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Old Nov 30, 2007, 10:49 AM   #1
Ny
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I am looking for an entry level (i.e. cheap) digital slr that is suitable taking fast moving action shots, mostly of bmx, skateboarding etc, often in very low light places.

could you give me a few suggestions?
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Old Nov 30, 2007, 11:27 AM   #2
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You'll want a fast (i.e., bright) lens with larger (wider) available apertures (represented by smaller f/stop numbers) to have a chance without a flash in low light.

If light is good enough for a zoom, that means f/2.8 available throughout the focal range. For examle, something like a Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 (around $379 at B&H) for closer use, or a Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX lens ($889 at B&H) for further away use.

If light is dimmer, you may need a prime (fixed focal length versus zoom lens). For example, a Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC lens (around $429), 50mm f/1.8 (around $100 in most mounts), or a 85mm f/1.8 (over $300 in most mounts).

Some cameras won't autofocus with some of these lens types either. For example, the Nikon D40 and D40x will not Autofocus with a Nikon 50mm f/1.8 or 85mm f/1.8 Autofocus lens. These two Nikon models require lenses with a built in focus motor (either Nikkor AF-S lenses or Sigma HSM lenses).

So, look at lens availability and cost, too.

What do you mean by cheap (what's your total budget for camera and lenses)?

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Old Nov 30, 2007, 11:44 AM   #3
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low light, fast moving action.

Jim's advice is good. I'll suggest Canon, Nikon and Sony are the systems to look at. You need high iso performance and good low light focus tracking / continuous focus. These 3 systems offer the best focus tracking.

But there are some problems. If sony, that means the a700 ($1300) - that isn't cheap. The a100 I would say is outclassed by the competition FOR LOW LIGHT SPORTS (nice camera for other uses but not for this purpose).

In Nikon camp, Jim pointed out the problem with the nikon entry level models. It's a real shame not being able to use prime lenses with the d40/d40x right now. For that reason it's only a usable route if your lighting is good enough for a 2.8 af-s zoom lens (which of course is NOT going to be cheap) - inexpensive Tamron or Sigma mid zoom ranges won't work because they don't have focus motors (you would need an HSM Sigma lens which is expensive). The next step up the Nikon ladder is the D80. Not sure if that's in your price range or not.

In canon, you have the XT and then the XTi. The XTi has a much improved focus system over the XT - and for sports work that's very important.

You've also got potentially conflicting focal length needs depending on what style of shots you like to take. So you'll likely have to incur some compromises to keep costs down.


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Old Dec 1, 2007, 2:57 PM   #4
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well my budget is under 400 and as far as i know most things are the same price in sterling as they are in dollars so most of what you suggested is well out of my range
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Old Dec 1, 2007, 3:22 PM   #5
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You'll probably need to go with a 50mm prime (fixed focal length versus zoom lens) for the lower light conditions on a tight budget (and it may be a better choice anyway if you can get close enough).

You could try to get by on this kit if the exchange rate stretches far enough (I don't know what UK prices are right now):

Canon Digital Rebel XT/EOS-350D with Canon 18-55mm kit lens (around $500 for this kit in the U.S.) for walk around use in daytime and indoor use with flash; a Canon 50mm f/1.8 Autofocus Lens (around $100) for low light

The Canon XTi/EOS-400D will have better Autofocus if you can swing the budget.

If not, you may see if you can find a deal on a Pentax K100D kit with a 18-55mm lens, and get a Pentax 50mm f/1.4 Autofocus lens to go with it. The Pentax lens is more expensive compared to the Canon f/1.8 AF lens (the Pentax 50mm f/1.4 Autofocus lens sells for around $200). But, it's a brighter lens, and this camera body sometimes sells for very low prices. On the downside, you want have as many choices in longer bright Autofocus zooms and primes (like an 85mm f/1.8 ) as you would with a Canon solution.

There are pros and cons to either of these systems, and depending on the lighting, you may not get any keepers, even using a bright prime (50mm f/1.8, 50mm f/1.4), unless you can use a flash. But, you'll probably want a DSLR at a minimum for low light photos of moving subjects, and a bright prime would be a good idea (the kit 18-55mm zoom lenses won't be bright enough to prevent motion blur in less than optimum lighting without a flash).

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Old Dec 1, 2007, 3:49 PM   #6
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Maybe I misinterpreted what the OP is looking for, but I don't think a DSLR with a fast enough lens, with a big enough zoom range for bmx and skateboarding in low light are within the <$400 budget (or even close for that matter). Maybe the OP meant a digital camera rather than a DSLR (?).

Let us know, Ny.

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Old Dec 1, 2007, 4:16 PM   #7
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rinniethehun wrote:
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Maybe I misinterpreted what the OP is looking for, but I don't think a DSLR with a fast enough lens, with a big enough zoom range for bmx and skateboarding in low light are within the <$400 budget (or even close for that matter). Maybe the OP meant a digital camera rather than a DSLR (?).
Ny wrote:
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well my budget is under �400 and as far as i know most things are the same price in sterling as they are in dollars so most of what you suggested is well out of my range
Actually, I think the OP was talking about British Pounds Sterling. The exchange rate is 2.05669, which puts his 400 GBP at about 822.676 USD. That should cover a dSLR, presuming local prices aren't out of line.

A Canon 400D (our XTi) with the kit lens, at Jessops, is just over his budget, but with a 50 GBP rebate! The 50/1.8 seems expensive at 90 GBP though.
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Old Dec 1, 2007, 5:19 PM   #8
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We pay roughly in Pounds what you pay in Dollars - so about twice as much in real terms, other countries are even worse Africa, South America, India. They pay close to three times as much. Heck - even Japan and Hong Kong pay more for cameras than the USA.

Course that could all change if oil and gold prices get pegged against the Euro as they are making noises about doing. If that happens you're going to find out about inflation in a big way. Devaluing the dollar is a cheap way out of your debt crisis but the world won't put up with it forever.
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Old Dec 1, 2007, 7:33 PM   #9
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peripatetic wrote:
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We pay roughly in Pounds what you pay in Dollars - so about twice as much in real terms, other countries are even worse Africa, South America, India. They pay close to three times as much. Heck - even Japan and Hong Kong pay more for cameras than the USA.
Ok, but even so, B&H Photo Video in New York has the Canon XTi with the kit lens for 630 USD, while Jessop has it for 354 GBP (after rebate), so the Canon 400D (XTi) is within his budget.

Edit: There are rebates available in the US on the XTi, but they involve purchases in combination with other products.
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Old Dec 2, 2007, 6:46 AM   #10
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Hmm, looks like the exchange rate differential is starting to show up in prices now.

I must admit I hadn't compared prices for a year or so.

Additionally in the UK/Europe our prices always include VAT @17.5% whereas US sites usually add on Sales Tax afterwards - and of course that varies from 0%-12% or so depending on the state??

Once you add in the extra cost of shipping and the fact that most of your warrantees won't be valid it makes purchase from the US not terribly attractive. Usually only a 10-15% saving but you lose the warrantee.

But one of the forum members here from Johannesburg, South Africa pointed out that it was actually cheaper for him to fly to New York (20 hours) pay for a hotel for a week and buy all his Canon pro gear (4 L lenses and a couple of 1-series bodies) from B&H than it was for him to buy in SA.
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