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Thread: Help me choose a DSLR please

  1. #1
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    Help me choose a DSLR please

    Needless to say I am a novice looking to move into the world of photography of my granddaughter's advancement in Volleyball as well as my favorite vacation destination, Boundary Water Canoe Area in Minnesota.
    I want to purchase a DSLR camera to capture the team in action either as a team or full body individual shots.. Some short video may be necessary, but not as important. At this point I have to sit 35 feet from the action but hope with a little experience I can persuade those who control the arenas that I can move closer.
    I have been advised by a friend to deal with KEH. He photos many "Dead" -ish concerts. I'd like to stay around $1500 for body and lenses new or used at this juncture.
    I look forward to hearing from those of you with obvious more exposure than I possess.
    Oldguyokiehomer
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 25th November 2010 at 06:11 PM. Reason: Copied question from intro thread

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Help me choose a DSLR please

    Hello there (I assume Dave asked, in the Intro thread, if you'd like to give us a real name).

    I suppose the first question to ask is whether you want a consumer or a 'pro-sumer' level body. The latter being more expensive. That decision will, of course, then influence how much you've got left over for lenses and accessories.

    To reach that decision, I think you need to do some research. One of the most important elements in that will be going into a store and handling the cameras and see what feels right for you. You'll also want to explore what features they have. The prosumer bodies tend to be bigger, more robustly built and have features that the consumer bodies don't. Some people also feel that the bigger body 'fits' better into their hands.

    But, both are going to allow you to produce top class images and a very strong argument is that if you're having to make choices based on your budget allowance, then invest more in the lens. That's the single most important factor in image quality ... after your skills. It's really a matter of choice on your part.

    As for lenses, I think we need some more information from you before offering advice and/or suggestions. It seems to me that you're going to be looking at at least 2 (zoom)lenses. One at the wider angle end of things and one at the telephoto end of the spectrum. I'm not sure there's one lens that would necessarily satify the two primary needs that you specify.

    You're going to need something with a longer length; e.g 200 to 300mm for the sports stuff. But you'll be thinking, I imagine, of something with a much wider angle (and therefore shorter focal length) for the landscape stuff.

    However, what we don't know is if the volleyball is taking place in an indoor or outdoor arena. That, of course brings in the question of how much light you will have available. And that, in turn, means you need to think about the speed (the 'f' number) of the lens. For example, you're going to be able to get faster shutter speeds with a lens that enables you to shoot at f2.8 than you will if the widest aperture available is f4 or f5.6. And what is it you going to be wanting to shoot at the canoe area? Is it landscape as I've suggested, or maybe it's more sports stuff?
    Last edited by Donald; 25th November 2010 at 09:20 PM.

  3. #3
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    Re: Help me choose a DSLR please

    Firstly I went portaging in the boundary waters canoe area when I was 11 and I remember it is as one of the most beautiful places I've been so I for one look forward to seeing some pics! I also seem to remember leaches and hornets though. I remember taking a couple of photos with my father's Nikon. Out of interest when you refer to "Dead" - ish are you talking about the grateful dead?

    I use a Canon 550d (rebel T2i) and it satisfies everything I need so I'd be happy to recommend it, the downside is you have less confidence with the construction than a similar priced older but higher in the range camera and more importantly you have less useful buttons to hand like being able to select AF points by a little joystick. If I didn't want the video capacity I'd have gone with a 40d or maybe a 50d. I certainly don't regret the decision I made though and I've been pretty happy with the 18-55mm kit lens that came with it.

    When I bought my camera I didn't really think in terms of a 'system', it's worth thinking what kind of lenses/flashes/etc. you'll be buying in the future. I guess the standard advice is go and try some cameras out and see how they feel, if you go for a major manufacturer then the camera will certainly be good. You will want a good tripod for the landscape shots, it's not worth skimping on. Probably a telephoto lens, especially for your grand daughters volleyball. I'd also think about a polarising filter and ND grad filter to get the most out of the BWCA.

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    Re: Help me choose a DSLR please

    Quote Originally Posted by oldguyokiehomer View Post
    Needless to say I am a novice looking to move into the world of photography of my granddaughter's advancement in Volleyball as well as my favorite vacation destination, Boundary Water Canoe Area in Minnesota.
    I want to purchase a DSLR camera to capture the team in action either as a team or full body individual shots.. Some short video may be necessary, but not as important. At this point I have to sit 35 feet from the action but hope with a little experience I can persuade those who control the arenas that I can move closer.
    I have been advised by a friend to deal with KEH. He photos many "Dead" -ish concerts. I'd like to stay around $1500 for body and lenses new or used at this juncture.
    I look forward to hearing from those of you with obvious more exposure than I possess.
    Oldguyokiehomer
    What is your current level of experience in photography? If you have any it will help with the leaps and bounds you are going to make in the world of sports photography mainly in the techniques, such as panning, blurring, or stopping motion. Then you have to consider the frames per second your camera can fire and how fast data is written to the memory card. I'm not a Canon advocate but for some reason this model is sanctioned by the sports industry. I would start by researching what features are prevalent to Canon and why the great sports photographers prefer Canon equipment. If you search further in these forums you will read where some former Canon enthusiasts state they can capture the same images with any piece of equipment, it all boils down to technique, the artistic flare comes from the other side of the brain.

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    Re: Help me choose a DSLR please

    I am also somewhat a novice as per digital goes. Oddly, I do teach a class in digital but to high school students and as long as I can stay a day ahead of them, it's not too hard to seem "knowledegable." However, when I began to look in earnest at making the move from purely film to mostly digital, I realized I needed a camera that would act much like a film camera but have a lot of nice gizmos to keep the learning curve frustration level to a minimum.
    After much looking about and reading of reviews, I decided on the Nikon D7000 and from the first moment I held it in my hands, I knew it was a wise purchase. I did buy the kit and know the lens isn't the sharpest piece of optics out there, but considering I am not shooting high end models on some remote location in the South Seas, I don't much think it's going to hamper me much. I've put my pretty little Zeiss Icon lenses up against some of my nice Canon and Nikon lenses and short of some pretty extensive tests, it's hard to tell much difference...again, I guess that perspective comes from knowing it is composition and lighting combined with the perfect shutter-aperture combination that really makes the shot and the best lens in the world in the hands of a jackleg still won't make a good photograph. The kit price (US$) was $1,499 and for that price, I think you are going to have to look far and wide to find a better camera. Everything I posted today came out of that camera since Friday last (Nov. 19). If I didn't have a bad case of the screaming cold nastiness, there would be much more to show. I m certainly by no means a highly competent digital photographer, but my background, combined with the capabilities of this camera have me convinced I can hold my own as my competency level increases. To use an old surfing term, "I'm stoked!"

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