Considering SLR

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by KevinL, Jan 13, 2005.

  1. KevinL

    KevinL Guest

    I am considering replacing my Oly C740. I use it mainly for taking pictures
    in gymnasiums of wrestling matches (fast action, not terribly well lit).
    I've been told that an SLR will do an acceptable job without a flash, which
    is virtually impossible with the Oly. I also am very unhappy with the time
    it takes to both zoom and focus. I find that it is very nearly impossible
    (for me anyway) to get a decent picture. Assuming I decide to take the
    plunge, I plan to start with the camera in "sports" mode, I don't want to
    mess with too much, I just want decent pictures, if that is possible. Here
    are my questions: (TIA by the way, as you can see I'm extremely wet behind
    the ears)

    1. Rebel Vs. D70. Will one of them be superior for my purpose? Very fast
    action, our kids are GOOD. (Ok, I'm biased, I'm the coach). Also basic
    Gymnasium lighting. Distance is generally around 50 feet, but can be
    considerably further or closer. I also occasionally take sports pix
    outside, so am curious about their performance on fast moving things over a
    large area (running versus wrestling). Runners cover a lot of distance,
    wrestlers stay in one general area, but move very fast, so I would imagine
    focusing on runners would be much more difficult.

    2. Lenses. I have a friend who is pretty knowledgeable (but sometimes very
    much to technical) who recommended that I buy a coule of Prime lenses. He
    claims that they will be much faster, and I can crop to the correct size,
    given the 6 MP size of the images. He also said that I would most likely
    see blurring if I went with a zoom lense due to the fact that arms/legs move
    very fast.. I also talked to a salesperson at a camera store who is
    recommending a Quantaray 18-25 lense. My biggest fear is that I will spend
    the money and be seriously unhappy, given my lack of experience.

    Thanks for any advice you can spare.
     
    KevinL, Jan 13, 2005
    #1
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  2. KevinL

    Bob Guest

    Auto focus on DSLRs (at least the D70 ) is not fast enough to follow sports
    action, however, if you set the camera to manual focus, and put yourself a set
    distance from the wrestlers, you need only worry about depth of field.

    A 'fast' prime lens may not give you much depth, so you need to stop down to a
    lessor opening (bigger F stop) so you may as well buy a cheaper and much more
    useful zoom lens.

    You need a DSLR and not a 'prosumer' camera so that you can shoot noise free at
    ISO 800 since you don't use a flash, and will need fast shutter action. You may
    even shoot at 1600 if you don't mind a little speckle... The D70 allows you to
    go in between, say ISO 1000 or whatever, so that's good.

    The 18-70 lens on the D70 would be a good choice and its inexpensive. It has
    both the wide angle for wrestling matches, and mild tele for the runners. Or
    consider getting a super zoom like the Sigma 28-300.

    If you can get close to the wrestlers, you can stop down a bit and increase the
    shutter speed only a little. Remember, the higher the MM of the lens, the higher
    shutter speed you will need.

    The best thing would be to position yourself so that you can set the focus on
    the center of the ring and get a depth of field for the whole ring, and just
    snap away! There are charts available to figure all this out for your lens. If
    you have to, practice focusing back and forth to follow the action manually - it
    really isn't that hard. A low MM lens and fairly fast shutter will kill the
    motion blur.

    For runners, you will probably be far away and will need a telephoto - practice
    panning the camera to reduce blur! Or take advantage of angles and stand right
    in front of the runners.
     
    Bob, Jan 13, 2005
    #2
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  3. KevinL

    mc Guest

    I agree. A cheap zoom lens is likely to be f/5.6. An f/2.8 lens (non-zoom)
    is not much more expensive and gives you 4 times as much light. A 50-mm
    f/1.8 lens (very inexpensive from Canon) gives you about 9 times as much
    light as f/5.6.
    Right. If you don't understand what's going on here, get a basic
    photography book and learn exactly what an f-stop is, and how exposure is
    determined. Optics and exposure are the same with digital cameras as with
    film.
    My feeling is that if I'm buying a Canon or Nikon body, I want a Canon or
    Nikon lens. Lens quality matters.
     
    mc, Jan 13, 2005
    #3
  4. KevinL

    Whatevah Guest

    Focusing isn't a big a problem as you might think, but if you leave it
    in automatic focus, it'll focus on what it thinks you want. And, with a
    field full of players, there are a lot objects for it to focus on.
    Manual focus would be a good idea, or getting a telephoto lens to zoom
    in closer to give the autofocus fewer options.

