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Best Nikon dslr for low light and action?

Stephanie Giorgianni , Mar 28, 2013; 09:21 p.m.

Hi there! I do indoor sports photography and I am wanting to upgrade my camera. I am really outdated with my camera right now...it's a d90 so that's why I want to upgrade. Prior to my d90, I shot Nikon film cameras so I'm still new to the digital world. :) I've considered the d3...any objections to the d3 for these purposes? As far as budget, I'd rather not pay over $2500/$3000 (new). What suggestions do you have? Lenses I have are Nikon 18-105mm, Nikon 70-300mm and Nikon 50mm.


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Matt Laur , Mar 28, 2013; 09:49 p.m.

I'd go with the new D7100 for less than half of your budget, and use the rest for a faster lens or so.

What sort of sports are you shooting, and what sort of access do you have? Is this all shooting-from-the-bleachers-at-gymnastics type stuff, or are you under the basket at a ball game? The nature of your shooting has a lot to do with lens considerations.

Tony Demonte , Mar 28, 2013; 09:56 p.m.

The D7100 is a great camera for sports. ISO performance is quite good also so that you could get a faster shutter speed. of course, a full frame camera will out perform in the ISO range. indoor sports will entitle you to use a higher ISO to get a fast shutter speed. so, maybe a full frame would be better.

barry goldberg , Mar 28, 2013; 10:31 p.m.

Just want to give you another point of view. While it is true that a D7100 will give you better low light capabilities the D90 is a very good camera and is fine for sports. Have you considered looking at your lenses? The lenses that you have are good for outdoor action but they are not fast and will do poorly in low light conditions.

For example, the 17-55 f/2.8 (about $1k) and 70-200 f/2.8 (about $2k) are excellent lenses for indoor sports. Also are you using a monopod? That will also improve the quality of your shots.

Barry Clemmons , Mar 28, 2013; 11:17 p.m.

If you do any high frame rate sports shooting, the D7100 is not a good fit unless you are shooting JPEG basic. If you shoot RAW, the buffer of the D7100 fills up in one second. I own a D7100 and have no plans to use it for sports. I use a D3s for all of my sports shooting. If your sports shooting is single shots for the most part I wouldn't hesitate to use the D7100. The single biggest reason for me to get the D7100 was the upgraded focus system. I have been using it for birds with a long lens, but even then just for single shots of birds.

Kent Staubus , Mar 28, 2013; 11:19 p.m.

The best is the D3s. Of course, camera is only a part. The bigger part might be the lens.

Kent in SD

Hector Javkin , Mar 28, 2013; 11:22 p.m.

I agree with Matt. I've had a D90, good camera, but I switched to the D7000, and saw a significant improvement in low light performance. The D7100 is even better, with much better autofocus. I have the NIkon 70-300mm VR, and it is a nice lens, but not in low light. Depending on what sports you shoot, you might want to consider a 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II. The Nikon would use up most of your budget, but Sigma makes one that's cheaper, and Tamron is about to start delivering one that could be excellent.

Finally, since your header reads "Best Nikon dslr for low light and action," that would be the D4, or a used D3s, but these are well beyond your budget.

Kenneth Gavin , Mar 29, 2013; 01:56 a.m.

I agree with others and would say a D7100, which would only chew into less than half of your budget and give you at least a stop (maybe more) over the D90. With the remainder of your budget, you could invest in some f/2.8 lenses since you want to shoot indoor sports. If you are willing to go third party (Sigma, Tamron), then you can probably get a mid-range and a telephoto (along with the D7100) with a $3000 budget. If you sold your current zooms (not the 50mm prime), that could give you another $500 or so of spending money, you could certainly get used Nikon f/2.8 lenses (the 17-55 f/2.8 and a 70-200 f/2.8 VR - Version 1). These f/2.8 lenses are not only good for the larger aperture, but also because they are lightening fast when it comes to focusing, which will be essential shooting sports.

A D7100, a 17-55 f/2.8, a 70-200 f/2.8 VR, and that 50mm prime would make a really sweet setup! Definitely good enough for shooting sports indoors.

Elliot Bernstein , Mar 29, 2013; 04:53 a.m.

What type of indoor sports photography are you doing? What size prints do you typically make?

Thomas Lozinski , Mar 29, 2013; 07:47 a.m.

For your budget the d600 is probably the best. The d3s and d4 are the best. You might look for a used d3s. Check dxomark.com but also consider frame rates and buffers if raw shooting.

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