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Old Feb 13, 2006, 4:20 PM   #21
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Homer J. wrote:
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The Konica Minolta5D is 3200 ISO and has built in image stabilization, which will let you lower the shutter a few (2-3) stops, which will be useful.
A great feature, but it dosent help AT ALL for sports. If your shutter is fast enough to stop the motion of the game, camera shake isn't a concern.



In regards to that sample picture, if you used a DSLR with a f2.8 lens (2/3 stop slower, right?) iso1600, and a very slightly faster shutter, you'd have the same exposure but with less noise. You could use iso3200 on the Minolta 5D (the others don't offer it) and theoretically get a 1/800 shutter speed.

All told, IF you buy a fast lens (which are categorically expensive in all brands) I guess you will have between one and two extra stops to play with. That would make things easier, since your just on the edge of taking the pictures you want (it seems) and noise is the biggest downer curently. The lens will cost more than the camera, in all likelyhood. Lenses that are cheap usually only open up to f4-f5.6, and viola there goes your 1-2 stop advantage.
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Old Feb 13, 2006, 4:23 PM   #22
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Angel L. wrote:
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Here is a pic of a night game behind the backstop. I lost the exif datapost noiseware community edition. Also this picture is after picassa.

Manual exposure, f2.2, iso800, sh 1/400

Can I get better results witha amature DSLR?
It's not that simple. What's better to you may not be better to someone else and vice-versa.

The only way you're going to improve on your shutter speeds is by using a DSLR at ISO 1600 with a prime (non-zoom) lens, or using a DSLR with ISO 3200 with a bright (i.e, f/2.8 throughout the focal range) zoom (and you didn't want a $1500 solution)..

That's because the lens in your Sony is going to be brighter than the $800 zoom lenses you can buy for a DSLR.

If you go with a DSLR solution using a bright prime (or primes), then you'll need to contend with a shallower depth of field. For example, if you took the photo above with a DSLR using a bright prime, the players in the background would be blurrier with a DSLR (because depth of field is much shallower for a given aperture and equivalent field of view).

Is that better or worse? It depends on the viewer and what you're trying to capture. There are pros and cons to both types of systems.



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Old Feb 13, 2006, 4:26 PM   #23
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I am reluctant to use a flash when trying to catch the hitting mechanics. Another reason I am asking for advice on upgrading to a DSLR. Right now with my F717 I can only shoot three shot burst, and that sometimes deos not cover the whole approach to the ball.

Here is another pic after editing. F2.2/iso800/shutter 300 no flash.
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Old Feb 13, 2006, 4:39 PM   #24
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Angel L. wrote:
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I am reluctant to use a flash when trying to catch the hitting mechanics. Another reason I am asking for advice on upgrading to a DSLR. Right now with my F717 I can only shoot three shot burst, and that sometimes deos not cover the whole approach to the ball.
It sounds like your dead set on getting a DSLR. That's fine. Burst mode is one area you'll see improvement in.

But, again, there are drawbacks, too. You will not have as much of an image in focus as you get further away from your focus point with a DSLR. That's because you have dramatically greater depth of field with a camera like your Sony compared to a DSLR for any given apertuere and field of view.

The larger depth of field you have with a camera like your Sony can be a drawback if you're trying to use larger apertures to help your subjects stand out from distracting backgrounds. But, it can be a plus if you want more of the image in focus.

So, focus accuracy becomes much more critical with a DSLR in low light (because you'll need to shoot at wider apertures where depth of field is shallower in low light), and you'll need to learn to use one effectively for best results. That will only come with experience.

Again, lens selection will be critical. The lens on your Sony is twice as bright as most zoom lenses you'll find for a DSLR (and I'm talking about the expensive ones you'll find). So, you'll need to shoot at higher ISO speeds for equivalent shutter speeds (giving up some of the advantages of a DSLR) unless you go with prime (non-zoom) lenses.

In most comparisons, it's a "no brainer" (go with the DSLR). But, you're getting pretty good results from your Sony now (thanks in part to it's unusually bright lens). So, I wouldn't rush out and spend a lot of money without careful consideration.

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Old Feb 13, 2006, 5:55 PM   #25
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Thanks for spotting my mistake. I was hesitent to post the information, as Iwasn't 100% sure that that was the true flash range. Both are GN's. Sorry about the mistake, and thanks for the GN information. I hope to pick up a DSLR in the next 6 months- 1 1/2 years, and am studying over different DSLR's and lenses, so the knowledge is valuable.
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Old Feb 14, 2006, 11:03 AM   #26
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Jim C,

Thanks again for sound advice, I am satisfied with my pictures now. I just wanted sound information if a DSLR would be worth the expense, since I can only get around $400 on ebay for my camera I will become more aware on how to shoot in these particular situations.( noiseware and picassa help greatly ).