    My preference would be the digital rebel, as it's a bit less expensive,
    and I prefer Canon bodies and lenses. They're both pretty much the
    same, though. The main thing is, they have much better low-light
    quality, via the better ISO options available.
    Prime lenses typically are very good, but restrictive. If you needed
    the absolutely best quality, then you would need a prime professional
    lens. I know the digital rebel has good quality at 800 ISO, so you won't
    have a problem outdoors, and should be fine inside unless it's on the
    dark side. You could boost the ISO up further, in that case.

    I personally try to avoid Quantary lenses. They just seem cheap to me.

    If you get a kit (camera and lens), then you'll already have a lens that
    covers 18mm. So, I'd get an additional zoom lens, perhaps a 70-300mm
    lens. It'll pick up where the kit lens stops, and let you get a lot
    closer to field action.
     
    Whatevah, Jan 13, 2005
    #4
  5. KevinL

    Whatevah Guest

    Focusing isn't a big a problem as you might think, but if you leave it
    in automatic focus, it'll focus on what it thinks you want. And, with a
    field full of players, there are a lot objects for it to focus on.
    Manual focus would be a good idea, or getting a telephoto lens to zoom
    in closer to give the autofocus fewer options.

    My preference would be the digital rebel, as it's a bit less expensive,
    and I prefer Canon bodies and lenses. They're both pretty much the
    same, though. The main thing is, they have much better low-light
    quality, via the better ISO options available.
    Prime lenses typically are very good, but restrictive. If you needed
    the absolutely best quality, then you would need a prime professional
    lens. I know the digital rebel has good quality at 800 ISO, so you won't
    have a problem outdoors, and should be fine inside unless it's on the
    dark side. You could boost the ISO up further, in that case.

    I personally try to avoid Quantary lenses. They just seem cheap to me.

    If you get a kit (camera and lens), then you'll already have a lens that
    covers 18mm. So, I'd get an additional zoom lens, perhaps a 70-300mm
    lens. It'll pick up where the kit lens stops, and let you get a lot
    closer to field action.
     
    Whatevah, Jan 13, 2005
    #5
  6. KevinL

    Jim Redelfs Guest

    I just replaced my Canon T90 film SLR system. I'm walking away from a
    couple-thousand bucks-worth of glass. <sigh>

    You're buying a computer peripheral, as much as anything else. You will be
    adopting the operating system of whatever company you chose and model you
    select. Just like the world of computers, you need to buy as BIG and LARGE
    and top-of-the-line as you POSSIBLY can - then one level higher. <no joke>

    All it takes is MONEY. LOTS of money. (Credit in my case)

    I just bought a Canon 20D system. I brought home ~$2800-worth of stuff to an
    only briefly STUNNED wife. She didn't kill me and I'm (still) taking GREAT
    photos. I guess I'm really the stunned one. Wotta AWESOME camera! :)

    So, the big thing is do you want to go with a Canon or Nikon or Pentax or...
    Acceptable is in the mind of the beholder. You already mentioned low lighting
    and fast action - not a combination that lends itself to available-light work,
    to say the very least. :(
    For your next digital camera, these concerns diminish at a rate that I believe
    is directly proportional to the amount of MONEY spent. (How NEW is the
    technology.)

    I could take my 20D, cranked-up to ISO 1600, especially with a
    fix-focal-length (prime?) lens, and take GREAT pictures of your action - if
    ALL the gym lights are on FULL.
    Anything is possible in that regard. Just take an empty laundry basket with
    Probably not. In any case, you'd never REALLY know, would you? <grin>

    Seriously, they're both good cameras.
    The ideal lens to allow all this will surely cost more than $1k.

    Many avid SLR users have much more invested in "glass" (lenses) than the
    camera itself.
    Prime is good. You won't have to worry about zooming. Two lenses would be
    nice but you won't have time to coach, take photos AND swap lenses during the
    event(s).

    Using croping as your "digital zoom", now is a good time to consider an even
    HIGHER-pixel camera: It would give you even MORE to CROP and STILL get a good
    Hold out for a lens made by the same company that made your camera. You can't
    go wrong.

    If you want STOP ACTION of oncoming RUNNERS - INDOORS withOUT a flash, you
    want a fixed-focal-length lens. For a digital SLR, a 35mm L (luxury) lens
    comes to mind. The one I have in mind is $1120. I am sure generous with YOUR
    MONEY, eh?

    Buy the camera system from a reputable, local dealer (pay the extra money
    despite that MUCH can be saved by purchasing on-line) and buy their expertise
    and post-sale support. Spend AS MUCH on the lens as the camera and you'll be
    happy as a clam taking GREAT action shots!

    Good luck!
    :)
    JR
     
    Jim Redelfs, Jan 13, 2005
    #6
  7. KevinL

    Musty Guest

    If you could spend a little extra go with the 20D - it is the best non
    full-pro DSLR for action/sports photography. I dont think you will find any
    review that says 300D(Rebel) or D70 is better in this regard. You wont
    regret it. BTW, modern zoom lenses are very good and primes are much less
    popular nowadays. Getting a lens with IS would be very useful.
     
