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Old Nov 28, 2004, 10:18 PM   #1
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I'm looking to get an ultrazoom camera for shooting soccer/baseball pictures of my kids. Will probably also do some outdoor vacation photography; low light capability would also be useful. I like the idea of image stabilization with the long zoom and for low light. Have somewhat narrowed the field to Panasonic FZ 20, Nikon CP 8800, and maybe the upcoming Dimage A200 but open to suggestions. Local store has also recommended the Fuji S5100 as they like its burst mode but no image stabilization. Have not ruled out an DSLR but realistically, I would probably never use most of the features and hauling the lenses around would probably get old quick. Any comments on the best camera for telephoto sports pics primarily and outdoor/possibly low light indoor/outdoor secondarily?

Thanks,
John
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Old Nov 29, 2004, 10:00 AM   #2
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The best long zoom cameras are the Panasonic FZs by far.

All of them let you set shutter speed from 1/2000 to 8 seconds - if you want to freeze the actionyou should seta shutter speed of 1/800+ -, specially outdoors - for indoor sports you need set high Isos (400 as minimum -IMO), but the higher Iso, the higher is the noise level, I mean, your pictures are gonna be too grainy - Neat image could solve this problem.

If you need to capture mostly indoor sport shots you should go for a Digital SRL....high image quality even at Iso 400.

Within the small senzor long zoom categoy, there's no camera that beats the FZs.

You have five options, depends on your budget:

FZ1 2.0 MP (No hot shoe)

FZ3 3.2MP (No hot shoe)

FZ10 4.0 MP (Hot shoe)

FZ15 4.0 MP (No hot shoe)

FZ20 5.0 MP (Top of the line)
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Old Dec 1, 2004, 10:01 PM   #3
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What about shutter lag? Do the Panasonic cameras compare to the Konica-Minolta Z3?

I've read issues about the Z3's photo quality, but I hate having to guess almost a second before a soccer goal is scored!:?
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Old Dec 1, 2004, 10:53 PM   #4
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jdysonjr wrote:
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Do the Panasonic cameras compare to the Konica-Minolta Z3?

Did you know that this site has a whole section that consists of camera reviews? If you were to look at the reviews of these two cameras, you would find out that the lag when pre-focused is the same 1/10sec. for each. Lag w/autofocus isshorter w/the KM.

Consider shooting in burst mode, or do it the old-fashioned way and focus w/one hand and hit the button with the other.....

Phil
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Old Dec 2, 2004, 2:18 PM   #5
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I have an FZ10.
I'm very satisfied with its zoom performance.
Also, I've just purchased a 1GB sandisk SD card, and if I do High Quality, High-res shots, I can shoot 5 burst shots, and the camera can write them in 3 secs. (I find burst shots very useful for sports.)
My previous card (Kingston 256MB) took 10 secs to write 5 such shots.

Also, you might want to consider Minolta's Z3 since that also has a 12x optical, but it seems that it's quite noisy.
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Old Dec 2, 2004, 3:35 PM   #6
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Hello guys. I'm on the same situation of Glcdoc, but my need for a camera is more into plane spotting and rally shots. I have a Fujifilm Finepix S5000. It is a great camera for its price (i bought it 6 months ago for 450 euros). It takes excellent pictures even with the interpolated 6 megapixels. Their burst modes are superb, i catch every detail, in paysage, people shots,rally actionshots, BUT:

- the ISO 200 combined with big jpeg compression ratios kill every picture i took on the airport, as the planes are generally white and have great reflections andhigh contrast surfaces. All the pictures i took there are very noisy and grainy, even when reducing from 6MP to SVGA. Not even Neatimage can do milacres.

- the second reason to change my camera is video mode, i want/need VGA 30 FPS.

This second reason drops any chance for SLR cameras, so, don't advice me on those, although i know that any of them would gave me excellent pictures.

I am considering the following cameras: Konica Minolta Dimage Z3, Fujifilm Finepix S5500, Konica Minolta Dimage A200, Nikon Coolpix 8800. I don't consider the Panasonic range only because they don't have VGA video. I'm more inclined to the A200 but I'm wondering if the 8800 has better picture quality. At the same time I'm sure that the A200 is a lot faster than the 8800. The other 2 are cheaper options that I consider if their image quality is not far away from the 8MP ones.

Sorry for the long message but i needed to be very specific.

Sincerely,

Paulo Costa.
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Old Dec 2, 2004, 4:27 PM   #7
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prcosta wrote:
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I am considering the following cameras: Konica Minolta Dimage Z3, Fujifilm Finepix S5500, Konica Minolta Dimage A200, Nikon Coolpix 8800. I don't consider the Panasonic range only because they don't have VGA video. I'm more inclined to the A200 but I'm wondering if the 8800 has better picture quality. At the same time I'm sure that the A200 is a lot faster than the 8800. The other 2 are cheaper options that I consider if their image quality is not far away from the 8MP ones.

Paulo Costa.

Paulo, if you've considered the Nikon 8800 in your list, look no further, and go for it.

The Nikon 8800 is by far better than Dimage Z3, A200, and Fuji S5500.....check out the sample shots posted at Dpreview.com - vey low noise level, 10X optical zoom with VR, 8MP and with a large sensor,I guess its performance indoors must be great.......the 8400 could be also a great option with a wide angle equivalent to 24mm.
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Old Dec 2, 2004, 4:54 PM   #8
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Hi,

im a soccer dad with about 3000 soccer photos this season with the fz20. in my opinion, you can get very nice action shots with the fz20...just not the one you want. during the coure of a game, i will take 300-400 shots. 10% of those will be "good". ie proper focus, well framed, nice exposure. of those, probably 25% are the shot i was trying to take. the issue with all fixed lense point and shoots are with the speed of the auto focus, and lack of predictive focus. predictive focus allows the camera to track an object as it move towards or away from you. point and shoots do this very poorly. My best action shots are the ones i identify later when im checking out the phots that ive taken during a burst mode. the action shot that im trying to get at a specific monent ie a header, slide kick, typically happen to fast for proper frameing and focus. by shooting a burst mode, some others in a sequence probably come out well. if you want Predictable shots, the ones YOU want, a dslr is your only choice. other wise, get a fixed lens P&S, take a ton of shots, and you will end up with some nice ones. i think the fz20 is the best for this.

good luck
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