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Old Jun 29, 2007, 9:34 PM   #1
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I've spent alot of time trying to figure out what I want and run the gamit I think and it seems my budget keeps growing and growing :?

I've gone from D40 to D40X to K10D and even considered a D80 but I think that would be just to much for me to begin with. t's been years since I picked up a camera other than a point and shoot (High School Photography class :-)) so I'm basically back at square one.

I'm mostly interested in doing landscapes but this will also be the camera to take to all the kids school events (sports, plays etc) as well as the vacation pics.

I'm trying to stay under $1000 to start with and came up with these 3 options over at B&H and wanted to get opinions on if I'm even on the right track here or just way off and need more research.

option 1
D40 with kit 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G II ED AF-S DX
additional 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED AF-S VR DX lens

option 2
D40 with 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S DX lens

option 3
D40x with kit 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED II AF-S DX

these are all in the $700-$750 range leving me room for extras like shipping, a bag, memory cards and anything else I may need.

Thoughts?

Thanks in advance
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Old Jun 30, 2007, 2:06 PM   #2
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The options you've selected all seem to be good places to start. I notice that all the lenses you've selected are pretty dim, so you'll probably need to use the D40's pop-up flash for most of your indoor shots, which limits your range.

If the school sports you want to shoot are indoor sports (i.e.: wrestling, basketball, swimming, volleyball, etc.) nothing you've got here will work very well for that. Plays, concerts and the like will be fine, but with sports, you need to keep the shutter speed fast, and the lenses you've selected can't use a wide enough aperture to make up for it (and coaches generally frown on flashes from the stands.)

If the sports you want to shoot are outdoors, then I'd want the 55-200 in option 1.
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Old Jun 30, 2007, 5:41 PM   #3
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TCav wrote:
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Plays, concerts and the like will be fine
Fair warning - plays, concerts etc often have very poor lighting (worse than the gyms the sports are played in)and it is highly likely the lenses you're considering will not be sufficient for them either. I'm not suggesting you need to spend more $$$ now, just that you keep your expectations in check. You may have to save up some money after the initial purchase to buy a lens suitable for these activities.

Typically for plays/concerts you would want a lens with an aperture of 2.8.

Also, as TCAV mentioned indoor sports will definitely be outside the realm of what the lenses can do. I will also add that at high school level and below you really need fast prime lenses with 2.0 or 1.8 apertures to shoot indoor sports. Because the D40 and D40x have no focus motor those cameras will not be able to autofocus with any currently avaiable 1.8 or 2.0 prime lenses that you might use for indoor sports work. So, if any of your sports work is going to be indoors, the D40 and D40x are poor choices. If not, then they can be a nice place to start out.

So, if you want to do indoor sports look at other cameras

If you want to do plays, etc then save your pennies you'll want to buy some 2.8 lenses (and be careful, if your auditoriums are dark enough to require 2.0 or 1.8 lenses then once again the D40 or D40x will not be able to autofocus with the necessary lenses - you'll have to manually focus - fairly easy to do for a play but only you can decide if you WANT to manually focus).

Otherwise if these areas are not a concern I agree with TCAV - your first kit sounds like the way to go. Although I will also say the 200mm lens you are considering is only going to be useful for daylight games - no evening games under the lights.

Good luck!
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Old Jun 30, 2007, 9:04 PM   #4
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Just my opinion, but I'd buy the D40 over the D40X and get better lenses. A mediocre lens will give a mediocre picture, no matter what camera it's mounted on, while an excellent lens on the D40 is mainly limited by the photographer (I'm a fan of the 6 mp sensor - in general, it is better in low light than the 10 mp sensor). I'd probably choose your option 1 just because I like having the longer lens, I find I use 100-200 quite often. As a note, I don't have any direct knowledge with these lenses since I use Pentax.
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Old Jun 30, 2007, 10:49 PM   #5
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JohnG wrote:
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Fair warning - plays, concerts etc often have very poor lighting (worse than the gyms the sports are played in)and it is highly likely the lenses you're considering will not be sufficient for them either.
My daughter-in-law teaches music at three different elementary schools in the Prince George's County Public School System. I don't know about elsewhere, but here most schools have one BIG room that they use for a lunchroom, gymnasium, and auditorium. The rooms change from one function to another just by folding up some pieces of furniture and unfolding others. So naturally, the lighting is the same for plays and concerts as it is for sports. What's different is the speed at which the participants are moving, and therefore, the shutter speed necessary to capture the action.

Attached is a photo I took at a recent concert some of her students gave. I took this shot from the back of the room at 120mm, f/4, 1/60 second, ISO 1600, with my KM 5D and a Minolta "Beercan" 70-210mm f/4. If this had been a sporting event, the lighting would have been the same, but I would have had to have used a much higher shutter speed, so f/4 wouldn't have been enough. But here, it was fine, and I could have used f/5.6 at 1/30 with no adverse effects, except maybe some motion blur on the trombone slides.
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Old Jul 1, 2007, 8:12 AM   #6
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TCAV - please refresh my memory - which of the lenses the OP is considering is f4 at any decent focal length?
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Old Jul 1, 2007, 8:27 AM   #7
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well thanks guys now I'm back to where I started :?

is there a better option in the sub $1000 (total budget) to cover what I want to do? I really like the "feel" of the D40/d40x in the store. My landscapes are just that, mine but the rest of it has to work for the family. The sports right now are indoor, my oldest is a big basketball player but also plays baseball. Middle is a football player (outdoor) and the youngest is the musician.

I'm really glad I found this site, the information is great and really gets me excited to start going again... I just wish I'd found it years ago.

Thanks again
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Old Jul 1, 2007, 8:40 AM   #8
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JohnG wrote:
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TCAV - please refresh my memory - which of the lenses the OP is considering is f4 at any decent focal length?
TCav wrote:
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...and I could have used f/5.6 at 1/30 with no adverse effects, except maybe some motion blur on the trombone slides.
My point is that, for plays/concerts, you don't necessarily need a lens with an aperture of 2.8.
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Old Jul 1, 2007, 8:52 AM   #9
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chepburn wrote:
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The sports right now are indoor, my oldest is a big basketball player but also plays baseball. Middle is a football player (outdoor) and the youngest is the musician.
The basketball might be tough, but for the rest of it, option 1 will suit you well.
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Old Jul 1, 2007, 9:39 AM   #10
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chepburn wrote:
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The sports right now are indoor, my oldest is a big basketball player but also plays baseball. Middle is a football player (outdoor) and the youngest is the musician.
As mentioned the basketball won't be achievable without faster lenses and D40 won't autofocus with the faster primes. Canon 400D, 350D and Pentax 100 are all better choices because you can use fast primes with them.

Baseball - I'll caution you on something. I shoot baseball from the field - and 200mm is short ON THE FIELD at high school level. You need 300mm if you're on the field to get cross infield shots (given the fact that on-the-field means inside the fence not standing on the bag yourself).

Football - keep in mind what I said - 200mm is good for 25 yards and the lenses in question are only good in good lighting. So if your son is going to be playing varsity under lights, the lens won't be good enough. If your son is still playing midget or freshman ball you're OK as long as you keep that 25 yard rule in mind. To have any success you need to be right at the sidelines - shooting from the other side of the fence is going to be tough to impossible, much less shooting from the stands.

I don't say this to discourage you. But only letting you know what you're in for BEFORE you spend your money. The last thing you want to do is spend $1000 and find out you still can't achieve your goals. But that's the beauty of a DSLR system - you start out with what you can afford and save up and buy other lenses in the future. Sure you might not be able to shoot everything you want right out of the gate.
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