Recommended Set-up, Decent Budget

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by ThunderLounge, Sep 20, 2006.

  1. ThunderLounge macrumors 6502

    ThunderLounge

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    Sep 20, 2006
    #1
    I know this gets asked a lot, but it's better than blowing some cash on something that will outgrown within a few months.

    That, and I know how we all are about creative shopping. It's fun right? Just like tricking out the latest and greatest Mac with tons of software, just to see the price and drool over the set-up.


    So, here's the details.


    - I need a higher end set-up.

    - Subjects: Auto Racing to Football to Golf, to stills.

    - Distances: close-up, to long shots.

    - Budget: around $5,000 to $6,000, 10%-15% leeway.

    - Need: Body, Lenses, probably an extra battery or two wouldn't hurt.


    With all the choices out there, I just can't make up my mind. The more I look, the more indecisive I get. I think I'm pretty much narrowed down to a Canon, but open to suggestions.

    I do have a window for getting this rig, so it isn't an "I must have tomorrow" situation. At the latest it would be mid January, but it could be within 30 to 45 days as well.


    Currently the Canon 30D, and 5D hold osme interest as far as a specific model. But again, I'm open to suggestions.

    Thanks in advance for helping me make up my mind. :)
     
  2. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #2
    The next question is what you are goig to do with the mages. How are the images to be published and what do your clients expect in terms of file sizes.

    Today for your budget and usage the "standard" is a current 10MP DSRL and a 70-200 f/2.8 lens with either Canon's "IS" or Nikon's "VR". you can pick either the Canon 30D or Nikon D200. You will also need a smaller lens. with your budget you can afford one of the wide to normal rang f/2.8 zooms.

    If you add a 1.4x teleconverter to the 70-200 you will have a very portable and still optically good system. You would need to also pick up a good monopod and/or tripod with ball head. The latter is not cheap.

    Getting all of the above would just about use your entire budgt
     
  3. ThunderLounge thread starter macrumors 6502

    ThunderLounge

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    #3
    File size really isn't an issue.

    Some uses would be print, while others may be web. Then again, some may also be incorporated into video productions as well.

    So what at least makes sense to me is starting with a high quality image, and when needed scale it down in post.

    If need be, I can run higher on the budget, but I haven't came across any stout reasons for going much higher than that. I mean, I could go get the latest $15,000 body, but what overall good does it do other than increase the cost overall?

    I'm not completely worried about the tripod, I count that kind of like extra batteries and media; under accessories. That's something that would fall outside of the 5k-6k I'm looking at targeting.
     
  4. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #4
    It's easy to spend a grand on a tripod. Expend to spend more like $500. So yes it is a budget item takeing purhaps 10% or up to 20% of available funds. What makes the thing so expensive is the ball head. They Acra swiss makes them is low quanities and they are high precion items and then those Gitzo carbon fiber legs are not cheap eithe but worth it if you have to cary it around all day.

    For me and my budget I buy a big Bogen tripod for just under $200 but it weighs in at 12 pounds and has 3 axis pan/tilt head. Monopods are cheaper, even carbon fiber ones but I imgine golf is slow moving enough and predictable enough that you could use a tripod
     
  5. beavo451 macrumors 6502

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    #5
    Is the football at night? If so, you are looking at a 300mm f/2.8 or a 400 f/2.8 of you go with the 5D. You may be able to just rent the long lenses for whenever you need them. Sports and action shots? You cannot beat the Nikon D2H(s) or the Canon 1D MkII.

    Nikon D2Hs: ~$3200
    Canon 1D MkII: ~$3550

    You can find them used for less. The 30D would be significantly cheaper and you can use the savings on accessories and lenses. Most people don't need Arca or Gitzo gear. Manfrotto is close in quality at nearly half the price. The 70-200mm lens is a definite "must-have" if you are close in on the action. Tele-Converters might give too much of a light loss at low light venues.
     
  6. milozauckerman macrumors 6502

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    Jun 25, 2005
    #6
    - Budget: around $5,000 to $6,000, 10%-15% leeway.

    Canon 5d ($3000, wait for a rebate and you could get it down to $2650-2700)
    Canon 50/1.4 ($300, or buy used for less)
    Canon 24-70/2.8L ($1129.95)
    Canon 70-200/2.8L (1139.95)
    Canon 85/1.8 or 100/2 for your potrait lens ($379)
    (EDIT: or stretch your budget and get the 85/1.2 - people I know consider it the creme de la creme of Canon lenses)

    Canon 17-40/4L ($600) - a great walking around lens, perfect for shooting daytime crowd scenes or setup shots.
    Alternative to the 17-40, if you don't want to overlap with the 24-70: a good superwide prime (20/2.8) or a second body (Rebel 400d) for backup. Or, you know, an EOS 3 should you ever get the urge to shoot some Tri-X.

