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bab171
09-12-2007, 10:24 AM
I am in the market for my first DSLR. Will be taking indoor wrestling pictures this winter and out door X-country pics(son's last year in high school). This is important to me, in order to get good pictures, but don't want to base the purchase on that one thing.
Am currently using a Canon S2 IS and am extremely disappointed in its performance for sports. I had better results with my old 3.1 mp Olympus.

My question is this: am I sacrificing good quality indoor action pics with the Nikon D40 vs the Canon Rebel XTi (8mp)?
I really like the reviews on the D40, but am concerned with the lens restrictions.
PLEASE HELP!!
I am driving myself crazy trying to figure it out!!!

coldrain
09-12-2007, 11:27 AM
Minor point: the XTi is a 10mp camera, not 8mp. And the XTi is a more complete camera, but both are capable of good images.

You list indoor action pics as main usage. Then the lens you choose is a lot more important the the body you choose.

You will need low light lenses. The focal length will depend on how close you can get to the action, I can not judge that.

A 70-200 f2.8, a 85mm 1.8, a 135mm f2.8 or f2 all can be candidates to enable you to make non-flash indoor pics of your son's wrestling matches.

r3g
09-12-2007, 12:56 PM
Whats your total budget?

tcadwall
09-12-2007, 12:58 PM
I think you just opened a can of worms.... :D

You are probably going to get a bunch of different opinions here. Regardless, you will see much better performance in any DSLR over a point n shoot. So you are off into the right direction.

Indoor wrestling... I haven't shot any. But indoor basketball is probably similar, and is very tough without a fast lens. As you pointed out, the availability of a fast lens that will autofocus on the D40 is questionable. A very good (but not AF on D40) lens candidate would be the nikkor 50mm f/1.8 $100 lens. One of the big differenences with wrestling and basketball would be the focal range. So you may be fine resorting to manual focus. However, the D40's viewfinder (as well as any entry level dslr) is going to make it harder to manaully focus than what traditional manual focus SLR users are used to.

I believe the D40 does still have a focus indicator in the viewfinder that will tell you that you have achieved focus. That is a good thing if you decide to go that way.

As CR mentioned you also have other primes... but if you could purchase a D50, D70s, or D80 and an inexpensive prime lens, you would be better off in my opinion than with a D40. CR is right. The lenses are the most important factor. VR doesn't make much of a difference here in stopping the action though if you are going for a longer (70-200mm) lens then VR is necessary at the marginal shutter speeds

I am assuming that a 70-200mm VR is out of budget for someone looking at a D40.

Rooz
09-12-2007, 04:26 PM
i disagree with tc here. the lens restriction for the d40 is almost irrelevant in this shooting situation because af-s/ hsm telephoto lens' are not things that are in short supply. apart from the nikkon 80-200mmf2.8, what fast telephoto lens is there that won;t AF on the d40 ? :confused:

coldy is exactly right in that the lens is very important here regardless of what body or system you choose. get a fast lens and any body and you will be home and hose. it will also depend on how much light there actually is. reg has taken alot of indoor basketball photos with a 55-200VR and they turned out very well considering the the lens only costs $250.

some of the better telephoto options for you if you go a d40:
Sigma 50-150mm f2.8 HSM - $680
Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 HSM - $890
Nikkor 70-200VR f2.8 - $1500

budget options which won;t perform as well but give you the reach:
nikon 55-200VR - $250
nikon 70-300VR - $470

in fact if you have a strict budget, you are far better off buying a cheap body and great glass rather than a more expensive body and cheaper glass that won;t perform as well. you can get a d40 with the 18-55mm kit lens AND the sigma 50-150mmf2.8 for about the same price as a d80 with NO kit lens at all and the 55-200VR. have a guess which is the better performing kit for the OP's situation ? Not to mention with the d40 kit you also have a very capable kit lens aswell.

