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-   -   What camera for gymnastics / cheerleading? (https://forums.steves-digicams.com/what-camera-should-i-buy-80/what-camera-gymnastics-cheerleading-190208/)

tacticdesigns Jul 18, 2011 10:03 AM

What camera for gymnastics / cheerleading?
 
Ok, what cameras would you recommend I look at for gymnastics / cheerleading?

My budget is about $1200. And I might be able to find a way to expand that a bit for some glass.

I'd consider any platform to get the best bang for the buck vs. acceptable results.


Background:
------------
- My daughter is 9 and will be going into level 3 gymnastics next year. And she just signed up for cheerleading for the next year.
- There's usually 3-4 gymnastics meets and there will be 3-4 cheerleading meets.
- I've also spoken with the coach for cheerleading and many of the parents and I've volunteered to take candid shots periodically throughout the year and put a slide show together to give out to each of the girls on the team at the end of the year. (I'd really like to give a good go at this for the girls and their parents.)
- I've been shooting the last year and a bit with a Nikon D70s w. an old Tamron 28-105mm f2.8 lens (with no built-in motor).
- I was looking at cheap ways to squeeze a little more shutter speed and was willing to live with a moderate update to my camera and live with the motion blur.
- Then my wife last week tells me I should look at a new(er) camera. I tested out the upper limit of my "budget" and its about $1000-1200. (I could probably push that a bit. <grin> )

Now with the larger budget (compared to what I personally was thinking about spending), there's more options to consider and I'm back to square one.

I'm gone for a week with the family on our yearly camping trip, but will be diving back into this when I get back.

Any help greatly appreciated!

JohnG Jul 18, 2011 10:39 AM

Daniel,
Those are probably two of the most difficult sports to shoot. I should also point out that with your daughter just getting going in both there is a high degree of people leaving the sports. Gymnastics, in particular, can be a grueling sport as she moves up and starts competing. All that aside:

There's simply no silver bullet answer here. You could upgrade the camera body but you'd need to get a d7000 for $1200 - that will certainly give you a big jump in ISO performance. But you're still stuck with the limitations of your current lens - most notably the focal length. For gymnastics, you can get shots with that focal length if you have floor access. But if you're relegated to the seating area, 105mm is woefully short. so if you don't have floor access you're spending a lot of money and still going to come up short. So it's hard to suggest that option.

Now - cheer - are you talking competitive cheer - which is my assumption - or are you talking cheer for football/basketball?

TCav Jul 18, 2011 10:53 AM

You'll need to get fast shutter speeds in dim light. That means large apertures and high ISOs. Nikon has an 85mm f/1.8, and Canon has a 85mm f/1.8 and a 100mm f/2.0 that will fit within your budget. Zoom lenses lose at least a stop to primes, so you're looking at f/2.8. Sigma has an unstabilized 70-200mm f/2.8 and stabilized 70-200 and 50-150 f/2.8 lenses. Canon and Nikon also have stabilized 70-200 f/2.8 lenses, but they'll probably bust your budget. Tamron has an unstabilized 70-200mm f/2.8 lens as well, though it doesn't focus as quickly as the others. If you want to stick with Nikon, you'd probably be better off with the D7000 or the D90, since the D5100 won't AF with the lens you have. If you would consider Canon, the T2i, T3i and D60 would be good choices.

TCav Jul 18, 2011 10:55 AM

I defer to JohnG.

tacticdesigns Jul 18, 2011 11:44 AM

Thanks guys!

Quote:

Originally Posted by JohnG (Post 1242072)
For gymnastics, you can get shots with that focal length if you have floor access. But if you're relegated to the seating area, 105mm is woefully short. so if you don't have floor access you're spending a lot of money and still going to come up short. So it's hard to suggest that option.

RE: 28-105mm.

Yeah. Having the lens for the past while, I've been feeling that. Not very often, the 28mm felt restrictive, where as I always seemed to be wanting more than 105mm.

I saw a post somewhere the program "ExposurePlot" which analysis your shots and then gives you graphs based on the focal length, iso, shutter speed etc. I analyzed the last couple times I went out shooting and the graph showed that most of my shots started at about 50mm and went up from there, very often maxed out 105mm.

I'll start looking at the 50-150mm f2.8 range lenses. And trying to get my head around whether 150mm is long enough or do I go to 70-200mm. I'll look back through my picts and try to guess that one out.

Glen
:)

JohnG Jul 18, 2011 11:51 AM

Glen,
if you don't have floor access, 150mm will be too short. Even 200mm is too short - but it's the best you can do without serious money. At level 3, the best shots are going to be beam and floor. It's really going to come down to, for a given gym, where those apparatus are relative to where you're sitting. For floor you'll want the poses that occur in the corners. Usually gymnasts pick which corner they're going to start from. So, even though the routine is the same for every gymnast you don't always know which direction they're going to go. All in all, I would suggest investing in the sigma 50-150 (the only 150mm 2.8 I know of) is probably a non-starter. You're better off looking for a second hand 70-200 2.8

wave01 Jul 18, 2011 3:02 PM

Hi i would think any of the cameras suggested will do the job your problem is going to be getting a lens for the job. I would look at using my budget by getting a nikon d90 or canon t2i/550d both good enough and you should get a good deal on them now. The money saved can then go to a good lens


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