Which Camera?

Discussion in 'Digital Discussion & Q&A' started by kcarter, Jan 23, 2010.

  1. kcarter

    kcarter TPF Noob!

    Jan 23, 2010
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    Forked River, NJ
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    I'm Kevin. So this has been asked 1,000 times over I'm sure, but I haven't found a good topic out of all the ones I read that fit my needs... or at least what I want to do...

    To start off, I have no experience with photography. I DID read tutorials on basic stuff, like the rule of thirds, how to choose what you actually want in your picture so you don't put too much in, viewpoints, etc.

    I was looking at the Canon EOS Rebel T1i camera, but I am unsure. I also know someone selling a Nikon 300D that is basically brand new because he barely used it, but I feel it will be too much of a camera for me being new. It's also pricey...

    I'm a volunteer FireFighter/EMT. I want to photograph fires, random nature things, and eventually sports (motocross too) and some people. From what I gather, to take good sports shots, you need expensive lenses. I'd like to spend at most like $750 for camera/lens as a beginner, with maybe more in the future.

    Any suggestions you guys have for cameras/lenses would be great, and if you wouldn't mind, some reasons why it's good for me.

    Could anyone suggest some more good tutorials on ISO/Shutter speeds/Apeture, etc... I read a lot on them but it still doesn't make complete sense. I'm not sure if the tutorials were bad or I just can't understand it, but I'm trying. Or anything else you think would be good for me.

    Also, when lenses say f/(whatever number here) and they have different series of them and different sizes like some are 50-250mm, I'm really not sure what makes one better than another and stuff like that.

    So, I'll stop asking so many questions for a first thread, and hope someone is willing to help me.

    Thanks in advance for your time,

  2. kcmo al

    kcmo al TPF Noob!

    Jan 11, 2010
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    Kansas City, MO
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    There's a lot of questions here. In fact, the "Dummies" books are often good starting points as they assume no knowledge on your part.
    This stuff is not that hard, just read and when you get your camera, practice, practice, practice.
    And...you do NOT need an expensive lens to take good pictures. People tend to get hung up on "pixel peeping" (looking obsessively at fine details and lens resolution, etc. Yes, expensive lenses are better, but many of the consumer level lenses are not bad. Look up lens reviews online. Good luck.
  3. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2009
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    You can look at my blog Digital SLR Basics: March 29 if you want a perspective on exposure basics.

    $750 will get you started with a basic SLR camera and a decent starter lens.

    This would get you a start in daytime sports: Nikon | D90 SLR Digital Camera Kit with Nikon 70-300 VR Lens but you'd want a second lens to cover the shorter range of like 18 mm to 55mm.

    This would be a little less expensive but with only 105 mm in focal length wouldn't really be suitable for sports: Nikon | D90 SLR Digital Camera Kit with Nikon 18-105mm | 25448

    A D90, body only, and a AF-S 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6G lens would be a good start. Nikon | 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR AF-S DX Nikkor Lens | 2176 | B&H or get the non VR (Vibration Reduction) version and save $70. Nikon | 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED II AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor | 2170

    The D300 is a good camera for sports because of it's auto focus system and it's ISO performance. It has a metal body and weather sealingNikon released an updated version of D300, the D300s, just a couple of months ago, so the price of used D300's has come down somewhat.

    Nikon's D90 has the same image sensor the D300/D300s has but it doesn't have the same auto focus system. It's an all plastic camera but is good for a novice, so you might want to consider it.

    Indoor/nighttime sports usually don't have very good lighting for phoptography. The problem is not enough light. Just like our eyes do, a lens has to open wider to let in more light, so we can use a fast enough shutter speed to stop the motion inherent in sports. Lenses like that are termed 'fast' lenses because they allow use of 'faster' shutter speeds. The other issue for shooting sports is 'reach' or getting enough subject image scale that we can see who it is and what is going on.

    Shooting daylight sports doesn't require 'fast glass', but it does require 'reach'.

    For field sports, like football and soccer, focal lengths of 400 mm are what is needed, 500 mm is better. Many get by with as little as 200mm but they have to crop most of their photos to 'zoom in' and get good subject image scale. When you have to crop you have to throw away pixels, which means less image quality.

    When I shoot sports I use 2 cameras and 2 lenses: A Nikon D90/Sigma 150-500 mm, and a Nikon D90/Nikon 24-85 lens.

    Here's a picture of one of my D90's with the Sigma 150- 500 mm lens zoomed out to 500 mm:


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