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Old Nov 21, 2012, 11:03 PM   #1
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Default Help! Need a Nikon before my daughter's next competition!!

I want to upgrade from a point and shoot to a Nikon Dslr camera. I know nothing about these. My 11 year old does competitive cheerleading(indoors) and I would like to know what I need in order to take action shots during her competitions.I would a Nikon bc that is the point and shoot I have now. She is a flyer and I would love to get shots of her in the air. I know I have a lot to learn. This site seems to be the most helpful!! I would love to get a camera under $700 while they are on sale for Christmas. I have found deals on Nikon D3100 and D3200 but not sure what type of lens I need?? I have also looked at Nikon D5000 and I realize it's more money and I probably need a starter camera Any help would be greatly appreciated!!! Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving!!
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Old Nov 22, 2012, 4:45 AM   #2
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The D3200 would seem the logical choice- as it has quite a few upgrades over the 3100- and even the D5000. And it shoots at a respectable 4 frames per second.
Your choice of lens,however might be a stumbling block with regard your budget- as the environment you'll be shooting usually requires a fast/wide aperture telephoto lens for optimum results.
If you're not too far away from your subject,you might get away with the standard 18-55 VR kit lens- assuming you have decent lighting,using at least iso 1600 for decent shutter speed and utilizing the 24mp to enable you to crop a bit- thus, in effect, getting you closer.
Maybe Nikon's 18-105 VR lens might suffice also- again not the best choice- but it gets you closer than the 18-55- again, assuming you have decent lighting.
If you're a fair distance away from your chosen subject, probably the most affordable option would be Nikon's 55-200 VR lens- again,not the ideal choice by any means- but it might get the job done with high iso settings and decent lighting.

Of all the types/genre's of photography to partake in, indoor sports generally requires the most expensive type of glass available- many lenses costing into well into four figures and as such, result in far superior results than the lenses mentioned.
I just hope where you plan to shoot has PLENTY of light...!
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Old Nov 22, 2012, 7:10 AM   #3
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With a lens that has a maximum aperture of f/5.6, you're not going to be able to get fast enough shutter speeds to capture your daughter's movements without a lot of motion blur. That leaves you with lenses with maximum apertures of f/2.8 or larger (numerically smaller.) At the low end of the price scale, there's Tamron's 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom lens at $769 or Nikon's 85mm f/1.8 prime lens at $497.

You want to take action photos indoors. There's no way to do this on the cheap, and just spending the money is no guarantee that you'll get the kinds of shots you want.

On your budget, I'd suggest you get the Nikon D5100 ($447) and the Nikon 85mm f/1.8 ($497) I mentioned above. It's as close to your budget as I think you're going to get, and it's a better starting point than either the D3100 or the D3200 that you're looking at.
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Old Nov 22, 2012, 7:40 AM   #4
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Purchase the Tamron used, and without VR. You'll need high shutter speeds and VR won't make much difference at the shutter speeds you need in order to capture action. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.
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Old Nov 22, 2012, 8:31 AM   #5
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Purchase the Tamron used, and without VR. You'll need high shutter speeds and VR won't make much difference at the shutter speeds you need in order to capture action. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.
You're correct. But the Tamron 70-200/2.8 VC (VC is Tamron's designation for its stabilized lenses) is so new that it probably isn't available used anyway. The problem, however, is that the (unstabilized) Tamron 70-200/2.8 was available both with and without an internal AF motor. None of the Nikon bodies being discussed here have their own AF motor, and identifying which Tamron 70-200/2.8 lenses have the AF motor and which don't, could be difficult.

KEH has one for $665, and they also have two unstabilized Sigma's, a "II" for $699, and an original for $619. The Sigma's are likely to focus faster than the Tamron.
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Old Nov 22, 2012, 8:36 AM   #6
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The limiting factor here is the lens(es) you need to do what you want, not necessarily the camera body. So Nikon is as good (if not better) for what you want to do than any other brand.
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Old Nov 25, 2012, 4:10 AM   #7
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What type of cheerleading competitions is it? Are they performing on a stage, and if so, how close do you get? How is the lighting? Is it bright or just standard lighting? And are you allowed to use flash?

Out of the above two cameras, I would suggest the Nikon D3200. It's probably a faster camera. More pixels to crop out the image you want. But more importantly, it probably does high ISO better. And if you're not allowed to use flash at a competition, the better the camera does high ISO, the better image you're going to get.

