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Old Nov 17, 2007, 12:48 AM   #1
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I know this debat has been going around for a while, but I still need further clarity since I havea unique career.

I'm mainly choosing between the Nikon D40 and the Canon Rebel XT due to budget considerations so I am leaning away from the D40X and XTi. My main focus is on high speed kicking and flipping in a martial arts setting. Here are the givens:

- Most of theshots willNOT be in low light settings. Mainly indoor shots...florescent lighting
- Which of the 2 cameras have better shots (FPS? ... sorry, I'm new to the lingo)
- Which cameras have better quality lenses
- Which is more durable (My wife and I are a bit clumsy)...any recommended accessories to protect the camera and lens?
- I may want to produce larger print photos...how big of a print can each do?

Any other considerations I should think of?

Also....sidebar. I'm mainly looking at Ritz, Best Buy, Circuit City due to Accidental Damage Warranty coverage. Does anyone cover thier camera's on their Home Owner's Warranty? If so...what do you get charged and is there a deductable?
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Old Nov 17, 2007, 6:12 AM   #2
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five40kix wrote:
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- Most of theshots willNOT be in low light settings. Mainly indoor shots...florescent lighting
Indoor fluorescent lighting is low-light for any action shots!!!

The camera is not important as the lens is for low-light - i.e. you'll need fast lenses; However the D40 is designed such that it won't accept any fast lenses in the Nikon line which have no motor in them so I guess you're stuck with the Canon by default...

-> What you need is high shutter-speed to freeze the action and fast lenses with wide aperture (and not slow zooms with "image stabilization" which are useless @ stopping the actions) - Unless you can use flash which is the best approach

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Old Nov 17, 2007, 7:22 AM   #3
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Thanks for the input thus far.

I was considering a Low-light situation as night-time or in the dark, but never considered indoor florescent as low-light. Thanks for the clarification.

Will the Canon do THAT much better than the Nikon though? All you've told me thus far whatthey do more poorly....I wanna know what these camerascan do... (Sorry...I'm a focus on the positive type guy)
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Old Nov 17, 2007, 7:39 AM   #4
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NHL wrote:
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Indoor fluorescent lighting is low-light for any action shots!!!

The camera is not important as the lens is for low-light - i.e. you'll need fast lenses;
NHL is correct - that is LOW LIGHT. However, the camera is VERY important in shooting low light action. The camera must have good high ISO performance. AND it is the camera that controls the focusing (even if the lens motor focuses).

So they work together - both camera and lens are important.

For that reason, you are right to look at canon & nikon - Sony is the only other system right now with a proven track record in focus systems capable of the task - but new lenes are a bit tough to find just yet.

Both have similar 3fps. But the XTi has more focus points (9 vs. 3 for the nikon) which makes proper composition easier.

And, as NHLpointed out- the XTi offers you a much larger variety of lenses to choose from. The D40 will not autofocus with short prime lenses required for indoor sports shooting. So it really isn't a good choice for your application.

But you should also understand you've got a potentially difficult task ahead of you. No kit lens is going to be able to do what you need. If you are shooting in lighting of professional or NCAA Div I gyms then you might get buy with a 2.8 lens - something like the Canon 24-70 2.8 or 70-200 2.8 (depending on your distance to subect).

However if it's anything below that level then 2.8 won't be fast enough. You'll want a prime (non zoom ) lens. That's where things get difficult - choosing the right focal length. The least expensive option is the 50mm 1.8 ($75) but that's only good for about 10-15 feet away (so a good choice for sparring IF you're right up on the action). The 85mm 1.8 is next ($370) - a fabulous lens and good for about 15-20 feet of coverage. Then the 100mm 2.0 ($370) and 135mm 2.0 ($1000). Notice - none of these options is going to get you shots from 60 feet away. So if you're in stands and your child is competing on the arena floor - don't expect to get many decent shots. Indoor sports shooting isVERY difficult. Having the right equipment is essential but it doesn't guarantee success. As the photographer YOU have to position yourself in the right spot to get the photo; because you'll likely have to use a prime lens you have to be sure you're the right distance away (not too close or too far away); you have to use non-auto camera settings (set ISO, aperture, shutter speed, select focus point, set custom white balance) ; you need to DEVELOP good sports shooting techniques for focusing (which takes time and practice - some people are naturals at it but most of us aren't very good at first and take time to develop the necessary skills). Indoor sports shooting is NOT a point and shoot thing. So, be advised of that BEFORE you spend your money.

