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Old Sep 16, 2006, 11:41 AM   #11
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Thank you so much John G. Your information is invaluable! I was initially leaning toward the Canon XT, or the Nikon D50. Since I'm not in a huge hurry, I wanted to see what the reviewwas like on the XTi. I'm curious to see what the 10 MP's will do with the higher ISO quality. I am currently using a Fuji S602 with an external slave flash and that has been working pretty well for me. My pictures are nothing like your soccer shots, but good enough to whereparents want me to take picture's of their kids. I am usually the onekneeling on the sidelines dodging basketballs. My camera is slow which I have gotten us to. I usually have my son stand out on the floor soI can focus on that spot andthat is where I will take my pictures...Yeah I know...thus the reason it's time to upgrade...You can see where basically any camera/lens would be an improvement.:lol: All I want to do is push the button and have the camera just click away and take picture's. Too much to ask???

Thanks again John G.
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Old Sep 16, 2006, 12:10 PM   #12
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futbol mom wrote:
All I want to do is push the button and have the camera just click away and take picture's. Too much to ask???

Thanks again John G.
Yep - too much to ask. It really is. In your case, I'm going to strongly recommend against wasting money on a DSLR system. You want a point and shoot solution to sports shooting and it doesn't exist. You will get better results for sure. But at what cost? Nothing wrong with wanting to stay with point and shoot. It just doesn't work for sports. Without wanting to learn more about photography and sports shooting, I think you'd be wasting your money to buy a DSLR.

Again, good luck in your search for the right camera for YOU
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Old Sep 16, 2006, 11:46 PM   #13
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Futbol Mom, I have read this thread and I think that you probably don't need a DSLR. Instead you should look for the VERY best Prosumer camera you can find. (If you don't know, prosumers are the cameras with a fixed lens that look like SLR's).

I'm not sure what the best one is, but it is cheaper and easier to use then a DSLR.

You will definatly need a superzoom.

I use a Kodak P850, which would be wonderful for outdoor shots with good light... but if you wanted to take indoor shots, it would be horrible, due to bad ISO performance...

So you should probably make a new thread (maybe in the looking for a camera forum) and ask for the best prosumer camera for sports photography... it won't match a DSLR in terms of image quality, but you'll save loads of money and it is a lot easier, in fact you will almost be able to just pick up the camera and click away, like you've been asking for.

Just another note, don't use JohnG's shots as an expectation. You would need to spend a great deal of money and have a great deal of skill to get shots even slightly comparable to those. I might be able to get shots with that kind of clarity during a bright sunny mid-day soccer game, but even then, I would never be able to compose them like he has.
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Old Sep 22, 2006, 10:03 PM   #14
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Best darn post I've read on this board yet JohnG, been nodding my head reading the whole thing. After 5 years of shooting kids sports, I've finally realized that I need to go to a f/2.8 zoom lens and took that step today (80-200 f/2.8 AF-D Nikkor) Thanks for this (old) post, it re-affirms what I've said to other folks (regarding the work involved) I've been guilty of shooting in shutter priority (as you knew from another recent post of mine) and will explore aperture priorty. Its just been recently that I've been able to afford to upgrade my lens. Next, the D2Xs is my goal, but first, I gotta go make more money!
JohnG wrote:
futbol mom wrote:
What are my limitations in using a lens with a lower f stop? Would I be able to use the same lens for a karate testing (closer, low light without flash) and a play on the far side of the soccerfield?Can I get away with using just one lens?Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
I shoot quite a bit of sports, and I'm going to give you some bad news here. It's the same bad news I give every sports parent - a DSLR is not a magic tool. You do, in fact, need very expensive lenses if you want to shoot sports. Sorry, it's a fact. And, there is no one-size-fits-all sports lens. Different sports require different lenses.

Indoor sports: Often a 2.8 lens just isn't fast enough. And, before the IS junkies jump in - image stabalization is pretty useful in this situation - IS doesn't stop a moving object. This means you need a prime lens (non zoom) capable of f2.0 or better. Now comes the problem - since you're talking prime lenses with fixed focal lengths you need a lens with the right focal length for the job. For basketball or volleyball from courtside an 85mm 1.8 lens is ideal. But, for dojo or dojang shots you're in some pretty cramped spaces. A 50mm 1.8 may be your best bet (they're cheap -usually less than $100) but often don't have the fastest focusing motors. The real focal length depends on the size of the room you're in - forsome dojos the action can get right on top of you. Still, as jacks indicated - a 50mm is probably your best bet.

