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Old Jul 15, 2010, 12:59 PM   #1
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Default Going on a birding trip + kids sports

We're going on a birding /river tour in a few weeks and I'm hoping to move up to a DSLR for that and other subjects - I currently have a Canon G11 that mostly gets used in Auto mode. I've considered a DSLR for several years but the bird tour has pushed up my desire. I have very little photo knowledge or skills, but do plan to spend time learning with whatever camera I end up with.

I would like something with a decent zoom range for the bird tour. I also have kids that participate in little league baseball, basketball and karate. Not the fastest action, but the basketball and karate are indoors.

I'm hoping to get a camera, an everyday lens and something to cover the zoom for the bird shots. I've always had Canon P&S and have a small speedlight, but would also consider other brands, since i have no lens for any. I'm hoping to stay in the $1200 range - give or take.

Would be grateful for any suggestions.

Thanks
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Old Jul 15, 2010, 1:20 PM   #2
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I'm really new to learning about DSLR's but here's some things to consider:

If you plan on shooting indoors, mainly the karate you may end up needing a camera body that can do a higher ISO (3200 perhaps) and a fast lense (maybe f/2.8). The fast lens would help too with the bird shots as it should eliminate motion blur if they dont hold still long enough.

The nikon d5000 and canon t1i seem to be decent entry level/cost options. You could consider buying used or refurbished to help keep the cost down too.

In my research Ive found that fast lenses tend to be quite costly, so I would consider going with a third party lens (tamron or sigma).

600 or so for the body and 400-600 for a decent lens about hits your price point. Not to mention little extras you'll probably want to pick up.

Someone else will chime in with way more information than what I can provide but I hope this gets you thinking!
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Old Jul 15, 2010, 1:20 PM   #3
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eswau-

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

If most of these proposed shots will be outdoors, the Canon T1i would handle the tasks with ease, offering fast focusing, good resolution, and a wide selection of lenses. I have come to learn that for birding, you need at least 400mm at the far end of the zoom. Therefore, you could get by, as a minimum, with the T1i, the kit lens, and the 55-250mmIS lens.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jul 15, 2010, 1:44 PM   #4
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I think that, if you only have a few weeks to get accustomed to it, you won't be satisfied with the results you'll get. If this is a once-in-a-lifetime trip, take your G11, maybe with a conversion lens.

Take the camera you already know how to use, and get a dSLR when you get back, so you'll be prepared for the next once-in-a-lifetime trip.
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Last edited by TCav; Jul 15, 2010 at 1:48 PM.
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Old Jul 15, 2010, 1:47 PM   #5
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Well, I think you're going to have to adjust your expectations a bit. You are NOT going to be able to shoot basketball/karate with any kit lens. Not going to happen. Additionally. 250mm is painfully short for bird shots. If you look at this thread down at post #14 you'll see the poster has linked to a picasa library with a couple bird shots taken with 300mm lens on aps-c DSLR from fairly short distance. See just how small the birds are in the frame:
http://forums.steves-digicams.com/pe...-advice-2.html

250mm is OK for tee-ball and little league as long as the diamond is NOT full sized and you can get within a few yards of the baseline. If not - if the field is full size or you are pushed further back, a 250mm lens will be far too short.

Now, for basketball/karate you are not going to be able to shoot with that lens or the kit lens. You need to assume an f2.8 lens and ISO 3200 at a minimum. Those of us on the forum that shoot sports can help you determine what equipment you will need for that. For the birding - the reach you need will be determined by the types of birds and the distances. I'm going to suggest however that any lens short of 400mm on the camera will likely yield less than desirable results. In truth your best option would be to rent a lens for the tour - a 400mm 5.6 or 100-400L would be good choices.
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Old Jul 15, 2010, 2:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TCav View Post
I think that, if you only have a few weeks to get accustomed to it, you won't be satisfied with the results you'll get. If this is a once-in-a-lifetime trip, take your G11, maybe with a conversion lens.

Take the camera you already know how to use, and get a dSLR when you get back, so you'll be prepared for the next once-in-a-lifetime trip.
This sounds like good advice to me...
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Old Jul 19, 2010, 12:33 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the advice. I'll probably give up on trying to get something for our birding trip - it wasn't a once in a life time kind of trip. My wife has a Panasonic FZ18, so we'll probably just take that and live with it.

I do still plan on getting a DSLR in the near future and am leaning towards a TS1 body and getting a couple of seperate lenses. I'll let you know what I end up with.
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