Best superzoom for youth sports?

Discussion in 'Superzoom Salon' started by john m flores, Aug 5, 2015.

  1. john m flores

    john m flores SC All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2012
    My cousin is looking for a good superzoom to document his son's youth sports exploits. He plays both outdoors (baseball, tennis) and indoors (basketball, tennis), so he needs good AF for action and decent gym-light performance.

    Any recommendations?
     
  2. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 SC Top Veteran

    540
    Feb 6, 2015
    Central Ohio, USA
    Andrew
    What camera/mount does he need?
     
  3. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    Andrew, I think his "superzoom" request is not for a lens, but for a superzoom camera.
     
  4. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
  5. dalethorn

    dalethorn Guest

    My wife uses the G3x. She says it's much better at stabilizing than the Canon SX700 she was using, and also much better than my Panasonic ZS50.
     
  6. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 SC Top Veteran

    540
    Feb 6, 2015
    Central Ohio, USA
    Andrew
    Right you are.
     
  7. MoonMind

    MoonMind SC Top Veteran

    578
    Dec 29, 2013
    Switzerland
    Matt
    I don't know if the FZ300 is really up to indoor work. If I recall right, it uses the same sensor as the FZ200, and that one's definitely no high ISO monster ... It's an intriguing offering, but I'd expect it to be more of an outdoor camera.

    I'd personally prefer an EVF for sports - that's why I'd probably lean towards the FZ1000 (also because of its autofocus) instead of the G3X. But the only camera with 1" sensor, EVF *and* weather sealing is the RX10 (I or II). But I guess 200mm equiv. is too short ... duh.

    Interestingly, at least in my part of the world, the FZ1000 isn't that much more expensive than the FZ300 right now ... But I guess the price of the latter will come down considerably as well. It's preorder anyway ...

    M.
     
  8. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott SC All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    The FZ200 offers f/2.8 throughout the zoom range. The FZ300 offers the same and has a quicker autofocus system (the same one from the LX100, I've compared two, and the LX100 is quicker).

    Cheers, Jock
     
  9. davidzvi

    davidzvi SC Regular

    180
    Apr 18, 2014
    David
    FZ1000 would the first thing I would look at. While 400mm is not as long as some of the others the only sport you might really need more is baseball and it's the one sport you can often move around the edges pretty easily. Larger sensor, DFD AF system, f/2.8-4.0, and 4K.
     
  10. john m flores

    john m flores SC All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2012
    Thanks for the feedback everyone. I basically recommended the FZ200, FZ300, or FZ1000 depending on how much he wanted to spend. G3X does look interesting, but telling a non-camera person to choose between 3 cameras is difficult enough; if I threw a fourth camera into the mix his head might have exploded!

    We sometimes forget how complex this stuff is to people not as into it as we are
     
  11. john m flores

    john m flores SC All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2012
    We might not be satisfied with its low light performance, by my cousin is currently using his phone and sharing on Facebook. An FZ200 would be a huge improvement. He won't likely do a lot of printing.

    And of course there is budget to consider. There's only so much you can get for $300-400.
     
  12. davidzvi

    davidzvi SC Regular

    180
    Apr 18, 2014
    David
    Well if he's limited to $400... Changes a few things. Maybe the Nikon P610?
     
  13. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott SC All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    FZ200 $397 on Amazon right now.

    Cheers, Jock
     
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  14. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    And if he's not a camera geek, pretty much everything from the last couple years is equally good. My wife still gets great stills and video from my old FZ35 from like 5 years ago. I'd recommend Amazon warehouse deals for minty used ones (returns from pixel peepers) and refurbs.
     
  15. Tilman Paulin

    Tilman Paulin SC Top Veteran

    681
    Nov 15, 2011
    Dublin, Ireland
    And in case he's comfortable with not entirely mint used ones - keh.com has an FZ200 in "ex"-condition for 248$
    https://www.keh.com/356879/panasonic-lumix-dmc-fz200-black-digital-camera-12-1-m-p
    They have a 14 day return policy and 180 day warranty with all their used gear.


