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Old Jun 25, 2010, 6:29 AM   #1
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Default Sports (Field Hockey) upgrade from Canon S2is

Hi,

We're thinking of upgrading our Canon Powershot S2is.

It gets a bit of a workout at field hockey games each week and the 432mm (35mm equiv) zoom lens is great for bringing the action closer. The movie mode is also quite handy for some coaching sessions after the game

But... it has trouble keep focussed sometimes and doesn't have the shutter speed to stop the action when the light is less than ideal. The continous mode can never run fast enough to catch a shot on goal either.

We were thinking of an FZ35, as it seems to get great reviews.

We've still got a 35mm SLR - a Nikon N2020 with a 35-70mm AF lens, so I was thinking maybe we should upgrade to a d-SLR.

To get a d-SLR with movie mode we seem to need a Nikon D90, or Canon 550D/T1i.

I could use my existing 35-70 with the D90, but would need to buy at least a Nikkor 70-300mm f4-5.6G for another AUS$319

The photos are only for the club newsletter, so perhaps it would be over-capitalising, and the FZ35 would do as good a job ?

Any thoughts would be appreciated. I've attached a couple of recent photos.

Thanks
H
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Old Jun 25, 2010, 6:50 AM   #2
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That first photo was using Auto ISO with the camera selecting ISO 100. The shutter speed was only 1/60 second (way to slow too freeze action).

Auto ISO is not smart enough to know you want to freeze the action.

When shooting in less than optimum lighting, you're going to have to use much higher ISO speeds. Each time you double the ISO speed, the camera can use shutter speeds twice as fast for the same lighting and aperture. For that first photo, you would have needed ISO 800 (allowing shutter speeds 8 times as fast as ISO 100) to get your shutter speeds up to around 1/500 second (and you want to keep your shutter speeds even faster than that if possible, but that's about the minimum you'd want). But, I don't think your S2 IS has ISO speeds that high (it's limited to ISO 400). So, you'll have to compromise unless you use a camera capable of better results.

Keep an eye on your shutter speeds. If they're too slow, increase your ISO speed. Increasing ISO speed will add noise. But, that can be better than blurry photos. ;-)

Don't use Green Auto modes, and don't use Auto ISO in those conditions. Shoot in aperture priority (keeping the aperture wide open, which means using the smallest available f/stop number) instead. Then, increase ISO speed to make sure your shutter speeds are fast enough for the lighting you're shooting in.

Are you using any filters on the camera that could be causing light loss? If so, remove them. That could be causing slower shutter speeds than you should be getting in that lighting.

For example, a typical polarizing filter can block around 2 stops of light, which means that only 1/4 the light gets through). That will slow down your shutter speeds considerably, and will also make it harder to the camera to focus since not as much light is getting through.
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Old Jun 25, 2010, 7:01 AM   #3
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P.S.

A dSLR is probably a better bet for sports (better Autofocus system, better results as ISO speeds are increased). But, you'll want a good lens to go with one. The Nikkor 70-300mm f/4-5.6G is not going to be a very good lens for sports (as it's slow to focus and will be softer on it's longer end as you zoom in more). That's going to be typical of budget zoom lenses.
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Old Jun 25, 2010, 7:07 AM   #4
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Thanks JimC.

Can you suggest a 70-300 zoom that would be better for sports ?

Would the Nikkor f/4-5.6G be better or worse than the FZ35 at the long end do you think ?

I don't think we could go much higher in budget, so perhaps we're better with the super-zoom models ?

thanks
H
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Old Jun 25, 2010, 7:44 AM   #5
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For what you want to do, a dSLR will do a better job. I don't know which Nikon 35-70 lens you've got, but neither of the them is bad, so that might be a good reason for sticking with Nikon. There is one drawback however: entry level dSLRs have image sensors that are smaller than 35mm film exposures, so that 35-70mm lens would have an angle of view similar to a 50-105mm lens on a 35mm camera, which is an odd range, so you may not get much use out of it anyway.
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Old Jun 25, 2010, 7:57 AM   #6
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To get a better 70-300mm lens in the Nikon lineup (faster Autofocus, sharper as you zoom into the longer end), you'd need to move up to the Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S VR. It's around $529

http://www.adorama.com/NK70300AFVRU.html

But, frankly, I'd probably go for a "budget" zoom instead until you could afford a better one if that's over budget, versus trying to use a point and shoot model for sports use.
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Old Jun 25, 2010, 6:57 PM   #7
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Thanks for your comments.