we have also been down this lens restriction road so many times its almost absurd and the more time goes by the more people will start to realise that it is not as restricted as first made out. we have been thru some telephoto options. sigma's new range of 18-50mm f2.8 HSM and 17-70mm HSM are two kit lens alternatives to a walkaround lens. sigma's 10-20mm gives you the wide angle aswell. and even if you want a superzoom style lens, sigma has their 18-200 OS lens coming out and nikkor has their superb 18-200VR. the only thing that people with a d40 will miss out on is the 50mm f1.8 and 85mm f1.8 and possibly some cheaper macro options. for macro just MF or get the sigma 150mm f2.8.

so, with all due respect to tc, i can;t understand why people try and frighten the daylights out of buyers with this nonsense of crippled lens choices which is quite obviously just an urban myth.

coldrain
09-12-2007, 04:40 PM
But a 80mm f1.8. 135mm f2 or such will not be a good idea on a D40 though.

First decide on what lens you will need. Then choose the best body to go with it that still sort of fits your budget. An XTi or D80 will track moving subjects better than a D40.
Choose for the features you really need first.

jcon
09-12-2007, 05:08 PM
For this shooting situation, F2.8 is the bare minimum. Anything less(higher number) wont provide good results.

Also keep in mind, you don't want to be stuck manually focusing fast action sports.

Depending on how close you are to the action, I would suggest fast primes.

bab171
09-12-2007, 07:47 PM
First, thanks to all who are replying.
re: a budget-that is part of the issue-probably $600 for now, looking to add lenses a little later.

r3g
09-12-2007, 08:06 PM
Yes that is a problem.. The only thing close to fitting that I can see for $600 would be a D40 body (if you can find one) + a 55-200mm VR. Sure its not a very fast lens but the VR on it works pretty great in low light and the D40 has pretty good high ISO performance.

Rooz
09-12-2007, 08:08 PM
i agree with reg. forget fast primes like the 85mm for sports unless you're a pro with pro glass. you need a telephoto zoom lens. j must be drunk. :D

jcon
09-12-2007, 08:45 PM
i agree with reg. forget fast primes like the 85mm for sports unless you're a pro with pro glass. you need a telephoto zoom lens. j must be drunk. :D

:DNope, not drunk....



Depending on how close you are to the action, I would suggest fast primes.

Usually for school wrestling you can get fairly close to the mat/floor, so primes would be more ideal.

If it were a stadium sport like baseball, I would agree, you NEED tele, but that doesnt appear to be the situation here.

Also, VR does no good for moving subjects and F4-F6 is NOT going to work for indoor lighted sports without a flash, no way around it.

Rooz
09-12-2007, 09:44 PM
however, if you went for a good telephoto zoom, you wouldn't have to worry about where you're sitting, they are much more versatile, AF faster and the sigma's have comparable IQ at the 85mm range. :)

unless you are shooting as a pro in a fixed area with a great sports prime, i'm not a fan of sports photography with primes cos its a mixed bag what range you will need and its not easy to move around, back and forward, if your range is out. you're also limited to that one focal length. can;t zoom in and out for different aspects/ angles of the sport.

r3g
09-12-2007, 10:26 PM
Also, VR does no good for moving subjects and F4-F6 is NOT going to work for indoor lighted sports without a flash, no way around it.



I CALL BS.

http://r3gmedia.com/gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=151

F/4+ worked just fine for me for indoor sports without flash. And VR DID make a difference. ISO800 is your friend.

XaiLo
09-12-2007, 10:27 PM
I think you probably have a little bit to think about and everything is relative. a 50mm 1.4 is a great lens from the money but at a 110 or so feet from the action so what! if what you want is a close-up without mega cropping. Primes are great but personally I prefer the versatility of a zoom lens. Either way low light picture taking is an expensive proposition. I also own the 70-200mm expensive yes! Worth it? O Yeah, you betcha!

