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Old Aug 23, 2005, 7:35 PM   #1
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My Daughter is an avid Volleyball player for both her High School and the Local "Club" team. There's nothing I enjoy more than watching her play and taking pictures. The Problem is I cannot get decent pictures under the conditions I must shoot under. These Volleyball games are indoors, with either Fluorescent or incandescent lighting (Basically poor conditions for "sports" shots). Using a Flash is NOT an option. My current camera is not up to the job of taking these types of pictures without extreme blurring (Even when using a tripod). I would like to take some "Action" shots that freeze the action whithout blurring, this is further complicated by the fact that I'm usually forced to sit in the stands , 30-50 ft away and rely on the zoom lens. I have about $1000 to spend on a camera, and all the accessories (Digital media, lens (if needed), and a carrying case. Please help...I have looked at the following cameras; Canon Digital Rebel XT, Minolta A200, Sony DSC-F828, Olympus 8080 and a few others that no longer interest me. My brain simply is on overload trying to decide what to purchase. Thanks...
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Old Aug 23, 2005, 7:47 PM   #2
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While the Canon 350D/XT might do the job, it is limited to a maximum ISO setting of 1600. I would suggest the Pentax 1stDL or DS2. The cost less than the Canon XT and have a maximum ISO setting of 3200. They will probably be a better bet for you.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Aug 23, 2005, 10:46 PM   #3
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Well, the Canon XT could be mated to the Canon 50mm F1.8 lens (lens costs only $80 new) and you could probably get away with the ISO 1600.

You can also cheat ISO 1600 to 3200 by using exposure compensation.

-- Terry


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Old Aug 23, 2005, 10:47 PM   #4
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You'll want to take the non-DSLR models off of your list. The Olympus C-8080WZ, Sony DSC-F828 and Konica-Minolta A200 all use a Sony 2/3" 8MP CCD. This CCD has relatively high noise as ISO speeds are increased, andyou can'tset ISO speedsas high you need for exiting light sports indoors without a flash anyway.

You'll need a bright lens to go along with a DSLR, too (and these can be large, heavy and expensive).

Your best bet on a budget is probalby a prime (non-Zoom). These are available with larger available apertures (for examp[le: f/2, f/1.8, f/1.7, f/1.4) compared to zoom lenses. Most zoom lenses don't start out until f/2.8 or smaller.

Smaller f/stop numbers = larger apertures = brighter lenses= faster shutter speeds for any given lighting condition and ISO speed.

If you simply must go with a zoom lens, I'd go with one that has a constant aperture of f/2.8 throughout it's focal range.

But, I think you'd be better off with primes from a cost, size and weight perspective (and you can get brighter primes compared to zooms, too).

What focal length are you shooting at most often now? Brighter lenses at longer focal lengths can be relatively pricey.You'll also need to takewhat we call a crop factor (a.k.a., focal length multiplier) into consideration withthe entry level DSLR models.

Since their sensors are smaller than 35mm film, you need to multiply the actual focal length of the lens by 1.5x (Nikon, Pentax, and Konica-Minolta DSLR models), or 1.6x (Canon entry level DSLR models) to determine the 35mm equivalent focal length (so you would know how the angle of view would compare).

So, a 100mm lens on a Pentax, Konica-Minolta or Nikon entry level DSLR model would have an angle of view equivalent to a 150mm lens on a 35mm camera (1.5 x 100mm = 150mm). IOW, your lenses appear to be longer on most DSLR models.

I'd probably decide what you'll need in lenses first. Make sure to check the used market, too (Ebay, KEH, B&H, Adorama).You're going to be cutting it pretty close on a $1k budget.

I've managed to find asome gooddeals onsome brighter primies on the used market lately. Over the past couple of months I've bought the Minolta 28mm f/2, 50mm f/1.7, 100mm f/2 and 135mm f/2.8 on the used market.

I got the 50mm f/1.7 for only $49 (including an oldMinolta Maxxum 7000that still works fine) on Ebay, got the 100mm f/2 for $299 from the used department at Adorama, and got the 135mm f/2.8 for only $119 from the used department at B&H.

