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Old Mar 12, 2008, 8:44 PM   #1
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Hello everyone.

I currently use a Nikon Cool Pix 8800; which I really like and enjyoy. However, I want more.

I am looking for a new camera that offers a further reaching, wide angle lens.

I was told that I could get a dSLR that would offer what I am wanting.

I would like your opinions and advice on what camera you thing would give me what I am looking for. I would certainly appreciate any help/advice you have time to give.

What I want to do is be able to stand a good distance from my subject and get a close up photo that has great detail and is not grainy!

Also, be able to sit in the stands at a hockey or football game and be able to zoom in and get a good photo.

I also want to be able to be far enough away from wildlife that they do not pay attention to me and get a good photo.

I cant say what I think "is a good distance" but the further away I can get, the better. I think a good distance may be 50 feet.

I am asked often to bring my camera to various social functions and really enjoy taking the photos.

I am not a professional but have been offered an opportunity to take phots for pay for things like people horses, them riding thier horses, people at horse events, etc and this very well may grow to be something I could keep busy at part time.

I am not efficient in any photo editng program either. I have PSE 3 and know the basics but my goal is to get a great photo with my camera and not spend a lot of time in an editing program. There are some little things I want to learn to do like whiteing the eyes or teeth.

I hope I have given enough info that you can make a recommendation. In teh mean time I will be doing some research to learn what a dSLR offers vs the camera where you have to have a lens to attach.

Thank you!

~Christina in TX~
http://www.annekesfriesians.com(A Friends Site - Friesiain Horses)
http://www.pleasanthillfarmsllc.com (Family Biz - Friesian Horses/Hay/Dairy)
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Old Mar 12, 2008, 9:08 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forums.

I've moved your post to our What Camera Should I Buy Forum ( the forum we have setup for this question).

So, hopefully you'll get some responses from members with suggestions.

Your Nikon Coolpix 8800 has a lens with a 35mm equivalent focal range of 35-350mm.

One thing to keep in mind when shopping for lenses is that they will appear to be longer on an entry level DSLR model, because these models use an APS-C size sensor that's smaller than 35mm film.

For example, with most entry level DSLR models, you'd multiply the focal length of a lens by approximately 1.5x to see what focal length lens you'd need on a 35mm camera for the same angle of view (apparent magnification).

So, a 50mm lens on most of the Nikon DSLR models would have the same angle of view that a 75mm lens would on a 35mm camera (50mm x 1.5 = 75mm).

That's one reason most of the kit lenses you'll see bundled with DSLR models start out at around 18mm (because they'll appear to be a bit longer). For example, an 18-55mm lens on an entry level Nikon model would have the same angle of view that you'd get using a 27-82mm lens on a 35mm camera.

That would probably be a good focal length to start out (around 18mm), if you want something wider than your Coolpix 8800 provides (which is equvalent to 35mm on it's wide end).

For the longer end, if you went with a two lens solution including a 70-300mm lens, you'd have the same angle of view using it that a 105-450mm lens would on a 35mm camera (again, just multiply the focal length by 1.5 to see what lens it would compare to on a 35mm camera). So, that would be longer than your 8800 provides (it's long end is equivalent to a 350mm lens on a 35mm camera). But, that still may not be quite as long as desired if you are not shooting from close enough.

For best results, you'll want more than one lens to cover that kind of range (versus trying to do it with a single lens, since manufacturers must make optical compromises to get that kind of range in one lens, and you'll be able to get better quality using lenses with less ambitious focal ranges from wide to long).

I'd give members a better idea of what kind of budget you have for better responses, as well as more information on the conditions you plan on using a camera in.

A ballgame in the daytime is one thing. But, a night game is something else entirely and would require a much brighter (meaning, larger, heavier and more expensive) lens so that shutter speeds are fast enough to reduce motion blur from subject movement.

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Old Mar 13, 2008, 10:46 AM   #3
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You don't say what you budget is. But, you're either going to need a very hefty budget or you're going to have to reign in your expectations.

Wildlife. What types of wildlife - that will determine the focal length you need. a 300mm lens (450mm equivelent) is the minimum you need if you are doing more than the occasional snapshot. 400mm is more common and 500, 600mm are desirable. Those types of lenses start costing a lot of money. So you have to deccide how important wildlife shooting is and whether you want to spend the money to get the shots you want.

Shooting football from the stands. You mention "good shots" - good is relative. In my opinion it's impossible to get good shots from the stands of the action- you're too far away and the angle is wrong. Putting that asside, it also depends on what type of football. If you're talking varsity football under the lights you need a lens with a 2.8 aperture. You can get a sigma 70-200 2.8 for about $850 but a 200mm lens is only good for about 25 yards of coverage (so again, no real good shots from the stands as you're probably 15-20 yards from the sideline.

