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

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Oct 25, 2009, 9:06 PM   #11
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 3
Default More on Sony

I own two sony a-100's and a Sony A350. I have never had any regrets with choosing Sony, the main reason was that I had some very good Minolta Maxxum lens' and they all work flawlessly on the Sony bodies. So concider this when choosing your format, along with the Sony and Carl Zeiss lens' available for the Sony DSLR's, you also have the opportunity to choose from some excellent used Minolta Maxxum lens', Tamron, Sigma and Tokina lens' that can be bought on Ebay. Plus Tamron, Sigma, and Tokina offer some excellant new digital lens' in all the popular camera mounts.
TOM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fz28-Panasonic View Post
mtclimber:

The Sony pic looks good,but,I'm leaning towards Canon for this task
thomcher144 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 26, 2009, 5:48 AM   #12
Super Moderator
 
Mark1616's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 7,452
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by thomcher144 View Post
I own two sony a-100's and a Sony A350. I have never had any regrets with choosing Sony, the main reason was that I had some very good Minolta Maxxum lens' and they all work flawlessly on the Sony bodies. So concider this when choosing your format, along with the Sony and Carl Zeiss lens' available for the Sony DSLR's, you also have the opportunity to choose from some excellent used Minolta Maxxum lens', Tamron, Sigma and Tokina lens' that can be bought on Ebay. Plus Tamron, Sigma, and Tokina offer some excellant new digital lens' in all the popular camera mounts.
TOM
It is a valid point but for someone wanting to shoot sports the Canon is still a better choice. I used to be KM/Sony but as I moved to sports I switched to Canon so I still have to give this advice.
Mark1616 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 26, 2009, 7:39 AM   #13
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378
Default

Don't judge AF performance of newer Sony models by your KM 5D. ;-)

The new cameras are *much* better (at least twice as fast with most lenses). In most lighting, the new entry level Sony models have faster AF compared to entry level Canon or Nikon models. In *very* low light (i.e, once you get closer 2 EV, which is much lower light than you'd find in gyms, homes, etc.), then some of the competition is a bit faster. The new Sony's can focus down to around -1EV (even though they do get a bit slow there), and some of Nikon and Canon models can go down to around -2 EV (where they're also going to be quite slow). But, that's much lower light than you'd normally shoot in.

For example, here's an AF graph for the A380:

http://www.popphoto.com/Reviews/Came...tal-Statistics

Note that the new A500 and A550 models are even faster from user reports I've seen (but, I haven't seen in AF performance graphs for them yet).

Compare the entry level A380 to one of Nikon's models like the D90 here:

http://www.popphoto.com/Reviews/Came...tal-Statistics

Now, look at the latest Pentax K7 (with much improved AF over it's predecessors) to see how much faster the Nikon, Canon or Sony models are in lower light

http://www.popphoto.com/Reviews/Came...ics-Pentax-K-7

IOW, I really don't think you're going to see much real world difference between most similar Nikon, Canon or Sony models for AF performance; given similar lenses. The Sony models clock a tad faster in bright light, and a tad slower in very dim light (lower than you'd normally shoot in). The T1i probably has the fastest AF in very low light compared to most other under $1K models (although the newer Sony models are slightly faster in bright light). But, all of these cameras are much faster than earlier generations, and they're all going to be much faster than models from Pentax or Olympus in low light (and the new Sony models are going to be able to lock focus in lower light than the Pentax or Olympus cameras are capable of focusing in, going down to lower light than rated, as they can still lock in -1EV light). Some of the Canon and Nikon models can lock in -2EV (but, again, that's much lower light than you'd normally shoot in).

Tracking has also improved significantly with newer Sony models, thanks to faster internal processing, reduced mirror blackout time allow more "on target" time for the AF sensors and more. AF drive speed is also much faster if you use screw drive lenses, thanks to upgraded motors (Sony upgraded the motors beginning with the A200, but newer models like the A230 are even faster in low light thanks to other improvements)
JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 26, 2009, 7:43 AM   #14
Super Moderator
 
Mark1616's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 7,452
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimC View Post
Don't judge AF performance of newer Sony models by your KM 5D. ;-)

The new cameras are *much* better (at least twice as fast with most lenses). In most lighting, the new entry level Sony models have faster AF compared to entry level Canon or Nikon models. In *very* low light (i.e, once you get closer 2 EV, which is much lower light than you'd find in gyms, homes, etc.), then some of the competition is a bit faster. The new Sony's can focus down to around -1EV (even though they do get a bit slow there), and some of Nikon and Canon models can go down to around -2 EV (where they're also going to be quite slow). But, that's much lower light than you'd normally shoot in.