Have you considered the Nikon D7000 or heard of the Nikon D5200 (which is just released overseas yet?) They have a more advanced autofocus system. I got the Nikon D5100, and I'm thinking I should have gotten the D7000.

As for lenses, if you get right up beside the stage, you might get away with a Tamron 28-75 f2.8 lens. It's about $400? That might be enough reach to get around the stage. And be fast enough (let in enough light) to let you turn down the ISO to iso 3,200 or 4,000 in order to get better images. The other benefit of a constant aperture f2.8 lens, is that if you choose to shoot in manual mode (ie. you choose the iso, aperture and shutter speed manually), then you can set it and forget it. No matter where in the zoom range you go, your aperture stays the same. That probably goes a long way to get more uniform and better quality pictures.

If you don't get a faster f2.8 lens, but just have a standard lens, then you'll have to turn up the iso a bit more, which will result in "noisey" pictures. But if its a choice between noisey pictures and not getting the shot, I'd take a noisey picture and then try to clean it up with something like . . . Noiseware.

Here are two shots of my daughter's cheerleading team last season shot with a Nikon D5100 and a Tamron 28-75 f2.8 lens. I think both shots were around ISO 3200, f4 and I was able to get 1/500 sec with the stage lighting at the competitions.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/tacticd...7631300869284/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/tacticd...7631300869284/

Both images probably needed a bit of cropping, but that's another added bonus for the Nikon D3200 because there are more pixels to crop from.

Last edited by tacticdesigns; Nov 25, 2012 at 4:36 AM.
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Old Nov 25, 2012, 8:54 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bknk123 View Post
I want to upgrade from a point and shoot to a Nikon Dslr camera. I know nothing about these. My 11 year old does competitive cheerleading(indoors) and I would like to know what I need in order to take action shots during her competitions.I would a Nikon bc that is the point and shoot I have now. She is a flyer and I would love to get shots of her in the air. I know I have a lot to learn. This site seems to be the most helpful!! I would love to get a camera under $700 while they are on sale for Christmas. I have found deals on Nikon D3100 and D3200 but not sure what type of lens I need?? I have also looked at Nikon D5000 and I realize it's more money and I probably need a starter camera Any help would be greatly appreciated!!! Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving!!
Hi,

My daughters do dance (usually similar lighting and action).

I have a D5100. You are going to need a fast lens (f/2.8 at the highest at any point along the zoom) and a camera that can handle high ISO well (the D5100 does a very good job and the D3200 probably does as well).

I would say go with the D5100 or D3200 but the D5100 has a better sensor (has the sensor of the much more expensive D7000).

I have a prime 50 mm f/1.8 lens ($200), so if I can get near the front it works really well (best shots I get are with this lens close to wide open).

The professionals at the dance competitions use the f/2.8 prime lens 70-200 mm and with a good camera, it gives excellent results. But the lens is like $2000 by itself - I consider renting that lens....

The kit lenses will only give you decent results (slightly better than a regular point and shoot) and that is if you are using a camera with great ISO performance.

These are the most difficult situations to take pictures, esp if you cannot use flash (too far away or prohibited). Even with the most expensive gear you are going to try to take shots at moments of relatively slow movement - like when they throw your daughter in the air - you try to take the shot when she is at the highest point (and almost not moving).

Good Luck!
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Old Nov 28, 2012, 5:48 PM   #9
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Default Newbie with similar situation

I don't mean to thread jack, but I have questions about the same camera/lenses.

I ordered, but have not yet received the Nikon D5100 with the 18-55 VR lens. I will also be taking pictures at dance recitals and competitions, so stage lighting and no flash. I want to buy a prime lens and a zoom too. Initially, I was debating between the 35mm F/1.8 and 50mm F/1.8, but leaning towards the 50mm F/1.8. Then I saw the 85MM F/1.8 and wondered if it might work in this situation... Another possibility is the Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8. If I get that, I also want to purchase a prime lens. Any advice?
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 4:46 AM   #10
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I suggest you consider the same two lenses I mentioned in my earlier post:

Quote:
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... Tamron's 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom lens at $769 or Nikon's 85mm f/1.8 prime lens at $497. ...
If you get close, you'll be looking up at the performers on the stage, so your best perspective will be from farther back. A longer lens will suit you better.
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