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Old Oct 2, 2008, 9:09 PM   #11
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Thank you Alan T,
I read that article and found it very interesting. Even with the enlighten information about the two I still want to buy a DSLR. I have wanted to learn the ins and outs of photography for years and I feel the hybrid is not going to be enough for me when I finally learn all I need to learn.

JohnG,
Kind of sports I'm interested in is my local high school football and rodeos. I like to be able to get some tight shots of the player or players, basically professional looking photos, is that possible with my price range? I mean I know I can't buy the lens that probably needs to go with a shoot like that but I can later. I know lens can get expensive too, just not sure how expensive for what I like to take *blush*.

. Like you said, I should of being more specific. I didn't mean to say that I need to take pictures of sports in low light, I just like to be able to take picture of my family in the house during the holidays and not always have to have the flash on. I wasn't sure if I was asking too much with my list, and I see with my budget there are a few things I am asking too much.

AndyfromVA - Thanks for you input I have my heart and head set on a DSLR though.


Mtnga l- Thanks for your knowledge on lens, that might lean me towards Pentax


Robbo- I have enjoyed reading the discussion Digicam vs. Entry DSLR. I'm totally for a DSLR though but I have to shake my head in agreement when you said "The other advantage of a digicam is that some people at social gatherings are intimidated by DSLR's and pose more comfortably for smaller cameras"

I won't be being a camera for probably another month or heck if someone has any idea how great Black Friday is on DSLR's it will be two months. I can be extremely patient person, especially when it comes to find a good deal. In the mean time I will be hanging out here, going to camera shops and trying to learn more about what is out there and all the camera terms.

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Old Oct 2, 2008, 10:10 PM   #12
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I don't see anything wrong going from a simple P&S to a DSLR if the photographer is willing to learn. I went from a 1.3MP Kodak to a Canon DSLR a few years ago. It wasn't a difficult transition. There are many more choices now and the price of entry is much lower. Buy what you can afford now and save up for the rest later was my plan. I waited for the sales and rebates.


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Old Oct 3, 2008, 12:20 AM   #13
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raezer,

my advice would be to look into the olympus e510. they have a 2-lens kit out there for around 550 dollars, which would give you image stabilization and a great number of features - that way you'll learn as you go - as well as a pretty good focal length range: 28mm to 300mm in 35mm-equivalent terms. that leaves you some room in your budget to get a few accessories, maybe a couple of UV or polarizer filters or a tripod.

there's the new e520, which has a few extra features, but it costs a bit more and I don't think they have a 2 lens kit for it. I think the e510 is currently the best deal out there for someone on your budget looking for growing space in photography.

edit: you can find some pretty good deals on used lenses as well; high-iso noise performance isn't the best in class, but is right up there with its competitors at the price range, and is still a big step up from a p&s or a bridge camera.
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Old Oct 3, 2008, 11:14 AM   #14
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raezer wrote:
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JohnG,
Kind of sports I'm interested in is my local high school football and rodeos. I like to be able to get some tight shots of the player or players, basically professional looking photos, is that possible with my price range?
Rae,

I'm only going to go into detail here because you have your expectations set high (professional looking photos).

Tightly framed shots of football players will require you to be shooting from the sidelines not the stands. If you're on the ground outside the fence you'll have a few opportunities a game to get shots (basically you could stand behind fence in endzone and get shots as they get close). Here's the challenge - you need to be a LOT closer than you think. Here are my recommendations for shooting field sports with a DSLR. If you mount a 200mm lens (i.e. lens rated at 200mm without taking into account the 1.3, 1.5, 1.6 or 2.0 crop factor) on the dslr that will be good for 25 yards of coverage. That's 25 yards from where your standing to where your subject is. That doesn't mean 25 yards down field AND acros to the other sideline - since linear distance between you and subject is greater than 25 yards. Similarly here are the ranges for 300 and 400mm lenses:

200mm = 25 yards

300mm = 40 yards

400mm = 50-60 yards.

If you're in the stands, I wouldn't count on many quality shots. If you're outside the fence you'll have a few opportunites but not many.

Here's the next aspect of lens selection - what max aperture is needed?

If you're talking varsity football - that's played at night under lights you will likely need ISO 3200 capability on your camera AND an f2.8 capable lens or you will have to use a flash (not the built in one but external one). If you are using flash, I would still recommend using at least an f4 capable lens - the reason being a camera's focus system needs light. F4 let's in twice as much light as 5.6. So that's twice as much light to use for determining focus. So, while a good external flash solves exposure issues, aperture is still important for FOCUS speed and accuracy.

Now, if you're not going to shoot varsity and you're only shooting during the day you can get away with a 5.6 lens.

Having said the above - sports shooting is very difficult. It is very demanding of equipment. The quality of the lens really makes a difference. Why? Because you're shooting sports at wide apertures (i.e. lowest f-number on the lens) for 2 purposes - 1 to get shutter speeds high and 2 to blur the background. You're also shooting at the max zoom most of the time. Max zoom, wide aperture are often the weakest points of any zoom lens. Those pictures in Sports Illustrated and even you major daily newspapers are shot with lenses in the $7,000 range using cameras that cost $3000-4500. So you can't really expect a $700 budget to approach pro quality results.

For rodeo, distances are much simpler. If you can get up to the fence then a 200mm lens will be plenty to cover the ring. Move back a couple rows though and you need 300mm. The challenge with rodeo deals more with lighting. Unless the rodeo is held in daylight you'll have the same issues as above with football - you'll need high ISO AND wide aperture lens.

So where does this leave you?

