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Old Feb 4, 2010, 11:23 AM   #31
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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.

Sarah Joyce
Sarah - understood. The problem I had was when you suggested a 20x zoom might be able to accomplish the same background blur. I'm all in favor of giving buying advice within budget constraints. That's fine - but let's not oversell capabilities of cameras while doing so. I've dealt with too many people over the years with 'buyers remorse' because they were convinced a given camera was capable of better sports images than it is. It's perfectly OK to use a superzoom for sports - but expectations have to be kept realistic. You can cross the Atlantic ocean in a boat but that doesn't mean you can do it in the same amount of time a 777 can do it.

I see you've updated your previous post, but just wanted to include this as an explanation for my earlier comments.
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Old Feb 4, 2010, 11:49 AM   #32
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Thanks very much, JohnG-

I have really attempted to encourage no enlarged nor super expectations about image quality and shooting ability, we both know there are real image quality and shoot ability constraints to using digicam super zoom cameras for sports shots.

Therefore, I have remained restrained in my discussions, and attempted to seriously caution the OP about the viability and feasibility of shooting sports with a super zoom or a bridge camera. If I have seriously gone wrong in my suggestions, I am certainly open to your very capable advice.

However as you can see this thread began well over 30 days ago, and the OP has remained resolute in her desire to forge ahead within the limitations of both budget and camera capabilities, by responding multiple times. So, JohnG, if you would be so inclined to add to the thread, I would surely appreciate it, as you can approach the material in this thread with some professional experience and hands-on shooting experience.

Thanks again for your fine input.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Feb 4, 2010, 3:43 PM   #33
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[QUOTE=softballmom;1048004]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.
QUOTE]

This answers the question about whether you can spend the money it will take to buy a camera and lens capable of doing what you want, and the answer is, it will hamper it by quite a bit.

$500 will get you a good quality superzoom like the Panasonic FZ35, but you will need to do a few things in order to get the type shots you are looking for. If you wait for the action to happen and press the shutter release, by the time the camera gets around to taking the picture, the action will be done. You'll have to pre-determine where you want to shoot and pre-focus so the camera sets both focus and exposure so all that's left is to shoot. If a game is at night the high ISO performance will disappointing and you will not be happy with the results.

I did a little picture taking of my daughter when she was in high school playing softball and, even in good light, the absolute best possible images are taken with any DSLR and lens combination. Trying to use Superzoom digicams for sports can be frustrating for people who know what they are doing.

A couple of images I shot of my daughter playing, shot with an Olympus E1 and 50-200 f2.8-3.5 Zuiko.







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Old Feb 4, 2010, 4:19 PM   #34
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Many thanks, Greg-

Those are excellent sports photos of your daughter. The photos provide an insight into the difficulty involved and the need to anticipate the action. It appears that you had a very excellent shooting position. That also helps a great deal.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Feb 4, 2010, 4:56 PM   #35
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Many thanks, Greg-

Those are excellent sports photos of your daughter. The photos provide an insight into the difficulty involved and the need to anticipate the action. It appears that you had a very excellent shooting position. That also helps a great deal.

Sarah Joyce
I often had the lens hood of the 50-200 right against the chain-link fence to obliterate all signs of it when shooting from behind the catcher, and it worked great except for the time or two where a foul ball off the bat went straight back and hit the fence near the lens! That's a jolt...
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Old Feb 4, 2010, 6:22 PM   #36
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Thanks, greg-

That is an excellent point. Shooting through the fence is something that DSLR's like the Olympus E-1 can do, but digicams cannot.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Feb 4, 2010, 11:47 PM   #37
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Greg, your pictures are awesome. My daughter is a catcher, too (and 1st base). I love the images from a dSLR. I did some soul searching today to see if it would be worth it for me to wait until I could afford a dSLR. In all honesty at this stage I do not want to deal with carrying around lenses. While it will definitely get better images I don't think I will use it as much. In addition to sports photos I also take a ton of family pictures - not necessarily technically perfect photos but ones that really express a mood or a silly moment. Sometimes I go from shooting someone far away to someone close to me in less than a minute. I don't think you can't do that with one of those kit lenses. I want to get the best pictures I can with the limitations I have. Anticipating a play won't be a problem. I've always had p & s cameras so I've been doing that for years
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Old Feb 5, 2010, 12:15 AM   #38
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Well there is always the option of just getting a dslr body with a superzoom lens that covers allot of range. It is again a compromise solution, as you give up some imagine quality for the range. It will still give you better results then a megazoom. And the close and long abilities and convenience of a megazoom, so you can take the wide range of photo you are talking about.

Take for an example with say a oly e620 body skipping the kit lens and going with 14-150mm lens from the start giving you a 10x zoom. It would be a more expensive solution then say the e520 with a 2 lens kit selling for 480 on some sites, actually double at about 1000 dollars for that lens set up.

It will give you a one lens solution with better iq then a megazoom, but it will still not give you the results of the oly e1 with the 50-200mm lens with the wider aperture of 2.8. But I think this set up is actually out of your budgeted range. But it allow you if you decide that you want a better sport lens like greg's 50-200mm lens. It would be a quick add on.
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Old Feb 5, 2010, 1:21 PM   #39
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Shoturtle-

I could be wrong, of course, but there is no Olympus 14-150mm lens. there is a 40-150mm lens that equates to 80 to 300mm in 35mm terms.

Have a great day.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Feb 5, 2010, 1:30 PM   #40
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softballmom-

The largest disadvantage for you is that most DSLR two lens kits do not provide the amount of zoom that you will need for those baseball shots. It would require a really long zoom, which means more expense and more things to carry around.

So for now, to remain within your stated budget, a super zoom meets your requirements a bit better. Yes, you will have to accept lesser image quality, but we have already discussed that fact.

As Greg brought up in his post, positioning yourself to the best advantage on the field sidelines, will dramatically improve your photos as well, rather than having to contend with shooting from the stands. If you have the time, I think it would be wise to wait until we see the first professional reviews on the new 30X optical zoom cameras. That extra reach may be desirable.

Have a great day.

Sarah Joyce
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