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Old Dec 15, 2009, 9:36 AM   #1
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Default Photo noob lookin for advice

Hello all!!

I'm new to the photography game, besides some older point and shoots.

I'm looking to get a new camera for Christmas and am kinda confused on which one i wanna go with. Well, which one I should go with.

Let me start off by telling you what kinda shots I will be taking with the camera.

Of course family photos will be something I will shoot a lot of.
I have to young boys who both wrestle. I would love to get some nice action shots of them during matches. It is not always possible for me to get down close to the mat for good close up pix, so a camera with good zoom and stability control is a must.
I also do radio controlled rock crawling all over the east coast. These events range from indoor and out, to middle of winter in a blizzard to middle of the summer 120+ in the shade. These shots would be a lot of action shots that would require the camera to be in a lot of different angle to get the best shot.

So, with all of my searching and reading I have figured out,....I don't know enough about cameras!! LOL

I have actually kinda narrowed my search down to 2 different cameras which I think would be right up my alley for what I need them for.

The Nikon P90, and the Canon SX20 IS.
Both seem to have great zoom ability as well as the movable screens, which I need for those low shots of the crawlers as well as shooting over a crowd at the wrestling match.

I have also looked at the Nikon L100. Seems like an easier camera to operate but the lack of a view finder and non movable screen pushed me away.

I would also like to stick to a Canon or Nikon, since I hear and see their name alot and know they are good quality cameras. If you know of another top quality camera that would suite my needs please let me know.

So,.... what advice do you guys have for me, is my thinking going in the right direction? Any help and/or tips you all can offer is greatly appreciated.

BTW I have about 350$ to spend. Would like to spend less if possible, that's the reason for looking at the L100.

Thanks again
Carb
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Old Dec 15, 2009, 10:04 AM   #2
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carbonuts-

Welcome to the Forum. We're pleased that you dropped by.

Unfortunately the photos that have assigned a high priority to in your post, such as your sons wrestling, and rock climbing in poor lighting conditions are best captured by DSLR type cameras. No flash is allowed in most high school wrestling matches and I am assuming that no flash is also allowed in low light level competitive rock climbing events as well. That mean that you are going to have to numerically increase the ISO setting of your camera to even capture those photos. I would rule out the Nikon L-100 right away as it has very poor elevated ISO capabilities. The Canon SX-20 and Nikon P-90 are only slightly better at numerically high ISO settings. With the SX-20 and the P-90, you can only expect fair to below average image quality when shooting at ISO settings of 800 and greater.

Most entry level DSLR cameras begin at around $500, which exceeds your stated budget. In terms of image stabilization, Pentax, Olympus, and Sony have image stabilization built into the camera body, making every lens used, a full image stabilized lens. In terms of numerically high ISO performance, the Pentax Kx, the Sony A-230, and the Sony A-500 offer the best image quality at high ISO settings but they are also higher in cost than entry level $500,00 figure.

You can force cameras like the Canon SX-20 and the Nikon P-90 to numerically higher ISO settings, but the image quality will be below average, at best, and only suitable for 4" X 6" prints in a pinch situation.

Have a great day and a Merry Christmas.

Sarah Joyce

Last edited by mtclimber; Dec 15, 2009 at 10:06 AM.
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Old Dec 15, 2009, 10:10 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtclimber View Post
carbonuts-

Welcome to the Forum. We're pleased that you dropped by.

Unfortunately the photos that have assigned a high priority to in your post, such as your sons wrestling, and rock climbing in poor lighting conditions are best captured by DSLR type cameras. No flash is allowed in most high school wrestling matches and I am assuming that no flash is also allowed in low light level competitive rock climbing events as well. That mean that you are going to have to numerically increase the ISO setting of your camera to even capture those photos. I would rule out the Nikon L-100 right away as it has very poor elevated ISO capabilities. The Canon SX-20 and Nikon P-90 are only slightly better at numerically high ISO settings. With the SX-20 and the P-90, you can only expect fair to below average image quality when shooting at ISO settings of 800 and greater.

Most entry level DSLR cameras begin at around $500, which exceeds your stated budget. In terms of image stabilization, Pentax, Olympus, and Sony have image stabilization built into the camera body, making every lens used, a full image stabilized lens. In terms of numerically high ISO performance, the Pentax Kx, the Sony A-230, and the Sony A-500 offer the best image quality at high ISO settings but they are also higher in cost than entry level $500,00 figure.

You can force cameras like the Canon SX-20 and the Nikon P-90 to numerically higher ISO settings, but the image quality will be below average, at best, and only suitable for 4" X 6" prints in a pinch situation.

Have a great day and a Merry Christmas.

Sarah Joyce
Thank you for the very fast reply.
Actually at all of the wrestling matches I have been to in the past 3 or 4 years there is no rule about flashes at all. I see parents using the flashes all the time. Also, at the rock crawling events the lighting is usually pretty good 90% of them are held outdoors in the summertime. The ones that are indoors are very well lighted, and flash is always allowed at the crawler events. Most of the pix of the crawler events will just be posted online and never actually printed out.
With all this being said, and knowing my budget which camera would be your suggestion?

