Need a good DSLR. Help!

pixelbaker

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 21, 2006
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0
I realize this question is very open ended and therefore somewhat stupid. Forgive me, I have no where else to turn for help.

The yearbook coordinator at my school recently asked me to find her a new digital camera with lens options (DSLR) and I have been out of the loop for some time so I have no idea what I'm looking for. I'm also not really that into photography beyond owning a very basic SLR of my own. I need everything for this camera: body, good lens with a little zoom capability, bag, expansion flash card.

Can someone recommend me a good DSLR with everything for under $1200? I was looking at a full Nikon D70 package from ButterflyPhoto.com that looked good but I really don't know what's out there.

We need something that can take good action sports shots as the last one we had (Minolta DiMage 7) was POS in that department no matter how gifted the photographer.

Thanks in advance.
 

ChrisA

macrumors G4
Jan 5, 2006
11,612
426
Redondo Beach, California
What you will run into is a "Nikon vs. Canon" debate. Your budget will limit what you can buy to only the lower two camera models from each company.

First look at the desired final output. If it is print in year book you do NOT need a lot of "megapixels". Those books are printed at 150 DPI at best so any DSLR can make a full page sized photo.

Next, look at the LENS first. Look at Canon and Nikon LENSES and find one suitable for sports then buy a DSLR body that fits the lens. With a fixed budget and a very specialized need you are best off spending as much as you can on the lens and saving money in the body. So on the Nikon side the D50 would be best because it would let you get a bester lens for your $1200 budget. Canon's lower-end body will thake a bigger bite from your budget leaving you with a cheaper lens.

For sports you need a longer, faster lens then for other general photography. Sports photography tends to require expensive equipment as does serious wildlife photography.
 

pixelbaker

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 21, 2006
72
0
it's really an all-purpose type shooting situation, but sports will be included in that so it'd be nice to have a good one. I have already bought a D70 from researching on other forums/sites. I have $200 left. Is there a good lense that would be good for sports/action that I can get around that price range? recommendations?
 

drlunanerd

macrumors 68000
Feb 14, 2004
1,612
90
UK
pixelbaker said:
it's really an all-purpose type shooting situation, but sports will be included in that so it'd be nice to have a good one. I have already bought a D70 from researching on other forums/sites. I have $200 left. Is there a good lense that would be good for sports/action that I can get around that price range? recommendations?
That's a shame. I hope you haven't bought the D70 instead of the D70s. Both models have now been superseded (although that's not a reason not to buy them).

The other poster gave excellent advice. $200 is nowhere near enough to buy a new lens suitable for serious sports photography.

I'd have recommended the same: buy a Nikon D50 and get the longest, fastest lens you can then afford, whether that be Nikon or otherwise.
 

igmolinav

macrumors 65816
Aug 15, 2005
1,112
2
Nikon will release/or perhaps it already has released an 18-135 mm. lens

You can also try buying a converter. A 2x converter will make the above lens 36-270 mm. I´m not sure if the autofocus would work ok with a converter.

However, at 135 mm. with a digital camera is "quite good", it is like 200 mm. lens in 35 mm. film camera

If you are mostly doing shots at a distance, a good used 70 to 200 mm. lens should be ok

best,

igmolinav@yahoo.de
 

Spectrum

macrumors 65816
Mar 23, 2005
1,471
783
Never quite sure
pixelbaker said:
it's really an all-purpose type shooting situation, but sports will be included in that so it'd be nice to have a good one. I have already bought a D70 from researching on other forums/sites. I have $200 left. Is there a good lense that would be good for sports/action that I can get around that price range? recommendations?
Did you already spend $1000 on just the D70 body? If so, I'm afraid that was not a good deal.

b and h photo is a good place to look for kit deals with the respective cameras. You can pick up the D50 + 2 lens kit for under $800. It would be ideal for your purpose.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=381588&is=REG&addedTroughType=search
 

ChrisA

macrumors G4
Jan 5, 2006
11,612
426
Redondo Beach, California
pixelbaker said:
it's really an all-purpose type shooting situation, but sports will be included in that so it'd be nice to have a good one. I have already bought a D70 from researching on other forums/sites. I have $200 left. Is there a good lense that would be good for sports/action that I can get around that price range? recommendations?
If you spent $1000 on a D70 you paid a little to much for it. Also you did it backwards. You will have to settle on a cheap lens. Would have been better to spend the money for a beter lens and go with a D50. Lenses are what makes the image the body can only capture the image.

With only $200 to spend you don't have many options Even the "kit" lens that normaly sell with the D70, the 18-70mm sells for more then $200. You will need to look on the used market. Lenses hold up well and a good used lens wil work fine

See if you can return the D70 for a cash refund.
 

