Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > What Camera Should I Buy?

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old May 22, 2010, 11:20 AM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 4
Default Best DLSR under $1200 for Marching Band pixs?

Looking for best DSLR/lens combo under $1200 - primarily for taking pixs of high school Marching Band - usually at night, taken from stands or above the pressbox.

I currently use a Nikon D60 with the 2 basic VR zooms that came with it... but continue to struggle with high ISO performance. Not sure if I just need to invest in better glass for the D60, or if I should consider upgrading the cam (Nikon, Canon or Sony)??

Any suggestions/recommendation from the forum? Thank you!
brehmj is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old May 22, 2010, 12:20 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
mtclimber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 18,143
Default

brehmj-

The conditions you describe are a very difficult photo environment. You could measurably improve your shooting results by getting out of the stands and on to the field. At the outset you are going to need much better equipment, better lenses, and improved photo techniques.

Please share with us the distances involved and some data about your own photo skill levels. This is a rather specialized kind of photography.

Sarah Joyce
mtclimber is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 22, 2010, 12:49 PM   #3
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 4
Default

Thanks Sarah -- skill level is moderate; def not a pro, but not a beginner either... Most of the time I am shooting from top of press box (high school football stadium), so I am thinking 150-200 ft away from band. I am not so worried about individual close-ups as I am just general wide field pixs, with some closer shots of sections of the band in performance.
brehmj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 22, 2010, 1:00 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
TCav's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Washington, DC, Metro Area, Maryland
Posts: 13,572
Default

You definitly need something with better low light capability than your D60, and your existing lenses aren't very good for that purpose either. If you don't have some reason for sticking with Nikon, there are other camera bodies that are capable of that kind of shooting:
  • Canon T1i
  • Pentax K-x
  • Sony A500
There are others, but they will bust your budget pretty quickly.

You also need a large aperture medium telephoto lens. A zoom lens will probably be more convenient to work with, so that limits the maximum aperture to f/2.8, which, on those camera bodies, should be ok.

Tamron has a 70-200mm f/2.8 and Sigma has a 70-200mm f/2.8 and a 50-150mm f/2.8 lens. Any of these should work without setting you back too much. It's difficult to predict what focal length you'll need, so if you've got some sample photos of your past attempts, we'd be able to judge from those. Can you post some (reduced but not cropped)?
__________________
  • The lens is the thing.
  • 'Full Frame' is the new 'Medium Format'.
  • "One good test is worth a thousand expert opinions." - Tex Johnston, Boeing 707 test pilot.
TCav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 22, 2010, 1:16 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
shoturtle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Frankfurt AM
Posts: 11,348
Default

With your budget

The K-x the the T1i with the sigma 50-150mm would be my pic.

About 520 for the K-x with the 18-55 and add 700 for the 50-150. If you need more reach go up to the 70-200 at 800.

The T1i will be a bit more as it will be about 700 for the body and kit lens.
__________________
Super Frequent Flyer, no joke. Ex Patriot and loving it.
Canon Eos 60D, T1i/500D, Eos1, Eos 630, Olympus EPL-1, and a part time Pentax K-X shooter.
shoturtle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 22, 2010, 6:55 PM   #6
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 4
Default

Thanks everyone. I appreciate all your help and recommendations. What if the budget was $1500 or $2000 -- are there any changes you would make to the camera selection -- possibly the Nikon D90 of Canon 50D?
brehmj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 22, 2010, 7:17 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
shoturtle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Frankfurt AM
Posts: 11,348
Default

50D will give you allot faster burst rate, but that will not change that situation that you will need the lenses recommend. So if you do not need the higher burst rate, the other cameras mention will do a fine job, they are packed with performance.
__________________
Super Frequent Flyer, no joke. Ex Patriot and loving it.
Canon Eos 60D, T1i/500D, Eos1, Eos 630, Olympus EPL-1, and a part time Pentax K-X shooter.
shoturtle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 22, 2010, 8:25 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
TCav's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Washington, DC, Metro Area, Maryland
Posts: 13,572
Default

The three cameras I mentioned, the Canon T1i, the Pentax K-x, and the Sony A500 are all capable of recording images at ISO 12,800. (They won't necessarily be good images, but they can be recorded.) Since you want to shoot in low light, you'll need either slow shutter speeds (risking motion blur due to subject movement and camera shake), higher ISO settings (risking image noise), or larger apertures. Since we have yet to establish what focal length lens you need, the best we can suggest is zoom lenses which have a maximum aperture of f/2.8. If we knew what focal length lens you needed, we might be able to suggest a prime (fixed focal length) lens with a larger aperture, so you could use a lower ISO to reduce noise, or a faster shutter speed to reduce motion blur. The cameras you mentioned can't use higher ISO settings than the cameras already mentioned, so as far as exposure goes, those other cameras won't be any better, and one of them will be worse.

