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Dave601
09-09-2004, 04:39 PM
Hi. This is my first post here but have been roaming around dcresource for a few months. I am going to be buying a digital camera for our journalism class at our school. Will be using it to take picture for our yearbook and school newspaper. For the yearbook we will be taking all of our sports pictures (for example, getting pictures of the football team playing, for our football page) so keep this in mind. I would love to buy a Nikon Coolpix 8700 but it needs to have an Auto shooting mode on it so it is a point and shoot camera basically. All of the higher end cameras that I have looked at (canon powershot pro1, canon digital rebel, ect.) have an auto mode but I cannot tell if this one does. If someone out there could tell me if the Nikon coolpix 8700 does in fact have a auto shooting mode I would greatly appreciate that. Also, if anyone has any recommendations of what to buy for under $1000 that would be great too. That was a little bit longer than I had planned, and thanks in advance.

John_Reed
09-09-2004, 05:51 PM
Hi. This is my first post here but have been roaming around dcresource for a few months. I am going to be buying a digital camera for our journalism class at our school. Will be using it to take picture for our yearbook and school newspaper. For the yearbook we will be taking all of our sports pictures (for example, getting pictures of the football team playing, for our football page) so keep this in mind. I would love to buy a Nikon Coolpix 8700 but it needs to have an Auto shooting mode on it so it is a point and shoot camera basically. All of the higher end cameras that I have looked at (canon powershot pro1, canon digital rebel, ect.) have an auto mode but I cannot tell if this one does. If someone out there could tell me if the Nikon coolpix 8700 does in fact have a auto shooting mode I would greatly appreciate that. Also, if anyone has any recommendations of what to buy for under $1000 that would be great too. That was a little bit longer than I had planned, and thanks in advance.You might look at Jeff Keller's review (http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/nikon/coolpix8700-review/) of the 8700 right here on this site. In there, it clearly describes an Auto "point & shoot" mode, where nothing is left to chance. And, as I'm the local unpaid Panasonic rep :) , I'd also suggest, since you're interested in sports photography, looking at the Panasonic DMC-FZ15 (4MP) and/or DMC-FZ20 (5MP), both of which will likely give you better (less noisy) photo quality than the 8700, and both of which have about 50% more zoom reach than the 8700 does, with image stabilization, and faster lenses over the full zoom range. They too have a P mode, for "Point & Shoot."

Dave601
09-10-2004, 05:02 AM
You know I kind of skimmed through the review and I must have missed that. I will look at the 2 cameras that you recommended. Is image stablization something that I should look for in a digital camera for sports shots? Thanks again.

John_Reed
09-10-2004, 07:16 AM
You know I kind of skimmed through the review and I must have missed that. I will look at the 2 cameras that you recommended. Is image stablization something that I should look for in a digital camera for sports shots? Thanks again.I'd say that IS will improve the sharpness of your shots in general, particularly for lighting situations where the shutter speeds drop down to the "tripod" range. The common "rule of thumb" for shooting handheld shots with long telephoto lenses is to be sure that the shutter speed is at least as fast as 1/focal length. So if you're shooting at less than ~1/400 of a second, not uncommon at night games, you'll tend to blur more shots than you'll get sharp, without image stabilization.

But the biggest advantage the FZ20 would have over the 8700, aside from IS, is flat-out reach. At 432mm vs the 8700's 280mm maximum telephoto, that's quite a bit more magnification. And, the faster lens speed of the FZ20, i.e. f2.8 vs f4.2 at maximum telephoto, means you'll get to use twice the shutter speed at max telephoto. There are no official reviews out on the FZ20 as yet, but I've seen enough images at high ISOs to believe that its performance at ISO 400 is better than that of the 8700. Faster lens and higher ISO add up, again, to better image stabilization, in a photographic sense.

All of these factors add up to making the FZ20 a superior camera for sporting events. There is also the minor factor that its price is only 60% of the 8700's price, but I didn't want to bias you with any more facts! ;)

JohnBrowning
09-10-2004, 11:30 AM
Why didn't they make the darn LCD twist and turn on the FZ20??? That's the only reason why I haven't bought that camera.

