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Camera for shooting kids sports events
I am looking at getting a camera for shooting my kids sporting events (basketball, football, volleyball) plus some outdoor wildlife photos. I am leaning towards the Nikon D80 with 70-300mm f/4-5.6 auto focus lens. Or will the 18-135 f/3.5 to 5.6 be suffice. I am basically a novice so any inputs on cameras and lenses would be helpful. Since the money issue always comes up, I have the money to spend but would like to keep the whole package around 1500- 2000 dollars. Any help would be greatly appreciated.



SM..

Comments (20)

If the basketball is indoor, and you have permission to run up/down the sidelines rather than shooting from a fixed spot in bleachers, you'd probably be better off with a shorter but much faster lens ex. 85/1.8 or whereabouts. The lighting in gymnasiums tends to be bad..

If the football is under lights and not ample sunlight, you'll also want a longer, faster (and $) lens for that sort of work...

Comment #1

You will be relativly fine outdoors with Nikon D80 with 70-300mm set..

However indoors, when light is dim (basketball, indoor voleyball) this lens will be too slow (reduces light too much)..

For indoors prime lenses with faster f/1.4 to f/2.8 initial ability would be recommended. These lenses are expensive..

Take a look at following thread: http://forums.dpreview.com/...forums/read.asp?forum=1035&message=24793212.

Http://www.stan-pustylnik.smugmug.com..

Comment #2

I am leaning towards the camera and lens kit below for $1149 (Amazon)Nikon D80 10.2MP Digital SLR Camera Kit with 18-135mm AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor Lens.

Also thought about adding this lens for $709 (Amazon)Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED-IF AF-S VR DX Zoom-Nikkor Lens.

Would this be a good set up to get me started or is it overkill or not enough..

Any thoughts?.

Thanks.

SM..

Comment #3

SkinMan wrote:.

I am leaning towards the camera and lens kit below for $1149 (Amazon)Nikon D80 10.2MP Digital SLR Camera Kit with 18-135mm AF-S DXZoom-Nikkor Lens.

Also thought about adding this lens for $709 (Amazon)Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED-IF AF-S VR DX Zoom-Nikkor Lens.

Would this be a good set up to get me started or is it overkill ornot enough..

That's really not long enough for most daytime sports, and it's not bright enough for indoor or night sports. As a general purpose "walk aorund", it would be fine. But, you specifically wanted to shoot sports.  .

For indoor sports (i..e, your basketball games), you'll want a prime (fixed focal length versus zoom) like an 85mm f/1.8 if you can shoot from the sidelines. Zooms won't be bright enough in many gyms to prevent motion blur, even at higher ISO speeds. High School gyms will be worse. You may be able to get away with an f/2.8 zoom in a well lit College Gym at higher ISO speeds. But, I wouldn't count on it for High School..

For daytime sports, something like a 70-300mm would be a better bet..

For niight sports under the lights (i.e., night football games), you'll want an f/2.8 zoom. A Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 would be a good bet, but it may not be as long as desired. On a budget, the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 would be another way to go..

Note that you can add a 1.4x Teleconverter to an f/2.8 zoom like these to give you a longer focal length for daytime use. But, you'll lose a stop of light with a 1.4x TC (so an f/2.8 lens would become an f/4 lens) which may not give you fast enough shutter speeds for night games..

The Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 is a popular lens for low light sports (but, it's a bit pricey at around $2600)..

You will get nothing but motion blur trying to shoot low light sports with the lenses you're currently looking at (they will be useless for things like basketball or night football games, since they are just not bright enough that purpose)..

JimChttp://www.pbase.com/jcockfield..

Comment #4

I'd also think about used lenses if you need to shoot night games under the lights and you don't have the budget for new f/2.8 zooms (and you'll want a lens that can maintain f/2.8 throughout the focal range for night games)..

Http://www.keh.com often has some pretty good deals on the older non-D versions of the Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8 zooms. See some of the listings here for examples (click View All if you don't want to change pages)..

Http://www.keh.com/...amp;BCC=1&CC=7&CCC=2&BCL=&GBC=&GCC=.

You could add a 1.4x TC (Teleconverter) to an f/2.8 zoom to give you more range for daytime use, too..

For indoor sports, I'd probably get an 85mm f/1.8, as long as you can shoot from the sidelines versus the stands. You can pick up one used in Excellent Condition for around $325. See the listings for Nikon Primes (fixed focal length versus zoom) here:.

