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Old Sep 28, 2009, 7:42 PM   #1
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Default Need Nikon D5000 advice

I think I am about to buy the Nikon D5000. I have done some online research and went to my local camera store yesterday and actually played with the Nikon D5000 and a few other models from Nikon an Canon. I held a Sony DSLR but the grip was too small for my long fingers.

I thought I wanted the Canon T1i but the swivel LCD of the Nikon really impressed me and it also was the only camera that allowed you to use Live View and auto focus to take the shot like you can with a point and shoot digital camera. I currently have a four year old Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z3 and am ready to step up to a DSLR. It is decent with good outdoor lighting but crappy with low lighting.

I need the camera to be easy to operate for I want my wife to also be able to take pictures even though she thinks my simple DiMAGE Z3 is complicated to use so a DSLR will take some time for her to warm up to it. The D5000 appears to be easy to use and the built in help feature was impressive.

The type of shooting I will be doing is the standard family stuff but I also want to get the best pictures I can afford of my son playing pee wee football on Saturday afternoons and my daughter participating in the marching band during high school football on Friday nights. I can only afford to get the Nikon - Zoom-Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6G IF-ED AF-S DX VR Zoom Lens to help me get as close to the action as monetarily possible. What type of quality pictures can I expect with this lens and using the available settings of the D5000? It has a maximum ISO of 3200 so I am hoping that will help with the low lighting of the nighttime football games.

Any setting suggestions for the various type of photo opportunities from those that currently have the D5000?

Will the D5000 and the Zoom-Nikkor 55-200mm lense make me happy or will it disappoint me with the type of pictures I plan to take?

Thanks in advice for your help and suggestions.
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Old Sep 29, 2009, 7:49 AM   #2
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For your daughter's cheerleading during night games you're going to need to use flash. Stadium lights point towards the field, and even under the full lights you wouldn't be able to capture good shots of your daughter cheering with the lens under consideration. Now, you're going to get mediocre shots with the built in flash - you're going to need an external flash to get good shots. How good depends on logistics. What I mean by that is - what obstacles there will be between you and your daughter. You're not going to be able to sit in the stands and get a close up of her face with a 200mm lens. And when you zoom out you may have a fence and people in the way - or not - that's what I mean by logistics partially determining how good the shots can turn out. Stadium layouts vary greatly. Hope that makes sense.

For peewee football, again you'll get some good shots and some not-so-good. A lot depends on the type of field they're playing on. If they are on a regulation size field the trouble is - they're small and even on the sideline you're far away if they're middle of the field or opposite hash mark. Of course then it also depends on where your son is on the field. For example, if he played tackle and he's the tackle closest to your sideline you can get some shots if they're middle or your hash. If he's the other tackle then shots will be very difficult - unless you can go on the other sideline. This is one area where football is more difficult to shoot for little kids. Soccer, they play on a smaller field; teeball/baseball is on a smaller field. But football is usually played on a regulation width field and that can be challenging especially since your subjects are small.

So, you just have to be patient. You'll want to capture every play. But you'll have to wait for your son to be close enough.

I will also say this - quality football shots also take skill on your part. It's not rocket science, but it's not point-and-shoot either. It can be quite challenging to get the exposure correct. The kids are wearing helmets which have shadows. One of the most important aspects that makes a shot good is being able to see a face and facial expressions. In bright sunlight that can be very challenging to do. Without adjustments from you, the camera (any camera) will get things wrong. And there is the issue of focus accuracy. At first you're going to have a lot of photos that are out of focus. This is going to be caused primarily by 2 issues - first you'll be shooting action way too far away. 200mm lens is good for about 25 yards and that's it. Beyond that point focus accuracy will take a big nose dive. Second will be your technique - your ability to keep a single focus point on your subject (and yes you should shoot football with only a single focus point) as opposed to something else - another player or the background. So, don't expect miracles just because it's a DSLR.