These were *very* good prices for these lenses (check their list prices new and you'll see what I mean). So, I'd make sure to see what's available in lenses and decide what you'll want there as part of your decision making process for a new camera.

If you can get close enough for something like a 35-105mm f/2.8 to work for you (which works out to a 35mm equivalent focal range of approximately 53-158mm after a 1.5x crop), I've seen some pretty good deals on the Tamron SP 35-105mm f/2.8 lately used.

KEH had 3 of them in Minolta AF mount used for $119.95 in "Budget" condition. I bought one of them and it arrivedin excellent condition (finish, zoom, focus, glass). No zoom creep or anything. I have no idea why they marked this one "Budget". ;-)

They'll still got two of them left at this price:

http://www.keh.com/shop/product.cfm?...;crid=11849567

Because of the "crop factor", zoom lenses starting out at 35mm aren't as popular now (not wide enough for many conditions). So, sometimes these are a little less expensive on the used market.

Again, you can get brighter primes (and a lens with a maximum aperture off/2 will get you shutter speeds twice as fast as an f/2.8 lens if you shoot wide open). You'll need to keep in mind that Depth of Field will be shallow while shooting wide open.

I'd make sure to check out the lens market for any manufacturer you consider.

I'd also consider the new Konica-Minolta Maxxum (a.k.a., Dynax) 5D. It's going to sell for $799 for the body. So, this would only leave you $200.00 in your budget for lenses. But, it's got built in Anti-Shake.

That won't help for motion blur from subject movement (you'll need a bright lens shooting at higher ISO speeds for that. But, it will reduce blur from camera shake if you can't use a tripod or monopod with longer lenses indoors. The "rule of thumb' for reducing motion blur from camera shake is 1/focal length. For example,if you're shooting at a 35mm equivalent focal length of 100mm, you'll want shutter speeds of 1/100 second or faster. Motion blur is amplified as more zoom isused.

This is only a rule of thumb since some people can hold a camera steadier than others (and some people may require even faster shutter speeds). But, I wouldn't takethe benefit of anti-shakelightly for existing light use.

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Old Aug 24, 2005, 1:27 PM   #5
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Thanks to all for your QUICK responses... Since I'm an amature trying to move up, there are a couple things I'm not clear on and I'll need a little "hand holding". I'm slightly embarrassed to say I own a Minolta Z3, I realize I should have come here first before buying this camera back in March of this year. My main reasons for buying this camera was; the 12x Optical zoom 5.83 – 69.9mm (35mm equivalent: 35 – 420mm), the anti-shake feature , video mode (30fps), the progressive shot taking (burst modes) and of course the price wasn't too bad either. Obviously taking the type of pictures Iwant with this camera is simply an act of frustration. However, using this camera I have learned a great deal about appeture, shutter speed, ISO and lighting that I never concerned myself with when using a "Point and shoot" camera, like my previous SONY DSC-S75 (don't laugh too much). The main thing I'm unclear on isthe use of the descriptive term "Prime". I'm assuming this means "Fixed" focal lenght.Secondly, would you mind explaning "Bright Lens"? Does this have anything to do with "Lamp Assist"? And Finally (You have been tremendously helpful so far) Given my $1000 budget, is there a specific brand/model you would recommend? Or am I trying to do too much with too little? Thanks again.
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Old Aug 24, 2005, 1:38 PM   #6
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JimC could probably answer your questions, but I might as well help.

Yes, prime means "non-zoom".

A "bright" lens means a lens that will bring lots of light onto the sensor.

A lens with the widest F-stop will bring in more light, which will help you in low light situations like a volleyball gym.

For instance, a lens with a maximum aperture of F1.8 is going to bring in more than double the light of an F2.8 maximum aperture lens.

Photographers look for lenses that bring in the most light (ie. have the widest maximum aperture) for low light situations. Cost is a factor, because a lens with a maximum aperture of F1.8 is going to cost you more than a lens with an F2.8 maximum aperture, all other aspects of the lens being equal.

