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Old Apr 21, 2011, 12:13 PM   #1
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Default Mom needs a better camera for sports shots

I am looking for a camera that fits my needs and am very overwhelmed with the amount of information on the web so would appreciate any help.

A bit about me -
I'm the mom of a busy family with sports and would like to be able to preserve the moment if you will. I have 2 teens that dance, do marching band, orchestra and field hockey.

I currently have a Canon power shot SD780IS ELPH and love that I can slip it in my pocket and take it anywhere. I HATE that I can't get the quality of action shots I'm looking for.

Here's a run down of what I'm looking for:

Uses - Better action shots is priority. I'd be mainly doing this indoors on a theater stage setting for dance and some outdoors for field hockey. Secondary - I still want to be able to take basic family and vacation shots.

Size - I want something small/compact since I am already the keeper and carrier of all equipment.

Level - I'd appreciate something easy to use without a bunch of lenses or settings - I'm an auto girl for the most part - but would be willing to learn a little to help my cause.

Price - $300? $400? $500 range tops please. I'm never going to make a career out of this. I'm just a mom that wants some great shots to keep the memories and share with family and friends. But if you know of something that will fit my bill perfectly I'm not opposed to spending a bit more.

Thanks in advance for any help!
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Old Apr 21, 2011, 2:29 PM   #2
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Hi Dancemom;

I see this is your first post here, so I guess I'm the first to say, "Welcome". The people here are great. They have really helped me become a better photographer. So visit often and ask lots of questions.

So if I'm reading you correctly, you want a camera that is:
1. Small
2. Able to shoot in dim indoor light, from a distance, in a theater where dancers perform. Most live performances prohibit flash photography, so you'll have to work with only the stage lighting.
3. Focus fast so that the dancers are in focus
4. Fast enough to stop action in dim light
5. You want this to happen in automatic mode.

And you want this at a low price.

In my opinion, the problem is the lack of light in the setting you're describing.

One way to get around the lack of light is to leave the shutter open longer. But that won't work because you want to shoot on auto mode and second, since the dancers are moving, you must have a fast shutter speed or the photo will blur like mad.

In order to shoot in dim lighting (without a flash) you need a really "fast lens". What photographers mean by the term "fast lens" is one that lets a lot, lot, lot, lot of light in during a really short shutter opening.

So when you see pros with a lens with a glass front that is really wide (2 or more inches wide) that's the type of lens that let's a lot of light in fast.

Again, in my opinion, this won't happen with a point and shoot camera with a lens about the size of a quarter.

If I were in your shoes and had the budget you're talking about. I would probably buy a good, used Digital SLR with a common run of the mill lens. I'd learn to shoot with it. Then on the days when it's time to photograph the children dancing, I'd rent a lens, and I'd rent a super duper lens.

That way, you've got a good camera that can handle the everyday stuff you want to do. It'll be in your budget and not too bulky. Then when you need it, you can rent the specialty lens and not spend the mega bucks.

Now, what'll happen next is that some veterans will read what I just wrote and smack me around. Some will tell you has ignorant I am. They they'll make their recommendation. Then someone will come to my defense and tell you why I'm nearly as smart as Einstein with this post.

It's all good.

Now, I'm going find the package on a website and get you something less generic than a DSLR as mentioned above.

Faithfully Yours,
FP
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Old Apr 21, 2011, 2:42 PM   #3
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FP,

Thanks so much for the warm welcome!

I might have made the lighting seem like a bigger problem than it really is. For the most part the dancer's stage will be very well lit with stage lighting all around. For most dancing competitions lighting shouldn't be a problem.

Other than that you have all my wants and needs correct. I've never thought about looking into used cameras - I'll keep that in mind.

Thanks for the info!
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Old Apr 21, 2011, 3:07 PM   #4
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Digital Camera – Used Canon Xsi from a very reliable vendor – B&H Photo.


http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...i_Digital.html $339

Canon 50mm lens that does not zoom, but is a fantastic lens for the money you’re spending.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...0mm_f_1_8.html $134

So with these two items $473. That’s in your budget.

If you must have a zoom lens, you’ll sacrifice some image quality and lens speed, but if you must, then look at

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc..._5_5_6_IS.html This is an 18-55mm zoom lens. $179

or

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc..._4_5_6_IS.html This is a 55 – 250mm lens. However, for indoor shooting, it needs a flash or a slow shutter. $255.

If I had all three of these lenses, I’d be using the $134, 50mm a lot. It’s really that good. My wife uses this combination (Xsi and the 50mm) all the time.

Now, it’s time to go to the theater and shoot….. Time to rent a lens.

I bet that the one of the best lenses to rent is this one:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...f_2_8L_IS.html

I don’t own this exact lens. I do own the previous model of it. This one sells for $2500. A used one like mine that is the previous model sells for about $1,500 - $1,700. I asked a few guys about the difference between the two and they told me that I should just stick with the one I have, that there’s not $1,000 difference for the type of work I do.

