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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok. My wife has been looking into getting a camera to take pictures of the dogs in action. We know nothing about what we are looking for and figured someone on here would have more experience in this than the salesmen at best buy. We have read reviews on the cannon eos t3i. Are we starting in the right direction? Also what size lens would y'all recommend? There are so many options. I run hunt tests so the need for a 500yd all age shot is not a priority. We are not professionals so we are reaching out to those of you that re. Thanks in advance
 

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I have the Cannon T2i. My first real camera and I love it. Takes great photos with the stock lens and the 1080P video it great. See some of my vidoes on YouTube, seach my cannel "edwardrolling" to see some samples.

Ed
 

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I have a Nikon D70s with a 80-200 mm lens and love it . Look at KEH.com they have great deals on used cameras/lens. You can get MUCH more camera for less money that works perfectly fine.
 

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I also purchased the T2i and the feature difference between it and the T3i were not enough to pay the extra 150. I bought mine at best buy and put their insurance on it which covers just about everything that can go wrong.
 

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Nikon D90 is what I use it is a great camera. I have had it for almost 3yrs no problems and fairly easy to use considering the technology! I don't believe you can go wrong with either cannon or Nikon
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So what size lens should we get. I've seen that the 18-55mm kinda seems to be the standard. Is that sufficient or do we need the bigger lens.
 

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I DO NOT recommend B&H photo.

They have very good prices, HOWEVER, I had quite a few unauthorized fraudulent charges on my card from B&H. Not only toward merchandise, but also skype charges, etc.

It took me weeks to get back my money. My understanding is an employee was to blame.
 

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I have purchased a Canon EOS Rebal T2i about 2 years ago. I love the camera. It is easy to operate and to change the lens. I would get it in a bundle if possible w/ the 18-55mm lens and a 55-250mm or 75-300mm lens. I have the 55-250mm lens and if they would have had the range of 300mm I would get it. The only thing else is make sure your lens are (IS) Image Stabilizer, this will makeup for your shaking hands. Also get a good memory card, preferably one faster than your camera can write. I currently run a SanDisk Extreme w/ 30MB/s write speed. If the T3i has a better deal, then go for what you are confortable with. Good luck.
 

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I'm no expert but what you are citing is pretty much the "vanilla" lens that camera kits come with. It's not a telephoto at the high end and only a sort of a close-up at the near end.

The experts will tell you to invest in lens(es). Buy a good quality camera and then good lenses to go with it. I have a Nikon D-80. With that I refused the kit lens and bought two. The first is an 18-70 zoom and the second is a 70-300 telephoto zoom. Both are in Nikon's "intermediate" cost range. Had I known better, I'd have bought the first lens as the 18-105 zoom. That would have given me a bit of overlap so I wasn't always having to choose or switch lenses.

I had good luck with B&H.

A really good site to check is http://www.dpreview.com/ They have reviews of all the cameras and many of the lenses in great detail.
 

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Ok. My wife has been looking into getting a camera to take pictures of the dogs in action. We know nothing about what we are looking for and figured someone on here would have more experience in this than the salesmen at best buy. We have read reviews on the cannon eos t3i. Are we starting in the right direction? Also what size lens would y'all recommend? There are so many options. I run hunt tests so the need for a 500yd all age shot is not a priority. We are not professionals so we are reaching out to those of you that re. Thanks in advance
Howdy JBell!

