Back

What I DON'T use:

 

 

(DSLR with at least 300mm equivalent lens)

Why not? Because that would be selfish and inconsiderate!

 

  • DSLR's are noisy! They can be very distracting and annoying for the people around you

  • DSLR lenses with these focal lengths are big. They obstruct the view for others nearby

  • People next to you must sit uncomfortably, trying to avoid getting smacked in the face by the lens

  • DSLR's are largely unnecessary, unless you need to make wall-sized prints that you're going to view from 10cm away!

  • If you really, seriously, need to use a camera like the above, better get a Media pass, and stand in the areas reserved for the professional press photographers!

I used film SLR's for decades, and DSLR's for many years after that. So I am fully aware of their strengths (and weaknesses).
But please, think of your neighbours. I have never used one for figure skating!
(I've never used one when sitting amongst any indoor audience!)

PS. The same goes for people blocking everyone else's view by holding up an iPad or a similar large tablet. It's extremely inconsiderate. And if it also has a cover hanging down, that's a triple facepalm...




What I DO use for figure skating

The following cameras are all ones which I have used myself, and you can see the results in my galleries:
  • All are quiet

  • All are much more discreet and unobtrusive sizes 

  • All have speed of autofocus and operation, comparable to (or exceeding) DSLR's

  • All are much more convenient sizes for travelling

  • The superzooms do not require a bag full of lenses for different types of subject or distances

  • They are all capable of image quality beyond what is needed for high quality prints up to A4 size, viewing on computer screens, sharing on social media etc. 

 

 

2016 onwards: Panasonic GX80 or G80 and Olympus 40-150 Pro lens

 

 

GX80 and G80 are high performance micro-four-thirds cameras with exceptionally quiet shutters, and immune to "shutter shock" without having to use electronic shutter work-arounds. Higher performance and image quality than the superzooms below, while allowing faster shutter speeds (higher ISO) without  increasing image noise. The GX80 and the G80 have similar features and functionality, but the G80 has a bigger viewfinder and more ergonomic shape.

The 40-150 Pro lens (80 - 300mm full frame equivalent) is very high quality. Its constant f2.8 max aperture allows faster shutter speeds (or lower ISO) to be used. It has "Internal zoom" so it doesn't extend when zooming (its size remains constant). There is also a 1.4x teleconverter available, which increases reach to 112-420mm equivalent (but this reduces max aperture to f4).

It's large and heavy by m43 standards, but actually this setup is no bigger than eg. the FZ1000 superzoom with its lens extended.

 

 

2014-2016: Panasonic Lumix FZ1000


 

High performance superzoom.

1" sensor gives better image quality and allows faster shutter speeds (or lower ISO) than older superzooms.

Very fast autofocus. Very fast shot-to-shot and burst-to-burst speeds. Very large and clear viewfinder. Excellent image stabilisation. 4K video. Leica-branded f2.8-f4 lens.

Quite large for a superzoom, but that also makes it very comfortable in the hand when used for long periods. 

Extremely versatile, making it an excellent all-in-one travel camera. Still my main "everyday" camera, despite my m43 cameras and lenses (above), and a useful backup for arenas that do not allow interchangeable-lens cameras. Now superceded by FZ2000.

 

2014: Olympus Stylus 1

 

 

Tiny superzoom with a unique combination of high performance, long reach, small size, ergonomics, features and functionality.

28-300mm equivalent reach. 1.7" sensor is larger than most same-generation peers. Constant f2.8 max aperture. Fast autofocus. Good shot-to-shot speed and burst performance. Accepts end-of-lens teleconverters via an adapter tube.

Makes an excellent all-in-one travel camera, there's really nothing else like it.

 

2013 Panasonic Lumix FZ200


 

Great superzoom in its day - high performance, sharp Leica-branded 25-600mm equivalent lens with constant f2.8 max aperture. Accepts end-of-lens teleconverters via an adapter tube.

Still a great all-in-one camera, but newer models bring many improvements and render it obsolete.

(Panasonic's FZ300 is essentially the same camera and lens, but with greatly improved speed and performance, faster and better autofocus, more functionality, more modern features, dust and weather resistance, 4K video, touchscreen etc)

  • Switch off all camera beeps and sounds, for the quietest possible operation

  • Disable the camera flash. Actually, none of the the cameras above is even capable of firing the flash "accidentally". They all require the flash to be deliberately popped up by the user, using a dedicated "manual" switch.

    Flash is no use anyway, at the distances involved. Really, people who don't know how to disable their flash, or don't even notice when it's firing... should leave their cameras at home...!

  • Disable the "focus assist" beam. The focus assist beam is as bad as using the flash, it's like a red "Terminator" laser eye. And just like flash, it doesn't work for the distances involved anyway

 

Back