    Rent the $5000 400mm glass if you absolutely need it for some reason. IMO, if you ain't shooting for SI or a newspaper, 200mm is going to get you where you need to be (cropping, if necessary).
     
  7. milozauckerman macrumors 6502

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    #7
    alternately, a Nikon D200 (faster AF, sealed body) which is going to give you more reach with lenses at the expense of high-ISO noise and wide-angles.
     
  8. ThunderLounge thread starter macrumors 6502

    ThunderLounge

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    #8
    It's difficult to say a particular time of day, but some would be broad daylight, while others would be under the lights.

    I'm considering a lens for length somewhere in the 100-400 range, which should do the trick. The longest I've used previously has been 300, so that extra 100 might make a nice difference. Within a year I might consider dropping the cash for an extra long lens, but we'll see how it goes first. I might not need it since access isn't an issue. Then again, it will depend where I'm at at the time. If I'm long, I'll need the length.

    Then probably looking at a nice medium range, and a short as well. Probably something with a range up to 200, and then something shorter. Mainly because who wants to drag around a big honking piece of glass on the body all day if it isn't needed. It'd be better off in the case until it is.

    If it costs a little more than I'm fine with that. I just wouldn't want to necessarily waste the investment. If it ended up being 8k or more for a good body and glass, that's cool. But like I said before, why spend $15k on a body when there's ones out there for 1/4 of that or a little less that will do just a good of a job?

    Think this is fun? Wait until I get into suggestions for HD video. :)


    Needless to say, while I'm not shooting for SI, at different times the shoots will be used in a similar fashion. Whether it's print, web, or what have you.

    I suppose one factor to consider is storage. If 1 particular body would require more sticks, and more frequent change outs, that would be a consideration as well.
     
  9. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #9
    I wouldn't recommend a camera with full frame sensor necessarily. Things like auto racing are going to require longer lenses, and I guess he can get more out of a camera like a D200 or Canon 30D.


    I'd get a Nikon D200, 70-200 mm f/2.8 lens, and a Nikon 400 mm lens of some sort. A Canon 30D is nice as well, and similar lenses can be bought from Canon.

    I'm sure either will serve your needs.
     
  10. javabear90 macrumors 6502a

    javabear90

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    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #10
    I would go with:
    Nikon D200 (or maybe a D2hs or D2xs)
    17-55mm f/2.8 (necessary)
    70-200mm f/2.8 VR (necessary)
    200-400 f/4 VR
    50mm f/1.4
    85mm f/1.4 or f/1.8
    12-24 mm f/4
    1.7x teleconverter (for now)
    sb800 flash
    2x 4gig memory cards
    Manfrotto Monopod, and a nice gitzo tripod.

    However, before you buy anything wait for photokina. Both cannon and Nikon will release a whole bunch of good stuff. Maybe "the big gun" primes in VR :cool: Also, look for a D3H. It should be very nice.

    -Ted
     
  11. javabear90 macrumors 6502a

    javabear90

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    #11
    Forgot to mention,
    The 5d might not have enough fps for sports. I would go for at least 5fps. Also you might want a macro lens. I have heard great things about the 105 mm f/2.8 VR.

    -Ted
     
  12. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #12
    Nikon D2Xs -- plenty of speed at 8 fps

    The lenses suggested by Javabear, including the 105mm VR. VERY nice macro! If not the 200-400mm VR, the 300mm f/2.8. If you want REALLY high quality images and fantastic shooting in low light, go for the 200mm f/2. It's a jewel of a lens. Although it is large, it is suprisingly well-balanced when on the camera and is hand-holdable.
     
  13. beavo451 macrumors 6502

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    Jun 22, 2006
    #13
    And unfortunately not the best choice for this type of photography. The high speed crop to get the 8fps will help with the racing, but the high ISO performance is not as good as the D2Hs and his image quality will suffer under low light football. Plus, the D2Xs already takes up almost $5000 of his budget.

    All his sports require long focal lengths. 200mm and 400mm lenses are the order of the day. 70-200 zoom for close in work. A wide-angle zoom for crowd and atmosphere shots. Why are people recommending macro lenses? :confused: Not usefull unless he gets up and takes a picture of the stitiches on a football.
     