You left out one very important piece of information in your original post, that being what your budget is. Depending on what you might be willing to spend, my advice would vary somewhat. I have been a canon shooter for about 35 years and can speak to Canon's equipment fairly well, but know little about Nikon. I would start by saying that I generally suggest that people buy the brand that most of their friends are shooting for a couple of reasons. Some of the iconograhpy and even terminology varies a bit between brands and so if you have a question, it is nice to be able to ask someone who knows the equipment. It can also be convenient to swap lenses in the field sometimes if your friends have different lens lengths thus expanding your lens arsenal. In all brands, budget permitting, I also recommend that folks try to get the pro-sumer level camera bodies (in Canon that means the bodies like the 60D, 7D, 5D) as opposed to the straight Consumer bodies (in Canon that's the Rebel line). The prosumer bodies are a bit more ruggedly built, and I find the menus much easier to navigate. That being said, the consumer bodies take excellent photos and are certainly a good value for the money. For action shots, in the canon prosumer line, the 7D is probably the best choice as it's has the fastest burst speed, but I do quite well with my two 30D bodies. The kit lens that comes with the consumer bodies is usually an inexpensive zoom with a medium wide-angle to short telephoto range. Again, depending on budget, it is often smarter to buy the camera body (no lens) and then buy a better lens that will fill your needs more accurately. Both Canon and Nikon have two separate lens lines also (a consumer line and a pro-line). Canon's pro line lenses (the L series lenses) are extremely high quality lenses that in general allow more light through, and have better color rendition and contrast, but are somewhat pricier than the consumer lenses. If your budget has the room, I would buy the 60D or 7D, no kit lens, then the 24-70 F/2.8 L series lens AND either the 70-200 F:2.8 IS L series zoom or the 70-200 F:4 IS L series zoom lens. I should mention that both 24-70 F:2.8 and the 70-200 F:2.8 IS have an original version and a newer model. You can save quite a bit by going for the older models, both of which are excellent lenses. With the 70-200 F:2.8 or F:4 , you want to be sure that you are looking at the IS (image stabilized) models as they make a non-IS model i both of those and you WILL need image stabilization at 200mm much of the time. If all this is out of budget, I would strongly suggest that look for previously owned or refurbished bodies and lenses. There is a very good company (KEH camera) that specializes in previously owned equipment. If buying new, I really recommend Roberts Camera in Indianapolis (www.robertsimaging.com 1-800726-5544 (ask for Jody Grober, he's a knows a lot)). My Canon rep put me on to them ten or fifteen years ago, and they have always treated me well. You can also ask them if they have any of the above equipment in used or refurb as they do have a used department. You might even consider a previously owned 50D or even the 40D as a good alternative to one of the rebel bodies.
I suggest the 24-70 f:2.8 L series lens and the 70-200 F:2.8 IS L series lenses because 1. they have a professional build and can probably take a bit more knocking around than the consumer lenses, and are sealed against moisture and dust better, 2. the optical engineering is more sophisticated and they produce sharper, more vivid images than most consumer lenses, 3. for the most part, they focus faster than the consumer lenses, and 4. perhaps most significantly, they are F:2.8 throughout the entire zoom range (the consumer lenses' max aperture will vary depending on what the zoom setting is) and F:2.8 allows a great deal of light to pass through the lens to the sensor. If you want to shoot action photos, having a large maximum aperture accomplishes three things: 1. it helps the lens focus fast, 2. it produces a nice background blur helping to isolate your primary subject, and 3. it allows you to achieve a higher shutter speed which is essential for stopping action.

If you would like a more in depth discussion, PM me your email and I'll send you a more detailed explanation of why I am recommending what I am and also a bit more on how to buy the equipment.

You can also search the site for posts by Tony Zappia and Todd Caswell. We have discussed equipment quite a bit and in fact, somewhat over a year ago when I first came to the site the very first post I read was photography related and there was a very detailed discussion of equipment in that thread also.
















 

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The thing that's going to be the limiting factor is the lens or lenses you get. Any of those cameras, will work to do what you want. You might not be happy with any of the kit lenses for what you want.

You'll probably want something at least 200mm (if you want to be able to reach out there at all) and the faster the better - faster meaning lower F-Stop numbers (bigger aperture) and faster auto focusing. Unfortunately long and fast is an expensive combination.

I have a Sony A700, paired with a Minolta 70-210 (Beercan) Lens. It's OK. The camera is great - the lens is borderline for the kind of shots I want to take. I have to take a LOT of shots to get a few keepers. Hard to get a tack sharp shot of a running retriever with that lens.

If I was starting over I'd probably go with Canon (the majority of sports photographers use Canon), and I'd go with less camera and more lens if that is an option for you - you can upgrade the body later. I went with Sony because I had some older Minolta lenses. Then added a couple used Minolta lenses and upgraded the body. Happy with the camera body, but I haven't had the extra cash to get the lens I want.

In order to get the really really nice tack sharp action shots, you probably are probably going to need quite a bit more than what you can buy in the kit. It's probably a couple steps up from that in terms of lenses. You can get around that a bit by getting creative in your setups and preparation for the shots. Not trying to discourage you, just don't want you to get $500 into a camera system and end up frustrated that you're not able to get the shots you thought you'd be able to get.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks. This is the info that I'm looking for. I truly believe that you get what you pay for. I'm just wondering how much invested I am going to have. As for using a friends lenses, I don't know anyone else that does this other than the people that occassionally photograph a hunt test. I really have no one to turn to other than you guys which obviously know way more than I do about this. My only concern is that I don't like to buy someone else's old stuff when I'm looking at spending this kind of money. One post mentioned to get a bigger lens. Will I even use the smaller lens? And thank you for explaining what aperture was. It was all jibberish at first. But I understand that the faster the camera is the cleaner the shot now. I may just be in way over my head with all of this. That's the price of a really good pup. But Momma wants to photo the ones I have.
 

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If you buy a basic camera you can always buy more lenses in the future, to be able to do what you'd like to do.

