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View Full Version : looking for a good non dslr for sports and low lights with IS



ken212
06-19-2007, 05:09 PM
I am looking to buy a new digital camera, but I can not afford a dslr. I am hoping to keep the cost at under $400.00. I now own an Olympus C 770 ultra zoom. It is 4 mg witha 10x optical zoom.

I am open to all suggestions. I prefer something with image stabilization since my hands are not always steady, especially when I try to take sports pictures. I prefer an optical IS since I heard they are better.

Anyway Maybe if i tell you what type of pictures i mostly take it will hel. with suggestions. I take a lot of pictures of my daughter playing sports. She plays lacross and field hockey outside and basketball inside. Gyms seem to have terrible lighting. I guess the flourescent lights ruin my pictures. Even the outside pictures come out blurry. But the inside ones the coloring is also terrible. Instead of red eye I get what i guess you would call white eye at times, which is basically no coloring to the eyes at all. I also take pictures at her nand concerts where the lighting is bas as well as inside banquets, graduations and plays.

I woud also like somethig witha decent zoom since I have a 10x optical now. i want to avoid blurs and to get clear shots, including action shots and with natural coloring.

I prefer a camera that I can use something besides just regular batteries, even if they take AA I want the option to also be able to use rechageable. If possible something where extra memory does not cost an arm and a leg. I take tons of pictures and like carrying numerous extra memory cards and extra batteries.

I need something that hads a good range on ISO, is capable of different lighting situation and a decent shutter speeds since I do take the tye of pictures listed above.

I also just like taking differnt pictures and since I do like taking candid shots as well as posedit would help if the autmatic settings are good since at times I can't play with all the features of a camera although I do like to do that as well.

I have been trying to read up on different cameras out there now, but it seems the more I read the more confused I get.

Right now the one I have been reading about a lot is the Kodak Z712IS. It seems to have a lot of good features, but I have never used a Kodak digital camera.

So anyway and suggestions or help anyone can give me would be greatly appreciated.

David Metsky
06-19-2007, 07:53 PM
The best low light Ultra Zoom is the Fuji S6000. Nothing else short of a dSLR is going to provide you with low light performance that you want. It doesn't have IS so hand shake will be an issue, but at low light with sports, good high ISO performance is more important then IS.

All cameras that use AAs should be used with NiMH rechargeables. Memory of all types is fairly cheap now, so even though the Fuji uses slightly more expensive xD cards it's not that big a factor.

I have the S3, and I love it for outside action shots, but it's not very good at high ISO.

ZCarroll
06-20-2007, 09:27 AM
I was also thinking about the kodak z712IS for pretty much the same usage... definitely sounds good from the descriptions and kodak's website but I feel lost without more detailed user reviews and just haven't been able to find any yet. The one thing that would concern me in your situation is that you can't adjust the white balance... I had a sony like that for awhile and I had major issues with colors being off (partly due to my very pale children), perhaps the kodak is better with it's auto white balance, but you say you do a lot of indoor fluorescent shots so it might be a challenge for it. Beyond that, if it works as well as it claims it does it definitely seems like the pick to me... I ended up going with the fuji s6000 (ordered yesterday so still haven't experimented with it), the kodak has mpeg4 (so you can fit more video), faster shot to shot (according to the specs on the website), is lighter and smaller, has the IS and more zoom at the same price (although the fuji is actually cheaper until the end of this month with the $50 rebate). The fuji definitely has some advantages, however I'm not sure those would really matter for the type of use you and I are looking for (besides the manual white balance -but from the limited reviews from people using the kodak I've seen online they always seem to mention it having great color so maybe it's a nonissue with that camera).

