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Old Oct 12, 2009, 10:31 AM   #81
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And what do you think is so terrible about it compared to other models in it's class for AF speed and noise levels (especially since none of the competing Canon models even have ISO speeds as high in models that compete with it's price)?

I was pointing out the Sony to models competing with it at that time, and I'd agree with my previous assessment. I have that 135mm f/2.8 lens, and it's a fast focusing lens (I've used it for basketball using my KM 5D before, which has a *much* slower AF system compared to the newer Sony dSLR models). The links to someone using this lens for sports on a camera with even poorer high ISO performance and focus speed better makes that point (the newer A200 is much better than the older A100 for both noise and focus speed).

Image Quality is always subjective. While I admire your efforts to show what higher end cameras are capable of (including your careful post processing with noise reduction, sharpening, etc.), I think typical dSLR buyers are going to want lower cost alternatives that allow them to get *much* better photos than they're getting with thier point and shoot models at a lower cost.

Again, we'll just need to agree to disagree.
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Old Oct 12, 2009, 10:51 AM   #82
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I think typical dSLR buyers are going to want lower cost alternatives that allow them to get *much* better photos than they're getting with thier point and shoot models at a lower cost.

Again, we'll just need to agree to disagree.
Jim - here's the problem. Unlike you, I actually shoot these sports and I shoot low light sports. I understand first hand how difficult they are. I also understand how spending an additional say $200 up front can make a WORLD of difference. When I advise people about what's necessary for gymnastics I do so because I shoot gymnastics. Your advice is based upon user comments and handling some of the cameras. Tell me Jim, since we're talking about gymnastics - can you please share with us your gymnastics photos taken by you? It's not about just agreeing or disagreeing it's about credibility. You're advising someone on how to spend their money. And because of the ADMINISTRATOR tag your words carry more weight than other users. So lets establish your level of experience for telling someone emphatically certain gear is up tto the challenge. My photos are on display here. People can make up their own minds as to my credibility on the subject Give people equal opportunity to judge your sports shooting advice by displaying your photos..

And, if look at my posting history this is precisely consistent with advice I give people. Be wary of sports advice from people with no sports photos and be wary of equipment suggestions with no photos.

And I'm not pushing the issue because of a "pissing contest" - I'm pushing it because I think you're giving bad advice that because of your title could lead a person to decision not as good as another. And, besides the OP, others read these threads and make decisions based upon them. I try very hard to not jump into gear recommendations where I don't have a strong background in. So, don't you think it's reasonable for a person providing such impactful advice to display the photographic evidence so readers can judge for themselves. And as someone who shoots both I can promise you, Gymnastics is MUCH more difficult than basketball. But if basketball is all you've got then we'll start with those.
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Old Oct 12, 2009, 11:23 AM   #83
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If there is one thing that we have always prided ourselves on in this Forum, it is that we have avoided the dialogue and backbiting that is common on some of the www.dpreview.com forums.

I would like to see us return to that kind of decorum that has made this Forum what it is. Technical information is good, and this thread has had lots of technical information. However, when the arguing begins, the technical information begin to pale.

Have a great a great day.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Oct 12, 2009, 11:46 AM   #84
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Technical information is good, and this thread has had lots of technical information. However, when the arguing begins, the technical information begin to pale.
Sarah - you bring up a good point about being civil. You are correct there. However, photography is an APPLIED art/science. Things that look good in specifications don't always translate to real-world results. Gymnastics is one of the most challenging things to photograph and it's very demanding of equipment (as is any low light sports). People that do not do low light sports photography underestimate how difficult it is to get good results. So, while I agree with you - things were starting to get uncivil here, I also agree it's not a good idea to provide low light sports advice when you don't have relavant experience. For example, I don't have a studio. Wouldn't you say it would be ill advised for people to follow my advice if I told them what strobes/reflectors etc. to buy? Or to follow my advice if I suggest to someone that the Pentax K-7 is a good wedding camera (given I've never used the K-7 and have only shot a couple of weddings)? People see how many posts me, you, Jim, TCAV etc make. And for Jim and I they see the 'moderator' and 'administrator' tags under our names. That gives the impression to people we know what we're talking about. The fact is none of us knows everything. So, how is a reader to decide when parties disagree? For example, if someone were looking for gear advice for cruise ship stage performances I would suggest they go to you. You have hands-on experience and most importantly you post photos of those performances so people can see results for themselves. They don't have to take your word for it. Given that people don't know us personally that is exactly how they can judge whether we know what we're talking about on a certain topic.

