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Old Mar 5, 2008, 10:02 PM   #11
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Christy, sometimes I think the kids in white in the soccer shots are mine, but I'm only their high school soccer coach--my youngest used up the last of his eligibility several years ago, lol. (I should point out that each of the soccer shots was actually shot by my student manager with my camera, then turned over to me for editing, etc. The basketball shot is mine.)

I did a little checking on the K100d. It has recently been replaced in the Pentax line by the K200, but I thought it would still be easy to find one. However, adorama and B & H, the two online stores in which I have the greatest confidence, have sold out of them. I did find a few on Amazon.com, selling through "Amazon partners," generally for about $ 450 with an 18-55mm kit lens. Before you buy from one of these "partners," though, I would check the store's ratings through www.resellerratings.com . Some of them are excellent. Others are "buyer beware." But, the bottom line is that you should be able to find one with the kit lens, and then order the FA-50mm f1.4 for about $ 190 or so from Adorama or B & H, still coming in well below your budget of $ 800.

I'm not familiar enough with the Canon camera to have an opinion on it. I do know that the 85mm f1.8 lens is outstanding for sports shooting. It's superior to the 50mm lens I use simply because of a little more reach. I've seen some wonderful shots taken with it. I'm not sure how high the ISO goes on the EOS 350D, but I know I would like to have ISO 3200 available for basketball for use in really bad gyms. (That's one of the drawbacks of the Pentax K10d that I use--top ISO is only 1600.)

One advantage the Pentax has is in-camera image stabilization. That can be a real help at times. Because its stabilization is in the camera, rather than in the lens, as it is in the Canon, any lens you use with the Pentax would be stabilized.

Regardless of which way you go, I think you will be far more pleased by going the DSLR route than P & S. A DSLR is a little more work, but the photo quality is so much better, it makes it worthwhile.
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Old Mar 6, 2008, 9:33 AM   #12
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ChristyKay1 wrote:
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Thank you allfor your kind posts. Jim, budget is a concern right now...we're in the midst of an international adoption. Can I pull this off for $800 or less to get started?
Yes, and there's nothing that says you need to buy all the lenses you may want later at once either.

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Your advice for starting with Canon...if I'm looking at the EOS 350D RebelXT and the Canon Standard EF USM Lens--85mm F/1.8, would I be on the right track? I'm assuming I'd need another lens to shoot "regular stuff" (non sports)? Any suggestions? (I know I won't be getting a camera and 2 lenses for under $800).
Within your budget for indoor sports, that's probably your best bet, and it looks like you could squeeze a new system with an 18-55mm zoom and 85mm f/1.8 into $800. Here is good price on the XT Kit from a reputable vendor. The 85mm is out of stock at many dealers right this minute. But I see that keh.com (very reputable) has them brand new right now at $339.

Canon Rebel XT with Canon EF-S 18-55mm lens for $442.99 with free shipping from buydig.com

Canon 85mm f/1.8 USM Autofocus Lens for $339 new at keh.com

Then, buy a longer lens for outdoor activities later as budget permits if you want something longer than the kit lens and 85mm provide.

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Also, I would love recommendations for good used equipment dealers.
http://www.keh.com

http://www.bhphotovideo.com

http://www.adorama.com

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Can you recommend a good book to get me started?
I think Canon might have online tutorial somewhere to help you become familiar with their cameras. You'll see the same thing from other manufacturers. I'd have to dig around for links.

Take a look at this thread for some tips on shooting indoor sports (see the posts in it from JohnG on technique for basketball).

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fo...mp;forum_id=82

I think the 85mm would be your best bet for most indoor sports. There is another way to approach it with your budget. You could spend more on a better body (better AF system, etc.), and try to get by with a 50mm lens instead. For example, Canon's newer XTi has an improved AF system (same as used in the EOS-30D now). But, I'd probably lean towards going with the better 85mm lens instead from most vantage points.

The 85mm f/1.8 usually the lens of choice with Canon sports shooters for most indoor sports.

P.S.

With have a few Canon shooters here that could probably comment on suitability, too (better body versus better lens within your budget) that are more familiar with these systems. I sent a note to Mark1616 and JohnG (two of our members that shoot a lot of sports with Canon gear) to see if they may have time to comment on it.

