Need suggestions on SLR digital hardware for kids just getting into the game

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by NotMe, Nov 9, 2009.

  1. NotMe

    NotMe Guest

    I'm a graphic artist/designer. I know only enough about cameras to get
    myself in to trouble.

    My grand kids are doing quite well with a set of point and shoot cameras we
    purchased last year. An aside they got the bug playing with pin hole box
    cameras and old B&W roll film.

    Since the kids are into fast action shots (sports and nature) I'd like to
    find (assuming such an animal exist in a low cost model) a unit that would
    be able to provided sharp images of things in (fast) motion.

    Since we own a graphic studio they have access to high end Mac work stations
    and all the latest software.

    I'm interested in recommendations on low end (cost is a factor) SLR digital
    cameras we could give as gifts this year. Something that would work as a
    learning platform for 2 to 3 years at which time we would invest in some
    professional gear (if the kids showed they were really serious)


    TIA
     
    NotMe, Nov 9, 2009
    #1
    1. Advertisements

  2. NotMe

    Paul Furman Guest

    How about an entry level Canon Rebel, a couple 450D's are listed used at
    bhphotovideo.com for $450 and some old 28mm f/2 Nikkors as a fast normal
    lens, for $300 bargain grade at keh.com. Or Sigma 30mm f/1.4 with AF for
    $400 but the Nikkors will still be excellent for pro work. If by
    'nature' you mean birds, I dunno, maybe an old 75-150mm f/3.5. That's
    like 225mm with the crop and small and $200 or less at KEH and pretty
    fast, beautiful bargain lens. The 28/2 is actually pretty good for
    closeups like a large butterfly and the shallow DOF will teach them what
    that aperture ring does. I'm pretty sure the Rebel will shoot aperture
    priority with these, albeit without wide open focusing when stopped down
    it'll get dark, also a pretty good learning cue <g>. But all you need to
    do is adjust the aperture ring & keep an eye on shutter speed. Maybe put
    them on auto-ISO. Entry level Nikons won't meter at all with these.

    Or just whatever entry level model with kit lens will be faster than the
    P&S.

    --
    Paul Furman
    www.edgehill.net
    www.baynatives.com

    all google groups messages filtered due to spam
     
    Paul Furman, Nov 9, 2009
    #2
    1. Advertisements

  3. NotMe

    J. Clarke Guest

    You're paying for two things, a body and a lens. Modern bodies are almost
    uniformly remarkably good--any current model from Nikon, Canon, Pentax, or
    Sony (used to be Minolta) will do the job. The trick to getting sharp
    action shots is in the lens, not the body--you want a lens that is sharp at
    a wide aperture so that you can use a high shutter speed, and those don't
    come cheap.

    As for planning to upgrade them to pro equipment later, a body that you buy
    now, unless they are going on National Geographic expeditions or otherwise
    giving it a beating, should still be fine in 3 years unless they run into a
    specific feature they need--what you'd want to do later is add to the system
    with more lenses, lighting, etc.

    I realize that this is a rather vague answer, but it's hard to be more
    specific without more information.

    When you say "sports" for example, that covers a lot of territory--what you
    need to cover kayaking is going to be different from what you need for
    baseball which will be different from what you need for tennis which will be
    different from what you need for surfing for example, due to the difference
    in distance to the subject. Indoor vs outdoor matters too---outdoor
    daylight sports let you use a smaller aperture (and thus generally cheaper)
    lens than indoor sports like basketball or night sports like football under
    the lights.

    Nature also covers a lot of territory--for birding you need the longest lens
    you can afford, for flowers you need a good macro, for landscapes you want a
    wide angle. You're not going to find all of those in one lens.
     
    J. Clarke, Nov 9, 2009
    #3
  4. That is more a question of good technique (follow the subject with the
    lens) and high shutter speed (= short exposure time). The later depends
    on ISO and a fast lens.

