Thread: Need advice on equipment
12-22-2012, 04:01 AM #1I'm new here!
- Join Date
- Dec 2012
Need advice on equipment
I am wanting to purchase a good digital camera to shoot High School sports (i.e.) Football, Basketball, Baseball, etc. I was thinking of purchasing a Nikon D3200. I understand that I am a beginner, but I intend to learn how to get the best out of the equipment that I buy. What I am wanting to know is what would be a good camera to get without being "too simple" but not "too compicated". I hope that makes sense. I would also like your advice on what lenses would be good also. Thank you!!
12-22-2012, 07:37 AM #2
I'm not going to say that you "can't" shoot sports with a 3200, but you will be extremely limited.
Sports photography combines all the things a camera does badly. Very fast action in low light, from far away. You'll need a long, fast, sharp lens, on a body that can take high quality images at a very high ISO, at a fast frame rate, with a very accurate autofocus system. These are the challenges of the sports shooter, and only the very best equipment will allow you to get professional looking shots.
I can't give you any real advice on this without more information. What is your intention with this gear? Are you shooting your child playing sports? Do you intend to sell your services? Does professional quality matter to you?
If you're just shooting for yourself, and image quality doesn't matter, then get whatever camera you like. If you're planning on selling your services, or if image quality is important to you, then your looking at the wrong spectrum of gear. add a couple grand, and you'll be in the right ballpark to start.
12-22-2012, 08:42 AM #3dPS +1000 Club
- Join Date
- Nov 2009
- Sydney, Australia
Where are you shooting and where from?
(2) Outdoors in daytime?.
(3) Outdoors at nigh?
(4) from the sidelines?
(5) from the spectaor areas?
What is your budget, especially for lenses?Flickr stream.
12-22-2012, 10:21 AM #4I'm new here!
- Join Date
- Dec 2012
Photographing High School sports for hobby
I am just going to photograph my son. He plays all sports, so I will be taking photos of him in a well lit staduim (football) from the sidelines. I can get relitively close to the action. I will also be taking photos in a somewhat well lit gym (basketball) and also during baseball games day and night. I understand that you need professional equipment for this kind of photography, but I was hoping to get some good shots of him while not spending a forturne. I am looking to spend around $1000. Thank you both for your advice.
12-22-2012, 01:52 PM #5
im not very familiar with Nikon DSLRs as im a canon person but one rule of thumb is, it doesnt really make that much of a difference what camera you get. of course some are more professional than others, but in the end it all comes down to the person behind a lens. that said, the lens plays a big role and it affects a whole lot of things from depth of field to angle of view to image sharpness and more. i imagine sports photography needs a long lens as you will be far from the action. just remember that the longer a lens' focal length is, the more your photos are prone to camera shake so you might also want to invest in a tripod (if there is enough space to set up one!)My name is Diana Eftaiha. I'm a blogger and founder of The D-Photo for photography inspiration. You can follow me on twitter @graceofrox =)
12-22-2012, 04:07 PM #6I am just going to photograph my son. He plays all sports, so I will be taking photos of him in a well lit staduim (football) from the sidelines.
Disclaimer: This was over 3 years ago, I'm pretty sure I could post process that a lot better now :P
12-22-2012, 06:10 PM #7
I understand that you need professional equipment for this kind of photography, but I was hoping to get some good shots of him while not spending a forturne. I am looking to spend around $1000. Thank you both for your advice.
To me, getting either a D3x00 or D5x00 body is a limitation in that those bodies lack focus motors, and neither one will focus unless the lens has AF-S in it. Most of Nikon's zooms do, but their primes are a different matter. And from what I've read, the AF (autofocus) speed on the AF-S 85/1.8 isn't that impressive.
I hate to say this, because it only reinforces that I'm a complete Canon gearhead, but I'd say increase your budget, and look at a used T3i or a T4i and the EF 85mm f/1.8 USM or EF 100/2 USM for basketball, give up on shooting night football games and look at the EF 70-300 IS USM (used, non-L version) for the daytime football/soccer. The 85 or 100 won't zoom and probably won't have enough reach all the time, but can handle the lower light and has super-zippy AF, and won't cost the earth (~$400), and the 70-300 IS USM ($600) can handle daytime sports, but again, won't have the same kind of performance as a $2000 EF 70-200 f/2.8L IS USM would.
Also, this isn't particularly easy photography to learn. You need good reflexes, the capability to anticipate, and you have to learn your AF system inside out (back-button autofocus good), as well as exposure and (if your'e shooting under gym lights) post-processing. This is the case no matter what camera/lens combo you go for.
