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Old Jun 6, 2012, 12:03 PM   #1
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Default Becoming a Photographer;-)

Straight up, I’ll admit, I am not a photographer. Point & Shoot, maybe use the Nikon Coolpix 8800 “mode” for different settings, for the same shot and compare later on. My wife is a graphic designer, can and does normally edit photos for whatever purpose she’s using them for, in her professional suite of applications. (Whatever that is… I’m not sure. MacBook Pro user)

With that said, I’m always envious of the families who have their DSLR cameras on the sidelines of my kids sporting events and at the end of the year send over a dozen or so photos of my kid “in action” which I never seem to have been able to capture; I believe because of FPS speed limitations. Considering our 2004 Nikon Coolpix 8800 recently started displaying the SYSTEM ERROR 2 message after every single photo taken… It’s time to start thinking about new camera’s.

The past couple of weeks it’s been more than that though… I realize it’s not only about the camera, but the knowledge of the person using the camera…. So, I’ve found myself researching and reading a bunch on photography and camera selection.

I’m the type that likes to do things “right the first time” when I’m about to spend some cash… Especially, when we’re talking a “chunk of change”.

I’ve been listing my requirements. i.e. – What do I want to do with a camera as my starting point.

1. Capture sporting event “action” shots of my kids. Mainly soccer, lacrosse, field hockey and indoor & outdoor swimming.
2. Capture “action” & “stills” photos of my Doberman Pincher.
3. Beach Shot’s – We spend a very large chunk of time on beaches during the summer. These could either be staged or “action” shots in the surf.
4. Skiing Shot’s – We spend a large chunk of time on the slopes during the winter. These could either be staged or “action” shots.
5. Vacation Photos - Scenic, portraits, macro abilities
6. Event Photos – Birthday Parties, Holiday’s, Family Gatherings


I think I’ve been focused on FPS… I want to be able to capture that break away soccer moment, culminating on that shot on goal… Then being able to wade through photos for the best ones. I'm always missing the "moment" with my current camera.

With that said… Without saying which camera I’m thinking about… Without saying what price range I’m in…

Recommendations?

Thanks a million,
Mike
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Old Jun 6, 2012, 1:36 PM   #2
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Mike,

The key to shooting sports/kids/pets is the shutter speed, that you need to keep fast, at least 1/500 sec., or even faster, depending on the sport/situation, to freeze the action! And of course a very good AF system and a decent frame rate.

You should give some additional information about the layout - can you get down by the field? Every amount you can get closer helps with reducing the size of the lens you need. For example, the working range of a 200mm lens is roughly 25 yards, and roughly 40 yards for a 300mm lens.

You didn't mention what is your budget and what level of quality are you after...

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Originally Posted by MikeShannon View Post
without saying what price range I’m in...
Well, that's not exactly helpful!

In that case, I have no hesitation in recommending either the Nikon D3S or the Canon 1D Mark IV, these 2 were conceived for sports, having super high burst-rates, super accurate AF and incredible high-ISO performance!
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Old Jun 6, 2012, 1:45 PM   #3
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Mike,
I wish I had an easy answer for you. But I don't.
For family shots, any interchangeable lens camera on the market and a good external flash will give you the best results. No worries there.

Vacation and skiing - the trick here is size/weight. Take skiing. Do you really want to carry a large DSLR and lens around the slopes? That's the tough part. The same goes for vacations. It's the toughest part of wanting to use a DSLR - they're cumbersome. It's why so many end up collecting dust as buyers go back to using extremely portable digicams.

It's a real trade off for sure.

Now, on to sports. FPS really isn't the sole determiner of good results. There's a lot more to it. Take a look at these threads:
http://forums.steves-digicams.com/sp...ng-newbie.html
and
http://forums.steves-digicams.com/sp...ml#post1300446

We can then talk specifically about the issue involved with shooting soccer, lax and swimming.
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Old Jun 6, 2012, 2:00 PM   #4
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You did not specify a budget, but due to your specs people are directing you to high end equipment that is really expensive (and heavy).
Some of the pro level camera bodies being mentioned here run in the 4K$ to 8K$ range,
and the lenses can be similarly priced, if they are long and fast (something needed if you are shooting sports indoors or in evenings)

High frame rate, harsh (snow/sand hot/cold) conditions, long subject distances all add up.
Canons new 1dx (8k$ body) would work, but is that what you are really looking for?
Especially as you are just planning to move up from a point & shoot.