With hockey it will depend on your seats. You'll still need at least a 2.8 lens unless it's a pro rink in which case f4 is doable. Depending on your seats though you have the problem of the glass - it will mess with your autofocus if you have to shoot through it and aren't within a foot of it. If your seats are higher up you're shooting down on your subject so you wont see faces well - so IMO it's tough to get a 'good' shot.

But, here is my advice - if wildlife and sports are important to you - lots of people will give you advice that dont actually shoot either. And both are difficult and equipment matters greatly. So my advice is this: if someone is recommending a solution to you, you should ask for photos so you can judge for yourself the quality of the work the gear produces. And, there are a ton of people that shoot sports and wildlife. So if you can't find one on this or other forums that use a given camera & lens to shoot the sports or wildlife that should bea red flag. Best case, the equipment is new and unproven in the field (lots of things look great until people actually test them in the field and the flaws start showing up) or worst case it's a very poor solution so the people shooting sports / wildlife have avoided using it.

If the sports and wildilfe are not important but just a nice-to-have then I would suuggest you not factor it in to your decision too much as it costs a lot of $$$ to get lenses and cameras capable of doing a good job in these areas.
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Old Mar 13, 2008, 11:58 AM   #4
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Christina88 wrote:
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I am not a professional but have been offered an opportunity to take phots for pay for things like people horses, them riding thier horses, people at horse events, etc and this very well may grow to be something I could keep busy at part time.
I'd like to supplementthe wealth of information provided by JimC and JohnG with some info about shooting equestrian events.

What you'd use depends on what types of equestrian sports you'll be shooting. I photograph my wife and others mostly when they compete, or prepare to compete, in Dressage. Dressage happens in a 20x60m show ring (sometimes in a 20x40m ring at the lower levels of competition (... in the USA only, btw.)), and I can generally get pretty close. For that, I can use a 70-210 (on a dSLR with an APS-C size image sensor) to capture the action wherever in the ring it might be happening. For outdoor events, a maximum aperture of f/4.0 is good enough to keep the shutter speeds high enough to avoid motion blur. But for indoor, you should go with f/2.8 instead, and that still may not be fast enough.

Since the Dressage Ring is not an odd size for equestrian sports, that same kind of lens would work well for Cutting, Stadium Jumping, Barrel Racing, etc.,if you can get close. For Show Jumping, Polo, Racing, Rodeo, etc., or events where you can't get close, you'll need a longer lens, but longer lenses usually have smaller maximum apertures (larger f-numbers) which means you'll have to use slower shutter speeds (risking motion blur) or higher ISO settings (risking noise.) Other alternatives, of course, are to wait for the horse to get within the range of the 70-210, or do a lot of cropping.





One thing I have noticed is that people will spend ridiculous amounts of money on their horses and horse related activities, so whatever you decide to get, it could quickly pay for itself.

Edit: ... for spelling. [suB][/suB]

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Old Mar 13, 2008, 12:21 PM   #5
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TCav wrote:
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For that, I can use a 70-210 (on a dSLR with an APS-C size image sensor) to capture the action wherever in the ring it might be happening.
I rarely post links to other forums... But, since you like to shoot horses using a "Beercan" (Minolta 70-210mm f/4 Macro Lens), I'll make an exception, since you may be able to appreciate the difference in AF speed with the newer Sony bodies shooting moving horses (allowing lenses like your beercan to focus much faster).

You'll see that he broke them up into a 3 part series within the thread. All were taken using a Sony A700 wearing a Beercan (a lens with a reputation for slow Autofocus Speed on a KM DSLR body).

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/re...ssage=26796544

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Old Mar 13, 2008, 12:27 PM   #6
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I shot this in the best lit indoor riding ring I've ever seen. I was using a 135mm f/2.8 lens wide open, and an ISO setting of 800. I still could only get a shutter speed of 1/60, which resulted in a fair amount of motion blur.
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Old Mar 13, 2008, 12:44 PM   #7
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Skijoring!?!?!

I used to think Hunting was the stupidest equestrian sport I ever saw.

Skijoring!?!?!

BTW, thanks for that, but I've had good luck with the autofocus of my Beercan. There are times when I've been taking continuous shots (3fps) where one shot will be in focus on the horse/rider, the next shot will be in focus on something closer (like a trainer between me and the horse/rider), and the next will be in focus on the horse/rider again.
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Old Mar 13, 2008, 12:46 PM   #8
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His third set is a good example of how much better the A700 is with that kind of thing, where he's got a sequence of shots with the horse/rider getting closer and closer at 5fps.



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