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Old Dec 22, 2009, 3:57 AM   #11
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I would look at some of the bird shots at the olympus forum, and some of the action shot form the US open. It may not be the choice of some, as it is a 4:3 system. But it will do the job for a non pro.

I am not a fan of the current sony line, but the a380 is respectable. I would give it a look if you are interested in the sony.
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Old Dec 22, 2009, 6:41 AM   #12
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I would look at some of the bird shots at the olympus forum, and some of the action shot form the US open. ...
I've looked for the US Open shots, but can't find any. Can you post a link?

Also, I can't find any where the birds are moving closer or further away. That's what's tough and where the Olympus dSLRs don't do well. If the action is traveling across the frame, the focus doesn't change. But when the action is traveling toward or away from the camera, the focus changes and that's where a lot of cameras don't do well.
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Old Dec 22, 2009, 8:30 AM   #13
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Shoturtle,

There are absolutely some exceptional still shots of birds on the Oly forum. Oly offers some great affordable lenses and the sharpness and color are very good. But, there's a big difference between a still shot and an action shot. Pentax, Oly and Sony (except for A700) just aren't in the same league as Canon and Nikon for action shots. Their AF systems are just not as advanced. Additionally, since Canon and Nikon control 99% of pro sports shooting market they are committed to technology (both camera and lens) that benefits action shooters. Does this mean you can't take a good action shot with Oly, Pentax or Sony? No. It just means that, at the system level, Canon or Nikon is a better investment.

Now, it doesn't sound like the wildlife will be much of an issue - from the description it should be mostly stills. Where it comes into play is birds in flight. For wildlife, the biggest issue for the OP wll be a lack of reach.

But for childrens sports - that IS an area where AF performance matters. Also, one other aspect that hurts Oly in sports is the smaller sensor and it's corresponding larger DOF. In sports, subject isolation is a good thing. It's more challenging with the smaller sensor. For other work the system is outstanding but just not as good in sports.
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Old Dec 22, 2009, 2:12 PM   #14
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Any other opinions on the Pentax K-X? It sounds cheaper for a kit if it can be bought for $720 with two lenses.

Several of you have stated that the Canon and Nikon lines stand out for performance and ability to upgrade -- where does Pentax fit in this discussion.

Thanks again.
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Old Dec 22, 2009, 2:29 PM   #15
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Pentax is at the bottom with Oly. The flagship model from pentax, the K-7, appears to still lag behind the mid-level models from Canon in AF tracking performance. Those are the Canon 50d and Nikon D90. In the Canon lineup you then have the 7d and 1d cameras that are even better. In Nikon you have the d300, d700 and d3 cameras. But what also really hurts Pentax as a system is the lack of fast focusing lenses. The camera body is the brains in focusing, but the motor in the lens is the brawn - as a system Pentax doesn't have enough lenses to compete with the Canon USM and Nikon AF-S focus motor enabled lenses. That's part of the upgradability path.

That lens selection is a real issue and a cause of much angst among Pentax users that want to shoot sports. It's a very good system but not for sports. The $80-150 you would save now (over buying say the t1i and 55-250 for 800-900) is small potatoes compared to what you're giving up on the sports front. By the way, Canon has less expensive models like the XSi or the 1000D but I'm suggesting you'll have more longevity by buying the t1i and spending an extra $200 now versus running into focus limitations (1000d) or ISO limitations (xsi). Sports shooting is demanding of equipment. You don't need to spend $10,000 but buying the cheapest kit you can find will cost you big time when you decide you need to switch systems because Oly or Pentax just isn't meeting your requirements.

Again, if sports shooting weren't important I probably wouldn't be in this discussion - I would have suggested the Sony cameras were a great buy.

Now, I should say I shoot Canon. But I like to believe I base my opinions on the work I see posted in forums and what I hear from other sports shooters. Which is why I recognize Nikon has some outstanding cameras and why I recognize that the Sony A700 (but ONLY that sony model) is a very good sports camera. At the upper end of the spectrum Nikon rules the roost so if you had a higher budget I'd be pushing you toward a D700 solution. But you don't. At this level, the T1i plus 55-250 (with canon $200 rebate) is the best bang for the buck for a fledgling sports shooter.
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Old Dec 22, 2009, 3:19 PM   #16
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John--

That is advice I can run with. From what I can tell, the Canon T1i is simply the best all around deal (due largely to the rebate) for a DSLR for regular use in the immediate period and possible future expanded use.