So I appologize to Jim and others for being un-civil. My choice of words is poor. But I stand by the conviction you shouldn't trust an opinion on the internet based on number of posts, or tags next to a name. Look at a person's photos and judge for yourself if they know what they're talking about. This is critical when we leave behind the point-and-shoot world and move into advanced photography. And, yes, low light sports is advanced photography. Hopefully that makes sense.
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Old Oct 12, 2009, 11:47 AM   #85
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Jim C and JohnG, I appreciate BOTH of your perspectives. I think that you are emphasizing different things, and they are both helpful to me. JohnG, I appreciate your emphasis on spending just a little more for a way better image and having high standards (if it truly is just a little more). Jim C I appreciate your sensitivity to the budget issues and the understanding of someone who is moving up from a p&s rather than being a pro photographer. There is the "ideal" camera for the pro, and then there's what's practical for someone who wants to just take family photos. I believe I am somewhere in between, but I AM concerned about the bulkiness and practicality of the camera because in my personal experience, I won't use it if it's not easy (except in rare situations). I also don't know how to factor in the post processing, and I don't have that software, so I'd like to see the images without any processing for a fair comparison. SO, you both have something to say to me and I have to weigh it...
I have two very good photographer friends who both recommended the Canon xsi, and one of them HAS taken gymnastics photos (though I'm not sure which camera was used--I have asked him for that information). The only reason he doesn't say the Sony is just because of the more limited options (lenses, etc.) because cameras aren't Sony's #1 focus.
I would love to see some of your sports examples, Jim C, taken with the Sony. I think Sarah's photo of the stage taken with the A230 is very good, so it has my attention. Especially since it sounds like the flash is better than Canon's (I know I won't carry around an add-on flash, realistically, so I'd like the built-in one to be halfway decent!)

To answer your question, I'd like to spend less than $1000 for both camera body and lens.
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Old Oct 12, 2009, 12:04 PM   #86
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JohnG-

Thanks for your post. As I noted, there is a wealth of technical info in this thread.

Have a great day.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Oct 12, 2009, 12:05 PM   #87
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To answer your question, I'd like to spend less than $1000 for both camera body and lens.
Based upon this statement my advice is you're not going to get very good gymnastics shots. Given the least expensive lens option I would recommend for ANY system is the Sigma 70-200 2.8 at $850. An 85mm lens would cost you $500 or so and only be usable for 25 feet or so and thus I would only recommend it if you had floor access. That's a lot of money for very few photo opportunities.

Given that, I would suggest you set your expectations accordingly. You can choose to buy a camera that meets your other requirements without regard to gymnastics and just hope for the best with gymnastics because it will be better than what you're getting now without spending extra $$$ on a camera/lens that still doesn't get you into 'good' given the distance restrictions you're working under.

Or, you can buy a DSLR with a look toward the future and perhaps in a year be able to afford a lens like the Sigma 70-200 2.8. In that case, you still want to select a camera body capable of the task when you do get the lens. But you've got an added difficulty that doesn't exist with otther low light sports like basketball or volleyball - distance. That's tough to overcome.
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Old Oct 12, 2009, 12:12 PM   #88
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Based upon this statement my advice is you're not going to get very good gymnastics shots. Given the least expensive lens option I would recommend for ANY system is the Sigma 70-200 2.8 at $850. An 85mm lens would cost you $500 or so and only be usable for 25 feet or so and thus I would only recommend it if you had floor access. That's a lot of money for very few photo opportunities.