Http://www.keh.com/...amp;BCC=1&CC=6&CCC=2&BCL=&GBC=&GCC=.

I'd also check out the used listings at http://www.bhphotovideo.com for bargains on brighter lenses..

JimChttp://www.pbase.com/jcockfield..

Comment #5

How about this setup:.

Nikon D80 10.2MP Digital SLR Camera (Body only) by Nikon $850.

Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED-IF AF-S VR DX Zoom-Nikkor Lens by Nikon $677 (for outdoor wildlife photos)Nikon 85mm f/1.8 $325 (for indoor sports at the gym)..

I realize you cant get every lens for every occasion unless you are doing photography professionally or have deep pockets. I am trying to piece together a system that will get me started that I can add to later. The areas I want covered on the initial buy are:.

1: Kids, Kids, Kids, at play, doing sports, even the occasional nice portrait.2: Outdoor photos, which includes kids, lots of wildlife and scenic portraits.3: Photos that are your everyday kind..

I know there is no one or two lenses that do it all but one that gets somewhere in the realm of my three criteria will work for me to get started. My budget is around $2000 so if I can piece together a system that gets the most out of my money would be great. I dont mind buying more expensive products now and adding to the system later, but need some help getting my camera system started. I am getting frustrated with all the data a person has to go over. There are just so many lenses out there and I cant decide wich ones to purchase. Look over my list of camera and lenses and tell me if they are good starter lenses.

Thanks.

SM..

Comment #6

SkinMan wrote:.

How about this setup:.

Nikon D80 10.2MP Digital SLR Camera (Body only) by Nikon $850Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED-IF AF-S VR DX Zoom-Nikkor Lens by Nikon$677 (for outdoor wildlife photos)Nikon 85mm f/1.8 $325 (for indoor sports at the gym)..

This is going to be highly subjective, and I realize that many users really like their 18-200mm zooms..

But, for outdoor wildlife and sports photos, I'd go with a different lens..

That lens is really not long enough for that purpose (wildlife) and quality suffers because of it's wide range from wide to long..

I'd be inclined to go with a used Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8 zoom (around $400 or so for a decent condition used lens at keh.com) for most sports, adding a 1.4x TC (teleconverter) for about $200 to give you 40% more range for wildlife and outdoor sports, while still giving you an f/2.8 lens you could use for low light sports withiout a TC..

Then, add an 85mm f/1.8 for indoor sports. For general purpose use, I'd probably get the 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 if budget permitted (along with a brighter prime and zoom)..

If budget didn't permit, there are a number of other choices (even something like a 24-85mm would give you better image quality with less distortion than most 18-200mm type zoom lenses due to the compromises needed to give you that much range from wide to long in a single lens..

Others may differ. So, I'd get more input before your final decisions. Personally, I'd avoid the ultra zoom type lenses for the types of subjects you seem to want to shoot. There are just too many compromises with those lens types..

JimChttp://www.pbase.com/jcockfield..

Comment #7

Nikon D80Tamron 18-50 f/2.8 DII - Constant f/2.8Nikon 85 f/1.8 (Used ?)Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 - Constant f/2.8+ 1.4x TC - Constant f/4.

May be "out" of budget....But worth a look anyway..

Around $2,500.00. And it will be a while before you need another lens..

Peter .

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

Enjoy your photography images, even if your wife doesn't ! ;-(http://laurence-photography.com/http://www.pbase.com/peterarbib/Cameras in profile...

Comment #8

I think you will have solid startup setup for your needs to keep you busy for 2-3 years before feeling need for next lens! I can predict your need to buy external bounce flash little sooner..

Http://www.stan-pustylnik.smugmug.com..

Comment #9

Well, I finally did it. I ordered my camera system. It consists of:.

Nikon D80 Body onlyNikon TC-14E II 1.4x Auto Focus TeleconverterNikon 85mm f/1.8D AF Telephoto Nikkor Lens with hoodNikon 80-200mm f/2.8D ED AF Zoom Lens.

I will add lenses later as I need them (or can afford them)..

Thanks to everybody for lending me your knowledge about cameras and lenses. I would never have gotten this far without it. Looking forward to taking lots of pics..

Thanks again........

SkinMan..

Comment #10

Great. That will be a super sports setup and you'll have the flexibility of being able to shoot night games and indoor sports, too..

You may want to look around for something wider as a general purpose walk around lens for when you are not shooting sports as budget permits..

