Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > What Camera Should I Buy?

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Oct 8, 2012, 12:47 PM   #11
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 9
Default

Outdoors I have deck access. Indoor I do not. Most of the outdoor pools are 25m in both directions.
KellyM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 8, 2012, 12:57 PM   #12
Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 8,529
Default

Without deck access I would concentrate efforts outdoors with regards to purchase decisions. But, you still want a fast focusing lens (even if you don't get an f2.8 lens). FPS is nice - but focus performance is more important. The Pentax cameras offer great bang-for-the-buck. The real challenge is they haven't invested a lot of R&D in telephoto lenses - which are important to sports shooters. So, while they compete with Canon and Nikon quite nicely at the entry level, they don't scale as well. They also don't have the focus systems that compete with the higher end Canons and Nikons. So, it all depends how much you plan on upgrading your gear to shoot sports. Pentax has a better cost to enter but the ceiling is much lower. Canon and Nikon don't pack quite as much in their entry level cameras as Pentax does. But have a higher ceiling. But, as I hinted at above, good sports shooting is often predicated on your shooting position. It's a waste of money to buy a Nikon d4 to shoot from the stands for most sports situations.
JohnG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 8, 2012, 5:10 PM   #13
Senior Member
 
TCav's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Washington, DC, Metro Area, Maryland
Posts: 13,572
Default

What you want to do is tough. Doing it indoors makes it even tougher. No other photographic discipline places greater demands on the photographer and the gear. JohnG is, if not the best sports photographer to frequent this site, certainly one of the best. But, as is typical for him, he is going around the block to get next-door. In the interest of expediency, I'll summarize your choices.

You need a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, especially indoors. The only one that comes anywhere close to your budget, at $779, is the Tamron. The next more expensive one is almost twice as much. (The Tamron is fine. It's not quite as good, and it's not stabilized, so it's less expensive than the OEM and Sigma versions.)

As for cameras, the Canon T4i/T3i/T2i and the Nikon D5100 probably have a better AF system for sports, but since your subjects don't move very quickly, there's no way for us to know how much that will matter. Also, since about 70-90% of your subjects are below the surface of the water, it's not really clear that, for swimming, any of them have a significant advantage anyway (though I concede that most of the recent photos of swiming competitions in the Sports & Action Photos forum were shot with Canons.) The Nikon D5100 and the Pentax K-30 have better image quality, and of course, the Pentax is weather-resistant. Plus, the Pentax will stabilize that unstabilized Tamron lens (though that shouldn't be much of a consideration for your sports shooting.)

Do you have a good camera store where you can go and try some of these out?

(FYI, Ritz Camera/Wolf Camera stores are closing soon, so you may be able to get a deep discount if there's one in your area. The on-line stores aren't shutting and aren't offering any discounts.)
__________________
  • The lens is the thing.
  • 'Full Frame' is the new 'Medium Format'.
  • "One good test is worth a thousand expert opinions." - Tex Johnston, Boeing 707 test pilot.

Last edited by TCav; Oct 8, 2012 at 5:13 PM.
TCav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 10, 2012, 12:50 PM   #14
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 9
Default

I tried a Canon T4i yesterday (the store didn't have any Pentax, but I'll look another day soon). I found something strange with the Canon T4i that made me question it altogether: in burst mode the first 5 shots were very fast, but then it hesitated for a good 1-2 seconds (long enough for the salesman and I to look up at each other awkwardly) and then burst resumed at a slower but consistent pace. I tried several times and had my husband and the salesman try and the same thing happened each time. The salesman admitted to the hesitation but claimed he could not perceive a slow-down in the fps compared to the first 5 shots. My husband said the change was clear to him. I tried the Canon (5D ?) a step up in price, just to compare this one feature and there was no hesitation nor change in fps, so I decided that this behaviour of the T4i is probably not normal. Can anyone comment on this?
KellyM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 10, 2012, 1:54 PM   #15
Senior Member
 
TCav's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Washington, DC, Metro Area, Maryland
Posts: 13,572
Default

That is common. The camera has a buffer that it uses to store images that it has yet to store on the flash memory card. When you take long sequences of photos in burst mode, the camera takes them as fast as it can, until the buffer fills. Then it waits until there's room in the buffer for one more. From then on, that's what it does.

The only way to reduce the buffer lag time is to use a faster card.

SanDisk Extreme and Lexar Professional are probably the fastest available.

You will typically capture images as fast as the camera can go, then there will be a lag at which point the camera will capture images as fast as it can transfer them to the card. This will happen with any camera.