  14. ThunderLounge thread starter macrumors 6502

    ThunderLounge

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    Sep 20, 2006
    #14
    Excellent feed back so far. Definitely some food for thought.

    I'm definitely waiting for Photokina Ted, in more ways than one.

    To be honest, I can wait until about Mid-January if I have too. I don't actually need to be rolling with the set-up until the second week of February, or there abouts. Not that I wouldn't like to play around with the rig first, but that's the nature of the beast ain't it?

    Both the Canon and Nikon offerings are great, and better than the Sony stuff I've been dragging around for a couple of years. To be honest, if the situation hadn't changed, I probably wouldn't be considering an upgrade yet. However, since it is, might as well do it right the first time.

    Speaking of Photokina though, I'm really hoping to see a much improved Aperture. Mainly because I would rather drag along a MBP than an entire MacPro or higher end iMac.

    Hopefully I've given enough scenario's for shots. I'd love to be able to just spill the whole deal, so that you'd better understand the shooting situations, but unfortunately I can't at the moment. But there will be a lot of auto racing shots, to say the least.

    I hadn't considered macro shots really, so I'm glad you brought it up.

    Although, it does sound like I'll most likely be upping the budget target a little bit. Such is life though, and if it's something that is justifiable, I'm good with it.

    I honestly don't think I'll be doing a lot of long shots, but at times I'm sure I'll need the reach. However now that I think about it I will need some lower light glass too, but those won't be long shots. Maybe a 20 to 30 ft max, which would be a wide shot anyway.

    Anyway, great suggestions so far. To me, it's always better to seek opinion to mix with your current thoughts. Thanks for all of em so far. ;)
     
  15. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #15
    I think he mentioned doing a variety of photos, not just sports shooting....someone else had mentioned macro and I was just confirming that 105mm VR as a good choice.

    You're right that the D2Hs is probably better for sports shooting than the D2Xs, as the high ISO is a factor. Price and smaller size files can't hurt, too!

    And of course I was being a bit tongue-in-cheek when mentioning the 200mm f/2. Fabulous lens but also quite expensive and would blow his budget mighty fast!
     
  16. ThunderLounge thread starter macrumors 6502

    ThunderLounge

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    #16
    Good point, but I could think of a couple handy situations. Granted, they might be 5% or less of the shots. However, macro shots are a good possibility. IMHO, I'd rather at least have one decent macro lens and not need it often then be out shooting and go "Oh s***!".

    Initial lenses I'm considering is something that runs up to about 400. Like a 100-400mm, or 80-400mm, or a 200-400mm.

    Then a 70-200mm, maybe a 24-105mm or similar, and then probably a 50mm and an 85mm.

    But, that's subject to change as is anything else.
     
  17. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #17
    While the 80-400mm VR is a nice lens, it's pretty slow. I think you'd be happier with a 70-200mm VR and a 1.7 TC or springing for the 200-400mm from the get-go if your aim is sports shooting. Nikon doesn't offer a 100-400mm lens but I know Canon does. I don't know anything about it but I'd be willing to bet that it's not a real fast lens.

    The 24-105mm VR is not one of Nikon's better lenses. It's OK but many who have had it in the past traded it or sold it for something else. If you're thinking of an all-around "walkabout" lens, you can't go wrong with the 18-200mm VR.

    A 50mm f/1.4 and an 85mm f/1.4 would indeed be valuable additions to your basic lens kit.
     
  18. sjl macrumors 6502

    sjl

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    #18
    I have it. It's not. f/4.5 at the wide end, f/5.6 at the long end.

    It's a very good lens for what it does, but fast it most definitely cannot be called. If you want faster than f/5.6 in a 400mm lens from Canon, you're stuck with the choice of the f/4 DO, or the f/2.8 (both 400mm primes). Both of those run to over $AU10,000 RRP (you can get the f/2.8 for just over $10,000 on the grey market; don't know how much the f/4 can be had for. In any case, both are out of my price bracket, so I haven't looked closely at them.)
     
