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Nikon recommedation: action sports photography

ric arms , Apr 06, 2012; 10:58 p.m.

I am a amatuer photograher who is looking to take actionsports photography. I am looking for a recommendation for a camera. I am interested in D700, however can not aford the new D800. An other recommendations? Do I need a full frame camea?


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Matt Laur , Apr 06, 2012; 11:02 p.m.

Nikon isn't trying to sell you a D800 for sports. The new D4 is their flagship sports camera. But it's even more expensive. Depending on the types of sports and the venues in which you intend to shoot, you'd do great with a D300S, or with whatever they (shortly, I'm guessing) replace it with.

But the killer part is lenses. What sort of sports and shooting circumstances/access do you envision? That dictates the glass.

Kent Staubus , Apr 06, 2012; 11:10 p.m.

Buy the lens, and with what's left over find a camera. Matt is correct. If you are thinking of indoor sports like basketball, start with a 70-200mm f2.8 type lens, then see how much money you have to buy a camera to stick on it.

Kent in SD

Dan Brown , Apr 07, 2012; 12:27 a.m.

The D700 would be an excellent choice. Buy with confidence.
Also, do stay with an FX body, it's clear that Nikon's high tier bodies will be FX.

Chris Court , Apr 07, 2012; 01:05 a.m.

I agree that glass is the most important factor, but what focal length you choose really depends on the sport you are going to be shooting. The D700 is an excellent sports camera, but you certainly don't "need" a full frame body to shoot sports. In fact the extra reach provided by of a DX body can be useful in many situations. If you're starting out and on a limited budget (aren't we all?), I'd recommend a fast crop sensor body like the D300s or D7000 (approx $1200), a fast wide zoom, such as the Nikkor 17-55 (approx $1200) and a fast longer zoom, such as the 70-200 VR1 (approx $1500, used). Fast primes offer a shutter speed advantage, but in my experience, zooms are far more practical when shooting sports.

Sure, you can spend less, but expect your results to suffer. What I list above is what I consider or to be a basic, entry level kit to serious photography, however I'm sure others here will disagree or expand on this :-)


Leon Chen , Apr 07, 2012; 04:01 a.m.

70-200 F/2.8 VRII is a must for indoor sports! - if you can afford it. D700 is good, if the budget is tight, DX body should do well, too.

Elliot Bernstein , Apr 07, 2012; 05:38 a.m.

What is your budget? What type of sports will you be shooting? Will they be indoors, outdoors or both? What will you be doing with images? What size prints will you be making? These are all important questions in determining what camera and lenses will work best for you.

Rodeo Joe , Apr 07, 2012; 06:15 a.m.

Ric, what sort of shooter are you? A machine-gunner or a careful sniper? If you just want to rattle off as many fps as possible, then the D700 isn't for you.
What sports are you interested in? For anything that needs a long lens you'll be better off with DX than full-frame because of the crop factor and increased depth of field.
How do you shoot; handheld or always on a tripod? If handheld then I really see no advantage in going FF.
I have the D700 and love the quality it gives. Would I use it for action sports in preference to the D300s - absolutely not! But then again the very thought of shooting sport is making me yawn.

E. J. , Apr 07, 2012; 07:50 a.m.

I would look at the work of some of the great sports photographers, like Neil Leifer (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/multimedia/photo_gallery/2005/11/21/gallery.leifer/content.1.html).
Figure out what it would take to make that shot. It is the lens that is critical, not the box attached to it.

I covered the Reno Air Races in the early '70s and so did Neil. We had nearly identical equipment -- and stood shoulder to shoulder at times. There is no doubt as to who came away with the best shots!

ross b , Apr 07, 2012; 10:35 a.m.

The D7000 would make a fine camera for an hobbiest. The crop sensor would be great for sports photography.

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