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Old May 31, 2010, 4:33 PM   #1
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Default What camera fits my needs?

Wanting a camera to shoot family (3 and 9 year old), vacations, sons baseball/ice hockey games/dance etc., but most important something not to complaicated to use. My friend has a Canon DSLR and it takes wicked hockey action photos but his lens alone was over my budget of $800. I'm coming from a Sony 8.1mp point and shoot. It seems there are just to many choices out there like the Pana FZ35, Nikon P100/D3000/5000, Canon T1I and the Pentax KX. Are the lenses in the "bundled kits" any good? The Pentax comes with 2 lenses for around $750. Please help a rookie make a SMART, best bang for the buck decision. Thanks
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Old May 31, 2010, 5:59 PM   #2
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boltfan-

DSLR cameras have become less complicated, but still require a learning curve. If you want to become more serious about your photography they ate the next logical step to make.

The DSLR with the most interest by new folks coming to DSLR cameras are the Pentax Kx, the Canon T1 and the Nikon D-5000. The Pentax Kx is bundled with a two lens kit and there are some savings if those lenses will wok for you. For example they would not be very valuable for you low light level environment shoot at hockey games because for that application you will need a fast, wide aperture, mid range telephoto lens.

Keep in mind as well that some portion of your budget should be saves for a good external flash unit as well. A DSLR will provide much better image quality, and with the right lens compare and excel against the Panasonic FZ-35. I would forget the Nikon P-100 as it has done poorly in professional and user reviews.

The FZ-35 is a very good camera, but when its image is quality is compared to a DSLR, the DSLR will be the winner.

Sarah Joyce
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Old May 31, 2010, 6:54 PM   #3
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Thanks Sarah, so if a went for the Pentax KX body only what lens/lenses would you recommend. I play hockey as well so the camera would shoot indoors hockey games quite often. Is there one lens that would do everything I'm looking for?
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Old May 31, 2010, 7:17 PM   #4
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boltfan-

No, I am sorry to say that there is not one lens that does it all. In the case of hockey shots you will need a fast, wide aperture, lens. The issue to be considered is this: how much zoom do you need? Are you shooting from the stands, on the rink or where?

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Old May 31, 2010, 7:43 PM   #5
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Sports requires fast shutter speeds. Sports in low light requires large apertures and/or high ISO settings to compensate for the fast shutter speeds. The Pentax K-x and Canon T1i can do the high ISOs, but the large apertures are where the $800 lens comes in.

For baseball, you'll need something that goes out to about 300mm, but in daylight, the aperture doesn't need to be very large, so you can get by with a less expensive lens.

For hockey from rinkside, you can get away with 200mm, but indoors you'll need a large aperture: f/2.8 minimum. Something like the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 DG Macro HSM II would do, but that's probably the $800 lens your friend has.

Shooting sports is tough, and the gear is important.
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Old May 31, 2010, 10:36 PM   #6
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Thanks SJ and TCAV, after searching/reading up on sport lenses this type of set-up will easily exceed my budget. I guess my only other question is can I get a "good" photo using the FZ35 shooting hockey indoors with the aperture??? setting at F2.8? I searched for FZ35 action photos and could not come up with anything. Thanks again for your insight. Jeff
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Old May 31, 2010, 10:52 PM   #7
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While the FZ35 does have a maximum aperture of f/2.8, that's only at it's shortest focal length (widest angle of view). At the telphoto end of its zoom range, the maximum aperture is only f/4.4, which is way too dim for indoor sports, even with the best camera.

If you want to shoot indoor sports, you need a dSLR with an appropriate lens. A P&S won't cut it.
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Old Jun 1, 2010, 7:17 AM   #8
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TCAVs advice is on the money. I have yet to see photos from a digicam that produce "good" results from amateur indoor sports venues (i.e. big difference between lighting in amateur rinks and pro rinks). So, if someone tells you any digicam WILL produce good photos - as to see their indoor amateur hockey photos from it. Be VERY, VERY careful of people shooting something completely different and extrapolating to suggest the camera can also shoot hockey.
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Old Jun 1, 2010, 9:55 AM   #9
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Could I use the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 lens outdoors as well or is that strickly an indoor low light lens? Are there any good DVD's out there that explains DSLR photography/settings so I can quit bugging you guys???
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Old Jun 1, 2010, 10:01 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boltfan91 View Post
Could I use the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 lens outdoors as well or is that strickly an indoor low light lens? Are there any good DVD's out there that explains DSLR photography/settings so I can quit bugging you guys???
Yes you can use the sigma outdoors. The biggest limitation outdoors will be distance. For moving humans, the lens is good for about 25 yards of reach if you want high quality. Beyond that you start to run into more and more focus issues. So as long as your human subject is 25 yards or closer you are good to go. In real terms, if your son is in little league and you can shoot from the dugout or just off the foul line you're OK. By the time he's up to fulll field diamonds then 200mm is way too short. If you're on the field 300-400mm is good. If you aren't on the field and are behind a fence say then 400-500mm is appropriate.
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