Looking at the d-SLRs a bit more, the movie mode on the Nikon/Canon don't really do want the wife wants.

The Pentax k-x seems to have the features we were want, but I've seen some comments that it's not good for 'sports photography'.

Is this a fair assessment, considering what we're trying to do ? Is it the range of lens that i the problem ?

I'm not sure if a Pentax/Sigma/Tamron x-300mm zoom on a k-x on the long end would be still be significantly better than something like the FZ35?

H
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Old Jun 25, 2010, 8:37 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hoontune View Post
The Pentax k-x seems to have the features we were want, but I've seen some comments that it's not good for 'sports photography'.

Is this a fair assessment, considering what we're trying to do ? Is it the range of lens that i the problem ?

I'm not sure if a Pentax/Sigma/Tamron x-300mm zoom on a k-x on the long end would be still be significantly better than something like the FZ35?
It's not as good as some others, but it's not bad. The real problem is that there aren't any lenses for it that are good at sports, unless you want to spend a small fortune.

Canon, Nikon, and Sony all have lenses that are excellent for sports, and none are outrageously expensive. There are better lenses, many notably from Sigma, and they are available for a Pentax body, but they cost over $1,000. Historically, support for telephoto zoom lenses for Pentax has been weak, and some of the ones that are available don't have the fast motors that make them useful for sports.

For sports, I think you'd be better off with a Canon entry level dSLR and a Canon 70-300 IS USM than anything else. If money is an issue, Adorama sells factory refurbished Canon dSLRs with a store warranty that are as long as the factory warranty.
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Old Jun 27, 2010, 12:55 PM   #9
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I would look at the Fuji HS10 closely also, if you can wait between burst it can shoot 10 shots per second, but there is a delay while it stores the photos...it also has 30X Zoom and a decent price...

It also has a clever feature that when you bring your eye to the EVF it auto shuts off LCD and then when you take your eye away the LCD comes back on...an EVF would help also with Sports shots along with it's Motion tracking auto focus...

Theres a guy on the forum here that goes by "gitoth" he owns the Fuji HS10 and has some great shots with it, he could give you some insight on using it for sports....

Last edited by LTZ470; Jun 27, 2010 at 1:00 PM.
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Old Jun 27, 2010, 5:48 PM   #10
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To answer if something like the FZ35/HS10 etc will do a good enough job then I would base that on your top 20% of photos with the S2. If you think these are OK for the newsletter then likely you will be happy with the results from another bridge camera. However you will still have the limitations of slow tracking AF and the ability to frame easily when shooting the fast action.

I used to shoot a lot of field hockey, as I covered our local team (all divisions, men and ladies) for both local newspaper and also for the players/fans to purchase. I started with a basic dSLR and Tamron 70-300mm, I've since moved up the food chain a lot as the photos were getting far more use but you can do quite well with the basics. I would personally go with the Canon T1i or Nikon D90 as minimum bodies for sports, you can start with the Tamron 70-300mm f4-5.6 as I did, the focus is a little slow but still considerably better than you are used to. If you can reach to the 70-300mm IS/VR options from Canon or Nikon you are in a better situation. The Canon will give you a better low light ability than the Nikon but if shooting daytime then not to worry.

If you are looking for some info on improving hockey (or other field sports for that matter) shots then take a look at this thread that I put together a couple of years ago http://forums.steves-digicams.com/sp...n-improve.html hopefully it will have some helpful tips.
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