  19. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #19
    Oh, OK. If you're going to shoot "some" long shots, then don't blow the budget on the 400 mm stuff just yet. I'd get a Nikon D200 because it's great, and a 70-200 mm f/2.8. If you want a fast general purpose lens, than a Nikkor 24-70 mm f/2.8 is good. You already have other ranges covered, and you have a wide choice of aperture size with that lens --- useful in many situations. Otherwise, the 18-200 mm with VR isn't as fast, but it's surely the best general lens you're going to get. That VR may help with the auto-racing as well. I don't know how it feels like to shoot in a high intensity, fast, hot situation like auto-racing, but your heart may be pounding from the excitement, the ground may be a bit shaky, and you may want the VR in that situation. I've never been close to auto racing cars before while in action, so I don't know. :eek:

    So that's just 2 lenses: 70-200 f/2.8 with VR, and either a 24-70 mm f/2.8 or 18-200 mm VR f/3.5-5.6.

    And I don't know why you'd consider a macro, either. :confused: I think if you bought one, you'd use it mostly as a portrait lens, but then it really wouldn't be as good as an 85 mm f/1.4, so I don't see the point. Throw in the relatively cheap 50 mm f/1.4, and you're good to go.
     
  20. beavo451 macrumors 6502

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    #20
    As I suggested earlier, rent the long glass. Telephoto lenses are not only for "long" shots only either. Those football pictures you see in the newspapers and magazines are regularly shot from the sidelines with 300 and 400mm lenses.
     
  21. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #21
    Abstract, since you are talking about Nikon, I think you mean 28-70mm f/2.8, the lens affectionately known as "the beast." Yes, this is one terrific lens that works well in many situations.

    I also need to correct myself in something I posted earlier: the 24-105mm lens is apparently a Canon lens; Nikon's lens is actually 24-120mm VR. When I re-read the posts, I thought, "that doesn't look right," so double-checked and saw that I'd misidentified lenses. I don't know anything about the 24mm-105 Canon, but what I said holds true for Nikon's 24-120mm VR......I believe it was one of the earliest VR lenses and users have complained about the range not being quite wide enough or quite long enough; also some have not been satisfied with image quality from that lens.

    As for macro lenses: Nikon has several good offerings, including the inexpensive 60mm, the new 105mm VR, the now-discontinued 70-180mm, the 85mm PC, and the 200mm f/4. The 105mm VR does double duty as a macro with a nice safe working distance and as a portrait lens of very good quality. The 60mm is great if you want to get upclose and personal with your subjects and the 200mm f/4 is best if you want to shoot at further remove and longer working distance. The 85mm PC is a manual lens which produces outstanding results but requires a lot of time and patience in setting up the shot.

    The 18-200mm VR is a great all-around traveling lens, the one to grab when you're going somewhere but don't want to be encumbered by a lot of lenses and gear. It is an excellent lens and although not the fastest on the block produces wonderful images, even when the ISO is kicked up a bit.

    Most Nikon users will tell you that the 70-200mm f/2.8 VR is one of Nikon's very best lenses, a real jewel. Fast on its own and fast even with a 1.4x or 1.7x TC coupled with it. The range the lens covers offers a lot of versatility and it works in many shooting situations.

    In the world of Nikon, the "three kings" are the 12-24mm, the 28-70mm f/2.8 and the 70-200mm f/2.8 VR. Throw in the inexpensive 50mm f/1.4 and if you can do so, the rather more expensive and now discontinued 28mm f/1.4 and the expensive but still available "cream machine," the 85mm f/1.4, and you've got yourself a pretty darned nice lens setup. Add teleconverters to expand the range of that 70-200mm VR or buy the excellent 300 mm f/4 or pricier and faster 300 mm f/2.8 or the spendy 200-400mm for greater length....

    Not hard to spend a lot of money quickly for good lenses! Ah, yes, and these lenses all perform especially well on the D200 and the D2Hs and the D2X and D2Xs......
     
  22. ThunderLounge thread starter macrumors 6502

    ThunderLounge

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    #22
    Excellent discussion so far.

    In my recent hours of digging up all the dirt I can, I'm actually leaning more towards the D200 than the Canon. At the moment, I think my biggest concern with the Nikon is the lack of battery life and the availability of additional batteries. I really would hate to carry around a couple dozen AA's as backup, but if it comes down to that being the only issue then I'll deal with it. Not that I've ruled out the Canon's, but I think over-all for what I'm looking for the 200D would be the better body.

    Beav's, I hear you on the rental of the lens. The only opposition to that would be renting a lens for 1/3 of the year. It just doesn't make sense in the end, at least to me. I'm more inclined with Cool's opinion, and just sprining for the 200-400 out of the box. Granted I might not shoot but maybe 30% (over estimate, I'm sure) of the time with it, but it would be used every time out at some point.