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Old Mar 6, 2008, 9:57 AM   #13
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Jim is right that a lot of us when shooting sports indoors will use the 85mm f1.8 as it gives a reasonable range and is bright enough to allow you to shoot. There is a 100mm f2 that gives a bit more range and then going crazy on price the 135mm f2 but you are blowing your budget with just the lens!!! To give you an idea of the range you will be shooting at with the 85mm, basically from the corner of a BBall court to the net is good. If you were going with the 50mm you would want to shoot from under the net.

So getting the package as suggested of the 350D/XT kit and adding the 85mm is a good option.

I'm going to be covering a gymnastics event this weekend and I know I will be getting some use out of my 85mm f1.8 as well as a couple of other longer lenses.
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Old Mar 6, 2008, 11:58 AM   #14
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Welcome to Steves. Generally we're a much friendlier bunch than what you experienced at the camera store. We've all been where you are and more importantly we're here to help, not sell products.

I'm going to echo what's been said but put it more bluntly - there is no comparison whatsoever between the best digicam on the market and what a DSLR can do for you with regards to the sporting. For other uses, yes, but not for low light sports.

I will also state you'll see a very noticable improvement in performance with Canon over the current pentax offerings. Low light focusing is better, servo (continuous focus) is MUCH better and you have a much better availability of sporting lenses. Pentax is a great system but not for sports work. So, you may save a little $$$ on the body but in the end you'll get much lesser results. Nikon is a great sporting system as well - but for your needs, the entry level nikons (d40/d40x) won't work and the d80 is too pricey.

Now, here's the rub - everything is a trade-off. I'm going to present some options but ultimately you'll have to decide which option is best for you.

Canon 350d (XT) $443 and kit lens or canon 400d and kit - $577 both at buydig.com

This is the first decision point. The 400d has a MUCH better focus system than the 350d. That focus system will greatly help your sports shots. IMO it is absolutely worth the extra $135 - but it's your money.

Canon 50mm 1.8 $70 vs 85mm 1.8. $360 The 85mm is definitely the better choice. It is faster to focus, sharper and will give you more reach. But you're on a budget. So I mention the 50mm because you COULD buy it and next year upgrade to the $85. This is a much cheaper upgrade than starting with the 350d and wanting to upgrade camera bodies later.

What about Africa? The kit lens, when stopped down will take care of all your wide angle work. But you have to decide if you want telephoto or not. You're not going to have enough coin for a good telephoto lens. BUT you could get a sigma 70-300 for about $200. Obviously there are better lenses out there but the starting price is about $560 for those and the price goes up rapidly.

For your viewing pleasure, here are some shots from the Canon 20d and 85mm 1.8. The 400d has a slightly better focus system than this 20d did so image quality will be comparable:















Quote:
For shooting sports you will need at least a 200mm lens not an 85mm. 200 - 400mm is the length your after for most sports.
I just wanted to address this point. Required focal length is dependant upon the sport in question. Since we were talking poorly lit gyms I assume basketball, volleyball and gymnastics. In those cases, aperture is more important than reach. Seeing as a 135mm 2.0 lens is $1000 trying to use long focal lengths is cost prohibitive.


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Old Mar 6, 2008, 2:11 PM   #15
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Wow, you guys are AWESOME. My son's a basketball playerand my daughter is a competitive gymnast, so I'd love to get shots like you're getting, JohnG.

I will digest all of this great information. Thank you again for your patience and your willingness to help someone getting started. I hope to pay it forward someday!

ChristyK

P.S. I do have to say camera-store-lady couldn't have been all bad, she was the one who recommended this site! :-)
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Old Mar 12, 2008, 2:42 PM   #16
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Sorry, but I'm back. I've decided to buy a Canon XTi camera body and to invest some decent money in this thing. I was going to buy the kit with the 18-55 mm lens included, but I've been readingthat that lens isn't the greatest and it would be better to invest in something else.Do you agree?

Also, I'm rearranging my priorities a bit -- with indoor sports over for the season, I'd like wait too invest in thatlens -- we were talking about the 85 mm f/1.8 --until the fall (unless it would be an appropriate lens for some of the other uses I've listed below).

Now I'm looking for a good lens for Africa first-- we're going to Ethiopia, so it won't be a safari or anything with moving animals, more landscapes/street scenes. Can you recommend a decent, economical lens for that purpose? I'm getting dangerous enough to guess I'll want a 28 mm or lower?

