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P&S camera

Discussion in 'Badminton Photography' started by ctjcad, Aug 18, 2006.

  1. ctjcad

    ctjcad Regular Member

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    Need you guys' recommendation input..

    ..ok guys, need some inputs/recommendations from all of you photography studs out there(ie. kwun, red00ecstrat, Cheung, bluejeff, storkbill, Loh)..;)

    I'm looking into purchasing either a compact/point and shoot digicam or an SLR-like in the near future, for the main purpose of shooting actions pics(yes, badminton as one of them). But I don't really want to go the SLR route(i know they're ideal to have, but personally it's too pricey for me and i won't be doing many of them). Just want to have one that is sufficient for these kinds of events yet a general usage digicam at the same time.
    But not sure which feature(s) should i look for. Should i prioritize:
    1. MP(megapixels)??
    2. Shutter speed??
    3. or something else

    The 2 compacts i'm looking at are either Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7 and Canon PowerShot S3 IS. Both are 6.0MP+ and both have the tele range i'm looking for(300+mm). I don't know much abt the former's model Panasonic/Lumix. But the latter offers more shutter speed capability(up to 1/3200), but it weighs a bit heavier. How abt batteries?? Should i go for reg. AA NiMH or Lithium ones??..

    thanks guys for all your suggestions..;) :cool:
     
    #1 ctjcad, Aug 18, 2006
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2006
  2. cooler

    cooler Regular Member

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    it's the lens

    3. It's the lens

    I don't want to supercede other more knowledgeable members here but from my very limited knowledge, for start in sport shooting, u need those big gorgeous lens (they call them fast for a reason;)) but compact point and shoot (P&S)varieties come with small fixed lens. There maybe 1 or 2 P&S that can come close to sport shooting needs but will never come close to slr with big lens. It depends how how good of quality of sport pictures that u can live with.

    2 years ago, i know a photographer who want to wait for dslr price to come down before buying so the was shooting with an olympus P&S. He got some good results shooting badminton players in action (jumpsmashing, etc) but to compensate the P&S, he was an very very experienced photographer.
     
    #2 cooler, Aug 18, 2006
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2006
  3. cooler

    cooler Regular Member

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    ctjcad, if u still prefer a P&S, get one that come with a big lens. Unfortunately, this is no longer a compact P&S:D That is why many opt for dslr because a big P&S is just a big as a dslr.
     
  4. Quasimodo

    Quasimodo Regular Member

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    Chris, cooler nailed it perfectly: It's the lens. Regardless whether your subject is sports, macro, landscape, etc., the lens is the first thing you ought to consider.

    Pro sports photographers lug those massive 180/400/500/600/800mm lenses for basically one reason: maximum aperture. Your action photos at the US Open came out blurry because the shutter speed was too slow. You can use higher speed films---sorry, in this (digital) day and age, I suppose I should say set the camera at a higher ISO setting---but only to a point before you lose resolution. Using fast lenses is the only reliable way, albeit a rather expensive one.

    If you don't want to spend money on them, then rent them. Get a decent SLR body, which you can buy quite reasonably these days, and just rent the specialist lenses as you need them. I'd agree that for most of us spending upwards of $8K for a 600/4 lens that we're only going to use about 2 weeks a year is quite unwise. But, you can rent one for a week for less than $200, possibly even cheaper. For badminton purposes, you don't even need that long of a tele. A 70--200/2.8 mm zoom is probably enough depending on the event and it's not costly to rent on a daily or weekly basis.
     
  5. ctjcad

    ctjcad Regular Member

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    thanks for your input, cooler..;) yah, that's what my thinking also; but like you described above with the photographer who used a P&S type and still can good results for shooting badminton, well, for me that's good enough also..how abt a slr-like digicam??are they close enough to a dslr??..:rolleyes:
     
  6. kwun

    kwun Administrator

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    we need to ask an important question first:

    what's your budget?

    ;)
     
  7. cooler

    cooler Regular Member

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    i gave u that special case to illustrate that it took a very experienced photographer to tweak the settings, get to the right lighting spot, knowing when to shoot, and ending up maybe 4 good pic out of 10 shots from his good P&S. If u dont have those skills, your chances of a good sport pic is prolly 1 in 10 or less. I was trying to say to get good sport pics from p&S, u need 'priceless' skills:)

    as for a good slr-like digicam, i'll let other to recommends, i'm a fence sitter on camera shopping for now.
     