Now another question about multiburst. I can record 16 frames at high speed at a selectable capture rate of 7.5, 15, 30 fps via menu. these 320x240 images are merged into one1280x960 finished image. When I play back in the camera I can see the individual frames, but when I send the images to the pc I get one big image with multiple frames on it. How can i see the individual frames on the pc without cut and past. Is there something I can do.
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Old Feb 14, 2006, 11:16 AM   #27
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Angel L. wrote:
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Jim C,

Thanks again for sound advice, I am satisfied with my pictures now. I just wanted sound information if a DSLR would be worth the expense, since I can only get around $400 on ebay for my camera I will become more aware on how to shoot in these particular situations. ( noiseware and picassa help greatly ).

There's no right or wrong choice. In the vast majority of cases when someone asks about a camera for existing light use, I'll point them towards a DSLR.

But, most non-DSLR models don't have a lens as bright as your Sony's. Ditto for noise levels (it's 5MP 2/3" CCD isn't too bad compared to most non-DSLR models).

So, it becomes a much tougher decision (especially since you are already getting pretty good shots from it in the lighting you're using it in).

I copied and pasted this from another recent response I made:

A few Pros and Cons (DSLR versus non-DSLR):

LCD Framing: unlike a consumer (or "prosumer") camera, the LCD can't be used for framing on a DSLR (with very few exceptions) But, you have a true Through the lens (TTL) view through a good optical viewfinder.

Lens Cost: To get the same focal range you can find in a consumer level (non-DSLR) camera, you often have to spend much more money, especially to get lenses that are as "fast" (widest apertures available at wide angle and longer focal lengh settings). To get all the features (macro performance, zoom range, etc.), you must often purchase more than one lens, too.

Camera Size/Weight: Because of the larger sensors used in most Digital SLR cameras, the lenses also have to be larger and heavier for the same focal ranges/light gathering ability.

Sensor Cleaning: When you swap lenses, you risk dust getting in the camera.

On the other hand, they're relatively rare, but I've seen dust problems reported with non-DSLR models, too (the lens mechanisms are often not tight enough to prevent dust from being "sucked in,and when that happens,the camera often requires a trip back to themanufacturer, versus cleaningaDSLR yourself).

Features: youdon't get the "bells, whistles and buzzers" found on a consumer model in a DSLR (i.e., panaroma modes, movie modes, etc.).

A Few Advantages to a Digital SLR:

A true "Through the Lens" Optical Viewfinder (but, this is sometimes overrated, since some viewfinders can leave a bit to be desired. Make sure to test any camera you consider in a store.

Better Dynamic Range -- again, this is mostly due to the much larger sensor being used. That's my opinion looking at images anyway (especially when you look at some of the newer higher megapixel non-DSLR models).

Ability to Shoot at Higher ISO speeds with lower noise. DSLR's have much larger sensors, with better signal to noise ratios as the CCD signal is amplifed for higher ISO speeds. Often, a DSLR is the only tool that will work well for indoor sports, and other conditions requiring the ability to shoot at higher ISO speeds (using a bright lens, of course).

Fast Focus Speeds -- Most Digital SLRs use a Phase Detection Focus System which is pretty fast . Most Consumer Grade Cameras use a Contrast Detection Focus System, which is reliant on seeing enough contrast in the live feed being sent by the sensor. But, the gap is starting to narrow here, and lens selection can make a difference with a DSLR.

Ability to Control Depth of Field - The smaller sensors used in a Consumer Grade Camera limit your ability to control Depth of Field (blur backgrounds by using wider apertures to help your subjects stand out). This is because Depth of Field is based on the Actual (versus 35mm equivalent) focal length of the lens (and a much shorter focal length lens can be used on a consumer model, to get the same equivalent focal length in a DSLR) because of it's tiny sensor).

Of course, some users may not care about blurring backgrounds for effect, and may like the greater DOF a non-DSLR camera would have at a given 35mm equivalent focal length/aperture/focus distance, too. So, depending on your perspective, this could be looked at as an advantage, or a disadvantage to a DSLR.

I wouldn't underestimate this as advantage, either (more versus less Depth of Field), since it can be difficult to get everything you want in focus at times using larger apertures with a DSLR in less than optimum lighting, and the use of larger apertures requires greater focus precision with a DSLR.

Lenses become an investment - With a Digital SLR, when you upgrade your camera body later, you can take your lenses with you within the same manufacturer. With a consumer grade camera, the lenses are permanently attached.

Speed of Writes - The processors used in most Digital SLR's are usually muchfaster than the processors used in consumer grade cameras. The buffer size (amount of very fast internal memory acting as cache) isusually much larger, too. As a result the camera's overall operation is usually much faster.

A few other comments:

It's been my experience that the larger and heavier the camera, the more likely you'll leave it at home.

Both types of cameras can be great for many users. Some users have both (a compact consumer model good for most shooting situations, that is much easier to carry); as well as a Digital SLR (with multiple lenses) for other applications requiring the benefits of a DSLR.

There are pros and cons to both approaches, and no one solution is going to be perfect for every user in all conditions.

