Best sports photography cameras?

DaniEven

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Does anyone have any good suggestions for sports cameras under $1000? I'm trying to break into sports photography and I'm not sure where to start.
 

table1349

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Under $1000? No.

Sports photography is a very demanding on gear and the photographer. The cheapest body I would recommend if you are serious about getting into sports photography is a Canon 7D MkII. It is designed for sports and is my current third body for sports shooting. The other thing is the need for good, fast glass. That usually means a fixed f2.8 or faster which are also not cheap. The go to first lens for most sports photographer is a 70-200 f2.8. Not cheap but much cheaper than a 300 f2.8 or 400 f2.8.

There is a big difference between a good sports shot and a good sports snap shot. Sell-able shots need to isolate the action which is one of the reasons for fast glass. You need to shoot close to if not wide open to get that small DOF that isolates the action which is why you want fast glass.

With that said you can shoot sports with cheaper consumer grade bodies and lenses however you keeper rate will be lower as will you sell-able rate. Sports photography is now a freelance business and there are a lot of people that like to shoot sports. Gone are the days of Sport Illustrated, Sport Magazine or even large paper staff sports photographer jobs.

I'm not trying to be a downer, everyone has to start somewhere. What ever body you decide on needs to have good high ISO performance and stellar AF performance as well as a decent burst mode. Your glass choice will also be very important. It can be a little less important if you only shoot outdoor sunny weather sports, but those are few and far between these days.

It also helps living in a good location. I shoot college sports these days and while not in a hugely large city I am usually no more than 5 hours drive from many large FBS schools.

To break in, start with high school sports. Shot a lot and practice just as much. Every late summer early fall I shoot the practices for our local colleges just to get back in practice. Build a portfolio. If you can follow a good high school team or teams to various events at small universities etc. Keep in mind everyone loves to shoot football, baseball and basketball, but tennis golf, cross country also are sports and some of them are more likely to take you to the next level where you can make contacts. Always I mean always be professional with every contact you make, even if they turn you down, thank them for the opportunity to talk to them. Today they may turn you down and tomorrow they may be the guy letting you in. Know the sport inside out upside down and sideways. Know the players, their strengths and weaknesses. That means a whole lot of reading in your off time, the sports pages or high school sports magazines if you location or state has such etc. You need to know the sport and the participants so you can anticipate the action. You will not always be right but if you really know the sport you will be right far more often than you are wrong.

For me the highlight of every fall is the OU, OSU game. It is always and action packed contest and is only about 3 hours from where I live. Getting to shoot from the sidelines is a whole different level of enjoyment. Good luck. Hopefully some of the Nikon shooters will chime in on the best Nikon gear for sports. I shoot Canon but that does not mean that there are not other system that just as good or maybe even better. The skill you develop will mean the most but having good tools makes it a whole lot easier.

Definitely peruse this form. Sports Photography and Photojournalism for Professional Photographers and Photography | SportsShooter.com It will provide you a lot of knowledge of the business today, the gear, etc.

Some other links of interest.
The Perfect Camera Settings for Action and Sports Photography | Photography Mad
Shooting Sports: Tips from the Pros
Working Your Way Up to Become a Successful Sports Photographer
 

zombiesniper

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Have to agree with above. If you're serious about sports photography you had better free up $4-6K. There is just no beating a good body with good glass.
 

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Used Nikon D700 or used Nikon D3s. Affordable camera bodies.
 

Gary A.

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Look used or refurbished ... based upon your budget, a Canon 1Ds MKIII, Canon 1Ds MKII, 7D MKII would all do well shooting action.

Due to you budget, you won't ge able to get the latest and greatest ... one of the biggest differences between the newer and older hardware will be the newer sensors will deliver a better image at higher ISO's.
 

Destin

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The best sports camera on the market right now for those on a budget is the Nikon D500, hands down. That being said, it's still quite above your budget.

You don't mention it, but does this $1000 need to get you a lens as well as a camera body? Or just a camera body?

If you need both, it's going to be almost impossible. If it's for just the camera body, you could look into a used Nikon D7200.. should be able to get one under $1000 these days.

As far as lenses go, the first and most essential sports lens is the 70-200 2.8. You don't need the new $2700 nikon model though. The best option on the market right now is likely the Tamron 70-200 2.8 G2, at about $1200 brand new. You could also save money here and get the older Tamron 70-200 2.8 VC; I have this lens and it's absolutely incredible. I paid $800 for it on eBay.

I shoot sports with a Nikon D500 and the above mentioned Tamron. It's a great setup, and what I'd consider the bare minimum for professional sports photography. You're looking at around $2500 for both items however.

As has been mentioned by others, sports is one area of photography where you really can't skimp on gear. You absolutely have to have fast and reliable autofocus, a decent burst rate (5fps+), and a large buffer. You also need weather sealed gear and rain covers, because the best sports images are made in adverse weather.
 
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DaniEven

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The best sports camera on the market right now for those on a budget is the Nikon D500, hands down. That being said, it's still quite above your budget.

You don't mention it, but does this $1000 need to get you a lens as well as a camera body? Or just a camera body?

If you need both, it's going to be almost impossible. If it's for just the camera body, you could look into a used Nikon D7200.. should be able to get one under $1000 these days.

