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compact recommendation for sharp track meet action
Looking for a compact (or smaller) camera digital (with movie clips) I can buy today that will give me sharp pictures at track meets. I can stand near the track, so zoom is not a priority. I've given up trying to find blur-free pictures in an ultracompact (e.g. Canon 870 was unacceptable). Price is not the issue, but compact portability is (second to clear, sharp freeze action of track and field events). Thanks for your recommendations...

Comments (12)

Try a camera with an optical viewfinder. As this may result in smoother panning, and less blur. Canon, Nikon, and Sony all have compacts or even ultracompact models with optical viewfinders..

Kelly Cook..

Comment #1

Canon G9, A650IS, A720IS, A570IS in that order. All these have OVF (desirable feature), and offer useful A/S priority modes for shooting action..

Claytongreer wrote:.

Looking for a compact (or smaller) camera digital (with movie clips)I can buy today that will give me sharp pictures at track meets. Ican stand near the track, so zoom is not a priority. I've given uptrying to find blur-free pictures in an ultracompact (e.g. Canon 870was unacceptable). Price is not the issue, but compact portability is(second to clear, sharp freeze action of track and field events).Thanks for your recommendations..

Best Wishes, Ajayhttp://picasaweb.google.com/ajay0612..

Comment #2

How does the OVF result in less blur? I assume the camera is still in AF mode? I can only think that if you set the camera to use OVF that it will consume less processing capacity and therefore have more available to recognize the action?.

I was initially thinking that shutter priority/sports mode and fast autofocus with short shutter lag would be the key drivers. While I can learn the raw numbers from the reviews, I don't know how fast those numbers need to be freeze a sprinter charging to the finish line!.

Thanks for your answersit's helping me learn!..

Comment #3

Thanks, I was thinking about trying the G9 next..

I recently bought (and returned) a Canon 870. Its action pictures were more blurred than the Canon A85 I was tyring to upgrade from a few years past. I was thinking the A85 worked better (but not super great) because it had a sports mode that the 870 didn't have, but maybe it was because the A85 also had an OVF?.

Regardless, while I like the Canon brand for general picture taking, the 2 cameras I've tried haven't done well with action shots...

Comment #4

Claytongreer wrote:.

How does the OVF result in less blur? I assume the camera is stillin AF mode? I can only think that if you set the camera to use OVFthat it will consume less processing capacity and therefore have moreavailable to recognize the action?.

Nope. Has nothing to do with processing capacity..

When panning a moving object (runner in this case) there is a temptation to "freeze" at the moment we trigger the shutter. Instead of following through with the panning motion. (Think following a bird while skeet shooting.) Only with a digital camera, there is always a shutter lag. So, worse case, the pan has actually come to a full stop at the time of the exposure. No pan, expect blur..

With the optical finder your view of the object is uninterrupted as you take the photo. Less temptation to "freeze" the panning motion. So the issue is really about the human operator, not processing capacity..

Kelly..

Comment #5

It might be worthwhile trying to find out why your images are blurred before deciding on what new camera to get. The fact that you are getting blurred pictures with 2 Canon cameras suggests that there might be a problem with your technique or you might be attempting to take shots which are beyond the capability of the camera..

Perhaps you could give us some details of:.

- what events you are photographing and where you are standing relative to the athletes?.

- are the meets are indoors or outdoors (apologies if this is in one of your earlier posts)?- if outdoors, do you only have problems when the light isn't very good?.

- do you use any special technique for focussing, e.g. pre-focussing on a fixed point?- is the whole image blurred or just the athlete?.

Can you post the aperture (f number), shutter speed and ISO of a blurred shot - you should be able to access these using any software that can read EXIF data.Chris R..

Comment #6

Good questions. Ive assumed I was exceeding the capabilities of the camera, and I shouldnt assume..

What events you are photographing and where you are standing relative to the athletes?.

Photographing sprints through middle distance. Im standing ahead of, and to the side of, the athletes coming toward me at an angle. Usually I shoot on a straightaway, sometimes I shoot as they go around the curve..

Are the meets are indoors or outdoors (apologies if this is in one of your earlier posts)?.

Outdoors..

If outdoors, do you only have problems when the light isn't very good?.

