Sports Equipment Upgrade

Discussion in 'Sports' started by rory_cox, Sep 11, 2015.

  1. Hi all,
    I'm currently thinking about upgrading my camera equipment. I am the photographer for my local football Club (Soccer) and take thousands of photos each month. I currently use a Nikon D3200 with a 55-300mm lens. The combination has been fine up to now producing good results.
    I don't get paid for doing this. My question is should I upgrade my camera (thinking of upgrading to D7100) or upgrade my lens (thinking of upgrading to 70-200mm f4).
  2. Review your pix from the last game or 2, and for each one ask yourself if the new lens or the new body under
    consideration would have really made a significant improvement to it or reduced the time u spend in PP'ing. You'll have
    your answer very quickly. In fact, maybe you'll come to the conclusion that something entirely different ( eg, big remotely
    triggered strobes or hiring an assistant, etc etc) would make more of a difference.

    Just a thought.

    Tom M
  3. ... Or using the money to purchase specialized software ( eg, Photo Mechanic) that can wildly speed up the process of
    captioning and key wording because it can store the names of all the players on your home team so that every time you
    type ##08 it instantly and correctly fills in the 30 letter long name of the Welshman on your team, LOL.

    Of course, any hardware upgrade will make an improvement, but think outside the box to see if some non-hardware item
    will give u more bang for the buck (as us Yanks are fond of saying).

    Tom M
  4. The combination has been fine up to now producing good results.​
    That doesn't give much reason to upgrade at all, really. Why upgrade if everything is fine?
    Sure, it is nice and great to enjoy new gear every now and then, I fully get that. But you can spend money only once. So spend it on things you're sure about that will take your photography to a higher level, or fix a problem you are experiencing.
    Consider books, courses, tutorial videos, workshops, or as Tom suggested, software. Learning more is money always spent well, and lasts longer than any body or lens (and does more to improve your photos too). A boring, but serious option: keeping the money safe in the bank until you do find yourself limited by your gear, and can determine for yourself what the weak(est) link is. It's not only about bang for the buck (I'm not a yank, I just quote), but about actually making sure you fix a problem while spending money - getting value for that buck.
    Realistically, without seeing photos, without you naming in which way you'd like to improve your photos, it's impossible to choose. Both a D7100 and a 70-200 f/4 make sense, and would carry improvements. But which of those two improves what you'd like to see better....?
  5. What is your goal when you shoot? Do you shoot 1000 pix to get 5 great ones or are you trying to get 200 descent ones to share with team mates? What are the most common reasons for your discards? If you can articulate the problem you want to solve, then you can start looking for a solution.
    I shoot a lot of basketball games. My most common failure is a misfocused image. When I was forced to replace my D-300s (courtesy of a local burglar) I chose a D-600. A full-frame camera is not necessarily what you need for sports. The 5 fps rate is a disadvantage compared to 7 fps with my former camera. The D-600 has a faster AF system. Misfocused images are still my biggest problem, but my yield has improved.
  6. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Welcome to
    "The combination has been fine up to now producing good results."​
    That's good.

    'What needs fixing?' is the question to ask yourself.
    So until you identify and explain here where the improvements could be made in your Soccer shooting, or your general Photography, my advice is to buy neither.
    So a reply from you outlining more detail about your typical shooting scenarios, the general conditions and some ideas where you consider that there might improvements to your work specially for soccer or generally and a ink to a recent set of your images would likely harvest more focused advice.
    Some general considerations for Field Sports
    Of course we might expect the 70 to 200/4 would have better IQ than the 55 to 300, BUT - as a general comment (from one who does shoot a lot of Field Sport), I cannot see terribly much advantage in an 'upgrade' from a 300mm F/5.6 lens, (that is producing good results), to a 200mm F/4 lens: sure you gain an extra stop of Lens Speed, but at the loss of 100mm of reach. So I suggest that you interrogate how often you use 300mm and also how often you crop tighter those images captured at 300mm.
    Now, Lens Speed (maximum aperture) can be somewhat compensated by a better, High ISO Performance from the Camera - so have a look at how often you are the higher ISO's with your D3200 and contemplate if you could squeeze another stop (or more) of ISO, from the D7100
  7. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    What did you decide to do?
  8. what I'd do today - find a d3s for starters - their price has dropped below $2000
    and get you a 70-200 2.8 - possibly used or a Sigma brand

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