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Old Aug 22, 2013, 1:01 PM   #1
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Default Camera for sports, kids, etc.

I need an all around camera that has a good zoom to take pictures from the stands at college football games. Not all games are in the afternoon, so low light will be a problem. I also take pictures of my granddaughter both inside and outside sitting & in sports, wildlife & landscapes, family pictures inside & outside, etc. I have a Canon PowerShot A630 that is inadequate for sports & moving kids in low light. It's ok as long as it's bright and nothing is moving very fast, and the video is ok. I also have a Minolta Maxxum (don't remember the model - it's film!) SLR and a few low-end lenses that I haven't used in 5 or 6 years. I was thinking about the Panasonic FZ200, but then heard about the new FZ70 available in September. Any thoughts? I can't take a large camera w/ a bag & lenses into college games (prohibited at most), which is why I was thinking about the Panasonic cameras. I really don't want to spend more than $1000. Advice? Thank you!
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Old Aug 22, 2013, 1:48 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bonnieh View Post
I also have a Minolta Maxxum (don't remember the model - it's film!) SLR and a few low-end lenses that I haven't used in 5 or 6 years.
I don't keep up with the non DSLR cameras as much. So, hopefully others will chime in as to your best options.

But, you may be interested to know that any Maxxum (a.k.a., Minolta Autofocus, Dynax) lens can be used on the current Sony Alpha dSLR lineup.

That's because Sony purchased all of the Konica-Minolta Camera related assets a while back, and has retained the original Minolta Maxxum Autofocus Lens mount for use with their newer Alpha dSLR models.

That doesn't sound like it would help you get around your current needs (because of lens restrictions getting into games). But, that's something to keep in mind if you ever want to move into a dSLR, since you could use your existing Minolta Maxxum Lenses with a Sony dSLR model (and you'd have both Autofocus and Stabilization with them, thanks to the sensor based stabilization technology used in the Sony Alpha models).

So, you may want to research the lenses you already have to see what others think about them to get a better idea of how well they'd work on a modern dSLR model.

A good place to read user reviews of Minolta AF mount lenses posted by Konica Minolta and Sony dSLR owners is Dyxum.com. If you click on a given lens model, you'll see lens specifications, as well as links to user reviews and sample images when any have been posted there.

Fixed Focal Length Lenses (primes)

Macro Lenses

Zoom Lenses

I have a Sony A700 (discontinued now) that I use for taking photos of family and friends, and have a variety of Minolta Autofocus lenses that I use with it, including a Tamron SP 20-40mm f/2.7-3.5, Tamron SP 35-105mm f/2.8, Tamron 28-105mm f/3.5-5.6, Minolta 28mm f/2, Minolta 50mm f/1.7, Minolta 100mm f/2, Minolta 135mm f/2.8, Minolta 35-70mm f/4 Macro, Minolta 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5, and even an inexpensive Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm f/2.8-4 AF lens; and they all Autofocus and are all Stabilized on a Sony dSLR.

They'll also work on the newer Sony Alpha DSLR models like the A58, A65, A77 and A99. These cameras:

http://store.sony.com/c/Alpha-DSLR-C...al_SLR_Cameras

Again, that won't help with your current situation (trying to find a camera that doesn't have lenses that prohibit you from getting into the games).

So, hopefully, some of members can give you some suggestions to help you figure out a camera that may be better suited to your requirements.

But, you may want to look into how well your lenses work on newer dSLR models to get a better idea of your choices in that area if you ever wanted to replace your older Maxxum Film model with a newer Digital model (since your Maxxum lenses will work on the Sony DSLR camera models).

BTW, Welcome to the Forums.
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Old Aug 22, 2013, 1:57 PM   #3
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For sports/action/wildlife, you really need a Phase Detection AF system which is mostly the domain of film and digital SLRs. The alternative Contrast Detection AF system, widely used in P&S, Superzoom, and mirrorless cameras isn't as fast or as accurate for moving subjects.

If you'll be shooting football from the stands, you'll probably need something with a focal length of 400mm or longer. That'll be big, heavy, and expensive, and some stadiums prohibit people from bringing in gear like that. And if you try a shorter lens with a teleconverter, the focal length might be right, but the maximum aperture will be too small to permit autofocusing. So for that you might be better off with a superzoom camera.

BTW, lenses for Minolta Maxxum bodies work on today's Sony dSLRs. If you've go any gems, you might be able to continue to use them. What lenses do you have?
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Old Aug 22, 2013, 1:57 PM   #4
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The FZ70 has a whopper of a zoom (20-1200mm) but won't match the FZ200 in less than ideal light due to it's constant f/2.8 aperture. The FZ70 also doesn't match up to the continuous "full res'" shooting of the FZ200 (12fps for 12 frames v 9fps for 3)

The FZ200 is a great choice for someone looking for an "all in one" solution- and in my opinion,reasonably priced given all it can do...
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Old Aug 22, 2013, 9:12 PM   #5
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The lenses I have for my film Minolta Maxxum STsi are:
Minolta AF28-80mm zoom that came with the camera
Promaster AF70-300mm F/4-5.6 Macro

I bought the my Canon P&S because I was traveling out of the country and didn't want to stand out with a huge camera bag. Once I went digital I didn't go back to my film camera. I haven't been happy with the results though. It takes so long to focus that I miss shots.
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Old Aug 23, 2013, 12:28 AM   #6
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i completely agree. the FZ200 is a great all rounder.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SIMON40 View Post
The FZ70 has a whopper of a zoom (20-1200mm) but won't match the FZ200 in less than ideal light due to it's constant f/2.8 aperture. The FZ70 also doesn't match up to the continuous "full res'" shooting of the FZ200 (12fps for 12 frames v 9fps for 3)

The FZ200 is a great choice for someone looking for an "all in one" solution- and in my opinion,reasonably priced given all it can do...
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Old Aug 23, 2013, 8:07 AM   #7
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Given your requirements I concur the FZ200 is a great choice. You're not positioned properly to make good use of a DSLR so you'd spend a ton of money and still only get marginally better photos. If you get to the point where you want better quality photos than the fz200 can give you, you have to be able to get close to the action and get low. If you can't do that then a DSLR isn't going to be of much benefit so there's no reason to waste the money on it.

Oh, and I forgot - lots of venues have restrictions on camera gear. So even if you had a great big lens for your DSLR you might not be allowed to use it.
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