- 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
But please, think of your neighbours. I have never
used one for figure skating!
(I've never used one when sitting amongst any
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
- 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
- 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
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
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.
|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
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.
|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.
|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
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