I will also look at the XSi, but I think I know which one will win out.

Thanks
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Old Dec 22, 2009, 5:20 PM   #17
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The t1i is an excellent camera, the review mags and sites seem to like to pit it against the D90 instead of the D5000 allot times in the comparison. So they indirectly or unconsciously saying that it is in a different league then the one it is intended to compete in. I love the abilities of my T1i, and the current price with both the 18-55 and 55-250 lenses gives you an excellent range of coverage.

Here is a review about the T1i against the D5000

http://www.engadget.com/2009/04/30/c...h-nikon-d5000/

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Old Dec 22, 2009, 5:31 PM   #18
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Shoturtle,

There are absolutely some exceptional still shots of birds on the Oly forum. Oly offers some great affordable lenses and the sharpness and color are very good. But, there's a big difference between a still shot and an action shot. Pentax, Oly and Sony (except for A700) just aren't in the same league as Canon and Nikon for action shots. Their AF systems are just not as advanced. Additionally, since Canon and Nikon control 99% of pro sports shooting market they are committed to technology (both camera and lens) that benefits action shooters. Does this mean you can't take a good action shot with Oly, Pentax or Sony? No. It just means that, at the system level, Canon or Nikon is a better investment.

Now, it doesn't sound like the wildlife will be much of an issue - from the description it should be mostly stills. Where it comes into play is birds in flight. For wildlife, the biggest issue for the OP wll be a lack of reach.

But for childrens sports - that IS an area where AF performance matters. Also, one other aspect that hurts Oly in sports is the smaller sensor and it's corresponding larger DOF. In sports, subject isolation is a good thing. It's more challenging with the smaller sensor. For other work the system is outstanding but just not as good in sports.
To take birds in full action, you will need a very fast lens. And it is really the lens that determine if you can freeze a humming birds wings in flight, not so much the body.

I agree that the olympus is not as good as the T1i in action. But I do go to the US open in nyc every year, I have seen some exceptional shots of the tennis at night taken by olympus e620, e30 and e3 this year. Olympus is the official sponsor and they had a booth there showing the abilities of their cameras. To say that it is not suited for action, is not totally fair, it may not be as fast as the t1i, but it does a respectable job. But it seems that many discount the oly, pentax, and the sony right off the bat. And if you are going with pure number, the d5000 is not in the same league as the T1i, the d90 is the only one that come close to the t1i's performance at it's price point. D90-$1500 with one lens, vs t1i at 900 for 2 lens.
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Old Dec 23, 2009, 1:05 PM   #19
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To take birds in full action, you will need a very fast lens. And it is really the lens that determine if you can freeze a humming birds wings in flight, not so much the body.
A hummingbird shot is not the type of shot people normally think of when they talk BIF. The humingbird is hovering. I'm talking birds flying - changing focal planes. As a subject moves through focal planes the camera has to be able to track the subject. Both camera and lens play a part. The predictive focus algorithms in the camera play a huge part in it. For smaller subjects, the ability to 'pass off' the subject from focus point to focus point and not lose it plays a part (here's where the 45 or 51 points in Canon / Nikon matters in not losing small flying birds). FOr larger raptors and such you typically don't use all focus points but choose a single point. Although on higher end DSLRs you can have 'assist' points so you get a cluster of points and not just one. This is an example of a difference say between a 1dmkIII and a 50d for birding. On a 1dmkIII I can enable assist points - primary point is always used unless focus can't be achieved then it looks at surrounding points. I can also disable assist points.

Then, of course, there's the ability of the camera to achieve and track focus in low light levels.

