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

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Jun 13, 2006, 8:52 PM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 3
Default

I am looking to upgrade my digital camera. I currently have an HP R707, 5mp Point-n-shoot camera. It works ok for what it is intended to do I guess. The kids are getting into more sports; soccer, basketball and swimming specifically. I want a camera that will be simple enough to use, but will have the capability to take very good action shots. I prefer not to have 5 different lenses that I have to switch constantly (1 or 2 would be ok). I also like to take landscape pictures personally, while hunting and fishing. Is there a camera that will fit most needs without breaking the bank -I would like to stay under 1,000 for entire set-up - Some cameras I have been recommended are Nikon CoolPix 8800, Canon Digital RebelXT, and Nikon D70 to name a few.What is best for me, and you do not have to stay within the cameras above if a better one is out there. Any and all help would be greatly appreciated!!
BobbyA is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Jun 14, 2006, 6:46 AM   #2
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 3
Default

ttt
BobbyA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 14, 2006, 8:51 AM   #3
Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 8,529
Default

Bobby,

To be honest with you, if your primary purpose is sports photography and that includes indoor sports (you mentioned basketball) you really should be looking ONLY at an SLR solution. No digicam out there has the high ISO capability you'll need for sports shooting much less the focus speed, burst rate and buffer handling required.

I do a lot of sports shooting and it's one of the most demanding types of photography from a gear standpoint - i.e. it pushes even professional grade bodies and lenses to their limits. It's going to be near impossible to shoot the sports you want with a $1000 limit without some serious compromises on your part. With that in mind here are some suggestions on what you could do with some caveats on what the compromises are:

Camera Body: For sports shooting I would generally rate the DSLR bodies in the following order:

Canon 30d / 20d

Nikon D200 (better feature set than Canon 20d/30d but suffers more noise issues)

Nikon D50 / Canon 350 - These two cameras are fairly equivelent and the choice between them is essentially the choice between which system you prefer: Canon or Nikon.

Nikon D70 - again, great feature set but suffers noise issues which hinder it's ability as a sports camera - so if going with Nikon the D50 is probably the better sports choice.

Given your spending limits you would need to stay with the Canon 350 or Nikon D50. The drop off from the Canon 20d/30d to this level is: you lose ISO 3200 which is HUGE for sports shooting - especially indoor sports like basketball and swimming. Losing that stop of ISO means you need faster lenses - probably faster than 2.8 in many cases (and once you're below 2.8 then you need a prime lens as opposed to a zoom lens). You'll also drop from 5 fps to 3 fps in burst and lose high-precision center point focusing (exists on 20d/30d for lenses 2.8 and faster). Of all these things, I would say the limit of ISO 1600 on the entry level models is the most limiting feature.

So, body cost = approximately $650 (assuming kit lens with either camera which would be a starter walkaround lens but useless for sports work)

Lens recommendations (here's where the real cost is):

Unfortunately there is no one-size-fits-all sports lens. You have 2 conflicting requirements: you need reach for the soccer (at least 200mm - preferably 300mm) and fast aperture for the indoor sports (basketball or swimming).

For the indoor sports, since you're limited to ISO 1600, you will most likely need a lens faster than 2.8 to freeze motion. The cheapest lenses in either Nikon or Canon are 85mm 1.8 (about $350) or 50mm 1.8 lenses (about $60). Since you're on a tight budget I would have to recommend the cheap 50mm 1.8 lens. It means you MUST be shooting from the baseline for basketball and from the deck for swimming. But it's the best place to reduce your initial costs. And, both lenses are surprisingly good for only $60.

For field sports: Ideally, the best all-around sports lens is a 70-200 2.8 (or 80-200 2.8). Combined with a Camera capable of ISO 3200 this lens can even be used indoors. You can also add a 1.4x TC and get a 300 (or 320mm depending on which camera Nikon or Canon) 4.0 lens to get more reach. So, it's the most versatile lens for sports but the Canon & Nikon versions are around $1100 and the alternative Sigma lens is $850. So, we need to go probably to a tier 3 lens (from a sports shooting perspective) to save your budget. The best recommendation I can make to keep you in budget is the Sigma 70-300 4-5.6 APO DGlens. The lens retails for around $220. There are a number of lenses between this lens and the 70-200 2.8 but I think this one will give you the most bang for your buck. Here are the drawbacks: Lens doesn't have Sigma's HSM focus (i.e. not fast focusing). Build quality is what you'd expect from a $200 lens in this focal range. And, with an aperture of 5.6 the lens will perform poorly in low light - which means when you have a severely overcast day you will have more issues focusing and may not be able to get the shutter speeds you need. Also, with a 5.6 lens you won't get the subject isolation (blurred background) you get with lenses with a wider aperture.