    Or a mint used one at adorama for 339$
    http://www.adorama.com/US 728067.html
    (30 day returns and 90 day warranty at adorama)

    'Shopping' for other people can be fun too :) Maybe we need a forum for "who can find the best price for...?" ;)
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2015
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  16. MoonMind

    MoonMind SC Top Veteran

    578
    Dec 29, 2013
    Switzerland
    Matt
    So it is the FZ200, then - a very good camera at that very price point, versatile lens and all. If he's comparing the images to what his cell phone gives him, he'll be more than satisfied. Not to diss the Nikon (and other) offerings, but f/2.8 is simply unbeatable - it's actually one of the very few offerings with a 1/2.3" sensor that's not intrinsically limited by diffraction effects from the get-go ... And 600mm is mostly enough for sports shooting, too. Heck, if low light performance was a bit better, I'd really have a hard time with keeping myself from buying the FZ200 (though I'd probably opt for the FZ300 because of weather sealing). For those of you who do mostly outdoor shooting in decent light, it's a very convincing route to take ...

    Anyhow, in more general terms, I still hope that the FZ1000's successor will also be weather sealed - I'd happily trade the 600mm equiv. at f/2.8 for the 400mm f/4.0 with that 1" sensor ... In fact, looking at some of the RAW files from the FZ1000, I think could really get what I want up to ISO 800 - so that would give me the ultimate travel camera (it's as good as the E-PM1 was - and offers a very good 25-400mm equiv. zoom!). Using the E-PL7 with the Olympus 14-150mm II in this role is nice enough, but I miss the built-in EVF (I do have the VF-2, but let's face it, fumbling with that piece of gear isn't going to happen in most shooting situations where time is a factor ...), and 5.6 at the long end is a bummer indoors ...

    M.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2015
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  17. davidzvi

    davidzvi SC Regular

    180
    Apr 18, 2014
    David
    No fear on dissing the P610, I missed the price on the FZ200, f/2.8 at 600mm isn't bad if he can't get the FZ1000 or FZ300. The FZ200 seems like a good option.
     
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  18. Biro

    Biro SC All-Pro

    Aug 7, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Steve
    Suggestion: Pick up a used or refurbished E-M5 or E-M10. Then you'd have your integrated EVF. Yes, you'd still have f/5.6 at the long end of the 14-150... but you're working with a four-thirds sensor, which is still a good size larger than the one-inch chip in the FZ1000. Your ability to gather light wouldn't be hampered that much in comparison. And if you paired the E-M5 with the Mark II version of the 14-150, you'd have a kit with full weather resistance at about the same size as the FZ1000.
     
  19. MoonMind

    MoonMind SC Top Veteran

    578
    Dec 29, 2013
    Switzerland
    Matt
    Biro: I've actually looked into that. You're absolutely right in terms of IQ and (probably) low light performance, even though I think the FZ1000 might actually beat the 14-150mm II at that, but that's not certain. In terms of bulk, the 14-150mm is light, but comparatively long - the FZ cameras both are shorter, but actually heavier than either the E-M10 and the E-PL7 with the 14-150mm attached. But in reality, it's not a big deal either way. It's probably just GAS ... and being protective of my mFT gear. My bike rides can be quite bumpy ...

    M.
     
  20. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott SC All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    For anyone who chooses an FZ200, Graham Houghton has a series of very helpful videos here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPfe6kkX-LqgAovxwxHQXdQ

    and at his blog, you can download a free users manual and a series of cards for setting up your FZ200 for things like shooting birds in flight, the moon, and other subjects. Highly recommended, and the price is right. Here's the link to the download section: http://www.grahamhoughton.com/download-section/

    Here's what Houghton has to say about shooting birds in flight, which I would suspect would work for shooting youth sports:

    Set the camera to S (Shutter Priority Mode) by turning the top mode dial and then use the back control wheel to dial in a shutter speed of 1/1000sec or faster. ISO should be set to the minimum the lighting level which will support an aperture of f2.8 to f4. Use centre weighted exposure metering mode. Use AFC Auto Focus Style and Single Point AF Mode then use the focus button on the lens barrel to allow you to set the position and size of the target by using the cursor buttons and the rear control dial. Using the continuous AF mode allows the camera to continually re-focus as the bird continues to move during the time to shutter button is being depressed. Notes: extra zoom can be achieved by turning on digital zoom but do not go beyond x36 on the scale to prevent image quality loss. Digital zoom cannot be set with RAW format) © Graham Houghton 2013

    Cheers, Jock
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2015
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