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Old Jun 9, 2008, 1:15 PM   #1
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Iam looking to switch from point and shoot to SLR camera. I am considering the following: Canon Rebel XTI and Nikon D40, D40X or D60. My main goal is to be able to shoot continuous action/sports and be able to shoot from a decent distance. I am looking for a very short lag time and start up lag time. I guess I would also need a decent lens. I heard that Nikon d40 is best for close-ups and Rebel - for action shots. Can this be substantiated or this is just personal opinion?

If I get either one - can I get by with 15-55mm lens that comes with these cameras? I heard that it is "OK". Is it worth to get into SLR market with this kind of lens or this would be the same as high end point and shoot? I basically would use the camera for taking pics during parties, concerts, recitals as well as outside sports, i.e. skateboarding.


In a nutshell, I will be mostly taking pics of "moving" people.



Also, how difficult would it be for a newbie like me to make a switch from point and shoot to SLR? Should I just stick to high end point and shoot?



Thanks
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Old Jun 9, 2008, 2:08 PM   #2
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For action shots, the Canon would be a much better choice than the Nikon D40/D40X/D60.

Any dSLR is capable of taking better shots than any P&S, but with a dSLR the limiting factor is most often the photographer. A dSLR has a lot more options and capabilities than a typical P&S digicam, and it will take a while for you to get used to them, but the effort will pay off in spades.

The kit lens is a good starting point, but it does not have the range of the zoom lens on a typical P&S digicam. For some of what you say you want to do, you will definately need additional lenses.

For outdoor sports (Football, soccer, baseball, etc.) a 75-300 like the Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 APO DG MACRO or Tamron AF70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di LD Macro are good, reasonably priced lenses that are available for most dSLRs. They might also be good for skateboarding, but they migfht be a little long.

For parties, you could get away with the kit lens and a flash. For concerts and recitals, plus parties if you don't want to use a flash, you'll need something with a large aperture. The largest aperture available on a zoom lens is f/2.8 which might be ok for some things, but not for others. For that, your best bet would be some of Canon's large aperture primes, like a 50mm f/1.8, 85mm f/1.8 or a 100mm f/2.0.
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Old Jun 9, 2008, 2:13 PM   #3
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Welcome to the forums. BTW, it's not a good idea to change the text colors from the defaults.

Otherwise, your post may not be readable using some of the available "Board Themes" here (which use different foreground and background colors). For example, I can't read your post using the wowBB forum software's "Default" Board Theme (versus the "Shades" theme we preset new members to, since it matches the colors of Steve's main site). Press the My Account button at the top of the forums screen, go to the Preferences Tab, change your Board Theme from Shades to Default, press Save, and you'll see what I mean. Here's a direct link:

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fo..._preferences=1

So, I'll quote your post here so I can read it. ;-)

Quote:
I am looking to switch from point and shoot to SLR camera. I am considering the following: Canon Rebel XTI and Nikon D40, D40X or D60. My main goal is to be able to shoot continuous action/sports and be able to shoot from a decent distance. I am looking for a very short lag time and start up lag time. I guess I would also need a decent lens. I heard that Nikon d40 is best for close-ups and Rebel - for action shots. Can this be substantiated or this is just personal opinion?

If I get either one - can I get by with 15-55mm lens that comes with these cameras? I heard that it is "OK". Is it worth to get into SLR market with this kind of lens or this would be the same as high end point and shoot? I basically would use the camera for taking pics during parties, concerts, recitals as well as outside sports, i.e. skateboarding.

In a nutshell, I will be mostly taking pics of "moving" people.



Also, how difficult would it be for a newbie like me to make a switch from point and shoot to SLR? Should I just stick to high end point and shoot?



Thanks
What do you mean by action/sports photos? What conditions (night games under the lights, indoor sports, only daytime sports like baseball, etc.)?

That makes a huge difference in the lens choice needed (many lenses are much brighter than others, allowing faster shutter speeds for the same lighting and ISO speed), and the focal length needed also comes into the equation. The typical 18-55mm kit lenses are not bright enough for anything other than outdoor use, or indoors with a flash, and are nowhere near long enough for more sports (but, for skateboarding during the day, or using a flash at night, it's probably an OK choice).

