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Old Nov 5, 2009, 9:37 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by TCav View Post
'Live View' is when you can compose the shot using th eLCD Display on the back of the camera, instead of through the eyepiece.

All the dSLRs in your initial list of dSLRs have 'Live View'. The A230 is the A330 without it.
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Originally Posted by mtclimber View Post
djcj-

In the broadest terms "Live View" means that you choose to sight and frame your photos using the DSLR camera's LCD screen instead of the optical viewfinder that actually sights right through the camera's lens.

Sarah Joyce
Oh ok...thanks...I didn't know it was called the "Live View". Now I know the proper term for it!

Again thank you all for your input. Being new to the dslr realm, you all sure do make it easier for people like me!
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Old Nov 5, 2009, 12:46 PM   #22
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All of the cameras that I listed, I have either found online or at a local shop for anywhere from $450-$550, so as for right now I don't want to spend more than that or maybe $600 (But the less expensive the better!!). As I get other lens I know my grand total will increase beyond that, but for right now I think that will do!

The sports I will be shooting most of the time will be: basketball, football, and possibly baseball and soccer.
djcj:

The major problem is that your budget is not going to be adequate for a higher percentage of keepers shooting sports in lower light. Even if the camera bodies in the under $600 range were adequate (and if you spend more, you'll get better results), lens cost alone is going to exceed your budget.

Out of the cameras you're looking at (Pentax K2000/KM, Canon EOS-1000D/XS, Olympus E520/E420, Sony A330), the Sony A330 is probably going to have the fastest Autofocus in most light levels (for example, clocking at more than twice as fast as the Pentax K2000/KM in lower light).

BTW, if you're not aware of it, the Pentax KM/K2000, Sony A230 and Sony A330 appear to use a Sony 10MP CCD Sensor. Ditto for the Nikon D40x, D60 and D3000 (these models all use a Sony 10MP CCD Sensor). But, you will find processing differences between them (noise reduction algorithms, etc.). So, you have to take each model on a case by case basis to see how image quality compares. Like Sony, Canon manufacturers their own sensors for dSLR models (only Sony also sells sensors to other manufacturers like Nikon and Pentax for use in their dSLR models)

The only site I'm aware of that tests cameras in multiple lighting conditions is popphoto.com. If you look at the Autofocus section for the Sony A330 review there, you'll see that it's quite fast. If you check the AF performance for the K2000 you're looking at, you'll see that the Canon T1i and Sony A330 models are both more than twice as fast as the Pentax in lower light levels.

For example, the Pentax KM (K2000) takes around 1.32 seconds to focus in EV 2 light levels based on popphoto.com tests, versus .62 seconds for the Sony A300 or .57 seconds for the Canon T1i. You'll see some discussion of the Sony A330 AF performance on this page (and the lower priced A230 should perform identically, only it doesn't get the A330's live view feature)

http://www.popphoto.com/Reviews/Came...Sony-Alpha-330

To get faster AF in the Canon lineup (similar to the Sony A330's AF performance), you'd need to move up to the T1i, the competing model discussed in popphoto's A330 review (exceeding your budget). This Canon model has probably got the fastest AF in lower light levels compared to most other models under $1K (although it's also a more expensive camera compared to the models you're looking at), and can also focus in lower -2 EV light levels (but, that's much lower light than you'd normally shoot in). The T1i also has higher available ISO speeds (making it a great choice for low light sports)

In a more expensive Sony model closer to the Canon T1i in price, I'd keep an eye out for reviews of the new Sony A500. I haven't seen any AF tests of the new Sony A500 in low light yet (which uses a new 12MP CMOS sensor design that does nicely at higher ISO speeds from samples I've seen so far), but I suspect it's going to be the one to beat in it's price range (list price of $749). But, again, it's outside of your desired budget.

Note that the newer Pentax K-x also uses a new Sony 12MP CMOS Sensor, that appears to do nicely at higher ISO speeds. However, unless it's significantly faster than the Pentax K7 (unlikely), it's not going to match the Autofocus performance of other non Pentax models you're looking at.