As far as lenses go, the first and most essential sports lens is the 70-200 2.8. You don't need the new $2700 nikon model though. The best option on the market right now is likely the Tamron 70-200 2.8 G2, at about $1200 brand new. You could also save money here and get the older Tamron 70-200 2.8 VC; I have this lens and it's absolutely incredible. I paid $800 for it on eBay.

I shoot sports with a Nikon D500 and the above mentioned Tamron. It's a great setup, and what I'd consider the bare minimum for professional sports photography. You're looking at around $2500 for both items however.

As has been mentioned by others, sports is one area of photography where you really can't skimp on gear. You absolutely have to have fast and reliable autofocus, a decent burst rate (5fps+), and a large buffer. You also need weather sealed gear and rain covers, because the best sports images are made in adverse weather.
The best sports camera on the market right now for those on a budget is the Nikon D500, hands down. That being said, it's still quite above your budget.

You don't mention it, but does this $1000 need to get you a lens as well as a camera body? Or just a camera body?

If you need both, it's going to be almost impossible. If it's for just the camera body, you could look into a used Nikon D7200.. should be able to get one under $1000 these days.

As far as lenses go, the first and most essential sports lens is the 70-200 2.8. You don't need the new $2700 nikon model though. The best option on the market right now is likely the Tamron 70-200 2.8 G2, at about $1200 brand new. You could also save money here and get the older Tamron 70-200 2.8 VC; I have this lens and it's absolutely incredible. I paid $800 for it on eBay.

I shoot sports with a Nikon D500 and the above mentioned Tamron. It's a great setup, and what I'd consider the bare minimum for professional sports photography. You're looking at around $2500 for both items however.

As has been mentioned by others, sports is one area of photography where you really can't skimp on gear. You absolutely have to have fast and reliable autofocus, a decent burst rate (5fps+), and a large buffer. You also need weather sealed gear and rain covers, because the best sports images are made in adverse weather.
Thank you lots for your information. And you are correct I was meaning $1000 for the body. I can spend up to another $1000 for gear and lensed. On Amazon I found a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L for about $800 and the CANON EOS t7i I may get comes with several other items I'll be needing including a kit lens. Right now I'm gonna go research a little more into the Nikon D7200 that you mentioned. Thank you again. :)
 

chuasam

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I was about to say 1Dx II or D5 till I saw your budget.
The cheapest you can get is a D500, 7D, or EM1 Mk2 (all hovering in the $2k body only)
Lenses yeah.. 70-200 f/2.8 (or 40-150 f/2.8 for the Olympus) MINIMUM.
You can save a bit going non stabilized and Tamron/Sigma
but...what kinda sports?
 
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DaniEven

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The school I'm going to offers various things such as Football, Tennis, Golf, and Volleyball. I've talked to various people that do the school photography and I'm planning on learning from them. I'm not in any respect professional. Just trying to figure out where to start and get some experience for my passion in photography.
 
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DaniEven

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Now I have a question? Would you recommend Nikon over Canon? I'm thinking of buying used/refurbished and I found a good Nikon D7500 on Amazon for $950 plus a kit lens. I like the idea of using Canon because I think it may be easier to learn with however if I'm getting a better bang for the buck with Nikon. That may be a better idea. I'll be learning regardless.
 

chuasam

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Now I have a question? Would you recommend Nikon over Canon? I'm thinking of buying used/refurbished and I found a good Nikon D7500 on Amazon for $950 plus a kit lens. I like the idea of using Canon because I think it may be easier to learn with however if I'm getting a better bang for the buck with Nikon. That may be a better idea. I'll be learning regardless.
a D7500 is a baby D500 and a good start. You get lesser buffer but same image quality and autofocus. Canon and Nikon are equally easy to learn. Choose which sport you want to photograph if you want to do well.
Honestly, D7500 with kit for $950 sounds sketchy AF.
like holyhellholdontoyourwallet Sketchy.
It's almost 40% less than MSRP. It's actually lower than wholesale cost. Less than what Nikon would sell to the retailers.
 

table1349

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Either one will do you fine. Best thing would be to go to a local camera store and check out the bodies you are interested in. See which one fells better to you.
 

beagle100

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The school I'm going to offers various things such as Football, Tennis, Golf, and Volleyball. I've talked to various people that do the school photography and I'm planning on learning from them. I'm not in any respect professional. Just trying to figure out where to start and get some experience for my passion in photography.

I agree, a Canon 1DX2 may be the "best" but a Canon 80D and 70-200 2.8 could suffice for things like volleyball, golf, football, etc
 

fmw

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You need a long, fast lens. Several thousand dollars for one of those. Get one and connect any camera made by the same manufacturer.
 

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Hi again mate,

I'm an amatuer but I have shot some sports on a budget. The biggest challenge you'll face is lighting. Indoor sports or shooting at dawn or dusk is just not really viable with slow glass and less noise at high ISO make more modern bodies essential for most pros. That tends to be what you pay for in higher end bodies and glass so unfortunatley it is not cheap.

The minimum I'd reccomend on the canon side would be an 80D with a 135mm L for sports on a budget. Slower, less sharp zooms just don't cut it and while you can sometimes get away with a 70-200mm f4 L the f2.8 is worth it for the keeper rate. Nikons with their sony sensors have much better noise at high ISO and if I was a pro that's what I'd be shooting with just now (at least until fuji get some great long glass for the XT line)
 

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