ken212
06-20-2007, 03:43 PM
I was also thinking about the kodak z712IS for pretty much the same usage... definitely sounds good from the descriptions and kodak's website but I feel lost without more detailed user reviews and just haven't been able to find any yet. The one thing that would concern me in your situation is that you can't adjust the white balance... I had a sony like that for awhile and I had major issues with colors being off (partly due to my very pale children), perhaps the kodak is better with it's auto white balance, but you say you do a lot of indoor fluorescent shots so it might be a challenge for it. Beyond that, if it works as well as it claims it does it definitely seems like the pick to me... I ended up going with the fuji s6000 (ordered yesterday so still haven't experimented with it), the kodak has mpeg4 (so you can fit more video), faster shot to shot (according to the specs on the website), is lighter and smaller, has the IS and more zoom at the same price (although the fuji is actually cheaper until the end of this month with the $50 rebate). The fuji definitely has some advantages, however I'm not sure those would really matter for the type of use you and I are looking for (besides the manual white balance -but from the limited reviews from people using the kodak I've seen online they always seem to mention it having great color so maybe it's a nonissue with that camera).


If you get a chance let me know how the fuji is after you use it for awhile. I now see both seem like that might be good cameras with certain differences. Thanks

Ken

speaklightly
06-20-2007, 05:23 PM
ken-

Ultrazooms might work in the out of doors, but they will fail badly inside due to the lack of a high ISO capability. David was very correct in post. In terms of a digicam, only the Fuji S-6000 can compete and then it is also hard pressed and working at its maximum capability.

Indoor sports shots are really the venue of a DSLR camera and a very fast lens.

Sarah Joyce

ZCarroll
06-25-2007, 04:41 PM
David was very correct in post. In terms of a digicam, only the Fuji S-6000 can compete and then it is also hard pressed and working at its maximum capability.
Sarah Joyce


Have you had a chance to compare it directly with the Kodak z712? The few high iso shots I've seen have looked very promising and so far it sounds like all the users have been very happy and very impressed with it.

ZCarroll
06-25-2007, 04:47 PM
If you get a chance let me know how the fuji is after you use it for awhile. I now see both seem like that might be good cameras with certain differences. Thanks

Ken

I'm still waiting to receive it... don't know if I will have much chance for those indoor sports type shots to really challenge it until late October or so, but I will try to play with it when I get it and let you know what I think (I should have more than a few challenging low light situations in the next month or so, just not quite as tough as those fast moving, far away athletics).

ken212
06-25-2007, 06:26 PM
Have you had a chance to compare it directly with the Kodak z712? The few high iso shots I've seen have looked very promising and so far it sounds like all the users have been very happy and very impressed with it.

The few high iso shoots you have seen are you talking about the fuji or kodak? Just wondering which users seemed inmpressed and happy with the camera, the kodak or fuji owners?

ZCarroll
06-25-2007, 07:15 PM
The few high iso shoots you have seen are you talking about the fuji or kodak? Just wondering which users seemed inmpressed and happy with the camera, the kodak or fuji owners?

I was talking about the kodak, I have NO idea how it compares to the fuji, but it's *supposed* to have great high iso capabilities, I'm just wondering if when people say that the fuji s6000 (or some other fuji) is really the only option have they actually used the kodak z712? I'd like to be able to rule it out or not myself.

ken212
06-25-2007, 07:59 PM
I was talking about the kodak, I have NO idea how it compares to the fuji, but it's *supposed* to have great high iso capabilities, I'm just wondering if when people say that the fuji s6000 (or some other fuji) is really the only option have they actually used the kodak z712? I'd like to be able to rule it out or not myself.

That's what I thought you meant. I have read some good reviews on the Kodak as well, but a lot of people on here seem to also have a lot of good things to say about the Fuji as well. The one thing I have read that I like about the Kodak is the IS, which for me might be good since I don't always have the staediest of hands when taking pictures and it shows in my photos at times. I am really torn between these two rght now.