It’s heavy lens and long. Make sure you rent the one that is a 2.8F, has image stabilization.

Also, spend $10 and buy a monopod from Wal-mart. It makes this whole thing easier to hold and shoot.

There you go. You have my solution to your low budget, low light, fast action shooting needs.


Hope this helps.

FP
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Old Apr 22, 2011, 1:45 AM   #5
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for daytime action you will need to invest in a faster AF lens, the 55-250 is not the best for that kind of action and a bit short. The min I would look at would be a ef 70-300 IS USM or the tamron 70-300 VC USD. They are about 450-550 dollars.

A canon XSi or T1i or T2i form canon refurbished is a way to save some money on the body. And if you have a old canon point and shoot that you are willing to trade in, you can get a larger 20% discount with the canon loyalty program.

refreb site to see what they have.
Cameras
http://shop.usa.canon.com/webapp/wcs...10051_-1_29252
Lenes
http://shop.usa.canon.com/webapp/wcs...10051_-1_22751

CPL number 866-443-8002

Action/Sport shooting is a expensive preposition. Even doing it on the cheap side is still expensive.
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Old Apr 22, 2011, 1:47 AM   #6
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PS if you want action in low light, that is going to get very expensive.
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Last edited by shoturtle; Apr 22, 2011 at 1:49 AM.
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Old Apr 28, 2011, 8:55 PM   #7
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Sorry for all the responses you got....it seems you can't really ask camera geeks for help without them insisting that there are no other cameras than DSLR's.

Obviously there are NO DSLR's that you can slip into your pocket.

The used ones don't "slip" any easier.

I've been facing the same dilema and I understand that what I really want is DSLR performance from something the size of a pack of cigarettes....probably a little unlikely in this decade.

BUT....there are plenty of good cameras out there that are better than the ELPH's.

The Canon's...S95, S90 and the Nikon's P300, S9100, S8100 are all great examples ...unfortuantely you still have to make a compromise...

you either get zoom, speed or low light performance....but I don't even think you can get 2 of these in one camera right now...unless you buy a DSLR and wear REALLY big cargo pants....lol

anyway good luck...I'm still not having any myself.

But I sure have recieved a lot of great recomendations on DSLR's.
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Old Apr 28, 2011, 10:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cmikul View Post
Sorry for all the responses you got....it seems you can't really ask camera geeks for help without them insisting that there are no other cameras than DSLR's.
.
We don't insist that there is no other kind of camera, most of us also own or have owned P&S cameras and simply put even bright stage lights are generally not enough to get within a P&S's performance envelope. To get the shutter speed fast enough to stop even moderate motion one will need ISO2000 to ISO3200 with an f/4 lens. There is no P&S that gets there with enough focal length to shoot from the audience seats.

A. C.

Last edited by ac.smith; Apr 29, 2011 at 8:58 AM.
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Old Apr 29, 2011, 11:32 AM   #9
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A DSLR is bulky and takes up more room....which you've stated you don't want. The above posts are correct....to get proper 'sports' shots that don't have a blurry subject then a DSLR with the right lens is required. The XSI suggestion with renting lenses is a good idea and certainly a good option if you wanted the DSLR. The only problem is you could be renting lenses all the time since you want to take photos frequently.

The only other viable alternative is a P&S with an F2.0 or 2.8 availability with low light performance. To my knowledge, the best on the market in your price range for this is either the Canon S 90 or 95 OR the G11 or G12. The G11 and S90 are previous models but if you can find them at stores will cost less then the current S95 and G12 models.

I own the G11 (as well as a dslr) and have found that the G11's low light performance is excellent for stage performances. It can be put on silent mode which then doesn't bother anyone around you. It has an articulating screen (as does the G12) and captures images with ease. They aren't, at times, as sharp as a DSLR doing low light but if you are only making small prints....4x6 - 8x10, it will produce good quality.

The S90 and 95, are smaller in size, similar to your ELPH and would be the next step up if you wanted that size of camera. The G series is bulkier than the S series BUT, both will fit into your purse without worries.
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Last edited by Shutterbug74; Apr 29, 2011 at 11:56 AM.
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Old Apr 29, 2011, 11:45 AM   #10
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The below photos were taken at Disney on with my G11, on the low light setting without a flash, as I was sitting on a moving ride beside a very wiggly three year old. But, it gives you an idea of "stage lighting". I had some really good shots from their Nemo production which showed better quality since I was seated and could steady my hand. If I find one or two of those, I'll post them too.

UPDATE...found them....see next post for the Nemo shots.
Attached Images
    
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http://www.facebook.com/pages/Alainn...39490172728282
http://alainnbellephotography.smugmug.com/

Last edited by Shutterbug74; Apr 29, 2011 at 11:55 AM.
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