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Old Oct 10, 2009, 9:06 PM   #71
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javacleve-

Only a suggestion, however, a lot of us here in the Forum, get a camera for a trial period. During that time you can really see how a camera performs and how our technique matches the camera's performance.

Have a great weekend.

Sarah Joyce

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Old Oct 11, 2009, 11:24 AM   #72
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Wow...lot's of info. here. I just want to make a few points. First, I don't believe in default settings. I think users should play with all settings, compare the results of each one and then pick the one the produces the most pleasing images for one's taste. The lens being used is also crucial in terms of IQ (which includes exposure and color saturation, not only sharpness as many people see it). Second, I find 200mm not long enough (unless the camera has a 4/3 sensor, which has a crop factor of 2x, making the 200mm a 400mm). Lastly, the A230 has a long shutter lag if DRO advanced is being used. DRO standard is not bad but I actually prefer to turn DRO off altogether. IMO, DRO causes more image issues than it actually helps. You can always bring up shadows in PP.
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Old Oct 11, 2009, 11:53 AM   #73
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Second, I find 200mm not long enough (unless the camera has a 4/3 sensor, which has a crop factor of 2x, making the 200mm a 400mm)
Tullio - out of curiosity, not long enough for what? Anything? Or a specific type of photography?
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Old Oct 12, 2009, 12:46 AM   #74
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Well, I usually use long zooms to photograph wild life. For just about anything else I can use the 18-70mm and crop. For wild life (i.e. birds, animals at the zoo, etc.), I find 200mm to be not long enough. Also, to photograph some sports such as professional football or baseball, unless you are real close to the field, a 200mm lens will not give you enough reach. A 200mm lens may be OK in small arenas but I think that overall its use is much more limited.
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Old Oct 12, 2009, 9:14 AM   #75
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Originally Posted by javacleve View Post
Thank you, Jim...that makes sense; it's a little overwhelming but it makes sense. I don't want to spend $2000, or have a bulky, heavy camera, either--or I won't really use it. So I think I'm going to have to compromise on the gymnastics situation and look for a camera that will work in the other situations, without being too bulky and expensive.
If you go with an entry level model, you may be able to get some photos using a bright prime if you can get close enough. On a tight budget, you could get a Canon 50mm f.1.8 for around $109. Sony makes one for $149. You can find used Minolta 50mm f/1.7 AF lenses for under $100 that would work on the Sonys.

What's your total budget for a camera and lenses to start with?

I'd suggest going with a model that has a better ISO 3200 (i.e., the T1i or 50D in the Canon lineup, or the Sony A500 or A700 in the Sony lineup). That way, you could use a brighter (one with f/2.8 available throughout the focal range) zoom and get more keeper (and I wouldn't overlook the used lens market either).
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Old Oct 12, 2009, 9:29 AM   #76
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If you go with an entry level model, you may be able to get some photos using a bright prime if you can get close enough. On a tight budget, you could get a Canon 50mm f.1.8 for around $109. Sony makes one for $149. You can find used Minolta 50mm f/1.7 AF lenses for under $100 that would work on the Sonys.
I'm going to suggest for gymnastics you're not going to get many opportunities to use a 50mm lens. You have to be less than 15' away to get decent results. 200mm was pushing things - 50mm is unrealistic. As I mentioned earlier, it's much more realistic to think you can take shots of basketball with 50mm. I wouldn't plan on many opportunities in gymnastics competitions.

Also - I'll remind the A500 is unproven in the field. It's not meant as a A700 replacement - it's meant as a segment of the entry level market (top of the entry level line). We don't know how the focus system performs in real world low light sports. So, I think it's a risk to consider that camera before it's proven in the field. It might be great but it might not. Given 3 other cameras on the market with proven records, I don't see a reason to risk it.

For what it's worth I'll restate again - the cameras with a proven track for low light sports by manufacturer would be: Canon t1i ($795 with kit lens at B&H), Nikon D90 ($815 body or $1200 with kit at B&H), Sony A700 ($899 with kit lens at B&H). Those are the lowest level cameras I've seen low light sports shots from and have proven technology for low light shooting.
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Old Oct 12, 2009, 9:51 AM   #77
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The OP was using a camera with a longest focal length of around 105mm (and indicated he could get closer if needed) at ISO 400 using apertures of around f/5.9.

