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Old Jan 13, 2010, 10:13 PM   #21
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Yes the higher end bridge camera have more manual control then a point and short. Especially the large bridge cameras. Like the fiji, canon sx1 and sx20 and G11.

You can also use the link I posted earlier to learn how certain feature works.

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Old Jan 13, 2010, 10:42 PM   #22
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In terms of a super zoom or bridge camera, my recommendation would be the Panasonic FZ-35. But I earlier listed all of the major choices. The FZ-35 is currently selling for around $325.00 at Amazon which has one of the best return policies in the market place: 30 day no charges, no questions asked, a very easy return.

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Old Feb 3, 2010, 5:16 PM   #23
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Well, I still haven't bought a camera. I'm thinking the FZ35, but waiting for tax refund! I was looking at the website today and saw a whole bunch of new cameras - Olympus SP-800UZ, Fuji HS10, and Nikon p100. Would any of these be better than the FZ35? The only concern I had with the FZ35 was that the burst mode wouldn't take many pictures unless you lowered the resolution. Can you really tell the difference in resolution on the photos?
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Old Feb 3, 2010, 8:51 PM   #24
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softballmom-

Thanks for returning to your thread. I sincerely believe that the first step is to clarify your selection process. I have followed the introduction of the Olympus SP-8000, the Fuji H-10 and the Nikon P-100 closely. The primary feature of those cameras is added zoom, up to 30X optical zoom.

Before we go onward, I think that it is important to say that the best tool for the proposed task is really a DSLR camera with the appropriate long range zoom lens. Taking photos with a lesser camera will result in a reduction in image quality and image clarity.

Before we go any further, please understand where you position yourself to take your baseball photos can make a substantial difference, in the photos taken. So let's begin with a hypothetical situation: let's assume that you have applied for, and been granted permission to take photos from the base lines. That being the case, if your are on the 1st base side of the diamond, the longest distance you would have from your shooting position would be to 3rd base. And conversely, if you were on the 3rd base side of the diamond, the longest distance would be to 1st base. Those estimates are based on your posts.

Now if you want to get closer-up of the action on the bases, you might need more zoom, or if you wanted to catch the action in the outfield, you would also need more zoom.

Since we will have the Super Bowl this weekend, please think back to the playoff games and the Pro Bowl, please recall the images from your mind of the photographers there at those games. They were using top level DSLR with very expensive and large zoom lens, so big in fact that they are mostly equipped with monopods. The average investment in any single camera outfit in that group of photographers probably begins at $5,000.

So the budget that you establish will have a direct effect on the cameras that you can choose from when selecting a camera. For the record, the MSRP of the Fuji F-10 is $(US)499.99, and for the Olympus SP-8000 is $(US)399.99.

So let's do this step by step:

1. set a budget

2. define the distances you want to cover

3. Consider if there will be exceptions, such as out field shots or close-ups and the like

4. Take into consideration that as the zoom on a camera progressively increases, framing your desired photos also becomes progressively more difficult to achieve.

Now I have not touched on photographic capability, as your posts mentioned that you intended to learn as you gained experience. But sports/action photography is indeed a rather specialized skill. I am sure that our resident sports photographer, John G, will affirm that.

So let's start through the steps beginning with numbers 1. through 4. as we continue this discussion. Have a great evening.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Feb 3, 2010, 8:59 PM   #25
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Also remember that these new camera will not be out till april. They have announce them, but actually shipping them to sellers may take a bit longer. Example olympus just announce the epl-1 shipping starts in march according to the press release. But all the big retailer do not expect to be shipping them out to their customer that are pre ordering them till april. So you need to factor in the time frame of your purchase also to what Sarah has listed for the evaluation of your purchase decision.
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Old Feb 3, 2010, 11:45 PM   #26
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Thanks for all the info - this is all just mind boggling! Sarah, I want to thank you for putting so much time and thought into your response. I would like to address your questions:
#1. I would like the top of my budget to be about $500.
#2. I am just a mom/aunt getting pictures for my family, so the pictures I get come from the stands, behind the backstop, or from the outfield. Sometimes I can stand way down the baselines, but as the kids get older the fences seem to go farther down the line. I like to get outfield shots of my nephews, my daughter is primarily an infielder. I take a lot of pictures at family gatherings, but I am not really into taking close ups of flowers and things like that. My daughter likes to take pictures of the players at major league baseball games. Not really action shots, she just likes pictures of the players
#3. Like I said above, my nephews play outfield, one of them almost exclusively. I feel I short him sometimes because the pictures of him are at a much greater distance than the other two kids.
#4. I don't really understand - how come? My ignorance comes into play again!
Since I'm being ignorant, one more question. I'm sure any camera I can afford will not be able to do this, but I saw a professional photographer take pictures and he did something that made the chain link fence disappear in the photos - how do you do that? Is it only an expensive-camera thing?
Shoturtle - thanks for the reality check on timing. Definitely something to consider.
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Old Feb 4, 2010, 8:02 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by softballmom View Post
but I saw a professional photographer take pictures and he did something that made the chain link fence disappear in the photos - how do you do that? Is it only an expensive-camera thing?
I'm guessing you are referring to the affect where the fence is blurred in the background. This is a result of shallow depth of field and requires PHYSICALLY long lenses no digicam on the market has. There are other factors, but that's the most limiting one for digicams.
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Old Feb 4, 2010, 11:03 AM   #28
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sSoftballmom-