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Now another question about multiburst. I can record 16 frames at high speed at a selectable capture rate of 7.5, 15, 30 fps via menu. these 320x240 images are merged into one1280x960 finished image. When I play back in the camera I can see the individual frames, but when I send the images to the pc I get one big image with multiple frames on it. How can i see the individual frames on the pc without cut and past. Is there something I can do.
Not that I'm aware of. But, you might find that cycle times/number of photos in a burst improve with lower resolution settings if you don't need to make prints and are only interested in posting the images on the web. This varies by camera model. So, you'd need to try it to see.



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Old Feb 14, 2006, 12:15 PM   #28
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If you want to advance your skills, and are willing to take some time to get used to one, then sure, get a DSLR.

You'll have more control over depth of field, higher available ISO speeds, faster operation, and lots of lenses to choose from as your needs change.

But, there will be a learning curve going from a model like your Sony DSC-F717, and you'll need bright lenses for night sports. You're not going to match the shutter speeds you're getting with your Sony in the ballpark using cheap zooms. They're simply not bright enough. Most lenses for DSLR models are not as sharp at wide open apertures either, especially the cheap ones (and you'll need larger apertures in low light). You've got a very high quality lens on your Sony. To duplicate that quality in a lens for a larger sensor would mean a larger size, weight and cost.

Keep in mind that because the sensor is much larger in a DLSR compared to the sensor in your Sony, the lenses will be much larger for equivalent brightness and focal range. But, you can't buy a zoom lens as bright as the one on your Sony for most DSLR models, at any price Your Sony starts out at f/2, only dropping off to f/2.4 on the long end (190mm equivalent). ;-) Most zooms start out at f/2.8 (and f/2 is twice as bright).

The exception would be a couple of zooms Olympus came out with for the E Series DSLR models (which have smaller sensors compared to most other DSLR models). But, these are pricey, despite the smaller image circle needed for the smaller sensors. For example, the Olympus 35-100mm f/2 ED Zuiko Lens is running in excess of $2,000.00 from the few vendors that have it in stock.

But, because of the higher noise levels from the Olympus models compared to other DSLRs, you really need the extra stop of brightness to make up for their higher noise (compared to using a less expensive f/2.8 zoom lens on other entry level DSLR models using higher ISO speeds).

If you get a DSLR, I'd go with a bright prime or two for your ballgames to start out with. A bright 50mm lens can be found for under $100.00 for most DSLR models. Then, look around for a deal on a longer f/2.8 zoom in the 70-200mm range or there abouts if you're on a budget. If you run up on a 100mm f/2 or brighter at a good price for the camera you choose, grab one of those. But, ask about any lens you consider in the forums here first. You can't go by lens ratings alone.

KEH.COM is a good source of used gear (low prices, conservative ratings).

You don't have to buy everything at the same time either. A lot of people used nothing but a 50mm lens for years (although on most DSLR models, a 50mm lens would give you the same angle of view as you'd have with a 75mm lens on a 35mm camera). Lenses will appear to be "longer" when used on a DSLR.


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Old Feb 14, 2006, 2:25 PM   #29
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I've noticed that these shots are all fairly wide angle, and your composition dosent seem to change much from shot to shot. Thats good, if your considering a prime (no zoom). Can you tell us what focal length you used on the above picture? It should be in the exif of the original file, and will affect how costly your dslr investment will be.

50mm f1.7 primes are cheap and fast (<$100), wide angle ones seem to run a few hundred bucks, and telephoto from a few hundred up to near a grand. Something like the minolta 85mm/1.4 for $650 might be perfect? If you go out to 200mm then 2.8 is as fast as you will get, and that will cost nearly nine hundred dollars in a prime or third-party zoom. If your night shots can all be done at 50mm (10mm using your f717) then you might be set for very cheap (reletively!).

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Old Feb 14, 2006, 2:46 PM   #30
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If I wanted the best setup possible for low light, I'd get a Konica Minolta Maxxum 5D with a 28mm f/2, 50mm f/1.7, 100mm f/2 and 135mm f/2.8. I'm biased, though (those are the primes I got for use with a KM 5D). ;-) I've got a few zooms, too (but bright primes with anti-shake rule in low light). LOL

Given budget contraints, get a 50mm f/1.7; and be patient waiting on bargains and pick up a 100mm f/2 or 85mm f/1.4 for something a bit longer.

All of my primes were bought used. The 100mm f/2 only set me back $299 (used from adoroma.com). These are pretty hard to come by anymore, and they are sharper at all apertures beginning with f/2, compared to the 85mm f/1.4G according to MTF tests at http://www.photodo.com/nav/prodindex.html

Pick up an f/2.8 zoom if you need something with more flexibility. Keep an eye on the used market and check in the forums for opinions on lenses you consider.

If you're not aware of if, Sony will be shipping DSLRs that use the Maxxum mount. It will be interesting to see if any future models are able to take both Memory Stick and CompactFlash.

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