Almost any dSLR going to be a huge improvement if you're using a bright enough lens on it. Heck, you could get a used Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 AF lens with a 35mm equivalent focal range of 42-105mm for around $250 at popular vendors.

From my perspective, I was able to get keepers of my sister and brother-in-law's grandkids on my first try at indoor basketball using my Konica Minolta 5D. The Sony A100 used it as a foundation and improved on shutter design, AF algorithms and more. The later Sony models are even faster (faster AF motors, reduced mirror blackout time for more "on target" time for the AF sensors, faster internal processing, etc.). So, if I can get photos using an older model using a much slower AF system, you can surely get some keepers using a much newer camera model with a much faster AF system.

Unproven or not, the new Sony A5xx models are going to be very nice compared to the OP is shooting with now, and much better than previous Sony models in a number of areas (including brand new 12MP and 14MP sensor designs, with a state of the art noise reduction algorithms from samples I've seen (totally different approach to NR compared to previous Sony models).

If you want to see some of the new features, look at the video showing AF tracking (and click on the links that better show features like the Continuous AF video link at the left bottom of the page).

http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs/...dg_dsc_gglsrch

From comments I've seen from reviewers, some of the new features are very nice. For example, Carl's comments about Sony having "Phase Detect Auto focus Face Detection/Smile Detection (Industry first in a DSLR) (up to 8 faces)"

http://www.alphamountworld.com/previ...brief-hands-on

Apparently, it's using a hybrid approach to AF. Frankly, I'm very curious as to how well it will work to allow more accurate exposure of faces with fast Autofocus if you want to use Live View. But, even if that part doesn't work as expected, you could always turn that feature off, and AF is much faster on newer Sony models compared to older models from comments I've seen from users of more than one Sony dSLR model.
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Old Oct 12, 2009, 10:03 AM   #78
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Jim - I will again state publicly I disagree with your approach to push Sony at all costs on people. You are now resorting to "anything is an improvement" but I don't see you suggesting an Oly solution. Why is that? Why aren't you pushing a Pentax camera? I believe it's a disservice to push ones own system purely because you want to push the system.

As to anything being an improvement - the problem with that argument is - if the Nikon or Canon (or even A700) do a better job, why should the OP buy the A500 just because you're interested in seeing how it does? If the T1i or D90 do a better job than the A500 for slightly more $ then why shouldn't the OP go that route?

I'm very glad you like Sony. And I think they're doing a lot of things right. But everytime you push an unproven Sony camera and suggest it's a good sports solution I'm going to call that out as biased and unproven advice. It's not a knock against Sony - it's a knock against what other sites refer to as fan-boy behavior.

Because I believe in real world results and not just fan-boy behavior I have in the past recommended against models in my own product line and I've frequently pointed people towards Nikon and away from Canon for high end sports use because I'm not trying to push my system on everyone. I take my personal bias out of it and look at the results other competant sports photogs are getting. When the A700 proved itself I added it to the recommended list. If and when the A500 proves itself I'll do the same. But the fact you're excited about the specs of the camera is a poor reason for someone to buy it for such demanding work. Not when there are other proven options available.
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Old Oct 12, 2009, 10:16 AM   #79
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We'll have to agree to disagree. I wouldn't suggest the Sony models if I didn't believe they were a better value in a number of areas, and I do get a chance to use models from other manufacturers from time to time, too (and sometimes, I might agree that other brands are a better choice). And, it's not just the specs, it's comments from people I know and trust that have used these newer models.
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Old Oct 12, 2009, 10:22 AM   #80
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As an example Jim - here's a thread from last year where you tried to push the A200 (terrible ISO and focus) on a user. You will now admit it's ISO and focus isn't up to par - it wasn't a year ago either but you still pushed it because it was Sony:
http://forums.steves-digicams.com/wh...st-dslr-2.html

So yes, we will agree to disagree - but wheras you state you base your opinion on user's comments I base mine on their PHOTOS. As long as you claim a camera can do sports work without seeing photos I'm going to point out to people here I believe you're not a credible source of information because I believe your bias is interfering. The problem with terms like 'administrator' and 'moderator' next to our names is it gives people more weight to our opinions. And as someone who shoots a lot of sports I believe your advice to push unproven cameras from your system for sports work is bad. So when that happens I will advise people not to follow it.
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