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Old Oct 21, 2009, 12:27 PM   #291
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Here's the whole thing in a nutshell - you need to handle the T1i with kit lens. THen and only then will you be able to decide if that camera / lens is too bulky for your normal shots. You've already indicated you'd be happy with built in flash. So, handle the camera and decide. If you think it's too big then this is all moot. It simply doesn't matter - you won't use the camera. And, another 2 dozen posts back and forth here still won't help you decide - TCAV, Sarah, myself - no one hear can help you decide if it's too big.

NOW, I would suggest that the bulk of a lens for gymnastics not be a huge consideration. You're only going to be using the lens for 'special occasions'. If you think you're likely to leave a lens home instead of taking it on the handful of occasions to the gym then this is again a huge waste of time and energy. You have to decide for yourself if you can accept that amount of slight inconvenience.

I would suggest that if you can accept the size / weight of T1i and kit lens and you're willing to pull out a larger lens for gymnastics then it's simply a matter of COST and EXPECTATIONS. When this all started I explained you're going to be constrained by distance. I would suggest that a sigma 70-200 2.8 ($820) is your best bet. Short of that (in terms of $$$) the next step down is the Canon 100mm 2.0 ($450) - but I'll suggest again that after 30 feet don't expect good results.

At this point you're just not going to get more useful suggestions from members here. Your other alternative is to keep looking at photos from other moms and when you find photos you can accept, buy the gear they're using. But in all honesty this is going around in circles here. Any "good" shot shown/linked to was taken with a DSLR at least as big or bigger than the T1i and was either taken with a 70-200 2.8 type lens or a shorter lens (like the 85mm 1.8) but closer than you'll be.

So, if you can't make up your mind on the size/weight then keep looking at photos from other parents until you see photos from a digicam that are good enough for you. We can't judge 'good enough' for you.
I understand, John...I'm not looking for new recommendations at this point. I was just reporting back as to the results of my tests and handling of the D90 (and responding to the comments with my own concerns). I know it's up to me You are correct, if I am happy with the T1i with kit lens for general use, then it's just a matter of money to handle the gymnastics. If I'm NOT happy with the T1i for general use, then it's a matter of going with the Oly E20 or, like you said, another P&S, and giving up the gymnastics photos.

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Old Oct 21, 2009, 12:38 PM   #292
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ok, good point. The 100mm is the part that concerns me, though...seems like 200mm is what is recommended (and that makes it humongous!!!)
Don't forget the crop factor. 100mm on a T1i is like 160mm.

And a 70-200/2.8 lens is big and heavy. But you could also use the Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8, which is like 80-240mm, and it's a lot smaller and a lot lighter (though it's still bigger and heavier than the Canon 100/2.0.)
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Old Oct 21, 2009, 12:43 PM   #293
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ok, good point. The 100mm is the part that concerns me, though...seems like 200mm is what is recommended (and that makes it humongous!!!)
But a 70-200mm 2.8 lens has a collar on it. That can be mounted on a monopod and then weight is no factor whatosever when shooting. Again, it's about the right tool for the job.
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Old Oct 21, 2009, 1:43 PM   #294
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the 50-150 2.8 sigma could be another choice here. a bit of a compromise in focal length and size between the 100 2.0 and the 70-200 2.8s.

i have heard only good things about the optical quality of this lens.
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Old Oct 21, 2009, 1:51 PM   #295
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I agree. I've seen more than one Sony A700 user recommend it for indoor sports (and one of them also uses a Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 on a Canon 7D now).