For example, even though the Pentax K7 (the current flagship model in the Pentax lineup) is faster than models like the K2000/KM you're looking at, it's Autofocus is still slower than any current dSLR model from Nikon, Canon or Sony in low light from what I can see from tests of it. In many shooting conditions, you may not notice the difference. But, if you're trying to focus on a rapidly moving subject in low light, AF performance can make a big difference. You'll find a graph of it's AF performance on this page:

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

We'll have to wait and see how newer models compare. But, in the entry level lineup (models within your $500 to $600 budget range), I think you'd be hard pressed to find a model that focuses faster than the Sony A230/A330 models. These models also have an available ISO 3200 setting (missing on the entry level Canon models like the XS and XSi). Now, in fairness, you really don't want to use ISO 3200 unless you have to with an entry level model like this (you're better off sticking with ISO 1600 or lower, unless you plan on using only smaller viewing/print sizes).

So, what to choose with your budget?

There really isn't a great choice, given your stated under $600 budget. The kit lenses you will find with these choices are just not bright enough for indoor sports (unless you want a lot of motion blur in your photos, even at higher ISO speeds).

Now, you could probably afford a two lens kit if you look for sale prices (for example, a Canon XS or Sony A230. But, their kit lenses are just not bright enough for indoor use when shooting moving subjects (otherwise, you'll have blurry photos from subject movement, because your shutter speeds won't be fast enough).

You could buy a 50mm f/1.7 or f/1.8 AF lens for under $200 (or even under $100 if you're a good shopper on the used market) for either brand. But, you'd be limited to closer subjects (think players within around 10 feet from where you're standing, assuming you can shoot from the floor versus stands).

In the Canon lineup, you would have the option of a longer 85mm f/1.8 USM lens, which is a fast focusing lens by virtually all accounts. It sells for around $439 now from reputable vendors. You won't find a similar prime (fixed focal length versus zoom lens) in the Sony lens lineup for that price. You can find a used Minolta 85mm f/1.4 AF lens for around $800 now (which is a brighter lens compared to Canon). But, the Canon 85mm f/1.8 is probably going to focus faster at a much lower cost.

If you want the flexibility of a zoom lens for indoor sports, you really need ISO 3200 or higher ISO speeds for best results. That rules out Canon models below the T1i (as the XS and XSi are limited to ISO 1600). But, you really don't want to use ISO 3200 with the Sony entry level models like the A230 and A330 unless you have no other choice.

In zoom lenses for indoor sports (assuming you're using a camera with at least ISO 3200 available), you'll want a lens capable of maintaining f/2.8 throughout the available focal range. On the low end, that means lenses like the Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 EX DC HSM (around $749 now at reputable vendors), or Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM (around $799 now at reputable online vendors).

IOW, sorry, but you really aren't going to find a solution within your budget if indoor sports is a high priority (although if you stick with a 50mm prime and can shoot from under a basket, you may get a few keepers that way).

About the only other options I'd see would be something like a Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8, Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 or Sigma 28-70mm f/2.8 zooms (lower priced compared to the longer focal length zooms, but not as fast to focus, with shorter focal lengths than you may want, unless you're shooting players at very close distances). You can find these at pretty good prices on the used market (but, combined with the cost of a camera body, you'd still exceed your budget). However, you'd want to shoot at ISO 3200 for a higher percentage of keepers using an f/2.8 zoom (and again, noise levels would be quite high using ISO 3200 from entry level models that have that ISO speed available). Also, AF speed may leave something to be desired for a higher percentage of keepers with those lenses, as compared to higher end models using Hypersonic Motor type focusing (like the Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 and 70-200mm f/2.8 lenses mentioned)

Also, as JohnG pointed out, the entry level Sony models are unproven for sports (AF tracking comes into the equation). Personally, I'd be comfortable with their AF performance (since I've managed to get keepers with a bit of work using much slower cameras like my KM 5D). But, for best results, you need to increase your budget and look at models in a more expensive market niche (and the same would go for lenses).
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Old Nov 5, 2009, 1:20 PM   #23
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That is an excellent post, JimC-

The struggle djcj faces is to stay within his budget and still get, perhaps not the best indoor sports capability this available at a higher price, but enough indoor sports capability to perhaps meet his needs. BTW, I do not think that the Pentax K-2000 uses an imager from Sony. I believe that imager, came out of their co-operation with Samsung.

