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What is the best camera for outdoor/night sports events

by cbuck894 / September 4, 2010 11:45 AM PDT

I'm looking for a camera that will take sports action shots at night, specifically football and still take great indoor sports shots as well. Right now I am alternating between a Kodak Easy Share Z650 for outdoor shots during the day because it has a decent recovery time and does a good job in bright light. Indoors and in dusk type lighting I am using my Kodak EasyShare Z1015IS. It is much better than the Z650 in the gym setting but at dusk it starts getting grainy and when it gets completely dark, even with the bright football lights, the players have to be within 10-15 feet of me to get a picture that is even semi-acceptable. I use the ISO setting and that helps at dusk.

Any advice would be appreciated.

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No Substitute
by PistonCupChampion / September 4, 2010 2:46 PM PDT

You need three things to get good low light sports pictures: a large image sensor, a bright lens, and a quick shutter. That pretty much rules out a compact or super zoom camera. You need a DSLR or perhaps a M4/3 style camera, and a lens with a larger aperture.

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What ^he^ said.
by MarkatNite / September 4, 2010 8:38 PM PDT

Except for the m4/3 part because there currently aren't any fast/bright m4/3 telephoto zooms, and manual focus (with non-m4/3 lenses) is going to be a bit tricky for football.

But to answer your question: flat out best would probably be a Canon 7D + 70-200mm f2.8 + 300mm f2.8 (to match/exceed the 35mm equivalent focal lengths of your current cameras). You got $8,000?

You ~might~ be able to get away with something like a 50D and Sigma 100-300mm f4 for maybe $2,000-ish. But cheaper than that and I think you're going to have issues.


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Night action shots
by cbuck894 / September 4, 2010 11:27 PM PDT
In reply to: What ^he^ said.

Hmm, my husband would KILL me if I spent that much on a camera so here's another question. What about a camcorder? I haven't had one in years so I don't have any idea how they are these days at taking this type of video. I know some of them will take still shots as well. Would I be better off to video the game? Isn't there some software out there that will let you get "freeze frame" shots out of a video??

I am definitely no photo expert, just a Football/Volleyball Mom that wants great shots of her kids!

Thanks for all your help!

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camcorder is better for video
by kalel33-20416052469708587370302374692233 / September 4, 2010 11:44 PM PDT
In reply to: Night action shots

but, it will be worse than a still camera. You can pull out stills off of a video but they'll still be blurry and grainy. It's very expensive to shoot good high school sports in evening and indoor games. The problem is that the lighting that is used by school is cheaper and lower light. Shooting professional and D1 college games are a breeze compared to kids venues. Even then, people that shoot pro and D1 venues still have to use higher end equipment.

We had a guy that shot pictures of our sports with a DSLR, but even with the DSLR he was only able to get good shots when people weren't moving around. That's because he didn't have large aperture lens and ended up getting blurry shots when we were in action.

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by snapshot2 Forum moderator / September 4, 2010 11:52 PM PDT
In reply to: Night action shots

You have two cameras with video ability.

Try both and see what results you get.

Video usually looks better because it is moving and any blurring is not noticed by the eye.

But making a still shot from a video clip in those conditions will likely look bad.

And to print a clip from a video means you must enlarge the image with software.
For a 6 x 4 inch photo, you will only have a 640 x 480 image.
You the best results you need a 1800 x 1200 image for printing a 6 x 4 photo.

Enlarging a small image to a large image with software results in a deterioration of the image.
Printing a small image without enlarging it will result in a blocky print.

Some camcorders can produce a 1800 x 1200 still image, but a camcorder does not give you the controls that a digital camera has.


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Do what I can do
by cbuck894 / September 5, 2010 4:44 AM PDT
In reply to: Video

Guess I'll have to be happy with what I can get for now until I win the lottery and can afford some "high tech" equipment. I do get great shots when it is still daylight so I'll just have to do my best at night and hope I don't miss anything too fantastic.

Thank you for all the advice.

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