Abstract

macrumors Penryn
Dec 27, 2002
24,415
124
Location Location Location
Yeah, see if you can refund the D70 (or hopefully a D70s) back and get the D50 in exchange. Or get your money back and buy it from a place like B&H. Doesn't matter either way. Just use the money you saved on a decent lens. And don't ask for lens advice and buy one yourself. We can help you more if you just tell us how much money is remaining after you do the exchange. ;)
 

pixelbaker

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 21, 2006
72
0
sorry, I was a little unclear. I got the D70 + 18-70mm Lens + samsonite carrying bag + 1gb flash card + extra battery + lens cleaning kit for a total of around $980 at ButterflyPhoto.com. Dealt with them in the past and had a great experience.

Link to the kit I ordered (package + Essentials Accessory Kit): http://butterflyphoto.com/shop/product.aspx?sku=D70SKIT

To Abstract: I just found out the day I asked and I needed to have something ordered by the end of the day. I promise not to make a habit of it.;)

To Drlunanerd: the body is the D70s.
______________________________________________________________
Combining threads here. I've been wanting a DSLR of my own for a while now. What would be good for a 35mm SLR--> DSLR convert to get? What kind of price should I be looking at? How would a D50 sound for a more-than-point-n-shoot photographer? I'm not sure I want to spend the money yet or not, but I'd have around $500. Is that a reasonable budget at all or should I just wait a while and keep saving?
 

sjl

macrumors 6502
Sep 15, 2004
441
0
Melbourne, Australia
igmolinav said:
You can also try buying a converter. A 2x converter will make the above lens 36-270 mm. I´m not sure if the autofocus would work ok with a converter.
A few points to consider here:

  • Light loss. A 2x converter means losing two stops of light (so an f/1.0 lens would become f/2.0; f/2.8 would become f/5.6, etc.)
  • Image quality. No TC, no matter how good, can ever produce an image as good as a "natively designed" lens. You'll find that the quality of the shots you get with a TC will be less than if you bought a lens of the appropriate focal length in the first place.
  • Autofocus. Most DSLRs will only allow AF if the widest aperture is f/5.6 or faster. Even if the TC misreports the aperture (by not correctly telling the body about the two stops lost), the loss of light may make AF difficult, if not impossible (consider the way many cameras fire the flash to do AF in very low light situations, even if the lens is supposed to be fast enough; if the subject is far enough away, that won't work, and you'll be stuck with manual focus, if you can manage it.)
It can be a cheap way to go, but remember the above. Above all else, don't even think about stacking TCs; even if you can do it, such an act would turn a very good (if not excellent) lens into a very mediocre performer. eg: I'd take a Canon 400mm f/5.6 telephoto lens over (say) the Canon 135mm f/2 hooked up to a 1.4x and 2x TC stacked, even if I already had the 135mm f/2 in my lens library. The 135mm is a superb lens ... but in such a situation, the 400mm would whomp all over it, no questions asked.
 

beavo451

macrumors 6502
Jun 22, 2006
483
2
sjl said:
A few points to consider here:

(consider the way many cameras fire the flash to do AF in very low light situations, even if the lens is supposed to be fast enough; if the subject is far enough away, that won't work, and you'll be stuck with manual focus, if you can manage it.)
Sorry for the hijack, but I have never seen this? What cameras do this?
 

sjl

macrumors 6502
Sep 15, 2004
441
0
Melbourne, Australia
beavo451 said:
Sorry for the hijack, but I have never seen this? What cameras do this?
I've seen it with both my film SLR (EOS 30) and the 20D. It emits a rapid series of flashes as the lens tries to lock on to the subject, if the built in flash is popped up; I think that, with a Speedlite mounted on the camera, it would just fire the AF assist beam and use that.
 

FrankieTDouglas

macrumors 65816
Mar 10, 2005
1,491
2,169
Maybe the Nikon 85mm 1.8 would work within your budget? Depending on the sport, really, but it'll be great for low light and could capture at least somewhat of a distance.
 

ChrisA

macrumors G4
Jan 5, 2006
11,612
426
Redondo Beach, California
sjl said:
I've seen it with both my film SLR (EOS 30) and the 20D. It emits a rapid series of flashes as the lens tries to lock on to the subject, if the built in flash is popped up; I think that, with a Speedlite mounted on the camera, it would just fire the AF assist beam and use that.
None of the nikons do this. THey use a focus light. At least one of the older spedlights had an intrared light built in and I think some of the bodies had a red (IR) light. But Ive not seen Nikon use the strobe for AF iluimination
 

ChrisA

macrumors G4
Jan 5, 2006
11,612
426
Redondo Beach, California
sjl said:
A few points to consider here:
[*]Autofocus. Most DSLRs will only allow AF if the widest aperture is f/5.6 or faster. Even if the TC misreports the aperture (by not correctly telling the body about the two stops lost), the loss of light may make AF difficult, if not impossible (consider the way many cameras fire the flash to do AF in very low light situations, even if the lens is supposed to be fast enough; if the subject is far enough away, that won't work, and you'll be stuck with manual focus, if you can manage it.)
.
It's worse than that. While it is harder to focus in low light the two stops was other effects then just reducing the light. Mainly that the depth of field is reduced. It's reduced to the point where the AF system does not see a change in focus whaen it moves the lens and the system gets "lost" In most cases adding more light will not help the DOF problem is present even on a bright sunny day.

