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Old May 17, 2010, 11:09 AM   #1
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Default Music Performances

Hi,

I am a band teacher and am looking to buy a good camera for our program. Can you recommend one based on the following needs:
  1. Need to take outside pics of marching band at night at football games. Sometimes we are in the stands, sometimes we are on the field. Pics will also be taken during the day. It would be nice to zoom in from far away.
  2. Pictures of indoor performances in dark auditoriums and also in our lighted gym. Would like to zoom in to performers from the audience.
  3. I will also use this during class.
Your help is greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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Old May 17, 2010, 12:01 PM   #2
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What kind of budget?

I'd probably look at one of these at a minimum for the body:

Canon T1i or T2i
Nikon D5000 or D90
Pentax K-x
Sony A500 or A550

Then, get a 70-200mm f/2.8 AF lens to go with the body you choose (either the camera manufacturer's lens, or the less expensive Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM, which runs around $800 now).

For a higher percentage of keepers without blur from subject movement in dimmer lighting, you'll want a camera capable of usable images at ISO 3200, using a zoom lens capable of maintaining f/2.8 throughout the focal range.

The lower end bodies won't do as well at their highest ISO Speed settings (if they even have ISO speeds that high available, since you'll get more noise and/or softer images from noise reduction), and you'll want a brighter lens (f/2.8 throughout the available focal range versus one of the less expensive kit lenses) in order to get fast enough shutter speeds to reduce blur from subject movement.

Low light shooting is more demanding on equipment needed if you don't want more blurry and noisy images.

If budget won't permit that kind of gear, you may be able to get some keepers with something else (provided you're timing your shots when there is less movement and not filling the frame as much with moving individuals). But, I'd try to budget for better gear if getting a higher percentage of keepers is important in low light.
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Old May 17, 2010, 12:18 PM   #3
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I'd give more info on your budget and what the images will be used for in order to get better responses and suggestions (as smaller images are one thing, larger images are going to require a better camera and lens for best results in dimmer lighting). There are better low light solutions than I mentioned if superb results in low lighting are needed (those are just the minimum kits I'd suggest for low light use if budget permits).
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Old May 17, 2010, 12:54 PM   #4
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May be OT: if you are recording from the camera you will need a better mic. In camera microphones are usually not so good omni mics. So, a camera with an external microphone connector is suggested.
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Old May 17, 2010, 1:10 PM   #5
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My budget is about $400. Also, it will be used for still pics, not video or sound. (Even though that might be a bonus.) The primary use will be for the web, photostory, powerpoint, etc.
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