So, to summarize - if you learn how to shoot football and are patient you can get some good shots with that equipment. For the cheer at night you'll need an external flash to be able to get good shots. But how good is more a matter of logistics than equipment.
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Old Sep 29, 2009, 9:27 AM   #3
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Using live view really slows down the focus, and working in low light will make it even worse. Also, once focus is achieved, it will not track moving objects very well. Live view in DSLR's does not function nearly as well as it does in P&S cameras. To get the most out of the focus system, you're better off using the optical viewfinder.
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Old Sep 29, 2009, 10:32 AM   #4
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If you want fast Autofocus when using Live View, then the Sony models with Live View are your best bet. They can still use their dedicated AF sensor when in Live View mode. On the downside, their viewfinders are smaller because of their Live View Design that incorporates a dedicated Live View sensor in the Viewfinder housing.

This design allows the Live View sensor to see the same thing that would normally be projected to the optical viewfinder when in live view mode. So, Autofocus works the same way in live view mode as it does when using the optical viewfinder.

As for the grip on the Sony models, it sounds like you were probably looking at the newer A230, A330 or A380. These are smaller and lighter cameras compared to other Sony dSLR models, and the grip on them is also relatively small. The older A200, A300 and A350 models are a bit larger cameras.

But, for low light use if you really want Live View (and if not, there are other alternatives), your best bet would be to look at the new A500 or A550 models in the Sony lineup. These are larger than the entry level models with live view (A330, A380), while still giving you fast AF in Live View mode. You'd probably find the grip on them to be more comfortable than the new entry level models. The LCD also tilts on these models. Note that the A550 has a higher resolution LCD compared to the A500.

These new models are going to do much better at higher ISO speeds compared to the entry level Sony models. The A500 (new 12 Megapixel model) isn't shipping yet. But, I'd expect to see it hitting store shelves within the next few weeks (Sonystyle.com is showing Oct 21 as current expected ship date, but they usually have new models earlier than predicted).

The new Sony A500 lists for $749 (body only) or $849 for a kit including a Sony 18-55mm lens.
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Old Sep 29, 2009, 6:32 PM   #5
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Take care that when you decide to buy a Nikon D5000
that the shop checks the serial number from that camera with nikonusa.com cause there are serial numbers recalled for sevice

I had a D5000 for 1 week wich had to go back and switched it in the schop with a good one this afternoon

Hope you have no trouble


for me take a D5000 you love it
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Old Sep 29, 2009, 7:35 PM   #6
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Thanks for the suggestions!

The Live View option will mostly be used by my wife until she gets used to using a DSLR. I am eager to learn how to use all of the manual options on the D5000 for I am a techie and love to learn as I go. I know that the types of pictures I want to take will be challenging and that will part of the fun and frustration of learning how to get the most our of my camera. I think the D5000 will be a great camera for me.

My only question [for now] is if the Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S VR Telephoto Lens is worth the extra $300+ compared to the Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6G IF-ED AF-S DX VR Zoom Lens? It is a lot heavier and my wife will probably not want to use it or like using it.

The reviews of the Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S VR Telephoto Lens do not sound like it performs any better with night time action shots, especially for the extra $300. Sounds like it will get me a little closer to the action but the lens is not any faster nor does it do any better in low light situations.

Anybody have any experience with both of those lenses?

Thanks!
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Old Sep 29, 2009, 8:42 PM   #7
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Lenses

my advice see dpreview lenses

and $300 is a lot so also see the Sigma 18-200 f3.5 6.3 dc os zoom

for real pices look at amazon just to compare
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Old Sep 29, 2009, 9:03 PM   #8
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I've never used the 55-200 but have a 70-300..I just got that back from repair and am still evaluating it, as i was never happy with it's performance. I doubt you'll be able to get fast enough shutter speeds at night on the long end to prevent camera shake, even with VR.
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Old Sep 29, 2009, 9:17 PM   #9
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With a 5.6 aperture the lens will not be good enough for nighttime action shots - which is why you will need a flash for the cheerleading. Even an f2.8 lens would likely be insufficient since the lighting will not fall on the cheerleaders but the field of play. F2.8 and ISO 3200-6400 would allow you to shoot action on the field but if you want to shoot the cheerleaders off the field then flash is the only way you're going to do it well.
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Old Sep 29, 2009, 9:28 PM   #10
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Unfortunately dpreview has not reviewed either of the two lenses I am considering. I read the sigma review and was not impressed with the quality that you get for a cheaper lens.

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Originally Posted by susegebr View Post
Lenses

my advice see dpreview lenses

and $300 is a lot so also see the Sigma 18-200 f3.5 6.3 dc os zoom

for real pices look at amazon just to compare
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