Dave601
09-10-2004, 01:21 PM
Thanks a lot, the info. really helped.

Dave601
09-13-2004, 03:57 PM
Alright, I am seriously considering the FZ20. I started thinking about it and

1). I would have to take pictures at less than 8 Megapixels anyway becasue those picture would have been like 4MB which would have filled up our server in about a month.

2). We talked to our Joston's Rep. (yearbook company) and he said the same thing you did -- the megapixels don't really matter it is the zoom that matters.

SO, is there any reason I shouldn't want the FZ20. John Reed, I know your kind of biased, but is there anything that you would say is not too good on the FZ20.

Panasonic's website is not so good :confused:, so does anyone know where I can buy an extra battery and case for the camera online.

Also, is the body metal or plastic.

And one last question. I found this (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?A=details&kw=PADMWLMC52&is=REG&Q=&O=productlist&sku=257214) for the camera. Am I going to need barrel adapter or anything like that to make that filter work. And again thanks a lot for all the information.

John_Reed
09-13-2004, 04:33 PM
Alright, I am seriously considering the FZ20. I started thinking about it and

1). I would have to take pictures at less than 8 Megapixels anyway becasue those picture would have been like 4MB which would have filled up our server in about a month.

2). We talked to our Joston's Rep. (yearbook company) and he said the same thing you did -- the megapixels don't really matter it is the zoom that matters.

SO, is there any reason I shouldn't want the FZ20. John Reed, I know your kind of biased, but is there anything that you would say is not too good on the FZ20.

Panasonic's website is not so good :confused:, so does anyone know where I can buy an extra battery and case for the camera online.

Also, is the body metal or plastic.

And one last question. I found this (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?A=details&kw=PADMWLMC52&is=REG&Q=&O=productlist&sku=257214) for the camera. Am I going to need barrel adapter or anything like that to make that filter work. And again thanks a lot for all the information.Biased? Moi? Sir, I resemble that remark! :rolleyes: I'm seeing more and more new FZ20 owners getting great results with their cameras. "Bang for the Buck"-wise, it's a tough act to follow. The body is mostly plastic, but metal where it's needed. It's a tough plastic, though. You don't get the feeling of "cheap" when you handle the camera, and things like hinges for little accessory doors seem to be pretty sturdy and well-designed. One thing that might limit it would be relatively its small EVF (114K), which may cause inaccurate focusing if you use Manual Focus a lot. I use spot focusing mostly (on my FZ10), and focusing seems to not be a problem. (And the FZ20 magnifies more for "focus assist" in MF than my FZ10 does, and auto-focuses faster) You can get more EVF pixels (922K) with the KM A2, at the expense of slower lens, less zoom reach, and higher price. (The old "bang for the buck" issue again)

For batteries, I'm happy with Battery Barn's DMW-BM7 batteries, which work well and have more mAh than the supplied standard batteries. You might try through Thomas Distributing, connected with this site, and see what they have. Be wary of eBay "bargain batteries," and Eagle Imports batteries seem to be inconsistent in both performance and mechanical fit.

As for a case, I have one, but I don't use it much. Before you buy one, figure out what accessories you're going to be needing, and then go to a photo shop and select the right size for you. I usually go out in the field with only the camera (with or without my TCON-17 lens mounted) and a spare battery in my pocket.

I'm not sure how well a 52mm adapter is going to play on an FZ20. I squeeze things down to 55mm (the TCON-17 thread diameter) without vignetting, but at some minimum diameter, you'll start getting vignetting, especially at short focal lengths. I use a Pemaraal PD62 on the front of my FZ10 (it also works with FZ20), and with that you can use 62mm filters. (I don't use filters, as a rule, unless I want to use a polarizer)

I hope that was helpful, in an unbiased way. Good Luck!