Now - let's talk about camera SYSTEMS as they apply to sports shooting.

Oly is the least expensive system to get into. The 2-kit deal is a lot of bang for the buck. BUT, Oly is probably the worst system for sports shooting. It has the worst high-ISO performance of any system, it's focus performance when tracking moving subjects is also not up to the competition and while it has some fantastic lenses - those lenses with 2.8 are tough to get and VERY expensive. Sony A700 is nice, but the ISO and focus performace of the entry level Sony's isn't as good as the competition. Pentax is better than Oly, but still not up to Sony/Canon or Nikon when it comes to sports. Nikon rules the pro-sumer sports shooting world right now - their D700 and D300 outperform Canon's 40d and some would argue they outperform Canon's 1dmkIII. And Nikon's D90 appears to be a real winner as well. But that's still out of the budget. Problem is the entry level Nikon - D60 doesn't have a great focus system. The best entry level body for sports shooting right now is the Canon XSi. But you won't get a camera and lens capable of doing your rodeo and football work for $700.

So here's my advice: If it's varsity football at night you'll need to tripple your budget if you want to have success. If it's daytime football the Oly kit will hit your budget and you can get some good shots - not pro quality, or even the quality of the XSi with say Sigma 70-300 ($180 lens)but better than anything a point and shoot can give you. For a little MORE money you can get the XSi and that sigma lens and get better daytime shots - still not great - but OK. Won't be able to shoot either event under lights though. Better quality shots during day you'd have to step up to something like the $500 canon 70-300. But it's still a 5.6 aperture lens so no nighttime shooting. Shooting under the lights you need to step up to the $850 Sigma 70-200 2.8 (available in canon, nikon and now pentax and soon oly). But remember - only good for 25 yards of coverage.

And, yes, I know a little about shooting varsity football:







Less about rodeos. But at least I've shot one :-):




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Old Oct 3, 2008, 12:28 PM   #15
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$700 is too low. You'd need to go around $200 more at a minimum.

You might be able to get away with a Sony A200 ($499 for a kit with an 18-70mm f/3.5-5.6) + a used Minolta 135mm f/2.8 Autofocus Lens (around $379) and get some shots from the sidelines.

Just don't expect to get everything (target getting shots of closer plays instead).

See some examples of someone using an A100 with this lens here (note that most photos in the Arena Football album were taken with the Minolta 135mm f/2.8 AF lens ).

http://www.sonolta.com/sony-photos/v/Sony+A100+Sports/

You can find more of Don's football images here (older photos using a Sony A100, newer photos using a Sony A700, most taken with the Minolta 135mm f/2.8 AF Lens). Just click on one of the links to the albums shown on the right hand side of the page.

http://www.rockriverfootball.com/

Note that your lighting may not be as good as you'd find in pro stadiums. But, the newer A200 has faster AF and lower noise levels compared to the A100. So, it should be "a wash" using this same lens.

You can get a Minolta 135mm f/2.8 AF lens for around $379 now. So, you'd be at around $879 for an A200 kit including an 18-70mm f/3.5-5.6 + a used 135mm f/2.8. Here's an example of a listing for this lens:

Minolta 135mm f/2.8 AF Lens in EX+ condition at keh.com for $379

I've got a Minolta 135mm f/2.8 Autofocus Lens, and it's a fast focusing lens in dimmer lighting (and it's sharper than most lenses with the aperture wide open, too).

Don (the Sony user taking those football photos) uses his Minolta 135mm f/2.8 lens almost exclusively anymore for football from what I can see of his newer albums. You can see some A700 examples with it on his sites, too. Scroll down on this page and you'll see some photos from a night game using a 135mm f/2.8

http://www.sonolta.com/sony-photos/main.php

A better option for more framing flexibility would be a 70-200mm f/2.8 (Sigma, Tamron, or camera manufacturer). But, you may want to give a longer prime (fixed focal length versus zoom lens) a try if budget is real tight (and it sounds like it is), if you can get close enough to get some shots with a 135mm, and don't care about covering the entire field.

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Old Oct 3, 2008, 12:48 PM   #16
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dr_spock wrote:
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I don't see anything wrong going from a simple P&S to a DSLR if the photographer is willing to learn. I went from a 1.3MP Kodak to a Canon DSLR a few years ago. It wasn't a difficult transition. There are many more choices now and the price of entry is much lower. Buy what you can afford now and save up for the rest later was my plan. I waited for the sales and rebates.

I always wait for the sales, they are always out there
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Old Oct 4, 2008, 3:04 PM   #17
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Thank you JohnG and JimC for all the info and detail in your post. It really helped me to understand what lens takes what and what to expect with my budget*blush*. I probably will wait for Black Friday to come around to see if I can get any good or great deals. I will probably buy a nice body with basic lens with the money I have and just save up for a nice lens down the road. Thank goodness all my family kids are still freshmen are smaller so I got time...all I seem to have now days lol.

So yeah, thanks this as really helped.

One more question, will I at least be able to take pictures of my fast dogs on a sunny day with no blur with a nice say, xsi or something(and basic lens kit that comes with). I assume I will be able to, but I also assume I rock out the local football team with professnal pictures too lol. :|
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Old Oct 4, 2008, 3:24 PM   #18
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raezer wrote:
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One more question, will I at least be able to take pictures of my fast dogs on a sunny day with no blur with a nice say, xsi or something(and basic lens kit that comes with). I assume I will be able to, but I also assume I rock out the local football team with professnal pictures too lol. :|
Yep - once you know how to set up the camera you'll have no problem.
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