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Old Aug 9, 2010, 1:30 PM   #1
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Default Best Digital Camera for Sports

I have been heavily researching the latest digital cameras and have been giving a close look at the Samsung CL80 (ST5500) and the Canon SX210IS. I am a student with a part time job so my budget is only 450, so unfortunately i cannot get an SLR unless an incredible deal falls into my lap. Does anyone here have experience with these 2 cameras? If so which would you prefer? Any other digital cameras in the 400 dollar range that would be good for sports? I am a technology buff so while i want great image quality, i would also prefer cool new features. The CL80 is loaded with features while the SX210IS has 14x optical zoom, making me torn between the 2. If anyone could help me make a decision based off of their knowledge/experience...or point me in the way of a camera even better than the two, i would greatly appreciate it. Thanks for the help

-Matthew
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Old Aug 9, 2010, 1:40 PM   #2
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no point and shoot will be good for sports, they just do not have a good enough AF system. You can get a chance shots. But if you are trying to track something, it will not give you great results. Your budget is very tights, and would not really allow you to get a longer zoom lens for out door sports in daylight, let alone a bright lens for indoor and night sport shots.

with all the cameras mention, they all will have the same issues with not being able to keep up with the action.
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Old Aug 9, 2010, 1:40 PM   #3
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Hi Matthew and welcome to Steve's.

When you say sports what you are wanting to shoot as this will have a huge affect on the camera needed.

It is rare for a non dSLR to do well in the sports area so it could be a big compromise.

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Old Aug 9, 2010, 1:41 PM   #4
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Matthew,

What specific sports and in what context? For example if you say football. is it NFL games from the upper deck, pee-wee football, varsity HS football under the lights? So, what sports and levels of play, where will you be shooting from and for what purpose (e.g. you just want shots when you go to a MLB game or you're trying to take shots for the yearbook or whatever). Those questions will help drive out some requirements. I will say up front I'm not familiar with the cameras you are considering but I have shot a lot of sports and people that don't shoot sports at all have all sorts of opinions on what gear to buy. You need to be wary of the advice you get. Depending on your answers, hopefully someone here uses a non-DSLR for the type of sport you want to shoot - if not, then it really is a craps shoot as to how well the camera will perform. But again, you'll stand a much better chance of decent shots at a pee-wee football game on compressed field with you able to stand right on the sidelines than you will of getting decent shots at varsity football under the lights where I doubt any digicam is going to get usable shots.

Even if no one here shoots a given sport you want to shoot with a non-DSLR at least we can help provide some of the technical requirements you would need for success.
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Old Aug 9, 2010, 2:51 PM   #5
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Thanks for the opinions guys . I will be using this camera to shoot stock car races (daylight mostly, but perhaps under the lights on occasion), NFL, NBA (indoor arena lighting), and horseback riding (close distance, outdoor lighting). I am going into journalism next year so i do not immediately need professional quality pictures, just a camera that will capture a moment decently -> above average for the next year, i don't need a camera that blows me out of the water just yet. I have struggled before with indoor lighting issues and poor zoom that basically made taking pictures at sporting events pointless. I will eventually get a SLR, and I wish i could now but my financial situation does not allow it. The only possible DSRs i could afford (and it would take finding an extra 150 dollars somewhere) are the Canon Rebel XS, Nikon D3000, and Sony A330..all including an 18-55mm lens kit. If money were to fall into my lap and i would be able to buy one of these 3, which do you reccommend? Would an 18-55mm be a decent lens to start off with or would it be totally useless for sports? Would one of these SLRs be worth the extra 150 in comparison to a P&S such as the CL80 and SX210IS? What is the zoom like on an 18-55mm lens? Which lens (under 500 dollars) would be best for me? Sorry for so many questions, i just want to make the right purchase. I have a tad bit of camera knowledge from the media program i attended in college last year, but not enough to make an educated decision on my own. I just need a camera that will be somewhat impressive for the next year and keep me happy. These pictures will just mostly go up on facebook and be shared with friends, but I would still like to have nice photo quality. I just don't want to make a purchase that I will end up regretting. 400 dollars for a high end P&S that can last me a while (and i would just get a SLR next year and use both) or i could buy the lowest end SLR now and perhaps be forced to upgrade within the next year. Any help is appreciated, thank you all for taking your time to assist me .

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Old Aug 9, 2010, 4:41 PM   #6
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I am a newspaper reporter and photojournalist who decided on the Pentax Kx. Bang for the buck, there is no better deal if money is an issue, as it was and still is for me. With very unsable ISO 3200 (and ISO 6400 with post processing) and a five frames per second burst rate, I shoot everything from theater to sports. With prefocusing on a spot, I get very good results with sports at that burst rate. If you go the DSLR route, however, you're going to go way beyond $400 with the body and a couple of decent lenses. I primarily use the Kx with the Tamron 18-250 as my walk-a-round lens, complimented with a Vivitar manual 24mm 2.8 prime and the Pentax 50mm 1.4 prime for low light. From B&H, cost would be $500 for the Kx, $330 for the Tamron and $360 for the Pentax. The Vivitar sells around $100 from various other dealers. Initially, I only owned the Vivitar as money was really tight. Used lenses are much less and are another option from reputable dealers. Use www.resellerratings.com to check out who you are buying from. Highly paid journalists have serious gear that costs serious money, but that is not my level. On the point and shoot issue, possibly one of the high burst rate Casio Exilims might fill the bill for sports, but the image quality and high ISO capability would be very questionable for journalism. And last but last least, I wish you the best on your new career.

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Old Aug 9, 2010, 4:52 PM   #7
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Or you can go with the k-x with the 2 lens kit which is about 800 dollars, and it is a and the 55-300mm is a fast focusing lens. And it will cover most shooting needs.
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Old Aug 9, 2010, 4:59 PM   #8
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I would consider how much you might potentially spend getting into a system. If you go Pentax or anything else, ensure that it will take you where you want to go in the long run. If you have to change systems for your course next year then you can lose a lot of money which isn't good.

If you are looking into a system, check that you can get the lenses, flash and bodies that will cover your needs not only now but in some years to come.
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Old Aug 9, 2010, 5:04 PM   #9
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If you are planning to go pro, stay with canon or nikon.
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Old Aug 9, 2010, 5:12 PM   #10
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I really wouldn't buy a dslr just yet. I think you need to keep any expectations of decent photos at NBA and NFL games in check - the odds are just stacked way against it - mostly because of distance. Unless you have phenomenal seats, you're just not close enough at an NBA game for quality photos. Trying to overextend your budget to get a DSLR body capable of decent photos isn't going to work because you're not going to be able to buy lenses long enough to take quality photos. If you had floor seats you could get good photos with an f4 lens in some of the better lit NBA arenas and ISO 3200-6400. Adding to the problem is lens restrictions that various arenas or stadiums have. The short of it is it is exceedingly difficult to get quality sports photos at professional venues unless you have good gear and GREAT seats. Again, you want photos for facebook - let's not go into debt for that. If you take photography classes once you start your journalism program that class will have gear requirements. At that time, buy the least expensive DSLR that meets those requirements. Overspending now you'll still get poor sports results and you'll have overspent to do it. With money being tight, that's not a terribly bright decision IMO.
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