For example, here's an AF graph for the A380:

http://www.popphoto.com/Reviews/Came...tal-Statistics

Compare it to one of Nikon's models like the D90 here:

http://www.popphoto.com/Reviews/Came...tal-Statistics

Now, look at the latest Pentax K7 to see how much faster these cameras are in lower light:

http://www.popphoto.com/Reviews/Came...ics-Pentax-K-7

IOW, I really don't think you're going to see any real world difference between most similar Nikon, Canon or Sony models for AF performance. They're all going to be much faster than models from Pentax or Olympus in low light (and the new Sony models are going to be able to lock focus in lower light than these cameras are capable of focusing in).

Tracking has also improved significantly with newer Sony models, thanks to faster internal processing, reduced mirror blackout time allow more "on target" time for the AF sensors and more. AF drive speed is also much faster if you use screw drive lenses, thanks to upgraded motors.
I certainly wasn't basing it on the KM5D but other reports I've read in many threads, it is not about normal focusing but it is the algorithms for tracking and I haven't yet seen that Sony is quite there when compared to Canon and Nikon. If it wasn't for the mention of the drag racing the whole conversation would be different.
Mark1616 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 26, 2009, 8:17 AM   #15
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378
Default

I've spent quite a bit of time at a local race track here shooting at night, and IMO, the Sony A700 is a bit better in that area compared to Nikon models below the D3, mostly because it's lock time seems to be a bit better in that lighting (the tracking is not the problem). I actually had to switch to manual focus to get a higher percentage of keepers using a D300 a while back, because I couldn't get a lock fast enough as the cars went by. In fairness, some of that was probably the lenses being used. I know photographers working the race track circuit that are shooting with both Nikon and Sony models (one is using the Sony A700 now), and overall (with good lenses, and I have borrowed some while shooting there), these cameras are all "good enough" for most users.

Now, if you get into the pro models, then I'd give the edge to the D3 (super AF system). I haven't mentioned in the forums. but you can see my impressions of that camera in this article (I think it's AF system is hard to beat):

Pushing the Limits - the Nikon D3

But, in the entry level category, the Sony models have improved with their latest generation of cameras (A230, A330, A380). I haven't used the new A500 or A550 yet. But, they have a number of new AF related features (they can even track by face now using a hybrid system that still takes advantage of phase detection AF via the dedicated sensors when in Live View mode). So, I suspect they're going to be *very* nice in that area. If I have a chance to use one, I'll make sure to give everyone my impressions.
JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 26, 2009, 8:42 AM   #16
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378
Default

P.S.

The only "controlled conditions" test of moving cars I've seen was this one (and it was done in daylight lighting):

http://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/p...good-info.html

It would be nice to figure out a good way to test some of these newer cameras in conditions that would let users know how they stack up for continuous AF. But, that kind of test would be difficult to devise.
JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 26, 2009, 8:55 AM   #17
Senior Member
 
TCav's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Washington, DC, Metro Area, Maryland
Posts: 13,572
Default

For drag racing, you don't want to shoot when the cars are going fast. Nothing is going to track then, and the two cars are probably too far apart anyway. The best shots would be with the cars in the staging area when the green light lights, but before the cars start moving very far. If you're shooting from the stands at the start line, you've already focused and the cars aren't going to get any closer or further. All that's left is for you to take the shot. If shooting from within the bottom end, you still want to get both cars in the shot, so you'll focus on the cars in the staging area and capture the image of the wheelspin but before they get moving. That way, you've got both cars.

So, for the OP, AF performance isn't really relevent.
__________________
  • The lens is the thing.
  • 'Full Frame' is the new 'Medium Format'.
  • "One good test is worth a thousand expert opinions." - Tex Johnston, Boeing 707 test pilot.
TCav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 26, 2009, 9:24 AM   #18
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378
Default

I think a lot of that probably depends on your vantage point (are you shooting from further away trying to catch vehicles coming towards or away from you, or are you trying to shoot standing on the edge of the track with a wider lens catching cars as they go by). It's much tougher to catch them as they go by from closer ranges, even at much slower speeds than you may find in drag racing. lol

I haven't shot drag racing at night. But, for other races, if you're shooting from up close as cars are by, your ability to pan fast enough is going to be the limiting factor (lots of photos to get any keepers), since you can always prefocus (taking AF performance out of the equation). IOW, in that scenario, I've found that you best bet is to prefocus using AF, then switch to manual focus for more shots since most cameras can't lock fast enough to catch faster cars going by, even if you try to pan with them as the camera is trying to lock (at least in dimmer lighting at night). But, for very fast cars, even that may prove too difficult at close range.

