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Old Jan 28, 2009, 3:51 PM   #11
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Sorry John - got stuck at a meeting.

Age group - 8 and 10 year old

Sports - Soccer, basketball, baseball, tennis, etc.

Dance - dark stage, stage will have back and front lighting.

Thanks,

Dave


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Old Jan 28, 2009, 4:41 PM   #12
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dbcafy wrote:
Quote:
Sorry John - got stuck at a meeting.

Age group - 8 and 10 year old

Sports - Soccer, basketball, baseball, tennis, etc.

Dance - dark stage, stage will have back and front lighting.

Thanks,

Dave

How dare you let work get in the way of your hobby (I'm fortunate enough to be working from home today so I have no meetings :blah

OK, you're all over the board on the sports which means lenses will be all over the board as well. And that makes things interesting.

First I will say if sports shooting is a primary goal, I strongly encourage you to stick with Canon, Nikon (above the D60 level) or Sony (A700 only - others not good enough). Pentax and Oly suffer in this area because their predictive focus systems aren't as good and the selection of sports caliber lenses is a lot more limited. Additionally the Oly high ISO levels aren't on par. Sony's A700 competes well at focus and high ISO. Unfortunately the models below it do not. As already mentioned, the Nikon D60 is a poor choice for sports - stripped down AF system and it won't autofocus with most prime lenses - notably the 85mm 1.8 so you'd be out of luck for your basketball. Similarly the Canon XS has a stripped down focus system so I wouldn't recommend it for sports work either (although it still autofocuses with all canon lenses). Here's the progression of cameras IMO for sports work:

Canon XSI / Nikon D80

Canon 40D

Nikon D90 / Sony A700

Canon 50D

Nikon D300

Canon 1dmkIII / Nikon D700

Nikon D3

If sports is a big part of your photography I wouldn't consider other models. The less interested in sports shooting you are the more other models / manufacturers become good solutions. But the high ISO demands and more importantly FOCUS performance demands as well as Sports -capable lenses (fast focus motors, wide apertures) generally means you're in the above systems and camera bodies. Does that mean other systems/cameras can't do sports? No. It just means the above can do a better job at it.

Basketball - you basically have 2 options - with the XSi you would have a max ISO of 1600. That means you would need to use a prime lens. The reason is zoom lenses for Canon only go up to 2.8 aperture. In the lighting you'll be experiencing you won't be able to get fast enough shutter speeds to shoot at 2.8. So, you'd be looking at either the 85mm 1.8 lens ($370) or the 100mm 2.0 lens ($370) or the 50mm 1.8 lens ($80). The 50mm would require you to be shooting from right behind the backboard and gives you a range of about 15 feet. It's also slow to focus (but hey for $80 what do you want). Those two factors mean it's not a great solution but it's a nice 'starter' solution to get your feet wet until you can afford better. The 85mm is the best baseline lens option. The 100mm 2.0 is if you have to shoot from the stands (and even then you better be in the front 2 rows of a school gym - rec gyms vary way too much. When I shot my 11 year old nephews basketball game last weekend the setup was using side hoops so the stands were right up by the basket and it was very cramped shooting from there). Here's where the choice comes in - jumping up to a Canon 50D or Nikon D90 provides high enough quality ISO 3200 images and good quality ISO 6400 images that 2.8 lenses can be used. Now the lens of choice is the 70-200 2.8 (cheapest alternative I would recommend in either Canon or Nikon is the Sigma 70-200 2.8 at $800).

Baseball: you can still get buy with a 200mm lens. By the time you're at full field size though, 200mm won't cut it. If you're shooting from on the field/dugout you pretty much need a 300mm lens to shoot the whole infield. If you're off the field you better have 400-500mm. This is where it starts to become cost effective to think of a higher end camera. Why? Because that 70-200 2.8 lens for basketball can be used for baseball for a few years (and if you're shooting from on the field you can buy a 1.4x extender to buy you a bit more time) - but by HS you'll likely be kicked off the field so that 70-200 will no longer be a good option. But thats 3 years away.

Tennis: 70-200 is a great range for tennis. More reach is good, but you can shoot tennis with a 70-200.

Soccer: This is your problem child outdoors. A 200mm lens gives you about 25 yards of reach. For full-field soccer that's woefully short. 300mm is a minimum if you're right off the line, 400 is better. Canon and Nikon both offer 70-300mm lenses. The Canon is actually very good - not pro quality but very good consumer quality. Nikon's isn't as good unfortunately. Tamron and Sigma make 70-300mm lenses that are budget lenses - not high quality and slow to focus but better than nothing (around $200 each). If you were in Canon camp the 70-300 is an option - in the Nikon camp I have no idea what to recommend. The next step up the food chain is the Sigma 100-300 f4 (available in both systems) - but it's $1100 a steep price. But also a good option for baseball. And at f4 it can take a 1.4x TC to give you more reach.

