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rhendrix9 Dec 19, 2005 2:59 PM

I need a camera suggestions; I will be taking pics of soccer games, ultimately indoors and outdoors. I have thought about two cameras, one for indoors and one for outdoors. Since there is better light outdoors, a big zoom would be ideal, indoors high mp and low light with the biggest possible zoom would be best. One option I would like is a cable release ability seeing as how I jerk the camera when I press the shutter button.

I've thought about a dSLR but the expense is pretty high, but I might could swing it.

Suggest some cameras to help me to narrow down my search.


curtisfun Dec 19, 2005 4:06 PM

Since you will be shooting in soccer game, it depends on whether you will be sitting down or standing up while taking the pictures.

For outdoor shots, if since there should be plenty of lights, any of the following cams should do fine (in order of preference)

Cost more:
1. Panasonic FZ30
2. Canon S2 1S
3. Sony H1
4. Fuji S9500

Budget conscious:
1. Panasonic FZ5
2. Fuji S5200

For indoor shots, high iso is a must, so you have only the following choices:

1. Fuji S9500
2. Fuji S5200
3. Panasonic FZ30

The Fujis do not have image stabilizer, but if you are going to be sitting down on a chair or on the ground, you don't really need I.S. as much, and if you want to prevent further camera shake, bring a compact tripod along with you. The Panasonic FZ30 also does quite well at iso400 and you can print at up to 8x10 out of the camera. I would give the Fuji S9500 and S5200 a 1-1/2 stop advantage over the FZ30 out of the camera because iso1600 pics from the Fuji is not usable beyond printing 4x6 unless you shoot in RAW.


rhendrix9 Dec 20, 2005 3:40 PM

Well I'm in a wheelchair so I won't be moving around at all. that's mainly why a zoom is important. And because of coordination problems, I thought a cable release would solve a lot of problems.

The canon Rebel fits the bill pretty good but it's expensive (for me) and plus does not include a zoom lens which makes it even more expensive.

I looked for the S9500, i think its the S9000 in the US an S9500 in Europe, best I can tell, anyway One review, I think it was Steve's, said the Olympus E-500 would be a better camera. I looked at it and I like it alot, just concerned about the image quality. So far I can't seem to find one camera that does everything I need without spending alot of money.

curtisfun Dec 20, 2005 6:29 PM

The E500 is a great camera, and you can get a twin bundle kit lens for around $800. Compare to other dSLR, the image quailty at iso800 and 1600 is not very impressive, but compare to other non-dSLR cams, it is noticeably better. You should get one home from a local store with a good return policy and see if it suits you in a real-world setting.

Note that with dSLR it takes lots of skill to master proper focusing because its narrow DOF is not as forgiving as small-sensor digicams, but once you get the hang of it, it should do its magic with super-fast burst mode and zero shutter lag.

Also most dSLR out of camera pics are a bit dull and soft as they expect to let you do the proper post-processing yourself.


JohnG Dec 21, 2005 10:21 AM

rhendrix9 wrote:

So far I can't seem to find one camera that does everything I need without spending alot of money.
Unfortunately Robert, this statement sums up your predicament. Sports shooting is arguably the most demanding type of photography from an equipment standpoint - especially indoor shooting. A good sports camera should provide very good high ISO performance, a decent burst rate (3fps at a minimum) and high quality auto focus. But, the real cost comes in with the lenses required. Besides the general concern over sharpness, a good sports lens must have3 additional features:

1. Fast focusing

2. Wide aperture (preferably 2.8)

3. Appropriate reach

Now, the second point really comes into play depending on the sport you are shooting and the venue. The wider the aperture of the lens, the better low light performance you will get and the better bokeh you will get. On a bright sunny day outside, you can certainly use a lens with a narrower aperture (f5.6 say) but what you won't get consistantly is a nice, blurred background. Depending on your venue that can make a difference - a picture of the players with cars, parents etc. in focus in the background is distracting. I would also say that for a field sport you want a minimum of 200mm effective focal length - which is really quite short and won't get you much down-field coverage. 300mm effective length will get you decent cross field coverage but you'll still need to move up/down sidelines or wait until the action comes to you.

For indoor sports use, if sports is your primary use - you can forget using a point and shoot camera if you want consistant and decent results. You just won't have good enough high ISO performance. And, indoors you absolutely must have a lens capable of f2.8 OR BETTER - depending on how well lit the arena is. As an example, when I shot a college basketball game last year I was able to shoot at f2.8 at ISO 800 and consistantly get the shutter speeds of 1/500 a sports shooter strives for. When I shot HS football this past year under the lights with that same 2.8 aperture I was shooting at ISO 3200 and getting shutter speeds around 1/320 - barely enough to freeze motion dependably. In HS gymnasiums, that shutter speed would probably drop even further. Most people shooting consistantly in HS gyms use a lens of f2.0 or 1.8 - and some even 1.4 because lighting is so bad.

