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Old Aug 2, 2008, 11:52 PM   #1
q95
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I'm looking for my first DSL. 20 years ago, I had a 35mm SLR (Minolta) that I had for a few years. By no means, an expert or took thousands of shots. I'm early 40's and want one to shoot my older kids a bit before they get out of the house (soon). I probably should have gotten one 4 plus years ago when we got our latest point-n-shoot digital. Hopefully, when the kids get out of the house, this could be a hobby to keep me busy, probably taking shots of local HS sports, etc.

I intent to shoot:
  • football (Friday nights - under HS lights)[/*]
  • wrestling [/*]
  • lacrosse & soccer (afternoon and some evening/under lights)
[/*]
Plus, around the house (holidays, portraits, etc).

I believe I need/want these starter lenses (w/ IS/VR and USM/HSM):
  • 17-55 mm f2.8 (like quality of shots that I've seen) Don't want to waste money on kit lens if its not going to be useful. This may be useful for wrestling (close range)[/*]
  • 70-200 f2.8. I'd like a 100-300, but that looks way too spendy.[/*]
  • possibly an 85 mm f1.8 or 100 mm f2.0 for wrestling
[/*]
I have looked at:
  • Canon XSi. I think I'm now more familiar w/ their terminology and offerings, as I've spent a bit more time with their cameras. I liked the weight, feel and balance of the camera w/ kit lens. It has received a lot of great reviews.[/*]
  • Canon 40D. It seems more solidly built and has more height to grab onto, which may be nice w/ the larger lenses. Its faster (6 vs 3 fps) too, which may help w/ sports. Its a little bit more money, but not a huge jump.[/*]
  • Nikon D80. More the physical size & build of the 40D. A bit longer on the market. Nice cover over the LCD.
[/*]
I have some internal struggles convincing myself which way to go:
  • I'm willing to learn, but don't know a ton, so should I stay lower end and newer (XSi) ? Or get something to maybe last a bit longer and work my way into (more of a learning curve).[/*]
  • go cheaper of the above choices, and spend money on lenses.[/*]
  • are some features of 40D advantageous over XSi[/*]
  • go w/ Nikon vs Canon - at least the initial lenses that I looked at seemed to be a bit cheaper with Canon.
[/*]
My wife will probably not want to learn this level of camera, spend the time and learn to use it. But, she may use it some, especially with some default or programmed (by me) set-ups. Maybe my kids will even find they want to learn photography with it, but I imagine they won't get too far from me (cost, responsibility, etc).

Any suggestions or feedback ? I know there is no "correct" answer. Just lots of info to keep reviewing and decide. And, technology will keep changing.










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Old Aug 3, 2008, 4:22 AM   #2
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Hi q95 and welcome to Steve's.

I notice JohnG has given you a little info in the Sports section from his wrestling photography. John is probably the top sports shooter on here (really hope he doesn't read this as he will get a big head again!), so I would strongly take his advice on such matters.

As you are wanting to shoot sports and you are looking at indoor and football under the lights you are in the area which really stretches a camera to the max!!! Working under flood lights pretty much you need ISO 3200 so you are looking at the 40D, the XS is only going to give you ISO 1600. What does this mean (if you are not up to speed with everything yet)? Basically with the 40D you can shoot with twice the shutter speed of the XS. You will want to be using f2.8 glass so either the Canon or Sigma 70-200 will do the trick. I use the Canon 70-200 IS and John uses the non-IS, we also both use Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 lenses for most of our field work to get the extra length. Oh and we are using Canon 1D mkIII bodies, but that's just showing off . John did most of his sports shooting with a Canon 20D prior to this and I had the 30D, so the 40D is now the replacement and it gives you some wonderful features.

I would suggest getting a battery grip with which ever option you go for as this will allow easy portrait orientation shooting which is the main option when doing field sports. It will also give a nicer feel to the camera.

With the kit lens, it is OK but you will get much more pleasing results from the 17-55mm f2.8.

Now as for your wife using the camera she will be fine. Here is my gf shooting with my 5D (I'm in Egypt currently so have the 5D as a friend is getting married at the end of the week and I'm shooting that and want the top quality possible), she also has the Canon 70-200mm f2.8 so all in all this combo is weighing at 6lb..... and you probably can't tell for sure but she is only 4'11" tall and 80lb so it's all about determination. She is happy to use the kit as she likes the results much better than with a P&S camera so as long as she doesn't use it for too long she is fine.... after that she complains at me that it is too heavy!! Sorry for the low quality this is from my phone.



And this is the short of shot she was capturing.... this time I'm sorry about the bad model (me).



Hopefully that givesyou some food for thought on this subject.
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Old Aug 3, 2008, 6:50 AM   #3
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I'd like tosuppliment the excellent info you've already received with two points:
  1. If you have lenses for your 20 year old Minolta SLR, those same lenses will work fine on a new Sony dSLR.If any of those lenses might be appropriate for what you want to do now,choosing aSony dSLRcould save you some money.[/*]
  2. I have a Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 lens that I use for indoor/low light situations in addition to situations where I might use a kit lens. I highly recommend that you consider this lens.[/*]
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Old Aug 3, 2008, 11:25 AM   #4
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q95:

Between those choices, I'd go with the 40D. As Mark already pointed out, it's got ISO 3200 if you need it. It's going to peform a bit better at higher ISO speeds compared to the Nikon D80 you're looking at, too (which is using a Sony 10MP CCD sensor). In the Nikon lineup, the D300 would be a better choice for the type of shooting you want to do (it uses a newer Sony 12MP CMOS sensor and has a more advanced Autofocus System and more compared to the D80).