The local track photog uses a D300 with a Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 or 70-200mm f/2.8 on it for most photos, shooting from the inside of the track (but, he was thinking of upgrading to a D3 after I let him try the one I used a while back). He actually uses a flash to freeze the action as they go by (although I prefer an approach that keeps shutter speeds slower so that you have more feeling of motion).

I think they do have some drag racing at one of the local tracks here from time to time. I'll need to check their schedule, as I haven't been lately. If I get a chance, I'll try to go to some as time passes.
JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 26, 2009, 9:33 AM   #19
Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 8,529
Default

OK,
Here's my advice as a sports photographer:

1) I strongly recommend to the OP to take a look on some other forums - Fredmiranda.com, dpreview.com, dgrin.com to try and find someone who actually shoots this specific sport. In my experience every sport has it's unique requirements. And drag racing I'm sure fits into that category. You want to find shooters that shoot that sport to find out what equipment is really needed.

2) Look at photos before you take someone's sports advice. Any sports photographer with any type of experience has photos - lots of them. If someone is telling you what gear to buy for sports shooting, make sure they know what they're talking about. No need to take their word for it - ask for their photos. If they don't have any related sports photos then keep looking until you find someone who DOES have them.

3) I strongly caution against buying any unproven gear for sports work. From the Sony line, nothing prior to the release of the A700 was up to the standards set by Nikon and Canon. I base that assessment on the photos I saw from the various cameras. This is a tie-in to #2 above. Lots of people claim this or that but the proof is in the photos. Just because someone SAYS a camera is 'fast focusing' that doesn't mean it is. What matters is - are they getting quality shots. I could claim my camera / lens does a stellar job - but if you look at my photos and they're out of focus or boring or non action - do you really want to trust my written opinion? Now, I've seen results from the A700 - with appropriate lenses it does a fantastic job. The newest Sony models below the A700 are simply unproven commodoties in the sports world. They may be good or they may not be. I'd be more comfortabble if a model was a replacement for the A700 but none of these models are - they're all lower in the Sony food chain. So, if sports shooting is a big part of why you're buying a camera you're taking a risk buying a product that is unproven. It's up to you whether or not you want to accept that risk. Canon & Nikon have a better proven track record for sports shooting - so they're a safer bet.

Remember - look for photos, not just claims on websites by people with no action photos to share. I've found those types of resources to be bad sources of information.

Good luck!
JohnG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 26, 2009, 10:10 AM   #20
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378
Default

While that would be very nice, one problem with that approach is that most Sports Photographers are not going to be using lower end systems within the OP's desired budget.

If you can't afford a higher end system, you can't afford a higher end system, regardless of how much better it might be. So, you have to compromise and try to learn to use the equipment you can afford (which may result in a lower percentage of keepers compared to more advanced cameras and lenses, with different techniques to get more keepers). But, I think you also need to take user expectations into consideration, as not everyone is selling larger prints, and any of the entry level dSLR models are going to be *much* better than the point and shoot models users are upgrading from. ;-)

Experienced Sports Photographers (and skill level is probably the most important factor) have probably been using either Canon or Nikon gear for years; whereas a manufacturer like Sony is the "new kid on the block". So, it's tougher to find any Sports Photographers able to share their experience with them. That should start to change as time passes.

I do know one Photographer working the race track circuit using a Sony A700 with a Minolta 70-200mm f/2.8 SSM lens now that gets good results with it (and this is now a 2+ year old camera model, and there's no doubt in my mind that some of what they learned from it has gone into lower end models now, too). He also got good results with a Maxxum 7D using that lens prior to upgrading (even though the old Maxxum 7D is a *much* slower camera, thanks to his skill level and the AF speed of that particular lens. Now, that's mostly circle track racing, not drag racing (although he does follow the truck racing circuit where they do some drag racing with them_

The newer entry level models should "run circles around" something like the older 7D for sports given a fast lens. But, I don't know of any using lower end gear. The same applies to lower end Canon or Nikon models (I haven't seen any pro photographers at the local track using entry level models, even though Canon and Nikon have a *much* larger market share)

Now, that should change as time passes, as Sony is slowly expanding their product line and increasing market share. Here's one article on the subject:

http://translate.google.se/translate...istory_state0=

So, while I think it's a good idea to find photographers shooting a given type of event using similar gear within your budget to find out what to expect, that can be tough to do when looking at entry level gear.
JimC 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 1:07 AM.