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Old Jul 25, 2009, 10:29 PM   #1
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I have completed all my research and have decided to purchase a D60 for my first DSLR. I plan on using the camera for family photos, landscapes while on vacation, and I would like to attempt some action shots both indoor and out. I realize it will be a learning experience and am not afraid to put in the time to learn. I am just not sure after all I have read on this site and others which combination I should purchase. I plan on buying an external flash regardless of the outfit. I can get a fairly good deal on a D60 outfit with both the stock 18-55 VR and the 55-200 VR lenses.

My question is; is this outfit the way to go or would I be better off buying the D60 body and a single lens to do the job of the other two?
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Old Jul 26, 2009, 7:35 AM   #2
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This question has been pondered about a million times so far and I was one of the million ponderers. The two lens solution is by far the most cost effective. You will not notice any real difference in quality. The only deal is convenience. I used to haul around my 18-70 and 70-300 and swapped back and forth as I needed to. But unless you carry some kind of bag or vest the extra lens has to be carried somewhere. If that is not a problem, stick with the two lens solution. For me it just didn't work at NASCAR events. They are crowded, hot, and the action can change in a minute, faster than I could reach into my wife’s purse, swap lens, the shot was gone. I didn't take the 18-200 on a recent hunting trip and regretted it for all the same reasons. The only reason I bought it was the convenience, I have no regrets.

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Old Jul 26, 2009, 8:14 AM   #3
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What kind of indoor action shots?

Those kit lenses will not be bright enough for something like indoor sports without a flash, and your lens choices are going to be a bit limited on a D60 body if you need to use a brighter prime (since the most desirable focal lengths for indoor sports are not going to Autofocus on a D60 body).

If you can use a flash and stay within the flash range, you might be able to get away with the kit lenses you're looking at if light was good enough for fast AF.

I'd give members a better idea of what you mean by "action shots both indoor and out" for better responses.
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Old Jul 26, 2009, 10:31 AM   #4
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I guess my inexperience makes it hard to even know what to ask. I will break this into two questions then. For indoors, I was hoping to try some shots of indoor sports. A flash is out of the question, so I guess I would have to also purchase an additional prime and try to manually focus, or forget about it. Is that correct? The action shots outdoor would mainly be of softball and baseball. Is that realistic with kit lenses?

For the rest of my original question, I guess I am trying to figure out if I can bridge the gap between the two lenses so to speak with a single lens. Am I going to learn how to use the camera with a single lens or should I get the kit and use both.

I currently have a Canon S3 and have learned quite a bit and taken some decent shots. I want to take a step up to a SLR. I have checked into taking a class at the local Community College but I work rotating shifts and the class times do not currently fit into my schedule. For the time being, I will have to rely on trial and error and a lot of reading.

Thank you in advance for any advice and help you can offer.
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Old Jul 26, 2009, 11:44 AM   #5
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For indoor sports in a typical high school gym, you'll want to use a lens with f/2 or brighter apertures, shooting at ISO 1600 for a good percentage of keepers without too much motion blur. If you can shoot from the floor, something like a Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D AF lens would probably be your best bet. But, it won't Autofocus on a D60. You could go with a shorter lens and both Nikon and Sigma make a 50mm f/1.4 that will AF on a D60 now (Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 AF-S and Sigma 50mm f/1.4 HSM). But, you'd be limited to how many shots you could take due to focus distance (i.e., you'd probably need to stick with shots right under the basket on one end of the court if shooting from the floor near it). You'd need a longer lens if you couldn't shoot from the floor.

At ISO 3200, you could get away with using a lens with f/2.8 available (not the kit lenses) and a zoom would give you more framing flexbility. For example, a Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 HSM or 50-150mm f/2.8 HSM (or even a shorter 24-70mm f/2.8 HSM if you don't mind sticking with closer shots and can shoot from the floor near the basket). I'd check out reviews of them in Nikon mount before deciding on one. But, noise would be a bit on the high side at ISO 3200 with a D60. The AF performance of the D60 is going to lag behind the higher end Nikon models, too.

So, it may be a better bet to move up to something like a D90 if indoor sports is a priority. That way, you'd have better lens compatibility, better ISO speed performance, and a better AF system.

