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Old Feb 2, 2010, 11:33 AM   #1
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Default DLSR or P&S

While there is a great deal of information on the forums here, it is hard to really narrow down through all the more techy jargon specific to photography. I do enjoy reading a lot of it and have learned much. With that said, time is of a premium for me and spending time learning a whole technology just to make a decision on the purchase is probably not going to happen.

I need a new camera, the question I have is DLSR or P&S.

Much like any tech the hard core crowd suggests getting the "hotrod" (dlsr). This interests me purely from my own need to have the best tool for what I want, but really is the P&S the way to go?

What I need:
- To be able to shoot pictures at family gatherings
- To be able to shoot picutres outdoors and indoors
- To be able to shoot from 10-75 feet away in a school Gym(wrestling/basketball). We all know the standard lighting here
- To be able to take shots of football on the field from both the stands and the sidelines(chain crew often needs volunteers)

So as you can see I need a good family camera. I want the pictures to be great, I definitely want something that can take the pictures of the sports and have them look good.

I am capable of learning the technology, its all manuals and processes, but is it smart to get a DLSR? Will I be able to keep it in such a ready state at home that if I need to grab it take a couple snaps shots of the kids it will not take 10 minutes just to get it "configured" to do so? If so, I am leaning towards the T1i with a single kit lens for now and picking up a longer lens closer to football season. Will I need to get a external flash also right away as I need the camera soon for the wrestling(week or two), or does it come with one a flash capable of taking those pictures?

Will a Point and Shoot better fit my needs? If so, I will be honest, I spent so many days already pouring over and figuring out the little information I know about DSLR's that I decided to just ask. I know nothing here about the P&S so.... I am putty.

Budget range, well I would really like to put the t1i single lense kit at the top range of my initial purchase, and really hoping I can get away with the stock flash so about $800. I know P&S will be cheaper.

Would I be able to accomplish all that I want to with a slightly older DLSR model? For example a Nikon D3000?

Also to state, I doubt I will ever be a "artistic" photographer, though I would love to be able to take some multi generational photos with the family and have them turn out well enough to hang on the wall.

Thanks in advance,
Tom
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Old Feb 2, 2010, 11:49 AM   #2
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Hi there, Tom-

Welcome to the Forum. We're please that you dropped by.

When you consider your requirements for shooting wrestling shots and football, it is rather clear cut that you are going to need a high performance (hot rod) kind of camera to get the image quality that you are seeking. A P+S camera could not handle those photo environments and produce very good image quality.

One of our Moderators, JohnG is a sports photography expert, and I am sure that he can help work out all the details rather easily for you.

Have a great day.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Feb 2, 2010, 12:15 PM   #3
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Tom,

A few comments about your sports shooting needs. For indoor basketball I have never seen shots from a digicam at HS level or below that I would consider acceptable. There are always new digicams and the possibility exists one could do the job but I've never seen photos produced from a digicam of HS or below that would be good enough. Having said that, the kit lens that comes with a DSLR isn't going to be good enough either.

Wrestling is best shot with an external flash. built-in flashes just aren't strong enough and you'll get red-eye. You also need to be low - on the floor is preferable but first row of stands is OK too. A digicam with external flash could produce halfway decent wrestling photos. A DSLR of course is going to be better - better lens and better high ISO performance (even using a flash for wrestling, I shoot at ISO 800 which given the shadows and backgrounds of wrestling is going to show a lot of noise in digicams).

Football - needs are dependent upon type of football. Obviously if it's varsity HS under lights you need more expensive equipment to be successful - an f2.8 lens for starters and preferably a good powerful external flash in addition. If it's during the day things are different. Also, if you're working the chains there's no way you're going to have time to take photos - especially not with a DSLR setup. If you're doing a job (chains) then stick to that job - trying to do both that and photography will ensure you screw up at both. BUT, taking football photos from the stands is also a bad idea - you're often too far away AND the angle is all wrong. You want to be at eye level or below not shooting down on your subject. So, to get successful football shots you need to be at field level and not performing another job.

All in all, if basketball, football and wrestling are important aspects to your photography you'll need a DSLR. BUT to be successful you'll need lenses/flash that aren't included in a kit. Take basketball - you'll need either an f2.8 lens (sigma 70-200 2.8 for $750 is the cheapest lens I can recommend - sigma makes a 50-150 but I've only seen one sports photog use it and it would be difficult for me to recommend the lens based upon his results - the 70-200 is only $100 or so more so it's worth it). That lens can also be used for wrestling. BUT with wrestling you want to add an external flash. AND if you're shooting from further than say 15-20 feet you'll want a flash bracket otherwise you'll get red-eye. Within 20 feet you should be able to avoid red-eye with external flash. Football depends on the level of play. The 70-200 2.8 is an option here but 200mm is good for only about 25 yards of reach. So if you're in the stands 10 yards away from the sidelines that only gives you 15 yards into the field of play - not very good.

