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Old Mar 17, 2006, 6:42 AM   #1
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Hi,
I'm looking for a camera to shoot high speed action, mostly snowboard jumps. I would like a high burst mode with at least 4fps, with over 10 frames in a burst. Also important is a short Half to Full-press Lag - less than 0.1 sec.

I don't want an oversized, expensive, professional camera. And I'd prefer a simple to operate camera. I'd like to spend up to 500$, but will pay more if necessary.

I've overlooked a lot of cameras, mainly superzooms. The highest burst mode I found is 4 pfs, in the old model - Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ3. Surprisingly, the latest models (FZ5, FZ7) have slower burst modes.

Please recommend cameras that answer my specifications.

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Old Mar 17, 2006, 8:48 AM   #2
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Rango-

That is about the best fps speed you will find. The famous Canon dSLR does 5 fps and that is considered "top of the shop" in the consumer dSLR range.

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Old Mar 17, 2006, 9:41 AM   #3
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Thanks for the replay MT,

I just find it odd that the camera with the highest burst mode availableis from mid 2004, isn't there a newer model with better specs?
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Old Mar 17, 2006, 10:14 AM   #4
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You won't come close on the burst rate short of a DSLR. And I'm guessing you will have to get a fairly pricey lens with it to get really close to the action since you are looking at superzooms.

The FZ3 is about as good as I've seen. One nice feature of the Panasonics is that it takes only a couple of seconds before you can shoot another burst. Many brands have wait times for buffers to clear.

The >0.1 second half press is exceeded by most cameras anymore. The feature you will need for it to work for you is called "continuous focus". Most cameras with continuous focus selected will continue to update the focus information while you are in half-press. My success percentage is a LOT higher with continuous focus in dynamic situations compared to my cameras that haven't had the feature. I don't know of a reviewer who seems to have rugrats around or shoots dynamic sports like snowboarding. The best you can find out is whether it has the feature, but not how well or in what situations it works. And you won't find it listed in the features but in the menus. I think all of the superzooms have continuous focus.

Maybe the Canon people can tell you more about it, but the S2 has a feature where you can take full sized stills while filming a movie. I have no idea whether you can shoot both burst and movie. The burst mode isn't anywhere near your requirements but it will shoot indefinitely in burst. If you are reviewing technique movie frames might be sufficient – it is possible to extract specific frames. At the same time you could choose your moment for a good still shot with less than 0.1 lag with a half press and continuous focus. I assume the specs for the new S3 will be about the same.

If you intend going further in snowboarding photography than just an interested amateur you should really spring for a DSLR.

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I just find it odd that the camera with the highest burst mode available is from mid 2004, isn't there a newer model with better specs?
The FZ3 is a 3Mp camera. The FZ20 is a 5Mp camera and can do 3fps. The FZ30 is an 8Mp camera and can do 2.7fps. If you do the math Panasonic has been upgrading the Venus engine with faster rates but not keeping up with the Mp increase. Panasonic followed by Canon have the best processors for things like burst and the FZ30 is very impressive for how fast it will cycle 8Mp raw files. No other company comes close to those two for processor speed in a non-DSLR.

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Old Mar 17, 2006, 1:03 PM   #5
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thanks for the replays,

WhatI understand from your answers, is you recommend cameras like the EOS 20D, as a good 5 fps camera. My problem is that it's a big, almost professional camera. I'd like something a bit smaller, and easier to operate (not mentioning the price). I'm also fond of the IS feature, which is available only in a few of the SLRs.

Anyway, if I could find an UltraZoom camera, with a 8-10MP resolution, that has a feature for high speed bursts of 4-5MP pictures at a 4-5 fps rate, I'd buy It.

slipe – I understand what you said about the upgrading the Venus engine, while increasing the Resolution. I don't see a reason why I can't have really high speed bursts in less than the full resolution.


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Old Mar 17, 2006, 1:12 PM   #6
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The panasonic doesn't have predictive focus and you can only shoot 4 shots in a burst. So it doesn't do much good. I have FZ1, FZ5.

For your type of shooting you need dSLR, something like 20D which gives 5fps (actually a bit lower in Ai servo mode). Buffer is small 6 in RAW but good enough if you shoot jpeg.


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Old Mar 17, 2006, 2:40 PM   #7
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I don't see a reason why I can't have really high speed bursts in less than the full resolution.
I've wondered about that also.

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Anyway, if I could find an UltraZoom camera, with a 8-10MP resolution, that has a feature for high speed bursts of 4-5MP pictures at a 4-5 fps rate, I'd buy It.
It appears you will have to lower your expectations or go with a DSLR. Or wait until next snowboarding season and hope someone has put a big buffer in a high MP superzoom. The problem with buffers compared to a fast engine is that you usually have to wait a long time for one to clear after a burst. We could hope Panasonic or Canon would combine a fast processor with a big buffer, but don't hold your breath. DSLRs like the 20D clear the buffer pretty quickly and it is very hard to fill with JPGs. But I haven't seen a non-DSLR yet that isn't like watching the grass grow to clear a large buffer.

IS isn't very useful for snowboarding photos. And the high ISO of DSLRs is a good compensation even without IS.

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