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Billw
06-28-2007, 09:13 AM
Budget

* What budget have you allocated for buying this camera? maybe $1,000 for camera and another $1000 for lens- normal plus telephoto for sports and nature

Size

* DSLR

Features

How many megapixels will suffice for you? 10 but maybe 8 if it wouldn't make difference in quality

* What optical zoom will you need? I want telephoto lens for sports and nature in addition to "normal" lens

* How important is “image quality” to you? (Rate using a scale of 1-10) 10

Do you care for manual controls? yes

General Usage

* What will you generally use the camera for? family photos, kids playing action sports-soccer, volleyball, nature photos-birds

* Will you be making big prints of your photos or not? sometimes

Will you be shooting a lot of indoor photos or low light photos? occasionally indoor for sports or family events in the house

Will you be shooting sports and/or action photos? definitely

Miscellaneous

Are there particular brands you like or hate?

Are there particular models you already have in mind? Canon v Nikon

(If applicable) Do you need any of the following special features? (Wide Angle, Image Stabilization, Weatherproof, Hotshoe, Rotating LCD)

coldrain
06-28-2007, 09:43 AM
Serious sports photographers use big and expensive lenses, the cheapest and smallest being a 70-200 f2.8 lens.
f2.8 because that will allow a bit faster shutter speed when conditions (light) are challenging.
Even these 70-200 lenses are already quite bulky and actually very heavy.

Now, if you just mean out door shots as hobby, a lesser lens can also be used.

For instance:
Canon EOS 400D/XTi
Sigma 18-50 f2.8 EX DC Macro
Canon EF 70-300 f4-5.6 IS USM

The 70-300 is very sharp, the sharpest 70-300 class lens on the market.
You could exchange the XTi for an EOS 30D, which will give you a bigger body, with faster frames per second (5fps vs 3fps).

Or, slighly over your budget:
Canon 400D/XTi
Sigma 18-50 f2.8 EX DC Macro
Canon EF 70-200 f4 L IS USM

The 70-200 f4 L IS USM is probably the best tele zoom lens on the market, optically it is flawless. It is white-ish and will draw more attention than the 70-300, though.

Or a Nikon:
Nikon D80
Sigma 18-50 f2.8 EX DC Macro
Nikon AF-S 70-300 f4.5-5.6 VR

This 70-300 lens is quite good too. Also offers image stabilization, like the two Canon tele zooms above.

Or you could exchange any of the above tele zooms with a Sigma 70-200 f2.8 EX DG HSM macro. Bigger and heavier, no image stabilization, but will offer f2.8.

The 70-300 lenses of course give more reach than the 70-200 lenses, important with birds.

The Canon 70-200 f4 L IS USM can of course be paired with a Soligor 1.7x Tele convertor, giving it more reach than the 70-300 lenses. But this again will add to the budget...

Billw
06-29-2007, 05:57 AM
Thank you for the help. I understand that a new Tamron AF 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II LD may be a good standard lens. Generally how do you compare SIgma and Tamron as 3rd party lens manufacturers

Rooz
06-29-2007, 06:06 AM
Thank you for the help. I understand that a new Tamron AF 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II LD may be a good standard lens. Generally how do you compare SIgma and Tamron as 3rd party lens manufacturers

The sigma coldrain suggested is a better option. as for the comparisons, just like nikon and canon everyone's going to have an opinion. my experience with tamron lens' are that the build quality is poor while the EX sigma range is excellent. i love my tamron macro lens but i wouldn't touch another tamron with a barge pole. imo the build quality is just too substandard.

coldrain
06-29-2007, 06:11 AM
The Sigma 18-50 EX DC Macro is sharper overall, it has less chromatic aberration issues, it is a lot sharper into the edges, it has better contrast, and it has better build quality. Also, if allows you to focus at closer subject distance. And it is slightly cheaper...

Sigma has a few lenses that stand out, are better than their Tamron counterparts.
Like this 18-50 f2.8 vs Tamron 17-50 f2.8, the Sigma 18-200 vs tamron 18-200, the Sigma 70-300 APO DG vs all of tamron's 70-300 versions, the Sigma 10-20mm vs the Tamron 11-18mm, the Sigma 100-300, and so on.

Tamron has 2 really nice macro lenses (90mm f2.8 and 180mm f3.5).

Overall, build quality of Sigma is better.

Billw
06-29-2007, 09:04 AM
Thanks again for help again. What filter do you buy? skylight, UV to protect the lens?

coldrain
06-29-2007, 11:15 AM
I never use filters "for protection".
The reason for that is, I have no idea what to protect them from...
From fingers? You need to clean a filter the exact same way as a lens.... with special lens cleaning fluid and soft lens cleaning cloth.
So... I don't see the advantage there.
Then what? If you bump into something with the filter, and that bumping into would actually damage the lens front element, I am very sure that the filter will break... and the broken filter glass will reallt scratch the front element.

So... I use the lens cap as protection, when I'm not making photos.
And the lens hood will prevent the front element to be touched when you would bump inbto something.

A filter can/will introduce reflections, degrading contrast and at times introducing some ghosting in the photos.

I only use a filter when I need/want the filter's effect. Since digital cameras are a lot less sensitive to UV light, I have no UV filters at the moment... only circular polarized light filters.

Billw
07-02-2007, 03:39 PM
I have read that with sports photography you would turn off the IS. If that is the case would you consider buying the Canon EF 70-200 f4 L USM?

coldrain
07-03-2007, 02:07 AM
You do not have to turn of IS at all, for sports photography. No idea why one should.

The only things you can have problems with IS is when you are panning the camera (moving along with a speeding subject), where the IS may try (when it shoudl not) to compensate for the panning movement, and when you put it on a tripod..
But, some lenses, like the Canon EF 70-200 F4 L IS USM, have a panning mode for the IS. And it will switch off IS when on a tripod or otherwise stable, as far as I know.

Billw
07-03-2007, 05:26 AM
Thanks for all your help