Also realize shooting sports requires practice and skill in addition to the equipment. It's more difficult than it looks and is NOT a point-and-shoot type of photography. It aint rocket science but you do need to do a bit of advanced learning to become proficient.

As for DSLRs I would recommend the Canon T1i or Nikon D90. The D5000 is a bit unknown - they put back the older focus array (they stripped down the focus system on the entry level nikons) but I have no idea if they put the 'brains' back in the focus system of the D5000. There just aren't enough sports photogs using the d5000 to judge.
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Old Feb 2, 2010, 4:23 PM   #4
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OK , I think I misstated. The chain gang asks for volunteers from time to time, but that also gives the me ability to be down there more frequently even while not performing that job. I wouldn't attempt to take pictures...as it is I have been almost run over at least a dozen times barely surviving.

Ok so it appears that I could get away with a higher end digicam for wrestling(decently) but nothing else as far as the sports goes.

I definitely understood it was going to be a learning process which I am very ok with. I appreciate the info on basic sports shooting. Again its really more to have family memories as opposed to trying to accomplish SI type photography. For wrestling I was planning being near the ground as I am usually in the front row of the stands.

With the being said. Could I possibly go with a slightly older model to overcome some of the initial costs of the body so I can get the external flash etc. Then upgrade down the road? For instance grabbing a XSi and a 430II flash?
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Old Feb 2, 2010, 4:35 PM   #5
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For indoors sports I would go with the T1i over the XSi, it has better low light performance. And a flash is not always suitable for basketball. The 430ex II is an excellent flash but if you want to save a little bit of money the metz 48 is just as good. And has a little better range then the 430 ex II. But the XSi is a very good camera. And it will most likely go on sale, as it is rumor that it will be replace soon when the 550/600D comes out. So if you are looking to save some money. It will give you a very good general purpose camera.

If you want a better zoom lens in a consumer grade, you may want to look at the ef 70-300mm IS USM over the ef-s 55-250mm. It will give you better results then the 2 lens kit zoom for your outdoor sports needs. It will not give you sport Illustrated results, but if you are willing to take a less performance. It is a good option. And it makes a very good general photography purpose zoom with nice reach.
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Last edited by shoturtle; Feb 2, 2010 at 4:37 PM.
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Old Feb 2, 2010, 5:09 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clloka View Post
With the being said. Could I possibly go with a slightly older model to overcome some of the initial costs of the body so I can get the external flash etc. Then upgrade down the road? For instance grabbing a XSi and a 430II flash?
Possibly. But you still need to account for lens purchases. What level of football are we talking about? We need to figure out what lenses you will need for football, wrestling and basketball. We can factor in body costs but we need to identify your lens needs.
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Old Feb 2, 2010, 5:46 PM   #7
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It will be HS and Middle school football over the next two years. It will be JV, games start at 6 end around 7:30. I am in the Midwest so the games will be under stadium lighting half way through the year. It is a very bright stadium, in fact it is only 1 year old.

I would be more concerned with the football and wrestling at this point, but the main use for the majority of the time again will be family photos etc.
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Old Feb 2, 2010, 5:50 PM   #8
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You may want to go with a general purpose zoom lens for now. The sports lenses mention are not ideal for causal uses. As they are allot heavier. And with family shot and family vacation a lighter lens setup is much preferred.
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Old Feb 2, 2010, 5:52 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shoturtle View Post
You may want to go with a general purpose zoom lens for now. The sports lenses mention are not ideal for causal uses. .
And 'general purpose zoom lenses' will be useless for basketall, wrestling and football under the lights. So if the OP wants to give up shooting those 3 things the a general purpose zoom will work for the family stuff.
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Old Feb 2, 2010, 6:00 PM   #10
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But sports is just one aspect of the need, maybe less then 15-25% of the useage. It really seems like Clloka is looking system that will give a good all around camera system, not specializing. And as state, not looking for a shot to be on the cover of SI.

Also with a 800 dollar budget, which you keep factoring out. Any of the sports lenses alone will eat it up completely.

Is it better to spend 800 buck on 1 lens that may only get use 15-25 percent of the time. Or spend that same money on a higher end dslr body and a general purpose lens that will see more then 50% uses. With the way I do the math, and with the way the economy is. What I am suggest has merit for a hobbiest that is looking for a well rounded system. Not looking to specialize.

We can go back on forth on this, on multiple threads. But there is truth in my view point as well, when sports in not the sole focus.
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Last edited by shoturtle; Feb 4, 2010 at 8:47 PM.
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