If you want to buy t TC you need to use it on a very fast lens, like an f/2.8 tele. If you do, the optical quality is actually very good. The Nikon TCs are designed to be used with certain fast telephotos and the combinations are decent, But still thiose two stops of loss will kill you. In the real world the 1.4x TC is the one to get. Very little loss of quality or light.

The problem here is this guy wants to do sports photos and went shopping for a body first. With sports and wild life the LENS is what matters -- any body can go "click" ad capture an image. Even a film body.

If I had $1200 to spend I'd hunt down a used 80-200,, f/2.8 zoom for about $650 then I'd spend $550 on a D50. With more money get the newer image stabilized f/2.8 zoom and a D200 but that is 2.5X the budget. You could do profesional level work with a 80-200 f/2.8 and a D50. Those slow consumer level f/5.6 zooms just do NOT compare. Many SI shots were made with that 80-200 it's become the "standard" sports photo lens with many pros.
 

pixelbaker

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 21, 2006
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thanks for the help guys. my questions have been answered well enough. if I hadn't been under a time constraint I wouldn't have bought without waiting for some more info, but I think the yearbook staff will be very happy with the D70 and lense (they're fighting over who gets to use it first). Remember that the focus is all around photo shooting and sports is only a somewhat small part of what will be shot with the camera.
 

seenew

macrumors 68000
Dec 1, 2005
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Brooklyn
pixelbaker said:
thanks for the help guys. my questions have been answered well enough. if I hadn't been under a time constraint I wouldn't have bought without waiting for some more info, but I think the yearbook staff will be very happy with the D70 and lense (they're fighting over who gets to use it first). Remember that the focus is all around photo shooting and sports is only a somewhat small part of what will be shot with the camera.
If I were you, I'd use the remaining $200 to buy a fast prime lens. Like 50mm. I know Canon's is legendary, but I'm not sure how Nikon's equivalent holds up. Here's what I found on Nikon's site. I'm sure one of the Nikon shooters here can tell you if it's any good (I use Canon, so I don't know):

50mm f/1.8 (about $125): http://nikonusa.com/template.php?cat=1&grp=5&productNr=2137

50mm f/1.4 (about $250): http://nikonusa.com/template.php?cat=1&grp=5&productNr=1902

That would be a great lens for walkaround shooting for the annual. Portraits, etc. That wide of an aperture will produce really nice looking shots, and allow you to shoot inside the school (classrooms, library, cafeteria, gym) at lower ISO speeds.
 

pdxflint

macrumors 68020
Aug 25, 2006
2,407
14
Oregon coast
D50 for under $500 (refurbished w/kit lens)

Regarding your question about the D50, and having $500 to spend for your own camera: I recently bought a factory 'reconditioned' or 'refurbished' (depending on whichever term you prefer D50 w/ 18-55 kit lens for under $500 ($499 to be exact) at my local Shutterbug store here in Oregon. You might want to check around at some of your favorite retailers and see if they have any. While I wasn't all that keen on the kit lens, it was part of the package. So far, I'm using both and can't complain.
 

pixelbaker

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 21, 2006
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Im rural so theres not really much option to find a local retailer. I could technically spend up to $1k on it if I needed to. The only problem is that I was saving that money for a mac pro, which Ill have to decide if I want the DSLR or the mac pro better...
 

seenew

macrumors 68000
Dec 1, 2005
1,568
0
Brooklyn
pixelbaker said:
Im rural so theres not really much option to find a local retailer. I could technically spend up to $1k on it if I needed to. The only problem is that I was saving that money for a mac pro, which Ill have to decide if I want the DSLR or the mac pro better...
Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro.
 

tvguru

macrumors 6502
Apr 29, 2005
366
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Kenora, ON Canada
seenew said:
Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro Mac Pro.
Now breath. Ah, that's better. :D
 

ozone

macrumors 6502
Feb 18, 2004
455
31
Ontario, Canada
Well, I'm a little late to this thread, but given the variety of situations, I wouldn't be surprised if a higher end point-and-shoot digicam (e.g., Panasonic FZ50) would cover most of the situations encountered for a yearbook.