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StoneAge Jan 15, 2008 12:05 AM

I'm not sure if this is in the write forum or not, so if not, please bare wit me. I am considering upgrading from my sony h7 point and shot to a mid level dslr. Currently i shoot mostly low light family photos and sports in dimly lit arenas. This brings two questions

1. will i notice that large of a difference in low light, no flash pictures, due to the larger sensor.

2. for when i am shooting sports, how much quicker can i expect the auto focus between my current camera, and say a nikon d80?



Thanks in advance for you comments

TCav Jan 15, 2008 3:32 AM

In the situations you refer to, anydSLR will run rings around any P&S, by virtue of the fact thatdSLRs have interchangeable lenses, and some of those lenses are exactly what you would need for that type of photography.

I suggest you look at the Sports & Action Photosforum, to see what kinds of shots others are getting.

JohnG Jan 15, 2008 6:22 AM

StoneAge,

You'll see a huge improvement from the H7 to a DSLR. Focus capability and burst rate will be a definite improvement - as will the noise performance at high ISO. But, shooting low light sports takes more than just a DSLR body. You have to have the right lens for the job and you have to have the right positioning yourself. For instance you're not going to get quality shots from the nosebleed section of an NBA game. Just not going to happen.

So, what sports are you wanting to shoot? Be specific - sport type and level. There's a big difference between NCAA Div I basketball and middle school basketball.

StoneAge Jan 16, 2008 9:04 PM

I dont plan on shooting anything near div I colledge level sports. At the moment i shoot from beer leaque to jr b hockey, and any level of lacrosse i can find. I understand that if I want to get the best photos i am going to need to spend the money on a max apt. lens, but i am content with a decent starter lens, something like the nikon 55-200 vr lens. This is possible becauseI am ableto beclose to both sports so that length of zoom would be fine. If it makes a diiference i am planning on purchasing a barely used mint cond. Nikon d80 from a relative.

JohnG Jan 17, 2008 6:27 AM

StoneAge wrote:
Quote:

At the moment i shoot from beer leaque to jr b hockey, and any level of lacrosse i can find. I understand that if I want to get the best photos i am going to need to spend the money on a max apt. lens, but i am content with a decent starter lens, something like the nikon 55-200 vr lens.
If you're talking indoor ice hockey (vs. field hockey) then the lens you're considering won't get the job done. It's a 5.6 aperture lens which won't be bright enough for indoor work. You should know that going in. For indoor hockey there is no such thing as a 'starter lens'.

You should also know that at 200mm you'll only be able to get quality shots to about 25 yards for lax. So you'll have to be patient and let the action come to your position. You can absolutely get some shots, just not as many as you might like. Field sports like soccer and lax are often shot with 400mm lenses. But you have to start somewhere - so just be patient until the action gets within 25 yards and you'll be OK.

StoneAge Jan 17, 2008 11:29 AM

Thanks for the info. As far as the lighting for the hockey games go i understand that a lens with that apt. will not produce the best photos, however the games are played in a fairly bright arena. But i think i should probably hold off and save a little longer to afford a better lens. And as far as the lax goes, we dont play much field lacrosse up here (Victoria, Canada). We play indoor/box lacrosse much more, which is played in an arena much like hockey. This means i can use the same lens for lax as for hockey. What lens would you suggest i get without breaking my budget of about 350 cdn?

JohnG Jan 17, 2008 11:52 AM

StoneAge wrote:
Quote:

We play indoor/box lacrosse much more, which is played in an arena much like hockey. This means i can use the same lens for lax as for hockey. What lens would you suggest i get without breaking my budget of about 350 cdn?
Wow, I'm not sure you really have many options with a budget of 350 cdn. If it's a pro arena you might be able to get shots at 5.6. But if it's not a pro arena, judging by places here in the states then 2.8 is the minimum aperture you need to also get decent shutter speeds.

Ideally you want 1/400 shutter speeds at a minimum. By 1/250 you start to see a good amount of motion blur. Below that is unacceptable motion blur.

The Sigma 70-200 2.8 would be my recommendation for the least expensive option- but that's probably at least 900 cdn - well over your budget. The closest lens to your budget would be the Nikon 85mm 1.8 - sells for about $370 USD - not sure what CDN price is. But realize, at 85mm it's only going to capture action at about 20 feet away. Beyond that and the focus accuracy and sharpness will take a big nose dive.

Unfortunately you've chosen an area of photography - low light sports - where there aren't many inexpensive options.

Now, I'll also caution you - you'll get other advice from people that is more palatable to you (i.e. sure you can get good shots with the DSLR and kit lens) - my advice is to check and see what type of sports shooting work they actually do. 90% of the time they do none. The other 9% do it very poorly. Leaving 1% tha are really exceptional photographers that can take great shots with a pinhole camera. Be especially wary of sales people.

I don't say this to completely discourage you - just to tell you the truth about low light sports shooting BEFORE you invest your hard earned money. If you're going to move ahead, my advice is to plan to save up and buy a 70-200 2.8 after you get the initial camera / lens before you'll be able to get many decent shots (again assuming this is not a pro arena) - where ISO 1600, f5.6 1/400 is doable)

StoneAge Jan 17, 2008 4:53 PM

Thanks for all your help. I was starting to lean towards buying the camera and then saving a couple paycheques and buy the lens afterwards. Like i had said the arena is pretty well lit. Im not sure you are familiar with hockey, but its where our ECHL team plays so the lighting would be sufficient for a few decent photos untill i can afford a better lens. thanks again


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