    High ISO is not a big deal any more, although of course at really high
    settings you will still get considerable noise in the photo. But at
    least you know what to look for when comparing cameras: good high ISO
    performance. Of course the best is usually found in the most expensive
    bodys.
    Fast lenses are expensive, really fast lenses are really expensive,
    there is just no way around it. One option to cut some cost here is to
    use fixed-focal length lenses, e.g. a really nice 50mm f/1.8 is
    available for around 100$ US already.

    So you will have to compromise between cost and performance. If you
    really expect to upgrade in a few years then an entry-level model (Nikon
    D60, Canon 1000D , ...) may me the best choise. Or one step up (Nikon
    D90, Canon 500D). Those models are currently on sale at many places. You
    don't say where you are living, but e.g. in the US Costco has them now
    for Christmas.

    Either way, make sure to get good glass because while the kit lenses are
    ok, they certainly don't excell in speed. And you can use the lenses for
    years to come, including with future higher-end bodies.

    jue
     
    Jürgen Exner, Nov 9, 2009
    #4
  5. NotMe

    NotMe Guest

    : I'm a graphic artist/designer. I know only enough about cameras to get
    : myself in to trouble.
    :
    : My grand kids are doing quite well with a set of point and shoot cameras
    we purchased last year. An aside they got the bug playing with pin hole box
    : cameras and old B&W roll film.
    :
    : Since the kids are into fast action shots (sports and nature) I'd like to
    : find (assuming such an animal exist in a low cost model) a unit that would
    : be able to provided sharp images of things in (fast) motion.
    :
    : Since we own a graphic studio they have access to high end Mac work
    stations and all the latest software.
    :
    : I'm interested in recommendations on low end (cost is a factor) SLR
    digital cameras we could give as gifts this year. Something that would work
    as a learning platform for 2 to 3 years at which time we would invest in
    some professional gear (if the kids showed they were really serious)
    :

    GREAT RESPONSES and even better information and education (on my part).
    I'm going to take all of the input, do a bit of research so I understand
    better what's been posted and likely come back for more.

    By way of clarification. The mention of fast photos was in response to the
    kids' concerns that the pin hole was a bit hard to do on moving subjects.

    We introduced them to time strobes for moving objects in limited light.
    That works for a man or a horse running but not for a bird or an active
    sports game.

    The point and shoot does not produce decent shots of runners, football or
    basket ball players, flying birds/bats, water drops in a still pound, etc.
    as those cameras have too many 'we'll make the decision for you' which makes
    for some fun shots but does not do anything for allowing a learning curve.

    I'm a bit confused by the statement of 'fast' lenses. Is there some
    charteristic or manufacturing process that makes a lens better for shooting
    fast subjects?

    Which beings me to another question. there are some books (as example
    "Picture This" by Molly Bang) which we used to teach design elements to
    graphic artist students. Is there something similar that those here would
    recommend that we could use as a teaching source?

    Again I really really appreciate the time and though that is being put into
    these responses.
     
    NotMe, Nov 9, 2009
    #5
  6. There are P&S cameras with manual settings, too, but usually you will
    find that option more towards the higher end.
    No, that is a missunderstanding. A "fast lens" simply means a lens with
    a large aperture which allows for a faster shutter speed in a given
    light situation, thus reducing motion blur.

    Note that aperture is given as reciprocal value, e.g. f/1.4 is twice as
    large and thus allows twice the shutter speed/half the exposure time as
    an f/2.0 lens with everything else being the same.
    You typical kit lenses are often somewhere around f/3.5-f/5.6, while
    high-end tele-lenses reach f/2.7, f/2.4, or even f/2.0. And in the
    standard focal range at +/-50mm you will even find lenses at f/1.4,
    f/1.2 and some famous f/1.1, although those are really, really
    expensive.