At most venues you're relegated to a certain area, so while a prime might be the ideal lens for maximum use of available light. It's not going to make a difference if you're too far from the action. Or have a bag full of primes and as far as I know, no one sells a cheaply priced 200mm prime.

And nothing against an AF lens but they are a generation behind but some can be had at a good price. I'd say figure out at what focal length you'll be comfortable at and how versatile you want to be and don't forget the great equalizer, flash. :) I also believed Nikon is serious about regaining and keeping customers and that's always a could thing for the customer;) good luck and happy shooting. And I happen to be one of those who thinks the D40 is a great little camera.:cool:

fionndruinne
09-12-2007, 10:54 PM
Was it ever stated that the OP doesn't want to use any flash? It seems to me that, with this kind of sport where (assumedly) you'd be able to get fairly close, an inexpensive SB-400 with maybe a diffuser would be your friend. I could be quite wrong, though.

Rooz
09-12-2007, 11:17 PM
I CALL BS.

http://r3gmedia.com/gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=151

F/4+ worked just fine for me for indoor sports without flash. And VR DID make a difference. ISO800 is your friend.

never let the truth get in the way of a good rumour reg. :D over to you brother J. :p

fionndruinne
09-12-2007, 11:55 PM
Rooz, you'd make an excellent wrestling ref.:D

jcon
09-13-2007, 12:19 AM
VR is for camera/hand shake, it doesnt do anything for moving subjects, it will help you shoot with slower speeds yes, but that will bring motion blur into the equation.

If F4 were ideal for sports photog, there would be no need for F2.8 glass.

Sure, you have some decent shots there(resized for the web), but from what I saw, in the action shots, there was some noticeable blur or soft focussing issues(look at the cheerleader for example). And if you think HS wrestling will be as well lit as an NBA game, youre mistaken!

Like I said previously, and also echoed by fionndruinne, its highschool wrestling, the OP should be able to get VERY close to the action. I do think that flash is somewhat frowned upon for this type of event though, although it could be a school by school policy. Last thing a combatant would want is a flash in his eye.

Its been my experience and learnings that you need ATLEAST F2.8 for indoor sports photography if you want a clean sharp image. If others dissagree, so be it.

I would like to add, I am not saying anything negative about the D40, its a fine camera. However, lenses are the key.

fionndruinne
09-13-2007, 12:34 AM
I'd think a diffuser might make the flash more palatable. Ceiling bounce is probably out of the question, though, especially if it's a gym.

I'd think a Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 HSM plus use of ISO 800 or even 1600 would be more than adequate. ISO 1600 on the D40 is still much of a good thing.

r3g
09-13-2007, 12:45 AM
Nobody is saying there is no need for faster lenses of course F/2.8 would do better but its out of the budget. And saying F4 just CANT do it isnt true. Sure some of those pictures have some focus issues but thats because I shot with manual focus points and with a lot of those shots I wasnt switching them to focus on the right part of the subject. If it wasnt for that they would be much sharper.


VR is for camera/hand shake but the more you zoom the more sensative the camera is to that shake. So without VR you are more prone to get blurry shots, I have never gotten a blurry shot due to VR.

And of course a high school gym isnt going to be as well lit as a NBA stadium but I shoot in high school gyms and F/4 with ISO800 does just fine. Only reason Im suggesting the 55-200 is because its in the OPs budget and CAN get the job done. If the OP can get awa with using flash, even better. :]

Rooz
09-13-2007, 01:11 AM
Its been my experience and learnings that you need ATLEAST F2.8 for indoor sports photography if you want a clean sharp image. If others disagree, so be it.

I would like to add, I am not saying anything negative about the D40, its a fine camera. However, lenses are the key.

no one is disagreeing j. of course an f2.8 lens will perform better. however it is not impossible to shoot with a lesser lens if the lighting is decent enuf. and of course some people just don;t have an option cos their budgets don;t allow it. all the more reason to go a d40 and faster lens imo.