A note on burst speed: I shoot primarily equestrian sports. I used to use a dSLR that could only capture at a rate of 3 fps, and was frustrated by that limitation. When I replaced it, I got one that could shoot at 5 fps. After using it for a while, I found that to be wasteful, and slowed it down to about 3 fps, which is the rate I was frustrated with before.

I don't think you should use the burst rate as a primary consideration in your selection of a camera. Your subjects don't move that fast. I think it's highly unlikely that, when shooting at 3 fps, you'll review your shots, and come upon one that was taken a little bit too soon, and the next one was taken a little bit too late.
__________________
  • The lens is the thing.
  • 'Full Frame' is the new 'Medium Format'.
  • "One good test is worth a thousand expert opinions." - Tex Johnston, Boeing 707 test pilot.

Last edited by TCav; Oct 10, 2012 at 4:41 PM.
TCav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 10, 2012, 5:44 PM   #16
Senior Member
 
TCav's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Washington, DC, Metro Area, Maryland
Posts: 13,572
Default

Re: Fast Burst Rates

The way that the Phase Detect AutoFocus systems in dSLRs work is this. The mirror that reflects light up to the focusing screen and viewfinder is only semi-silvered. It reflects about 70% of the light up to the viewfinder. The remaining 30% passes through to another mirror that reflects it down to the PDAF system in the base of the camera body. Every time you take a photo, both of these mirrors flip out of the way so the light passes through to the image sensor, and when it's finished, the mirrors flip back into place so you can see through the viewfinder, and so the PDAF system can reacquire the subject to get an accurate focus.

If you use a fast burst rate to capture a moving subject, you'll be interrupting the operation of the PDAF system quite a lot, so it's likely that the focus will be less accurate. Only Sony has a system where the PDAF system isn't interrupted by the process of taking photos.

So, again, I don't think you should use the burst rate as a primary consideration in your selection of a camera.
__________________
  • The lens is the thing.
  • 'Full Frame' is the new 'Medium Format'.
  • "One good test is worth a thousand expert opinions." - Tex Johnston, Boeing 707 test pilot.
TCav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 10, 2012, 9:53 PM   #17
Senior Member
 
Bob Nichol's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Eastern Ontario Canada
Posts: 822
Default

Built in flash only has a range of about 10 feet at most so you should consider an external flash.
Bob Nichol is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 10, 2012, 10:49 PM   #18
Senior Member
 
TCav's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Washington, DC, Metro Area, Maryland
Posts: 13,572
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Nichol View Post
Built in flash only has a range of about 10 feet at most so you should consider an external flash.
I think that, with the water and the slick, shiny surfaces, this is one of those things that should be shot in available light only.

Of the few shots of swimming in the Sports & Action Photos forum that did use flash, there was sufficient motion blur to lead me to believe that it didn't contribute much to the lighting anyway.
__________________
  • The lens is the thing.
  • 'Full Frame' is the new 'Medium Format'.
  • "One good test is worth a thousand expert opinions." - Tex Johnston, Boeing 707 test pilot.
TCav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 10, 2012, 11:17 PM   #19
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 9
Default

Thank you so very much for all of the information and advice. You have been a tremendous help!!!! I am so glad that I came here and asked for help. I hope to get out to try the Pentax models in the next week.

Thanks again!
KellyM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Oct 11, 2012, 7:15 AM   #20
Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 8,529
Default

a few notes to follow up on the above:

Burst rate: It's not the single most important thing but it is very useful to a sports photographer. I've gone from 3fps up to 5fps and then 10fps. At all 3 levels of camera I have tended to shoot about 3 shot bursts the majority of time. The difference being at 10fps those 3 shots are closer together so I get more photos to choose from that are at peak action. So, the benefit isn't that I can rattle off 10 shots a second - in tens of thousands of sports images I've shot 10 frames or more continuous only a handful of times. The benefit is the decreased time between shots.

On flash: don't ever count on using the bult-in flash for sports. External flash can be used for sports effectively but it takes work - and it does restrict your bursts because the flash has to charge up.

TCAV gave a good explanation of PDAF. This is where Nikon and Canon have the rather distinct advantage - their PREDICTIVE focus systems are just better than Pentax. They calculate where the subject should be more accurately so when there's a black out they're still focusing and it's easier to get a lock again. Of course, that is only useful when you pair it with lenses with fast focusing motors. The focus chain is only as strong as it's weakest link. So, with consumer lenses you won't see much of the benefit so Pentax, Canon, Nikon, Sony, Oly - you'll probably get similar results. But paired with a Nikon 70-200 2.8 VR or Canon 70-200 4.0 or 2.8 vs. the pentax with a Sigma 70-200 2.8 and you'll start to see the canon and nikons pull away because of their predictive focus capabilities.
JohnG is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 2:01 PM.