I'd just make sure to get the latest II version of it, as I've seen reports about earlier copies having AF issues that required a trip back Sigma for rechipping.
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Old Oct 21, 2009, 2:08 PM   #296
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But the main reason it's smaller and lighter is because it's an APS-C only lens, while the 70-200 can be used on FF dSLRs as well.
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Old Oct 23, 2009, 9:06 PM   #297
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A brief update and one more question (I hope I haven't tried your patience too much by now! )
The question: I forget now, was there some reason we had ruled out the Sony A700?
I piqued the interest of the guy at the camera store tonight, and so he has one coming so that we both can try it out. We read dpreview and it sounds like it might just be the solution for me...of course, it remains to be tested and handled...and it does seem to have more noise at the higher ISO, but still tolerable.
There is a fast zoom lens for $1800, which is in the same ballpark as the Nikon and Canon equivalent lenses that have IS. Granted, there are Tamron and Sigma lenses for the Nikon and Canon, but they won't have IS. You all say that's not important for sports work, but it could help me go with slower shutter speeds if necessary, instead of wider aperture and/or higher ISO.
The body with kit lens goes for $1100, so that's $200 more than the T1i, but he said it is a better build of camera (magnesium alloy).

In the Nikon lineup, he suggested the D5000 as being a less expensive body, which would allow me to afford the better glass more quickly. But I forgot if there was any flaw with that one? It did feel more comfortable than the D90 to me, although not as comfy as the ones with forward-set shutter release buttons (the Nikon makes me stretch my finger more than the Canons, for example).

Summary of my research (and the camera salesman agreed):
Canon T1i is not as sharp as the xsi, though it is still very good. Lighter weight and more comfortable, though, than the D90. Probably what I'll get if the Sony doesn't pan out, even though it isn't perfect.

Olympus E620 obviously has the fatal flaw of focus trouble in low light and noise at higher ISO. I tried it out in the store and it did "hunt" at times. I did get to see the IS in action, though, and it really worked! I took a zoomed picture in the store's low light (I think 150mm); the shutter speed said it was 1/40...and it came out clear unless you magnified it 5 times. Not too shabby!
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Old Oct 23, 2009, 9:15 PM   #298
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the fast lens being $1800 is why we ruled out the sony. nothing to do with the camera itself which is quite nice.

the canon fast prime (100 2.0) is ~$400. that is why we ruled in the canon's. i guess if you are going to go with a 70-200 2.8 then it would negate much of the price difference between brands.

and the salesman is wrong the t1i is not less sharp than the XSi. per-pixel sharpness is probably less, as you would expect with a more densely packed sensor. but there are more pixels.

the flaw with the nikon was that you didnt like the feel of the nikons. and the lower-end nikons do not have a built in focus motor. (which may not be a flaw if you only plan to buy lenses with motors)

and 1100$ is too much for the a700. you can get the kit for 900$ at bh.
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Old Oct 23, 2009, 11:18 PM   #299
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the fast lens being $1800 is why we ruled out the sony. nothing to do with the camera itself which is quite nice.

the canon fast prime (100 2.0) is ~$400. that is why we ruled in the canon's. i guess if you are going to go with a 70-200 2.8 then it would negate much of the price difference between brands.

and the salesman is wrong the t1i is not less sharp than the XSi. per-pixel sharpness is probably less, as you would expect with a more densely packed sensor. but there are more pixels.

the flaw with the nikon was that you didnt like the feel of the nikons. and the lower-end nikons do not have a built in focus motor. (which may not be a flaw if you only plan to buy lenses with motors)

and 1100$ is too much for the a700. you can get the kit for 900$ at bh.
Thank you, Hards, for reminding me of everything
...I understood that I would need a 200mm for gymnastics, so that would level the playing field between Sony & Canon, price-wise (I think the others were saying I could do without the IS, in which case I could get a less expensive lens for the Canon, but I'm thinking it would be helpful to me).
As for the sharpness of the T1i, the salesman wasn't the only one saying that. I know we covered this before, because there is the in-camera processing to consider, but it keeps popping up in reviews. Not that it is BAD, but just not as good as the xsi. Seems that going with more pixels but keeping the sensor the same size, certainly didn't improve anything, and actually seemed to degrade it a bit. I don't know, perhaps you are right; I'm just hearing it enough to catch my attention.
I forgot about the focus motor thing on the D5000--I am vaguely recalling that the lenses WITH the focus motor brings the price up, so not such a good deal on that camera then.
And thanks for the tip on the price.

I'll be back after I try out the Sony
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Old Oct 23, 2009, 11:25 PM   #300
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I am not sure that the Sony, as much as I like it, has the required lenses.

Sarah Joyce
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