Again, go used and you can save money. I bought most of my lenses used from keh.com, bhphotovideo.com, adorama.com and ebay vendors..

JimChttp://www.pbase.com/jcockfield..

Comment #11

You guys gave such good advice - Would you mind helping me out as well?.

I need to decide whether to buy a body that will work w/lenses I already have, or to switch to a Rebel Xti, and could I buy lenses that would be just as good as what I have, and not go far over $1,000?.

I'm frustrated, and missing the season as I struggle to figure this out. I don't know enough to "value" the info I've found. Jim?.

I've got 2 Pentax lenses that have served me well on our old film camera, but I don't know if they will work on a digital body. I was able to take pretty good pics out on the soccer field that was one step down from adult size, but will need enough mega-pixels to allow cropping on the adult size field..

Have an auto-focus Pentax 100-300 with Aperture 4.7-32,and an auto-focus Pentax 35-80 with aperture settings 4-22..

Pentax has their IS "stuff" in the camera body, so new lenses ought to be less expensive than Canons..

Biggest concern, is the delay for that action shot. Not sure if 3 fps helps that or not..

Thanks,.

Amy..

Comment #12

Aj37167 wrote:.

*snip*.

I've got 2 Pentax lenses that have served me well on our old filmcamera, but I don't know if they will work on a digital body. I wasable to take pretty good pics out on the soccer field that was onestep down from adult size, but will need enough mega-pixels to allowcropping on the adult size field..

See the Pentax FAQ for lens compatibility information.http://www.pentaxslr.com/lenses/lensesFaq"What lenses can be used with PENTAX digital cameras?.

All Pentax lenses ever produced can, however there are restrictions when using lenses other than DA, D FA, FA, FA J series lenses. When using D FA or FA lenses the aperture ring must be set to the A (auto) position. A-series lenses are manual focus only. Lenses without the A (auto position) require the user to set the custom function to use non-A position lens. These lenses also lack the contacts to make full use of the 16 segment metering system. PENTAX 645, 67-system lenses and S (Screw mount) type of lenses may be used with an adapter, though some functions may not be available with certain lenses.".

*snip*.

Pentax has their IS "stuff" in the camera body, so new lenses oughtto be less expensive than Canons..

The lines are somewhat different. Pentax has more compact single-focal-length lenses that would be rather useful for, say, street photography and portraiture. Lens-wise, it's not the best for fast-focusing, large-aperture telephoto zooms... but that other systems will offer more of those may be irrelevant to you if you can't fit them within your budget..

Biggest concern, is the delay for that action shot. Not sure if 3fps helps that or not..

I would argue that C-AF speed, low latency for that first shot, having a clear view through the 'finder matters more, at least for action shots (note there are other opportunities, like showing the expressions of players at various times). I presently shoot with a 3 FPS camera that's capable of shooting 12-shot bursts... and a lot can change in that 1/3s..

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

(It's dark, because it's from a night game on a badly-lit field.).

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

Is the next frame in the burst. Both were taken at 03:11:10 GMT, or 8:11pm local..

The action won't always be as fast during batting, but if you're looking to catch the moment of impact during a kick or something like that, you're still not going to get away with relying too much on 3fps..

What you want is a machine that you'll give you a clear view so you can see the action enough to anticipate, and good-enough AF tracking (especially if you can narrow down who's likely to be a useful subject) and short enough latency that by the time it AFs, the action's not already over. If you're going for stop-motion in less than optimal light, with less than very-bright lenses, high ISO performance may also be quite relevant...

Comment #13

Some lag is tolerable, and inevitable..

However, you want the latency to be predictable. If the AF is unreliable in this way, and it becomes difficult to factor in the latency, timing shots will be much harder. That might be another thing that you might want to look for in the Pentax SLR forum whether they're predictable...

Comment #14

Leeway, Thankyou for the response - but I'm afraid I now have more questions than understanding..

What is C-AF? continuous auto-focus?.

Are you saying that a clear view matters more than the first shot delay? Low latency means less delay, right?.

I don't understand what you are saying about these 3 factors: C-AF speed, first shot delay, and clear view..

And yes, I would very much like to catch the players expressions occasionaly. I would spend more to be able to catch some more of that. I'd like to not be disappointed in what I've purchased for once!.

Biggest concern, is the delay for that action shot. Not sure if 3fps helps that or not..

