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Rec's for body/lens(es) for triathlon/swimming....newbie
Hi everyone,.

I've been banging my head around stepping into the DSLR arena after getting tired of the P/S shutter lag. I have some ancient experience shooting film and getting semi-creative during high school with my Minolta X700 (sold long ago). I'll have 3 main uses for this camera:1. shooting outdoor triathlons for my club.2. shooting indoor swim meets for my wife.3. general family/travel photos.

For some deep seeded reason that I really don't know I really want to lean towards Nikon but the Canons have grown on me for their reputation as more of a "sports camera"..

So, does anyone have any recs of the body and lenses that would be most appropriate for the above uses? Please keep in mind that I want to go with an entry level body and I'm inclined to stay away from the brand new bodies announced last/this week. New tech is too expensive for me. I would love to get a little better glass and a body that I could deal with for 3+ years and have enough functionality that would allow me to grow into it and not out of it too quickly. I would like to keep the price tag around $1500...

Comments (7)

Hi everyone,I've been banging my head around stepping into the DSLR arena aftergetting tired of the P/S shutter lag. I have some ancient experienceshooting film and getting semi-creative during high school with myMinolta X700 (sold long ago). I'll have 3 main uses for this camera:1. shooting outdoor triathlons for my club.2. shooting indoor swim meets for my wife.3. general family/travel photos.

For some deep seeded reason that I really don't know I really want tolean towards Nikon but the Canons have grown on me for theirreputation as more of a "sports camera"..

So, does anyone have any recs of the body and lenses that would bemost appropriate for the above uses? Please keep in mind that I wantto go with an entry level body and I'm inclined to stay away from thebrand new bodies announced last/this week. New tech is too expensivefor me. I would love to get a little better glass and a body that Icould deal with for 3+ years and have enough functionality that wouldallow me to grow into it and not out of it too quickly. I would liketo keep the price tag around $1500..

The uses you suggest are pretty general-purpose; there is nothing specific that requires one brand of camera over another. Any reasonably experienced photographer could do a good job on any of the above with any modern DSLR..

As you correctly pointed out, the right lens is the most important thing and more important than which body you get. Camera bodies come and go at a startling rate and there is always a better one around the corner, so I think you are exactly right to suggest an entry-level DSLR (which will be better than a pro model from a few years ago) and a good lens..

For the general-purpose photos, no. 3 in your list: any DSLR with it's kit lens will do fine. For (1) and (2) however you will probably want a tele zoom, and for (2) - indoors, I imagine - you will need your tele zoom to have as wide an aperture as possible, both to cope with available light and allow you to use a fast shutter speed and freeze the action..

Wide-aperture tele zooms are expensive but that seems to be what you need, and the best value I know of is the Sigma 50-150 f/2.8 (about 450 UK). If your budget will stretch to it, a Canon EOS400D (Rebel XTi) with kit lens, plus the Sigma, would come to about 850UK. (The Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 is about 600... after that the Canon / Nikon equivalents are about 1000)..

If the swimming is outdoors (or the pool has a glass roof) such that light isn't such a problem, things get a lot easier. there are any number of 50-200 or 70-300 f/4 - f/5.6 zooms around, cheap and reasonably good (you can pay a lot more of course!). For example: Tamron 70-300, a mere 120 UK; Canon 55-200 (with image stabilisation), about 220 UK; Nikon 55-200 (with vibration reduction), about 180 UK, etc. etc..

So... it all depends on what you need for the swimming. If that is really indoor light, you will have to spend a lot on a fast tele lens and then get whatever is the cheapest body you can with the money left over. If it is daylight however you can spend a lot less on the tele zoom and get a better camera body if you prefer (the Pentax K10D is really excellent value at the moment, although Pentax does not have the same range of good tele zooms that Canon and Nikon do; the Nikon D80 is also very good)..

I hope that is of some help.Best wishesMike..

Comment #1

JamieJ wrote:.

Unfortunately the swimming is indoors with poor lighting..

... then you have picked a tough problem (low light, fast action, at a distance)..

For available-light indoor sports photos you will absolutely need a fast tele lens. A 70-200 f/2.8 will blow a big hole in your budget. But, if you can get fairly close then a fixed-focal length lens like the Canon 85 f/1.8 (260 UK) or 100mm f/2 (300) could be good - wider aperture and cheaper (but no zoom of course). In indoor light you are going to be using ISO 1600 / 3200 and the lens wide open to get a fast shutter speed..

Is flash permitted? If so a good flash can work at a long range and would solve a lot of problems. My flash (a modest Sigma unit, the EF500) has when fully zoomed in a guide number of 165 feet at ISO100, i.e. at f/5.6 the range would be 165/5.6 = about 30 feet. At ISO400 that range doubles to 60 feet, allowing use of a 'standard' cheapish tele zoom with an f/4 - f/5.6 aperture range..

Best wishesMike..

Comment #2

Yes I can get close. This is just what we call Masters Swimming. Nothing where access is limited. I can always stand right behind her on the deck as it starts and wander around pretty much wherever I need to go...

Comment #3

If you can get that close, by far the cheapest and easiest option is a 50mm f/1.8 - both the Nikon and Canon versions cost about 80 UK..

So you could get something like....

Canon 400D/XTi or Nikon D40x (about 400 with 18-55 kit lens for general-purpose outdoor use)50mm f/1.8 for the swimming (80), and use your feet to zoom....

Any of several 55-200 or 70-300 tele zooms for the outdoor sports (triathlon) (up to 200).

- that will be well within your budget..

Best wishesMike..

Comment #4

... not the Nikon D40x; it is limited as to which lenses it will autofocus with, and it *won't* autofocus with Nikon's 50mm f/1.8. A Nikon D80 would be OK however, albeit more expensive..

On that basis and on your budget I would go for the Canon, as it's 50mm/1.8 is excellent and cheap.Mike..

Comment #5

Thanks. I was a little wary of the D40/40X for the reason you stated w/the lenses. It seems slightly limiting and I really don't want to handicap myself right out of the gate. So...when do people think the Xti will be coming down in price? Right now my local shop has a demo body w/full warranty for $450. Not sure if I'm going to bite on that one just yet. I'll look around online at reputable (non grey market) dealers. Sounds like your in the UK so you may not have too many online suggestions for US...

Comment #6

Correct! But there have many discussions on these forums (fora?) about reliability or otherwise of mail-order dealers, and the name that always crops up as being fast, honest and reliable is B&H (in NY I believe). So many people have said good things about them that there must be something in it....

$450 for an XTi sounds like a steal. In the UK the price has just dropped to 400....

Best wishesMike..

Comment #7

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