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Equine Photography
I own two horses and want good pictures of them playing in the pastures..

I also own an old Minolta DiMage Z2 camera that gets good pictures when it is a bright sunny day. If it is overcast I get fuzzy pictures even when they are standing still. Motion shots without bright light are useless.

Need advice on selecting a new camera. The Buyers guide is a bit confusing as I don't know what it is that I need to get better pictures than what I have..

Thanks,Jennifer..

Comments (14)

I used to have a Z3. Know what you mean about the noise..

My answer would be practically anything except a Panasonic. Now, I'm a well known anti-Panasonic-sensor nut, but you asked for an opinion and you've got it..

I would avoid the latest 18x zooms, by the way. To my mind image quality is not good enough..

I'd suggest a Canon S3 or S5 or a Fuji S6000/6500 or 9100/9600..

The Panasonics are good cameras, but as your issue is with noise I think you'd be irritated by them just as much as your Z3 does..

By the way, have a go with NeatImage or Noise Ninja to control that noise a bit. Won't work miracles, but worth trying..

If you have the cash an entry level DSLR would be best of all, but is bigger and quite a bit more expensive..

StephenG.

Pentax K100DFuji S5200Fuji E900PCLinuxOS..

Comment #1

Thanks for the advice. Can spend $500- $800, but am baffled by the various reviews stating the entry level slrs can be slower to take pictures than the p&s cameras and I had difficulty with previous cameras that had excessive shutter lag (4+ years ago). I take other animal pictures as well and have taken way too many pictures of dog butts. I also really want to have auto focus, auto exposure, and presets to the degree possible, as I am not a professional and although I am willing to learn how to play with features if I see a wild animal in the woods I won't have a lot of time to figure things out..

Any further suggestions?..

Comment #2

Well I come from the opposite view. I take a lot of photos at the track and am using the Leica V Lux 1 which is almost identical to the Panasonic FZ50. Prior to that I was using the humble Kodak DX 7590. Granted I photograph in broad daylight, but that's when they race. I find the size of the Leica, it's zoom range and manual options to be a great combo. It also has full auto and scene modes if you wish.

I also shoot in low light for other photographs, and find noise not to be a problem. I keep ISO as low as possible, and shoot RAW. This enables much flexibility in PP for which I use Lightroom. Using RAW however slows you as you can only take a shot every 3 seconds or so. I still use it at times at the track though as I am not a great fan of burst photography.

Point to the top right corner of a photo to see info.Regards,PJGhttp://thoroughphoto.com.

'Remember there's a winner in every race.'..

Comment #3

Unless you go the dslr route, consider a camera with an optical viewfinder rather than electronic. Set the focus to manual infinity  and you can click away without bothering with those wasted milliseconds of half-press for focus lock..

Why the optical viewfinder? Because; should you choose the option of continuous shooting mode, you will not lose sight of the subject, which would otherwise blank out with an evf..

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

Filibuster (Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, UK)http://picasaweb.google.com/scenic.filibusterhttp://www.pbase.com/filibuster..

Comment #4

In relation to auto mode shooting, all these cameras shoot very well on auto. I'd recommend you learn to use the P, S and A modes and control ISO yourseld - basic exposure. This will help you control shots better. They all have excellent scene modes, so I don't think you'd have a problem..

Can spend $500- $800.

You can get a basic DSLR ( D40, D40x, K100D, etc ) with a twin lens kit..

You can get any of the bridge cameras I mentioned with change..

Of these Fujis would, IMO, be a better choice because you can usefully raise ISO to 400 ( maybe 800 in a pinch ) and get decent photos. This lets you use a faster shutter speed, which helps you freeze action. As you are shooting animals this is most likely to be in daylight, maybe dusk or evening, without a flash and at a moderate zoom. IS won't help freeze action, so it's likely to be irrelevant..

Assuming this is the case have a look at detailed reviews of the S6000/6500 as it offers the best chance to raise ISO and get those shots. It's not a DSLR but it's very versatile and a considerable step up from a Z2. The zoom ring and semi-auto zoom ring make it very SLR like to handle..

Am baffled by the various reviews stating the entry level slrs canbe slower to take pictures than the p&s cameras.

This is totally incorrect..

DSLRs are fast cameras even by top end P&S standards..

In particular, they focus faster and more accurately and shoot continuous frames more quickly..

In addition they have superior metering and make fewer metering errors..

Shutter lag is practically nil on any camera if you pre-focus ( that half press thing ) or manually focus and just hammer the button..

StephenG.

Pentax K100DFuji S5200Fuji E900PCLinuxOS..

Comment #5

Thank you for the info. I'll be back when I have read the reviews and done some price checks..

Let you know if I have any additional questions..

Thanks,Jennifer..

Comment #6

Jennifer Hogan wrote:.

Thanks for the advice. Can spend $500- $800, but am baffled by thevarious reviews stating the entry level slrs can be slower to takepictures than the p&s cameras and I had difficulty with previouscameras that had excessive shutter lag (4+ years ago). I take otheranimal pictures as well and have taken way too many pictures of dogbutts. I also really want to have auto focus, auto exposure, andpresets to the degree possible, as I am not a professional andalthough I am willing to learn how to play with features if I see awild animal in the woods I won't have a lot of time to figure thingsout..