    Musty, Jan 13, 2005
    #7
  8. KevinL

    Steve Wolfe Guest

    I am considering replacing my Oly C740. I use it mainly for taking
    pictures
    Either will do fine. They'll both go up to an ISO rating of 1600, which
    is PLENTY fast to catch the action. The "faster" the lens (larger
    aperture), the lower the ISO you can use. In terms of image quality, they
    really are "sixes". Each one has minor advantages over the other, but
    nothing spectacularly so. Your choice would be better made for controls and
    lens availability.
    You can certainly get a prime lens that is faster, but that comes at a
    price. As an example, A Canon 200mm f/2.8 will run you over $600. An
    acceptable zoom lens reaching 200mm (or more) would cost as little as $200,
    but would have an aperture of 4.5 to 5.6. The prime lens will excel in
    other technical areas as well - but it's up to you as to whether it's worth
    an extra $400 to turn the ISO down a setting or two. See if you can find
    someone with one of those models and a zoom, and give it a try, see what you
    think.
    It depends on how large of a print you want: If you're planning on 8x10
    or larger, you're better off using the full resolution, although prints can
    sometimes still be acceptable at 8x10 down to about 3 megapixels, depending
    much on the picture itself.
    18-25mm lens, and you're going to be 50 feet away? Your kids will be
    little spots in the middle of the paper. : ) If you're willing to go to the
    library, get "The Lens Book" by Hicks and Schultz. It's got some good,
    non-biased information in there, and does a good job of helping you find out
    what lens is really right for you, and when the advantages of "big-money"
    lenses are actually worth their cost.
    Most of it depends on your expectations. If you're not going to settle
    for anything less than a world-class photo every time, then you're going to
    need lots of equipment. However, chances are good that even with a modest
    zoom lens, ISO 800, and some noise-reduction software, you'd get some pretty
    good shots. Ask around, and see if any of your friends have a DigiReb or a
    D70 with a zoom lens, and give it a try. That'll tell you right away
    whether you'll like it or not!

    steve
     
    Steve Wolfe, Jan 13, 2005
    #8
  9. KevinL

    Steve Wolfe Guest

    Considering that he has to shoot available light, and that while the IS
    would otherwise let you use a longer exposure, the movement of the subject
    would prevent it in this case, he'd probably be better off with a non-IS
    lens of a larger aperture and a tripod. : )

    steve
     
    Steve Wolfe, Jan 13, 2005
    #9
  10. I had an Olympus C-750 and bought a Canon 300D (Digital Rebel).

    IMHO, for sports the D70 is faster than the 300D. And the Canon 20D is
    still faster. So buy a Nikon D70 or a Canon 20D and get a 50mm f/1.8
    lens ($70, Canon). Mount the system on the tripod and perch yourself at
    a comfortable distance from the action. Now, shoot! :)

    The 50mm f/1.8 because it is fast and all that light helps. DoF will be
    shallow but you can stop down to f4 or f8. Since you know where the
    action will be, you can setup the system at a distance where the action
    fills the frame. I don't think you will need to zoom.

    The tripod because you have low-light and fast action, so stabilisation
    helps.

    One more option I'd recommend is buy a cheap film SLR with a nice 50mm
    lens or even a zoom and play with it. That will give you a good insight
    into the workings of a SLR system before you plonk down a couple of
    thousand dollars on a digital SLR. I bought a Minolta Maxxum 5 in great
    condition for $90 off eBay and a Tamron 28-200mm for $62 from keh.com.
    - Siddhartha
     
    Siddhartha Jain, Jan 13, 2005
    #10
  11. KevinL

    KevinL Guest

    Thank you all for your advice. I'm still not sure what I will to, but I got
    some good tips. At some point VERY SOON, I will just need to take that
    "leap of faith".

    Kevin
     
    KevinL, Jan 13, 2005
    #11
  12. This is the key: Can you afford about $3000 for a 20D and 70-200 f/2.8, or
    do you need to stay in the $1000 range?
     
    Dave R knows who, Jan 13, 2005
    #12

  13. Moving subject, in a gym, and a tripod?
     
    Dave R knows who, Jan 13, 2005
    #13
  14. KevinL

    Jim Redelfs Guest

    [/QUOTE]
    Heh! I thought the same thing.

    :)
    JR
     
    Jim Redelfs, Jan 13, 2005
    #14
  15. KevinL

    Matt Ion Guest

    Bob wrote:

    My 35mm RebelG's AF worked great for me shooting stock car racing and
    softball. I haven't used my Digital Rebel for anything of the sort yet,
    but I haven't noticed that its AF is any less capable.
     
