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Old Sep 3, 2008, 11:07 AM   #1
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Down the road I want to replace my failing camera with a DSLR. I have been looking at the kits that can come with the Nikon or Rebel. The huge zoom that comes with it, is it a good lens?
Is it worth the price or am I better off saving longer to get a better one?
I know that I will want a big zoom. My kids are swimmers and divers so I want to be able to zoom in.

I currently have a fuji s6000 which has a 10X zoom. I would like a little more than this.
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Old Sep 3, 2008, 12:00 PM   #2
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Spinning,

First there are several "kits" offered. But generally any "kit" which contains a xx-300 lens that lens will be of poor quality. For instance some places sell the Canon cameras with standard kit lens plus the 75-300. That lens is not of great quality. So if quality is a concern it's generally best to avoid such packages.

Having said all that - you mention swimming and diving.I'm going to caution you here that you need to set expectations. I do sports photography. And I run into a lot of parents that spend a couple thousand $$ on DSLR equipment and still get very poor results. The reasons are primarily the following:

1. They have the wrong lens. The camera is only part of the issue - the lens is equally important. And it isn't just a matter of "reach". There are other factors - especially for low light sports.

2. They don't take time to learn photography. They are expecting a DSLR to be a magic point-and-shoot camera. Guess what? For sports shooting there is no such thing as point-and-shoot. It takes technique and you have to be willing to learn that technique. Otherwise you get pretty much the same poor quality shots with a DSLR that you would get with a point-and-shoot.

3. Position. Like it or not, position makes a huge difference. If you're talking indoor swimming - you're simply not going to get very good shots if you have to sit up in the gallery. You need to be on the pool deck. If you don't have access to the pool deck it is going to be tough to get good shots. Or the football mom that buys the expensive $1700 70-200 2.8 lens but shoots from the stands. She is way, way, way too far away from the action for that great lens to capture good photos. So even though she has good equipment because she's too far away the shots will still be poor.

So it's one thing if you're talking about spending $300 on a point-and-shoot camera. Not a huge loss if you can't get great sports shots. But if you're talking about spending $1000 or $2000 or more on DSLR equipment - are you really getting a good return on investment?

Specifically for swimming, when you're talking indoors, that gets tough. You really need a 2.8 lens if you're going to shoot indoors. And, of course that means expensive. Add to that the problem that if you have to shoot from the stands you'll be far away(and at a bad angle shooting down on the swimmer) it's tough to get good shots.When I shoot swimming indoors I use a 70-200 2.8lens - but I shoot from the pool deck. And I'lltell you 200mm is at it's limit shooting across the width of the poolif you're right on the deck. It's also at it's limit shooting the length of a short-course pool -once you're up to full 50m lanes you can get about half the length ofthe pool with a 200mm lens. Want a longer lens than 200mm? The cheapest is the sigma 120-300 2.8 which sells for $2700. An alternative is to use a powerful external flash. I don't shoot much diving so I'm not sure if flash is allowed. For swimming, flash is usually allowed AFTER THE START. However you still want a good quality lens.


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Old Sep 3, 2008, 2:47 PM   #3
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Thanks.

I know I can not spend that much money on a lens. I was thinkingif I didn't buy the package and saved up I could spend around $750 for a zoom lens.

I realize swimming and diving is a hard sport to capture, especially indoors. I only dream of getting good indoor shots! Even if I had a ton of money to spend just because of the deck space and where I need to shoot from.

But out door I have actually done very well. I practice and practice with my camera to learn when to snap and where to stand. I am willing to learn but have taken baby steps into the world of digital. That is why I first went with the bridge camera to see if I actually liked it and felt it was worth the money to move up or stay with a "better" bridge type of camera. I now feel the next move is a DSL but which one?!?!??


I had a feeling the zoom lenses that came with the kits were poor. But one lady at the pool swore by it....which is why then I decided to ask somewhere where people could give good honest feed back.

Luckily for sumer swimming and diving the coaches let me move where I want to capture the pictures. So I am always on deck and in a good area. Our dive coach will let me during practice shoot from the 5 meter looking down which has provided some very interesting looking photos.

Looking at the $1000-12000 range of cameras with a lens what would you suggest?

My kids are still young, 10 and 12 so they aren't doing extremely difficult dives, just the basics, flips, twisters etc.....
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Old Sep 3, 2008, 3:08 PM   #4
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spinning wrote:
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Looking at the $1000-12000 range of cameras with a lens what would you suggest?

My kids are still young, 10 and 12 so they aren't doing extremely difficult dives, just the basics, flips, twisters etc.....
Right now I would rate camera SYSTEMS (not just bodies but systems) in sports shooting as follows:

1. Nikon

2. Canon

3. Sony

4. Everyone else

Having said the above though, Nikon really has a rather poor entry level camera (D60) for sports. The newly announce D90 - if it doesn't have any issues - looks to be a great camera but it will blow your budget. At the entry level I would really recommend Canon. The XSI is a really nice camera forthe money. Good ISO 1600 performance, good focus system and good IQ. Sony A200 is less expensive but the issue I have with Sony is lens availability and lens price. There just isn't the choice of lenses (especially if you want NEW not USED lenses) that you have with Canon or Nikon.