Many thanks for your reply. With a $(US) 500.00 budget you can select most anny of the super zoom cameras, even the new ones that will not hit the dealer shelves until, I am guessing, early April. In that way you could more easily take photos. No, they will not approach the image quality of premium DSLR standards, but in 4" X 6" prints they will make an excellent recording of sometimes both happy and possibly dramatic games that you daughter and her cousins play in so hard.

It sounds as if the majority of your photos will be taken from the grandstand area, which imposes the problem of the fence. Just keep in mind that shooting from the baseline deletes the fence problem and puts you closer to the out field. Shooting through the fence, as John G, our resident Super Moderator and a professional sports photographer, noted in his post can only be accomplished with premium DSLR cameras and very long zoom lenses. Thanks also to JohnG, for your excellent sample photo.

A 20X optical zoom camera, such as the Canon SX-20 or the Sony HX-1 may be sufficient. The problem with framing a shot using long zoom is very much akin to using a set of powerful binoculars. The field of vision at and near the maximum zoom is so narrow, you often have to begin the shot with a much lower power zoom, and then gradually increase the zoom, while keeping the subject in the middle of the frame as you progressively zoom outward. When you are dealing with an action shot, that takes a lot of time just to get the shot set-up and you may well miss the action. The only other alternative course of action, is to use a monopod and to keep the player constantly in focus, and in the middle of the frame, while you wait for the action to take place. It is a lot of time with your eye glued to the viewfinder.

I would visit a camera store and handle any prospective cameras. How a camera feels in hand and how your hand spans the controls is very important. Take along a memory card. Pick out a point across the street, or down the block and focus on that point, while simultaneously framing your photo, then take the photos. You can take a look at your photos after leaving the shop, and better yet, you can get a very good idea how each individual camera handles the rapid action you will require of it when zooming, framing, and getting off the shot.

Will you need one of the new 30X optical zoom cameras? I am really not sure, as I am unfamiliar with your desire for how close, the close-up action photos might be, based on your requirements. We can see in the photo posted by JohnG, that he had zoomed in rather tightly. You are going to have to work that out, and to determine if the early April stock availability on those new cameras jives with your shooting schedule.

Good luck and have a great day.

Sarah Joyce

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Old Feb 4, 2010, 11:48 AM   #29
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quick post - dont kid yourself into thinking a 20x zoom camera is going to give you backgrounds like that. It won't be close. If you had a 40x zoom maybe but the problem there is you'd have to stand so far away the fence would be obtrusive. In order to overcome the fence you need to shoot right at it / over it or be inside.

I understand and appreciate budget concerns. But let's not try and convince ourselves any digicam on the market is going to come remotely close to this when you factor in the specifics of the shooting environment. Of course if anyone has some actual softball/baseball photos from any digicams under discussion I'm sure they would be very helpful to the OP.
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Old Feb 4, 2010, 12:10 PM   #30
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Many thanks, JohnG-

I believe that I have been pointed clear that digicams will, on their very best days, take only 4" X 6" snapshot type photos. There is no doubt that this is the environment for a premium DSLR camera, equipped with a very expensive zoom lens.

However, the OP wants to give it a try, so we are adapting to, and working within both the budget and the shooting constraints imposed by a super zoom camera.

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