Best Nikon DSLR body and lense for shooting indoor and outdoor Sports

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by richard_piedrahita, Jan 29, 2015.

  1. I'm a beginner that would primarily be shooting indoor basketball in the fall/winter, outdoor soccer in the spring/summer. I have a limited budget, so my primary interest is the indoor basketball for now.
    Your recomendations would be greatly aprreciated
    Thanks
     
  2. Don't know exactly how limited budget your budget is, but I use a D3, 28-70/f2.8 and 80-200f2.8 AFS for such occasions and would recommend them.
    High ISO is not as good as the latest generation pro camera's, but this yesteryear's pro-gear is a joy to use and for me the results (for web-galleries and 8" x 10" prints) are fine up to ISO3200.
    To me they are good value for the money these days. Of course only second hand.

    Grtz Ray
     
  3. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Richard, "limited budget" can mean different things to different people. It would be best if you could specify a dollar mount. The D3 is a bit old but can certainly still do a fine job, but we are probably talking about $2000+ for a used D3 in these days, without any lens yet.
     
  4. On a budget, a D700 is a very good choice. For lenses, you are going to need f2.8 or faster. As Ray mentioned, the 28-70/2.8 and 80-200/2.8 are good choices. But, you could also use some of the D-AF primes, like the 24/2.8, 35/2.0, 50/1.8, 85/1.8 and 180/2.8.
    Good luck.
     
  5. but we are probably talking about $2000+ for a used D3 in these days​
    In my area (Pacific NW), I routinely see D3 bodies for under $2k. I just checked my local CL and found one D3 @ $2k and three more in the $1400 to $1600 range. A D700 should go for significantly less - KEH prices D3 nearly $2k versus about $1k for D700.
    I agree with the other comments - I think the OP needs to specify a budget to get the best responses.
     
  6. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Chip, thanks for the D3 pricing update. It looks like used prices have dropped further than I expected, but those really cheap ones could have gone thru plenty of professional abuses.
     
  7. The MOST important thing is the lens. Start with that. My suggestion is a used Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VR with a used Nikon D7100. Cost will be somewhere around $1,800. Results will be very good. The D7100 will focus in extremely low light, lower than D700 and D3. The 1.5x crop will give you the lens length you will need too. Image quality is excellent up to about ISO 2000. This is all in all your best choice. The focus speed on the D7100 with the Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 is rocket fast! You will not beat it with anything else you can afford.
    Kent in SD
     
  8. The 'right' lens depends on where you will be shooting from.
    The 'right' body depends on what size prints you will be making.
    And ultimately both choices are limited by budget. What is your budget?
     
  9. No doubt that a 70-200, a D3 etc. are fine tools for these kind of jobs. But most people, 'on a budget' tends to mean sub-$1000. And a lot of people come from P&S (with horribly slow apertures), so the step to any DSLR -even a D3x00 with its simpler AF, surely the D5200 and up- with a decent zoomlens (55-300DX is decent, for example, even if slow aperture) is a big improvement anyway. The recent models have perfectly acceptable ISO6400 results - that does help quite a bit.
    Sure it is more important to get expectations right. Of course the extreme clarity a 400 f/2.8 that pro sports photographer lug around won't happen. Sure not every photo is going to be in perfect focus, and sometimes it will struggle to lock focus. Sure you will need to take some time to learn to use the gear effectively (but isn't that always true?).
    It really is doable with more modest gear as well. Not as good, it's not as easy to get each shot right, but not impossible either. At the same time, getting grips with the AF system of the D3, D7100 etc. isn't something that you get right from the start as well, so a type of learning curve will always be there.
    Without a budget, it's all a guess, but let's be realistic that for any sports, any DSLR tends to be a big step up from those coming from P&S or cellphones, and that amateur sports happen at a slower speed with more predictable actions, making it a decent bit easier too.
    Money allowing, I'd get the kit that Kent mentions: D7100 with a 70-200 f/2.8VR. With less money available, I'd look at a D5200 as alternative, and the AF-S 85 f/1.8G as alternative lens (alongside the kit 18-55VR which is always useful). The starterkits (i.e. D3200 with 18-55 and 55-200) are great value typically, not the ideal lenses but you need to get started at some point, and start learning. You can always upgrade afterwards again once you know better what you need and want.
     
  10. As others have said, there isn't enough information provided to give a definitive answer. The first question is whether you are looking at a DX budget or an FX budget. I put it that way because there is a significant gap between the two. Not only are FX cameras generally more expensive, but also you will need a longer lens for FX once you go outside for soccer.
    If you are on a DX budget, the suggestion of the D7100 and 70-200/2.8 makes a great deal of sense. However, if you are willing to buy a lens only for basketball to start with, then supplement it with a lens for soccer in the spring, it may make more sense to start with a prime for basketball. I rather like the Sigma 50/1.4 lens, but the Nikon f/1.8 lenses are perfectly viable choices as well. Focal lengths of 35, 50 and 85 mm would allow you to shoot from behind the baseline at various positions.
    For soccer on a DX budget, the 70-200 f/4 is a good choice, as is a used 70-200/2.8. In either case, you may wish to pair it with a teleconverter. The AF-S 80-400 is a very attractive choice as well.
    If your budget is FX, I'd recommend the D750. While the older bodies (D3, D700) are quite good, their AF performance isn't up to the standard set by the newest generations of the Multi-CAM 3500 system used in the mentioned cameras, nor are their sensors as good as the current ones. Again, the 70-200/2.8 is a good choice for basketball, actually giving a somewhat better range of field of view for basketball on an FX camera than on a DX camera. And f/2.8 is viable on a modern FX body even in pretty dark gyms.
    Once you go outside for soccer with FX, though, you will definitely want a focal length greater then 200 mm. If you are planning to use a 70-200 for soccer, you will definitely want a teleconverter, probably a 1.7x or 2x, and I wouldn't suggest putting them on the 70-200/4, so the 70-200/2.8 would be the better choice. However, an even better option, if the budget permits, would be an AF-S 80-400 lens.
    There are many options, and that's just some generic advice. More details about the actual budget, the shooting conditions (ages of players and types of gym lighting), and the expectations for the final images (web posting, large poster prints, something in between) would help to refine the choices.
     