For example, outdoor I would recommend Canon XSi & kit lens ($685)with Canon 70-200 f4 lens ($580) - $1265 total.

I dont believe either Sony or Nikon has anything to compete with the 70-200 f4 at $580. There's certainly no 3rd party lens with that sharpness AND focus speed for that price point. So I think for your outdoor shooting this kit gives you the most bang for the buck.

As for the lady at the pool swearing by a lens - in my experience there are a LOT of people that give out sports shooting advice. Very few of them actually shoot sports and even fewer shoot them well. Anyone "swearing by" the canon 75-300 for sports shooting doesn't have any good experience. But, I also have high standards. My honest opinion as a sports shooter (its the type of photography I do mostly):

1. When getting advice on sports shooting including equipment - make sure the advice is coming from people that shoot sports. Sports shooting is difficult and there are a LOT of factors that come into play - not the least of which is - every sport is different.

2. Look at photos. In general you want to review photos taken with the equipment being recommended.

Now, I can assure you I shoot sports - I'll post some old swimming shots here. But I do not own the XSi or the 70-200 f4. But, I've seen enough sports shooting results from both to know it's a quality kit. The 70-200 f4 is fantastically sharp (the IS version is even sharper but $1000 and non-IS is sharp enough and IS won't help you for what you're using the lens for). And it's very quick to focus. Given your ability to move around on the outdoor deck, there's no reason you should need more reach.

Where lenses like the 75-300 fall short is - they're not very sharp and they are very slow (compared to the 70-400) to focus. Neither of which is a good thing for sports shooting.

If you're willing to stick to outdoor shooting I think that's the best kit for the job. If you want an indoor solution it's going to get pricier - and I would only suggest going that route if you'll have deck access indoors as well.

Now, the only 'issue' with the XSi will be with diving. Diving is where more frames per second can really help. The xsi is 3.5 fps vs 6.3 for the 40d. But the 40d blows your budget out of the water.


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Old Sep 3, 2008, 3:15 PM   #5
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forgot to include some photos. These were all indoors:










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Old Sep 3, 2008, 5:02 PM   #6
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Great pictures! I know my indoor swim pictures will never be that great! Even if I had the best stuff! I am not allowed on the deck....not enough space even if I wanted too!

Anyway here are some of my swim team pictures......









You made another statement on the lenses about needing two. I know I will also need a "normal" lens. To use for every day pictures, field trips, kids, holidays, parties etc.....Is that something that should be purchased seperate, just by the body or will I be ok with what comes with the camera? I take a lot of photos of everyday life. So I need something that isn't super bulky and can be basically left on the camera when I am not shooting something that requires a zoom.
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Old Sep 4, 2008, 7:50 AM   #7
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spinning wrote:
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You made another statement on the lenses about needing two. I know I will also need a "normal" lens. To use for every day pictures, field trips, kids, holidays, parties etc.....Is that something that should be purchased seperate, just by the body or will I be ok with what comes with the camera? I take a lot of photos of everyday life. So I need something that isn't super bulky and can be basically left on the camera when I am not shooting something that requires a zoom.
I usually advise people to just stick with the kit lens to begin with for general all-purpose photography. It usually doesn't add much to the cost. If, through your own experience you find the kit lens limiting you can get an additional lens down the road. Canon's kit lens used to be pretty poor but they re-vamped it and it's actually quite good now.

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Old Sep 5, 2008, 8:39 PM   #8
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Ok I went to the camera store...my head is beyond spinning. Must say I was so disappointed with the girl who helped me....she new nothing and the other people who she asked were of no help. This was Ritz camera store......I thought they would be more informed....

Anyway it was of no help...I did hold the cameras and looked at the lenses but that didnt' seem to help me.

But I will say I am now leaning towards the Nikon D90. I know it is more money than I want to spend but I liked the fact that it had the fast shooting time. 4.5 frames per second. The movie feature was another plus. It will run me around 1200. It won't have the big zoom lense but I can always add to it.


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Old Sep 5, 2008, 8:57 PM   #9
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spinning wrote:
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Down the road I want to replace my failing camera with a DSLR...
Down the road, huh? If you're not in a hurry, I'd wait a little longer so you'll have a clearer picture of your options.

Photokina (a very large photography industry trade show held once every two years in Cologne, Germany) is this month from September 23-28.

You will likely see many announcements for new camera models from a variety of camera manufacturers leading into this show, as it's a very popular "launching point" for new photography related products, attended by many thousands of people, with press coverage from many photography related sites and magazines. Ditto for announcements for new lenses (from both the camera manufacturers and third party lens manufacturers). We've already seen some announcements (for example, the D90 you're looking at), and you'll see more as the month progresses.

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Old Sep 6, 2008, 10:21 AM   #10
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If all goes well I hope to make my purchase by spring. Right now my camera works fine but it freezes at times and won't transfer the image to my card. It seems to only do this when in the Cont. focus but fine in the other areas......

I would love to see the Nikon come down to $1000......LOL! not sure if that will happen. But the more I read the more it seems to fit needs I didn't think about. We don't have a video camera, well we have an older non digital. But I really never liked video. But I do enjoy having the option of take a small clip of something. We would eventually need to purchase a video camera if the still camera didn't have the option....so there is a few hundred to put towards this camera.....

So I have lots of reading to do!
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