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Old Mar 23, 2009, 1:52 PM   #1
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I am about to upgrade from my venerable Nikon D50 which I purchased back in 2005. Camera was okay for outside sports but anything in low light like basketball, indoor soccer was pretty bad. I have used it very hard over the years and it has held up prety well. I have read all the posts on lenses, challenges in sport shooting, etc., and have become pretty educated thanks to the many excellent posts on this forum.

At this point, I am about to make a decision. I was thinking about either the Sony A700, Nikon D90 or the Canon 40D. Had considered the Pentax K20D (prices just keep dropping) but the low fps and the posts I have read makes me think this is not the camera for my purposes.

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. A bigger concern I had was investing in 2 year old technology (Sony, Canon). I looked at all three cameras and really liked the Canon 40D but the 10.1 kind of prevented me from pulling the trigger. Are the age of these cameras and the low pixel rating of the Canon a concern or am I going about this wrong?

Of the three, I have to say that the Nikon was my least favorite. I was not sold on the movie mode and the pictures looked somewhat soft to me. The LCD monitor is amazing, I am familiar with the layout, and it does offer a lot of bang for the buck. I certainly have not ruled it outandI do have the glass for it.

Anyway, I am about to buy one of these and would appreciate any suggestions. I also looked at the Canon XSI 450 but it did not feel good in my hands. I also did not like the limit of 1600ISO. The Canon 50D was somewhat more than I wanted to spend and many of the reviews say the picture quality is not as good as the 40D. I guess the Nikon D300 is the perfect camera but slightly more that I want to invest at this point.

Thoughts?
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Old Mar 23, 2009, 2:37 PM   #2
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The Sony has some excellent large aperture primes for indoor sports, but they are extraordinarily expensive.

Canon and Nikon have better selections, which include some excelelnt lenses and some less expensive ones as well.
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Old Mar 23, 2009, 3:24 PM   #3
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Thanks. With 4 kids, including one starting college, I am on a budget here. Cost is important but I want to get the best body for the money and then start adding the glass as I go on. style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"I would probably pull the trigger on the Canon 40D but I just can't get beyond the fact that I am buying a camera with two year old technology when there is a newer camera available (Nikon 90D) with more pixels, albeit slightly slower, for about the same price.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"Bestbuy had the Nikon D200 on sale for $599 a few weeks ago and I thought about buying that butit is a 4 year old camera. Seemed kind of prehistoric in camera years.

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Old Mar 23, 2009, 3:58 PM   #4
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ges220 wrote:
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I would probably pull the trigger on the Canon 40D but I just can't get beyond the fact that I am buying a camera with two year old technology when there is a newer camera available (Nikon 90D) with more pixels, albeit slightly slower, for about the same price.
True, but the Canon 40D is a very capable camera, and if you want, there's the 50D that's newer.

Take a look at the Sports & Action PhotosForum and see what others are using.
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Old Mar 23, 2009, 4:02 PM   #5
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Both are very good cameras. What Nikon lenses do you have already? If they are good, it's logical to go with D90. If you haven't invested much into lenses and they aren't that great for your shooting needs - just go with whatever camera you feel more comfortable with. Canon is better built, Nikon is newer and has more bells and whistles, both can deliver goods.

I have 40D and quite happy with it, haven't been tempted to upgrade to 50D yet, think I'll wait till 70D or 80D hit the shops :-)
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Old Mar 24, 2009, 6:48 AM   #6
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The Nikon lenses I have are not very good and ancient. The 70-210 zoom is ok for outdoors but horrible in low light. I have a couple of fixed lenses but they are notthe best. don't have a lot of money tied into the lenses so that's not a big deal.

Is IS important for sports? Some of the posts I read say that IS is not real helpful in anything under 200m. 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. You can get the Sony A700 fairly cheap on ebay but I am not sure about the vendor.

Anyway, thanks for the help. I am leaning towards the 40D but I know as soon as I buy it, something new will come out.

Has anybody even tried the Pentax K20D for sport shooting? They are really offering some serious deals on that body.
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Old Mar 24, 2009, 7:31 AM   #7
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OK,

Here's my opinion as a sports photographer:

1. Don't put too much stock in megapixels. I'm shooting with a 10mp camera and I wouldn't trade it for any of the 12 or 15mp cameras on the market.