Where I live it is often overcast. On bright days, the results could be acceptable..

Do you use any special technique for focussing, e.g. pre-focussing on a fixed point?.

Im almost always going from shutter release fully up to fully downno pre-focus..

- is the whole image blurred or just the athlete?.

Just the athlete. Sometimes most of the athlete is blurred, sometimes just the hands or feet..

Can you post the aperture (f number), shutter speed and ISO of a blurred shot - you should be able to access these using any software that can read EXIF data..

I dont have the 870 anymore, but I could very rarely get it to shoot faster than 1/100th. (hundredth). ISO typically at 400-800, aperture at 2.8-3.5...

Comment #7

You seem to have motion blurr problems, but there might be some focussing problems as well. Clearly photographing sprinters from near head-on is the worst situation for motion blur. Photographing from the side and panning is more likely to give you better results, but it will take some practice. I am very surprised that you can't get good shots of middle distance runners - 1/250 should be good enough to freeze motion for middle distance..

If you are having focussing problems due to the focussing delay of the camera, pre-focussing on a point that you know the runners are going to pass and shooting when they reach that point will avoid the focussing delay. Again, this needs practice..

I think that your settings must be wrong - that is the kind of light that you would get indoors. Even on a dull day outdoors you should be able to get 1/500 easily at ISO 400 and f2.8. So I don't understand why your Canon 870 didn't give you a higher shutter speed..

I would have thought that you should be able to get good shots of athletes outdoors with a compact camera, although you might need good light to take sprinters head on. However, I would definitely get one with manual controls so that you can set a minimum shutter speed. A DSLR would give the additional ability to increase the ISO if necessary.Chris R..

Comment #8

I have just been having a look at a few shots that I took of a half marathon a couple of weeks ago..

The light was very poor and there was intermittent rain. My settings were f5.6, 1/125 and ISO 400. So under this light your camera should have given 1/500 at f2.8 and ISO 400..

At 1/125 there is very slight blurring of the runners feet. This was at the beginning of the half marathon so the runners were still running quite fast, although not as fast as in a middle distance race..

Based on this I would say that you need 1/250 for middle distance and 1/500 or faster for sprinting, but these shutter speeds should be quite possible on a day with reasonable light.Chris R..

Comment #9

I think that your settings must be wrong - that is the kind of light that you >would get indoors. Even on a dull day outdoors you should be able to get 1/500 >easily at ISO 400 and f2.8. So I don't understand why your Canon 870 didn't >give you a higher shutter speed..

Yes, I too wondered why the Canon 870 wouldn't yield a faster shutter speed. On rare occassions it would shoot at 1/250. I considered the possibility of it being defective. Regardless, I thought I would stack the odds more in favor of finding one that works for me if I settled on a unit that has shutter priority..

Regarding pre-focus, I seldom find a competitive charge or facial response occuring where I planned. So I need the best slr-like features optimized for action packaged into a compact. Maybe there just isn't a camera in a compact format with fastest enough continuous AF and shutter lag performance that is essentially p&s?.

I guess I'll give the Canon G9 a try. Any other ideas?..

Comment #10

Claytongreer wrote:.

Yes, I too wondered why the Canon 870 wouldn't yield a faster shutterspeed. On rare occassions it would shoot at 1/250. I considered thepossibility of it being defective.

The 870 is fully auto. Were you using one of the scene modes? Also it's only f/5.8 at the telephoto end, so a larger camera with a faster lens would help..

Maybe therejust isn't a camera in a compact format with fastest enoughcontinuous AF and shutter lag performance that is essentially p&s?.

Probably not. The best you could do is a hyperfocal or snap focus mode. Maybe the new 60FPS Casio will have AF to keep up..

Erik..

Comment #11

">do you use any special technique for focussing, e.g. pre-focussing on a fixed point?.

Im almost always going from shutter release fully up to fully downno pre-focus.".

When in it's AUTO mode no point-and-shoot can be used that way. You have to wait at "half stroke" for the green light that the camera is adjusted..

The way around this is to use Focus Lock instead of relying on the fully Auto focus. Many P&S type cameras do have the Focus Lock feature. But some make this feature easier to use than others..

Kelly Cook..

Comment #12

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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