    #7 cooler, Aug 18, 2006
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2006
  8. ctjcad

    ctjcad Regular Member

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    thanks much Quasimodo for your input..;) I think what i was lacking with my digicam, which i used recently, is a longer tele lens(mine can only go from 34mm up to 104mm, imagine that:p). And then max. shutter speed on my digicam is only 1/1400.:p
    What i've been looking around for a P&S are ones that have 1/2000 or higher shutter speed but also longer telezoom/optical zoom(300mm+). True it's not quite up to standard with a dslr(1/4000 max. shutter speed)..

    I understand abt going out and renting a specific lens(es) for this type of events, but i also really don't want to spend that much for a dslr type body if i don't have to, esp. if i only use it rarely, if at all.;)
     
    #8 ctjcad, Aug 18, 2006
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2006
  9. ctjcad

    ctjcad Regular Member

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    hehe, good question kwun...:)
    well, my budget is whatever the most reasonable & available for compacts/slr-like type. And from what i can gather, I guess no more than $400..?!?!..which i can still afford..:rolleyes: :p
     
  10. kwun

    kwun Administrator

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    i see. i see..

    fast shutter speed is not important. let me explain.

    for a photo to be correctly exposed, you need to give the sensor the right amount of light. if you give it too little light, the picture will come out too black, if too much, it will come out too white.

    the actual amount of light it determined by a few factors. most importantly, the actual environment, a bright sunny day outdoor has a lot of light, a dark warehouse has very little light.


    the camera is able to control the amount of light by a few ways. by the size of the aperture, the "f" number, a smaller f number, the more light goes through. and by how long the camera exposes, that's the 1/2000sec number.

    there is also a third number, the ISO number. that is the sensitivity of the sensor, the higher the ISO, the less light it needs to correctly expose, but also the more noise...

    now in a badminton setting, there is usually so little light, you will be shooting at the max aperture, most of the time, f/2.8 or f/3.5 for the better P&S. and add to that, you will probably be at the highest ISO, probably ISO400 or ISO800 for a P&S.

    at this extreme setting, and on all sensors i know, you won't be able to expose the sensor correctly at 1/2000sec, if you try, you will get a black image. the realistic setting is probably around 1/150sec if not less. as you are maxed out at f/2.8 and ISO400/800, there is no other way to get enough light by to use the lower speed. so even if the camera "allows" 1/2000, it is mostly useless.
     
  11. ctjcad

    ctjcad Regular Member

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    hmm, i see..appreciate your quickie explanation kwun...I was thinking, maybe i can get away by adjusting the ISO but use a faster shutter speed to reduce the blurred pics...On that note, i'm just wondering, i saw the recent Singapore Open pics(and onward) taken by Loh, and they're not bad, considering probably Loh was sitting quite high in the seating area?? I assume Loh was using an slr digicam with a special tele-lens??..I wonder which lens did he use for those pics??..Mind sharing with us the settings, if you still remember, Loh??..:rolleyes::p
     
    #11 ctjcad, Aug 18, 2006
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2006
  12. cooler

    cooler Regular Member

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    from loh's shooting birds thread


    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wood_22_chuck
    Poll! Poll!

    My guess, same as jeffreyk, standing in the back, 2nd from left.

    What kind of camera equipment do you have, Loh?

    -dave


    You guys are wrong! WWC is right!

    I just got a Nikon D70, a digital SLR. The instructor insisted that we need at least 2 lenses, so apart from the Wide Angle AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor ED 18-70mm, f/3.5-4.5G IF, I also got a longer AF Zoom-Nikkor 75-240mm, f/4.5-5.6D.

    I need more time to really learn how to use this camera as my previous one is a much cheaper manual SLR. Now we were told just to us the P mode for everything! I have been convinced that a digital camera can save quite a bit in the long run in terms of printing cost as you can save your digital pics in your PC and only print when necessary, unlike films on manual cameras. Of course you can preview your shots on the spot and delete them if they are not satisfactory, something you can't do on a manual SLR.
     
  13. kwun

    kwun Administrator

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    exactly, i think you got it. remember when you asked early on, we told you to max out the ISO? that's the exact reason.

    however, realistically, depending on the lighting condition of the arena, you probably won't be able to get much more than 1/500s in the most optimistic lighting, and sometimes i get 1/100s only in the worse lighting that i have seen.
     
  14. ctjcad

    ctjcad Regular Member

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    thx cooler for the quick snippet find on Loh's response..
     
