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Old 30th of December 2010 (Thu)   #1
Titans11
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Default Best Camera for action sports shooting?

Good morning - I am looking to purchase a new camera for sports shooting and I am seeking advice. I currently have a Sony DSC-H7. It shoots about 3 shots per second but I am looking for a better performing camera. Most of my pictures consist of baseball and basketball. My budget is around $500-$1000 all end. Any recommendation on cameras and lenses? Is fps the key component or does the lens also play a factor. Thanks all for your help!
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Old 30th of December 2010 (Thu)   #2
PLLphotography
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Default Re: Best Camera for action sports shooting?

that's a slim budget.

yes the lenses play a part. the wider the aperture, the more light comes to the sensor, and the higher shutter speed you can use.

fps is also nice.

well, you can buy a broken point and shoot camera off eBay (make sure it's a Canon), and then call Canon and participate in their Loyalty Program. the FAQ is listed in my signature.

using their program, you can get the following camera bodies at deep discount, which fit your budget

Canon 40D with 28-135 Kit Lens - $719.20
Canon 40D - $559.20
Canon 50D - $719.20
Canon 50D with 28-135 Kit Lens - $839.20

these models perform 5 and 6fps. the lens is a decent starter kit lens with image stabilization, but isn't very fast considering the maximum aperture is only 3.5.

you can use the extra funds you have if you just get the body, to get another lens. i'll let others chime in on what they recommend as far as lenses.
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Old 30th of December 2010 (Thu)   #3
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Default Re: Best Camera for action sports shooting?

I assume you are only talking camera body. Lenses for sports (indoors) require fast glass, and long lenses (baseball), will blow your budget out of the water.
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Old 30th of December 2010 (Thu)   #4
PLLphotography
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Default Re: Best Camera for action sports shooting?

it looks like he's looking for an entire kit since his current camera is a Sony.

what is the focal length of the sony lens you are using right now?
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Old 30th of December 2010 (Thu)   #5
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Default Re: Best Camera for action sports shooting?

Since baseball is over for the year and basketball is in season, I'd say your best bet would be a 50D from the Canon loyalty program (or here in the buy sell forum) and a used 85 f/1.8. That set up would do the trick if you're looking to get started right away with basketball and be at the high end of your budget. The key to indoor sports is wide aperture lenses with fast accurate focus drives (such as Canonís USM) in the focal lengths you need. A camera with good high ISO capability and accurate AI Servo is equally important. Fast FPS is a good thing, but I think most of us who have done this start off with the Spray and Pray method soon graduate to the 1-3 shots per play max (learning to anticipate the action). Sitting in front of the computer processing 1000 pics to post about 100 sucks...

Longer fast lenses would kill your posted budget. Examples are: 70-200 f/2.8 non-IS runs around $1K. The IS (MK1) versions around $1.5K. Sigma version maybe $800ish. For Baseball, youíll need something longer, in the 300 to 400 range. Anything youíre looking at in that range will be around $1K plus. Yes, you can pick up a 75-300 Canon budget zoom for a few hundred. It would work OK outside in good light, but youíll soon have it up for sale to fund a better lensÖ

Do NOT be afraid to buy used, just buy from trustworthy sources. I have purchased two pieces of gear new, my 70-200 and the 430EX. Everything else in my sig, plus the loooooong list of items I used to own have all been purchased used. This forum and others like it are your best bet. Iíve done the eBay thing, and havenít been burned, but itís pretty easy for that to happen. On a photo forum like this one, itís pretty hard to get away with screwing someone and people here are honest. You very rarely hear of someone getting burnt on a sale. In fact, most items Iíve bought here have been better than I expected. Prices are well controlled too!
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Old 30th of December 2010 (Thu)   #6
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Default Re: Best Camera for action sports shooting?

Lacks-focus comment is great information.

My experiences: 1. FPS should be at the bottom of the priority list. I have done the Spray and Pray method. Processing 100's of images is an inefficient use of time to actually print/post a few images. Not fun either! My best shots seemed to always be the first or second image. Timing the shot is much better than wading through a lot of unused photos. One exception was in baseball where I captured a series of images of a child sliding into home plate - this was with ISO 3200, f/2.8 and SS 1/1000. His father posted them on the office bulletin board.

2. Light, light, light!!! Outside or inside? Daylight or artificial? Dim or bright? As the age of the players increases or the level of play gets better, the faster the shutter speed required to stop action. Last summer I shot a Little League game using a 50D with a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS lens, $2,500 in equipment. I needed ISO of 3200, f2.8 and shutter speed of 1/160sec. to get usable images after dark. This was okay at the moment of hesitation in the action. Players sliding into a base created a cloud of dust that was nothing but a brown blob. Great info about exposure: http://photography-on-the.net/forum/...d.php?t=414088

3. Lens focal length: The closer you can get to the action the better. 200mm is great for infield shots. Add a 1.4x extender (280mm) and it is still marginal for outfield if you are located near home plate.

4. Basketball will require fast lenses, fast for both aperture and focusing. The 70-200mm f2.8 is widely used by many sports photographers.

Sports photography is fun but can be terribly expensive.