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But I do go to the US open in nyc every year, I have seen some exceptional shots of the tennis at night taken by olympus e620, e30 and e3 this year.
Absolutely. But when making a purchase decision the question is: If the same level shooter takes 100 shots with Canon / Nikon / Oly gear at a sporting event what is the 'keeper' rate. I would suggest that over a wide variety of sports the keeper rate will be higher in Nikon / Canon than with Oly. And by a large margin. If you want to talk about professional sports events from professional shooter - I think you'll find a very hard time finding E-3 results stacking up against 1dmkIII or D3 results. Which is why 99% of the pros are using the Canon or Nikon cameras. If Oly competed, believe me the pros would switch. They switched from Nikon to Canon last decade and in the last 2 years a number have switched from Canon to Nikon. If Oly were a legit performer there would be more pros using it.

Or, let me put it this way: my old canon 20d helped me take very good sports and wildlife photos. My 1dmkIII helps me make significantly better photos with a higher keeper rate. All with the same lenses. Anyone who says the camera body doesn't matter for sports/wildlife either doesn't shoot them or has never used various bodies of different levels of capability.

As to dismissing Oly and Pentax right off the bat for action - it's a matter of priority. They offer things canon or nikon don't. But if sports is a priority and the entry level Canon & Nikon cameras out-perform the top of the heap Oly and Pentax cameras in focus tracking and low light performance, AND canon and nikon offer semi-pro and pro level models as an upgrade path and both systems offer huge selection of sports lenses why wouldn't they have a big advantage?

People that don't shoot sports/action or who haven't used quality sports gear like to diminish it's importance. But there's not a proficient sports/action wildlife shooter out there that will suggest the right gear for the job isn't a HUGE part of the equation.

Now, in full disclosure I have never shot sports with a Pentax or Oly DSLR. So I base my opinion on shots I see posted in forums and user comments. I recommended the Sony A700 when users were demonstrating through their photos that the quality was at the same level as what Canon and Nikon users were getting. When Pentax and Oly shooters are posting demanding sports photos I'll change my mind.

On a final note - let's remember, every sport is different. What truly challenges cameras in sports shooting are shots where the subject is changing focal plane (soccer, football, basketball). So seeing a shot of someone taking a free throw (not changing focal planes) or standing on the pitcher's mound doesn't tell me how the gear performs when the movement starts. Similarly, a panning shot doesn't tell me much - subject isn't changing focal planes - that type of shot is more about photographer skill than gear ability. For bird-in-flight, seeing a perch shot or hover shot doesn't tell me much about how the gear performs for movement shots. Of course there is a HUGE portion of wildlife shooters that don't care about flight shots. Then focus tracking performance doesn't matter. And Pentax and Oly are just as capable of great perch shots - and Oly's deeper dof is a bit of an advantage. So, no argument there.

But, take a look at ISO 6400 shots of a moving subject out of the Nikon D3/D700 and pick any other camera on the market today and see if the body doesn't matter much. My 1dmkIII does very nice at 6400 but the D3/d700 images put it to shame. And NOTHING in pentax/oly comes close. Body matters, more than you think. As does lens selection. Find out how many pentax owners would love a sigma 120-300 2.8. Or a lens like canon's 70-200 f4 IS (sharpness/build quality) or the 85mm 1.8.

Ask TCAV if he's not getting better results at his horse events with Nikon and their 85mm 1.8 than he was able to get with the lenses in Sony's lineup.
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Old Dec 23, 2009, 2:42 PM   #20
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I am not disagreeing that the T1i is the top of the line in the sub 1000 dollar segment. And it is the best performer for sports and other things.

But I just disagree that the other brand are not suited for sport or indoor lighting is just not true. They will perform if you know how to use them properly. Take for example the pentax k-x has an iso equal to the t1i at 12800, that is better then the d5000. It will do a good job in low light and indoor sporting events. To automatically discount them because they are not the big two, seems silly.

We are not talking about getting a $5000 camera like the 1dmkiii, in the consumer market, they are all pretty close. I have took out the following camera's when I was narrowing down my pick for my transition over from slr to dslr, e620, e30, d5000, d90, d50, t1i, a380, a330, and a500. With the exception of the e30,50d, and a500 with had a performance advantage because they were the next tier camera. The e620, t1i, d90, d500 and a380 were all pretty close in performance. I had each camera out for at least 2 days of shooting.

All I am saying is they are all pretty close in performance. It comes down to features, fit of the ergo, and how the camera fit into your budget.

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