That could be done using either the Sony A-200 or the A-230 and a Minilota 50mm F 1.7 lens. That would mean that he would have to be up close to the action and right down there on the basketball court floor. I don't honestly know if that would be an option for him.

However, that equipment combination would stay within his budget. As you have seen I do a lot of theater photography, where there is also a lot move movement and action, perhaps not quite the speed you would find on a basketball court, but enough action to test the focusing action of the A-200 or A-230 cameras. I found that the A-230 camera in particularly was up to that task.

So keeping in mind that this equipment combination might not be the very best for indoor sports photos, it gets djcj in the DSLR door and rermaining within his original budget.

Sarah Joyce

Last edited by mtclimber; Nov 5, 2009 at 2:16 PM.
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Old Nov 5, 2009, 3:18 PM   #24
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... BTW, I do not think that the Pentax K-2000 uses an imager from Sony. I believe that imager, came out of their co-operation with Samsung.
I've seen some debate about the sensor used in the KM/K2000. In the case of the new K7, Pentax made it obvious that it used a Samsung Sensor.

However, in the case of the KM2000/KM models, they were very silent on the sensor manufacturer (leading many to believe that it may be a Sony 10MP sensor, since this sensor is used by a number of dSLR models). Performance between the two sensors appears to be virtually identical from what I can see from sensor tests at sites like dxomark.com comparing models like the Sony A230 and Pentax KM (single to noise ratio, dynamic range, etc.). But, it may well be a Samsung sensor instead.

There seems to be less doubt that Pentax is dropping Samsung sensors for Sony sensors in newer models like the K-x (as almost every expert I've seen comment on it, leans towards calling it a Sony sensor). I suspect that the QC issues Pentax found with the Samsung sensors used in the K7 (banding issues, lines through images indicative of sensor defects, etc.) may have influenced that decision (although Sony has also experienced it's share of QC problems in the past, and that's only speculation on my part).
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Old Nov 6, 2009, 10:53 AM   #25
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I do a lot of theater photography, where there is also a lot move movement and action, perhaps not quite the speed you would find on a basketball court, but enough action to test the focusing action of the A-200 or A-230 cameras. I found that the A-230 camera in particularly was up to that task.
Just a note - there's a tremendous difference between the type of movement in theater vs. basketball. In theater you typically do not have subjects moving through focal planes. Arms and legs are moving and occasionally a subject may be walking forward on stage. That's very, very, very different than a person running full speed down a basketball court for a layup where if you take a 3 shot burst at 15 feet (working range of a 50mm lens for quality results) each frame would be a different focal plane. The stage work is a decent test of low EV focusing and high ISO performance but it's not a good barometer of focus tracking. And, even if you only take 1 or 2 frames, good technique suggests you acquire and track your subject and wait for the peak moment. You want to rely on the camera to be able to track the subject for those couple of seconds so that when you DO take the shot the subject is in focus. If he/she isn't in focus the opportunity is lost.

Again - everything is relative. If sports work isn't a priority as the OP has indicated it is not then I wouldn't lose sleep over choosing one of these. However, if sports shooting were a stronger consideration then spending an extra $300 up front could really pay big dividends over the 3-year life cycle of the camera body.
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Old Nov 9, 2009, 3:32 AM   #26
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Someone mentioned DXOmark as a source of info and I would like to second that. People often make judgments about certain cameras based on reputation and name recognition and often repeat information that simply isn't true.

Popphoto has also been recommended, and I would also like to second that.

You'll see that tests often show consistent results (regarding noise, for example) that are very different from things people frequently claim.
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Old Nov 9, 2009, 4:12 AM   #27
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You'll see that tests often show consistent results (regarding noise, for example) that are very different from things people frequently claim.
Hear! Hear!
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