When I shoot school sports indoors, I crank my Canon 20D up to ISO 3200 (maximum light sensitivity) and I shoot with a 50mm prime lense (equalivent to 80mmon a film camerawith the cropping factor) and I shoot either wide open F1.4 or close to wide open at F2.0. I use a shutter speed of 1/250th of a second.

JimC recommended the Maxxum 5D for $800 which includes the antishake in the camera body. With the availability of cheap, bright F1.7 lenses etc. it sounds like a real bargain for you.

A nice all-round camera would be the Rebel XT, however it's more expensive, lenses will cost you more, and it has a max ISO of 1600. I think Canons by and large have the best image quality, however.

Well, your going to have fun with this problem!!

-- Terry




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Old Aug 24, 2005, 1:49 PM   #7
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Use this handy online exposure calculator to get a better idea of how lighting, ISO speed (shown as film speed in the calculator) and Aperture impact the shutter speeds you can expect to have (and still get proper exposure):

http://www.robert-barrett.com/photo/...alculator.html

Light will probably be at an EV of around 6 in the conditions you're describing. So, at ISO 1600 with an f/2.8 lens, you'd have shutter speeds of around 1/125 second.

Light may be a little better or a little worse than this. This will get you some keepers (and take lots of photos to increase your number of keepers). But, you'll still have motion blur with much movement. That's why even brighter lenses using higher ISO speeds is often desirable for indoor sports.

Lighting may also be a little lowerthan this (it's going to vary, so use this only as a rough guide to get a better idea of how exposure works). For example, the conditions Terry is describing where he shoots indoor sports would correspond tolighting at an EV of around 5 (if ISO 3200 is needed to get shutter speeds up to 1/250 second shooting at f/2.


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Old Aug 24, 2005, 2:34 PM   #8
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Bottom line is that any of the entry level DSLR models would probably suffice for amateur use (and give you much better results than you'd be able to get with a non-DSLR model in low light).

Look at the Canon Digital Rebel XT, Nikon D50, Pentax *st DS, *st DL,new *ist DS2; and the new Konica-Minolta Maxxum 5D for starters.

Get a prime or two on the used market to go with the camera you choose.Any of these have 50mm primes that are f/1.8 or brighter that can be found for under $100.00 used. This would have the 35mmequivalent focal length of 75mm lens on a Nikon, KM or Pentax DSLR model, or 80mm onthe Canon Digital Rebel models.

Then, try to find a little longer one used, too (85mm, 100mm if you can get close enough), trying to stay at f/2 or brighter. Remember the 1.5x (Nikon, Pentax, Konica-Minolta) or 1.6x crop factor (Canon's lower priced DSLR models). So, these will be a little longer than they would be on a 35mm camera.

And/or, get something like that Tamron 35-105mm f/2.8 zoom used. You'd lose a stop or more versus a prime, but it'd be more flexible for framing if the light was good enough to use it.

For the models that are limited to ISO 1600, you can underexpose by a little to simulate higher ISO speeds. I wouldn't go more than 1 stop (which would give you ISO 3200). Then, brighten them up later using software.

But, you don't really want to use any higher ISO speeds than necessary with any of them. Higher ISO speeds are not noise free. ;-)

You may just squeeze in at $1k with an entry level modelgoing used on the lenses if you shop carefully. There's nothing that says you have to buy everything at once, either.

Read the reviews and compare the samples. Weigh things like AF performance, cycle times between photos, noise, etc., between them. Then, try them out in a store to see which camera you're more comfortable with before deciding.


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Old Aug 24, 2005, 2:37 PM   #9
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Nothing to add technically, above posters have done an excellent job in that aspect.

Just know personally that taking indoor sports shots is very difficult and these guys seem to know the techniques.

I'm just an impatient Vball player that is rehabbing a torn Achilles tendon done while playing. Know personally how tough it is indoors...




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Old Aug 24, 2005, 3:41 PM   #10
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Rushki-

Taking a note from Jim's post, it is in shooting those tough to get sport shots that dSLR cameras such as the Pentax *1stDS and the like do so very well. The can do it because with the hotshoes you can mount a big flash and use a nice telephoto lens.

If flash is out of the question, as it usually is, increase the ISO up to ISO 3200 and still, using that telephoto lens pull in some great shots.

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