For concerts and recitals, that's something different entirely. A Dance Recital may need a brighter prime (fixed focal length versus zoom lens) for acceptable results. For example, an 85mm f/1.8. The Nikkor offering like that won't even Autofocus on a D40, D40x or D60, because unlike every other Nikon dSLR ever made, these models require lenses with built in focus motors (Nikon stripped the built in focus motor from these camera bodies when they designed them, probably to keep costs down and sell more Nikkor AF-S lenses, since many third party lenses won't Autofocus on these bodies).

I'd give members more information on the types of subjects *and* the conditions you want to shoot in for best responses.

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Old Jun 9, 2008, 2:21 PM   #4
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Transitioning from a p&s to a dSLR doesn't have to be "difficult" as long as you are willing to spend some time learning some basic photography principles, and will enjoy playing around (i.e., experimenting) with it to find the best combination of settings for your subject.

You are asking for a couple of things - low light and outdoor action. While the various kit lenses do a reasonable job outdoors and are usually very good value for the little extra they cost, I think you would find them too short for your skateboarding and outdoor sports pictures, especially since you say "from a distance". You'll probably want to look at buying a telephoto zoom right away - something that goes at least to 200mm (maybe longer).

If you really want pro-level sport shots, you'd probably want something beyond the entry level cameras and lenses. If that's your ultimate aim I'd probably choose the Canon with the idea of upgrading somewhere down the line (when you can afford to and when you know more) - the pro sports shooters I know all use Canon. On the other hand, I don't think there's a huge difference between Canon and Nikon at the entry level, at least as far as outdoor sports are concerned.

The problem comes in when you talk about concerts and other low light activities. Then Canon will have the edge over the D40/D60 cameras (at least right now). For low light photography you either need a flash or good high ISO capability along with a really fast lens. At the moment Nikon's fast prime lenses won't auto focus with the D40/D60 cameras (they don't have a focus motor in the camera so they can only AF with lenses that have their own motors). Canon's entry level cameras don't have that limitation, so the advantage here is to Canon, assuming that you'll buy a third lens - the fast prime lens.

For information- I don't use either Canon or Nikon, I'm a happy Pentax shooter.
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Old Jun 9, 2008, 5:58 PM   #5
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JimC wrote:
Quote:
Welcome to the forums. BTW, it's not a good idea to change the text colors from the defaults.

Sorry,JimC. This was not intentional. I had problems posting,I tried 3-4 times and it did not work for me. I also had problems with keeping the proper text colour so I gave up in the end and used yellow colour:O
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Old Jun 9, 2008, 7:08 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone. Ok, I guess I need to explain why I am looking at SLRs.

I presently own very old Fuji A330. It's ok for close-ups and outside shots but has terrible shutter lag. Recently I missed "Kodak" moments for my son's recital: I was not able to get one single decent shot....all were blurry! In addition, even though I was not too far from the stage, the focus was terrible. I was not able to get any decent pics of graduation ceremony and rock concerts (my son is in the rock band). So I was at the wedding and asked a pro who was taking wedding pics about cameras. He told me to get Canon Rebel XTI. And so I started researching but I realized with DSLR I need other accessories like lens, flash, etc. It does not end with just getting a basic kit. Of course it has to get complicated! So I am not sure if it is possible to find high end p &s with decent focus and shutter lag? I am debating whether I can still improve all aspects with entry level dSLR or perhaps I can get the same results with high end P&S? I do realize that the camera is perhaps only as good as the photographer. You need to be able to really know what you are doing and utilize all features to get the most with DSLR. With p&S the choices are kind of limited.

I am not planning to shot fast moving objectsbut I would like to be able to get spontaneous shot with ought someone stopping and posing for me. Also, I would like to be able to zoom in on the object from a decent distance.

I stillhave my Canon Sure shot Megazoom with 35-105mm lens which is much better than my p&s.The only draw back of course it is not digital.

