Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > What Camera Should I Buy?

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Oct 8, 2009, 10:53 AM   #21
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnG View Post
Unless and until we start seeing low light sports photos from cameras below the A700 they are, at best, unproven performers for low light sports.
I think you're misinterpreting my posts. I was just pointing out that the Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 lens was not the "same cost" as the Canon and Nikon lenses with IS built in. ;-)

Quote:
At worst, they're still not up to what the competition can do. I believe I am consistent in this - as a camera proves itself I add it to my recommendations.
For Gymnastics, from what I can see if photos taken by sports shooters, I probably would not suggest the entry level Sony models like the A230, as they're not really going to be as suitable for higher ISO speed use compared to the more advanced models. But, the same thing would apply to the entry level Canon models below the new T1i. ;-) Iif someone is on a *very tight" budget and willing to compromise on percentage of keepers/IQ, I would certainly suggest them compared to entry level models from other brands.

From posts I've seen from users of multiple Sony models, AF is very nice on the newer models (thanks to faster internal AF processing) -- with lots of comments that it's noticeably faster compared to the previous models.

As for models using the Sony 12MP CMOS Sensor, The A500 is looking quite nice from reports and images I've seen so far. It should start hitting dealer shelves within the next two weeks. Then, we should see a lot more "real world" results from it. There is little doubt in my mind (having used models like the Nikon D300 and D5000), that even the entry level Sony models like the A230 have faster "real world" AF compared to competing entry level models given equivalent lenses. The A500 should be even faster (with lower noise at higher ISO speeds).
JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 8, 2009, 10:53 AM   #22
Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 8,529
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by javacleve View Post
I cannot afford $1000 for just the lens, however.
So, do I give up on gymnastics photography altogether? Or, is there a compromise which will allow me to at least take better photos than I have been with my Nikon L14, whilst gaining other advantages (such as eliminating the shutter lag)?
Is there a dSLR with a usable manual focus?!
All the major DSLRs to the best of my knowledge allow for manual focus capability. The problem is most DSLR viewfinders aren't really conducive - they're smaller, dimmer and don't have focus screens designed for manual focusing. So it's more difficult than it was on film SLRs. Some models DO have larger, brighter viewfinders and some allow you to buy different focus screens which are better suited for manual focus. I don't manually focus for sports anymore - it's challenging. So I'm not sure which camera model is a good solution there. If you do go manual focus then, of course, you take out AF constraints on the camera. But you do want a solution that provides that bigger/brighter viewfinder, still wantt good ISO 3200/6400 performance and f2.8 lens.

The challenge with answering your question about "do you forget gymnastics" is - I don't know what your specific threshold is for "good enough". So it's tough for me to say what solution would give you those 'good enough' shots. Things are easier with outdoor sports - there are inexpensive options and a number more people shooting and posting images with those. For example a Tamron or Sigma 70-300 lens at < $200 could be used to get OK photos of daytime little-league games. For basketball, a 50mm 1.8 at < $100 if you're shooting from the baseline can get some OK shots. With distance limitations and horrible lighting in gymnastics it's much tougher to give you a "good enough" solution. Especially since distances aren't constant like they are in these other sports. In basketball if you can shoot from the baseline I know the distances. Even from the stands - there's a fairly standard distance involved if you're in the first couple rows. For gymnastics, all bets are off because the venues differ so much. That's my honest answer.
JohnG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 8, 2009, 11:00 AM   #23
Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 8,529
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimC View Post
As for models using the Sony 12MP CMOS Sensor, The A500 is looking quite nice from reports and images I've seen so far. It should start hitting dealer shelves within the next two weeks. Then, we should see a lot more "real world" results from it. There is little doubt in my mind (having used models like the Nikon D300 and D5000), that even the entry level Sony models like the A230 have faster "real world" AF given equivalent lenses. The A500 should be even faster (with lower noise at higher ISO speeds).
And when you or another sony user can start showing actual SPORTS photos in low light - galleries of them - gymnastics, volleyball, basketball, etc - then I'll be on board. Otherwise it's unproven. Because of course, it's also a matter of how accurate and fast the camera tracks a moving subject. So, while Oly can make the claim that the E-3 is the fastest focusing camera made until I see low light sports photos from it, I'm not going to buy it. And while a Pentax user can claim the K-20 was faster than a previous model I wasn't going to recommend it as a sports solution. So, until you get sports users that are producing the photos then I'm not going to buy into it. There are lots of people in all camps - Canon, Nikon, Sony, Oly, Pentax that like to make all sorts of claims - pro and con about AF and sports shooting capability. In my experience very few of them actually share any photos and only a very small percentage of those that do are producing competant results. So if a photog isn't getting competant results - it's tough to take their recommendation. And if you want to see competant results - take a look at fred miranda and dgrin.com - they both have sports forums and you'll see some very competant shooters there. DP Review is tougher to sort through because the forums are gear-centric. So, show me the low light sports galleries from a camera and then talk about whether it's capable in the real world.
JohnG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 8, 2009, 11:11 AM   #24
Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 8,529
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by littlejohn View Post
Your point #2...was worth the entire read, IMHO...I assume there is a math formula somewhere for this. Is there also an example that you know of that illustrates this? For instance how much difference does 2 time more light make in a photo? (once you get up of the floor from laughing that is...)
Glad to help. Here's a little write-up I had on exposure. Don't want to re-type so I'm just cutting/pasting. Hopefully if I misstated something someone will correct me. The write-up was in regards to general sports shooting.