But, I'm also afraid you'll have to get out of auto mode to shoot sports in low light. Don't be afraid. It's not that hard.You'll have to learn to shoot in aperture priority or manual mode (shutter priority typically yields worse action shots than the other two modes for several reasons). Many DSLRs have a sports mode, and speaking from a canon background I know their sports mode is insufficient to deal with low light situations (it uses an ISO of 400 which is not enough in low light).

Now, for soccer - even on most DSLRs with a 'crop factor' you typically want a 300mm lens at least. 300mm will allow you to get shots sideline to sideline. But from goal line to goal line you need 400mm or better.

In a perfect world, you want an aperture of 2.8 so you can blur the background. Most fields have terrible scenery behind them - cars, porta-potties, people, houses, etc. So, being able to blur the background really improves the shot.

Now, the faster apertures are also necessary for when the lighting gets bad. So, if your son/daughter is playing evening games now (7 pm) that means them. If you're wanting to shoot at fall soccer matches under the lights you need a 2.8 aperture lens. Here are my suggestions for lenses to cover soccer or football:

Canon/Nikon 400mm 2.8 - about $7000 so probably not in the picture

Canon/Nikon 300mm 2.8 - about $4000 so still out of the picture

Sigma 120-300 2.8 - about $2200 - fantastic lens - it's what I'm currently using

Canon / Nikon 70-200 2.8 plus 1.4x TC (for added reach but you can take it off when lighting gets bad) - about $1200 for lens plus $250 for TC

Sigma 70-200 2.8 plus 1.4x TC - about $900 for lens plus $160 for TC

Sigma 100-300 f4 - $1000 - fantastically sharp lens and fast to focus but at f4 it has very limited use for evening games.

Canon/Nikon 70-300 3.5-5.6 - about $400 I think - Gets you the reach but still a bad sporting lens because of the 5.6 aperture and you'll really start to see a drop off in picture quality from the above lenses and at 5.6 you'll start getting the really ugly backgrounds back in focus and of course useless at night games.

Sigma 70-300 - 3.5-5.6about $250- bargain basement. Not a bad lens - but doesn't have HSM (sigma's fast focusing motor) and it's 5.6 so useless for evening games.

I constantly see parents at evening/night football/soccer games with their brand new DSLRs and kit lenses or cheap zooms and although they just spent over $1000 on gear their pictures still look like crap because they were under the impression the DSLR was the magic tool.

Sports shooting REQUIRES the right camera body and the right lenses. Without these you will not be able to consistantly shoot sports - sorry. Now, as many people have found out - even with the right tools, sports shooting takes skill and work. You have to be on the sidelines. you have to be willing to move, kneel or sit down. You have to know the sport and anticipate the action. And, you have to be willing to put in the time post-processing your photos. The seasoned pros shooting for major publications have enough skill, knowledge and ability to get outstanding shots out-of-camera. Most still prefer to do editing if they can (and deadlines allow). For the rest of us, 99% of photos can be dramatically improved by post processing. Sports shooting is tremendous fun - but ask anyone who does it regularly and does it fairly well and they'll tell you the same things I have. I don't say this to discourage you - far from it. I just want you to know the whole story before you spend $1000 and still can't accomplish your goals (either because you don't have the right lens, don't have a knack for sports shooting or don't want to spend the time post processing). You're going to have to really work to understand the new camera, exposure, depth of field, and timing if you want to shoot sports. If you don't want to or can't invest in that learning curve I just want to warn you that you might be throwing money away. Sports shooting is not for the point-and-shoot mentality.

Best of luck!.
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Old Sep 23, 2006, 10:10 AM   #15
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Ripsnort wrote:
been nodding my head reading the whole thing. Next, the D2Xs is my goal, but first, I gotta go make more money!
Thanks! Just about everyone who wants to shoot sports (myself included when I started) hopes they can get buy either just on skill without the right equipment or can just throw money at it and the expensive gear will do everything.

I hear you on the camera - I have the 1d Mk II N in my sights in about a year (actually by then it should have been replaced) - if they'd bring the focus system down to the prosumer DSLRs I'd be happy with just that.

Good luck to you and keep shooting!
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