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:confused:Hi, I posted this in the parent forum because thought there are probably lots of you out here that have experience with picture taking. So.... I want to purchase a new camera/recorder to take to meets that will produce clear images, and take a decent recording that I can get stills from. We have a small digital recorder camera- the recorder does OK but you can't get decent stills from it, and my camera is Ok too, but doesn't work so well without the flash which is obviously a "no no" at meets, and is not so good at a distance. Any suggestions or experience would be greatly appreciated!
I have that same problem with my camera and I have a pretty nice one Sony DSC-H50. I can never get a good still shot during a meet. I have decided this year to only do videos during the meets and take stills at awards when they are not moving!! I am getting a new camcorder for my birthday (next week) Panasonic SDR-S26A that has 70X optical zoom and optical image stabilization. I tried it out at the best buy store and it really zooms in great and does not get shaky. My Sony camera has 15X Optical zoom also so even if I am far away I can still get close enough without the picture getting grainy. Best of luck!! Always look at the optical zoom rather than digital zoom because the picture gets grainy using digital zoom.
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Well, my daughter has not competed yet so I haven't ever attempted taking photos at a meet, but I do photography as a hobby so thought I'd respond. I'd imagine that your best bet for nice photos at a meet where you can't use a flash is to purchase a DSLR camera (like a Nikon D60 or equivalent) and a good zoom lens. It can be a pretty pricey investment but you'll end up with much better pictures than a normal point and shoot camera will give you.

As far as video, I can't help you out much there. AlexsGymmyMom had some good suggestions though.

Hope this helps! :)
I have the Nikon D40 and it does ok, but I really need a better lense that will zoom closer and do stills, but they are pricey so I don't have one yet.
I agree with elibogh that dSLR with a good lens is the way to go.

A low- to mid-end dSLR like the Nikon D40/D60 or equivalent as well as some high-end fixed-lens digital units can do an acceptable job as well if you know what you're doing. I wish you had posted this question like last week because had some very good deals on some D40/D60 body/lens kits.

Based the info that I gathered on CB and elsewhere, I have been playing with this a bit on my D70s over the past few months in meets and other indoor non-flash situations. I have yielded some pretty good results, after throwing out a small percentage.

Here is something you can try without spending thousands of dollars... Set the ISO to 1600 and the camera to either Aperture Priority or Program mode. Use a F-stop toward a lower-value, say 3.5. Over expose a tad if you desire but don't overdo it (say <+1). Use a tripod/monopod if you don't have a vibration reduction lens/body. You camera now should be able to shoot some decent (but not best quality) action shoots like leaps, handstands, flyaways, etc.

I have that same problem with my camera and I have a pretty nice one Sony DSC-H50. I can never get a good still shot during a meet.
AlexsGymmyMom, I checked the specs of your Sony DSC-H50. It should be adequate for this sort of approach.
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Thanks for all the replies-I have an idea of what to look for now-just my luck to miss the sale, but I'm sure there will be more as the holidays approach and we don't start competition until January. Maybe AlexsGymmyMom could let us know how her new camera works out?
There is a steep learning curve for a digital SLR. If you don't want to take the time to learn how to use it properly, you need to get a (I like Sony or Canon) camera that is autofocus with a big digital zoom. Ours is a couple of years old and is a 12X optical zoom so I can take shots of her across the gym at meets. Warning the further the gymnast is, the shakier the video or still shot will be. We got a tripod that we never used (too much to deal with), but I saw ppl at meets witha unipod and I think I want to get one of those for this season.

Is there a good camera store near you? A good camera shop will take a lot of time to find you the right camera for what you need to use it for.

Good luck!
Oh, I forgot one more thing about the settings...

Don't forget to set the white balance as indoor gyms have terrible lighting with their funky lamp bulbs (fluorescent, halogen, etc.). Usually auto white-balance works well if you use a d-SLR camera. Take a couple then check the LCD. If the colors don't look too off, it's good enough to start out and it's tweakable with software. Otherwise, keep changing the WB modes around to achieve something you like.

BTW, d-SLR and good fixed lens might require a learning curve but if one doesn't do something drastically wrong (or just use full auto) to start out, the results will be better than (if not superior to) any point and shoot at a meet setting. But, what a good camera gets you (good fixed lens will also do) is to ability to tinker with ease if you choose to. (At which time, it would turn into a hobby) Since your motivation is to yield good results at a meet, P&S will never get you there and you will never be happy (I have a P&S as a backup so I'm not entirely wet). As one who isn't a natural shutterbug and has no prior training, it took me a lot of trial and error just to get to where I am, which is far from professional. Needless to say, I still have much to learn.

