Time to upgrade the camera gear...

What you see is what you get, including photography, displays, and video equipment.

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Time to upgrade the camera gear...

Postposted on Thu Apr 11, 2013 7:59 am

So my daughter is a high school cheerleader, or will be next year. For a variety of reasons, I am going to be the photographer for the freshman squad. I've had the nagging feeling that it was time to upgrade the DSLR for a while now and this is providing me the opportunity to do so. Since my wonderful wife volunteered me for the spot, I get a bit less push back on the rather large price tag.

Right now I have a Nikkon D70s with the 18-200mm / F3.5-5.6 VR lense on it. As others have noted, it makes a very good general purpose lense and the D70s has served me quite well to this point. It's biggest fault? Old tech sensor. At ISO 1600 it is grainy as hell and it doesn't go any higher. It simply cannot handle the lighting conditions I will be faced with next year.

Here are the two major things I do with my camera. First, I do a fair amount of photography for my RC club. The majority of it is outside in good to great light. The 18-200 I have now is actually pretty good for this other than vignetting at the extreme end. I am thinking about picking up the Nikkor 70-200 F/4. Given that I shoot with a DX camera most of the time, this would give me a good 105-300 that can come in handy for some of the RC stuff. I'm thinking about it, but only a bit. When I'm shooting our major event, I just rent the gear I need. Last year I had a D90 w/ the 18-200 and a D800 with the 70-200 F2.8 VRII.

Now for the challenge. When I say my daughter will be a cheerleader, I am talking about a squad that performs, and wins, at competition level. Full gymnastic floor routines, tosses, etc. High shutter speeds are good! Lighting is bad. High school gyms are known for crappy lighting. Friday night football doesn't have particularly good lighting either. Further, I may or may not get floor/field level access. I have to be able to cover enough situations that using F/1.4 or F/1.8 primes isn't necessarily feasible, which, I suppose, limits me to an F2.8 zoom and either a bit less shutter speed or a bit more noise.

I'm looking at either a 5100/5200 or 7000/7100 body. Both use the same sensor and by what I have read, it is quite good up to at least ISO 3200 and good enough for what I need at IS 6400.

--SS
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Re: Time to upgrade the camera gear...

Postposted on Thu Apr 11, 2013 1:24 pm

I'm looking at either a 5100/5200 or 7000/7100 body. Both use the same sensor...


The D5100 and D7000 share the same sony sensor. The D5200 uses a Toshiba sensor whereas the D7100 uses a Nikon (?) sensor.

My money is on the D5200, especially if you intend to shoot any video.
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Re: Time to upgrade the camera gear...

Postposted on Thu Apr 11, 2013 2:26 pm

There's some real hotness in that D5200, enough to make me a little jealous! The video quality is quite rightly praised, a generation ahead of Canon's with respect to moire, and the low-light performance is quite nice for APS-C. Looks like Nikon made finding a new body easy :).

Now for the lenses... well, you know how much that's going to hurt.
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Re: Time to upgrade the camera gear...

Postposted on Thu Apr 11, 2013 2:40 pm

Kind of had to make any real recommendations when you haven't put a price target for camera + glass.
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Re: Time to upgrade the camera gear...

Postposted on Thu Apr 11, 2013 3:35 pm

Not worried about video. I will be taking video, but not with a DSLR. I have a separate video camera for that. The videos are mainly for the squad to review their routines and my general purpose video camera does fine for that. I have considered upgrading to something like the Canon Vixia HF G10, but that will come after the still camera gear.

The updated autofocus sensors on the D7100 have some definite draw as well as the nicer screen and viewfinder on the 7000/7100.

As far as budget goes, I'm already at $1k plus for the body. I will admit the 5200 certainly wins here, as well as potentially a lightly used 7000. Realistically I'm looking at $1k per lens if I go with second hand on the high end or new on the low end. As I said, I've got the 18-200 already which does well outdoors or in well lit situations. Perhaps something like the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 II EX DG APO Macro as a second lens for indoors. This will probably be a multi-step upgrade. Camera body first, let the pain subside, then lens, repeat. I've got an RC event in mid june so I'm aiming to have the body by then. I've got till August for the lenses.

