Need a camera setup for HS marching band pics

ToddnTN

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I need a new camera. The last nice camera I bought was a Canon Elan IIE. I still have the lense that came with that camera, EF 28-80 if I remeber correctly.

Anyway, I need something that can take fairly close up shots of my daughter in the marching band. I will either be at the fence or in the stands.
Mostly at night with a lighted field.

Price is a concern, but I don't mind spending the money if I have to get good results, within reason. My upper limit would be around $1200.
I have a nice bag, tripod, SD card, etc, just need the camera and lense(s).

Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance,
Todd
 

tirediron

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Never mind... I missed the 'mostly at night' bit. That's going to make it very difficult to achieve. The problem is, even though the field seems reasonably bright to your eyes, it will not to a camera. You will need fairly large apertures and decent high ISO handling. I'm not a Canonite, so I can't make any recommendations for that brand, but the best I can think of in Nikon would be a used D7000/7100 and 80-200 f2.8. You might just squeeze that in under your budget...
 

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You'll want a fast lens. Probably the best choices would be either an 85mm f/1.8 or 100mm f/2 Canon EF telephoto prime lens. Neither is especially long, but they do have very good wide-aperture picture quality, and even the slower lens, the 100mm f/2, lens lets in twice as much light as any $1600-$2,500 f/2.8 zoom lens. The easiest way to get better night football field type shots is to get CLOSER. You will need to shoot a bit looser, and then crop in. A 200mm f/2 or a 300mm f/2.8 would both be nice, but those are multi-thousand-dollar lenses...

My vote goes for the FAST, medium-length telephoto, getting closer than the stands, and cropping in a bit at the computer.
 

brunerww

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Hi Todd - as tirediron says, it would be a challenge to find an APS-C camera with the reach and light-gathering ability to give you good results for $1200. To stay within your budget, I recommend the Panasonic FZ200 with its 24x constant aperture f2.8 zoom.

Take a look at these pictures of a night football match taken by Mark Smith: Flickr: SmudgerNCFC's Photostream

As a bonus, it can also produce pretty good in-camera 720/120p slow motion night video:


If this is close to what you need, you can get this camera for less than $500 (backordered at Amazon at this price) and have $700 left over :)

Hope this is helpful,

Bill
 
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goodguy

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Nikon D7000 or the Nikon D5200 with the 70-300mm VR lens will do the trick.
 

brunerww

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Nikon D7000 or the Nikon D5200 with the 70-300mm VR lens will do the trick.

Respectfully, I have to disagree. Yes, you can get clean images with a 4.5-5.6 lens at night at ISOs up to 3200. But, even with a D7000, with marginal shutter speeds for moving subjects, the number of keepers is likely to be low.
 

goodguy

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Nikon D7000 or the Nikon D5200 with the 70-300mm VR lens will do the trick.

Respectfully, I have to disagree. Yes, you can get clean images with a 4.5-5.6 lens at night at ISOs up to 3200. But, even with a D7000, with marginal shutter speeds for moving subjects, the number of keepers is likely to be low.

I am sad to agree with you but in the price range of 1200$ this is the best I could come with.
For a really good low light long distance shooting I would recommend either the Nikon D600 or Canon 6D with 70-200 F2.8 lens but thats about 4000$ value.
Even a D7000 with 70-200 2.8 will be around 2800$

Ahh if money was not an issue what a great camera+lenses I could get LOL
 

Robbo521

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my daughter does flag and marching when asked.the biggest problem is the lighting on fields.yes the pictures in the other post look good but they can spend money on lighting fields where a lot of high schools are like a hole in the ground.the D7000 is good for this,not best but good.you can get used sigma 20-200 2.8 around $900 or tamron for about $700 and a used 7000 for $650 to $800.yes a little more but good combo.
 

jaomul

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Possibly a secondhand EF 135 f2 L. The crop 18mp batch of canon cameras have all got similar noise characteristics, so a secondhand t2i. You may get the 2 of these for your budget, giving a reasonable reach and 18mp allows for cropping provided your start image is good.

Alternatively the pentax k30 is well recommended for its noise handling, has inbuilt stabilisation and there are thousands of secondhand pentax fit lenses on the net, just pick a fast long one
 

brunerww

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Todd- If the FZ200's 1/2.3" sensor is too small to give you the image quality you want, you may be able to step up to micro 4/3. If you don't mind buying used or refurb from reputable stores, you can get a refurb'd Olympus 75mm f1.8 (full frame 150mm equivalent) from Cameta via eBay for $819.95 and an open box Panasonic G5 with the 14-42 kit lens from Adorama for $378.

Here is what the G5 can do: Flickr: The Flickr Panasonic DMC-G5 Pool

Here is what the 75mm f1.8 can do: Flickr: The Olympus 75mm f/1.8 Micro Four Thirds Lens Pool

With this camera/lens combination, you should have enough reach and fast enough shutter speeds at a reasonable ISO to get the job done.

Again, hope this is helpful,

Bill
Hybrid Camera Revolution
 
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ToddnTN

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Thanks for the replies everyone. I found a review of low light camera abilities on Adorama. Per this article and DxOMark, the Nikon D5200 is the best APS-C camera for low light.

So I am thinking this camera with general purpose lens and adding either this lens or this lens.
Yes this blows my budget, but hey, you only live once.

Any thoughts?

Thanks.
 

jaomul

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Very good options. For the lens i would go with the tamron for convenience
 
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ToddnTN

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Ok, I just ordered the D5200 with the 18-55 lens and Adorama had a Nikon 180mm f2.8 ADif (early) lens for $299. So I got the whole setup for right at $1100.
The 180mm might be less than ideal, but I think it will do what I want, and if not, I did not spend a ton of money on it.

Thanks for the help everyone. I will let you know how I like it once I get it.
 

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