Some things are easier than others. For instance, breaks are fairly easy since you don't need to track movement much - you know exactly where the action will occur:





Kata or forms are also easier since they're generally slow and if you know the form they are predictable



kumite or sparring is the toughest to shoot. Very difficult to get decent shots - especially for experienced fighters. Inexperienced ones move linearly so they go back & forth making it relatively easy. Experienced fighters move around a lot more so you quickly find yourself in a bad position for photos. And, of course, the action is less predictable - the better the fighter the faster the technique the less likely YOU are going to be ready to capture it.



Kicks will likely show SOME motion blur but that's ok - with a prime lens you'll be able to freeze most of the body motion so a little motion in the kick will look good. FLIPS depends on what you mean by a flip - a physical gymnastic flip or a throw. A flip (as in gymnastics) will be very difficult to freeze. It's unlikely you'll be able to do that well with the limitations of the XTi (i.e. you'd need ISO 3200 to get fast enough shutter speeds indoors) - a throw will show some blur.

You'll also need to post process your photos - including noise reduction. So you have to be willing to put the time in on that side of things.

As for insurance, I recommend a separate insurance policy - State Farm and USAA offer personal articals policies. This is better than home owners. Any claim on home owners carries significant penalties:

1. Deductable (usually $500)

2. Rates could go up and you could get dropped


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Old Nov 17, 2007, 7:50 AM   #5
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That was quite helpful...(you look like a TKD person!)

However...i'm looking at the XT....NOT the XTi. Does the information change at all?
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Old Nov 17, 2007, 9:51 AM   #6
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I would strongly suggest looking at the XTi - it has a more advanced focus system (same one as 30d). In my experience that will DEFINITELY make a difference and if you're going to do low light sports it is absolutely worth the extra money. The XTi is a much better camera than the XT, IMO. But it's your money. I just believe spending a little extra up front will get you a tool much more capable of your task. If you weren't going to do low light sports work it wouldn't matter as much.

And yes, I spent about 8 years in TKD although I'm "retired" now - not enough time to make the $$ worth while - and way too much politics & watering down of standards - unfortunately in many schools today it's all about $$$ and less about producing quality martial artists
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Old Nov 27, 2007, 1:42 PM   #7
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Thanks to JohnG! Oddly enough, this was EXACTLY the information that I needed. I was looking to get the Rebel XTi. My main reason for getting a dSLR is to shoot my son's TaeKwonDo testing and tournaments in a low light gymnasium. How fortuitous! You could not have been more spot on.



Your lens recommendations were extremely helpful as well. I am goint to get both, the 50mm 1.8 and the 85mm 1.8. I found some cheaper lenses with better range (not prime), but they were no where near fast enough.

I got a great deal on the XTi. It came with the kit 18-55mm 3.5-5.6 lens AND a Quantaray 70-300mm zoom lens. I got it on Black Friday before noon, so it was only $699 for the whole set at Wolf Camera. Pretty awesome deal.

Thanks again, JohnG!

Oh, and five40kix, I agree with JohnG. I have been debating those exact cameras for a long while. I did lots of research. This thread just helped me make up my mind. Spend the extra money and step up to the XTi. I know that budgets are evil, but you will have buyers remorse if you opt for the cheaper Canon. However, the XT is still a great little camera in its own right. I decided the extra features and nice increase in MP was worth it. I usually don't print large photos, but do take advantage of the ability to crop heavily with the extra MP. It makes a big difference.

This is my first dSLR, although I did have a pro-sumer Nikon SLR a few years back. I am stepping up from a nice Sony H1 with a 12x super zoom. A fantastic point and shoot outfilt. It just is not fast enough for the low light gyms I have to shoot in.

Good luck with your decision!

Thanks to all! I am happy with my purchase!

Del
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Old Nov 27, 2007, 2:37 PM   #8
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Del,

Congratulations on your purchase

If you have questions about shooting stop by the sports forum and post some examples and ask for help. While I don't know how many folks are shooting martial arts, there are a lot of shooters shooting other low light sports.

I would also highly recommend going to a couple classes to take photos and get familiar with your son's forms. That way you can get a feeling for what moments are good to try and capture and where you need to be to capture them. AND you get practice on your technique. Don't wait for the competition or test to take your shots. Low light sports shooting takes a lot of practice on your part. And then post and get some feedback - you'll be surprised how much better shots you get after getting and employing advice from others that have learned how to shoot sports.

Good luck! And, looking forward tot seeing some of your work down in the sports forum!
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Old Nov 27, 2007, 9:51 PM   #9
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John,

Thanks again for your input. At this time I have made a purchase based on your recommendation. This will also be a replacement for our point and shoot, so I did get the standard kit lens. I'll be looking into getting the other lens recommendations in the future, but this is good for now.
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Old Nov 28, 2007, 1:20 AM   #10
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I always think Canon is a good brand to go
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