Digital Camera - Looking for one capable of sports shots and indoor low light shots

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by dave64o, Sep 18, 2005.

  1. dave64o

    dave64o Talkbass Top 10 all time lowest talent/gear ratio! Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2000
    Southern NJ
    I already have a digital camera (Kodak DC290) but it's an older one and isn't that good for capturing sports shots. I'd really like to be able to get good shots at my son's soccer and basketbal games but I've found a few things with my camera that make it difficult to get the kinds of shots I want:

    - Very long shutter lag that makes it impossible to got a shot off while the action is happening. I have to anticipate 2-3 seconds in advance and focus at THAT spot, which rarely works. This is probably my biggest issue with this camera.

    - My camera only has limited manual controls and I can't get a shutter speed fast enough to give me good action shots. Faster motion usually blurs the shot. Also, without being able to do much in the way of adjustments I can't modify the aperture for low light situations (such as weddings or my son's school shows and indoor basketball games) and without a flash they're blurry as well.

    - 2MB resolution was hot stuff when I bought the camera, but not anymore. A lot of the shots I take are from a distance, so I'd like to have enough resolution to crop and blow up a picture in my photo editor (Photoshop Elements) and still have a clear picture in the end. Right now many come out grainy, even when I have the camera set to take uncompressed (TIFF) files. I'd like something with at least 5 MP. I've read conflicting reports on the value of RAW so if the camera has it OK, but I don't think it's a requirement.

    - I only have a 3X optical zoom. More would be better since I take a lot of shots from a distance (especially at soccer games).

    I'm kind of afraid the $1000+ price tag I've seen for dSLRs with a decent lens, but I suspect that may be the only way to get what I want. My top choice right now is probably a Konica Minolta Maxxum 5D. It seems to match up well against the others in it's price range plus it has image stabilization built in so I can buy less expensive lenses (ones that don't have IS in the lens). If I go with a high-end point and shoot it looks like the new Panasonic FZ30 is a great camera, but there seems to be concerns over the noise level and its ability to do low light shots.

    Any suggestions?
  2. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    A couple of things: A new fancy camera can not change the fact that you are in a low light situation. Aside from using a flash of some kind, there really is nothing you can do about low light situations. My suggestion, if at all possible, set up somewhere with a tripod. You will get motion blur of people running/moving, but everything else will be in focus. IMO, these are the best kind of action shots. You'll be given sharp focus, but permanently moving figures. It's worth a shot.

    I'm sure you know this already, don't be impressed by high digital zooms. Digital Zooms are crap. Basically what a digital zoom does is, imagine you already took the picture, then you put it in photoshop and blew it up... know how it gets all pixilated and bad? That's what digital zoom is.

    Other than that, I don't know much about brands, etc. Good luck, I hope I helped a little.
  3. burk48237

    burk48237 Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Oak Park, MI
    I'm afraid to get the features your looking for your going to have to go SLR. Shutter lag is still a huge problem in most digital point and shoots, and the cost difference to make the leap to an SLR is not that great. I've been shooting a lot of bands around town and they are definitely a huge step up. You don't have to shoot in Raw, you can shoot in high resolution Jpeg, BUT be sure and convert the files to Tiff or Photoshop after you download to your computer. Jpeg is a lossy file type and every time you move the file in your computer you'll have quality loss.

    As far as brands I would stick to Cannon or Nikon, theirs a reason that almost 90% of pro photographers shoot these brands. Quality of system, the availability of accessories, lenses and software for these two companies makes them much more usable. Nikon has just come out with a D50 and Cannon I believe has the Rebel XT. Image Stabilization will not mean a lot to you unless you intend to blow up bigger then 11 X 14. Your action shots will be fine if you adjust the ISO to 800 or above. Also when your shooting action, run your camera in the Shutter speed preferred mode (where you set the Shutter speed and the camera sets the rest). That will give you the ability to freeze action. Here's a shot of a guitar player from a local Detroit band (the Muggs) shot indoors with the on camera flash and a D70
  4. Vorago

    Vorago (((o)))

    Jul 17, 2003
    Antwerp, Belgium
    Yes, sometimes geargeeks come quite in hand :D
  5. Tsal


    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU
    It can be quite hard to find a digicam for low-light settings if you are not going for DSLR. I was looking into pocket digis last summer and Sony V3 was a decent bang for the buck, although it can't use a decent flash except the very limited Sony's own flash unit. If you want the best 'compact', it's probaby Sony F828 which has a good lense and good ISO settings, but if you are going to drop 800 bucks for a camera, you might as well go DSLR.