I need to go back through pictures from last year and do the math to figure out what the minimum I need to have is.
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Re: Time to upgrade the camera gear...

Postposted on Thu Apr 11, 2013 5:42 pm

For my money with Nikon, I'd be hard pressed to go against the D5200. Its just so versatile. Great body with excellent features. Not sure if the D7100 AF and weather sealing is worth what... $500 more?

Don't underestimate the usefulness of a swing out screen. I don't think I could use a body that didn't have it now.

Also, for my needs, I think I'd be more apt to go for a Tamron 70-200 than a Sigma. Everything I've read says the Tamron has better IQ at 2.8 than just about anything out at the focal length. Might be worth looking into. Actually, I remember where I read that at. Kurt Munger did a review comparing both of them to the Sony G lens. Tammy won and the Sigma didn't fair so well.

http://www.kurtmunger.com/70_200mm_f_2_8compid210.html
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Re: Time to upgrade the camera gear...

Postposted on Thu Apr 11, 2013 8:07 pm

TheEmrys wrote:For my money with Nikon, I'd be hard pressed to go against the D5200. Its just so versatile. Great body with excellent features. Not sure if the D7100 AF and weather sealing is worth what... $500 more?

Don't underestimate the usefulness of a swing out screen. I don't think I could use a body that didn't have it now.

Also, for my needs, I think I'd be more apt to go for a Tamron 70-200 than a Sigma. Everything I've read says the Tamron has better IQ at 2.8 than just about anything out at the focal length. Might be worth looking into. Actually, I remember where I read that at. Kurt Munger did a review comparing both of them to the Sony G lens. Tammy won and the Sigma didn't fair so well.

http://www.kurtmunger.com/70_200mm_f_2_8compid210.html


The thing I have against the Tamron is that, at least the reviews I have read, all say it is slow to focus. Given that you are talking about lenses half the price of the benchmark Nikon 70-200 you have to trade off something. Given what I intend to use it for, I'll trade fast focus for a slight decrease in image quality.

Having never had a flip out screen, I can't say I miss it right now. I can see the usefulness is getting shots where you have to hold the camera funny though.

--SS
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Re: Time to upgrade the camera gear...

Postposted on Thu Apr 11, 2013 10:12 pm

I hear ya. For me, I'd take a tad slower AF over poor IQ/poor AF. I tend to crop a lot and getting down to 1:1 needs a pretty good IQ.
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Re: Time to upgrade the camera gear...

Postposted on Thu Apr 11, 2013 10:58 pm

You might want to consider a used nikkor 70-200 f/2.8 vr1 if you can find one. Great lens for dx cameras and around $1300.
I would personally rather have the lower fstop than the better vr of the 70-200f4 since you will be capturing motion.
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Re: Time to upgrade the camera gear...

Postposted on Thu Apr 11, 2013 11:18 pm

It's annoying. Sports is the one area where really to get even semi-pro shots, you have to get pro level gear and we are talking expensive gear.

Looking through photos from this year, if I had to pick on lens it would probably be the Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8. Kind of an odd zoom range when put on a DX body, but it covers the most common range I found myself shooting at. Not a whole lot of wide angle stuff. Nikon doesn't make an f/2.8 DX lens other than the 17-55 and while I understand you don't have to cover every bit of focal length, the jump from 55mm to the effective 105mm of the 70-200 f/2.8 is a big jump. With three lenses I could cover 21-300mm effective, but that works out to about $5k street, just in lenses.

Indoors, 50-100mm, f/5, ISO 1600, 1/100 seemed to be the most common. The ISO is obviosly the best my old D70s can do, and they are grainy. That was with the 18-200 lens, so the f/5 will vary a bit along the 50-100mm range. Going to the 5k/7k series would get me into the 1/400 range with the same lense and less noise in the picture. A f/4 would get me in the 1/600 range and an f/2.8 would let me back off the sensativity a bit.