Dave601
09-13-2004, 05:47 PM
Alright...because I don't really know that much about digital cameras I am going to ask for a little more detail on the filter thing. :D

My physics teacher just bought a Nikon D70 and knows a decent amount about digital cameras. He said that I should buy some type of filter (UV or just clear) so a stupid kid wouldn't touch the lense and get it all dirty, ect. I think that is a good idea. When I was looking at the Nikon 8700 it said that it needed an adapter for the filter to fit right. What do you think I should buy for a clear filter to protect the lense, or should I even buy one? And do I just need to buy the filter, or is there some type of adapter I would need to buy too. I know this question sounds kind of like the one I just posted, but as stated before I don't know a massive amount of info. about digital cameras (computers are my strength :) ).

P.S. Thanks for the quick, detailed, and unbiased ( :) ) response.

John_Reed
09-13-2004, 08:05 PM
Alright...because I don't really know that much about digital cameras I am going to ask for a little more detail on the filter thing. :D

My physics teacher just bought a Nikon D70 and knows a decent amount about digital cameras. He said that I should buy some type of filter (UV or just clear) so a stupid kid wouldn't touch the lense and get it all dirty, ect. I think that is a good idea. When I was looking at the Nikon 8700 it said that it needed an adapter for the filter to fit right. What do you think I should buy for a clear filter to protect the lense, or should I even buy one? And do I just need to buy the filter, or is there some type of adapter I would need to buy too. I know this question sounds kind of like the one I just posted, but as stated before I don't know a massive amount of info. about digital cameras (computers are my strength :) ).

P.S. Thanks for the quick, detailed, and unbiased ( :) ) response.You're welcome - always happy to help, if possible. Let me explain a little bit how filters are attached to an FZ20. If you look at a picture of the camera, nose-on, you'll see the front of the lens, and a black ring surrounding the lens. To mount anything to the camera, you have to first unscrew that black metal ring, and then put something in its place that has some filter threads. Now, it happens that Panasonic supplies a plastic lens hood with the camera, and I believe (understand that my camera is an FZ10) that the lens hood itself has a set of 72mm filter threads inside its front rim. So to use that facility, you first remove the aforementioned black metal ring, and screw the lens hood onto the exposed threads, and then screw the filter into the filter threads I mentioned. If all you ever want to screw onto your camera is a filter, you're home free, except that, 72mm filters are a bit expensive - but not that bad. Here's (http://www.nextag.com/buyer/outpdir.jsp?nxtg=516940_845CE218F529B0B3&search=72mm+filter+uv) a page offering them for prices $25 & up. You want a UV filter, generally.

If you ever want to use any other add-on accessory, for example, something like the Telephoto Converter lens I use (an Olympus TCON-17), it has 55mm threads on the back. You wouldn't be well advised to try to fit the TCON to your lens hood like the 72mm filter would fit, for one reason, it's heavy, and for another reason, the lens hood puts a space between the plane of the filter threads and the front of the lens, and you want to minimize that space. So, people use screw-on adapters for that purpose, one of them (the one I use) is a Pemaraal PD62, which screws on in place of the metal ring, again, but now I have 62mm threads, and the "filter plane" is now as close to the front of the extended lens as it's safe to be. This makes it much better for mounting TCONs and other lenses. To finish the installation of my TCON, I also have a "stepdown ring" which screws into the 62mm Pemaraal threads and provides a set of 55mm threads for the TCON (or, for 55mm filters, if I choose to use them). You can learn more about adapters, and see photos of them, here. (http://www.cs.mtu.edu/~shene/DigiCam/)

Again, I hope that helps.

Dave601
09-13-2004, 08:55 PM
Alright that makes sense...thanks a lot John.

P.S. It is so nice comming to a forum where people are actually willing to answer your questions without making you feel like a complete idiot... :)

John_Reed
09-13-2004, 09:51 PM
Alright that makes sense...thanks a lot John.

P.S. It is so nice comming to a forum where people are actually willing to answer your questions without making you feel like a complete idiot... :)That's why it's called a resource page, I think. I'm glad it works for you.

Dave601
09-22-2004, 06:12 AM
Hey one last question. Do you know when the silver version will be released? Thanks

Dave