Cost = $220

CF Card - you'll want a high speed CF card of at least 2gb to get started. I recommend the Sandisk Ultra II or Extreme III. A 2gb card runs about $100

Cost = 100

Total cost = $650 (body plus kit lens) + $60 (indoor 50mm 1.8 lens) + $220 (Sigma 70-300 lens for outdoor sports) + $100 (2 gb high speed card) = $1030

You'll have some limitations but I think that's about the cheapest kit you could get away with and have any chance at shooting the sports you want. I will warn you though: you'll run into the limits with this setup pretty early so you'll be itching to upgrade lenses within a year :-)but at least it gets you started.

Now you just need to decide Canon or Nikon. The D50 and 350D are really very comparable. I suggest going to a camera shop and handling both. Decide which one you like.

Good luck!!
JohnG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 14, 2006, 9:50 AM   #4
rey
Senior Member
 
rey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 949
Default

JohnG pretty much covered everything. I just want to emphasize that you need to keep the indoor lighting of the event in mind. Budget lenses are not very good indoors, and primes he recommended doesn't have much reach. Really good indoor lenses can be very expensive. I would suggest you look around the event for someone with DSLR and ask them what lens they use. The advise we can give here is limited since we don't know the lighting situation of the events you go to.

Also, a couple of minor things. Make sure you handle the camera before buying them. The Canon Rebel XT (350D was small for my hands and I went with Nikon D50). The Nikon 50mm 1.8 tend to cost more ($105 new). Also, if you're really in a tight budget, a 1GB card could be enough. You'll also need camera bag, cleaning kit, and at least a monopad or a tripod. Also, there is a learning curve for DSLRs, so practice a lot before you go to these events.

For online stores, I suggest the following:

bhphotovideo.com
adorama.com
beachcamera.com (aka buydig.com)
http://stores.ebay.com/Cameta-Camera (for packages)

For more reviews, be sure to checkout Steve's list:
http://www.steves-digicams.com/best_cameras.html

Good Luck!


rey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 14, 2006, 11:52 AM   #5
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378
Default

Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D with 28-75mm f/2.8 at Adorama for $899 while supplies last (and they probably won't last long).

http://www.adorama.com/IMN7DK1.html

It's a higher quality body with a larger viewfinder and buffer, with more controls compared to the entry level bodies you're looking at. It's got both Anti-Shake and higher ISO Speeds (up to ISO 3200)

Note that I'm biased since I'm currently shooting with a Konica Minolta Maxxum 5D. :-)

The 28-75mm f/2.8 would get you fast enough shutter speeds for some indoor use (f/2.8 is the brightest zoom you can buy for a DSLR like the models you're looking at). I'd grab a 50mm f/1.7 on the used market to go along with it.

This 28-75mm f/2.8 alone sells for almost $400 (it's $379 at B&H), so the KM 7D package at Adorama for $899 this lens is a super deal.

If you're on a tighter budget, there are a couple of vendors that still have KM DSLR models at bargain basement prices now.

For example, Wal-Mart has the Maxxum 7D for only $699 including an 18-70mm lens (giving you a 35mm equivalent focal range of approximately 27-105mm). This DSLR body sold for $100 more than the Canon EOS-20D when it was first introduced, and $600 more than the Nikon D70.

Now, you can get them for less than half of that amount while supplies list (and most vendors are sold out). That's a steal for a body with it's build quality and features, and the anti-shake works with any lens you buy for it.

http://www.walmart.com/catalog/produ...uct_id=4898002

Lenses also become an investment with a DSLR. If you change camera bodies later due to advances in technology, you can usually take your lenses with you within the same brand (and Minolta Autofocus Lenses will work on new Sony DSLR models).