  11. Personally I use a D700 with a 70-200/f2.8 for basketball. The D700 is fine although a D4/S would be much better....
    If I had to do it on a real budget then it would be the D700 (can be had reasonable 2nd hand now) and the 85mm f/1.8
    andyc
     
  12. without knowing anything more about the OP's budget limitations, not sure if this conversation can go much further. if we are talking amateur indoor sports, i.e. high school gyms, lighting might be pretty bad. so that has to factor in. the d7100 might be able to focus at lower EVs than the d3, but you're giving up 1-2 stops in low light of high-ISO performance. and access/location also plays a role in what kind of lens would be recommended. if you can get close to the court, like in front of the basket, you can get away with a shorter lens. if you're shooting from the stands, you need reach. also for outdoor sports where you need reach, a d7100 would be better than a d3 because of the crop factor, but only in good light.
     
  13. Thank you all for your responses, the info was very helpful.
    I realize I should have provided more information so here it goes:
    I'm just starting out, coming from a point and shoot background. My budget was $1500. I just got a very good deal on a D5200 with the 18-55mm f/3.5 lens that it comes with for $450.
    Now I want to know what lens to buy for shooting sports. I will be shooting youth basketball inside a gym with not so great lighting. Shooting from the sidelines and baselines. I plan to use the pics for both web and print. The prints would be poster size. I will also be doing team portraits.
    In the spring I will be shooting youth soccer outdoors. shooting from the sidelines.
    If there is a single lens that is suitable for all that I plan on shooting and someone can recommend it that would be great! or if I need to buy different lenses keep in mind my budget is now around $1000
    Thanks again!
     
  14. I think that you should either lower your expectations or raise your budget. Indoor Basketball and Soccer outdoor to me seem like sports that need a fast AF body, high ISO capability, and fast AFS (hence expensive) lenses. You just limited your choices by getting the D5200 for it does not have fast AF or high ISO capability. No lens is going to compensate for that.
    Before you rush off to the camera shop, first get used to your current set up and try to rent a lens, before you drop the money on the counter.
     
  15. For a $1,000, the obvious choice is to buy a used 70-200mm f2.8 zoom of one brand or another. The Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VR-1 has been going for less than a thousand on ebay lately. It will do what you want. I've used one on the D7100 and it's very nice, and does work well for sports. Eventually you can buy a used D7100 after its replacement comes out and that would be near perfect.
    Kent in SD
     
  16. a D5200 with the 18-55mm f/3.5 lens that it comes with for $450.
    Now I want to know what lens to buy for shooting sports. I will be shooting youth basketball inside a gym with not so great lighting. Shooting from the sidelines and baselines. I plan to use the pics for both web and print. The prints would be poster size. I will also be doing team portraits.
    In the spring I will be shooting youth soccer outdoors. shooting from the sidelines.
    If there is a single lens that is suitable for all that I plan on shooting and someone can recommend it that would be great! or if I need to buy different lenses keep in mind my budget is now around $1000​
    For $1000 i would get used sigma 50-150/2.8 (non-OS model) and a used sigma 17-50/2.8 OS. that gives you 24-210mm equivalent and constant aperture throughout the zoom range. for outdoor daytime sports you can stick a 1.4x TC on the 50-150 to give you a 310/4 equivalent. the 18-55 is only f/3.5 from 18-24mm and 5.6 at the long end, so its pretty slow and wont get ideal in low light. i dont think you will be able to get a nikon 70-200 even used for $1000 and even if you did, it would only give you a sports-ready lens on the long end. as arthur pointed out, the d5200 doesnt have the best AF, so stick to the center point. also the 5200 only has one control dial so you will have to menu dive a bit.

    i dont know if you can still return the 5200 but a used d300 would give you much better AF and pro controls (albeit at the cost of less megapixels). you could probably find one for under $450. for what you want to do, the d7100 would have been the best current nikon body, the 5200 is an entry-level model with a few bells and whistles like flip-out screen. 5fps is just adequate for sports; the d300 can shoot at 8fps with battery grip; the d7100 at 6fps. a refurb d7100 is $700 right now at adorama. for poster-sized prints 24mp would be better than 12, but AF capability will definitely impact the shots you get.
     
  17. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    If you are capturing basketball from sidelines, you may be able to get away with a 85mm/f1.8 AF-S. That is a lot of cheaper than those f2.8 zoom, but you are stuck with just one focal length that is not going to be the best in every situation.
    For outdoor soccer, you'll need longer, perhaps 200 to 300mm lenses. However, you'll have a lot more light so that you should be able to get away with something like a 70-300mm/f4.5-5.6.
     

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