Ken

ZCarroll
07-07-2007, 01:45 PM
I hate to say it, but so far I'm not very happy with my s6000. It seems great to use, but the results just are not there. I do a ton of cropping of all my photos but the details, even at iso 100, when I crop just are not there... most of my shots are people shots and hair is just an amorphous blob -things just aren't real sharp and crisp. The auto mode is completely useless because it always takes such slow shutter shots and very high iso (usually 800) even with flash, which I'm very surprised is just not as usable as I was hoping (even at 800 the shots all have that watercolor effect). It is also *very* slow shot to shot and to focus lock... the screen goes completely blank quite frequently when I'm trying to prefocus and frame the shot. I'm really, really surprised because I just haven't seen anyone complain about this camera, but I haven't been able to get one shot with it so far (and I've taken a couple hundred) that I've been able to say that's a great shot... just a few 'ok' shots. I've gotten a lot of out of focus shots as well and I always, always prefocus. I had my dh fiddle and play with it and he loves the camera itself, but even the pictures he's taken are just not what I was hoping from this camera.

I'm going to try playing with raw mode next... maybe pictures will come out better. I'm really disappointed. I really can't see using this camera for indoor events because I wouldn't be able to get the details I want when cropping.

ZCarroll
07-07-2007, 03:28 PM
I hate to say it, but so far I'm not very happy with my s6000. It seems great to use, but the results just are not there. I do a ton of cropping of all my photos but the details, even at iso 100, when I crop just are not there... most of my shots are people shots and hair is just an amorphous blob -things just aren't real sharp and crisp. The auto mode is completely useless because it always takes such slow shutter shots and very high iso (usually 800) even with flash, which I'm very surprised is just not as usable as I was hoping (even at 800 the shots all have that watercolor effect). It is also *very* slow shot to shot and to focus lock... the screen goes completely blank quite frequently when I'm trying to prefocus and frame the shot. I'm really, really surprised because I just haven't seen anyone complain about this camera, but I haven't been able to get one shot with it so far (and I've taken a couple hundred) that I've been able to say that's a great shot... just a few 'ok' shots. I've gotten a lot of out of focus shots as well and I always, always prefocus. I had my dh fiddle and play with it and he loves the camera itself, but even the pictures he's taken are just not what I was hoping from this camera.

I'm going to try playing with raw mode next... maybe pictures will come out better. I'm really disappointed. I really can't see using this camera for indoor events because I wouldn't be able to get the details I want when cropping.

hominid4
07-11-2007, 10:31 AM
Hi, are your pictures still not coming out "good"? I was about to order either the s6000fd or s9100 but am now concern about the quality. Are others having the same problems?

Thanks.

tim11
07-11-2007, 04:55 PM
ZCarroll,
Yes there are complaints, no one claims it's a perfect camera for everyone. If you crop alot then you will surely need a camera with better image quality.
There are always complaints from people who like to shoot fully auto and FUJI always use higher ISO than would otherwise if set manually.

ps. Out of focus shots? That sounds like your hand shaking instead of camera's error.

griptape
07-11-2007, 05:27 PM
ps. Out of focus shots? That sounds like your hand shaking instead of camera's error.

Which is a result of Fuji not having ANY image stabilization at all. Raising the ISO does NOT equal image stabilization, it equals compromising quality for camera shake. Even so, Fuji sure can pack a lot into a small sensor. No, it won't give you great looking 100% crops, and nor will any other current camera. But the sensor is still more sensitive than anything else on the market.

tim11
07-11-2007, 05:35 PM
I can't say I disagree with you, Gripper. It goes to show you just can't have everything.
My dream ultrazoom PnS: swivel LCD, manual zoom and focus rings, optical VF, optical IS, hot shoe and super CCD sensor of the Fuji or better.

griptape
07-11-2007, 05:48 PM
My dream ultrazoom PnS: swivel LCD, manual zoom and focus rings, optical VF, optical IS, hot shoe and super CCD sensor of the Fuji or better.

You just described a DSLR, minus the swivel screen. I have to say, that's the one thing I really, really miss about going from the S3 to a DSLR.

flippedgazelle
07-11-2007, 08:35 PM
Did someone say hair detail?

http://catographer.smugmug.com/photos/121309441-L-1.jpg

From what I've read, the Fuji S6000/S9100 seem to be the least effective among the current batch of ultrazooms on the "auto" setting. It is a camera that, imo, demands a bit more than the typical p&s user is used to.