  15. ctjcad

    ctjcad Regular Member

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    Hmm..i see. Wow 1/500s and 1/100s are much slower. :rolleyes:
    Actually i didn't quite tell you guys what i did or what settings i used for the last 2 days of the U.S. Open picture taking. Maybe from this you guys'll can see a bit clearer what was going on:
    On the last 2 days of picture taking, yes, i did change the ISO to 400; moved up closer in seating to the court and held the digicam a bit more steadier. HOWEVER, i *NEVER* change the option from GENERAL/AUTO to SPORT. The SPORT option which i was supposed to use(which has the fastest shutter speed, most likely 1/1400) didn't quite produce what i expected. As when i tried to change the ISO for that particular(SPORT) setting, it wouldn't allow me to change the ISO at all; so it's sort of 'fixed'. Thus even when i boost up my ISO to 400 and used the SPORT feature, the picture came out sharper but much darker. Also, i wasn't able to zoom in on those longer distance shots. I tried the LANDSCAPE feature, but it still didn't help. So i had to stick with the GENERAL/AUTO option, which probably has slower speed, thus the blurred images.
    Thus i kinda "blame" the results on my digicam's settings or lackthereof.:p
    And as a result, i'm now trying to look and upgrade my digicam to a much "functional" one..:p
     
    #15 ctjcad, Aug 18, 2006
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2006
  16. kwun

    kwun Administrator

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    Chris,

    actually, it will be interesting for you to send me via email a pic you took using your camera. by looking at the embedded setting info, i can probably be able to tell you whether the models you are interested in will give you much benefit.

    i tried looking for the embedded setting info in your attached pics, but i think they got erased after you resized the image.
     
  17. kwun

    kwun Administrator

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    yeah. anything faster than 1/500s is as i said unrealistic, unless you are shooting backyard badminton with bright afternoon sunlight...

    for badminton shooting, one should aim for lighting condition and camera setting that will give you at least 1/200s if not 1/250s or 1/320s. obviously the faster the better. and as i said, depending on the gym lighting it is sometimes possible but not always.

    we went to shoot the Berkeley Open last weekend and the gym was like a darkroom. our setting was maxed all the way out: ISO3200, f/1.4, and we were just able to get 1/250s. yes. that's ISO3200 and f/1.4, you read it right! if you use a P&S, you will be shooting at 1/8 seconds!

    anyhow, eventually we just left coz the picture came out way too noisy (ISO3200 is very very noisy)
     
  18. Wizbit

    Wizbit Regular Member

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    Stay clear of the Panasonic lumix because they are famous for noise, unless you are willing to put a lot of work to post process the pictures, run through noise filters etc. I think a lot of people here have found out if you want to take some good pics of indoor badminton, theres no 2 ways about it..go SLR route.

    Even an 'entry level' DSLR model would do much better than a good P&S. I'm sure you'll be able to find second hand Nikon D50s, Canon Digital Rebels, Pentax I*st.. for that amount?

    I have to add for low light performance in compact camera sector, Fuji is King right now, with many models usable in ISO1600..models like F11, F30 etc. and if you want something a little bigger with more control..the soon to be released F5600FD (don't quote me :p) which has the same low noise chip as the highly acclaimed F30.

    Canon have released a couple of P&S compacts with Image stabilisation, in effect this means you can shoot at lower ISO...but I don't think it's suitable for sports photography, expert opinions?

     
  19. kwun

    kwun Administrator

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    thanks Chris for sending me some sample pics...

    the setting was:

    ISO400
    f/4.6
    1/15s (!)

    well it looks like OCBC is leaning a bit to the dark side.

    if you can find a camera that goes up to ISO800, and a nice lens, say f/2.8, you are still hovering around 1/100s or 1/80s in order to reach the same exposure level. and i am afraid that's probably the best you can get unless if you go up to a DSLR. perhaps there is a P&S camera out there with a better specs.

    what you want to find is a camera that has a very low f-number. most of them have a range f/2.8 to f/3.5. which is not bad. but a few i saw have f/2.0-f/2.4. on top of that, you want one that has ISO800.

    if you do find a f/2.4 lens (at the tele end), you might get up to 1/150s or so. but that's pretty much the limit.

    if you get a DSLR, you can get ISO1600 and f/2.0 pretty easily. that will boost it up to 1/320s or 1/400s, which is a pretty comfortable speed for badminton... unfortunately, it also means that the cost will be much higher. even with the cheapest one in the market, you can easily run up to $1000 depending on your lens choice.
     
  20. ctjcad

    ctjcad Regular Member

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    :eek: yikes!!darkroom?!?!...:p
    i see, so there's actually some "mathematical" formulation to the settings then..btw, may i ask, what was the shutter speed which you used??..was it set to 1/4000(the max)??...
     

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