2. There are a few instances where IS can be beneficial in sports but in general what you have heard is correct. Below 200mm IS will have very little impact on your sports shooting. It can be helpful for other types but not sports.

3. Forget the Pentax. If sports shooting is your thing it's far behind Canon and Nikon. It's focus system isn't any better than the prior generation and lens choices are still limited though getting better.

4. You have to consider that with sports, the lenses are just as important as the body. So you need to factor in lens costs with your decision on which system you go with. Even if you can't afford lenses right off the bat you need to be looking at what you'll be spending on them down the road. For example, if you're happy with the quality the sigma 70-200 2.8 offers you can get that lens in Nikon, Sony or Canon mount. If you want better performance and still have outstanding focus speed, Canon's 70-200 2.8 costs $1100. SOny and Nikon you pay $1600-1800 (canon does have an IS version for that same price range but as we already discussed IS isn't very beneficial for sports).

Of the options you are considering I would rate the Nikon D90 as the best, follwed by the 40d then the A700. Now, the A700 is probably a slightly better camera than the 40d BUT the problem is that's the top of the Sony food chain as far as sports cameras go. And you've got less selection of sports quality lenses (with built in fast focusing motors vs. relying on the camera's motor) and the better quality lenses in Sony cost more. I think in another 5 years Sony might be a good sports system IF Sony decides it's a market they want to pursure. The A700 is a great step in that direction but it remains to be seen if Sony will make further investments in bodies and glass for the sports shooter. Nikon's body path is the best in the business for the sports shooter: D90 - D300 - D700 - D3. Absolutely class leading (and I say that as a Canon shooter). An important consideration for indoor sports is the high ISO performance of the D90 and A700 are better than the 40d. At ISO 3200 the 40d is the last of the 3. Why is 3200 important? Because, 3200 will allow you to shoot at F2.8 in many gyms. Below 3200 you'll need to shoot at f2.0. In the 3 systems in question, f2.0 means prime (non zoom) lenses. F2.8 allows you you use a lens like a 70-200 2.8. That's a lot of flexibility.

My recommendation is for sports shooting, Sony is still a bit of an unknown. The A700 seems to be a great sports camera but it's unclear where Sony will go in the sports market - Canon and Nikon have a stranglehold on it and the technology for sports shooting is expensive stuff. Nikon has by far the best selection of bodies. But the 40d is still a great camera. It's the ISO sensitivity of the d90 that puts it ahead though, not the megapixels.
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Old Mar 24, 2009, 2:58 PM   #8
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thanks, John. You do have a way of sorting all this out. Great post.

Just a few follow ups:

Will the slower speed of the Nikon make a difference? The Canon is faster but I am very concerned about the low light performance. I shoot a lot of basketball and that is very important. The lighting in some of the older gyms is very poor. My D50 would not even focus properly in some of them and I missed a lot of shots.

The Canon does appear to have better build quality and some of the soccer tournaments we follow also have some bad weather to contend with. Does the weather sealing make a difference?

Again, thanks for your good words. They are appreciated.




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Old Mar 24, 2009, 3:23 PM   #9
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The 40D doesn't have good enough weather sealing that you would want to use it without protection. Also, the body is only half the equation - you need weather sealed lenses too - and those get expensive.

The 6.5 vs. 4.5 fps isn't a huge deal. 6.5 is nicer. But, my recommendation would be if you are using the 40d, plan on shooting at ISO 1600. With the D90 you can shoot at 3200 with no worries. That means for basketbal you would have to get the Canon 85mm 1.8 lens and be restricted to that constant focal length. With the Nikon, you could use a sigma 70-200 2.8 or the Nikon if you can swing the price. MUCH more flexibility. Low light focus performance won't be an issue wth either but the D90 has better high ISO. And, of course, the Canon 50d would give you the best of all worlds - but you have to pay for it.
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Old Mar 25, 2009, 5:13 AM   #10
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Thats a whole 'nother discussion. If I had the permission to spend that kind of money, I would certainly be looking at that camera or the D300.

One other thing, there are some incredible deals being offered on the Nikon D200. Is it worth considering? Noise levels look pretty high on some of the sample photos on anything over 1600ISO

Thanks, again, John. Great help!!!

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