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Old Feb 2, 2008, 3:48 PM   #1
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Hi,

I currently have a Sony DSC-W7 with 3x telephoto lens and am starting to find it inadequte for taking actions shots.

Most of the action shots I want to take are of professional tennis tournaments, from a reasonable distance away, and at the moment they are coming out blurry if there is any sort of movement from the player (which is awkward as most decent tennis players don't stay still for too long :-)). Most of these are outdoor tournaments, but occasionally they are indoor. Also, I probably wouldn't have any sort of tripod to hand.

I am guessing that I need to be thinking about DSLR, which is fine by me, but there are SO many choices out there, can anyone please help. I'd probably be looking to spend no more than about £500 in total for body, lens(es), memory card and other bits. Also, I'm happy to buy second hand if it means I can get a high quality camera that will last for many years.

Thanks in advance,
Chris
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Old Feb 3, 2008, 11:01 AM   #2
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Chris,

500 is cutting it very short. There are options, but it depends on what level of quality you are willing to accept. You're not going to get very high quality shots spending that amount of money so you need to decide:

Do you want some shots w/o the blur but still so-so quality for under 500

or

do you want higher quality shots in which case your budget needs to go way up

Both are legitimate choices.

Also you may have to accept the fact that indoor meets are probably unrealistic w/o spending significantly more money.

Also, if you had to estimate your distance from the court, what would it be? This will give us an idea of what focal length you need.


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Old Feb 3, 2008, 2:12 PM   #3
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At that budget I'd consider a Nikon D40 which is available with an 18-55 zoom for £300. A D40X if I could find one at the right price but they're in short supply now Nikon has stopped manufacturing them in favour of the D60 which will be expensive when it first comes out. Jessops may have the D40x at £400 with a £40 cashback so final cost £360.



The D40, D40x and D60 only auto focus with AF-S lenses so that's a bit limiting on the choice of lenses as these tend to be more expensive, however there are more becoming available probably because of the D40 etc.

So with the money and AF-S limitation I'd look at the Sigma 55-200 HSM for £145. http://www.warehouseexpress.co.uk/?/...Nikon.html#d40You need to make sure that you get an HSM version Sigma's version of AF-S.

Finally I buy my SD cards here http://www.7dayshop.com/catalog/defa...EARCH&comp= at a fraction fo the high street price, 2Gb from £4.99 + postage.




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Old Feb 3, 2008, 3:31 PM   #4
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Nagasaki wrote:
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So with the money and AF-S limitation I'd look at the Sigma 55-200 HSM for £145.

Depending on distance, 200mm may not be long enough. 200mm is good for about 25-30 yards / meters of coverage and that's it. That's why it's important to get more info from the OP.
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Old Feb 3, 2008, 3:32 PM   #5
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Thanks for all the advice.

JohnG - I am happy to accept that indoor shots may not look too great. Most of the shots will be outdoor. As for the distance away I'll be - that depends on how good the tickets I can get are. Typically, it's about 30m, but could be anything from 10m to 50m. And when you say that my budget needs to go "way up", how much do you think I'd need to spend, and what sort of kit should I be buying?

Nagasaki - Thanks for the suggestions. I'd been looking at the D40x, and also the Canon 350D or 400D. So, is the D40x a better choice for me?

Thanks again, Chris.


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Old Feb 3, 2008, 5:42 PM   #6
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I agree that 200mm might not be long enough but looking around that is the combination that comes in on budget. It's always possible to buy a camera and lens combination now and buy longer lenses later, as long as you're happy with the body.

It'd be worth getting your hands on the cameras to see which feels best as ergonomics are important when using a camera.

But a Canon or a Nikon and you'll be getting a good camera. The extra focus point in the Canons would be a bonus to me. But the 400d would be pushing your budget a bit.
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Old Feb 3, 2008, 8:07 PM   #7
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for high quality shots you could start at $1000 USD just for a lens. Medium quality would be about a canon 70-300 lens ($560 USD).

For indoor tennis you would need a 2.8 lens - at least a 70-200 - least expensive option would be a sigma 70-200 2.8 (about $850) and even then results would be mediocre for tennis without above-ISO 1600.

I'll chew it over and see what I would recommend in Nikon - but I'm thinking you'd want a 300mm lens at least.
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Old Feb 15, 2008, 11:42 AM   #8
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Thanks again for all the suggestions. I've been doing some research on the internet and in some digicam magazines.

To get me started I could buy the canon 400D with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens for £460. I can then get an EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS for another £210. (Yes, I know that's a bit more than I wanted to spend, but it's only money :-))

The cheapest telephoto lens I can see that has f/2.8 is about £700, so there's no way I can afford that. So, if I go for the f/4-5.6 tele lens, will this be OK for outdoor sports shots, or would I be wasting my time and money?

Also, I've just read about the 450D, and am getting tempted by that, depending on the price.

I'm leaning towards Canon over Nikon at the moment, as I like what I've read about their cameras in terms of fast focussing, and if I really get into digicam, I'd be more happy to upgrade along the route of 40D, etc, and still be able to use my old lenses
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Old Feb 20, 2008, 6:35 PM   #9
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Chris,

First off, the 55-250 isn't out yet so there isn't a lot of first hand info on it. But it is designed to be a budget lens not a sporting lens. Sharpness should be decent but not stellar but Af will be on the slow side.

Realize though that the lens will only be good in bright daylight. If it isn't bright, the 5.6 aperture wont give you fast enough shutter speeds. Also realize, you'll want to be within about 30 meters of the PLAYER you're shooting - not just the court. So even if you're 25 meters from the court itself, that's only 5 meters worth of court coverage. All in all, I wouldn't anticipate a lot of success unless you're really close.

It sounds like a nice inexpensive budget lens for people that want a little reach but don't have high demands. If you have other non-sporting uses for the lens it might be a nice inexpensive option - but it's a bit on the short side and on the narrow (aperture) side to be of great use for your needs if you want to use it primarily for tennis. It all depends how often you want to shoot tennis and what your expectations are.
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Old Feb 22, 2008, 8:01 AM   #10
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Chris, I shoot tennis on a regular basis, and I would echo John's comments about 200mm just being too short. I'm a high school tennis/soccer coach, so when I shoot tennis, I do so from courtside, and I still use a 70-300 Tamron most of the time. (outdoor, daylight only). I think with the 55-200, you would find yourself greatly wanting the extra reach.

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