Travel, college football stadiums and equipment shift... WWYD?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by TheLost, Apr 16, 2018.

  1. TheLost

    TheLost No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I haven't posted in a while... but thought I'd ask this question here before I dive in with both feet:

    My wife and I will be traveling to ~6 college football games this year. My question is...

    If you had a budget of $5k, What camera and equipment would you buy to take pictures at various college football games around the U.S? I'm not talking field access... I'm talking tailgating, fans, stadium architecture, and the over-all-fan-experience. I do get access to the visiting team, but nothing that will involve 'action shots'.

    I have a few caveats...
    1. Most stadiums don't allow 'Pro Equipment'. This is a really vague term that in my experience is different from stadium to stadium. Smaller = better. Also, We'll be taking Uber or Public Transit to these games, so if the camera gets rejected at the gate I won't have a car to stash my gear in.

    2. We will be traveling LIGHT! A few games we don't even plan to stay overnight (fly-in... game... fly-out). It needs to be something that's easy to carry and travel with.
    For reference, my current gear consists of a Nikon D500 and various lenses. I'm looking for something smaller & lighter.

    Ideas?


     
  2. vintagesnaps

    vintagesnaps Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Look at websites for each of the specific colleges and see if there's info. on what can/can't be brought into their stadium (coolers, umbrellas, etc.). If you can't find specific info. about cameras, see who the SID is for that school; for a larger school, find out who it is for that sport. Contact their SID's office and someone should be able to tell you.

    I've done mostly hockey from ice level but when I'm attending a game as a fan I've been using a digital with a crop factor and a smallish lens. Depends on the camera and lens, it might be OK to take it in if a p&s is allowed. Things have changed in recent years and I would not expect to take in some big honkin' telephoto lens.

    It seems to depend on the arena/stadium/venue and the level of play (college, pro, minor pro, high school). There's one arena in my area that is known to absolutely not allow anyone in with a telephoto lens (no way, no how), and the choice is to go put it in your car or I guess, go home.

    It might be worth it shortly before the season starts to confirm or double check the info. since you'll be traveling and there's probably nowhere safe you can leave it during the game (unless you're staying over and your hotel is next to the stadium and you can walk back over to the hotel to leave it). Maybe at a local level an arena would allow you to leave it at Will Call and get it later (I've known that to be done with other items besides cameras at the owner's own risk), but I don't know if they would and I wouldn't depend on that being a possibility.
     
  3. vintagesnaps

    vintagesnaps Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I don't know that I'd spend a lot on a camera for this. I'd look at some of the smallish crop factor cameras and one lens and leave it at that I think. If you spend a lot you'd probably need to consider insurance in the total cost because there are enough ways when traveling that it could grow legs.
     
  4. TheLost

    TheLost No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    @vintagesnaps, Thanks for the input.

    For the record, I don't want to take pictures 'of the games'. I plan on taking pictures of the game experience. The fans, the atmosphere, the chaos.. etc.

    My 'budget' is basically to replace my current DSLR. Now that my kids are older I don't need my current action-sport-centric setup. I plan on buying a full frame [something]... it would be nice if I could use it (or parts of it) for these games/travel.

    Honestly... Part of me thinks I should just take my iPhone and ditch the 'camera'.
     
  5. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Heathen :irked:
     
    • Funny Funny x 1
  6. Jamesaz

    Jamesaz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I can't speak to particular gear but it sounds like, if you are following one team, you could contact the college media office to help smooth things over. Since it doesn't seem to be a commercial endeavor they may be helpful with credentials and certainly with information you may find useful. It sounds like fun, good luck.
     
  7. ac12

    ac12 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Full Frame and light do not go together.
    Maybe the Sony mirrorless might do it. But the full frame glass will still be big and heavy, especially the pro glass.

    Rather than Full Frame camera, a Micro Four Thirds would be less "pro-like," with a smaller body and lenses. Although even smaller than FF/FX lenses, the pro lenses don't look cheap.

    Olympus and Panasonic/Leica have some pretty nice gear.
    The new Olympus OM-D EM1-mk2 is a 20MP body, so you have plenty of resolution. And I think Phase Detect AF, so much faster than the older Contrast Detect AF.

    The Olympus 12-100 (24-200 FX equiv), is a great all-in one lens.
    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm f/4 IS PRO Lens V314080BU000
    Or the shorter 12-60 f/2.8-4 (24-120 FX equiv)
    Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4 ASPH. H-ES12060
    Or the consumer 12-60 f/3.5-5.6
    Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER H-FS12060

    Or a 14-150 (28-300 FX equiv) that reaches a bit farther than the 12-100.
    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-150mm f/4-5.6 II Lens V316020BU000

    Though you probably want a non-pro looking lens to keep on the camera as you go in, like the pancake 14-42
    Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 EZ V314070BU000 B&H

    I was quite pleasantly surprised by the full lineup of micro four thirds lenses, both consumer/hobbyist and pro level glass.

    You might consider BOTH full frame and micro four thirds. Then use whichever system works better for a particular shoot. That is my plan.
     