I know this sounds terrible. And I don't want to discourage you from this wonderful hobby. I just want to set expectations - if you plan to shoot indoor sports you will likely be disappointed without a decent DSLR and a VERY good lens. Outdoor sports are more forgiving but I still think you'll get less than desirable results with a point and shoot. If your stated purpose were for other uses with only occasional sports use that would be a different matter.

My suggestion for the cheapest possible kit would be a Canon 350 with a Sigma 70-200 2.8 lens. But that combination, with memory cards will set you back around $1600.

VAtechtigger Dec 21, 2005 1:11 PM

On the same expensive note, I would suggest the Minolta 5D

It has image stabilization built into the camera body so it will help with hand/camera shake no matter what lens you buy. It also has ISO up to 3200, while the rebel tops out at 1600. This will both help you in indoor shots. Plus it is generally cheaper than the rebel XT (350)

rhendrix9 Dec 21, 2005 4:33 PM

thanks for the extensive reply. I went to wolf camera today and had a look at the rebel, d50,*ist, and 5d. I was surprised at the weight og the KM 5D, I didn't expect it to be that much heavier. The KM 5D seems to have all the features I'm looking for but I woulld need a better lens and I don't like the weight. The Rebel is good but still again (like you said) I need another lens, plus there is no stabilization. the Nikon feels good but lens,stabilization and no cable release. The pentax is interesting, I have an old K-1000 with lenes around here somewhere.

I think I could trade off stabilization for cable release but I'm such a clutz, cable release may be my only savior.

So far I've taken a few indoor shots with a canon a610 and outdoor with a Oly E-100RS. I can't follow the players as they move so I try to catch them when they are still. I may not have the coordination to catch a moving player so true sports photography may be a little stretch of the imagination. Of course it would be fun if a dSLR would catch some action shots.

rinniethehun Dec 21, 2005 7:17 PM


I just finished looking at some of your soccer pics (oddly enough, I couldn't see them in Netscape...I had to use IE) took them, correct? I don't really see a need for stabilization or a cable release. The outdoor pics look's the indoor pics that are blurred. That's due to a slow shutter has nothing to do with coordination or a lack, thereof. A classic example is Game 3, img_0478.jpg. The players and coaches on the sidelines are in focus, and the players on the court are blurred - to the point that one of the girls (closest to the wall) is almost invisible. If you jerked the camera, everyone would be equally blurred, including the netting and the wall. I don't think it's you.

I'd be willing to bet that a decent prosumer cam, such as the Fuji S9000 would give you enough ISO to enable fast enough shutter speeds to freeze the action in that pic. It would give you a decent wide angle as well as a good tele, and save you hundreds of dollars over a DSLR and two lenses.

I'm not trying to talk you out of a DSLR - you can't beat their speed and quality, but if dollars are a concern, there are a couple of high ISO consumer cams out there that might be more than sufficient for your needs.

Good luck.

the Hun

slipe Dec 22, 2005 12:00 AM

DCRP does fairly good ISO tests. The S9000 crammed too many pixels into a small sensor and doesn't have very good high ISO capabilities. Take a look at the high ISO shots from the S9000:

And of the same tests on the F10, which has really good high ISO capability:

In his F10 test he even has some photos comparing the F10 with a DSLR at ISO 1600 and it didn't come out badly. The F10 developed a reputation for good high ISO for Fuji, but it doesn't carry over to the higher density sensor.

Unfortunately Fuji didn't put that great sensor in a camera with a long zoom range.

A camera worth considering might be the Panasonic FZ20. It maintains f2.8 out to full zoom. Since the S9000 goes to f4.9 at full zoom you would be shooting at ISO 100 on the FZ20 where you would need over ISO 200 on the S9000. Or ISO 200 on the FZ20 where you would get very poor shots at over ISO 400 on the S9000.

The FZ20 isn't bad for noise. I think the ISO 400 shots look about as good as ISO 400 on the S9000, and you would be shooting at ISO 800 or more in the same conditions with over an f-stop lower light input at zoom.

There isn't a really good solution other than a DSLR, but I think the FZ20 might be worth considering in a non-DSLR. Or you might wait for some good reviews of the Fuji 5200.

rhendrix9 Dec 22, 2005 8:15 AM

rinniethehun wrote:
Quote: pics (oddly enough, I couldn't see them in Netscape...I had to use IE) took them, correct? I don't really see a need for stabilization or a cable release. The outdoor pics look's the indoor pics that are blurred.
Interesting,, firefox? or just plain netscape? nothing but jpg's ??

Trust me, Those were the best out of over 200 shots or so a game. The power of digital cameras is NO film waste........ And you would not believe how many times something other than I intended gets in the picture!

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