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New Member
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎06-29-2010

Digital Camera for sports shots

Looking for a camera with great zoom capabilities for the football field, can stop a baseball at 80mph and also take great indoor gym shots for volleyball.  Any suggestions?

Posts: 16
Registered: ‎03-28-2010

Re: Digital Camera for sports shots

You're asking for a lot.


You're pretty much going to want a dSLR and a multitude of lenses.


I'll speak Canon since that's what I shoot.


For daytime football, a 100-400 f/4.5-5.6L IS will probably work for you. Nighttime with stadium lights, then a 300 f/2.8L or 400 f/2.8L will probably be desired. 


Daytime baseball will probably be the same, though. Although a 70-200 f/2.8 will probably be the most versatile for the infield. Nighttime you'll definitely want the f/2.8 version of the 70-200


Indoor volleyball will benefit from something f/2 or lower. The 85mm f/1.8 is a good option particularly on a crop sensor body.


So maybe, get a Canon 7D (~$1700) with the 85mm f/1.8 ($400), 70-200 f/2.8L IS II ($2500), and the 100-400 f/4.5-5.6L IS ($1500) to get started.

New Member
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎06-29-2010

Re: Digital Camera for sports shots

Sorry, but WAY out of my price range.  I was hoping for something a little less cumbersome; a multi-tasking camera, if you will.  I think I may have found one to give a try.  The Canon SX20 seems to have a lot of what I need and I realize is not up to the DSLR standard, but, then again, neither am I.  Anyone out there have input on this particular Canon?

Trusted Contributor
Posts: 3,445
Registered: ‎01-15-2009

Re: Digital Camera for sports shots

No point-and-shoot will do well for sports at all.  Contrast detection autofocus is just too slow for sports.


For daytime work, you can probably get a much cheaper DSLR setup, and add the "fast glass" later as you discover which shooting situations you feel are lacking.


I'm a Pentax owner, so I can give you an idea of what to look for in an entry level Pentax system, however Canon and Nikon should have similar entry-level setups available.


Pentax K-x "full kit" with 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 and 55-300 f/3.5-5.6 lens:  $850.  You used get a LOT of savings (close to 50%) on the 55-300 when buying it in the kit - you still get decent savings but not nearly as much as you used to.  That'll do the trick to start with for most daytime shooting situations, and some indoor situations (depending on exact lighting levels - while it may all appear similar to the eyes which adjust quite well, indoor lighting brightness can vary a LOT from venue to venue.)


The "full kit" with the 55-300 is out of stock in most places I've looked.  Another option is the basic kit with the 18-55 only ($550) and a Tamron 70-300 3.5-5.6 lens ($165) - not quite the image quality of the Pentax 55-300, but still pretty good.


With Canon and Nikon, you'll find base kits (body and 18-55 lens with some sort of stabilization) in the same range as the K-x basic kit.  The problem is that since the K-x has in-body stabilization, the Tamron 70-300 is stabilized on Pentax but not Canon/Nikon.  That's the disadvantage of Canon/Nikon initially - you pay a per-lens premium for IS that's significant for entry-level lenses.  However, Pentax has no first-party glass past 300mm which limits your growth in the Pentax system a LOT.  The per-lens IS penalty gets less as lens prices rise with the faster lenses.


Nikon and Canon dominate pro sports photography due to the availability of long fast glass.  Nikon is currently doing very well in terms of high ISO noise performance (although right now the K-x is near the top of this category, but Pentax can't match that with their higher-end bodies.)


Also, two things to look for in SLR lens specifications:

1)  Focal length.  Larger number is better.  You want a 300mm lens available for most sports, at least.

2)  Minimum aperture.  Lower number is better.  Consumer grade zooms are usually something like f/3.5-5.6, pro grade zooms are frequently constant f/2.8.  An f/2.8 lens will let in four more times as much light as an f/5.6 lens - meaning four times the shutter speed.  It'll also autofocus better.  Sports with a consumer grade slow lens is tough but doable in daylight, and very difficult indoors (but possible if conditions are just right - my undergrad alma mater's hockey rink is JUST bright enough to get OK pictures from.)

*disclaimer* I am not now, nor have I ever been, an employee of Best Buy, Geek Squad, nor of any of their affiliate, parent, or subsidiary companies.
Valued Contributor
Posts: 1,819
Registered: ‎01-12-2009

Re: Digital Camera for sports shots

Canon point and shoots have a good rep for being top notch.


If you look around (especially on Craigslyst) you can find good deals on used dslrs. Seen a few already for around $350 for Canon XT's, 20D, Nikon D80, D70's.

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