Looking to purchase a digital camera

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Looking to purchase a digital camera

  • The purpose of the camera will be mainly used for action shots. My kids during their gymnastics meets. My wife also likes to take close up shots as well. I know this is vague, but any info would be appreiciated. Jeff
  • Fatty,

    If you're shooting your kids playing sports, you need to be able to freeze the action. The way you do this when taking a picture is by using a fast shutter speed. To get the results I'm sure you want at your kids' gymnastics meet, you'll need to be able to do two things: get in close, and use a fast shutter.

    Getting in close requires a telephoto or zoom lens. Using a fast shutter speed requires that the lens let in a lot of light. Since gymnastics meets are held indoors, light will be an issue. What I recommend is a digital SLR and a fast telephoto or zoom lens.

    A "fast" lens is easy to spot - it has a large maximum aperture. Apertures are expressed in fractions, like f/1.8, f/2.8, f/5.6, etc. The lower numbers refer to bigger apertures. Just replace the "f" with a "1" and you'll see why that is. Apertures are like the iris of your eye, they open wide in dim light and close to a squint out in the sunlight. Indoors, at your kids' gymnastics meet, you'll need a lens that has a large iris, or aperture.

    The main reason I recommend a digital SLR for this application is that point-and-shoot cameras, while they may have super zooms, image stabilization, etc, have very small image sensors. This results in more pixels being crammed into a smaller area, making the pixels smaller and less sensitive to light. The end result, when you're indoors trying to take pictures of your kids, is that the images end up being very, very "noisy," or grainy.

    Image stabilization can help - but if you're not getting enough light to the sensor, it won't matter for sports. You need a fast shutter speed more than you need shake control when you're shooting sports. 

    Fortunately, digital SLR cameras have become more and more affordable. I shoot with Canon, but Nikon and Sony make good cameras, too. Canon and Nikon have an advantage in that they both make a full line of lenses for their cameras. Third-party lenses are also available that work with various brands.

    I'd look for an aperture number of f/1.4 to f/2.8, tops, for shooting your gymnastics meets. Anything that says f/4-f/4.6 or something like that just won't work indoors the way you want it to. A digital SLR combined with an 85mm f/1.8 or 100mm f/2 lens is what I would use, and those lenses are not terribly expensive. And a plus side to all that is that they'll be great for your wife's portrait shots, too.

  • Zak,

    Thanks for the reply, You have any camera in mind? I have a Kodak Z712, but the pics and videos are not that good, plus my wife broke the LCD screen. Thanks again for the reply 

    [edited by: Don at 4:22 PM (GMT -5) on Mon, Aug 18 2008]
  • That particular Kodak is in a class between your typical compact camera and a DSLR. As far as what I'd recommend, I'll give you a few suggestions, because I don't know if a DLSR sounds appealing to you - I love mine, but I'm also used to lugging it around with me, something that a lot of people don't want to bother with.

    Here's what I'd recommend to get great indoor sports shots...but definitely do your due diligence, and you'll have to decide if you think it's worth it to carry a bag of camera gear around. Here's a good site to get user reviews on DSLR gear.

    Canon system:

    Rebel XSi kit: good, no-frills entry into the Canon system.

    Canon 100mm f/2 USM lens: Fast, small, and uses Canon's lighting-fast Ultrasonic focusing (can you tell I'm a Canon shooter?)

    The Rebel 18-55mm kit lens is a nice one, very light and image-stablilzed. But it won't zoom in enough for sports.

    Nikon system:

    D80 body: The D40 and D60, both excellent cameras, will not autofocus with faster lenses. The D80 will.

    Nikon 85mm f/1.8 lens: I've never used it, but I have no doubts that this lens is outstanding.


    Neither the 100mm or 85mm lenses will give you anything close to the zoom that your Kodak camera did. To compensate, you'll have to "zoom with your feet" and simply get closer to your subject. Both lenses will let in a lot of light, though, and you'll be able to shoot indoors much easier.

    That's what I'd recommend, but perhaps someone else will respond to your question differently. I'd recommend borrowing a DSLR or at least handling one in a store before going that route - it's a different ballgame from the other digital cameras, and it's not for everyone. Good luck!


    [edited by: ZakB at 1:50 PM (GMT -5) on Mon, Aug 18 2008] [edited by: ZakB at 1:48 PM (GMT -5) on Mon, Aug 18 2008]
  • I recommed this Nikon Coolpix L110 <Mod Edit: Removed questionable link. Please refer to our Code of Conduct. Thanks.> camera to anyone who is looking for shooting great quality indoor/outdoor pictures. where you need to quickly take multiple shots. Having said that, this camera has an absolutely amazing zoom, optics are top notch, macro mode is incredible and great video recording.Battery life is quite good. of this camera the camera uses 4-AA batteries, either alkaline, Ni-MH, or lithium. That makes it convenient if you have dead batteries since AA batteries can be purchased anywhere.  The maximum length for one video session is 30 minute (regardless of SD capacity) which is decent for birthday parties and similar. 


    [edited by: TigerHeli at 1:16 PM (GMT -5) on Thu, Jan 27 2011] http://hubpages.com/hub/Nikon-Coolpix-L110-121MP-Digital-Camera