Given that, I would suggest you set your expectations accordingly. You can choose to buy a camera that meets your other requirements without regard to gymnastics and just hope for the best with gymnastics because it will be better than what you're getting now without spending extra $$$ on a camera/lens that still doesn't get you into 'good' given the distance restrictions you're working under.

Or, you can buy a DSLR with a look toward the future and perhaps in a year be able to afford a lens like the Sigma 70-200 2.8. In that case, you still want to select a camera body capable of the task when you do get the lens. But you've got an added difficulty that doesn't exist with otther low light sports like basketball or volleyball - distance. That's tough to overcome.

yes, this is the conclusion I was coming to--my budget does not allow me to meet high standards in gymnastics photography, so I should give that one up for now. The question is, as you said, do I plan for future expansion into this arena...will a better camera be too bulky, hard to use, or expensive for now?
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Old Oct 12, 2009, 12:31 PM   #89
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will a better camera be too bulky, hard to use, or expensive for now?
Again, the smallest DSLRs on the market I would suggest are capable are the Canon T1i, Nikon D90 and Sony A700. Go to a store and hand-hold them. Ask yourself if they're too bulky. If all 3 feel too bulky to you then I wouldn't buy with gymnastics in mind.

But having said that - I will also say this. Even a small camera with 70-200 2.8 attached becomes very bulky. So you might want to visit at least one store that has a 70-200 2.8 lens and see/feel how much bulk that adds. Of course, you wouldn't be using that lens on a walk-around basis. But you would have to decide if you were comfortable using it at all.

As to 'hard to use' - there are a couple dslrs on the market now that have 'learning modes'. But I believe you said earlier you've used a film SLR. If that's the case, then all of these DSLRs have auto mode, Programmed Auto mode, Aperture Priority, Shutter priority and Manual - same as an SLR. They all have a control for Exposure Compensation. From a general shooting perspective - they're no more difficult to use than a film SLR. You even get scene modes on all of them - like digicams have. So you get that benefit.

Now, if and when you do decide to shoot gymnastics or other low light sport, things get more difficult. That isn't the camera, that's the task. You have to leave the automatic modes behind and start setting custom white balances, shooting manual exposure - fine tuning how you want the focus system to behave, etc. But you don't need to do all those things right out of the gate.

But start with holding all 3 and see if any of them are comfortable enough for your everyday shooting. If so, then you know you've got a body that's capable of the gymnastics shots down the road. Then ask yourself: Is this body (and presumably kit lens) going to meet my other shooting needs? If something is lacking, figure out what it is before you buy. If it meets your other needs then you get a good camera for what you want to do now and a camera capable of the more advanced work you want to do down the road.
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Old Oct 12, 2009, 12:43 PM   #90
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Thank you, John G...I haven't gone to a store with those cameras yet. WalMart actually has several SLRs, like the Sony A230, that all felt okay to me (without batteries or zoom lens). I think with my Nikon N80, it is the lens I am having trouble with (28-85 mm zoom). I could live with such bulkiness for the particular situation of gymnastics, but not for every day...ergo, I will need 2 different lenses for sure.
And, I do appreciate that you bring up the idea that we should see examples of the photos in the desired situations--that is a good point, that it is easy to talk about theoretical capabilities and subjective criteria such as IQ. A picture is worth a 1000 words, right!?

One thing we haven't discussed is the Olympus line. They tend to be more expensive so I have been discouraged from looking at them. But I do agree with their philosophy of having good glass, and I loved my OM-2N. Perhaps the 4/3 system would serve me well for the future expansion into the gymnastics situation? I am not sure of the cost of their entry level SLR's; nor have I seen many examples of photos taken with them. I know this is going in a totally different direction, but it's a thought...
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