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Old May 23, 2010, 7:13 AM   #11
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Here is the simple solution...

Upgrade to a D90 body (approx $800)
Far superior low light and simply a beter camera with controls similar to what you are use to.

Also will provide video capability for formation transitions.

The Tamron 2.8 lens mentioned above (approx $420) = $1220
In Nikon mount, thanks to the internal motor, will also work on the D60
Alternately at the same price is the Sigma 17-70, but the Tamron is a fixed aperature while the Sigma is variable so the 2.8 may not be available certain focal lengths.

Have an associate down at field level with the D60 for closeup and you accomplish the best of both worlds.

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Old May 23, 2010, 7:45 AM   #12
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I was on the other side of the lens for these shots in college, but maybe I can flesh this out a little. The press-box photos and video cover the whole field. Any close-ups we had were taken on the field. In my case we often went to the 0 yard line, but this will vary greatly by the size of the band. In high school we can expect between 50 and 350 performers and a correspondingly wide arrangement on the field.

The photos tended to be of the band while stationary - more flattering in general. Some bands move more than others, but they all will stop occassionally. Perhaps this will allow longer exposure times unless the flags or dancers do a routine. I don't think fast-focus is a concern since, as was discussed, with the right dof a person could pre-focus on the first hash mark to cover the entire field.

Knowing what I know now, I wonder how to control blown highlights from glare off of the brass. Are the polarizing filters inappropriate for metal reflection in general, or is it related to ferrous materials?
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Old May 23, 2010, 7:48 AM   #13
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A polarizing filter would help with that glare, but I don't think preventing the minute instances of blown highlights would be worth the loss of two f-stops for the rest of the image.
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Old May 23, 2010, 5:18 PM   #14
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The c-pl will also make the 2.8 into a 3.8 lens as they have 1 F-stop. Just something else to consider.
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Old May 23, 2010, 5:38 PM   #15
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Thanks everyone - you recommendation, experience and direction has been extremely helpful in narrowing down where I really need to be looking at. I have been focused on Nikon D90 and Canon T2i -- but now I am also leaning more towards the Sony Alpha 500 with 2.8 zoom... Have not really considered a Pentex model...

Last question - where does everyone think the best place to purchase is? B&H? Adorama? Amazon? Who has the best return policy if something is not right??

Thanks again everyone. I learning more in 2 days here than I have over the past year of researching books and web.
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Old May 23, 2010, 5:43 PM   #16
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Those are the best places on line to get the camera.

I would look at the A550 over the A500. It is a newer model, and a bit more advance.
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Old May 23, 2010, 5:47 PM   #17
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Also which 2.8 zoom were you considering?

Besides the marching band, what else are you planning to shoot with this camera?
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Old May 23, 2010, 6:10 PM   #18
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I would also add Amazon along with Beach Camera.

The other thing I would add, would be a tripod. If you are not going to use a tripod, I would then recommend a camera body with image stabilization (IS) built in. I have found it valuable even with the shorter focal lengths in evening ambient light situations. Canon and Nikon do not have in body IS, but Pentax and Sony does. The Pentax KX uses a Sony sensor and does a very good job with it, and from what I have read, a better job that what Sony does.

Here is a comparison with most of the models you are considering....
Hope that helps...
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Old May 23, 2010, 6:43 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shoturtle View Post
The c-pl will also make the 2.8 into a 3.8 lens as they have 1 F-stop. Just something else to consider.
You'd probably lose over a stop with most polarizers (and some may be closer to two stops, depending on how they're rotated). One stop light loss from f/2.8 would be like using the lens at f/4, two stops would be like using it at f/5.6.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shoturtle View Post
I would look at the A550 over the A500. It is a newer model, and a bit more advance.
The A500 and A550 were launched at the same time (both were announced on August 27, 2009, along with the A850). ;-)

In the U.S., the A500 and A550 both started shipping in October 2009.

Compared to the A500, the A550 does get a 14MP sensor (versus the 12MP sensor in the A500), a higher resolution LCD, and an available 7fps "speed priority" mode that's missing on the A500 (with AF locked on the first frame when using the A550's 7fps mode). The buffer size is also larger on the A550. But, otherwise, the body style, control layout and feature set are the same between these two models.
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Old May 23, 2010, 6:47 PM   #20
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better lcd, better fps, bigger buffer, more resolution, AF lock. More advance features.
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