    Matt Ion, Jan 14, 2005
    #15
  16. KevinL

    Matt Ion Guest

    Canon's EOS autofocus system is very fast and accurate, especially with
    the USM (ultrasonic motor) AF lenses, since the AF system and motor are
    built into the lens. I used my 35mm RebelG for a lot of stock-car
    racing and a bit of softball shooting, and the AF worked great, even on
    the cheaper zooms. I haven't noticed anything in the Digital Rebel's AF
    performance to suggest it isn't at least as good.

    I got along nicely shooting stock cars with the Rebel G's stock lens
    (28-90mm f/4) and the EF zoom I bought as well (75-300 f/5.6), mostly on
    ISO 100 and 200 film. A DSLR will allow you to easily try different ISO
    settings to get faster shutter speeds and find out what works best for
    you. You probably want a longer lens for your sports shooting, as
    you'll want to be able to get close shots from all over the
    field/mat/etc. while being limited to shooting from one place on the
    sidelines. A Digital Rebel with the kit lens (17-50mm) and something in
    a 75-300mm range should do nicely for most shooting situations.
     
    Matt Ion, Jan 14, 2005
    #16
  17. KevinL

    Steve Wolfe Guest

    he'd probably be better off with a non-IS
    Well, if you imagine him running around the perimeter of the wrestling mat
    like a crazy man, then a tripod wouldn't work, but I believe that he said
    he'd be seated with everyone else, in which case a tripod is much more
    viable...

    steve
     
    Steve Wolfe, Jan 14, 2005
    #17
  18. KevinL

    Mike Owens Guest

    Since you're talking about sports, the important thing is the lenses.
    The camera is secondary. Either camera should do just fine. What you'll
    be using is shutter priority mode (Canon calls this Tv), and both have
    this available. Both do have "sports" exposure modes, but this mode
    includes autofocus settings and generally changes to metering. Shutter
    priority is easier.

    As far as the lenses, you want two lenses. One zoom and one telephoto
    zoom. Ignore comments about tripods. A monopod maybe, but tripods are
    only for full time photographers. Since you're the coach, I expect
    you'll be moving about too much to use a tripod. You also want to stay
    away from primes, unless you want to get more exercise from moving
    about than the people you're taking pictures of.

    Anyway, a zoom in the 24-85mm or 24-105mm range should cover most
    things, indoor or out. For those cases outdoors where you'll be a long
    distance away, you'll want something like a 70-300mm. The max aperture
    for these lenses wil generally be 3.5 at the wide end (e.g. 24 for
    24-105) and 4 or 5.6 at the tele end (105 for 24-105). While not great,
    this is more than sufficent for outdoors and passable inside. You'll
    have to use the camera at a higher ISO, but this is not that much of a
    problem. Using a film camera you'd generally use ISO 800 or 1600
    depending on light (unless of course you had a large bank in your
    pocket for really good lenses). For digital the noise at these higher
    ISO ratings are generally better than film, and you also have 3200 in
    some. And a lot of the noise at these settings can be reomved with
    software like Neat Image (www.neatimage.com).

    One more thing, get a large memory card for the camera. At least 1GB.
    And then take a lot of pictures. This will help you learn what works
    best. I know the D70 will let you do exposure bracketing. This is a
    great way to both get the picture and learn about the settings.
    Hope this helps a bit.
     
    Mike Owens, Jan 14, 2005
    #18
  19. Just how is the camera secondary? Since he's shooting sports, shouldn't
    he pick up a dSLR that has a fast fps and good buffer?
    And just what is the basis of that conclusion? Almost every serious
    photographer I know has one and uses one.

    - Siddhartha
     
    Siddhartha Jain, Jan 14, 2005
    #19
  20. KevinL

    Mike Owens Guest

    Just how is the camera secondary?
    The camera is secondary only in his decisionmaking. He has stated that
    he is a coach taking pictures of his events. As such, he needs to think
    aboutwhat types of pictures he'll be taking, and more importantly,
    where he'll be taking them from. Since both cameras he mentioned are
    DSLRs with similar features, I would concentrate on the desired
    pictures and try to decide what lenses I would need. I ranked lenses
    verse camera in order of importance for sports, not that the camera was
    unimportant. I did mention he needed sutter priority, but again since
    both cameras have this...

    As for my comment on tripods, I define full time photographers as "not
    doing anything but taking pictures at the time". I'm assuming he'll
    also be coaching. I haven't seen too many coaches that sit (or stand)
    in one spot without ever moving. Trying to move a tripod all over, or
    having to constantly return to it would be rather inconvienient. A
    monopod, however, can be more easily moved. It's still inconvenient for
    someone constantly moving about, but it's better than a tripod.
     
    Mike Owens, Jan 14, 2005
    #20
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