Bottom line up front...
Is it safe to say if I am looking at the T3i vs the fz200 (without buying new lenses right away)- my situation would be better suited to the FZ200?
I think so. Yes.
But to go into a bit more detail...
For the most part I am happy with my photos outdoors while it's sunny out. ... Indoor's my photo's are horrible unless I am on top of my subject. The zoom is useless for me because if I zoom to get close, I have a dark grainy shot.
That's normal because most lenses (even DSLR lenses) get slower/darker as you zoom in. But one of the reasons for recommending the FZ200 is that the lens has a constant f2.8 aperture regardless of how much it's zoomed. (As compared to the FZ150, for example, which slows down almost 2 stops -- f2.8 to f5.2 -- as you zoom in.)
By speedy photo capture I am referring to the time in between photo capture. So, shot to shot performance.
In the "Continuous shooting" section of the FZ200 review
, Gordon writes "You can shoot at up to 12fps at the full resolution without AF, or at 5.5fps or 2fps with autofocus; at 12fps you can capture up to 12 frames, while the slower speeds are limited only by memory.
" Which I'm guessing should be fast enough for cheer, swim and most football shots with the possible exception of shooting from the end zone and the player running toward (or away) from you. (I'm assuming that, in that circumstance, you'd need/want "continuous auto-focus", and to quote Gordon's review again, "I then switched to the continuous AF 5.5fps mode and fired a burst of 15 frames which sounded slower and more erratic, a fact born out by the numbers - just over 4fps.
" But even 4fps is pretty quick.)
But I also get frustrated when I hold down the shutter and it takes forever to snap.
Assuming you mean "snap the first/only shot", you could try the two techniques I mentioned in the other thread. (pre-focus and/or shoot (semi-)manual i.e. Shutter Priority. Seems to me it should be possible to pre-focus for swim and to a lesser extent, cheer. With football, it probably would not work for a running back or wide receiver, but might work for a quarterback and would definitely work for a place kicker.)
(And as an aside, no worries about missing the other thread since the title refers to a micro 4/3 camera, but you aren't/weren't considering one.)
I had the Fz150 and while it was ok, the low light still didn't impress. Is there a way to tweak settings to get the results I want?
For static (posing) subjects (i.e. not
sports), you could try the High Sensitivity/Handheld Night scene mode. But for sports, no, there's not much you can do. (Well, not much outside of spending upwards of $2,000 for a better camera and bright telephoto (i.e. non-kit) lens, which I'm assuming is not a realistic option for you.)