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Customer Discussions > Photography forum

Best Action Shot Camera for under $300

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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 10, 2013, 3:20:27 AM PST
CRW says:
I'm not a photographer. I'm clueless about cameras actually.

I thought megapixels were the most important thing, but have since been told I need to look for lens size and stop worrying about megapixels.

I mainly need a point and shoot, easily toteable camera for getting shots of the kids at the zoo, local wildlife and wiggly dogs for my blog.... If I could get clear pictures from a distance instead of a few feet away, that would be wonderful.

I'm overwhelmed by the choices and not understanding the specs listed on most of the camera reviews so if anyone here could give me a few options to consider I would be so thankful.

Best Wishes,

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 10, 2013, 11:23:22 AM PST
You are asking for the most difficult task for any camera, and asking that this be possible on the least suited camera type.

1) P&S cameras are slower at focusing; if you have the camera set to one-shot focus (the common setting) the camera will not take the shot until it has locked the focus (on something). By that time, the subject may have moved out of the zone of focus. If you set the camera for follow-focus (servo/predictive/continuous) the camera will constantly adjust the focus (so long as you are holding the shutter button partway down) but you will not receive a "focus found" beep/flash; you will have to start focusing before the desired action and follow the subject, anticipating "the moment" to press the shutter the rest of the way down (do NOT release the shutter button and then press, that will restart the focus system).

2) To stop motion you need to use a fast shutter speed -- 1/500s is often the target, though slow action might be doable at 1/250s. Problem -- to achieve this speed means you either need a fast lens (f2.8 or faster [f2.0, f1.8, f1.4]) OR raise the ISO (the "amplification" of the sensor signal) to increase sensitivity. Problem 1) consumer zooms are variable aperture -- they are only fast/wide-open when on the shortest focal length; if you zoom to compose a distant subject, the aperture closes down letting less light into the camera and needing a slower shutter speed or higher ISO to compensate; 2) The higher the ISO value, the noisier the image becomes as you are amplifying small differences from pixel to pixel; The noise is also related to the size of each pixel on the sensor -- small sensors (as in P&S) with lots of pixels means smaller/noisier pixels.

Posted on Feb 10, 2013, 11:42:25 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 10, 2013, 11:43:36 AM PST
CRW says:
Well shoot, it seems I'm way out of my element on this camera shopping bit...

Thanks for the break down and explanation though, at least I can keep my expectations more reasonable....

On that note, anyone have a good recommendation for a camera for me? I don't print pictures, mostly just post to my blog & FB..... I'm currently using my cell (Droid) as my camera, so I'm betting any point and shoot would be better..... Knowing now that action shots won't be possible, how about one with a good zoom on it (something my phone does not have)....

Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.

Best Wishes,

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 10, 2013, 7:09:26 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 10, 2013, 7:10:38 PM PST
I don't print pictures, mostly just post to my blog & FB

Well, you probably don't need high pixel counts... Even a full-screen HDTV is only using 2MP of data (BTW: a 4x6" print is also only 2MP -- though the exact counts will be different due to the aspect [shape] of the image: HDTV 16:9, 6x4" 3:2 [15:10]). Pretty much any image you post on-line will have been resampled down to a smaller MP count.

You can still do some action -- but you need very good timing to catch the action at the "peak" (visualize basketball: player jumping to dunk the ball into the net -- you need to anticipate the moment where the player stops moving upwards and starts back down; that will be the point of least motion, most of the scene should be reasonably sharp, and what isn't would be the fastest moving parts like the arm and hand with the ball). Someone running toward the camera will show less blur than someone running from side to side across the scene.

More important may be knowing what your budget is? (Oh wait, your subject says $300)

I'm not going to make any suggestions -- long time readers know that I have a Canon preference, but even with that I only ever suggest two Canon models: for those expecting to get wet (rafting/kayaking/snorkeling) the D20; for others, the G-series (currently that is the G15). Both of those exceed your budget.
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Discussion in:  Photography forum
Participants:  2
Total posts:  4
Initial post:  Feb 10, 2013
Latest post:  Feb 10, 2013

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