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 Post subject: confusion!!
PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 8:19 am 
I was looking at cameras and decided i was sold on the Sony H9. However after a bit of reading it became clear that an SLR would produce much better results. i mainly want to shoot water sports and landscapes.

so i then found the nikon D40 for 250 pounds and then found i could get a d40x with a Nikon 70-300mm F4-5.6G AF Lens for 360 pounds

what i would like to know is if that lens is practical for shooting sport and if it is useable without having any sort of image stabilisation?

I am very new to this and have gathered that lower f numbers for lenses means they are faster. If that is so would the Nikon AF Zoom 28-100mm f3.5-5.6G lens be better. I am also having trouble understanding what the "Zoom 28-100mm" relates to in optical zoom.

i know there are alot of questions there but hopefully someone could clear the picture up for me.

thanks


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 9:25 am 
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Hi Alistair!
"Watersports" meaning your some distance away from the action but on firm ground? Or from a boat, closer to the action?? Can you use a tripod???
Well, after all the questions, here are some answers from extrapolating what you'd probably like to to:
First of all: Action + distance spells trouble! You have a fast moving subject introducing motion-blur and you'll have camera-shake due to the long lens you'll need. Fortunately if you shoot fast enough to capture the action, camera-shake will be negligible.
How do you shoot fast action? You need two things: (1) enough light through the lens and (2) a camera with low noise at high ISO (read "sensitivity").

As to the second point (low noise) this is the major reason, why you need a DSLR because, these cameras are the only ones where you can shoot comfortably at ISO 800 and even higher. This is due to their large sensors, that can capture more light than the puny little sensors of compacts. But even with DSLRs there is a pecking order as to which sensor has the highest sensitivity: Best is FF (read "full-frame" or "VERY expensive"), followed by APS-C (like Canon 400D, Nikon D40, etc.) and that is followed by four/thirds (like Olympus).
At the market segment that you're looking at the Nikon D40 with it's relatively low pixel-count is one of the best cameras for low-noise shots at high ISO and it's also pretty cheap. So you should go for it.

Well the first point (enough light) is not so easy or cheap to solve. The standard answer is: get a large-aperture lens, "large" meaning the f-number should be as small as possible (confusing, isn't it?). Unfortunately large-aperture lenses are very expensive, so out of reach for a normal budget. The other prob being, that the price of a given aperture (say f2.8) increases astronomically the longer the lens is. So here is the ultimate task for you: You have to find out what the longest lens/reach is that you need for your action shots. Because if you can do with a 200mm lens, that will be cheaper (and lighter too) for a given aperture than the 300mm lens.
As I recently startet reviewing tele-zooms (up to 500mm) let me say that much: 200mm is a real nice length (it is equivalent to 300mm on a film/35mm-camera), at 300mm lenses start to get heavy/expensive (the Nikon 70-300 perhaps being on the better side in both categories) and beyond 300mm it is really getting ugly (price-wise, bulk-wise, shake-wise,...). So depending how close you can get to the action don't look further than 300mm (=450mm film-equivalent), and if you can get a good price for the Nikkor, just go for it (I think though that perhaps Gordon is just preparing a review of the VR-version of this lens). If you can stretch your budget, go for the stabilized version though: It helps combat shake and let's you shoot at slower shutter-speeds when the action is not too fast-paced!
If you only need a 200mm for action, then report back, because other options arise...

The Nikkor 28-100mm f3.5-5.6G will definitely not help you for distant action, as 100mm (=150mm film-equivalent) is certainly too short and the aperture at the long end is definitely smaller than on the 70-300mm lens. How's that? Well the f3.5 is only valid for say the 28-35mm range and I bet at 70mm this lens is already at f4.8-f5.0 whereas the 70-300mm is f4.0 at 70mm and f4.8 still at 200mm. So in effect the 70-300mm is 1/2 stop faster at the comparable focal length than the 28-100mm.

Addendum: Be aware that you're not going to shoot landscapes with a 70-300mm though :shock: You need an additional lens/zoom starting at 24mm, better at 18mm :cry: If you want landscape plus action in one lens you need a 18-200mm!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 3:55 pm 
thankyou very much for that reply, made alot of things alot clearer!! From my conclusion it looks like the d40x is the body i want to go with and now its just a lense choice!!

Sorry to sound really clueless but what sort of zoom does a 200mm get you? I can't see myself being that far from my targets. some shots would probably be done from a very steady boat but most from the shore and in most cases i'm sure i could use a tripod if had to.

My mine issue now is how much range does a lense give me. Sorry to sound so clueless!! Last question, how come you need a small lense to get landscapes? is it not depedant on how far you are from your subject :oops:

Alistair


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 4:05 pm 
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Alistair, it still would help to know more about the wet action that you're trying to capture! Indoor swimming events (very bad, indoor=low light), outdoor surfing competitions???
In the meantime here's a small tool (sorry, found it only on the German Tamron website), that shows the difference in reach from 11mm to 500mm continuously. Just download it (7MB) and play around.
Btw. if you give me an estimate hight of your object and the approx. distance I can calculate for you how long the lens has to be to capture that as a format-filling shot :idea:

Addendum: The only other way to get more light through your lens is to get more light on the scene :P :shock: 8)
So outdoors is good, floodlight is better than no light, and a strong, far-reaching flash is sometimes your only hope! The flash has the added benefit that its short light-burst freezes almost any motion!

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Thomas (beware: Nikon-fanboy and moderator!) My Lens Reviews, My Pictures, My Photography Blog
D800+assorted lenses


Last edited by Thomas on Sun Sep 09, 2007 5:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 4:41 pm 
the main things i am interested in capturing are going to be outdoors in perrty good light. Want to take pictures of kitesurfing so the height of the person will be the picture, maybe maximum height wanted would be 20 foot when doing jumps.

the other is of deep sea fishing, trying to catch marlin and sailfish as they jump, they are 8 foot long, but that isn't so serious, more a wish!! I'll download the program you suggested and see what it can tell me.

Thank you so much for this help


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 5:54 pm 
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That's good to know. Kite-surfin', eh? Something like this?
Image
This shot was taken @400mm with an approx distance of 280m (let's see afterwards whether my est. is correct :wink: )

Now take out your calculators: A child (let's say 1.6m height) at 20m distance from the shore should be projected at 16mm height on the APS-C sensor. So magnification is 16mm:1.6m=1:100. To get this magnification at 20m distance your lens should have 20m/100=200mm focal length.
Phew, that wasn't too difficult, wasn't it :?: :wink:
A 5m jump, where you capture the person in the sky plus the sea underneath would mean a total of 8m height, so with a 200mm-lens you can capture such a jump from a distance of 100m. Or if the jump occurs only 20m away, a focal length of 40mm will suffice.
So perhaps a Nikon 55-200mm could be quite the right lens for you. There are two versions: one cheaper without VR and one with image-stabilization (VR) around 250€(!). Many users in this forum praise this lens here! You should also not miss Gordon's test.

Adendum:
Now the reality-check with the help of the pic above: if the person would be standing upright it is approx 1/7 picture-height, but I'm using a 400mm lens, so with a 200mm-lens the person would be only 1/14 pic-height. So the estimated distance to this person is 14x longer than our person that is projected at 18mm from 20m away. Finally 14x20m=280m.
Oops, what a (positive) surprise :wink: 8)

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