K1W1
09-13-2007, 02:21 AM
I'd rather take photos with a 55-200VR that I can afford than dream about taking photos with a 70-200 f2.8VR that is outside the budget.




(Just my two cents seeing as we have a nice argument going here. It's been quiet for too long.:))

r3g
09-13-2007, 02:24 AM
Its a good starting point.. Then when the opportunity comes get faster glass.

rawpaw18
09-13-2007, 04:30 AM
Shooting in my kids gym @ 2.8 ISO1600, still could not get the
shutter speed I wanted.

My solution: I painted the gym, no kidding, It is barely off white
now instead of that dreadful beige. I am hoping this might help some,
becuase it was a lot of work.

tcadwall
09-13-2007, 10:28 AM
Told you it would open a can of worms... Crap I am actually agreeing with coldy... In this case think about the lens, and get a body that will work with it. If a 70-200mm f/2.8 VR was in the budget, then I doubt that a D40 would be the most one could afford.

Here is the deal, and it HAS been said by others since my post. Maybe I should have really been more specific. In HS wrestling, which we have been told is the highest priority for this purchase, lighting is going to stink, but the distance between the subject and the camera is NOT going to be far. A fast prime is the best cost effective solution. I don't care if you buy a D300 - if you put a 55-200mm VR on it, you aren't going to be able to stop the action unless you bump the ISO to rediculous levels.

VR won't stop subject movement, and if you can get close enough to shoot with a 50mm to 90mm prime, then you will likely get the best results you can get in the situation - even better than a freakin $1300 f/2.8 VR lens will give you. If you need the length the you need the high dollar glass - no arguments there. If you are going to use a Nikon prime lens you should consider spending more money on the body or getting a used higher end body for the same or less money than the new D40... This may be the only situation that I would advocate upgrading a body over upgrading the glass. But I stick to my recommendation for a fast prime, and either a used D50, D70s, or a new or used D80 - something that will allow a prime to auto focus. Of course, if there are valid HSM prime lenses in the sub f/2.0 range then get the D40... I just don't know of any.

If you are a photographer that would seriously consider using a flash for high-school sports then you need to reconsider. It is the most selfish thing you can do as a photographer to use a flash when photographing a sport in which the flash could even possibly distract the participants.

While I knew this would be a can of worms question, and I knew that people might think I was crazy for recommending a body upgrade rather than spending a ton of money on glass - I really underestimated the responses. The OP must be as confused as heck.

To address the VR debate even more... I would think that you would have to at *least* be hitting a shutter speed of 1/200s or 1/250s in order to stop *most* of the wrestling action. But this won't be fast enough for quick take-downs etc. So lets say your target shutterspeed is 1/320s (which still isn't really ideal). The general rule for hand-held shots is the inverse of the focal length right? so if you are using a 50mm on a DX sensor, you should theoretically be able to shoot hand-held at 1/75s (converting 50mm to 75mm) - right? so at 1/200s or 1/320s you should be fairly successful without VR. Do we agree?

Now, at 1/200s with a nikkor 50mm f/1.8 set at f/1.8 I do not have problems with camera shake - but 11yr olds shooting a basketball are showing signs that the shutterspeed is marginal. This is in a typical High-School gym that had a full lighting replacement done recently. I just pulled up one of my shots. Here is the exif - I can't put an image up from here because of a firewall. But take my word that it is slightly under-exposed and the action is somewhat blurred (though to me acceptable) from subject motion:

50mm
f/1.8
1/200s
ISO 640

With my 18-200mm it was a joke, and that is going to be very similar to the 55-200mm.

In order to achieve the similar (slightly under-exposed) histogram results with this lens, I was shooting with the following (after finding a shot that was about the same focal length):

56mm
f/5
1/30s
ISO 1250

Ok, that is HISTOGRAM results... NOT picture. The picture was noisy, the motion was QUITE blurred, and the overall quality well diminished. Stationary objects had no motion blur.. Might be that the VR helped, might be that I was fine holding the camera for 1/30s - regardless - WHO CARES... the photo was still crap!