All of the cameras will give you basically the same technical results. The photographer takes the picture, the camera has little to do with the results.

I read somewhere that when people see a good photo they ask "What camera did you use?" After they've had a good dinner somewhere they wouldn't ask the cook "What kind of skillet did you use?"

There are many, many photography websites and discussions on the internet too.
 

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I primarily use a Nikon D60 with a 70-300. I also use a free editing software Gimp, etc. Biggest thing with doggie shots is kinda predicting what will happen and being ready for it even in auto reguardless of how many FPS you can shoot.




 

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One of my current primary bodies is a refurb and I have had it for several years, shot many thousands of images with it, and honestly can no longer tell it from the one I bought new. My first pro line lens was second hand (a 600mm F:4) and I shot many winning images with it. A friend of mine who spends time shooting wildlife with me is currently shooting a Canon 40D (refurb) with a second hand Canon 300 F:4 IS L series lens that I found for him at either KEH or Roberts and it is great. The point being that if you buy the used stuff from reputable folks, you're pretty safe.

Will you use the shorter lens? Yes, there will be times when you don't need the reach of a 70-200. If you only need 70mm, you really aren't going to want to lug around the weight of a 70-200 F:2.8 IS L lens with the accompanying awkwardness of a lens that is physically that long. You will also have times when you are in tight enough quarters that you may need a bit of a wide angle. I will say that if I could only afford one good lens, I would choose the 70-200 F:2.8 IS L, but I should also point out that even at relatively short hunt tests distances (as opposed to FT), that lens won't "reach out and bring them in" even if you are shooting from the line. At Ft distances the dog would be a speck. The hunt test photos I posted above were mostly shot with my 600 F:4 and are somewhat cropped. The shots of the yellow lab coming toward me over the water were shot using a 300mm "prime" (not a zoom) lens and are also cropped some. I have posted some un-cropped shots from a hunt test shot using my 600 and shot from no more than 15 feet behind the line. As you can see, the dogs don't exactly fill the frame. A 200 would give one third the magnification. You can add the 1.4X tele-converter to the 70-200 which turns it into a 280mm, but that's still a bit less than 1/2 the magnification of my 600. Another option is the 300mm F:4 IS L series lens, which is an often overlooked gem of a lens. It is not a "zoom" (variable focal length) but a "prime" (fixed focal length) lens, so I would pretty much never recommend it as someone's only lens; too limited in scope of use, but a great little telephoto and not too pricey (esp if you can find a good used one). Several folks have posted that it is often wise to put the real money into the lens or lenses and later upgrade the body as finances permit and I concur. A good lens is definitely a good investment and these days camera bodies get upgraded about every two years, so they don't hold their value like the pro series lenses do. Here are some un-cropped images from a hunt test.










 

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If you buy a basic camera you can always buy more lenses in the future, to be able to do what you'd like to do.

All of the cameras will give you basically the same technical results. The photographer takes the picture, the camera has little to do with the results.

I read somewhere that when people see a good photo they ask "What camera did you use?" After they've had a good dinner somewhere they wouldn't ask the cook "What kind of skillet did you use?"

There are many, many photography websites and discussions on the internet too.
At one time I would have agreed completely. In the days of film, the camera was basically just a box that controlled exposure, allowed a lens to be attached, and held and transported the recording medium (film), but these days the camera IS the recording medium and what kind and size of sensor and how the camera's software handles the information can make a difference. I have to admit that years ago when people asked me what kind of camera I used it annoyed me somewhat as just having the equipment isn't necessarily going to get you the results, but having had the opportunity to use more sophisticated equipment, I can tell you that higher end tools can often make getting the shot easier, and when it comes to lenses, there really is a reason that the pro line lenses cost what they do. In my opinion, if one has to choose, I would buy the consumer camera body and the pro-lens as opposed to the other way around. The pro lens is an investment and will hold its value and give you a better chance of obtaining your desired results.

And by the way, having the right skillet may not turn you into Emeril, but it's easier and more fun to cook in good, thick, heavy cookware (it usually distributes the heat better and cooks more evenly).
 

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One outfit I have been intrigued with lately is the Nikon One system. I have played with a little and I can see the ease of use, extremely fast focusing, instant pic and quality of the lenses have been outstanding. It will also take Video and stills at the same time. Cost with a standard lens and a medium telephoto is down to $650. It might be the ideal camera for someone wanting way, way more than a point and shoot but without the complexity of a DSLR system. I may break down and buy this before my new D7100 body.
 

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my dad has a nikon D50 or D90, can't remember which. It takes great pictures and he uses it all the time. I have an olympus stylus tough. It takes fine closeups for a camera its size. Waterproof and shockproof, just what i need for hunting, fishing, and other outdoor activities.
 
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