So, can you post some examples of photos of this type that you've taken already, so we can see what focal lengths you'll need?
__________________
  • The lens is the thing.
  • 'Full Frame' is the new 'Medium Format'.
  • "One good test is worth a thousand expert opinions." - Tex Johnston, Boeing 707 test pilot.

Last edited by TCav; May 22, 2010 at 8:28 PM.
TCav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 23, 2010, 12:34 AM   #9
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Tumbleweed, Arizona
Posts: 1,381
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by TCav View Post
... so we can see what focal lengths you'll need?
I think that some simple math can also help here. So here is the football field.....
I suppose that the band will probably work within the 20 yard lines so that is about 60 yards or 180 feet by the width of the field of 160 feet.

If the shooting is done from the top of the press box at the top of the stands, say 200 feet (near sidelines, field center or ??) plus another up to another 80 feet to the center of the field.

So, figuring a distance of 200 to 280 feet to the center of the field, and a length of 160 feet wide, we can then use some camera calculators.....
http://www.tawbaware.com/maxlyons/calc.htm
Scroll down to "Dimensional Field of View Calculator" (using the focal factor of 1.5)
30mm at 200 feet will give you 160 foot wide coverage
30mm at 280 feet will give you 225 foot wide coverage

50mm at 200 feet will give you 96 foot wide coverage
50mm at 280 feet will give you 135 foot wide coverage

70mm at 200 feet will give you 6 foot wide coverage
70mm at 280 feet will give you 10 foot wide coverage
So it appears that you would want to be in the 30 to 70mm focal range and I'll guess at f2.8 to keep the cost reasonable.

We have covered the near sidelines to the field center, depth of field will need to provide coverage for the far side of the field

Use the same calculator web page but scroll up to "Depth of Field Calculator".
30mm at f2.8 at 280 feet - near = 46 feet and far is infinity
50mm at f2.8 at 280 feet - near = 99 feet and far is infinity
70mm at f2.8 at 280 feet - near = 145 feet and far is infinity
So you should have essentially everything in focus at all of the focal lengths (30 to 70mm) at f2.8

Others are better at this than I am, especially for cameras other than Pentax, but here is a go...
Tamron AF 28-75/f2.8 runs about $450 for Canon
http://www.tamron.com/lenses/prod/2875mm.asp
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...2_8_XR_Di.html
Hope that helps. It would be interesting to see what the original poster has for focal lengths in their current set of images, and how they match up to the above guesstimates.

Also, if you want to get some better measurements, I would suggest using Google Earth. Down load it, zoom to your school's football field, and use the ruler under the Tools menu. You should be able to measure +/- a foot. I would get the actual measurements and then re-calculate everything, before spending actual money.


Last edited by interested_observer; May 23, 2010 at 12:57 AM.
interested_observer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 23, 2010, 8:10 AM   #10
Senior Member
 
TCav's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Washington, DC, Metro Area, Maryland
Posts: 13,572
Default

Excellent info. Thanks, interested_observer. Now we wait for the OP to confirm or refute those results.

Considering we're now talking about shorter focal lengths, the subject I was going to bring up, Image Stabilization, is less important. But still, it might be useful, and the Pentax and Sony bodies have it and the Canon doesn't. But the Canon and Pentax can record video and the Sony can't. But the Sony has an articulating 'Live View' display, while the Canon and Pentax don't. In all other respects, the three camera bodies are about equal, though there are significant differences in the three systems they are part of.
__________________
  • The lens is the thing.
  • 'Full Frame' is the new 'Medium Format'.
  • "One good test is worth a thousand expert opinions." - Tex Johnston, Boeing 707 test pilot.
TCav is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 6:01 PM.