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Input from people 'in the know' - First DSLR selection
I am planning on buying my first DSLR, and I am hoping to get some useful input about the various brands/models available and their strenths and weaknesses..

The models I have been focusing my attention on are the Canon 400D, the Nikon D40x, the Olympus E-510, and the Sony A200..

I plan on using the camera a lot to take pictures of my daughter's soccer matches, so I am looking to add a 75mm-300mm zoom lens to the purchase of the camera..

One of my main sticking points is whether IS/VR is more desirable in the camera body, or in the lens itself for my particular application. I don't plan on acquiring a huge selection of lenses, but I would eventually like to get a good zoom lens that would work well in situations such as night games, so future lens cost is somewhat of a factor for me..

FWIW, I am currently leaning towards the Sony A200 with the 2 lens package. (18mm-70mm & 75mm-300mm)..

Comments (6)

If you don't plan to buy lots of lenses then either in-body or in-lens VR (or IS, depending on the manufacturer) is fine. Having said that most Pros use Nikon / Canon and have to pay extra for VR with every lens but I guess they can write it off against tax . Technically I don't think it matters much which mechanism is used, they both work. The Sony is a fine camera, so if you like it, go with that..

A 75-300 range (presumably something like f/4 - f/5.6) is a good choice for shooting soccer. if you want to take pictures indoors later you will need something wider aperture (e.g. 70-200 f/2.8) which gets seriously expensive... you might want to check that less consumer-oriented lenses like this are available in a Sony mount..

Best wishesMike..

Comment #1

Bryan Young wrote:.

The models I have been focusing my attention on are the Canon 400D,the Nikon D40x, the Olympus E-510, and the Sony A200..

I plan on using the camera a lot to take pictures of my daughter'ssoccer matches, so I am looking to add a 75mm-300mm zoom lens to thepurchase of the camera..

Haven't checked the numbers (field size, for instance) but that seems fairly reasonable in terms of focal length. More potentially worrisome is aperture vs. how much light you have, and whether AF is sufficiently fast/accurate..

One of my main sticking points is whether IS/VR is more desirable inthe camera body, or in the lens itself for my particular application..

Either will be of pretty limited use for action shots. They'll only help with camera shake, and may be counterproductive if you're deliberately moving the camera to track somebody. If you're shooting with a very short shutter speed to stop action, then camera shake won't be a large issue unless using a very long lens..

I don't plan on acquiring a huge selection of lenses, but I wouldeventually like to get a good zoom lens that would work well insituations such as night games, so future lens cost is somewhat of afactor for me..

Night games, at a distance, are not going to be easy. A short shutter speed to stop action, combined with very little light, means a very wide aperture and a very high ISO. Even if you were close enough to use an external flash... well, I wouldn't, because of the distraction and likely impact on the players' night vision..

Fast, long lenses can be rather expensive..

For these, you'll probably want to shoot raw and develop a workflow that involves decent noise removal. Aside from the obvious noise issues when you need to push to ~ISO 3200-5000 or so, it can also be tricky to nail the exposure especially if the field is non-uniformly-lit; and whatever lights there are, have a strong color cast..

*snip*..

Comment #2

IS/VR doesn't help with low light action. a fast shutter speed is all that works. this can be achieved with high ISO setting or big aperture or both. large aperture, telephoto lenses start at around 1000 US$ and are heavy. check the reviews to see which cameras have the best image quality at high iso setting...

Comment #3

I think it bears repeating that night-time sports photography is something of a specialized field requiring some specialized equipment to tackle successfully. The article below gives some advice regarding this.http://www.astropix.com/SPORTSPIX/NSC/TIPS06.HTM.

Given your future lens needs, I would go with Canon or Nikon. If you're fortunate enough to live near a store with lens rentals (and I believe there are some mail-order rental options, too), they will likely be limited to these two brands. If you're considering lenses costing multiple thousands of dollars, it's nice to be able to try them out first. Also, depending on how many night games you want to take pictures at, it might be preferable to just rent a more exotic lens on an as-needed basis..

If autofocus s important to you, I would consider the Canon option over the Nikon D40X you listed, or go for a Nikon body that doesn't require AF-S lenses for autofocus to workyou'll just have more options that way...

Comment #4

The kit lenses that come with the Sony are among the worst lenses photozone has ever tested. The 18-70 is so bad it's not even worth the $50 extra they charge..

Get the Rebel Xti (400) with the 18-55IS and 55-250IS for starters, then when you get to night games look at getting a 2.8 lens or faster of some type. Here Canon has a better selection including 3rd party support..

Gene..

Comment #5

The models I have been focusing my attention on are the Canon 400D,the Nikon D40x, the Olympus E-510, and the Sony A200..

Instead, I found a really sweet deal (at least I hope it's a sweet deal) on a Nikon D80 with 18-55 af-s and 70-300 af-s VR lenses, all new Nikon USA stuff, for under $1200.00 from a reputable online merchant..

I want to play with the camera some and learn what I can on my own for a few weeks, then see if I can take a camera specific class somewhere nearby..

I live near Knoxville, TN. Can anyone recommend a good place within a couple hours drive for a class on the D80?..

Comment #6

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