    I believe you can get 2nd hand DSLR's for quite decent price nowadays, for example last summer I bought a Nikon D70 - in practice same as the D70s - in very good shape with a small new Sigma tele lens for 600 euros - not bad on this side of the pond, and a Canon 300D would had been less than 500. Dropping 200 for a decent flash unit and another 200 for a fast ~1.4/50mm lense will get a decent, versatile rig for 1000 eur.

    You could start without a flash, so it wouldn't be too hard on your wallet, and you'd get full manual controls AND much more usable high ISO settings.

    Of course, a DSLR doesn't fit into your pocket, so you have to think if you want to take pictures where ever you go, or in special situations where you can have your bag with you. Then again, you can't take the DSLR to many gigs without a special photo licence, so for shooting big name gigs you want to have a good pocket camera.

    But, in the end, unless it's a special something you are going to use it, a DSLR is going to be more versatile and produce better pics.
  6. LajoieT

    LajoieT I won't let your shadow be my shade...

    Oct 7, 2003
    Western Massachusetts
    Yea, What Burk said!!!

    The Nikon D-50 is a great inexpensive jump into the DSLR realm (I've been a Nikon only shooter for 20+ years, Cannon makes great stuff, but I've never used it for more than a half hour at a time, so I can give no recommendations on them.

    The $1k is going to be a problem tho...
    I haven't kept up on recent prices, but IIRC:

    D-50 $700 or so
    SB-600 flash $190 or SB-800 $320
    Nikon 24-120 Vibration-Reduction Lens $500 (GREAT lens, and yes, VR is helpfull, To me at least...)
    Cards and accessories around $100

    So you're looking at around $1500 for the basic setup minimum, but you will have a Digital camera that works and feels just like your film camera.

    BTW, here are some shots I took of Stew when the BOG came through last winter, Shot with the D-70, but we hadn't gotten the new lenses yet, so these were shot with a variety including the 17-35mm f2.8, 35-70mm f2.8, and 105mm f2.8. IMO these are great lenses, but the 24-120 holds it's own against them, encompases them all (except the lower range of the 17-35mm, but that was a $2k lens, and I now also have a 12-24mm f4 that is DAMN cool...), and has VR to boot:
  7. Check out the Fuji F10. Read the user comments on this camera here:

    It's great at low-light photography. I'm not so sure about the sports shots, but from the time you half-press the shutter (pre-focus) to full press seems to be < .01 second. Check out the shots by the user "hppicckcy".

    Also, there's a post from a user from his kid's soccer game:

    Other than this camera for low-light shots, the only other alternative seems to be dlsr. There's more of these type of camera coming along soon, though esp. by Fuji.

    Best regards!
  8. I would say Panasonic DMC-FZ5!
    It's a very good camera, you have 12x zoom, 5.3 megapixel, image stabilisator for the zoom, and you can take quality shots everywhere....

    Between 400$ and 500$ and you have a very very good camera!
    One of the most underrated IMO!

  9. Ívar Þórólfsson

    Ívar Þórólfsson Mmmmmm... Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    Kopavogur, Iceland
    Well, if he primarily wants to use it for sports+low light, then I don´t think this camera will suit him.

    On that link is a timing table which you can see the "shutter lag".

    Half press lag is at least 0.7 secs with nine point auto focus, then you add 0.1 for half to full press lag. That's 0.8secs, which is not bad if you have already anticipated where the action will be.

    But the lag when you press the button fully is at least 1 second. A lot can happen in that time but it sure is better though then the 2-3 secs you were talking about.

    The bottom line is that if you need near instantenous response then you have to get a dslr.

    The cameras that you can choose from within your budget are the Canon 300d, Canon 350d, Nikon 70d and maybe the Nikon 70ds.

    But there is one extremely importang thing that I can´t stress enough!

    When and if you go to Dslr, do not choose the camera depending on the current specs of this and that body.
    DLSR bodies come and go so you should always select what brand you want from the lenses.

    Decide which is more important, wide angle or telephoto.
    In general Nikon lenses have slight advantage in wide angle and Canon have a slight advantage in telephoto.

    I personally own the Canon 300d and I like it alot!

    If you have any more Q's Dave then just ask away!

    I also recommend that you take a look at if you haven´t already.