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Old May 25, 2012, 8:17 PM   #1
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Default Nikon d5100 Newbie

I'm a Nikon D5100 newbie. I'm always on a ball field with a camera in my hand. This is my first SLR. I upgraded from the Sony Cybershot & having trouble adjusting. I purchases the camera with the standard 18-55 mm lens. I also purchased the 55-200mm lens. I assumed the 55-200mm would be a great lens to capture close up action shots of my daughter on the softball field. She's been playing varsity high school ball since age 13. She's a rising sophomore & will be playing a lot of showcase tournaments this summer. I'm building her portfolio & wanted to capture great action shots.
I tested the camera at a scrimmage game this week and was disappointed with the results. I used the 55-200mm lens & zoomed in the pitcher circle from center field (about 240 ft). The pictures were blurry & distant. The settings were in sports mode with continuos release mode and the ISO was set at 1600.
Do I need to upgrade the lens for a better zoom? Is there a way to still view the action on the LCD when shooting? How do I make the photos sharper.
Please help as I need this camera before next weekend tournament or I'll have to go back to my simple Sony point n shoot.
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Old May 26, 2012, 3:48 AM   #2
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Whilst the D5100 isn't the tool of choice for a "Sports Photographer" you should still be able to get some decent shots out of it.
However,you wont get VERY close with the 55-200mm lens- that said,with 16mp on board,you should be able to crop a bit...!
I'm not sure about the AF speed of the said lens- though I would expect it to be reasonable.
Ultimately though- if you feel that you can't get close enough,then yes,you'll need a longer lens.
The D5100 has live view on board- to view the LCD whilst shooting- though be aware that the AF is slower in this mode(though the D5100 is one of the better AF's in live view mode),plus physically following/tracking a subject whilst not using the viewfinder can be quite tricky..!
Perhaps you could upload one of the images you're disappointed with..?

Last edited by SIMON40; May 26, 2012 at 3:52 AM.
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Old May 26, 2012, 8:10 AM   #3
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You've probably already figured out that 200mm isn't long enough for what you want to do.

If you shoot from the first base dugout, a 300mm lens will work to capture the action on third base, and vice versa. If you want to shoot the pitcher from the outfield, I don't think 400mm is long enough. You could probably do ok with the 55-200 shooting the pitcher from a dugout, but that's it.

The Nikon 55-200 VR isn't bad, but it does vignette a lot at large apertures. You'd need to stop down to avoid it, but then you risk getting slower shutter speeds and thus, motion blur due to subject movement.

Keep in mind that you're shooting sports/action, so you need fast shutter speeds, so you don't really need image stabilization for that.

What position does your daughter play?
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Old May 27, 2012, 6:00 PM   #4
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Thank you both for the quick response. My daughter is a versatile player. She pitches, plays short stop, & also outfield. I've gotten pretty good shots with my Sony Cybershot that has a 20x zoom, bu timing is everything since its basically a point & shoot camera.
Simon40, the AF was set at 5.6. I chose the Sport mode & didn't change anything else. What AF speed do u recommend?
TCAV, can you recommend a better lens for someone on a budget? This camera was an investment & I don't want to spend unnecessary funds for accessories I don't need.
I'll get some photos uploaded soon & thanks again for the feedback
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Old May 27, 2012, 6:56 PM   #5
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Unfortunately, when you buy a dSLR, the body is a small part of your eventual investment in the photographic system.

I would say that the least expensive lens you could probably get away with is the Tamron 70-300 SP Di VC USD, which sells for $349 (after a $100 mail-in rebate.) The Nikon 70-300 AF-S VR would be better, but it's $586. There are better lenses, but they're much more expensive.
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Old May 28, 2012, 2:47 AM   #6
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Hi i am not a nikon shooter, that said it would be helpful if you could post the blurry shot. it will help us give advice.
It takes practise to use a DSLR and i am sure you should get some good shots from your camera

Last edited by wave01; May 28, 2012 at 11:15 AM. Reason: cant spell
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Old May 28, 2012, 3:07 AM   #7
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Tjackson- AF refers to Autofocus- and speed of that comes down to whatever lens is attached and/or the body you're using. I think you were referring to Aperture Value- a given "f/" number.
The camera chose f/5.6 as I'm guessing that's "wide open" on your 55-200 lens- allowing the most light in,thus allowing as fast a shutter speed as possible.
You might want to try the "Manual" mode- set the shutter speed at a pretty swift setting,say 1/500th- 1/750th sec,open the aperture wide open,switch the AF to centre area (using it like a target shooter,keeping your subject in the centre of the frame),maybe use tracking/continuous AF,switch to "burst" mode also- then take a couple of shots- adjusting the iso sensitivity to get the desired exposure- and if you have an "auto iso" feature,all the better..!

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Old May 28, 2012, 10:10 AM   #8
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For starters, I would recommend using the optical viewfinder instead of the LCD. You will get a more stable camera, and the auto focus is faster and more accurate. My guess is that the blurry shots are more likely due to this than to slow shutter speed. (unless it was a night game or pretty cloudy day)

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Old May 28, 2012, 11:14 AM   #9
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sorry its my laptop cant spell it suffering from old age like me and lack of eye site
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