Exposure is controlled by 3 variables:
1. Aperture – how much light gets to the image sensor
2. Shutter speed – how long the sensor is exposed to the light
3. ISO – how sensitive the sensor is to that light
Aperture – how wide the iris in the lens opens to let light in. Measured in f-stops. The f-stop is a ratio of the opening to the physical focal length of the lens. Because it’s a ratio, if the focal length stays the same, and the opening gets wider, the ratio (or f-stop) gets smaller.
What you need to know off the bat is – the smaller the f-stop the wider the opening and thus the more light that gets in. There is another resulting affect – depth of field. The wider the aperture for a given focal length, the less of the image will be in focus. The narrower the aperture for a given focal length (i.e. the larger the f-stop) the more of the image will be in focus.
Read here to get an understanding of depth of field:
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tu...ries/dof.shtml
F-stops are measured in FULL STOP or PARTIAL STOPS (usually 1/3 stop).
Full stop values: F1.0, f1.4, f2.0, f2.8, f4.0, f5.6, f8.0, f11, f16, f22, f32
(there’s a pattern that makes it easy to remember – every other stop is a doubling f1 – f2 – f4 – f8 – f16 vs. f1.4 – f2.8 – f5.6 – f11 – f22)
Shutter speed – how long the shutter stays open and light hits the sensor. It is measured in seconds. In most cases the shutter is open far less than a second – so the notation is typically 1/x. Shutter speed is also often referred to in STOPS. Full stop values are typically 1/15, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250, 1/500, 1/1000, 1/2000, 1/4000, 1/8000. Notice every STOP is a doubling. The camera is usually capable of changing shutter speeds in 1/3 stop increments though.
Shutter speed is important for sports shooting because it is shutter speed that determines whether or not you see motion blur. Different types of motion require different shutter speeds to completely freeze. A major league pitcher throwing 95mph requires a very different shutter speed to freeze than a jump shot in basketball.
In most cases, as a sports shooter, faster is better. There are exceptions, but in general you want faster shutter speeds. For many human sports, 1/500 is considered the minimal shutter speed you want to have. For softball, however 1/500 will show a lot of blur in pitching, hitting and throwing.
ISO – how sensitive the camera’s sensor is to light. Also measured in full and 1/3 stops. Full stop values are 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200. Notice again every stop is a doubling of value. ISO 200 is twice as sensitive to light as ISO 100. The negative affect of higher ISO though is you get a lot of digital noise in the images.
Now for the fun part – how they all work together.
Think of proper exposure as the image looking good – not too dark, not too light. Let’s say you take a photo that is properly exposed.
Let’s say the 3 variables for that photo are: ISO 200, f8.0 and 1/250.
Now, those exact settings aren’t essential for the proper exposure – what is essential is their RELATIVE value to each other.
You can change the sensitivity of the sensor (ISO) up or down. If you change it up without changing the other two values, the image will be too bright. If you change it down without changing the other two values the image will be too dark.
The same holds true if you change only aperture (fstop) or change only shutter speed.
BUT, if you change ISO UP and one or both of the other two variables DOWN you’ll get the same exposure.
SO, original shot was ISO 200, f8.0 and 1/250
If you move ISO up 1 stop to 400, to get the exact same exposure you need to move one or both of the other 2 variables DOWN by a total of 1 stop.
So ISO 200, f8.0 and 1/250 has same exposure as ISO 400 f16 1/250 has the same exposure as ISO 400 f8.0 1/500
Similarly if I bump ISO up from 200 to 1600 (3 stops), I can change the other 2 values by a total of 3 stops. So I could gain 3 stops of shutter speed –
ISO 200 f8.0 1/250 has same exposure as ISO 1600 f8.0 1/2000

So, how do you decide which combination of these 3 variables you want?
Ah hah,
In general, for this type of sports shooting you want wide apertures (so you get shallow depth of field – so you see your subject in focus but the background blurred) and you want high shutter speeds so you freeze action.
To that end, for outdoor sports, photographers often shoot with f2.8 lenses set to f2.8.
To gain faster shutter speeds they will increase ISO until they get a fast enough shutter speed to freeze the type of motion in question. Experience will tell you what that shutter value is.
JohnG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 8, 2009, 11:20 AM   #25
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 350
Default