ZCaroll's issues seem like user/camera incompatibility, to me.

In most situations, however, neither the S6000 nor any other superzoom can compare favorably with a DSLR in terms of image quality.

tim11
07-11-2007, 09:19 PM
.... I do a ton of cropping of all my photos but the details, even at iso 100, when I crop just are not there... most of my shots are people shots and hair is just an amorphous blob -things just aren't real sharp and crisp. .....

......I really can't see using this camera for indoor events because I wouldn't be able to get the details I want when cropping.

Flipped,
The auto mode is well documented. But also it depends on how one wants to crop. If ZCarroll does crop 100% and of course any flaws would have been stark; but again what camera gives you noise fee images? And for indoors use?
hmm....... maybe we should be thinking Canon Rebel XTi or Fuji FinePix S5 Pro.

flippedgazelle
07-12-2007, 05:59 AM
Tim11, I agree completely. I don't think any non-DSLR is capable of exactly what ZCaroll is describing.

ZCarroll
07-12-2007, 02:12 PM
I had an f10 (fuji) that I used cropped images from that are beautiful... also a Canon S2, as well as a casio z750... I was really expecting better image quality with this fuji. The out of focus issues I was concerned about were not due to camera shake... but, yes, if that were the case that would be an issue in and of itself. I take indoor low light activity shots with the casio all the time which only has a 3x zoom and so often need to crop and the details are there, I was just hoping for less noise and to be able to get more shots because of the supposed high ISO capability of the fuji... but again, the incredible slowness of it, blank screen, extreme difficulty focusing and watercolor effect -I'm just really surprised! Maybe mine is defective... I never use the auto mode because it is unusable... to have such an unusable auto mode is completely absurd, though. My biggest complaint though is lack of sharp details, I really did buy this camera for what I read about great image quality. Just before this fuji I had tried a couple of other cameras, including the panasonic tz3, and although I had some complaints about that camera at least I can still get detailed crops from the shots I took (the iso640 shots with the tz3 are significantly better and more detailed than the fuji iso800 shots which I find especially shocking).

Is there a good way to tell if there is something wrong with my camera? I've been keeping it at iso100 all the time now, which is frustrating because the high iso capability combined with the great image quality was the main reason I bought this camera (I fell in-love with the beautiful high iso images I got with the fuji f10 years ago and have just been waiting to get another fuji with manual control!), but I'm still just not getting any great shots with it (glancing back at some photos the s6000 iso400 shots do not look much better than my iso400 shots with my casio...???) My husband's thoughts at this point are you get what you pay for... this is the least we've ever spent on a camera.

Flippedgazelle... what were the settings you used for the cat picture? Was that in full sunlight? is that image cropped at all? on fine mode, etc? Thanks for any info...

flippedgazelle
07-12-2007, 09:25 PM
I had an f10 (fuji) that I used cropped images from that are beautiful... also a Canon S2, as well as a casio z750... I was really expecting better image quality with this fuji. The out of focus issues I was concerned about were not due to camera shake... but, yes, if that were the case that would be an issue in and of itself. I take indoor low light activity shots with the casio all the time which only has a 3x zoom and so often need to crop and the details are there, I was just hoping for less noise and to be able to get more shots because of the supposed high ISO capability of the fuji... but again, the incredible slowness of it, blank screen, extreme difficulty focusing and watercolor effect -I'm just really surprised! Maybe mine is defective... I never use the auto mode because it is unusable... to have such an unusable auto mode is completely absurd, though. My biggest complaint though is lack of sharp details, I really did buy this camera for what I read about great image quality. Just before this fuji I had tried a couple of other cameras, including the panasonic tz3, and although I had some complaints about that camera at least I can still get detailed crops from the shots I took (the iso640 shots with the tz3 are significantly better and more detailed than the fuji iso800 shots which I find especially shocking).

