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Old Jul 2, 2006, 10:04 PM   #1
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Hello,
I'm new to the DSLR World, and an amateur photographer in its truest sense of the word, but I've been following these forums for a few weeks trying to get an idea of what camera will best suit my needs as an amateur. Of course money is always a consideration.. I'm looking for a DSLR that will allow me to capture good sports action shots of my kids playing baseball, soccer, Ice Hockey, etc.., but still be a good 'all around' camera for normal family events. I'm thinking that Hockey will be the toughest challenge given the frequent low light situations that exist in the Rinks that we play in.

The camera that first caught my eye was the Olympus E-500 Kit, with 14mm-45mm and 40mm-150mm lenses. It had a great look and feel to it, but after reading the comments regarding possible 'noise' problems in low light situations, I've decided to stay away from it. I know there are software 'touch-up' apps like NOISE NINJA, etc.., but I want to stay away from that unless absolutely necessary. I've read great things about the Nikon D50 including it's ability to handle 'low light' environments, and was leaning towards getting it along with a Tamron 18mm-200mm lens (since the Nikkor VR is a little out of my price range)...until recently.

I just read an article praising the KM Maxxum 7D. It talked about it's 9 point AF system and it's image stabilization capability. Steve's 'BEST CAMERAS' listed in in its 'Enthusiast Digital SLR' Category and gave it favorable Reviews. This is one category higher than where both the Olympus E-500 and Nikon D50 were listed. As it turns out, I can get the KM 7D with an 18mm-70mm KM AF lens for $699. I like the idea of a single lens solution (18mm-200mm), but given this price, I was considering a Tamron or Sigma 70mm-300mm to complete the package.

I'm looking for opinions (experiences) regarding the KM 7D and amateur sports photography vs. that of the Nikon D50. If anyone has any preference re: Tamron vs, Sigma lenses, I'd welcome those opinions as well. Lastly...I'm aware that KM is leaving the market place (and Sony picking up its technologies), should I be concerned about this?

Thanks in advance for any light you may be able to shed on this subject!
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Old Jul 2, 2006, 10:30 PM   #2
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The real question is, do you want a camera that will allow you to grow into professional quality photos, or you don't. KM cameras give you anti-shake on every lens. The 7D has every control you could possibly want. If you want a DSLR that acts like a Prosumer Digicam (without the lens choice), try a Sony R1....oops, no IS.
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Old Jul 2, 2006, 10:35 PM   #3
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The deal at Wal-Mart is a very good one:

http://www.walmart.com/catalog/produ...uct_id=4898002

Yes, it's really aimed a different market niche compared to a model like the D50. But, because KM exited the camera business, you can find these models at greatly reduced prices now. This camera (KM 7D) sold for $100 more than the Canon EOS-20D when it was first introduced and $600 more than the Nikon D70. Now, you an get them at less than half of their original price.

The KM 7D is going to have a better viewfinder, ergonomics, more external controls, larger buffer, PC Sync Port for attaching studio strobes, and more (and of course, anti-shake with every lens).

Yes, Sony acquired some of Konica Minolta's assets and will be launching DSLR models that can use the same lenses (any Autofocus Lens designed for Maxxum or Dynax series cameras will work on the new Sony Alpha DSLR models, too).

Sony is also taking over warranty obligations for Konica Minolta digital cameras as part of the arrangement with Konica Minolta.


Quote:
Effective April 1, 2006, Sony Electronics will be providing service and repair of certain Konica-Minolta products in the United States. Sony is pleased to provide existing Konica-Minolta customers an excellent customer service experience. All terms and conditions of the Konica-Minolta products' limited warranty continue to apply.
Sony Support for Konica Minolta Cameras, Lenses and Accessories

I have seen a few reported problems with parts delays since Sony took over (and they're using a third party service provider in the U.S. to repair them). But, in those cases Sony actually agreed to buy back the cameras (full purchase price, not pro=rated). So, I can't knock them for that approach.

The first new Sony DSLR model should start showing up on store shelves towards the end of this month (Sonystyle is now quoting that it will be shipping on or before July 28th). It will list for $899 (body only) or $999 for a kit including the camera with an 18-70mm lens.

Here is a preview of the new Sony DSLR-A100 (a.k.a., Alpha 100)

It was based heavily on the Konica Minolta Maxxum 5D

Note that Minolta has manufactured over 16 Million Autofocus Lenses that are compatible with the Konica Minolta (and now Sony) DSLR models since 1985. That's not counting third party lenses in this lens mount from Tamron, Sigma, Tokina/Cosina/Phoenix/Vivitar, and even Kodak). The used market is full of lenses in Minolta Autofocus Mount.

For indoor sports like Hockey, I'd suggest looking at a brighter lens, though. A kit lens (or a typical inexpensive long zoom) isn't going to be bright enough.

Most of these lenses are down to f/5.6 on their long end, which is not very bright for indoor use.

A zoom that can maintain f/2.8 throughout the focal range is a good idea for indoor sports (f/2.8 is 4 times as bright as f/5.6). But, that will add size, weight and cost to a camera package.

As for Sigma versus Tamron... you really need to take each lens on a case by case basis. You've got good and not so good lenses from any manufacturer.

One popular zoom for low light sports would be the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG Autofocus lens. It's available in popular camera mounts like Nikon, Canon, Konica Minolta and Pentax and sells for a bit over $800 discounted.