Also,
My main DSLR body with a 300mm f/2.8 lens(4k$ for the lens) weighs in at around 10 pounds or so depending on what else is attached (like a strobe or pocket wizard). Not something that is easy to carry around on the slopes.
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Old Jun 6, 2012, 2:24 PM   #5
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An afterthought,
images coming SOOC from a DSLR are rarely ready for viewing/printing without some post processing in one of the many programs available out there like lightroom or photoshop.

If you are not used to doing post processing that will be something else to consider when decideing to move to a DSLR.

Just IMHO but to get your feet wet you can get a relatively inexpensive kit like a t2i or t3i with a lens or two for 500$-700$.
It won't do a lot of what you are after, but it will get you started learning the world of DSLR's
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Old Jun 6, 2012, 4:06 PM   #6
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Thank you for the responses...

They make my head spin...

Told you I'm not a photographer...

So many things to think about...

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Old Jul 5, 2012, 3:53 PM   #7
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A month later...

Still pondering camera selection.

Purchased two kindle books.
1) Improve your Photography by Jim Harmer (Really, Really Basic Beginners)
2) Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson

Read through the 100 page book by Jim Harmer and started actually "playing" with my broken 2004 Nikon Coolpix 8800 one shot at a time due to a SYSTEM ERROR 2 displaying after every shot... i.e. Stopped using the AUTO or SCENE Mode. Still have to download the photos and see how they actually came out and see if I can see a difference. Probably should have taken some notes on what I was actually testing with each shot.

Some moments I'm "ALL IN"... Thinking CANON 7D with a nice lens to kick things off... Looking at a little over 3k (BODY/1 Lens/32g Sanddisk Extreme Pro) Realizing, that one lens is not going to fulfill everything...

The next moment I'm thinking that's just sooooo much more camera than I could possibly appreciate at the moment.

Then I start thinking PowerShot G1X or G12, or even just the SX40 to really see where this photography "thing" takes me. Start "shooting" in non-auto mode. Start actually being able to 'talk' photography.

But... Then I think about the shots I'd really like to attempt to capture. That squarely hit, line drive ball, towards my shortstop daughter, making the spectacular grab... You know the one that makes the spectators Ooo and Ahh.

Or

That sequenced mid-field break away ending up with a dramatic shot on goal...

Or

Those facial expressions of kids body surfing and catching that one huge wave that rolls you over...


I'm starting to think it's really just up $$$ and the question, do I really want to spend the big bucks or will less bucks start me out and keep me happy.

I guess the other issue is just how much time do I think I will spend wanting to do post-processing, which leads me back to the higher end compact digital to get my feet wet.

Mike
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Old Jul 5, 2012, 4:24 PM   #8
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If you don't have the right camera and/or lenses, there isn't much you can do in post-processing to make up for it.

If you want to shoot sports/action, you need a dSLR and an apporpriate lens(es).
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Old Jul 6, 2012, 7:40 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TCav View Post
If you don't have the right camera and/or lenses, there isn't much you can do in post-processing to make up for it.

If you want to shoot sports/action, you need a dSLR and an apporpriate lens(es).
Starting to understand that... but to go out and spend 3k+ when we never utilized functionality on our 2004 Coolpix 8800 and I really am just starting to take an interest in attempting to understand photography concepts and camera modifications... Makes me think some on where I should spend cash.

I found the PowerShot SX40 HS Photo thread and while I may not be able to capture the sporting event shots like I'm 'thinking' I'd like to... If I could learn to take still photos, like some of those... and learn some post-processing editing skills on that camera... may make a jump to a DSLR later on a little less daunting.

Not to mention, that we are replacing the CP8800 and our first requirement really needs to be a point-n-shoot for those every day shots... Considering that the DSLR isn't going to be that everyday camera as someone pointed out.

Mike
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Old Jul 7, 2012, 1:11 PM   #10
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i had a panasonic fz150, and while the EVF wasn't always perfect, but otherwise it was very nice - i believe that in many ways the sx40 is comparable, but haven't spend time with one. i was looking at the pics from my fz150 the other day and wondering why i sold it. i've owned a number of point and shoots, dslrs and micro four thirds cameras, but the fz150 was the best compromise.

btw, if you're thinking DSLR, you could spend a lot less than $3000 by considering the t4i and d5100. for that matter, the t2i and t3i aren't exactly slouches.

Last edited by pcake; Jul 17, 2012 at 10:11 AM.
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