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Old Dec 31, 2008, 7:43 PM   #1
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Hi I am a first time SLR buyer and would like suggestions on a camera, lens size to cover a football field and what fps rate I require. It will only be used for the football season so not to dear please and at my age my hands shake a bit, so any help that end will help.

All help is appreciated

Happy new year:idea:
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Old Dec 31, 2008, 9:06 PM   #2
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Pordad-

We are happy to hear of your intention to look into a DSLR camera. How much budget have you set aside to purchase this consumer level DSLR camera?

I ask that because sport photography is a very demanding venue. I am sure that our sports photography expert, JohnG,will chime into this thread fairly quickly. However, what is required is not only a consumer level DSLR camera but also a very fast (as in a wide aperture lens) that has some really substantial focal length, andproviding that you can take your photos directly from the football game side lines. No, I am not talking about being the bleachers, I mean directly on the game's side lines.

That, my friend, Pordad,is going to require a very substantial investment in camera gear. JohnG will give a more exact estimate, but for now my estimate is $1,500 at a minimum, if we are talking about night football games.

Yes, it can be done, but it is complicated, it requires developing a technique. Your have to thoroughly understand your camera, your lens, and possibly even the real need for additional light, which has to come from a good external flash, an additional investment.

If you are ready, Pordad, hang on tight and my noon tomorrow, our in house expert, JohnG will be checking in with all of his long experience.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Dec 31, 2008, 9:37 PM   #3
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That price range + if need be a little more. I look fwd to what is recommended.

Regards

pordad
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Old Dec 31, 2008, 10:05 PM   #4
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This my first post of 2009, I'm just in from a party and probably should be going to bed but I liked the idea that I would post in 2008 but everyone in the US would get it in 2008 LOL.

John, looks like you have an admirer in Sarah I will warn your wife :-).

Pordad, you are very welcome to Steve's and I hope that we can help you out.

Sarah is correct, sports shooting can be expensive especially if you are wanting to shoot night games and also you need to be on the sidelines to have the likelihood of getting good shots.

OK, let's look at what you have asked, what frame rate is needed? I've shot sports with cameras ranging from 3fps and now I shoot with a Canon 1D mkIII so I have 10fps when needed. The advantage of higher fps rates are that you have a better chance of getting a shot in focus while having the action that you desire. Downside is you can get through a lot of memory very quickly and have a lot of shots to look through.

Important things when shooting sports are a camera and lens combination that will give fast and accurate focus. Pretty much you have the choice of Nikon or Canon in respect to this.

For my money I would look at the Canon options if we are trying to keep cost down toa reasonable level and get good quality. I'm assuming you are in the US so have given approx pricing in USD for the kit.

Theses are the 2 bodies I would suggest looking at, the 40D has the advantage of better low light performance as well as faster continuous shooting although it is a slightly lower resolution.

Canon XSi with 18-55mm lens (3.5fps) $630

Canon 40D with 18-55mm lens (6.5fps) $970

With lenses you will need to get to the 300mm range with the following 2 being adequate to excellent for the Sigma if you are shooting day games.

Canon 70-300mm IS $450

Sigma 100-300mm f4 $1000

If you want to shoot night games then you will have to go with the 40D and also get a lens that will let in more light with the only real option being the following.

Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 $700

You can use this with a 1.4x telephoto converter (about $200) for daytime games to make it a 98-280mm lens, however there is some loss of quality. I used to use this combo for my field sports shooting until I went to the $2700 Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 for my sports shooting.

If you have the money and are not going to shoot night games then the Sigma 100-300mm f4 with either body would be my choice as it is a stunningly sharp lens and it will very easily take the 1.4x tele converter at a later date giving you a 420mm option which can be nice to work with.

As for your shaking hands you don't need to worry too much as when shooting field sports you will be working with shutter speeds of about 1/800s so don't panic. At these focal lengths I will always work with a monopod to take the weight of the kit especially if shooting for a long time.

There is one other accessory that I would suggest considering is a battery grip. This will give you a 2nd shutter release button but in the ideal position for shooting portrait which is what you will need for the majority ofball sports as showing inthese sample photos (and yes I know we are probably talking about 2 different games of football in the first).





Although I'm not saying that there are not the right times to shoot in landscape orientation.



I hope this gives some food for thought.

Have a great 2009
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Old Dec 31, 2008, 10:13 PM   #5
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Just noticed that while I was writing that you had posted, yes it did take me all that time to write everything LOL.
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Old Dec 31, 2008, 11:32 PM   #6
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Mark did a great job of hitting the major points. Let me ask though - what level of play are we talking about? And where will you be shooting from? 7th grade football is quite a bit different than HS varsity under the lights.

I will say this - once you're at the HS level you need to be shooting from the sidelines to get decent shots - you're not going to take shots from the stands at a varsity game at night and get decent shots. So, the level of play is important here.

Also, some info to go along with Mark's lens suggestions. A 200mm lens gives you about 25 yards of coverage, 300mm about 40 yards and 400mm about 50-60 yards. So, not as much as you might think.
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Old Jan 1, 2009, 12:02 PM   #7
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Happy New Year, Mark!

No need to worry! I am old enough to be JohnG's mother. I just know that it was either you or JohnG who would have to handle the question as you are both so good with sports photos.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jan 1, 2009, 12:04 PM   #8
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Hehe, and happy New Year to you.

I know, was just messing around and will admit he is a stronger, more experienced sports shooter than I.
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Old Jan 2, 2009, 11:38 AM   #9
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I thank you very much for your simple and clear information. To answer some of your questions, unlucky for me Mark with the exchange rate being what it is that I'm an Aussie. We havn't played any night games yet but in future we will. I would not of thought of night shooting and what is required to do it well.

JohnG I will be taking them from the side line. Some photos will be placed in the club paper.

The Canon 40D body with the Sigma 100-300mm f4. More money than I thought I would have to spend but a good picturewill be treasured by family.

Thank you for your replies and all the best for the new year. Pordad

I think I might getting the photo bug.:-)
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Old Jan 2, 2009, 12:18 PM   #10
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pordad wrote:
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The Canon 40D body with the Sigma 100-300mm f4.
Excellent choice for your daytime games. Keep in mind though, f4 is not going to be good enough when they're playing at night. So when those games come along you'll have to purchase another lens if you want to shoot them.



Good luck!
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