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Old Oct 7, 2012, 1:59 PM   #1
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Default Sport Photography: Moving up from Point-n-shoot

Love this site! I used the reviews to choose my daughter's point and shoot, which ended up being the Canon PowerShot Elph310HS (made in Japan). We are very happy with our choice.

Now it's my turn for a new camera. I want to step up from a point-n-shoot to a DSLR or DSLR quality. In other words, something of a more professional calibre.

Budget: $1000

Zoom: lots. I may want to add additional lenses later, but not right away.

Type of photography: mainly outdoor watersports action shots and video. Some indoor. Specifically, swim racing, diving, synchronized swimming and water polo. Lots of action. The more fps the better, which I suppose goes without saying for sports photography.

Flash: I need a built-in flash

Video and Stills During Video:full HD I use the video feature regularly. I need to be able to take HIGH RES STILLS DURING VIDEO if possible.

Resolution/Aperture/Sensor: I don't know what I want or need. My understanding is limited here. Mostly I need excellent and fast autofocus. High resolution is very important because of big-screen viewing.

Screen: This is something I am not fussy about. I'd rather better, clearer photos than a big screen or one that can be manipulated in various directions. I don't care if it is a touch screen or not.

Bells and whistles: As for in-camera editing, cropping, panorama, funny or other digital special effects, I am unlikely to ever use these. I prefer to put money into computer editing software and add any effects and do cropping there later.

Viewfinder: This is where I am completely undecided. Do I want one or not? I'm not sure. Perhaps you can give me a suggestion for those that have only the screen as well as a couple of DSLR options. Being that I'm not sure, it is more likely I'll be looking at a camera that has one. The quality of the viewfinder is not significant to me.

Manual focus and other options: Although use of manual focus is not my priority at present, I would like to learn to manipulate focus, light (aperture?) etc. and learn to do more with my camera than the required action photography. So the option of manual focus is needed. This camera will have to last me several years.

I appreciate any advice/recommendations.

Last edited by KellyM; Oct 7, 2012 at 10:05 PM. Reason: first message too long.
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Old Oct 7, 2012, 3:35 PM   #2
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OK, first things first. You're going to be carrying ~$1,000 of camera equipment around a pool. Get a strong, comfortable neckstrap. (As in, forget about the one that comes free with the camera.) I like the Neoprene neckstraps sold by OP/TECH USA, and have used their Fashion Strap™ - 3/8" for years.
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Old Oct 7, 2012, 4:12 PM   #3
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I would think that an important feature for your intended use would be that it is splash- or weather resistant. The Pentax K-5, K-5 II, and K-30 are weather and dust resistant, have an excellent 16MP image sensor (that it shares with some well respected Nikon and Sony cameras) and can record videos.

For the sports you want to shoot, the subjects don't move nearly as fast as in, for instance, baseball or soccer, and the subjects are closer (or rather, you're closer to the subjects), so any lens longer than 200mm will probably go to waste. Pentax has a weather resistant 50-200mm telephoto zoom (~$200) that may work well, plus there's a Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 (~$770) that may work better, especially for indoor.
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Old Oct 7, 2012, 4:18 PM   #4
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"... stills during video ..." isn't going to happen. When recording a video, a dSLR keeps its focal plane shutter open. When recording a still image, a dSLR opens the focal plane shutter, and then closes it again. It can't do both things at the same time. The best implimentation is from Canon, which records the video, and when you press the shutter button, it freezes the video image, closes the shutter, opens the shutter for the duration of the exposure, at which point it closes the shutter, then it opens the shutter again and resumes recording the video.

If that's a deal breaker for you, you need to get a second camera.
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Old Oct 7, 2012, 10:07 PM   #5
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Thanks TCav, for your suggestions and info.
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Old Oct 7, 2012, 11:12 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TCav View Post
OK, first things first. You're going to be carrying ~$1,000 of camera equipment around a pool. Get a strong, comfortable neckstrap. (As in, forget about the one that comes free with the camera.) I like the Neoprene neckstraps sold by OP/TECH USA, and have used their Fashion Strapô - 3/8" for years.
Myself and several local sports photographers all swear by the blackrapid straps.