After that being said, I agree hitting a good camera store is a good approach. But, for most small town USA, that is pretty much a once-upon-a-time thing. Even Ritz closed most of its stores around the country.
I just purchased our Sony digital video camera last year and it does what I need it to do as far as stills go well I find unless your a photo nut with the big lenses or your allowed on the floor to get up close your only going to get Ant sized gymnasts in your photo. One of the moms on our team has that camera set up and she takes photos of all the girls and has them for us to download for free on a picture sharing web site. Maybe one of the parents taking photos with those types of cameras would do a similar thing for you guys.
I will let ya'll know how the new camcorder works out. First meet is Oct 4th. Thanks for all the other information also!! I admit I am not a photographer. I take lousy pictures most of the time!! Any advice or help is always appreciated in the area!! We have a Canon Digital Rebel SLR but I hate using it. It is too big to lug around and then I miss shots trying to mess with all the stuff and I usually screw up the camera setting and have to get my husband to fix it!lol
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Hi ! I also have a canon rebel and you can see gym picture i took with it if you click on my name. I try a few time with a regular lens, but i didn't like the result. I buy a use professional lens F2.8 200mm. It is perfetc for the gym, but it cost me around 1 000$. We love the lens and take portrait picture with it, but do you really need it ??? If you love taking picture, first get to know your camera, use it and try it a lot, some store offer class of how to take good picture. If you still like it then you can think to by this kind of lens.

i'm not a professional, i'm just having fun while my dd is competing ! Hope it help you
Julpin4, those pictures look really nice for f/2.8. What shutter speed are you using? Honestly, even with my Rebel and a f/2.8, I can't get good freezing action shots without underexposing. I have a 85mm ff1/4 manual focus lens that I'm LOVING for gymnastics (I actually prefer manual focusing for gymnastics, but I have split prism screen installed). Anyway, I'm looking at upgrading cameras sometime in the next year or so... but there again, you're looking at another $2000.

Actually, for anyone who is looking into getting a DSLR for gymnastics, I wouldn't go with a low-end model at all. I don't know about Nikon, but I've seen a refurbished Canon 40d at Adorama for $700, which isn't much more than you'd pay for a new Rebel xS now and the 40d has MUCH better low light performance. Something I wish I'd known before I sprung for my xTi.
f2.8 200mm makes me
. I wish I can take pics like yours, julpin4. But, I can't afford to spend anything more than say $200 now.

Honestly, $1k for that lens is cheap for what it is. Just for comparison, a friend of my cousin is selling his Nikkor f2.8 300mm for $2300 used. Can you imagine the kind of close up action shots that can take?
Hi Mom2brats ! Here is the info about the picture that you see beside my name:
F/2.8 , 1/250 sec , iso-800 , focal 190 mm. But the light in the gym was exeptionnal ! I have a lot of picture in other gym that is underexposed. I would like to buy a Canon 40D, but in a near futur !
Hi Notamom !
Thank you for the comment, love the avatar (animation) :rotfl: makes me laught loud at 22h40 with a quit house (childrens are sleeping, SSHUT!) . My lens was a great deal on e-bay, i take a guess... but it was a good one ! I would like a 300mm but it's to expensive ! I think Nikkon is more expensive ?
Hi Notamom !
Thank you for the comment, love the avatar (animation) :rotfl:
Yeah, I stole it from another forum group that I follow. Hopefully, they don't sue me and take the whole $200 that I have saved for a lens.

I think Nikkon is more expensive ?
Yeah, Nikon is a tad more in general. I won't say which is better here;), because if there are Canon and Nikon users in the same room, you can always find heated arguments.

I don't regret my setup though because I started with Nikon with film and I was able to reuse every single one of the lenses that I put into the old camera.
Hi Mom2brats ! Here is the info about the picture that you see beside my name:
F/2.8 , 1/250 sec , iso-800 , focal 190 mm. But the light in the gym was exeptionnal ! I have a lot of picture in other gym that is underexposed. I would like to buy a Canon 40D, but in a near futur !

I wondered if you just had good lighting. Those setting wouldn't work well at our gym, but I know the gym we had states at (which I only brought my camcorder, too, grr... ) had open windows at the top along one side which I think would have made a huge difference.

I'm drooling over the new 7d that canon just announced. Heck, what's another $2000, right?
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