Moving up to a SLR
I have a panasonic DMC-FZ18. I almost got a slr instead of this camera but I was afraid, that it would be too heavy, and changing lens might inhibit my pic taking, and I'd take too many pict. to reasonable edit. I take a lot of photos, mainly of my children's sporting events. Infact I am the designated team photographer. During a game, I'll take about 400 pics.

Most of the picts are on hockey rinks and basketball courts. Both inside. With my FZ18, using manual controls, I do get some fabulous pics, but feel I miss a lot...

Comments (9)

I'd recommend that you read this message plus the other one it has a link to plus consider this new info.

Live view (as I understand it) won't be of any use because you loose your Auto focus, and will need to rely on your own skills while holding the camera in a way that will defeat any chance of good action photos. Learn to use the viewfinder, and set the diopter to match your eyesight.

The camera bodies mentioned have now been replaced by newer bodies with better high ISO performance & at this time Nikon seems to have the edge over Canon on the top of the line bodies (based on what I've read on different forums, and I shoot Canon so I'm not biased here).

Real results will be expensive up front, but over the long haul you'll get a much higher keeper rate once you learn the camera you choose. I shoot action but in good light, but if you have done decently with a P&S you'll really enjoy what a good DSLR & fast lens can do. Just the difference in AF speed & shutter response will be a huge advancement...

Comment #1

Thank you for responding. Both Nikon and Canon have a lot to choose from. Any specific recommendations? Would it be safe to assume that since I coming from a point & shoot, that the Kit Lens and DSlr would probably result in pics. that are much crisper. It would take a while to find that I need better lens? Also, since you also shoot action pict. what lens do you typically use? I shoot a lot of Hockey pictures from the penalty box.

You don't change lens while shooting one event, do you?.

Thanks again..

Comment #2

I'd suggest that you start by researching fast lenses from Canon, Nikon, Sigma & maybe Tamron (not sure they have fast lenses that suit this need). Once you have an idea of what's available you'll need to decide just how long & how wide a single zoom would have to be that would give you the best compromise in a 1 lens solution. That's not an easy task because you will also have to consider that some lenses are for crop bodies ONLY, while others fit both crop bodies plus full frame bodies. A crop body magnifies the lenses advertised lengths (when talking zooms) by the crop factor. You may not know what I'm talking about so I'll try to clear it up.

When we shot film (35 mm) the area that the image was captured was one common size used by all manufacturers, and is considered Full Frame in the digital SLR world. Unfortunately full frame sensors are expensive to make so the camera manufacturers use smaller sensors, and there isn't a standard size they all use. Each has it's own idea of what they want to use resulting in different final magnification factors from a similar lens. Canon sells 1.6 & 1.3 crop bodies while Nikon sells (I think) 1.5 crop bodies (I'm not very familiar with Nikon so can't be certain of some of the specifics). What that means in simple language is that a 100 mm lens acts like a 100 mm lens on a full frame body, like 130 mm on a 1.3 body, 150 mm on a 1.5 body & 160 mm on a 1.6 body. Wildlife photographers really like this because it makes their longest lens act much longer.

Now this is just a guess but I'd think that you'd want up to 300 mm on the long end, so a 200 mm lens on a 1.5 or 1.6 crop body would be a good starting point for the long end of the zoom, but most zooms that end at 200 mm are 70-200's (talking f2.8 lenses only) and 70 may not be wide enough for those up close shots you've mentioned. There are several superzooms that cover a lot wider like the 18-200 through 18-270 range but I seriously doubt they'd be very useful in low light / fast action. They are great outside in good light, but the AF systems are slow due to the lens design.

Use the menus on the left & go to the "digital cameras" forum to reach the Canon & Nikon specific forums for some more help. There should be a lot of users of just about any popular body with more specific answers once you think you know which ones interest you. I started out (after switching from film) with a Canon 20D, joined that forum & grew with several of the other members as we all shared info & helped each other improve, while at the same time the manufacturers improved their offerings. I now shoot with top end bodies & expensive lenses because it's about the only important hobby I'm into these days & I don't have many expenses due to my age. I've only shot action indoors once & it was in really poor light, and I did OK but nothing special (to me) but since everyone else was using a P&S they thought I'd done a great job...

Comment #3

Wow, that's a lot of info, thanks. It's pretty technical, but I think I understand, and you've explained what some of those numbers mean! I'll continue researching Thank YOU!..

Comment #4

I am retiring in about a year and want to get into my passion for photography. I have a Sony A700 and it's 2 lenses. I want to do more with Power Point and especially with VCDs with some of those special programs I have heard about. I am better than average and am willing to look around the $2,500 (with good flash) 12.5 mix is nice but so many are up to 20 or better and have better ways to get rid of the blue or red lines around dark areas. Any suggestions? I am both into people (candid) and nature, close and vast.



Comment #5

I have been pursuing photography since a year now. Not so seldom though, but the fire to take good pictures burns inside of me. I have been using a digital camera (Nikon Cool Pix) for starters and feel that I could do an amazing job with an SLR! Most people say that digital camera's are the worst to pursue good photography, and one needs an SLR. Is that true?..

Comment #6

Well I guess that a purist could say that but then again photography today isn't really photography as they learned it. It's very true that learning on film, and both black & white film as well as color will teach a much greater understanding of "photography" but you also need to take that understanding into the darkroom where you will finish the process of producing the shot you envisioned.

With digital you have far more control after the shot is on your memory card using software than a film photographer had so creativity at the camera end isn't as important as before, nor is the full understanding of the rules of photography. To anyone seeking to move beyond the basics (in digital) you will either need to do your homework, with books or on the net, or better yet take a basic photography course at a local school.

I did that way back in the early 80's and it was worth every cent it cost and when I switched over to digital I took a 2 day seminar (put on by Olympus) that also was a great value. Now I'm trying to learn the newest version of Photoshop, and I'm thinking a course will be needed due to the immense power it possesses. For anyone seriously looking to improve their photography the first step is to understand your camera, even a cheap one can do good shots when you understand what each setting does, but there's no doubt that a DSLR with a good lens or 2 can do better than most P & S cameras due to the larger sensor, combined with a more appropriate lens for the situation. If you do want to move up keep in mind that there are consumer grade lenses and pro grade lenses, and the prices are quite different between them. Pro grade hold their value quite well, and in general (there are several exceptions) take a sharper photo. They are also built better & often contain very high quality glass elements as lens components. Plan to buy good lenses because they will be with you for a lot longer than your first body, which will depreciate quickly vs good lenses, because bodies get phased out quickly by newer ones with more desirable features on a pretty quick pace while lenses don't...

Comment #7

Thank you for this very interesting reply. I am sure that over time I will gain some skills in taking good pictures, but so far I am still experimenting with different techniques. Hoping to become a master in this art...

Comment #8

Hi There,.

I am just getting back into photography and back in the day loved film. I am signed up for a photography course and researching SLR cameras but feel like a babe in the woods! I saw your posting and admired your input-any suggestion on how to build my confidence in this field and a good start off camera. Thanks..

Comment #9

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