably slower shutter speeds. Lastly, make sure that your camera's WB (white balance) is set to the incandescent or tungsten setting. The usual symbol for that WB is a little light bulb.Those are your beginning camera settings.

When the curtain goes up, frame your first photo (I turn off the LCD so it does not disturb people around me, and I use the EVF on the Kodak Z-1012 camera). Half way depress the shutter release so you can see the camera's proposed shutter speed and the camera can achieve a locked focus. When you are ready, increase the pressure on the shutter release and take the photo.

Now you must check the resulting photo by switching your camera to the play back mode, and look at the saved photo. The key things that you are looking for in that photo are: (1) the facial tones of the kids in the photo. If the faces are pasty white, you have too much light in your photo. Reduce the light in your next photo by increasing the Exposure Compensation from -1.0 EV to -1.3 EV. if on the next photo you still have very white, bleached looking faces, you will have to further reduce the light by increasing the Exposure Compensation, now from -1.3EV to -1.7EV. If the kid's faces are too dark ro blue-ish then you have not got enough light in your photo. Increase your Exposure Compensation from -1.0 to -0.7. And, just like when you have too much light in the photo, you may have to add light several times to get the exposure of your photo perfectly "tailored" to the stage lighting.

(2) check the focus in your photo. Is it properly focused. Was there any blur created by moving hands or feet? If you do see blurring, you now have to frame your next photo more carefully. Get ready for a temporary stoppage in the action, when the kids hit a pose position. That is where you will have the least physical movement on stage. Take your photo when the kids hit that pose position. Please remember, that is why we watch the shutter speed all the time.

So there are the techniques that I regularly use, described in detail. I hope that helps. In my next post, I will detail the techniques I use when shooting with a DSLR camera.

Have a great day.

Sarah Joyce

Last edited by mtclimber; Sep 2, 2009 at 3:12 PM.
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Old Sep 2, 2009, 4:24 PM   #49
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Default H20 - and a newbie

here are a couple of pixs from the H20 I am trying out...





Cows ...landscape



Zoomed in....




Truck and trailer







Total zoom..




I posted these here in this thread, for 2 reasons..

1) to show the OP what this camera does for ..me..out of the box.

2) and to get some feed back as some of the pics weren`t that good. I used auto mostly but I did play with manual a little and forgot which ones I did it too LOL....



Last edited by littlejohn; Oct 7, 2009 at 10:52 AM.
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Old Sep 2, 2009, 6:03 PM   #50
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littlejohn-

Congratulations on your new Sony H-20 camera. Thanks for posting your photos. They look very good. I am happy to hear that you are please with your new camera.

On your, "Cows-Landscape' photo, if you had just crossed the road to the other side of the road you would have eliminated to distracting items: (1) The overhead wires. (2) The foreground portion of the road.

In the zoomed in cows photo, the camera was not held level. That is easy to do, and a common mistake. Whenever you have a definite horizon line, make sure to get it level. It is easily corrected. Just down load Picasa 2 from www.google.com. It is FREE and very simple to use. Among other items they have a leveling tool. And when you crop that photo, you can take the fence post out of the foreground as well.

In the "truck and trailer" photo, once again by crossing the road you could eliminate that distracting piece of road, and the car mirror in the foreground. After the fact, using, Picasa 2, you can crop the photo to eliminate those distractions.

In the "total zoom" photo I would crop out the sprig of barley or whatever in the right hand foreground and reduce the green in the foreground by about 50%, it will provide a much smoother composition for that photo.

All in all, littlejohn, the camera handled everything exposure-wise very nicely in the auto mode. You have made a very good start. Now just enjoy...

Have a great day.

Sarah Joyce
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