I think the perfect camera for you would be a Nikon D40x with an 18-200mm VR lens. But it will set you back circa $1200 at B & H Photo..

More affordable is the same D40x but with 18-135mm lens. That gives you a 7.5 times zoom. I recommended that combination to my son who is delighted with it. It is small enough for him to take snow boarding (He lives in Switzerland) but gives excellent IQ..

It may be that a D40x with the standard two lens kit would be better for you - 18-55 plus 55-200. It will give you more reach when the horse are at the furthest end of the meadow. But then you will have to swap lenses for shots when they are nearest to you. That might not suit you!.

You will find the camera and various kits at B & H Photo on this page (Not recommending them but I know them to be a sensible point of reference. UK prices will not help you!):.

Http://www.bhphotovideo.com/...=Brand_Nikon&fakeSubmitButton=Submit+Query.

Why a DSLR rather than P & S/superzoom? The image quality is much better and vastly superior at higher ISO settings like 800 or 1600 which are unusable on the others. In practical terms that means you can get a good shot of a galloping horse at dawn or dusk. The comment about DSLRs being slow is completely wrong..

Why am I suggesting Nikon? There are several mfrs with good entry level DSLRs but only Nikon do 7.5 and 12x zoom lenses to go with the camera..

You could also try the D40x body plus a Tamron 18-250. That is less over your budget:.

Http://www.bhphotovideo.com/...shop/12041/for_Nikon.html/mnp/0.0/mxp/0.0/pn/2.

Whatever you do go and try out a few cameras at your local store..

Hope that helps!.

P.S. My son's partner has a horse. She went with them to Switzerland and loves the snow!.

Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.

Http://PlacidoD.Zenfolio.com/..

Comment #7

Jennifer,.

My son offloaded his photos onto my PC yesterday during a flying visit to me so I have been able to upload a couple for you to view. I am sure he will not mind! D40x with 135mm lens:.

Foxy:.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

Snowboarding:.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

You can view the originals of these photos here.

Http://placidod.zenfolio.com/img/v3/p635070374.jpg.

Http://placidod.zenfolio.com/img/v3/p920214819.jpg.

Neither my son nor Becky are photographers so I have tidied both shots up by cropping them a little but it will give you an idea about the quality..

Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.

Http://PlacidoD.Zenfolio.com/..

Comment #8

Jennifer,.

Gave you the wrong link for the original of the snowboarding shot:.

Http://placidod.zenfolio.com/img/v3/p920214819.jpg.

P.S. He took this in the camera's Portrait Mode but it still came out OK. He mistook the icon of a lady wearing a big hat for a skier and thought he was in Sports Mode!! I told you he was no photographer!!.

Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.

Http://PlacidoD.Zenfolio.com/..

Comment #9

My daughter rides and I shoot a lot of horse events because of her. I vote for the DSLR, something like a D40 with the two lens kit or the D40x. If you are printing large or cropping a lot, the higher resolution of the D40x may come in handy. Otherwise, you'd be fine with the 6 megapixels from the D40. I get good prints from my 4 mp D2h, but I seldom printer larger than 8x10. The D40 series has very good high ISO, which will help you capture the action.

The more expensive 105mm macro lens as well as the 300mm f/4 are AFS, but those won't fit your budget. The Nikon 55-200 VR would be a very nice range for equestrian photography..

The Pentax K100d seems to be a very good buy, I'd look at that as well.Good shooting,.

GeneNorth Carolina..

Comment #10

Not the D40x, and preferably a twin lens kit for the extra range..

Maybe a D40 with a basic 18-55 and a basic 50-200 or similar. It would be a small miracle if it did not suit you..

Don't worry about VR lenses. People managed fine without them for a long long time, and you can get one later..

And before you ask, all you are really missing out on with the D40 over the D40x is a little resolution, but in practice you won't notice this ( unless you're planning on pixel peeping every shot ! )...

StephenG.

Pentax K100DFuji S5200Fuji E900PCLinuxOS..

Comment #11

Found a D40x with the 18-55mm and 55-200mm lens,.

1gb sd card, camera bag. rechargable battery, quick charger & 2 Nikon School DVDs for $799.

Just below my top budget - seems like a good deal..

I'm going to stop by the local shop and take a hands on feel..

Thanks for all the help!.

Jennifer..

Comment #12

Be sure to check the store rating at resellerratings.com. That price sounds a little bit low for the two lens kit. Just make sure you won't be dealing with one of the scam shops that will insist you buy the battery for $150 or something like that..

Good shooting,.

GR..

Comment #13

It's a limited time club store purchase good through Dec. 31st. at Costco..

They generally have really good prices if you want the exact package they are selling. The Rebel XTi came with an all in one multi-function printer..

But thanks for the warning - there are a lot of scammers around this time of year..

Jennifer..

Comment #14

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