What Minolta lenses do you have? Are they Autofocus? If they're brighter, higher quality lenses, and they're Autofocus, then you may want to look at the Sony A700. The Sony dSLR models can use any Minolta Autofocus Lens (a.k.a., Maxxum, Dynax, Alpha, Minolta A Mount). Sony acquired Konica Minolta's camera related assets and has a new lineup of dSLR models that can use any Minolta AF mount lens. The current models are the Sony A200, A300, A350 and A700). Also, any lens you use on one of these models enjoys the benefits of a camera body based stabilization system.

Like the Nikon D300, the Sony A700 is using a Sony 12MP CMOS Sensor with ISO speeds up to ISO 6400 in 1/3 stop increments available with boost (although you really don't want to go much over ISO 3200 unless you have to). On the budget end, the Sony A200 (which like the D80 uses a Sony 10MP CCD) would be another option. But, the A700 would be your best bet for the types of subjects you're interested in (better AF system, build quality, sensor, etc.). Note that I'm probably a bit biased that direction, since I shoot with a Sony A700 now. ;-)

Another option may be the camera built into the Apple iPhone, with pretty good image quality and a bright f/2.8 lens on it (I'm only kidding). :-)

Mark:

I'm impressed with that photo of your girlfriend taken at f/2.8 (but, my EXIF readers are not showing me the other parameters). Dynamic Range and overall image quality are much better than I would expect from a camera phone.

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Old Aug 3, 2008, 1:48 PM   #5
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To clear things up ... I sold my whole Minolta set about 15 years ago. So, I'm starting fresh !
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Old Aug 3, 2008, 3:53 PM   #6
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JimC wrote:
Quote:
Another option may be the camera built into the Apple iPhone, with pretty good image quality and a bright f/2.8 lens on it (I'm only kidding). :-)

Mark:

I'm impressed with that photo of your girlfriend taken at f/2.8 (but, my EXIF readers are not showing me the other parameters). Dynamic Range and overall image quality are much better than I would expect from a camera phone.
The exif really doesn't say much on it so you know as much as me. It does an OK job but really is not sharp but fine for down sizing as here etc etc LOL
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Old Aug 4, 2008, 6:45 AM   #7
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Some additional thoughts:

17-55 will be too short for much of wrestling shots. It might give you some interesting shots as a 2nd lens on a 2nd body but not as a primary lens.

You'll also find 200mm very short for soccer and lax. It has a workable range of about 25 yards. Usable for football because of the ability to position yourself near the line of scrimage. But note - to be able to use the lens for ANY of these sports you need to be shooting from the field not behind thefence. I'll caution you ahead of time that if you don't have access to the field you'll spend a lot of money to get very mediocre results.

Assuming the sigma 120-300 2.8 is out of the budget, I'd recommend a 70-200 2.8 plus 1.4x TC (for use when lighting is good). Given that you need to shoot under lights you need 2.8 and this setup will give you the most flexibility.

For your indoor work, don't forget an external flash (430exii or 580ex). For around the house type shots - holidays and such, you can't rely on just fast lenses and built in flashes on all dslrs are pretty poor (OK for fill light but not much else).

As already mentioned - of the cameras you are considering the 40d is the best camera for the job.

Good luck!
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Old Aug 6, 2008, 10:59 PM   #8
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Thanks for all of the help. I'm about 98% sure that I'm going w/ the Canon 40D (especially if I pull the trigger before my friend, a long-time Nikon user, returns from vacation) !!

And, that Sigma 120-300 looks sweet, but out of my current budget !
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Old Aug 6, 2008, 11:15 PM   #9
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John,

Is this the 1.4 TC you suggested (at least the Canon brand):



http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/co...p;modelid=7462



I'm assuming an extender and teleconverter (TC) are the same.



For this one, it lists various 70-200 Canon lenses, but not the 70-200 f2.8 IS USM. Is there a reason, or just dated info ?




And, why do you suggest the 1.4x vs the 2x ?

http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/co...ModelDetailAct
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Old Aug 7, 2008, 2:29 AM   #10
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q95 wrote:
Quote:
John,

Is this the 1.4 TC you suggested (at least the Canon brand):



http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/co...p;modelid=7462



I'm assuming an extender and teleconverter (TC) are the same.



For this one, it lists various 70-200 Canon lenses, but not the 70-200 f2.8 IS USM. Is there a reason, or just dated info ?




And, why do you suggest the 1.4x vs the 2x ?

http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/co...ModelDetailAct
In this case Extender is the same as TC, however don't get this confused with extension tubes as these are completely different. They are hollow with no glass and are used in move the point at which the lens focuses allowing macro work from lenses not designed to focus so close.

If you have Canon glass, such as the 70-200 IS then you are better getting the Canon TC, it is the only one on the market that is weather sealed to match the lens. I personally use a Sigma 1.4 and 2x TC with my 70-200 f2.8 IS USM and also the Sigma 120-300mm f2.8. This is because I was using all Sigma glass to cover this range until getting the Canon 70-200 which is a much nicer option. The quality with both is OK and I basically never use them as the option of the 120-300 is there, the only time really is if a friend is shooting with one of my other bodies and would like to get more range and I'm already using the 120-300.

The reason John will have suggested the 1.4x is that the loss in quality is not as great as with the 2x and also the reduction in focus speed is not as great. Everything is a compromise so if you are going for more range then you can get it with a longer TC but you lose the quality. You are better off waiting for the action to get closer than to try to shoot it further out. It's a battle we all face when shooting sports, we would all love a Canon 400mm f2.8 (well nearly all) if we could lift it and pay for it, but reality is we can't so we make do. Anyone out there wanting to buy me the 400 f2.8 btw???? LOL

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