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Which camera and lens for ACTION shots?
Hi. I posted in another section and realized I should have posted here since I am basically a beginner if I get a dslr, although many yrs ago I owned a film Canon eso 650 camera and used it for 5 yrs {I only used the auto settings}and liked it. I want to buy a camera that can take stop action photos such as of animals and kids. I'm not into sports, but will be taking pics of events where dogs compete such as agility and flyball. I thought I wanted the Nikon D40, but don't know which lens to get. Someone suggested the 50-150 f2.8 sigma lens to go with the Nikon D40.

I would like to be able to make 8X10 pics from the action shots as well. It doesn't have to be a Nikon, but don't want the other less popular cameras either. Are there any advanced P&S cameras that can do what I want it to do? If not, what dslr camera and lens do you suggest I look into?..

Comments (7)

Nothing wrong with the Nikon D40 but you are right to pause and consider which lens. In most countries the D40 comes with 18-55 kit lens. That is unlikely to be suitable for the sort of use you have in mind but is a good general lens for the price..

To stop all action you need a high shutter speed - at least 1/500th. That means either you have to use a large aperture (small number) and/or a high ISO (film speed). Put shortly you will get away with action in good daylight with a good point and shoot but in poor light there is no alternative to a DSLR. The high ISO output on a P & S is lousy..

To get the best out of poor light action shots you will need a good low light lens. This is especially true if you are shooting indoors or under floodlights at night or dusk. You may be able to use flash but the subject may be too far away or it maybe banned or just too off-putting.

A constant f2.8 lens will help a lot. It will allow you to keep shutter speeds up but in very poor light (e.g I do a lot of theatre work) your shutter speed will be too low to stop action completely and you would have to resort to catching e.g the still point at the peak of a jump. The only alternative would be be prime lenses (i.e fiixed focal length - not a zoom) which will get you an extra stop of light and double your shutter speed..

The Sigma 50-150 sounds like it could be an excellent choice. Try to borrow a DSLR and check out someones lens for reach. Any lens will do to give you an idea of reach. You may be better off with a Sigma 70-200 f2.8 which is much heavier but I suspect the 50-150 will be about right. If you want to shoot around 8 x 10 with the D40 you will have to nearly fill the frame with your shot. If your crop down the centre of the shot you will begin to lose image quality on an 8 x 10.

A word of caution the D40 only focuses with AF-S lenses or the Sigma equivalent. There are about 50 of them now. So there should be no problem but there is no AF-S prime that would suit your needs should you need a really low light lens..

The Sigma 50-150 also comes in a version that will fit Canon cameras. If you are on a tight budget however you will probably be better off with the D40. It is a well sorted camera..

Hope that helps!.

Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.

Http://PlacidoD.Zenfolio.com/..

Comment #1

Are you shooting sports or just kids playing around the yard or park? For sports, a tele zoom will help. For playing, more of a wide angle is better. If you really are considering the D40, I would point you to a K100D Super. There is a lot more lenses that will work on it, it has built in AS and it is a lot easier to work with. The D40 needs lenses with the built in focus motor and does not have a top panel LCD. It takes too long to go to the back panel and dig around to make quick changes...

Comment #2

Hi, I was in your position a few months ago. The setup I would buy for your specified uses would be the D40 with 18-55 kit lens, and the Nikon 70-300 VR lens. The only problem is this will be just a little over $1000..

Best,John..

Comment #3

Kathy,.

There is a list of Nikon AF-S lenses part way down this page:.

Http://www.nikonusa.com/template.php?cat=1&grp=5.

There is a list of Sigma AF-S equivalent lenses here:.

Http://www.sigmaphoto.com/news/news.asp?nID=3356.

Most of them are irrelevant to your needs but I thought I would pass on the full list to you..

Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.

Http://PlacidoD.Zenfolio.com/..

Comment #4

JohnnyB2 wrote:.

Hi, I was in your position a few months ago. The setup I would buyfor your specified uses would be the D40 with 18-55 kit lens, and theNikon 70-300 VR lens. The only problem is this will be just a littleover $1000..

It will also not stop action in poor light. It is f/4.5-5.6. That means a shutter speed 133% to 200% slower. So your shutter speed might be 1/500th with the Sigma and 1/120th with the Nikon..

Equally relevant it may not be the right focal length. (You also end up with a gap 55-70 which I personally do not like. I would prefer an small overlap)..

It is a good lens but not a fast lens - perfect for taking on safari i.e good daylight use..

Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.

Http://PlacidoD.Zenfolio.com/..

Comment #5

Chris Elliott wrote:.

JohnnyB2 wrote:.

Hi, I was in your position a few months ago. The setup I would buyfor your specified uses would be the D40 with 18-55 kit lens, and theNikon 70-300 VR lens. The only problem is this will be just a littleover $1000..

It will also not stop action in poor light. It is f/4.5-5.6. Thatmeans a shutter speed 133% to 200% slower. So your shutter speedmight be 1/500th with the Sigma and 1/120th with the Nikon..

Equally relevant it may not be the right focal length. (You also endup with a gap 55-70 which I personally do not like. I would prefer ansmall overlap)..

It is a good lens but not a fast lens - perfect for taking on safarii.e good daylight use..

Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.

Http://PlacidoD.Zenfolio.com/.

Hi Chris, I used my 80-200 f2.8 at my Sons afternoon football game in aperture priority set at f/5.6 and had shutter speeds near (some faster, some slower) 1/1000 all afternoon. I'm pretty sure that will stop dog action but I don't know first hand. For the events he listed, I thought he'd be happier with more reach. The 18-55 lens is the cheapest kit you can get (I don't think you can get the D40 body yet) keeping his overall cost closer to $1000..

Thanks for the lens links, I bookmarked both pages..

Best,John..

Comment #6

Thanks everyone for the advice. Are you talking about the Pentax K100D? Which lens would I get to go with it? Since I've been reading and doing a little research, my camera options have gotten bigger. To answer the questions about kids-it would be outdoors, but not in sports. The dogs would be outdoors and under shade as well, and I especially like to shoot on cloudy days. Thanks everyone!..

Comment #7

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