    jue
     
    Jürgen Exner, Nov 9, 2009
    #6
  7. NotMe

    NotMe Guest

    : >The point and shoot does not produce decent shots of runners, football or
    : >basket ball players, flying birds/bats, water drops in a still pound,
    etc.
    : >as those cameras have too many 'we'll make the decision for you' which
    makes
    : >for some fun shots but does not do anything for allowing a learning
    curve.
    :
    : There are P&S cameras with manual settings, too, but usually you will
    : find that option more towards the higher end.
    :
    : >I'm a bit confused by the statement of 'fast' lenses. Is there some
    : >charteristic or manufacturing process that makes a lens better for
    shooting
    : >fast subjects?
    :
    : No, that is a missunderstanding. A "fast lens" simply means a lens with
    : a large aperture which allows for a faster shutter speed in a given
    : light situation, thus reducing motion blur.
    :
    : Note that aperture is given as reciprocal value, e.g. f/1.4 is twice as
    : large and thus allows twice the shutter speed/half the exposure time as
    : an f/2.0 lens with everything else being the same.
    : You typical kit lenses are often somewhere around f/3.5-f/5.6, while
    : high-end tele-lenses reach f/2.7, f/2.4, or even f/2.0. And in the
    : standard focal range at +/-50mm you will even find lenses at f/1.4,
    : f/1.2 and some famous f/1.1, although those are really, really
    : expensive.
    :
    : jue

    Thanks again. I'm doing better just hope I don't take a spill off the
    learning curve.
     
    NotMe, Nov 9, 2009
    #7
  8. http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2463/4090522393_99ca2c9fe5_o.jpg

    Taken around sunset in a remote cypress-swamp where some shafts of light
    were getting through a gap in the dense foliage. Taken hand-held while
    sitting in a canoe using a 7 year-old P&S camera. It's nowhere near as fast
    and responsive as all of today's P&S cameras. It's not the camera that's
    ever the problem, it's the skill of the photographer and knowing how to use
    any camera properly. Maybe you can eventually buy one with a "talent mode"
    on the dial. But until then ... the problem is never the camera.
     
    Educating the Snapshooters, Nov 9, 2009
    #8
  9. [His usual drivel]

    Please ignore the local village idiot with the aggrevated multiple
    personality disorder. While occasionally he does have a point in general
    his tirades are just boring and waaaaaayyyy of the mark.
    Just ignore him as everyone does who has been reading RPD* for more than
    a few days.

    jue
     
    Jürgen Exner, Nov 10, 2009
    #9
  10. Yes, heaven forbid if a P&S camera's image should just happen to prove
    every last one of the pretend-photographer resident DSLR-Trolls dead wrong.
    AGAIN. We can't have that, now can we.
     
    Educating the Snapshooters, Nov 10, 2009
    #10
  11. NotMe

    J. Clarke Guest

    You might want to look into what is called a "bridge" camera--they have a
    full set of controls, and a wide range fast zoom--the downside for action
    photography is that compared to a DSLR, which uses a different autofocus
    technology, they tend to have a lot of lag between pressing the shutter
    release and the shot being taken.
    It's called aperture--a lens with a large diameter will all else being equal
    let in more light, so that a higher shutter speed may be used. The trouble
    is that all else being equal it also costs more to make one.

    To take an example, 200mm is a focal length that many find useful for
    shooting basketball games. Canon makes a number of lenses that cover this
    range, from a $250 zoom to a $5000 fixed focal length lens. Many
    professional photographers like the $2000 or so 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom, which
    has an aperture of f/2.8 at all focal lengths. If we suppose for the sake
    of discussion that that allows you to shoot at 1/200 of a second in given
    lighting conditions (there's a thumb rule that you want to shoot at a
    shutter speed that is the reciprocal of the focal length or faster), the
    $250 lens, at f/5.6, would require that you shoot at 1/50 of a second, and
    the $5000 lens at f/2.0 would let you shoot at 1/400. This is necessarily a
    simplification and leaves aside a number of other aperture related issues,
    but it covers the major point.
    I learned the basics ages ago from Ansel Adams' "The Camera" which is still
    in print. It doesn't cover all the controls on a modern digital (Adams died
    long before digital photography became commonplace), but it's a good start.
    I don't know if there is an equivalent that is tailored to the digital age.
     
    J. Clarke, Nov 10, 2009
    #11
  12. NotMe

    NotMe Guest

    : [His usual drivel]
    :
    : Please ignore the local village idiot with the aggrevated multiple
    : personality disorder. While occasionally he does have a point in general
    : his tirades are just boring and waaaaaayyyy of the mark.
    : Just ignore him as everyone does who has been reading RPD* for more than
    : a few days.
    :

    I'm staring from the very bottom of the knowledge/expertise curve. I take
    all input and use what applies to me the rest is like the Aflac duck ...
    water/back and all.
     