Thanks again
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Old Dec 15, 2009, 10:18 AM   #4
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Here is a link to some photos a friend took of one of the crawling events I put on in Dayton Ohio.
To give ya an idea of the type of photos.

Link
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Old Dec 15, 2009, 10:23 AM   #5
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carbonuts-

Based on your second post indicating that flash is allowed in both wrestling and the rock climbing events, then I wouls suggest as your #1 choice the Canon SX-20. However, the built-in flash unit on the SX-20 is not powerful enough for the intended photos. Therefore, you will have to mount an external flash such as the Canon EX-430 on the SX-20's hot shoe to generate sufficient light to create a workable flash range. Flash range is defined as the distance from camera to subject.

Your #2 choice, the Nikon P-90 will require the addition of a powerful slave flash unit such as the Digicam-3000 which sells for around $110.00 to create sufficient flash lighting for an effective flash range.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Dec 16, 2009, 12:41 AM   #6
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Whats the reason for the Canon being the #1 choice? Is it because the extra flash would be cheaper for the Canon?

I was told by a local camera store that the Nikon menu is easier to use for a noob.

I also like the fact that the Nikon has a larger screen.

If the Canon is a better quality camera or takes better quality photos that would trump the larger screen. LOL

Thanks again.
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Old Dec 16, 2009, 8:11 AM   #7
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carbonuts-

The superzoom arena or market niche is dominated by Canon and Pasasonic with Sony, Nikon and Kodak following them. Here is a lineup of the current super zoom cameras from these camera manufacturers and the optical zoom available:

Canon - SX-20 - 20X optical zoom
Panasonic - FZ-35 - 18X optical zoom
Sony - HX-1 and H-50-15X optical zoom
Nikon - P-90 - 24X optical zoom
Kodak - Z-980 - 24X optical zoom

There is another niche of cameras that do not have as much zoom and are physically smaller in size. The cameras fall into a category call "compact zoom" cameras. I have listed a few of those as well.

Canon SX-200 - 12X optical zoom
Canon SX-120 - 10X optical zoom
Panasonic ZR-1- 8X optical zoom
Panasonic ZS-1 - 12X optical zoom
Panasonic ZS-3 - 12X optical zoom

Both Canon and Panasonic have been long time contenders in the super zoom market niche for a long time. Both the Canon SX-20 and the Kodak Z-980 have hot shoe that accommodate a dedicated external flash. The hot shoes are a convenience item. Please keep in mind that the built-in flash units found on most digital cameras are not particularly powerful. They are designed to properly expose an image at ISO 100 at a flash range of 10 to 14 feet. Flash range is defined as the distance, measured in feet from the camera to the subject.

Therefore, you can easily see that any flash photo taken beyond 14 feet or more will become progressively darker as the flash range increases, unless some adjustment is made to the camera to compensate for the rapidly declining volume of light. That is where an external flash comes in to save the day by adding an additional volume of light.

Because all of the super zoom camera listed above have an EVF (electronic viewfinder) there is less need for total dependence on the LCD screen. So I would not place too much emphasis on the size of the LSD screen. If you want to judge LCD screens, the pixel density is much more important, as the the more pixel that exist on the screen, the more sharpness you see in the images displayed on the LCD screen.

Thanks to your link, I have more of an idea about what "crawling" events really are. Tell us a bit more about your photo background and what cameras that you have used in the past? Many folks new to cameras and photography will want to use the automatic mode in any cameras.

Some cameras have a better and more efficient automatic mode than others. For example the Sony H-20 is acknowledged to have the best automatic mode in the class as well as the best built-in flash unit in the class. It can also do HD video and zoom while filming.

Have a great day and a Merry Christmas.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Dec 16, 2009, 7:22 PM   #8
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My camera background.....this will be short.
......

Thats basically it. LOL Besides a few basic cheap point and shoots I have no photo experience. I would be using the auto feature for the most part, but do plan on reading and learning manual modes.

I worry that the P90 may be too much for me, but like i said i do plan to read and learn settings. That being said I do not want to get a camera that i quickly outgrow. I would rather have a camera that i can grow into.
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Old Dec 16, 2009, 7:57 PM   #9
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carbonuts-

Well then the Nikon P-90 is a good camera choice for you. It is a camera that you will grow into as you learn more about photography. But to learn and have fun at the same time, look into the digital camera courses that your local Community College might be offering for the Winter Quarter beginning in January.

The tuition is minimal, and courses are available in the day time and in the evening as well. Formal instruction coupled with "hands-on" training is very effective in teaching digital cameras and keeping it a fun course.

How do I know that? I teach at least two digital camera courses for our local Community College each year and for our state university.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Dec 17, 2009, 8:41 PM   #10
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Well I bought the Nikon P90 today. Time to start learning how to use it now. LOL

Any suggestions on a good memory card reader?
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