So, you've got some difficult choices. Soccer requires a lot of reach, basketball requires fast lenses and/or high ISO. And, by the way - any nighttime baseball or soccer games you'll need both high ISO (think 3200 - 6400) AND a 2.8 lens.

So, a Nikon D90 or Canon 50D with Sigma 70-200 2.8 plus 1.4x TC might be the best solution - good for basketball, dance (because of that 6400 capability), baseball and tennis. Soccer you'll just have to be patient for.

If you don't want to spend that money then the XSi is a choice. BUT, you'll need to use the primes (50mm, 85mm, 100mm) for basketball and youd have to use them for dance as well - which means being close enough (50mm - about 15 feet, 85mm about 25 feet, 100mm about 30 feet).

OK, out of time.

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Old Jan 28, 2009, 5:11 PM   #13
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Hi John,

THANKS! THIS IS GREAT INFORMATION

IAM working from home today - hence the conference calls :-)

Based on the informationI got, the Canon might be a good choice for my level and price range. I found this on amazon. Sounds like a good place to start?

"Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi 12MP Digital SLR Camera (Black) with Sigma 28-70mm & 70-300mm Lenses + 2GB Pro Accessory Kit"

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...L&v=glance
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Old Jan 28, 2009, 5:36 PM   #14
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Sigma 28-70 is not a very good lens (I'm sure it's not the 2.8 version of the lens but the $100 version) Neither lens would be useful for your basketball or dance recitals. You're also without a wide angle for general photography/group shots. The rest of that kit is junk, just like every other 'kit' you'll find out there from retailers. That's how they make their money - on the kits. The bag, the tripod, they're all garbage.

My advice - B&H:

XSI with kit lens (w/o the B&H kit addons) - $659

Tamron 70-300 - $150

Canon 85mm 1.8 - $355

Sandisk Extreme III 4gb - $38

Total cost = 1202

If you're on a tight budget, and can definitely shoot from baseline and first couple rows for dance, then replace 85mm 1.8 with 50mm 1.8 ($90) and drop your cost to $937

The above kit, IMO is a better spend of your money than the kit you're considering. The Canon kit lens is better than the Sigma. The Tamron is sharper than the sigma 70-300 and you need either the 50 or 85mm lens for your basketball/dance.
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Old Jan 28, 2009, 5:39 PM   #15
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The camera choice is ok, but the lenses are so-so. The shorter zoom of the two will give you an effective range of about 42mm to 112mm - not really enough wide angle. The second problem is lighting. I think neither of those two lenses is bright enough given the 1600 ISO limit in that camera.

How much do you want to spend on everything? John and others can give you specific info on various lenses. You could end up spending thousands getting fast lenses for your needs in low light settings.
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Old Jan 28, 2009, 7:44 PM   #16
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For dance, if you're close, you'll be looking up at the dancers. You'd be better off seated back further and using the Canon 85mm f/1.8 that JohnG recommended. I'd suggest you really try to get that lens as the 50mm f/1.8 will be too wide and will require you to be too close.
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Old Jan 28, 2009, 10:42 PM   #17
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dbcafy wrote: 47th Street Photo.

Hmmm, that name rings a bell.



Per Amazon 47th Street Photo telephone number is 718-998-6666

Letting my fingers do the Googling...

718-999-6666 cross references to:

395 Kings Highway, Bensonhurst, Brooklyn NYC

A business also known as

Photo Video Computers Elctrncs
395 Kings Hwy
Brooklyn, NY 11223


http://www.brooklynbusinesslist.com/...ss/2815008.htm


Also Known as Delta Marketing.

Here is a nice photo of the 395 Kings Hwy Brooklyn NY with the name "Delta Marketing" displayed on the door.

http://donwiss.com/pictures/BrooklynStores/h0085.htm

As of January 2009, Delta Marketing seems to have moved. Hereis a pictures of the new location of Delta Marketing:

http://donwiss.com/pictures/BrooklynStores/h0136.htm


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Old Jan 29, 2009, 2:08 AM   #18
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I'd buy from B&H Photo, Buydig, Beach Camera, Adorama, J&R Electronics and Abes of Maine, which are very reliable online vendors, before I'd buy anything from 47th Street Photo.
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Old Jan 30, 2009, 11:56 AM   #19
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I want to thank everyone for their advice. It was priceless!!

Special thanks to JohnG. You detailedrecommendations really makes sense. I can get the camera, the lenses allunder my wife's budget constraints :-)

Time to order the camera!

Regards,

Dave


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