Is there a good way to tell if there is something wrong with my camera? I've been keeping it at iso100 all the time now, which is frustrating because the high iso capability combined with the great image quality was the main reason I bought this camera (I fell in-love with the beautiful high iso images I got with the fuji f10 years ago and have just been waiting to get another fuji with manual control!), but I'm still just not getting any great shots with it (glancing back at some photos the s6000 iso400 shots do not look much better than my iso400 shots with my casio...???) My husband's thoughts at this point are you get what you pay for... this is the least we've ever spent on a camera.

Flippedgazelle... what were the settings you used for the cat picture? Was that in full sunlight? is that image cropped at all? on fine mode, etc? Thanks for any info...

The cat photo was taken in bright daylight (cloudy but no sun, coming in from the right thru the window), JPG fine mode (any other mode is too compressed) ISO 100. I don't remember how much cropping I did, but at most is was slight edge trimming.

If you are doing heavy cropping, so the resultant image is basically at 100% of the camera's resolution, I don't know if you will be happy with any non-DSLR. It is simply the nature of small-sensor cameras to not fare all that well under close scrutiny. Rather than crop, your best better is to try to get physically closer.

Also, please remember that the more you zoom, the greater any slight amount of camera shake gets magnified. The basic rule of thumb is to have a shutter speed of 1/your focal length (35mm equivalent). For example, if you are zoomed all the way on the S6000, your focal length = 300mm, so your shutter should be, at slowest, 1/300s. Your Casio, by contrast, probably has a max zoom of around 100mm, so if you have decent technique you can have a shutter of 1/100s.

I find that my shot-to-shot speed, sans flash, is about 1-2 sec. With flash, about 3-5 sec. Focus in dim light takes a couple of seconds, and another second or 2 when zoomed.

I agree that it's pathetic that the S6000 has such a poor auto mode. That being said, there has been ample commentary on this issue, so I knew what I was in for.

Sometimes a person and a tool simply don't mesh well.

Here's an ISO 800 shot taken at a friend's home a few days after I acquired the S6000:

tim11
07-12-2007, 09:28 PM
I had an f10 (fuji) that I used cropped images from that are beautiful... also a Canon S2, as well as a casio z750... I was really expecting better image quality with this fuji. .....

- - - - - - but I'm still just not getting any great shots with it (glancing back at some photos the s6000 iso400 shots do not look much better than my iso400 shots with my casio...???) ....

I find that very strange. I know the Fuji is not perfect but that description makes it sound crapzz altogether; especially when you were happy with other cameras. And there has been no report that F30 (hence S6000) IQ is any lesser than F10. Do you set the quality to highest possible?
I don't have permanent access to S6000fd but from what I have seen its image is a tad softer than my own F30, but only if I pay closer attention.
This is ISO 800 tests from DCRP for Fuji S6000fd (http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/fuji/finepix_s6000fd-review/DSCF0183.JPG) at 100% crop:

http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/fuji/finepix_s6000fd-review/DSCF0183-crop.jpg

Does that IQ meet your expectation? Maybe you should post a few samples in Fuji forum then maybe find out what's gone wrong.

And here is my own test shots posted in Fuji S6000fd photo thread, with 100% crops no PP.
http://www.dcresource.com/forums/showpost.php?p=184856&postcount=54

flippedgazelle
07-12-2007, 09:38 PM
Tim11, from what I have read, the S6000 applies much more aggressive noise reduction than the F30 at ISO 800 and higher, so there is less apparent noise with a tradeoff of loss of detail. I, for one, prefer the F30's approach.

Your dog photos are quite impressive! :) A slight bit soft, but I would have expected much worse at 300mm handheld with 1/75s shutter. Definitely incentive for me to work on my own technique!

Here's a photo of my brother's Himalayan at ISO 1600, taken RAW and run thru NeatImage at default settings. I also brightened this photo up so it is actually brighter than what the actual scene was.