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Old Mar 30, 2009, 7:09 AM   #11
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What about the Nokon D200? Great deals being offered. I also saw that Canon is about to release the new 500D. Looks like a heck of a deal for the money and possible good low light performance. FPS is slow.

Thoughts?
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Old Mar 30, 2009, 7:44 AM   #12
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if you're concerned about low light performance than the D200 isn't a good consideration. It doesn't have very good low light performance - it uses a CCD sensor rather than the CMOS sensors in the newer Nikons. Sensor technology has gotten a lot better in the last 4 years.
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Old Mar 30, 2009, 8:46 AM   #13
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The Nikon D200 uses an early generation of Sony's 10MP CCD Sensor, which tends to have more noise (and/or loss of detail from noise reduction) at higher ISO speeds compared to the Sony 6MP CCD Sensor used in your D50. Even though the D200 has an ISO 3200 setting, you really don't want to use it unless you have to.

The Nikon D90, Nikon D300 and Sony A700 use a newer Sony 12MP CMOS Sensor. It's a better choice for high ISO speed shooting compared to the Sony 10MP sensor used in models like the Nikon D200.

Note that even though they may be use the same base Sony sensor designs, you'll find differences between camera output (due to differences in anti-aliasing filters, image processing electronics/algorithms and more). So, take each camera on a case by case basis when comparing them.

To get acceptable results, you're going to need to worry about lenses. You can spend a lot of money on a new body. But, unless you're using brighter lenses, you're still going to get blurry photos trying to shoot rapidly moving subjects indoors without a flash. Your shutter speeds are just not going to be fast enough, even at ISO 3200. You'd probably be better off buying a bright prime or two for your D50, versus spending a lot of money on a new body and trying to get by with dimmer consumer grade lenses that are down to a max aperture of f/5.6 by the time you zoom in much.

To put things into perspective, you could use a Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 AF lens (around $100), or Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 (around $450) with your D50 at ISO 1600 and f/2; and get shutter speeds 8 times as fast as you'd get using a "kit" type lens at f/5.6 (where you'd end up at when zoomed in much with most of them).

That's because f/2 is 8 times as bright as f/5.6. You'll be distance limited as to the shots you can take with acceptable results using this approach. But, from my perspective, it's better to get a low number of acceptable photos versus a lot of blurry photos. :;-)

Unless you have lenses that are bright enough (wider available apertures, represented by smaller f/stop numbers), you're not going to improve things much with a newer body for indoor sports like basketball.

What's your budget?

Ideally, as JohnG already pointed out, you'll want a body with a usable ISO 3200 if you want to use a zoom with f/2.8 available throughout it's focal range (for example, a Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 or camera manufacturer's 70-200mm f/2.8 ). If you're shooting at ISO 1600, you'll want f/2 available to get shutter speeds fast enough for a higher percentage of keepers without blur from subject movement. That rules out zooms.

Frankly, if you must have a zoom, I'd be inclined to get a 70-200mm f/2.8 and use it with your D50 at ISO 1600 (even though shutter speeds won't be as fast as desired in some lighting and you may have more motion blur than you want), versus upgrading to a body with a better ISO 3200 output and trying to use a zoom that only has f/5.6 available when zoomed in much. The newer bodies may have better Autofocus systems and faster frame rates, but that just boils down to more in focus images that are still blurry from subject movement if you're using dimmer lenses. ;-)

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One of the reasons I was considering the Sony was the IS but I did not like the fact there is no monitor on the top of the body. I can see this really effecting battery life as well as being somewhat inconvenient
I don't consider it to be inconvenient. Most of what I care about is going to be in the viewfinder display. ;-) The A700's CIPA rating is 650 shots (which assumes the built in flash is used for roughly 50% of them). In practice, you'll probably be able to take a lot more without a flash, even when reviewing images frequently on the camera's display. I can't recall ever fully discharging the battery in my A700, and I've taken more than 800 photos on a single charge on more than one occasion when shooting craw (compressed raw) + jpeg (writing more than 1600 image files to a 16GB card with room to spare). You can get an optional battery/portrait grip for more shots if desired, too.

The D90, D300, D700 or D3 are your best bets for a body upgrade in the Nikon lineup (and the Nikon designed 12MP full frame sensor used in the D3 and D700 is superb for higher ISO speed work). But, I think you're just wasting money upgrading to a body like the D90 if you don't have suitable lenses and expect good results shooting indoor sports like basketball.

Although the body is important (AF speed, usable high ISO speeds and more), the glass is the most important part of any system if you want to shoot rapidly moving subjects in low light, and tends to be the weakest "link in the chain".

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Old Mar 30, 2009, 8:52 AM   #14
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ges220 wrote:
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I do have a few Nikon lenses that date back to my old 4004 but that's not a big deal to me. I am willing to invest in new glass.
I've still got a Nikon N4004s (improved Autofocus compared to the original N4004). But, it's seen it's better days (I broke the cover latch on it a while back trying to change film too fast, and I haven't bothered to repair it). Any of the modern dSLR models will run circles around these older bodies. lol

I missed the "willing to invest in new glass" part. I'd probably budget for suitable lenses first so you can start getting better results in low light with your D50. Then, upgrade the body later as money permits (unless you have suitable budget to upgrade both body and lenses now).

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Old Mar 31, 2009, 7:04 AM   #15
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Jim, great stuff. Thanks!! Lots to digest.

I was at a soccer tournament this weekend and one of the parents was using a D200 with a 80-200 zoom, looked like a very expensive piece of glass.

She loved the camera and shared the pictures with the group. I was kind of disappointed in the picture quality. It was a dark, miserable day and the pictures had a lot of noise.

This particular parent knew what shewas doing so I was expecting more.

Keeping the D50 is no longer an option. I am giving it to my daughter to use at college.

back to my 4004
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Old Mar 31, 2009, 7:11 AM   #16
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ges220 wrote:
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She loved the camera and shared the pictures with the group. I was kind of disappointed in the picture quality. It was a dark, miserable day and the pictures had a lot of noise.
With all due respect, if what she shared was actual printed photos and they were dark and had a lot of noise then no, she didn't know what she was doing. If it's play back on the LCD that's a different story. Even though the D200has poor high ISO performance, there's no excuse for having noisy and underexposed prints when shooting a day game with a 2.8 lens. Having the money for expensive gear doesn't mean a person knows how to use the gear.
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Old Apr 1, 2009, 1:53 PM   #17
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Thanks to everybody.

I got a great education here.

I know what to look for now and hopefully will learn how to use it properly.

Leaning towards the D90 and some new glass per your specs.


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