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Old Jul 6, 2008, 10:53 PM   #1
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I need help picking my first SLR. I am looking at the Nikon D40 and D60. I will need this to do some action photos indoor and out of my childrens sporting events. As well as vacation and other normal uses. The indoor photos will be in a gym for basketball and at cheerleading competitions. Outdoors will be soccer and baseball games. Any help is appreciated.

Thanks,

Gary
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Old Jul 6, 2008, 11:24 PM   #2
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The honest drawbacks with either of these two cameras are the lenses that can be used on them. Both of these (fine) cameras may not be suited to use indoors with limited lighting because of the type of lenses available to use on them.

On the plus side Nikon makes VR lenses that will work on both cameras but the VR helps with vibration - not movement. You may want to consider the d80 and a fast prime lens like the 50mm 1.8 or the 85mm 1.8 (the d80 has a built in motor that will allow the use of the faster lenses the d40/60 don't have the motor).

The d40 is a great camera for the price.

http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d40.htm

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikond60/

Keep reading and hold the cameras before you buy one...
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Old Jul 6, 2008, 11:27 PM   #3
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The D40/D40X/D60 is not a good choice for sports/action photography.

It has a slower autofocus system than almost any other dSLR.

It doesn't have an internal autofocus motor so it won't autofocus the linds of lenses you'll need for indoor sports.

For indoor sports, you'll need a medium telephoto, large aperture (f/2.0 or better) lens, in order to use shutter speeds fast enough to capture the action. Since even the best zoom lenses only have maximum apertures of f/2.8 (or thereabouts), you'll need a prime (fixed focal length)lenses. Nikon's prime lenses won't autofocus on the dSLRs you're considering.

Take a look at the Sports & Action Photosforum and see what those people are using.
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Old Jul 7, 2008, 12:48 AM   #4
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no one entry-level DSLR shhots reasonably fast for sport shooting.
bottlenecks is IC's, buffer, and ... sensor.
Oly E-420 and Sony A-200 fastest, anway.
and i don't like Canon S1000d result.
and Sony A-350 have fasstest C-asisted-AF in LiveView(so i strongly suggest it to similar task)mode. i mean "fastest in market DSLR", not "fastest in entry-level DSLR"


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Old Jul 7, 2008, 7:32 AM   #5
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Actually, the concensus here seems to be that Canon's autofocus system is the fastest, even on the entry level XTi and XSi. And Canon seems to be a favorite of sports shooters.
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Old Jul 7, 2008, 8:18 AM   #6
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TCav wrote:
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Actually, the concensus here seems to be that Canon's autofocus system is the fastest, even on the entry level XTi and XSi. And Canon seems to be a favorite of sports shooters.
I would disagree...

Penn's cameras in the Washington DC area carry all four brands - You may want to try their AF out, and you'd be quite surprised by the Sony's AF performance (even without SSM)!
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Old Jul 7, 2008, 11:06 AM   #7
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Let's make sure we're talking real world here. There are TWO DIFFERENT aspects to af with regards to sports shooting:

1. speed / accuracy for initial focus

2. speed / accuracy for tracking subject.

I have never seen a test which measures number 2 above. It is extremely dangerous and flawed to rely on measurements for #1 only in determining how well a camera / lens will do for sports work. In the past there have been cameras that will do well on #1 - especially in good light. But they simply don't have the predictive focus capability to do well in #2 and/or their focus speed / accuracy goes down when light levels do.

Which, of course, is why most sports shooters rely on actual hands-on reports from other sports shooters.

Lots and lots of people out there shoot sports. My advice, as always, is to find examples of sports shots out there taken with a given camera / lens. If the camera is new (on market < 2 months) then look at it's predecessor. If you find some shots, contact the person with the shots and see if you can see gallery level results. Sports shooters do not take 1-2 shots they take galleries. If they don't have galleries to share, I would be very hesitant (i.e. if they end up with only 2 keepers out of 500 shots that's not a good thing). if you can't find sports shots from the given camera / lens then it means one of two things:

1. Best case - the camera is untested in the real world by a sports shooter.

2. Worst case - it has been used and the results aren't good enough to post or the user has moved on to another solution.

Sports shooting is VERY demanding of the gear. Lots of people out there who dont shoot sports have strong opinions on what is or is not a good solution.

Personally I can't say whether the Sony solution is as good or better than the Canon solution at the entry level. I haven't seen much sports work from sony users. Check over at www.dpreview.com or www.fredmiranda.com (looking at www.sportsshooter.com probably wont get you far as it's unlikely you'll find many people there with the entry level models you're considering).

I would also point out though that the body is only part of the solution. You need the right lens for the job too. The lens plays as much a role as the body does (unlike other areas the body is also critical since it has the predictive focus algorithms, controls frame rate, ISO etc...).

For the gym sports you'll need a lens capable of 2.0 or faster - that means a prime lens. 85mm 1.8 is a great lens for the job. But don't expect to use anything slower than 2.0 (i.e. not a zoom lens) if you want quality results.

For baseball or soccer, the right lens depends on field size (i.e. full size or smaller), your distance (i.e. shooting from dugout / touchline vs shooting from stands) and time of day (full daylight or dusk or night under lights). Those factors will determine what lens you need to be successful. I would caution you to price out the total solution BEFORE buying a camera / kit lens. Kit lenses from any manufacturer are not going to be good enough for your task. So you'll have to budget for buying the correct lenses.


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