Ok one more scenario:
Trying to keep ISO down....

50mm
f/1.8
1/100s
ISO 200

Result... Histogram similar, motion blur rendering shots worthless.

So even at twice the shutterspeed as what one should be able to hand-hold at 50mm the motion blur makes the shot worthless. You will have to bump the ISO even with an f/1.8, and you will have to shoot at the slowest shutterspeed that produces acceptable results.

Or as Rich suggests... Paint the gym... or as fionn suggests use a flash

Look if the kid is going to college, then spend the money on a camera AND lens NOW... You won't have any extra money once he starts.

jcon
09-13-2007, 11:34 AM
(Just my two cents seeing as we have a nice argument going here. It's been quiet for too long.:))

I wouldnt call it an arguement. More of a debated topic, which can be done in a respectful way, and this one has been!

As my previous posts would indicate... I agree 110% with Tcad.

tcadwall
09-13-2007, 01:13 PM
By the way Rooz, I am not trying to frighten anyone out of buying a D40.

I feel that I am offering the most realistic answer.

I recommended a D40 to a friend, but he wasn't looking for a camera to shoot indoor sports as a primary or even secondary purpose.

I feel that giving bab a false hope that good results can be had within the stated budget would not be fair. But an alternative that would give good results might cost just a bit more if one were able to stretch the budget just a little by spending a bit more on a body, and very little on a lens.

Prospero
09-13-2007, 01:44 PM
Where's wrestlingreport when you need him :D



There is only one lens you can shoot wrestling with, the 80-200 f/2.8. The D40 can't use that lens so avoid it AT ALL COSTS.
The 70-200 is just not worth it and the Sigma lenses are total JUNK. DO NOT USE THOSE. And you better take my word for it cos I shot wrestling ever since the 1950s.



I agree with jason, rich and tracey that the D40 might not be the best choice given the situation.
However, if you cannot afford the D80, I would suggest that you take a look at the Sigma 50-150 f/2.8. This lens will autofocus on a D40, has a constant f/2.8 apperture (this will give a higher chance of succes in low light) and a pretty convenient range. It will allow you to take pictures close to the action as well as from a bit further away.
The lens is a more expensive and has a bit less reach than the Nikkor 55-200, but the f/2.8 compensates for that imo.

r3g
09-13-2007, 01:46 PM
Your forgetting he said hes budget is only $600.

Prospero
09-13-2007, 01:57 PM
Your forgetting he said hes budget is only $600.

Yeah, I think I missed that. In that case the lens I suggested is one he could consider later on.

r3g
09-13-2007, 01:58 PM
No doubt, Im going to replace my 55-200 with one. :D

jcon
09-13-2007, 02:08 PM
Where's wrestlingreport when you need him :D



Thats funny, Dennis! You know, when I first saw this thread, WR was the first thing that came to mind!:o

Rooz
09-13-2007, 05:22 PM
Look if the kid is going to college, then spend the money on a camera AND lens NOW... You won't have any extra money once he starts.

this is the only thing in your post i agree with. :p:D

tcadwall
09-13-2007, 09:02 PM
this is the only thing in your post i agree with. :p:D
Well, since my daughter is also a senior, and preparing for the "Early Decision" application for a university that will run about 40k / year.... I have spent the last few days trying to engrave it in her mind, that she will have spent as much for college as most people will spend on their first house. Also, if she decides to get serious with some boy and quits school after a couple years, she will have racked up a bill that cost almost as much as OUR first house, and will have nothing to show for it.

Ok, sorry for the diversion... scares the crap out of me.

It sucks not be in agreement with you on something Rooz, often we are on the same side of a debate.

Prospero
09-14-2007, 12:29 PM
Well, since my daughter is also a senior, and preparing for the "Early Decision" application for a university that will run about 40k / year.... I have spent the last few days trying to engrave it in her mind, that she will have spent as much for college as most people will spend on their first house. Also, if she decides to get serious with some boy and quits school after a couple years, she will have racked up a bill that cost almost as much as OUR first house, and will have nothing to show for it.

