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Old Sep 6, 2009, 12:55 PM   #1
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Default New purchase- Body + lens (Indoor Sports)

I am looking to buy the Nikon D80 or D90 or best option the (expensive) d300. I think just the body on all choices or is the kit lenses fine with these choices? If not what lenses do u like with the bodies--shooting basic family photog inside/out. Big question-- finally. Which body on all my choices above best accomodates my sports lens. I am definetly buying the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens for the inside sports (daughters gymnastics, basketball). I realize there are motors that operate the lens and want to make sure I am matching up correctly.
This is expensive. Best bang for the buck? Least expensive and most expensive way to go?
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Old Sep 6, 2009, 1:12 PM   #2
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You'll probably want to avoid the D80 for low light sports using a zoom lens, since you'll probably need to use ISO 3200+ at f/2.8 in most High School gym lighting to get shutter speeds fast enough to freeze most of the subject movement (and noise levels and/or loss of detail from noise reduction can leave a bit to be desired at ISO 3200 from it). If you're talking College or Pro level, then you may have better lighting.

The D80 is an older model with higher noise levels compared to the Nikon D90 or D300. The D90 and D300 use a newer Sony 12MP CMOS Sensor that does better at higher ISO speed settings (as compared to the Sony 10MP CCD sensor used in the Nikon D80).

The newer models also have more advanced image processing that gives you better control of noise at their higher ISO speed settings.

For the Gymastics, you may find that f/2.8 at ISO 3200 may not be bright enough to capture faster motion (tumbling routines, etc.) from what I've seen reported by some of our sports shooters. IOW, you may need to go with a brighter prime, even using much higher ISO speeds for some types of action for a higher percentage of keepers. I probably wouldn't use ISO speeds much over ISO 4000 unless you really had to with a D90 or D300, depending on print/viewing sizes needed and your perception of quality (which is always subjective). If you need ISO 6400+, your best bet would be to move up to a D700 or D3. The D3 and D700 use a Nikon designed full frame (same size as 35mm film) 12MP sensor that does much better at higher ISO speed settings.

Hopefully, some of our sports shooters will see this thread and comment further on what they've found needed for gymnastics.

Between those models (D90, D300), the D300 has a more advanced Autofocus System that may give you a higher percentage of keepers, and offers a faster frame rate compared to the D90 (but, it's also a higher priced camera model).

Note that Nikon is releasing a new D300s, too (with improved performance at it's highest ISO speed settings, improved focus speed, and more as compared to the D300).
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Old Sep 6, 2009, 3:34 PM   #3
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Thank you so much for your info. I have read numerous disappointments on low-level lighting/noise level using D300. Coming down to price now--sooner or later it does. Video isn't a concern, but I'm sure there are a few new features, but if its the difference of $3-400 it looks like the D300 is the choice for my Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens, so far.
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Old Sep 6, 2009, 3:37 PM   #4
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Jim is correct, you are not likely to get very high shutter speeds with a f2.8 lens.

I took this at ISO 6400, f1.8 (with Canon 85mm f1.8 lens) and 1/1000s. There is still a little motion blur even at these speeds.



Here is a shot at ISO 3200, f1.8 and 1/500s, as you can see there is even more blur.



Shooting at f2.8 will give less than half the light getting into the camera so you will be looking at 1/200s using ISO 3200 assuming the same light as I had (this is a common amount for a gym).
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Old Sep 6, 2009, 3:39 PM   #5
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Quote:
...I have read numerous disappointments on low-level lighting/noise level using D300...
You're going to see people complaining about low light performance from most any camera, depending on how they're using it. ;-)

Frankly, it's pretty amazing that we have so many camera choices that do as well as they do at ISO 3200 now (and I'd include the D300 as one of them). But, you're really pushing the limits of this type of sensor once you start moving much above ISO 3200. Personally, I find ISO 4000 to be a good compromise setting with cameras using that sensor when ISO 3200 isn't quite enough for a high percentage of keepers. But, I wouldn't use ISO 6400 unless I really had to. Again, quality is always subjective (and the print/viewing sizes needed to into the equation, too).

The Nikon D3 is really the best bet right this minute in the Nikon lineup for low light sports use. It's a super camera (but, it's not cheap).
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Old Sep 6, 2009, 4:17 PM   #6
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Nice gym shots my daughter's a level 4...anyway I feel like I'm back to square 1. Don't feel bad guys I need to hit it right the first time...or close. 1.8 vs the 2.8 is a bit of a difference in lighting and blur. Proof is in the image. Well now whats the next step up or diagonally on my reach out and get her "bridge kick over," shot across the gym? D3 is $4G's NOT - D700 is around $2300 body. D300 body is around $1500. Is the D700 that much better than the D300? Jim- your pics are nice ones w/the 85mm f1.8 lens. What lens for across the gym is highly touted by you guys? Sounds like f1.8 and higher wins...
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Old Sep 6, 2009, 4:30 PM   #7
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I think I would look at the D300 with 85mm f1.8 lens, one thing I'm not 100% sure of is if this as fast focusing as the Canon 85mm f1.8 lens so someone with more Nikon knowledge will need to chip in.

The 70-200mm f2.8 is a lovely lens but will only be good for static poses.