Bleh, too many variables. I hate budgets. Think I'll stop in to one of the local camera shops and play with the bodies... I can pick up a "used" NIB 5200 with the kit lens for $650 right now.

--SS
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Re: Time to upgrade the camera gear...

Postposted on Thu Apr 11, 2013 11:24 pm

w00tstock wrote:You might want to consider a used nikkor 70-200 f/2.8 vr1 if you can find one. Great lens for dx cameras and around $1300.
I would personally rather have the lower fstop than the better vr of the 70-200f4 since you will be capturing motion.


That is a definate consideration. My only concern is that I have had issues with the old 2.8 VR1 and having the lens lockup. Something funky in the electronics. I've had problems on my D70s, a D90, and a D300. The lens would always come back to life on its own, but when it happens in the middle of a shoot it is a royal PIA.

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Re: Time to upgrade the camera gear...

Postposted on Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:01 am

SecretSquirrel wrote:Indoors, 50-100mm, f/5, ISO 1600, 1/100 seemed to be the most common. The ISO is obviosly the best my old D70s can do, and they are grainy. That was with the 18-200 lens, so the f/5 will vary a bit along the 50-100mm range. Going to the 5k/7k series would get me into the 1/400 range with the same lense and less noise in the picture. A f/4 would get me in the 1/600 range and an f/2.8 would let me back off the sensativity a bit.

I know you're on Nikon gear, but just for comparison, my 7D can get less-grainy shots at ISO-3200 than what my 40D could do at ISO-1600. ISO-6400 is then about equal. So, upgrading the body to newer sensor technology will buy about the same advantage as a couple F-stops. Also, I can't see myself shooting moving subjects at f/2.8 unless it was the last possible option for acquiring the needed light, because the depth of field is too shallow. Even down at f/3.5 I've lost good pictures because AF picked a target on the subject's body that was too far forward of their torso, and voila, a limb is fully in focus but the face is not.
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Re: Time to upgrade the camera gear...

Postposted on Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:21 am

ludi wrote:Even down at f/3.5 I've lost good pictures because AF picked a target on the subject's body that was too far forward of their torso, and voila, a limb is fully in focus but the face is not.

Single-point AF or manually selecting a focus point would be better options.
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Re: Time to upgrade the camera gear...

Postposted on Fri Apr 12, 2013 12:08 pm

End User wrote:
ludi wrote:Even down at f/3.5 I've lost good pictures because AF picked a target on the subject's body that was too far forward of their torso, and voila, a limb is fully in focus but the face is not.

Single-point AF or manually selecting a focus point would be better options.

Yeah, but when you're shooting lots of pictures of moving subjects -- "shoot them all and let post-processing sort them out" -- forced AF points may not be practical. What you really need is enough DoF to capture all or most of the subject.
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Re: Time to upgrade the camera gear...

Postposted on Fri Apr 12, 2013 12:13 pm

End User wrote:
ludi wrote:Even down at f/3.5 I've lost good pictures because AF picked a target on the subject's body that was too far forward of their torso, and voila, a limb is fully in focus but the face is not.

Single-point AF or manually selecting a focus point would be better options.


I generally use just the center AF point on my 60D, and focus-recompose about half the time. But I'm not shooting action/sports, which is a completely different ballgame!

Sure, there's some tuning that can be done (only use one or a few sensors instead of all of them), but when the subject is moving and you are moving it can be impossible to get you subject all in focus with such shallow depth of field.

Another reason for using full-frame for action; more light to allow faster shutter speeds at smaller apertures brings needed flexibility. Just need to win the lottery first!
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Re: Time to upgrade the camera gear...

Postposted on Fri Apr 12, 2013 12:22 pm

ludi wrote: Even down at f/3.5 I've lost good pictures because AF picked a target on the subject's body that was too far forward of their torso, and voila, a limb is fully in focus but the face is not.


Like End User said, ALWAYS pick your focus point or go to single focus and frame your shots. Please keep cropping to a minimum, this is after all why we have zoom-able lenses and legs+feet. The only time you should think about auto focus with a dslr (imo) is in video and even then iffy.

