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Old Nov 13, 2010, 5:15 PM   #1
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Default New DSLR for High School Football

I am trying to decide on a camera upgrade to photograph my son playing Varsity Football under the lights next year, which will be more challenging. I am considering a Canon 7D and Nikon D7000 right now. I will be purchasing a 70-200 f2.8 VR with the camera, and don't want to make a mistake or have regrets considering the investment. Any thoughts or additional suggestions is appreciated. Thanks.
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Old Nov 13, 2010, 6:38 PM   #2
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For shooting football, you'll need to use fast shutter speeds to prevent motion blur due to subject movement. Those same fast shutter speeds will also prevent motion blur due to camera shake, so if that's your only use for this lens, the image stabilization will be a needless expense. The unstabilized version will do as well and will cost less.

200mm isn't very long, so if you're not on the sidelines, this whole excercise may be pointless. If you're up for it, the Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 might be a better choice anyway, and definately if you're shooting from the stands.
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Old Nov 13, 2010, 6:53 PM   #3
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just add that the d7000 superior high iso performance would serve well in getting those faster shutter speeds and still getting a useable image
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Old Nov 14, 2010, 10:23 AM   #4
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Ah, HS varsity football. My favorite sport - but a very challenging one.
First, you need to have sideline access to be successful - so work on that. Football is one of the easier sports to get access for so it shouldn't be a problem.

The D7000 looks like a great camera, the sensor is certainly the best aps-c sensor out now (with the K-5). The focus system is new - and nikon has a great track record there.

Now, a 200mm lens is OK for football but you have to shoot within it's capabilities. You get about 25 yards of coverage - that's 25 yards from where YOU are, not 25 yards sideline to sideline. So for instance you're not going to get shots of action going toward the opposite hash from the sideline you're shooting on. AND, if your HS enforces the rules about you being outside the player area that means you can't be betweent the 25 and the 25 so that's a lot of territory. Some schools don't really enforce that though.

So, you can't expect to be able to take photos of the action on every play - it just won't happen. You have to be patient.

You also are going to have to learn how to shoot sports - it is NOT a point and shoot type of photography. So if you're expecting that spending a few grand is going to enable you to put the camera in sports mode and snap away and you'll get good photos of football under the lights, you're in for disappointment.

You'll also need post processing software including noise reduction software and you'll have to learn how to use it.

Finally, back to gear. One other decision you have to make - flash or no flash. Without flash, you'll be shooting at ISO 3200-6400 and you'll have to shoot very tight as you can't crop very much at high ISOs, and you'll have to use noise reduction - and if you do all those things successfully you'll still have shadows in the helmet. AND, you'll still have issues near endzones in most stadiums and the whole field in some stadiums. But non flash allows you to take multiple shots at a time, requires less expense.

Without flash:


With Flash:


But, you can't use the built-in flash. You need an external flash and you need to get it off camera. The results are, IMO, better but you have to buy more expensive flash as you need the power and recharge rate and preferably external battery pack - and you need a monopod to mount the flash on. And you really need to improve your skill as you can only take a shot or two at a time
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Old Nov 14, 2010, 11:05 AM   #5
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in other words, you need to spend at least $5,000....
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Old Nov 14, 2010, 12:38 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ewheeler20 View Post
in other words, you need to spend at least $5,000....
Unlike many other types of photography, shooting sports places great demands on both the gear and the photographer. Reduce the light, and you increase the demands.
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Old Nov 14, 2010, 3:47 PM   #7
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Well, it's all about what is "good enough".
Canon t2i at B&H is $850
Sigma 70-200 2.8 at B&H is $800

That's 1650

Canon 580exII is $420
Bogen 679b monopod = 43
Canon offshoe cord = $22
Bogen 175 justin clamp = 56.50

Another $550.

That's $2200.

If OP wanted the 7d instead - $3300.

I'm sure a comparable nikon kit could be put together. You don't need IS/VR for football - so you save almost $1200 by not buying the Canon/Nikon IS/VR lens.
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