I would argue that C-AF speed, low latency for that first shot, having a clear view through the 'finder matters more, at least for action shots (note there are other opportunities, like showing the expressions of players at various times). I presently shoot with a 3 FPS camera that's capable of shooting 12-shot bursts... and a lot can change in that 1/3s..

I looked more closely and my long lense is a smc Pentax-FA 1:4.7-5.8, bayonet mount. I have the impression that focus would be slow, but not sure how to interpret the info you provided..

See the Pentax FAQ for lens compatibility information.http://www.pentaxslr.com/lenses/lensesFaq"What lenses can be used with PENTAX digital cameras?.

All Pentax lenses ever produced can, however there are restrictions when using lenses other than DA, D FA, FA, FA J series lenses. When using D FA or FA lenses the aperture ring must be set to the A (auto) position. A-series lenses are manual focus only. Lenses without the A (auto position) require the user to set the custom function to use non-A position lens. These lenses also lack the contacts to make full use of the 16 segment metering system. PENTAX 645, 67-system lenses and S (Screw mount) type of lenses may be used with an adapter, though some functions may not be available with certain lenses.".

*snip*.

Pentax has their IS "stuff" in the camera body, so new lenses oughtto be less expensive than Canons..

The lines are somewhat different. Pentax has more compact single-focal-length lenses that would be rather useful for, say, street photography and portraiture. Lens-wise, it's not the best for fast-focusing, large-aperture telephoto zooms... but that other systems will offer more of those may be irrelevant to you if you can't fit them within your budget..

So, what lenses should I look at?.

Thanks, again,.

Amy..

Comment #15

Amy, I was in your shoes not too long ago. I am a beginner in every sense when it comes to photography. I have spent countless hours on this site and others trying to gain as much knowledge as I can. I bought a Nikon D-80 and a Nikkor 85mm F1.8 for taking indoor basketball pics. I have found out that taking action shots indoors is very hard. If you want your subjects to (freeze) not have motion blur, you have to have good light or a very expensive lens.

If you are allowed to use your flash you can gain some advantage. In short I guess I am saying that for indoor B-ball pics dont skimp on lens..

Good luck.

SM..

Comment #16

Actually, an 85mm f/1.8 is about as good as it gets if you don't want to use a flash for basketball (and most better shooters don't)..

It's the lens of choice for that kind of thing, since an 85mm f/1.8 tends to focus faster than the brighter 85's (f/1.4, f/1.2 variety), due to lighter optical elements to move around + if you try to go to a wider aperture, it can become too difficult to maintain a good balance between Autofocus Speed and Depth of Field..

The 85mm f/18 is more than twice as bright as an f/2.8 zoom, allowing shutter speeds more than twice as fast for any given lighting and aperture..

But, you'll need to use ISO 1600 or higher to keep shutter speeds up to the desired target level for indoor sports, even shooting with a lens like the 85 f/1.8..

Nobody said it was be easy (it requires a lot of practice to get a higher percentage of keepers for that type of shooting). In gyms I've shot in, I needed f/2 at ISO 1600 to get shutter speeds up to around 1/500 second..

Most good basketball shooters I've seen use an 85mm, and tend to go manual exposure (since lighting on the floor tends to be relatively consistent). That way, you don't see a big variation in exposure/shutter speed while shooting due to metering difficulties with different colored clothing impacting results..

JimChttp://www.pbase.com/jcockfield..

Comment #17

At ISO 1600 do you experience alot of noise?..

Comment #18

SkinMan wrote:.

At ISO 1600 do you experience alot of noise?.

Of course, you're going to get a bit of noise at ISO 1600. .

But, there are very good tools to help clean it up. Give them a try. Scroll down to the "Community Edition" on this page and download it. It's free (not a trial):.

Http://www.imagenomic.com/download.aspx.

Also, try Neat Image (their stand alone trial version is free for personal use and doesn't expire).

Http://www.neatimage.com.

Your Exposure is also *VERY* important (which is another reason you want to use Manual Exposure). If you underexpose at ISO 1600, you're going to get *much* higher noise. Be careful not to underexpose (images too dark) at ISO speeds that high..

JimChttp://www.pbase.com/jcockfield..

Comment #19

Amy, rather than continuing someone elses thread, you're probably better off starting a new thread with a similar title..

That would probably draw more attention. Make sure to let members know what type of sports you are interested in. Indoor Sports, Outdoor Sports in Daylight, and Night games under lights are all very different..

I'd make sure to let members know what kind of budget you have, too..

JimChttp://www.pbase.com/jcockfield..

Comment #20

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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