Also I'm Mark and took the photos
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Old Sep 6, 2009, 6:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TMel View Post
...Jim- your pics are nice ones w/the 85mm f1.8 lens.
As Mark mentioned, those were his photos, not mine. ;-)

I don't shoot much in the way of sports.

When shooting basketball of kids a few times in this area, I was getting shutter speeds of around 1/400 second at f/2.8 and ISO 3200 with relatively good exposure. At ISO 4000 and f/2.8, you should get around 1/500 if lighting is the same. I think that's probably typical of many high school gyms in the U.S. from what I've seen from some of the basketball photos posted by others; and you'll still have a bit of motion blur at those shutter speeds (rapid hand/foot/ball movement). But, you may not mind a bit of blur, and others might want sharper details in more shots.

But, if you have a gym with lower light like the one Mark was shooting in for those photos he posted in this thread, you may need another stop of performance (either higher ISO speeds or a brighter lens) to get those same shutter speeds.

From what I've seen from some of our members like Mark1616 that shoot more sports, tumbling requires even faster shutter speeds for less motion blur compared to a sport like basketball.

IOW, even with a bright prime, you may find a model like the D300 lacking, depending on the lighting.

Again, it's all subjective. You may not care about a bit of motion blur for photos of your daughter, and someone shooting professionally may have a higher standard *and* need a higher percentage of keepers (and you're usually talking about a percentage of keepers, since some photos will be sharper than others due to speed and direction of movement and more).

Viewing/Print sizes also enter the equation (as the larger the size, the more obvious any softness due to motion blur will be). The same applies to noise levels. The larger the viewing/print size, the more you'll notice the noise and/or loss of detail from noise reduction.

Personally, if I were shooting in lighting requiring ISO 6400 at f/2.8 for more keepers, I'd just use a brighter prime if the camera wasn't capable of good images at ISO speeds that high (and in my opinion, you're "pushing" the capabilities of the sensor in a model like the D300 trying to use ISO 6400 with it). Now, I have seen people do it; and you could always shoot in raw and post process for better results (since the buffer in the D300 is relatively large). But, I'd probably try to avoid ISO 6400 if possible with one unless I were sticking with very small print sizes.

I haven't used the D300 with the 85mm f/1.8 lens. But, most reports I've seen say it's a fast focusing lens on a higher end body, and the D300 has a relatively fast AF motor built into it's body. For example, a "screw drive" 50mm f/1.4 AF lens actually focuses slightly faster on the D300 compared to the newer 50mm f/1.4 AF-S (Silent Wave Focusing) lens from tests I've seen. So, my guess is that the camera's processing of information from the AF sensors is more likely to be the bottleneck with the 85mm f/1.8, too.

Quote:
Is the D700 that much better than the D300?
The D700 is going to be considerably better at higher ISO speed settings. ISO 6400 is very usable and you can shoot at even higher ISO speeds in a pinch. I'd probably try to stick with ISO 12,800 or lower (ISO 6400, 8000, 10000). It has an available ISO 25,600 setting (and I have taken a few photos at ISO 25,600 with a D3, which uses the same sensor, but they were a bit too noisy, even when shooting in raw and using Noise Ninja at it's higher Noise Reduction settings). IOW, it's highest available ISO speed setting is one you don't want to use unless you have to (and then, only at small print/viewing sizes). That's typical of most cameras (you don't want to use their highest setting unless you absolutely have to).
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Old Sep 6, 2009, 9:44 PM   #9
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Mark my apologies after I replied - I noticed I complimented the wrong guy (pics). You and Jim C are giving me some good stuff here.
I don't know if there is any truth to a few quips from photog's mentioning Canon seems to capture lower lighting shots better compared to the Nikon brand? This would also seem to me a matter of cheering for their own team so to speak. You guys feel either way on this claim? Mark, your shots are with a Canon, right? If your a Canon guy what would be the body + lens you would or do shoot with? Im not familiar w/ Canon high end at all. I do use the Canon Powershot SX110 point/shoot. My $ range is around $3G. I would think I could get great shots w/this kind of start up $. Season/travel starts 9/25/09...little over 2 weeks to make my move.
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Old Sep 7, 2009, 6:00 AM   #10
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As to Canon being the best in low light, that was true a few years ago but not anymore (and I shoot Canon). The Nikon D700 produces incredible high ISO shots - absolutely stunning - from the sports shooters I've seen use it.

A D90/300/700 with 70-200 2.8 for basketball would probably be fine. Gymnastics is a bit trickier. Many meets are held in dungeon gyms. But one aspect I didn't see covered is ACCESS. The aperatus are often spread apart. If you are forced to shoot from a gallery, getting shots is going to be very difficult. It is entirely possible you may only have one event or possibly two where you are close enough to shoot - even with a 200mm lens. If you don't have access to the floor then 85mm isn't going to cut it. That's one of the things that makes gymnastics so difficult to shoot - especially as a parent as gymnastics tends to be much more restrictive about who can move around on the floor (basketball tends to be a lot more lenient about it).

So, do you have access to the floor? Will you have it as she travels and competes? If not, you need to set expectations accordingly - you'll need at least a 200mm lens and even then, you may have a very limited number of shot opportunities.
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