The only low-cost alternative I can see is maybe going for a Nikon V1 or J1 (the J1 is supercheapish for an interchangeable lens mirrorless right now), and crossing your fingers that it can handle the night time stuff under stadium lights, and knowing that the indoors stuff will be hit'n'miss. The J1 has a much smaller sensor, but the crop factor will give you the appearance of more reach. It's just that the max. apertures on the lenses are slow, and the smaller sensor is going to limit the high ISO performance, so low light performance isn't going to be great.
Last edited by inkista; 12-22-2012 at 06:15 PM.
12-22-2012, 09:00 PM #8
I don't think I will be adding anything that has not already been stated in the previous posts, but can share my experience with trying to accomplish essentially the same thing you are going to do.
Outdoor Sports. You can "get away" with fairly inexpensive equipment and get pretty decent shots if you have strong ambient light. In general your limitations will be how quickly your lens can focus, the lens' focal length range, how quickly your body can drive the lens, how quickly your body can process the photos that are captured, and how quickly your body can shoot (frame rate).
I got OK shots, acceptable to me for personal use while I was learning, with a consumer grade bottom of the barrel dSLR body (about 4 generations old now) and the 55-250mm kit lens. The body had a frame rate of 3 or 3.5 frames/s and I shot JPG only. I could shoot a burst of about 6 to 8 photos without too much problem, and would get a hit rate of about 1 or 2 per set if I was shooting something that was moving quickly. I noticed a dramatic difference in quality of photos and hit rate when I moved up to a mid-grade lens (the 70-300 IS USM that inkista mentioned), that can focus much quicker and more accurately.
Indoor Sports. As inkista mentioned, a well-lit gym is not necessarily well-lit to a camera. For instance, I recently shot in a venue that I thought was well lit when I entered the building. But when I analyzed the data from two days worth of shooting, the majority of my photos were shot at f2.8, 1/400s, ISO 1600 - 2000. And there were a few instances when I changed to my 85 f/1.8 mm prime and dropped the aperture to f/1.8 or f/2.0. I personally like to shoot with faster shutter speeds and lower ISO, but that wasn't happening there, and again, it seemed like there was plenty of light in there. Most all of the photos I shot there also required a fair amount of post-processing to deal with the noise in the photos and to correct white balance issues that cropped up every other photo or so.
So your limiting factors when shooting action in indoor conditions are as stated above PLUS how much light your lens can gather and the high ISO performance of your camera body. Post-processing skills and file format can also be limiting factors here.
I tried to shoot indoors with my consumer body and kit lens, but was pretty much frustrated and disappointed all the time; things were just too dark most of the time and the lens and camera body just couldn't deal with it very well. I purchased the 85mm prime that inkista mentioned above, and that improved things a lot because I could get a lot more light to the sensor and it has super fast focus (as long as long as there is enough contrast between what is being shot and the other stuff around the subject). That lens allowed me to get some OK shots sometimes, but they were still either mostly a bit dark still, or blurry because I had to take the shutter speed down to a point where motion blur could be significant.
I never shot above ISO 400 because my ISO performance on that camera basically sucked. High ISO performance is not as much of an issue now as it was because newer camera bodies can typically handle ISO 800 or higher pretty confidently, but it is still a factor. If I'm remembering correctly, most camera bodies will allow one to shoot confidently with ISO 800, and some will allow much higher ISO confidence, depending on how much you want to pay for that ability. In looking at some of those photos now, I may be able to recover some of them if I desired because post-processing software has improved, and so have my skills using the software.
In the interest of keeping this post from rambling, I can summarize as follows:
Tzetsin's suggestion of doing this on a budget is possible but not ideal, and inkista's suggestion of increasing your budget some is probably a good idea. If you are starting from scratch, I would focus (no pun intended) on selecting a lens that will serve your purposes in low light action conditions as that can be the difference between getting shots and not getting shots. I know a guy who has the same body I have, but has to borrow lenses from me to get good shots under the same conditions. I currently have about $2500 invested in the part of my kit (1 body and 1 lens) that I consider to be my action workhorse; the body was new and the lens was used. I didn't have to invest that much for casual shots for myself, but I had the money so went for it.
12-22-2012, 09:21 PM #9I'm new here!
- Join Date
- Dec 2012
Thank you all for the advice. It has helped me greatly. It looks like I am going to save more money and purchase better equipment. This is a personal goal of mine and with your help I think I can achieve it. Im looking forward for more advice in the future.