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Old Feb 10, 2007, 4:33 PM   #1
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I need your help. My business partner and I are starting up a new venture together and need to make an investment into a Digital SLR. We need an SLR that has a high degree of Megapixels and most importantly has a motor drive of some sort. This will be sports photography and we need to rip off a series of pictures very quickly. Also, since my background has previously been in studio photography...what type of lens works best for this type of photography. We're thinking Not "professional" grade, but much better than "mom just took my picture from the stands" shots.



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Old Feb 10, 2007, 5:06 PM   #2
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"Burst rate" is the key phase you want to look for - there is no such thing as a motor drive in a dSLR. There are all kinds of qualifications on that number, similar to these: *- Fast for a few frames (3-7) and slow after that
*- Fast as long as you have memory but only at reduced resoution,
*- Fast for med quality JPEGs, slow for high quality, slower yet for RAW

So figure out how fast you need them to be, how many you need in a burst, and what image quality you need. Then do some shopping.

My impression is that more money gets you better burst charactoristics.

"Sports photograhy" covers a lot of ground: amount of light, shooting distance, speed of action, size of field of view, ... Focus speed depends on both the camera and the lens, and again that seems to be better at higher price.
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Old Feb 10, 2007, 6:16 PM   #3
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Your'e looking at 3 frames per second at the amateur end of the market (Canon D400 and Nikon D80)and 5 FPS at the pro end (Canon D5, Nikon D200 ?).


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Old Feb 10, 2007, 9:29 PM   #4
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i'd opt for the canon 30d If you don't plan to advance into the heavy pro gear. You get access to fastTELElenses in the canon lineup (f 2.8 and down ) and burst rate of 5 fps. At least here in china there is a considerate amount of money to be saved if you go Canon 30D instead of D200. That sum could be directed towards some quality glass.

Are you shooting stadium/Gym or outdoor daylight?
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Old Feb 10, 2007, 9:33 PM   #5
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To verify the last post...we are shooting high school (perhaps even junior high) sports. For the moment, we're trying to have this off the ground and running by HS football season next year. That means "Friday Night Lights"...but as we move along we'll be getting into basketball season, which is obviously indoor/gymnasium.



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Old Feb 10, 2007, 9:50 PM   #6
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I think you ought to talk to JohnG as he does quite the bit of dimlight sports shooting.

I still think the 30D might be for you.
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Old Feb 10, 2007, 10:07 PM   #7
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It looks like you're looking at either the Canon 30D or the Nikon D200. Both should serve you well for this purpose. Though the Canon tends to have better reputation when it comes to indoor shooting because of its better noise handling.

Another key factor are lenses. Canon has more lens line-up, and they also have telephoto lenses with f/4 max aperture in addition to the more expensive f/2.8. While Nikon tends to offer the more expensive f/2.8 only in most cases. What I like about Nikon though is that if you're in the US, their lenses come with 5 year warranties, while Canon only comes with 1 yr, even most pro-lenses. Either case, make sure you checkout the lenses you will use as you are buying into the system.

Good Luck!

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Old Feb 10, 2007, 11:38 PM   #8
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Well, what's your budget?

The top of the heap sports camera is the Canon 1dMkII-N at about $3400. 8.3fps and the best servo focus on the market. Next is the Nikon D2X - similar price range.

But you're going to need fast glass. For friday night football, 400mm 2.8 or 300mm 2.8 lenses are at the top - but you're talking $6500 or $4000 range in the Canon or Nikon camps. Next step down is the lens I use - Sigma 120-300 2.8 (about $2200). Not as good as the Canon or Nikon primes but it allows you to get by with a single body whereas the primes force you to have 2 bodies (usually the other body has a 70-200 2.8 lens). Finally, if you're short on start-up cash the 70-200 2.8 type lens is the way to go ($800 for Sigma's version, $1100 for Nikon or Canon non-IS/VR or $1600 for the IS/VR versions).

Don't even bother opening your doors for business shooting HS football at night until you can afford at least the 70-200 2.8. Even that won't get very fast shutter speeds.

For basketball an 85mm 1.8 lens is the lens of choice for HS basketball.


edit: forgot to mention - the 30D is the 2nd choice of sports cameras. Better ISO 1600 and 3200 performance than the Nikon D200. And for both sports you'll be shooting at those ISOs. For good light sports the D200 would be an excellent choice. In RAW mode the noise is better but you don't want to do sports in RAW - too much memory, slows buffer handling and adds steps to your post processing workflow. That adds up when you're shooting 500 shots at a game.
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