But Ludi did bring up something to mind in regards to DOF, cheerleading is generally spread out so in order to get the whole squad in focus you would need to step down very far (f11+) with any lens past 100mm. That means a midrange zoom would probably be best. However on DX you really only get the 17-55 which for you wont be the one lens to rule them all if you take many shots out at 100mm.

I would probably recommend the 24-70 fx lens so you get your reach (105mm) and get great bokeh (f2.8 ).

As far as body goes, get the one that feels the best. Do keep in mind the d5200 does not have the info display on top that you might be used to from your d70 as well. Both body's are going to get you more than enough ISO range.
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Re: Time to upgrade the camera gear...

Postposted on Fri Apr 12, 2013 12:33 pm

Airmantharp wrote:
End User wrote:
ludi wrote:Even down at f/3.5 I've lost good pictures because AF picked a target on the subject's body that was too far forward of their torso, and voila, a limb is fully in focus but the face is not.

Single-point AF or manually selecting a focus point would be better options.


I generally use just the center AF point on my 60D, and focus-recompose about half the time. But I'm not shooting action/sports, which is a completely different ballgame!

Sure, there's some tuning that can be done (only use one or a few sensors instead of all of them), but when the subject is moving and you are moving it can be impossible to get you subject all in focus with such shallow depth of field.

Another reason for using full-frame for action; more light to allow faster shutter speeds at smaller apertures brings needed flexibility. Just need to win the lottery first!



Nikon to Cannon focus selection really isn't even comparable guys but that's besides the point. Visualize the frame before you take the shot and anticipate the action.
And for reference if you were 20 ft away from the subject @ f2.8 and at 70mm(105) you get a DOF of 2.8ft. I don't see the issue there.
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Re: Time to upgrade the camera gear...

Postposted on Fri Apr 12, 2013 12:51 pm

SecretSquirrel wrote:Looking through photos from this year, if I had to pick on lens it would probably be the Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8. Kind of an odd zoom range when put on a DX body, but it covers the most common range I found myself shooting at.


What lens(es) do you usually use at f/5? If you are shooting wide open or down a stop on an f/4, you may be able to move to a 70-200/2.8 Tammy or Sigma, and then shoot at f/3-4 (not sure what stops you have available in camera) and get the wide focus and speed you are looking for.

Any chance you could try out a Sigma and Tammy to compare how they do on your current body, knowing that your new body will perform even better? You might even be able to sit somewhere around f/3.5, ISO800-1600 for the cheer events. With either of those lenses, that would be a pretty nice place to be, if you can get your shutter where you need it to be. Shoot, wide open might work as well.

For what you are doing, I think this is a perfectly appropriate time to pursue a good 70-200/2.8. At ~$1300 for the Sigma, it might be the right move for you now.
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Re: Time to upgrade the camera gear...

Postposted on Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:08 pm

Have you checked out borrowlenses.com? I used them to get a wide-angle for a trip.. it's a great way to try lenses to see what you like before fully investing. There may be a bit of a sunk cost in terms of the rental fee, but that may be worth it just to see how it works for you.
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Re: Time to upgrade the camera gear...

Postposted on Fri Apr 12, 2013 10:53 pm

ludi wrote:I know you're on Nikon gear, but just for comparison, my 7D can get less-grainy shots at ISO-3200 than what my 40D could do at ISO-1600. ISO-6400 is then about equal. So, upgrading the body to newer sensor technology will buy about the same advantage as a couple F-stops.


That is definitely the case here. The D5200 looks better, by a bit, at 6400 than my D70s does at 1600 and once you factor in the fact that you have 4x a many pixels to work with, you can post process the D5200 and get way better.

w00tstock wrote:Like End User said, ALWAYS pick your focus point or go to single focus and frame your shots. Please keep cropping to a minimum, this is after all why we have zoom-able lenses and legs+feet. The only time you should think about auto focus with a dslr (imo) is in video and even then iffy.