Note that Minolta has manufactured over 16 Million Autofocus Lenses that are compatible with the Konica Minolta (and now Sony) DSLR models since 1985. That's not counting third party lenses in this lens mount from Tamron, Sigma, Tokina/Cosina/Phoenix/Vivitar, and even Kodak). The used market is full of lenses in Minolta Autofocus Mount. I bought most of my lenses used.

Sony bought some of Konica Minolta's assets and is providing warranty service for Konica Minolta Digital Cameras and Accessories.


Quote:
Effective April 1, 2006, Sony Electronics will be providing service and repair of certain Konica-Minolta products in the United States. Sony is pleased to provide existing Konica-Minolta customers an excellent customer service experience. All terms and conditions of the Konica-Minolta products' limited warranty continue to apply.
Sony Support for Konica Minolta Cameras, Lenses and Accessories

BTW, Sony just introduced a new model that can use the same lenses. Sony and Konica Minolta have been working on developing DSLR models for Sony since July 2005. Steve has a First Look Preveiw here:

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2006_.../alpha100.html

Sonystyle.com is reporting that it should be shipping on or before July 28th.

After buying the 7D body (or kit), I'd hit the used market for lenses.

Minolta 70-210mm f/3.5-4.5 for the outside sports. It's around $100 on the used market. For a bit more (they've been running around $150 or so lately on Ebay), get the Minolta 70-210mm f/4 (a very high quality lens, but it's a bit larger and heavier than the newer 70-310 f/3.5-4.5).

Pick up a 50mm f/1.7, too (around $100 on the used market). The Minolta 50mm f/1.4 is more. A bright prime like this will be probably needed for some indoor conditions to stop action in lower light.

Good Sources of used lenses:

http://www.keh.com

http://www.bhphotovideo.com

http://www.adorama.com

local camera shops, pawn shops, newspapers, ebay

Some partial lists of lenses available in Minolta Autofocus Mount:

Zoom Lenses

Fixed Focal Length Lenses

Macro Lenses


JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 14, 2006, 12:05 PM   #6
Member
 
mweb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 93
Default

Konica/minolta stuff great spec and value but abundance of accessories and lenses tip me towards 350D/D50, here in the UK *ist DL2 retails at under £350 thats £150 less than the Canon:G
mweb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 14, 2006, 12:25 PM   #7
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378
Default

mweb wrote:
Quote:
Konica/minolta stuff great spec and value but abundance of accessories and lenses tip me towards 350D/D50, here in the UK *ist DL2 retails at under £350 thats £150 less than the Canon:G
Canon has only manufactured 32 Million Lenses in EF Mount, and Canon's been selling a lot of DSLRs.

Konica Minolta has a much smaller market share in comparison, since they're the "new kid on the block" with sales from their 7D and 5D models and they've manuactured 16 Million lenses in Minolta AF Mount. That's a lot of lenses around to pick from (not counting all of the third party lenses in the market)

So, the used market hasn't suffered as much (although we've seen a spike lately after some panic buying came when KM exited the camera business).

Despite some recent price increases, you can still find some very high quality lenses that are a great deal on the used market.


JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 14, 2006, 12:32 PM   #8
Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 8,529
Default

JimC wrote:
Quote:
Canon has only manufactured 32 Million Lenses in EF Mount, and Canon's been selling a lot of DSLRs.

Konica Minolta has a much smaller market share in comparison, since they're the "new kid on the block" with sales from their 7D and 5D models and they've manuactured 16 Million lenses in Minolta AF Mount. That's a lot of lenses around to pick from (not counting all of the third party lenses in the market)

So, the used market hasn't suffered as much (although we've seen a spike lately after some panic buying came when KM exited the camera business).

Despite some recent price increases, you can still find some very high quality lenses that are a great deal on the used market.


Jim - Here's my question regarding a KM / Sony solution for sports shooting. I think we're all in agreement that camera bodies come and go and it's the system that's important. Canon and Nikon both have upgrade paths for the sports shooter culminating in the 1d Mk II N from canon and D2x (soon to be replaced) by Nikon. Given the two companies (Canon in particular) dominate the professional sports shooting industry there is going to be a definite commitment from those companies to fulfilling the needs of demanding sports shooters. If Sony can't make any headway in the sports shooting market the feature sets they commit to in the future may not be beneficial to a sports shooter. They would then choose to invest in feature sets thatare important to the markets they do gain penitration in. Just a thought.
JohnG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 14, 2006, 12:49 PM   #9
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378
Default

Well, the typical Family Camera owner (and Family Camera just happens to be the thread's title) isn't going to need 5 or 8 frames per second to shoot sports, and can't afford the higher end Canon bodies anyway.