    NotMe, Nov 10, 2009
    #12

  13. Bob Larter's legal name: Lionel Lauer
    Home news-group, an actual group in the "troll-tracker" hierarchy:
    alt.kook.lionel-lauer (established on, or before, 2004)
    Registered Description: "the 'owner of several troll domains' needs a group where he'll stay on topic."

    <http://groups.google.com/groups/search?hl=en&num=10&as_ugroup=alt.kook.lionel-lauer>

    "Results 1 - 10 of about 2,170 for group:alt.kook.lionel-lauer."
     
    Bob Larter is Lionel Lauer - Look it up., Nov 10, 2009
    #13
  14. For shooting birds and sports photography you'll not only need a fast lens
    (large aperture) but a zoom-lens that includes long focal-lengths. This is
    where super-zoom P&S cameras excel. Due to the smaller sensor they can have
    much larger apertures at long focal-length lenses than any that are made
    for any DSLR cameras. At least 3 stops more aperture available at long
    focal-lengths compared to the same focal-length lenses for any DSLR. You
    can get some that are almost as fast as those on P&S super-zoom cameras for
    a DSLR, in fixed-focal-length designs (non-zooming) only. But then you
    spend upward of $10,000 for just one 12 lb. lens of a single focal-length.
    And it's still not as fast as those on the super-zoom P&S cameras. Every
    time you mount or remove it from your DSLR in dusty sports situations,
    you'll have to stop to clean your sensor too.

    You need to learn to filter out the DSLR-Trolls in these newsgroups. Most
    of them haven't even touched a camera in their lives, getting all their
    information from downloaded manuals and website pages. They role-play being
    pretend-photographers. They think they can win if they convince some newbie
    that they are "photographers". Like a favorite role-play dungeons and
    dragons game. They love nothing better than suckering someone into buying
    an unneeded expensive and wrong camera for the required task, spending
    others' money on what they will never buy for themselves.

    Don't buy their ignorant crap about shutter lag on P&S cameras, that's a
    thing of the past, for over 4 years now.
     
    Someone who will tell you the truth., Nov 10, 2009
    #14
  15. NotMe

    Bob Larter Guest

    A 'fast lens' is one that lets in more light, & therefore can be used
    with faster shutter speeds. In general, the faster the lens, the bigger
    & more expensive it'll be.
     
    Bob Larter, Nov 10, 2009
    #15
  16. NotMe

    Bob Larter Guest

    Bob Larter, Nov 10, 2009
    #16
  17. NotMe

    Ray Fischer Guest

    As an aside: You can actually use a dSLR as a pinhole camera (I've
    even done it). Take the lens off and make up your own pinhole lens.
    I used a camera/telescope adapter to provide a tube that attached to the
    camera with a bit of foil over the end.
     
    Ray Fischer, Nov 10, 2009
    #17

  18. Bob Larter's legal name: Lionel Lauer
    Home news-group, an actual group in the "troll-tracker" hierarchy:
    alt.kook.lionel-lauer (established on, or before, 2004)
    Registered Description: "the 'owner of several troll domains' needs a group where he'll stay on topic."

    <http://groups.google.com/groups/search?hl=en&num=10&as_ugroup=alt.kook.lionel-lauer>

    "Results 1 - 10 of about 2,170 for group:alt.kook.lionel-lauer."
     
    Bob Larter is Lionel Lauer - Look it up., Nov 10, 2009
    #18
  19. NotMe

    Bob Larter Guest

    Well no, that's not true. Birds & sports are arguably the worst possible
    subjects to shoot with a P&S.
     
    Bob Larter, Nov 10, 2009
    #19
  20. NotMe

    Bob Larter Guest

    I tried it by drilling a hole in a spare body cap, then put foil over it
    & gave it a pinhole. Good fun.
     
    Bob Larter, Nov 10, 2009
    #20
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.