But Ludi did bring up something to mind in regards to DOF, cheerleading is generally spread out so in order to get the whole squad in focus you would need to step down very far (f11+) with any lens past 100mm. That means a midrange zoom would probably be best. However on DX you really only get the 17-55 which for you wont be the one lens to rule them all if you take many shots out at 100mm.

I would probably recommend the 24-70 fx lens so you get your reach (105mm) and get great bokeh (f2.8 ).

As far as body goes, get the one that feels the best. Do keep in mind the d5200 does not have the info display on top that you might be used to from your d70 as well. Both body's are going to get you more than enough ISO range.


On a 24 megapixel image I would consider a 16mp or even 12mp crop to be perfectly acceptable and it would effectively double the length of your lense. Otherwise I'd rather a 12mp sensor with today's sensor tech than a 24mp one. For the same size, the lower resolution sensor will get much more light per pixel. Same reason FX sensors are so nice, they just make the sensor bigger for the same resolution.

Even with sports shots, I frame the shot a good bit. I don't have a whole lot of focus points on the D70s, but I'll happily set the focus off to one side, or especially the top to get a nicely composed image. I almost never let the camera pick the focus, though I was pretty impressed with the AF tracking on the D800.

Cheerleading is fairly spread out. This year, the squad was 20+ girls. Next year it will be 10. I end up taking a lot of longer range pics, mainly since I don't have a choice. Space in a high school gym is about as limited as the light is.

TheEmrys wrote:What lens(es) do you usually use at f/5? If you are shooting wide open or down a stop on an f/4, you may be able to move to a 70-200/2.8 Tammy or Sigma, and then shoot at f/3-4 (not sure what stops you have available in camera) and get the wide focus and speed you are looking for.

Any chance you could try out a Sigma and Tammy to compare how they do on your current body, knowing that your new body will perform even better? You might even be able to sit somewhere around f/3.5, ISO800-1600 for the cheer events. With either of those lenses, that would be a pretty nice place to be, if you can get your shutter where you need it to be. Shoot, wide open might work as well.

For what you are doing, I think this is a perfectly appropriate time to pursue a good 70-200/2.8. At ~$1300 for the Sigma, it might be the right move for you now.


F/5 is the minimum for the Nikon 17-200 in the 100mm range. That's as open as it gets. Sigma makes a 50-150 F2.8 full frame lense that would be good except that it is extremely slow to focus

I will be renting gear for my June event and I'll likely rent whatever lense I plan on buying first to try out then. I haven't tried borrowlenses.com yet, though they bear are look. I rent from thelensedepot.com and they have been nothing but helpful. I got a free upgrade to the D800 last summer because the D300 I had scheduled wasn't available.
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Re: Time to upgrade the camera gear...

Postposted on Fri Apr 12, 2013 10:57 pm

w00tstock wrote:As far as body goes, get the one that feels the best. Do keep in mind the d5200 does not have the info display on top that you might be used to from your d70 as well.


Yeah, I think I'd miss the top display... Still, I agree on the "feels right". I'm going to try and get by one of the local shops tomorrow.

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Re: Time to upgrade the camera gear...

Postposted on Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:13 pm

SecretSquirrel wrote:On a 24 megapixel image I would consider a 16mp or even 12mp crop to be perfectly acceptable and it would effectively double the length of your lense. Otherwise I'd rather a 12mp sensor with today's sensor tech than a 24mp one. For the same size, the lower resolution sensor will get much more light per pixel. Same reason FX sensors are so nice, they just make the sensor bigger for the same resolution.

Even with sports shots, I frame the shot a good bit. I don't have a whole lot of focus points on the D70s, but I'll happily set the focus off to one side, or especially the top to get a nicely composed image. I almost never let the camera pick the focus, though I was pretty impressed with the AF tracking on the D800


This makes complete sense. It was a big reason I went from the a560 to the a65. Having 24mp to play with allows much nicer cropping. Not sure if you have this option, but with my a65 it has a "virtual teleconverter" that'll give you either a 1.4x or 2.0x crop, with a commensurate reduction in mp. Bad side is that its jpeg only, for obvious reasons. Also, the AF tracking can be a lifesaver for action shots. I love it.