Bottom line: Best bang for the buck will be a something like a used/refurbished 50D and a used/refurbished 85mm f/1.8 and that brings us back to the comment by lacks-focus.

Last edited by Craign : 30th of December 2010 (Thu) at 11:38.
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Old 30th of December 2010 (Thu)   #7
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Default Re: Best Camera for action sports shooting?

What do you plan to do with the photos?
Personal use or sales?
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Old 30th of December 2010 (Thu)   #8
Titans11
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Default Re: Best Camera for action sports shooting?

The photo's will be used for personal use. As someone mentioned earlier, I am "sifting" through photos and snapping quite a bit of photos to find a usable one and going back to delete the others. I am very much an amateur seeking advice so I appreciate everyones candid constructive suggestions.
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Old 31st of December 2010 (Fri)   #9
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Default Re: Best Camera for action sports shooting?

The canon 550D (T2i) will work for what you want to do. It's not as fast FPS as the 50D, but other then that it beats the 50D for sports. Your problem will be getting a lens for less then your whole budget. But as mentioned the 85mm 1.8 will get the job done, but the whole package will be right at, if not over your $1k budget.
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Old 31st of December 2010 (Fri)   #10
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Default Re: Best Camera for action sports shooting?

Titans,

Along with the good advice you've already gotten, let me add something about fps:

FPS isn't everything. Yes, it's very nice (I own a 7D which does 8 fps) and allows me to take very quick 2-3 shot bursts that allow me to pick the best action/facial expression. But, since you'll be coming from a point and shoot camera, the bigger upgrade will actually be the shutter lag - or lack thereof.

On a SLR camera, when you press the shutter button, the camera will take a picture. Not like what you're used to where the camera will spend an hour thinking about it after you press the shutter before the picture is taken. That fact is much more valuable than pure fps.

And also realize you won't be able to cover both basketball and baseball with the same lens. So as others mentioned, start with the 85mm indoors for basketball and then save up for a 200+ lens once baseball season rolls around again.
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Old 6th of January 2011 (Thu)   #11
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Default Re: Best Camera for action sports shooting?

As others have pointed out, that's a VERY tight budget. If you're really comfortable spending close to the upper end of your budget, here's what I would suggest for right now. Pick up a used 40D body and a used 85 f/1.8. That should run you somewhere in the $800 - $850 neighborhood, depending on the deal you get. That should do you pretty well for basketball. Just realize that you'll pretty much be shooting at one end of the floor. Save some money for baseball season and pick up a used 70-200 f/4 (or f/2.8 if you get a nice tax check!). A used f/4 version will run ~$500 and a used f/2.8 version will run $900-$1000. You can add a Kenko DG300 1.4x TC for ~$100. I shot a year of rec. league middle school lacrosse w/ a 40D, 70-200 f/4L non-IS, and a Kenko 1.4x TC, and was VERY happy w/ the results. Here's the key thing to that though. All the games were played on the weekends, during the day, so most of the time, there was plenty of light.

When I moved to shooting HS lacrosse, most of the games were after school, starting at 4:00. Not really a problem for the Varsity games, but the JV games started closer to 6:00, and in the Spring, you really start to lose light at that point in the day. Sold the 70-200 f/4 and bought the f/2.8 non-IS version. Also picked up a Canon 2xTC II. The 40D + 70-200 f/2.8 + 2x TC worked great when there was still plenty of light, and I would just pull the 2X and go for the 1.4x as the light faded. If the games ran long, I would just pull the TC off all together. I would adjust my shooting location to focus on one end of the field, and everything was fine.
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Old 6th of January 2011 (Thu)   #12
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Default Re: Best Camera for action sports shooting?

If you are serious, used 1dmk2 and 85mm f1.8 for basketball. And save later for baseball (300mm f4 non IS). I rather do one thing right than trying to do so so on multiple things. Just my opinion, others might differ,
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Old 12th of January 2011 (Wed)   #13
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Default Re: Best Camera for action sports shooting?

Good questions and very good answers to consider. I shot two years with a Rebel XTi and so called kit lenses. In keeping with Bobby's suggestion I just upgraded to 70 X 200 f/2.8 IS 11 making the lens right for basketball and wrestling right now. I will have to wait and upgrade the body at some future point. I bought new because second hand lenses of this model have not been around long enough to see significantly better pricing in second hand class. I needed the IS model because of health issues involving body shake. I will be able to do infield daylight baseball with this. A doubler is a possible tool for outside baseball and some daylight football. I was unable to get any excellent night shots with the 3.5 and up kit quality lenses using available light. I got some ho-hummers that pleased the unknowing.
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Old 15th of January 2011 (Sat)   #14
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Default Re: Best Camera for action sports shooting?

Unless you own a bank.....7D...
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Old 15th of January 2011 (Sat)   #15
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Default Re: Best Camera for action sports shooting?

I have the Canon 7D on my three year list. By that time good second hand refurbished may be available at lower pricing. I am seventy five years young. I am a good amateur following my grandchildren's sports highschool through college. If I do not buy the 7D you may assume I am looking up at the grass with no future need for one of the best in it's class. Photographing grass roots in place has never been an attractive thought to me.
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