You might be able to get by with an f/4 zoom if you don't mind some shots with motion blur, and you don't mind using higher ISO speeds (1600 or 3200). But, for optimum results, an f/2.8 zoom (or an even brighter prme) is "must have" for indoor sports (and that goes for any camera), and you may even need to use ISO 1600 with a lens that bright to stop most motion blur with indoor sports.

You may want to check in our Konica Minolta DSLR Forum for lens suggestions from KM owners for low light sports use, and I wouldn't ignore the used market (you can often find some pretty good deals on lenses).


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Old Jul 3, 2006, 4:56 PM   #4
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Gret reply, JimC!

OK, let's follow out the logic of the original question. The KM 7D is a good choice at an excellent price. What bright lens would you recommend for it to use at hockey games?

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Old Jul 3, 2006, 6:07 PM   #5
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I thought I did. ;-)

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One popular zoom for low light sports would be the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG Autofocus lens. It's available in popular camera mounts like Nikon, Canon, Konica Minolta and Pentax and sells for a bit over $800 discounted.

You might be able to get by with an f/4 zoom if you don't mind some shots with motion blur, and you don't mind using higher ISO speeds (1600 or 3200). But, for optimum results, an f/2.8 zoom (or an even brighter prme) is "must have" for indoor sports (and that goes for any camera), and you may even need to use ISO 1600 with a lens that bright to stop most motion blur with indoor sports.

You may want to check in our Konica Minolta DSLR Forum for lens suggestions from KM owners for low light sports use, and I wouldn't ignore the used market (you can often find some pretty good deals on lenses).
We don't have hockey games in Savannah. lol But, I've seen lots of posts on "favorite lenses" for hockey from sports shooters in the past (mostly Canon and Nikon users). The Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX is a popular lens with sports shooters (probably because it's a high quality lens that's less expensive compared to the camera manufacturer's alternatives).

KM owners seem to like it. Here are a few reviews from KM DSLR owners:

http://www.dyxum.com/reviews/lenses/...asp?IDLens=195

Personally, I'd probaby try to go with an f/2.8 zoom like the Sigma I mentioned above if I were going to be doing a lot of that kind of shooting. But, I'd probably hit the used market to try and find a bargain.

If I happened to run up on a Minolta 80-200mm f/2.8 HS lens at a good price (and one of our forum members found one for about $800), I'd probably grab it if budget permitted. It's also a well liked lens by KM DSLR owners.

http://www.dyxum.com/reviews/lenses/....asp?IDLens=59

I wouldn't mind having the Minolta 70-200mm f/2.8 SSM version either. It's a bit on the pricey side, though (as will be the Sony branded model). It's a very well liked lens:

http://www.dyxum.com/reviews/lenses/....asp?IDLens=47

There are less expensive alternatives available on the used market if you are willing to give up a stop (meaning shutter speeds twice as long for proper exposure, which would result in a higher percentage of photos with motion blur). Something like the Minolta 70-210mmn f/4 can be found for around $200 used now. Ditto for the Minolta 70-210mm f/3.5-4.5. I know where someone has one for $89 right now.

But, if budget permitted, I'd be looking at a brighter lens for optimum results. It's all subjective. What the images will be used for, print/viewing sizes, and the acceptable percentage of keepers all come into the equation.


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Old Jul 4, 2006, 9:20 AM   #6
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Thanks, JimC, an excellent answer, as usual. I like the thinking. The used market might be a way for good cost control.

MT
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Old Jul 7, 2006, 7:47 AM   #7
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Thanks to all for the great input!
So what you're all saying is I should go with the Nikon D50......... I really appreciate the time and thought that went into the replies, it's exactly what I was looking for. I've actually already received the camera (KM 7D) and it's incredible. I have a lot of reading (and practicing) to do to utilize it properly, but this thing can do everything but make breakfast for me. I can already see that I'll want to invest in a better lens than the kit lens, but it's enough to get me started, which leads me into my next (and hopefully last for a while) question. I'm familiar with E-Bay, but can anyone recommend any other 'reputable' sources to look for the used lens you've talked about?

Thanks again for your assistance, these forums are worth their weight in gold!:|
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Old Jul 7, 2006, 7:50 AM   #8
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Congrats!

The "trick" to finding a bargain is to check listings often (as the good deals usually get grabbed quickly). I'd try to be patient, versus paying too much (as sometimes the Ebay auction prices get a little ridiculous). You don't have to buy your lenses all at once. ;-)

My favorite vendors for used gear (and these vendors also sell new gear).

http://www.keh.com
Note that KEH has the most conservative ratings around (IMO, anyway). So, I would not be afraid to buy a "bargain" rated lens from them if I were on a tight budget.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com

http://www.adorama.com

Check your local camera stores and pawn shops, too. It's not unsual for members to report finding some very good deals at local stores (much better than you sometimes see from the more popular vendors).

Make sure to visit our Konica Minolta DSLR Forum for tips, too.

Again, for indoor sports like Hockey, I'd urge you to stick with a lens that has f/2.8 available throughout the focal range. Otherwise, you'll have more motion blur than you may want to live with. Yes, they're larger, heavier and more expensive. That's a tradeoff to get the brightness needed for indoor sports use. Some users go to even brighter primes (non zoom lenses) for better results. But, an f/2.8 zoom would give you more flexibility.



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