TheEmrys wrote:What lens(es) do you usually use at f/5? If you are shooting wide open or down a stop on an f/4, you may be able to move to a 70-200/2.8 Tammy or Sigma, and then shoot at f/3-4 (not sure what stops you have available in camera) and get the wide focus and speed you are looking for.

Any chance you could try out a Sigma and Tammy to compare how they do on your current body, knowing that your new body will perform even better? You might even be able to sit somewhere around f/3.5, ISO800-1600 for the cheer events. With either of those lenses, that would be a pretty nice place to be, if you can get your shutter where you need it to be. Shoot, wide open might work as well.

For what you are doing, I think this is a perfectly appropriate time to pursue a good 70-200/2.8. At ~$1300 for the Sigma, it might be the right move for you now.


F/5 is the minimum for the Nikon 17-200 in the 100mm range. That's as open as it gets. Sigma makes a 50-150 F2.8 full frame lense that would be good except that it is extremely slow to focus

I will be renting gear for my June event and I'll likely rent whatever lense I plan on buying first to try out then. I haven't tried borrowlenses.com yet, though they bear are look. I rent from thelensedepot.com and they have been nothing but helpful. I got a free upgrade to the D800 last summer because the D300 I had scheduled wasn't available.[/quote]

I didn't realize you were on a hyperzoom. I think a 70-200/2.8 would be the perfect speed and range for you. Any reason why you would go with the 50-150 over the 70-200? I believe the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 APO EX DG HSM OS FLD is a FF lens (with a ton of alphabet soup... really Sigma, get it together). At ~$1300 new, it is $300 more than the 50-150, but you are getting, imo, a much better range. 200mm @ f/2.8... sounds like it would be great to get isolated shots of your daughter. Couple it with good AF Tracking and it could be pretty special. And the AF is pretty quick. You'd have to sort through a few bad shots, but with good bursts, you may get some winners.

Wide open, you'll need a good deal less ISO. Maybe even down to ISO 400 or 800. But keeping it high you'll get some pretty nice shutter speeds.

And if you couldn't tell, a 70-200/2.8 is what I lust after right now. Not that you could tell or anything....
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Re: Time to upgrade the camera gear...

Postposted on Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:23 pm

TheEmrys wrote:I didn't realize you were on a hyperzoom. I think a 70-200/2.8 would be the perfect speed and range for you. Any reason why you would go with the 50-150 over the 70-200? I believe the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 APO EX DG HSM OS FLD is a FF lens (with a ton of alphabet soup... really Sigma, get it together). At ~$1300 new, it is $300 more than the 50-150, but you are getting, imo, a much better range. 200mm @ f/2.8... sounds like it would be great to get isolated shots of your daughter. Couple it with good AF Tracking and it could be pretty special. And the AF is pretty quick. You'd have to sort through a few bad shots, but with good bursts, you may get some winners.


Mainly because on a DX body you end up at 105-300mm. I actually want one pretty bad too, but that is a bit longer than I have been shooting lately. I usually rent the Nikon 70-200 for my RC event though. I end up shooting some really long shots there. Actually, for that event it is almost all 50mm and under or 150mm+. For the cheer stuff it seems to be in the mid range. It would be handy to have the long zoom for some of the football games, but I think it may be a second purchase.

--SS
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Re: Time to upgrade the camera gear...

Postposted on Sat Apr 13, 2013 10:53 am

I'd be really tempted to do the 70-200 for cheer and any other sports. Reason being is that it takes some really special glass to be sharp at the longest focal length. So many lenses lose their sharpness at that level, that that extra bit on the 70-200 would be so sharp at 100-150. To me, my current lusted for kit would be the Tamron 28-75/2.8 with the Tamron 70-200/2.8. If money were no object, it'd be the Sony 70-200/2.8 G, but at nearly half the price, I just can't justify the expense for a hobby.

However, for football, the distances are so great, you may want to look towards a 300+mm. I've got a 70-300/4-5.6 that should be fine, but its so slow I may have to just make do. I've also got a 200-400/5.6, but still slow. But at 400mm, it will be closer to the reach for an isolating picture.
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Re: Time to upgrade the camera gear...