I am not sure where to go from here: get DSLR basic kit like REBEL XTI or perhaps Nikon D60? Or go for high end P&S?




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Old Jun 9, 2008, 7:40 PM   #7
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For something like a recital, as I mentioned before, you'll need a bright lens like an 85mm f/1.8. For Canon dSLR models, you can get one for approximately $360

Non-dSLR models are not really very suitable for Indoor photos without a flash. They don't have high enough usable ISO speeds (which is how sensitive the camera's film or sensor is to light), and their lenses are not bright enough.

I'd probably avoid the D60 for that purpose (because this model doesn't have a built in focus motor and a brighter lens like the Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 won't Autofocus on this camera body. The Canon would be better suited for that type of photography, wearing a lens like the Canon 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens. This is not a zoom lens (you'd need to use your feet to get the framing you need).

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Old Jun 10, 2008, 8:29 AM   #8
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Thank you Jim. So, now I am beginning to think I better stick with P&S as a lot of this info goes over my head, which is ok. Perhaps I am not ready for DSLR. I hope you are not getting sick of my questions but is there a decent "action/sport" type p&s with min lag time? Being able to capture moving object would be # 1 goal for me, second being - good focus lens for distance shots and 3rd - decent ability to shoot in low light settings. I do realize most likelyI will not beable to get these 3 conditions in one camera ( especially low light setting) but would it be possible to get 2out of 3 ( speedy continuous shootingand distance shots?Thanks!!!!
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Old Jun 10, 2008, 8:43 AM   #9
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I don't keep up with the non-DSLR models that much. But, if you check out Steve's Best Cameras List here, you'll see a Super Zoom category. Read the review conclusion section for each model you're interested in. It's the last page before the sample images in each review here. That's where Steve discusses issues like Autofocus Speed, Cycle times between photos, number of photos in a burst before the camera slows down, etc.

As a general rule, non-DSLR models are nowhere near as good for Sports use as a dSLR. They use a Contrast Detection type AF system that is not as fast. Also, you run into issues like delay refreshing the Electronic Viewfinders making it more difficult to follow a moving subject (versus a through the lens optical viewfinder like you'd have in a dSLR model). You'll usually see some comments in the conclusion sections about the Electronic Viewfinder and any problems observed (for example, some electronic viewfinders will stay blacked out trying to use continuous mode).

A dSLR is a much better bet for that type of use.

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Old Jun 10, 2008, 11:54 AM   #10
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P.S.

If you can get closer to the stage, most dSLR manufacturers have a less expensive 50mm f/1.8 or brighter lens you could use for the recitals and other events on stage (or other indoor conditions when a flash is not allowed or not practical). The main exception is the Nikon entry level models like the D40, D40x and D60 (the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 or f/1.4 lenses won't Autofocus on these camera bodies).

But, Canon has an inexpensive 50mm f/1.8 Autofocus Lens you could use you can get for $100 or less, if the more expensive 85mm f/1.8 USM (around $360) is too high.

You'd just need to be a little closer to the stage for the same subject framing. A longer lens would work better for those types of shots. If the lighting is good enough, you might be able to get by with an f/2.8 zoom lens, too (but, a brighter zoom will cost you more).

Then, use the kit lenses for outdoor use (or indoors when you can use a flash). The problem is that these lens types are just not bright enough for indoor use without a flash when shooting non-stationary subjects (i.e., moving people).

I'd also take a look at the newer Sony models like the A200. If you shop around at vendors that carry used gear, you can find a bright Minolta 50mm f/1.7 Autofocus lens for around $100 that would work just fine on any of the Sony dSLR models (or you can get a new Sony 50mm f/1.4 Autofocus lens for around $329). A Minolta 85mm f/1.4 AF lens that works with the Sony lineup will cost you though (they tend to run $750 and up on the used market).

Pentax also has an inexpensive 50mm f/1.4 Autofocus lens that works on their dSLR models (but, the next step up is their 77mm f/1.8 limited which tends to run around $699).

If you want better results indoors without a flash, you'll want to move to a dSLR.

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