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Old Oct 7, 2012, 11:33 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TCav View Post
I would think that an important feature for your intended use would be that it is splash- or weather resistant. The Pentax K-5, K-5 II, and K-30 are weather and dust resistant, have an excellent 16MP image sensor (that it shares with some well respected Nikon and Sony cameras) and can record videos.

For the sports you want to shoot, the subjects don't move nearly as fast as in, for instance, baseball or soccer, and the subjects are closer (or rather, you're closer to the subjects), so any lens longer than 200mm will probably go to waste. Pentax has a weather resistant 50-200mm telephoto zoom (~$200) that may work well, plus there's a Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 (~$770) that may work better, especially for indoor.
I own the Pentax K-5 which is an excellent all around camera. The burst mode-fps come in both low and high speed. Just be carefully if you set the burst mode to high and you only want a single frame your luckily to fire off 6 photos....... Also the K-5 is awesome for lower light shooting with the right lens and yes you can serious shoot at ISO3200 and 6400 all day and get super pictures. I have been shooting Football and marching band stuff this fall under pretty good high school stadium lights at ISO3200 and 6400 and getting images that have been used by the local newspaper. But I wish I could afford a 70-200 or 70-300 f/2.8 or f/4........ as I know I could get better images.

As for the 50-200mm lens I have not personally used it but the 3 Pentax users I talked with about using it to shot sports all said its too slow for anything indoors to be a useful sports lens, it takes too long to focus and the images are darker than you'd want due to the variable apperature of the lens. 2 of the 3 users did say the 50-135 f/2.8 is a far better lens but not as long. TCAV thought process that it is water sealed is spot on. The K-5 is weather sealed. being around water you'd want a WR (as Pentax lists their Water sealed lenses).

As for shooting swimming the a local wedding photographer doubles as the local swim team photographer and she told flat out the 70-200 is the lens you need it can be f/4 or f/2.8 but not anything above f/4 if you plan to shoot night meets or lower light indoor stuff. We have one indoor pool complex in our area that has decent light and she says if her apperature goes above f/4 she has poor light in her photos in that complex and has to spend lots of time in lightroom with the RAW files.

I hope that helps.

As for your budget a good K-5 set-up will put you over budget but its an AWESOME all around camera. The battery last for over 700 shots, THE ISO is great and the burst modes are great as well. The lens you really need is gonna eat 2/3rd of your budget and I would based on my personal experience would be to save up for a really good lens of the bat and not get a lesser lens that you'll want to replace (I did that and am still kicking myself for spending $499 vs $1000 up front........)

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Old Oct 8, 2012, 10:28 AM   #8
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One question (which demonstrates my lack of knowledge about SLRs) is this: in burst mode for an SLR, does it maintain the same resolution or is it reduced as it is in my older point and shoot? If reduced resolution, what are we talking? I cannot seem to get that info from the product overviews. Thanks.
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Old Oct 8, 2012, 10:50 AM   #9
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This week I can get the Pentax K-30 on sale under my budget. How does this compare to the K-5?

I do indeed need to shoot some low light indoor meets and night meets as well as general family stuff and also the day meets can be brutally bright and sunny, so a camera that can handle that range nicely would be great.

Lastly, if I was to go Canon or Nikon (although I do appreciate the WR of the Pentax and will put that on my short list of possible choices) what would folks recommend?
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Old Oct 8, 2012, 11:00 AM   #10
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Weather resistance is great for some things. But the reality is - there isn't heavy splashing in most swimming. Any of the DSLRs are going to handle the minor splashing that might occur. The biggest thing is - for indoor meets you're going to want an f2.8 lens or you'll have to use external flash. It's not just about shutter speed - it's about focus ability and focus speed.

But, I have to ask - do you have deck access for the swim meets? Or are you forced to shoot from the stands? That makes a big difference. You really need to get low to get good swim shots. So, if you don't have deck access it's a shame to spend a lot of money on gear if your shots are going to be limited right off the bat by shooting location. a 70-200mm lens for swimming in a 25 meter pool is the perfect size lens (from the deck). Which makes a 70-200 2.8 lens an ideal lens for it.
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