OK, the same review did say that noise became visible on the A230 after 400ISO, which is consistent with Consumer Reports. Since that and shutter lag are my biggest beefs with digital photography, I'd have to say the A230 isn't my best solution
I don't like the discoloration of the pixels, is that called chromatic noise?
John G, I understand what you are saying about "good enough." Where are you finding your examples of sports photography? Do you just google the camera model with the word "sports?" If I could find some examples of "good enough," I will post them.
Basically, your photographs are stunning! I don't think I can afford the equipment to achieve that (not to mention the user error LOL)...I'd settle for clean (not too much chromatic aberration) and reasonably crisp (like in the critique thread, the photo of the dog which you said could be sharper--I would be happy with how it looked as is). Like JimC (or was it Littlejohn?) said, at least I'd have the memory. That's what I'm going for. One step up from amateur, perhaps?!

Maybe my best solution would be to get a better lens for my N80 for the gymnastics and find another camera for everything else?
javacleve is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 8, 2009, 11:22 AM   #26
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 350
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by javacleve View Post
Where are you finding your examples of sports photography? Do you just google the camera model with the word "sports?" If I could find some examples of "good enough," I will post them.
oops just saw the references in your other post, I will have to check them out...thanks!
javacleve is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 8, 2009, 12:03 PM   #27
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 629
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by javacleve View Post
I would be happy with how it looked as is). Like JimC (or was it Littlejohn?) said, at least I'd have the memory. That's what I'm going for. One step up from amateur, perhaps?!

Maybe my best solution would be to get a better lens for my N80 for the gymnastics and find another camera for everything else?
ya i said that....Its hard to decide until 'you' know what you want at the end of the day vs $$$.

I am think one step up from amateur as well. Why,?? because I can grow into it and decide IF that what i really want to do. If I do then I am sure i can sell it or at least i can simply upgrade the 'body' as i will have some lens from the first..in the long run it maybe cheaper.

But too low, may discourage me as well as buying too high (complicated).

I share your feelings ..its a tough situation. Shooting sports is hard enough, and costly...and you'll have to decide just what quality you want.

Here's a thought for you...Would you be happy with 1-5 awesome sport shots of your kid? Or do you need 100's?

If a few is ok, then you can buy lower take a lot of shots, or set yourself up to get that 'one' keeper..and move on.

If 100's is what you're after..then 'buddy up' with JohnG

Another suggestion if you want perfect pics of a particular event..(competition). Hire a photographer for that day...(just a thought)

Last edited by littlejohn; Oct 8, 2009 at 12:05 PM.
littlejohn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 8, 2009, 12:15 PM   #28
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 350
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by littlejohn View Post
ya i said that....Its hard to decide until 'you' know what you want at the end of the day vs $$$.

I am think one step up from amateur as well. Why,?? because I can grow into it and decide IF that what i really want to do. If I do then I am sure i can sell it or at least i can simply upgrade the 'body' as i will have some lens from the first..in the long run it maybe cheaper.

But too low, may discourage me as well as buying too high (complicated).

I share your feelings ..its a tough situation. Shooting sports is hard enough, and costly...and you'll have to decide just what quality you want.

Here's a thought for you...Would you be happy with 1-5 awesome sport shots of your kid? Or do you need 100's?

If a few is ok, then you can buy lower take a lot of shots, or set yourself up to get that 'one' keeper..and move on.

If 100's is what you're after..then 'buddy up' with JohnG

Another suggestion if you want perfect pics of a particular event..(competition). Hire a photographer for that day...(just a thought)

Actually, I'd be thrilled with a few "awesome" shots!
Wouldn't hiring a photographer be just as expensive as buying my own camera?! Especially if I wanted to do it more than once? It's a good thought, though (one we employed for our wedding ) In that case, though, he used a Hasselblad...
javacleve is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 8, 2009, 12:18 PM   #29
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 350
Default

Is it acceptable to post some "situation" photos here, that I took with my L14, to show what I dislike about it? Or, would they be too large? I can resize them, but that could affect what I am describing...
javacleve is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 8, 2009, 12:29 PM   #30
Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 8,529
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by javacleve View Post
Is it acceptable to post some "situation" photos here, that I took with my L14, to show what I dislike about it? Or, would they be too large? I can resize them, but that could affect what I am describing...
Photos are always helpful. There used to be guidelines somewhere about file sizes but I can't find them anywhere. In general I wouldn't post anything larger than 400x600. If you have a site that hosts photos you could provide a link to a full size image. That way people can view the larger size if they choose but it doesn't clog up a page at Steves for people still using dial-up.
JohnG is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 9:21 AM.