As for a single lens solution for good light use, you could look at something like a Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens or Tamron 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 VC lens. But, the quality of the two lens kit would likely be better.
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Old Jul 26, 2009, 12:10 PM   #6
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Shifty-

The D-40 and D-60 show considerable noise at high ISO settings.The D-90 would be the preferred choice, however, it sounds as if budget might also be a constraint in this equation as well, so perhaps the D-5000 might be a less expensive option, while still providing the same high ISO capability of the D-90.

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Old Jul 27, 2009, 7:25 AM   #7
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I will talk primarily about the indoor sports and echo what Jim says, you will need the ability to shoot high ISO and have fast glass (wide aperture). Now depending on the sport you will need different length lenses. Next is the need for fast focusing and I'm not sure how well the Nikon options do however I'm sure they are OK. If you went D40/D60 or D5000 you would not have the option of using the 50mm f1.8 from Nikon (a good length from shooting under the hoop in basketball) as there is no focus motor in it and realistically the high ISO ability of the D40/D60 is not good so would avoid this.

Generally for indoor sports something in the 85mm range is preferable if you are shooting from the floor.

One thing you will not be able to do is shoot usable indoor sports shots with something like the 18-200 as it is just not bright enough.

So what specific sports do you want to get and then I would ask how much money you want to put into this to be able to get those shots. Some things are easy as there are small amounts of movement (wrestling) but as soon as we have a lot of movement it gets tough so volleyball/basketball etc are tough on kit requirements.

Just to say I come from a background of sports shooting so know that it is one of the toughest part of photography and then when bringing low light into the equation it is a nightmare.

Here even at 1/500s there is motion blur.


Here I had to shoot at ISO 6400 with an f1.8 lens to get the 1/1000s to almost fully freeze the action during the tumble.

Hope that helps a little.

Mark
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Old Jul 27, 2009, 9:32 AM   #8
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I'll also add on the following to Mark and Jim's advice:
In summary - neither lens will be good for indoor sports.
Even for outdoors, the 55-200 is OK for softball IF you're on the field/ in the dugout. For full-field baseball, 200mm is way too short - even if you're shooting from on the field/in the dugout.

Also of note, the D60 focus system is also sup-bar even beyond the lack of a focus motor. It looks like with the 5000, they've gone back to a decent focus system although still lacking a motor.

At this point you really need to decide how important sports shooting will be to you. Sports shooting is expensive. If you're going to go indoors, forget manual focus. The only prime capable of AF is, I think, a 50mm 1.4 and 50mm is a poor focal length for many indoor sports and that's not an inexpensive lens. All of which means, your alternative is going f2.8 zooms (sigma 70-200 2.8 at $780 being the least expensive option) and shooting at ISO 3200-6400. Outdoors, you'll need a longer lens than 200mm if you want to shoot full-field baseball. AND, if you're outside the fence then you're looking in the 400-500mm range (the sigma 50-500 at $1000 being the least expensive option with good focus and good IQ). And with a 5.6 aperture you're limited to only day games in great lighting.

So, again, you have to decide how important sports shooting is to you.
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Old Jul 27, 2009, 9:55 AM   #9
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Thank you all very much for your help and advice. I have been reading articles and reviews for about a month now and thought I knew enough to make an educated decision. I guess I was not being realistic to think I could jump in and start shooting sports indoors, so I think I will put that to rest and pay for prints from the newspaper photographers that come to the volleyball matches. Yes, price is a consideration. I was hoping to stay in the $700 range which is what the D60 and the two lenses are selling for. I am going back to the drawing board because I see that it does make a lot of sense to spend a bit more and upgrade to the D90 instead of the D5000. That would eliminate having to upgrade again in a few years and also allow to eventually buy a prime. So I will now start looking at the D90 and the competition as well as lenses.
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Old Jul 27, 2009, 10:07 AM   #10
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I'm not sure how well the Nikon 85mm 1.8 does regarding focus speed. John do you know any sports shooters using this lens?

Shifty, the reason I'm asking this of John is that it is a good option for Volleyball and one that many Canon shooters use in this environment.
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