  8. TheLost

    TheLost No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Ha! I will say the Halide(app and an iPhone X can capture some amazing images. But i want the option of a wider angle and a longer zoom

    Security gates are run by local and campus police. Most of the time we'll be entering the stadiums through a 'visiting guests' portal/gate (aka.. visiting parents gate). Depending on the rivalry visiting guests get searched a little more thoroughly. I've watched local fans walk through the normal gate security with a full-size umbrella, only to have somebody in front of me at the visiting gates get turned back due to having a small pop-up umbrella.

    I'm looking for something that takes the best picture, has a good set of lenses (wide, 50mm equiv, short tele) but doesn't look like a 'pro' setup.
     
  9. TheLost

    TheLost No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    That's a good idea and something I'm thinking about as well... The full frame upgrade is separate from this 'travel' camera. If i can figure out how to combine/share the two that would be a bonus, but not a must.

    I'll take a look at some of those suggestions. I had an m4/3 YEARS ago (when they first came out) and I wasn't super impressed. I would assume they've improved over the past decade :)
     
  10. Destin

    Destin Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    For this type of stuff just take your iPhone or get a point and shoot.

    Seriously. Sometimes it’s better to enjoy the experience and not have to worry about carrying expensive gear around.

    Then you can buy whatever camera setup you want for the rest of your photography work.
     
  11. ac12

    ac12 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    In my experience a "jack of all trades is a master of none."
    So in that light, I now have several systems based on my past experience of trying do do everything with one camera.

    I used to be a 35mm 'bigot.' I ONLY shot with my 35mm camera, everything else was inferior. As a result there were a LOT of family stuff that I did not take pix of, because I did not want to haul out the 35mm camera and flash. IOW my attitude cost me a lot of pix that I never shot and I wish I did.

    Many years later I got a 35mm P&S, and suddenly I got a lot more casual pix. Ah ha, there is a real value for the small cameras. I would carry it when I would not carry the 35mm slr.

    Now with digital I have expanded to several camera systems, each in it's own niche.
    • P&S for compact carry. In fact I have 2 different P&S, one more compact than the other for even more ease of carry. You can literally drop it into a pocket or purse.
      • This is NOT my favorite camera. I use it only because it is small and easy to carry. IOW, it serves a specific purpose.
      • I did not buy into the high end P&S, because they cost as much as a low end dslr, without the flexibility of interchangeable lenses.
      • The one thing that I absolutely hate about P&S is the shutter lag of 1-2 seconds between shutter press and shutter fire. That makes shooting kids an exercise in frustration. By the time the shutter fires, they moved 3 feet, or turned around, or . . . For most anything else, the shutter lag is not an issue. But kids . . . argh !!!
    • Micro four thirds. This is my "tweener" when I want more quality and control than the P&S and don't want to carry the bulk and weight of the dslr. I just have to be careful not to let it gain too much weight with pro lenses, as it will start to approach the DX camera in weight.
      • Like the original OM cameras, when the DX/FX cameras get too heavy for me to carry around as I get older, I envision that the lighter m43 is where I will drop back to.
      • There is a wide range of m43 camera choices; what do you want and how much are you willing to pay for it. On the high end, the Olympus OM-D EM1-mk2 is supposed to be a VERY good camera, but it is high end priced also, similar to a D750. Panasonic may have a similar high end m43 camera. Right now, if I am going to pay D750 price, I will buy a D750 FX camera. So I buy in the middle of the m43 line.
      • BTW my Olympus OM-D EM-1 mk1 + Panasonic 12-60 weights about the same as a Nikon D3400 + 18-55, which is about 45% lighter than my D7200 + 18-140, a SIGNIFICANT weight reduction.
      • Caution the contrast detect AF is NOT fast. So a similar problem to shutter lag. The newer cameras are getting better, as some have phase detect AF, and they are improving the contrast detect AF.
    • dslr. This is at the top of the food chain.
      • Right now a DX body; D7200.
        • The problem that I have with Nikon is that they do not have a well rounded line of DX lenses. The DX lenses are primarily consumer grade lenses. Example, there is nothing comparable to the 70-200 FX lens. The closest is the 50-200 DX, which is a lower end consumer lens. Sigma had the 50-150 f/2.8 DX, which would be near perfect, but then they discontinued it. And a 70-200 FX lens on a DX body does not behave like on a FX body. The 70mm end is too long. If it wasn't for this lens system problem, I would stay at DX and not be looking at FX.
        • On the other hand the 18-140 is a great GP lens. But it is slow.
      • In the future maybe a FX body.
        • Most likely the D750.
        • The D810 is attractive, but at 30% heavier than my D7200, the weight is against it.
        • The only reason for me going to FX is the lens system. And to make better use of the FX lenses. See my problem of FX lenses on DX bodies above.
    As for sharing a travel/FF kit:
    The closest you can come to sharing travel and FF is with a DX/FX combo, where you can share lenses.
    But the f/2.8 FX lenses are big and heavy, so you likely won't be traveling with them.
    You won't want to use the DX lens on the FX body, because the image circle is smaller.
    And the crop factor difference can make practical sharing of the FX lenses difficult.
     

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