Ok, sorry for the diversion... scares the crap out of me.

It sucks not be in agreement with you on something Rooz, often we are on the same side of a debate.

40k a year for university ??? That's just crazy. In the Netherlands it only costs about 2000 euros (not including books and costs for living near the faculty). Every student is subsidised as well for about 250 each month by the government (if you live on your own).

tcadwall
09-14-2007, 12:57 PM
Well friend,

It could be done here for a similar price. But - for some reason my infallable precious princess believes she is more deserving... Not sure where she gets that idea from.:eek:

Really, university costs are ALL over the board over here price-wise. The one she has chosen is top-notch for her power money making choice career.... Musical Theater. Someone shoot me. Honestly, she has chosen a very good school for this major, as well as a very good school for her backup plan... Broadcast journalism. It is also a smaller private school in a quiet town.... While these things all make it a good choice, ugghh that is a lot of money. I guess I should clarify, right now it isn't 40k but that is probably what it will average since tuition here in the states is increasing at phenominal rates every year. Right now this particular school is more like 36'ish.

-edit-

Btw Prospero, here in the states, aid is not just awarded to everyone. There are many performance based, need based, etc. funds and scholarships. And there are guarranteed loans. Individual states (like our neighboring South Carolina) have great deals based on grades if you were a highschool graduate in the state. -uhh I better stop this discussion before I really get frustrated....

-end edit-
Ok... to put this more ON-TOPIC... sorry... The OP might really consider that his shots of his son wrestling may allow him to spruce up the application.... scholarship applications that is. It COULD pay for itself... :D

K1W1
09-14-2007, 04:13 PM
The one she has chosen is top-notch for her power money making choice career.... Musical Theater.

And what if I say Andrew Lloyd Webber. :):)

Over here the Government subsidise University Fees and the kids end up graduating with a large debt to the Government (Called HEX - Higher Education Expense) which accrues nominal interest and must be repaid after a certain level of annual salary is achieved. I think most people in the Arts stream end up never paying the money back. :)

fionndruinne
09-14-2007, 05:36 PM
To *ahem* ... lend a hand to the attempted hijacking...

I hate the premium laid by just about all of society on American university. These days many will evaluate a person solely on their college experience, and when it comes to someone like me, who just prefers learning on my own and developing free ideas, it's hard to deal with. Not to mention a "good" university is way above my means.

One of these days we should try evaluating young folks in terms of their originality, and find to our shock (well, not really) that many of the ivy-league just don't measure up. When the whole concept behind most organized higher learning is to imitate the beliefs and ideas of the professor, well, count me out.

Just a small rant.

tcadwall
09-18-2007, 07:00 AM
I hate the premium laid by just about all of society on American university. These days many will evaluate a person solely on their college experience, and when it comes to someone like me, who just prefers learning on my own and developing free ideas, it's hard to deal with. Not to mention a "good" university is way above my means.


Lol - since we are dropping names... Bill Gates.

XaiLo
09-18-2007, 02:02 PM
Bills alright by me, his foundation is funding my daughters charter (early college) program. Along with the Kellog & Carniege foundation.

tcadwall
09-19-2007, 06:38 AM
That wasn't a shot at Bill at all. I was just agreeing that not EVERYONE must have a college degree to make it. I thought that Bill Gates (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Gates)was a great example of a college drop-out that made crazy big. Heck - even if you are on the hate side of the love-hate BG world, you have to appreciate his scientific and business genius from a young age, that continued.

XaiLo
09-19-2007, 12:11 PM
tcadwall, I understood what you were saying... mines was just a factual pun, dropout putting kids through college. lol But if I remember correctly when I read "Business at the Speed of Thought" (was the title I think) he later went back and got a degree or two.