    I'm estimating from past shoots that I'll probably be shooting in the neighborhood of 1000 images over a 3 day period, not to include additional outings outside of the main use focus. So again battery life will play a part, but not be a deal breaker. With the capability of capturing a series of images I might end up over that 1000 mark, but who knows.

    As for considering a macro, I think I could do some interesting shots with it in some situations. Not too many probably right off the bat, but what's the fun of getting some new "toys" and not getting a little extra? :D

    The VR feature would definitely come in handy. I've got a pretty steady hand from years of shooting ( we're talking firearms ;) ) but you are correct. When there's cars hitting close to 200mph close to you, and one happens to end up in the inside wall, it can make you jump a tick.

    Something I hadn't considered earlier, and I have no idea why, but one of my hobbies would probably see some use out of this rig as well. That would be storm chasing. But with the time this new expanded gig is going to take up, I don't think I'll be hitting the roads for a chase near as often as in the past. Sad, at least for me, but that's the price you pay when you have to pay the bills.

    I guess one question I'll pose to you Nikon folks would be the battery issues. But maybe I'll get lucky and the D300 will come out between now and then and not have the same issues? Not that I've even heard of a projected launch, but did read somewhere about it coming. Then again, so is the MBP C2D update...
     
  23. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #23
    Battery issues? I personally have had no problems with that. Having had my D200 since December 2005, I do have several extra batteries, though. I am perfectly happy tossing a couple of extra batteries into my pocket or the camera bag, just as I also do with CF cards, and I'm good to go.... As far as battery life: well, if one has the LCD running all the time and chimps frequently and has the camera set to stay on for ten minutes rather than automatically shutting off after twenty seconds or so, yes, there will be an impact on battery life. It's not an unsurmountable problem. There is also the option of the MB-200 for the D200 or the MB-80 for the new D80, in which one can use two Nikon batteries or several (four?) AA batteries. The MB-200 is preferred by some shooters because it also adds a little weight and balance to the D200, which can be good with extra long or extra heavy lenses.

    The D200 is an excellent camera. Truly outstanding. It is very close to being a pro body without really being called a pro body. The features it offers are far superior to the D70 or D70s. The new D80 incorporates a few of those features so that it can be considered a "light" version of the D200, both literally and figuratively. Given the choice between the two, I'd definitely go for the D200. I am not familiar enough with Canon's various bodies to offer an accurate or fair assessment of any of them vs the D200.

    The only "complaint," if you want to call it that, that I have about my D200 is that it seems to be insatiable, demanding that I buy it new lenses all the time! :D
     
  24. ThunderLounge thread starter macrumors 6502

    ThunderLounge

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    #24
    As are my power outlets always demanding new Mac's. :D


    Good to know about the battery issue though. Can't say anything other than that seems to be the major "gripe" in a lot of reviews of it. But it isn't a deal breaker even if I needed to swap batteries 4 times a day. Of course then comes the average lifespan of a battery, and how many cycles it can take. But I'd say that would be the least of my concerns at the moment.

    I've actually been looking through your online gallery. I like the results, so that's a plus. Can't say I'll probably be buying any of those really long lenses, but then again... you said it best. It demands new lenses.
     
  25. sjl macrumors 6502

    sjl

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    #25
    On the Canon side, the battery grip is well worth the extra money. It lets you shoot with two Li+ batteries, and also gives you an extra shutter release button (so you can hold the camera "normally" in portrait mode.)

    Based upon what I've read on this forum (not so much in this thread), my advice would be to look at the 20D (if you can get it), the 30D, or maybe the 5D. Biggest problem with the 5D might well end up being the burst speed - 3 frames per second compared with 5 on the 20D (and 3 or 5 - your choice - on the 30D). The 1D series (note: that's 1D, not 1Ds) might also be worth a look, but would probably cut too much into the budget to allow for lens purchases; I'm not sure how much it goes for.

    When it comes to the choice between Canon and Nikon, it tends to end up being as much about the feel of the bodies in your hands as anything else; both have very competent glass in all areas. See if you can find a shop that carries both, and hold them both in your hands (especially with the heavier lenses, since that can make a big difference sometimes - the 350D felt fine to me, until I put a 1.5kg lens on it ...)

    Funny, I have the same problem with my 20D. :D ~17% of the way to the 10-22mm (or ~22% of the way to the 100mm macro; not sure yet which way I want to spring, although I'm leaning more towards the 10-22) ...
     

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