Oh, but there's little league to consider this summer too. Hmm...best lens for that?

And lastly, how about a lens for indoor shots in low light? Looking to capture a fast-moving toddler.

Can I kill any of the two birds above with one stone?

I've been trying to research a lot and make some of these decisions myself, but honestly, I'm just scared to make the wrong move here with so much $$ involved.

Thank you, thank you again for your time and patience.
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Old Mar 12, 2008, 3:19 PM   #17
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No worries about asking questions. It's why we're here.

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Also, I'm rearranging my priorities a bit -- with indoor sports over for the season, I'd like wait too invest in thatlens
sound decision. that lens can wait. It wont help you much for your other uses.
Quote:
Now I'm looking for a good lens for Africa first-- we're going to Ethiopia, so it won't be a safari or anything with moving animals, more landscapes/street scenes. Can you recommend a decent, economical lens for that purpose? I'm getting dangerous enough to guess I'll want a 28 mm or lower?
Actually you'll probably want a lens of 17mm or 18mm. But for street scenes and landscapes you'll be stopped down. So the kit lens might not be a bad choice. Stopped down to f8 it's not too bad. They do have a redesigned version with IS that performs even better. So you could consider that if you want to spend a little extra money.

Quote:
Oh, but there's little league to consider this summer too. Hmm...best lens for that?
I missed this requirement initially. For little league you'll need a 200-300mm lens.
The least expensive option is the Sigma 70-300. It costs less than $200. It isn't fast to focus, it is not sharp between 200-300mm and it will be useless in marginal lighting (i.e. it has to be bright daylight not twilight or under lights or even heavy overcast). But, it's <$200.
The next option up is the Canon 70-300 for $560. It's sharper, faster to focus but still a 5.6 aperture lens so you cant use it in poor lighting for the baseball. Above that, things get expensive quickly - next stop $1000. So I think the next level is out of the question for now.

Quote:
And lastly, how about a lens for indoor shots in low light? Looking to capture a fast-moving toddler.
As I've said elsewhere, you'll want an external flash for this. There are just too many situations where you won't have enough light for a fast prime to get the shot. Invest instead in the Canon 430ex flash. You'll get every shot you want to get. You can also invest in a 50mm 1.8 lens ($75) which will allow you to get some nice shallow DOF shots (where the background is blurred). But in my experience there are WAY, WAY too many situations where a 1.8 lens wont give you fast enough speeds to freeze the motion of your toddler.
Here's an example to illustrate.
This shot was shot near a window with sunlight coming in nearby (although not directly on my son). This is the last shot in a sequence of his first steps.

It was shot at f2.8, ISO 6400 and 1/125 shutter speed. I show this shot because it was taken in a real-life situation, in a house, in daytime and a relatively slow moving child (first steps). Notice the legs are sharp but there's blur at the head - that's motion blur. Now, if you had a 1.8 lens your shutter speed would be 1/320 - enough to get rid of that blur. BUT, you don't have ISO 6400. You would have ISO 1600. So that 1/320 shutter speed becomes 1/80. That would show much more blur. AND, a toddler moves a lot faster.



So I think if you're going to try and count on a fast lens to shoot your fast moving toddler indoors you'll be very disappointed with the results.

wheras with a flash you can freeze the motion of your toddler moving:





Yes, it takes practice to get good flash shots. But there really isn't an alternative. BUT, it really takes an external flash - not the built in one. You need more power, faster recycle times, the ability to bounce the light (flash heads tilt and swivel so you bounce light instead of flashing it directly on your subject).














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Old Mar 12, 2008, 7:38 PM   #18
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JohnG, so which lens were you using with the flash to get the last shots of that beautiful child?
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Old Mar 12, 2008, 7:48 PM   #19
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ChristyKay1 wrote:
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JohnG, so which lens were you using with the flash to get the last shots of that beautiful child?
24-105L

Fantastic lens - but at $1000 I think it breaks your budget


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Old Mar 12, 2008, 8:09 PM   #20
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YIKES! What are you feelings on this deal?

http://www.adorama.com/ICADRXTIBK2.h...amp;item_no=10

I'm all confused again and ready towimp outand buy a Canon Powershot G9.:?
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