Postposted on Sat Apr 13, 2013 11:54 am

Another vote for a 70-200/2.8. Superzooms like the 18-200 are just nasty pieces of junk that shouldn't be in any self-respecting DSLR user's kit bag.

EDIT: If the Nikkor 70-200/2.8 is too expensive (which it is), consider the Sigma or Tamron 70-200/2.8. Also consider the Nikkor 70-200/4 or 70-300/4-5.6 as cheaper alternatives.
Last edited by Voldenuit on Sat Apr 13, 2013 12:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Time to upgrade the camera gear...

Postposted on Sat Apr 13, 2013 12:02 pm

Voldenuit wrote:Superzooms like the 18-200 are just nasty pieces of junk that shouldn't be in any self-respecting DSLR user's kit bag.

For serious photography, I agree. That said, if I'm at Disney, or any other park like that, and looking only for family shots, on goes the superzoom. Means I don't have to pack a big bag.
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Re: Time to upgrade the camera gear...

Postposted on Sat Apr 13, 2013 12:23 pm

Captain Ned wrote:
Voldenuit wrote:Superzooms like the 18-200 are just nasty pieces of junk that shouldn't be in any self-respecting DSLR user's kit bag.

For serious photography, I agree. That said, if I'm at Disney, or any other park like that, and looking only for family shots, on goes the superzoom. Means I don't have to pack a big bag.


Wouldn't a superzoom compact give pretty much the same result (in good light) as a much larger and more expensive DSLR in that situation? Something like a Fuji X-S1 with a 24x zoom and 2/3 in sensor. It's a shame there's no intermediate zoom compact (~10x zoom) with larger sensors like the fuji x20 (2/3in sensor, 4x zoom) or sony rx100 (1in sensor, 4x zoom) at the moment. Granted, compact cameras don't have the AF speed and shot to shot responsiveness of a DSLR, so are not as useful for moving subjects. But I may be going off topic here.
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Re: Time to upgrade the camera gear...

Postposted on Sat Apr 13, 2013 12:47 pm

For the Disney trip, something like the 15-85 would do better than an 18-200. When I expect to shoot across a wide range of focal lengths, I put the 17-55/2.8 on the camera and sling the 100-400L over my other shoulder in its nylon case (I've replaced the original strap with a wider one for this purpose). I wouldn't schlep the whole pack full of camera gear around the park all day.

However, I believe that I agree with TheEmrys suggestion of trying a 70-200 (or 80-200) f/2.8 for the indoor cheerleading. If most of your shots are around 100mm now, this gives you a reasonable zoom range on either side.
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Re: Time to upgrade the camera gear...

Postposted on Sat Apr 13, 2013 1:41 pm

A prime lenses will give you more aperture and quality per buck. I avoid zooms myself although I have owned a few.
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Re: Time to upgrade the camera gear...

Postposted on Sat Apr 13, 2013 2:41 pm

Captain Ned wrote:
Voldenuit wrote:Superzooms like the 18-200 are just nasty pieces of junk that shouldn't be in any self-respecting DSLR user's kit bag.

For serious photography, I agree. That said, if I'm at Disney, or any other park like that, and looking only for family shots, on goes the superzoom. Means I don't have to pack a big bag.


I made the decision that I'd go with a two-lens solution. One is my 18-135mm, the other being either a 70-210/4 or my new 70-300/4-5.6. The new 70-300mm is going to be a tough carry as its a 62mm filter size, with considerable diameter beyond that. The other option is my trusty 70-201/4 Beercan. 55mm, narrow barrel. Most of the reach I could ever use. All of it would be in a small case logic bag which would double as a "man purse."

Also, for the OP I'd make very sure you try out lenses from Nikon, Sigma, and Tamron. It may be that the shortcomings of the 3rd party lenses would not be as big of an issue as professional reviews say. My Tamron 70-300 USD, while regarded as a slower focus, is actually quite spiffy for my needs.
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