BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Jeanie Gist
 

Should I upgrade to a Canon DSLR


 
 
Hello! I'm thrilled to have found this website and am hopeful that someone can help me with my digital camera dilemma. I currently own a Canon PowerShot S2 IS but have not yet been able to figure out how to take GOOD pics of my varsity football player during his games. I'm just now experimenting with some of the manual settings and last night tried changing the ISO to 400. Since the game was at night, the higher ISO did help lighten the night-time pics, however the "action shots" are still blury. When on auto mode, I have the settings on 2048 X 1536 (M1), have the image stabilizer on, and used a tripod but still get sub-standard pics using the optical zoom. My pics are posted on my personal blog (don't know if it's okay to post that URL here or not) for those who are interested in viewing. I also have the same problem during daytime games, so I don't think the lighting situation is the problem. The pics are just way too grainy for my liking so my question is, is it possible for me to get good action shots using the manual settings (that perhaps I just haven't discovered yet) on the S2 IS or should I consider upgrading to the Canon Rebel DSLR? Also, if I do upgrade, how difficult will it be for a novice to learn the functions so that I can get the shots I want? I've spent quite a bit of time reading the reviews on this website and on other websites, but I'm still not sure what to do. Most reviewers tends to really like the S2 IS, and for still shots, it does a good job.... I'm just not sure it's the right camera for my action sports shots. Also, if I do upgrade to the Rebel, will I be able to get good shots from the stands or will I have to stand on the sidelines to get good shots? I'm looking for something that I can zoom in from the stands (which is why I went for the S2 IS with a 12X optical zoom). I have no experience with using lenses, manual focus, shutter speed settings, etc. although if it won't take me all football season to learn how to work them, I'm willing to try. Any help or suggestions are greatly appreciated.


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9/16/2006 9:32:13 PM

 
A C
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/6/2004
  I would practice more with the camera you have ... for now.

When I took a digital photography class last fall, some people mentioned that my pictures must have looked better because I had a digital slr. Not true! I just had more experience, that's all. As the class progressed, I saw some fantastic shots coming out of the Powershots. I think it is an excellent camera.

If you are intimidated by working in Manual, try Shutter priority. That'll help a bunch with what you need to capture. You need a fast enough shutter speed to stop the action, and you can adjust that in shutter priority. Look in your owners manual to find out how to use that.

I recommend buying a book about digital photography because there are oh so many factors when it comes to sports photography (Stop Action).

And yes, you can post the link to your blog. We'd love to see the pictures. It would REALLY help us help you if we could see 'em.


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9/16/2006 10:05:18 PM

 
ronda chatelle
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/29/2004
  Jeanie-
Hello! I understand your frustration on shooting the action, nite shots. I am unfamiliar with the camera your using but know that the auto settings on the digital cameras are best used for snapshots in average daylight. After recently taking a course here on BP on how to use my own camera, I now understand that using the manual settings is essential. The DSLR cameras give you much more flexibility and control over the final outcome of your creative vision. After years of shooting live bands with minimal lighting and the no flash policy with my standard film camera I have found digital IS much different. You may consider enrolling in a course on this site that could help you understand the basics of exposure and lighting. The instructors are very knowledgeable and helpful. Based on your need to learn quickly, you may want to order Jim Miotke's book on digital
photography. It is the best book on digital that I have seen. Simple and informative. Also learning all the capabilities of the camera you have is essential. Like you, I thought if I just purchased a better camera that would solve the problem, but in order to acheive great photos you still have to know how and when to use all the different settings. You can also review the different cameras and compare features right here on BP. I could give you other suggestions but knowing what I do now I highly suggest buying the book or taking a course. You sound very passionate and driven to learn and by reviewing other members galleries you can also learn what settings the photographer used etc.. If the information is not available you can always contact the photographer directly and ask questions. Best of luck to you!


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9/16/2006 10:14:22 PM

 
ronda chatelle
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/29/2004
  Jeanie-
Hello! I understand your frustration on shooting the action, nite shots. I am unfamiliar with the camera your using but know that the auto settings on the digital cameras are best used for snapshots in average daylight. After recently taking a course here on BP on how to use my own camera, I now understand that using the manual settings is essential. The DSLR cameras give you much more flexibility and control over the final outcome of your creative vision. After years of shooting live bands with minimal lighting and the no flash policy with my standard film camera I have found digital IS much different. You may consider enrolling in a course on this site that could help you understand the basics of exposure and lighting. The instructors are very knowledgeable and helpful. Based on your need to learn quickly, you may want to order Jim Miotke's book on digital
photography. It is the best book on digital that I have seen. Simple and informative. Also learning all the capabilities of the camera you have is essential. Like you, I thought if I just purchased a better camera that would solve the problem, but in order to acheive great photos you still have to know how and when to use all the different settings. You can also review the different cameras and compare features right here on BP. I could give you other suggestions but knowing what I do now I highly suggest buying the book or taking a course. You sound very passionate and driven to learn and by reviewing other members galleries you can also learn what settings the photographer used etc.. If the information is not available you can always contact the photographer directly and ask questions. Best of luck to you!


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9/16/2006 10:14:25 PM

 
Jeanie Gist   I KNEW I'd love this site with all the information!!! Thank you both so much for responding to my question. My blog URL is www.DancesWithYarn.com and there are many pics on there that I took of football (both varsity at night and 8th grade during early evening as well as my JV cheerleader). This is why I really want to be able to capture good shots. Also when you click on the link to view the picture in full size, it helps if you right click and open it in a new window so that you can scroll up and down at will (not sure it will let you do that if you just left click on the thumbnail as usual). As you can see, I take lots of still pics of my knitting and such, but really want to be able to get some close-up shots of my kids doing what they do best. A few other bits of info -- the pics on my blog have been reduced (usually by 50%) for easier viewing, and I generally don't need to print my pics, I just want them for web viewing in most cases.

I've already learned a LOT just by reading the info on this site and did use the camera calculator which suggested that I buy the Rebel and didn't even mention the S2 that I have as an option :-( After reading though, it did sound like shutter speed was going to have to be something I adjusted so I will definitely look into that a bit more.

Thank you so much and I look forward to hearing more bits of advice.


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9/17/2006 6:39:55 AM

 
John P. Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/8/2001
Contact John
John's Gallery
  I bought my first film SLR in 1964. Believe it or not it had auto-exposure but no lens interchangeability [a Nikkorex by Nikon.] Didn't think of upgrading until 1975, when I bought a Minolta SRT-201 semi-automatic. It didn't have auto-exposure or autofocus.

In 1986 I bought a Canon EOS 620, auto-everything. Never used all of its features, but I did buy a Canon EOS 3 in 1997. Never used all it's features either.

Finally bought a Canon EOS 30D this year. Can't imagine why or when I'll have to upgrade. And, as to features . . .

The point is: don't fall into the trap of upgrading for the sake of upgrading. When you buy a camera you should by as much as you can afford, and concentrate on the features that you need. Then, work that camera for all it's worth. Remember, it's not the camera that takes the picture, it's the photographer.

Winning photographs can be taken with any camera - haven't entered a lot of the contests but, my BP winner was taken with my wife's point and shoot, Olympus Stylus 115!


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9/18/2006 1:36:28 PM

 
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