The new Sony DSLR is still limited to only 3 frames per second. But, it's Sony's first entry into the market (and it's priced below Canon's DSLR models with faster frame rates, etc.).

Sony has already announced it's intent to capture more than 25% of the DSLR market over the next few years. So, I'd expect them to launch higher end models later, too.

BTW, AFAIK, the 7D has the same Autofocus performance as the 5D, and the 5D is actually the fastest out of the entry level DSLR models.

According to tests performed by PopPhoto, the Konica Minolta 5D's AF system was able to focus faster and in lower light (focuses in -1 EV light), compared to the other entry level DSLR models they tested (comparing the Konica Minolta 5D, Canon Rebel XT, Olympus Evolt E-500 and Nikon D50).

They said this about it:

Quote:
The 9-zone AF system is the fastest of this group and works down to EV -1, very dim light indeed.
http://www.popphoto.com/cameras/1924...out-page3.html

They clocked it as follows in various light levels. It's my understanding that a 50mm f/1.4 is the lens most commonly used by them to test DSLR AF performance.

Konica Minolta Maxxum 5D AF Speed: EV 12: 0.32 sec; EV 10: 0.33 sec; EV 8: 0.41 sec; EV 6: 0.57 sec; EV 4: 0.59 sec; EV 2: 0.86 sec; EV 1: 0.87 sec; EV 0: 0.93 sec; EV -1: 1.85 sec.

The closest competitor in the Autofocus Area was the Nikon D50. The other models were left a bit behind, especially in very low light (even the Rebel XT couldn't lock focus in light lower than 0 EV, and it took over 2 seconds to lock focus there). In EV 0 lighting, the KM 5D was more than twice as fast.

Of course, don't expect AF to work in light that low without a decent lens (kit lenses aren't going to cut it). But, I've been pretty surprised at how low of light I've been able to lock focus in using a KM 5D.

In one of the local restaurants here with live music, light is so low I need to underexpose 1/3 stop just to get shutter speeds up to 1/10 second shooting with a Minolta 100mm f/2 wide open at f/2 and ISO 3200, and I can still lock focus using an *outside* focus point (albeit with some difficulty).

JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 14, 2006, 1:21 PM   #10
Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 8,529
Default

JimC wrote:
Quote:
Well, the typical Family Camera owner (and Family Camera just happens to be the thread's title) isn't going to need 5 or 8 frames per second to shoot sports, and can't afford the higher end Canon bodies anyway.
Hah - that's how it all starts - innocently enough - "I just want a family camera " :-) Soon you find yourself hooked on the hobby and want to upgrade - (and the OP mentioned he is already upgrading after reaching the limits of his current gear). I think it's a fair assumption that within a 3 year period a digital camera owner is looking for a new camera. All I point out is that Canon & Nikon both offer an upgrade path - with the 30D and D200 being the second level up.

I'm not knocking the KM bodies at all here. And certainly agree that on spec the KM 7d is a better body than the Canon or Nikon entry level cameras. But, just because Sony WANTS 25% of the market share - doesn't mean they will get there (by the way I hope they do as competition benefits everyone) - and it also doesn't mean their growth will be in a camera that's good for sports shooters. For instance they may gain share in a market controlled by the Canon 5d - which is NOT a good sports camera - it wasn't meant to be.

If sports shooting is a transient interest then my point becomes less valid. Only the OP knows for sure. I just point out the risk of buying into any camera system based solely upon the specs of the first camera you buy that's all. But I started out like this user with a general interest in photography and started to get more involved in sports shooting. I upgraded from my entry level camera to a 2nd tier camera (the 20D) and now that sports shooting is a serious hobby and part time source of income I'll be looking forward in a year or so to the replacement for the 1d Mk II N - which if competition continues may be forced down in price. So, while you admit bias towards KM - I admit my bias towards Canon and sports shooting. It's addictive and requires an upgrade path Sony doesn't yet have - although it's possible they could build one. If you're sure you wouldn't outgrow the feature set of the 7d as a sports shooter then I definitely agree it's an option that should seriously be considered.


JohnG 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 12:34 PM.