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General photography questions and answers: Discuss A bit of help needed with a purchase...Hi all, Over the last few months I have been working with a local recreational ice hockey team photographing their ...
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Old 05-11-2011, 16:13   #1 (permalink)
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A bit of help needed with a purchase

Hi all,

Over the last few months I have been working with a local recreational ice hockey team photographing their matches, team shots etc. Recently things have started to expand and some of the other teams are showing an interest in having their matches covered and an ice hockey publication has also expressed an interest.

I'm currently using a Nikon D300s and I normally have a Nikon 70-200mm VRII fitted during the games, but recently I've found myself needing a shorter range for against the glass close ups and the teams are now allowing access to benches etc and as the action is non stop I am considering purchasing another body and a 24-70mm F2.8 (probably the Sigma HSM version as I don't think I can stretch to the Nikon) and use them both together.

As the light is normally pretty poor I find myself having to shoot with high ISO's (normally around the 2500+ mark) to try and keep a shutter speed around 1/500 at F2.8/4 so really need a Nikon body that handles noise really well.

So I've made a shortlist! Either another D300S/D300, a D7000 or to really bite the bullet and step up to a full frame D700. I know I'll loose a bit of range on the full frame if coupled with the 70-200mm.

Any advice or thoughts would be greatly appreciated

Cheers,
Steve
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Old 05-11-2011, 16:59   #2 (permalink)
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Re: A bit of help needed with a purchase

I was going to buy a second D300 to give me two identical cameras for ease of use. Like you, I was intending to use one body for a telephoto and the other for a standard or wide angle zoom. At the time it would give me a D300 + a 17-55 f2.8 and the other D300 + a Nikkor 80-200 f2,8. I was happy with my D300 and the price of the second body offered great value.

However, the D700 is almost identical in the control layout and the menus are the same with just a couple of small additions - so nothing new to learn. It does out perform the D300, but the differences are subtle and might not be obvious, but when you are up against it, anything that the camera can do better will contribute to getting a better shot. The 'downside' is that you need to use decent lenses to get the best results and the FF camera is less forgiving than a crop factor camera.

You have the lenses - or know the lenses that will give you the best results - and all of the pro's I debated this issue with said 'I would not get the same camera - go for the D700'. This does give me the best of both worlds as if I'm not going out with both of them, I can choose the best one for the shooting I'm going to do.

If I do use them both at the same time I have the D700 with the 80-200 f2.8 and the D300 with a Nikkor 17-55 f2.8. I also have a Nikkor 1.7x converter that works well with the 80-200. Maybe you could get away with this combination and get either a used Nikkor 17-55 f2.8 or a Sigma/Tamron/other equivalent. might be cheaper than getting a 24-70. The 1.7x converters come up used fairly often and are quite reasonable.

One more complication. As far as I know, the D700 production stopped a while back, so the D700s/x/D800 or whatever is probably not too far away. It might be worth waiting to see if either the D700 prices drop or the D800 spec is worth paying the price. I did not notice this happening to the D300 when the D300s arrived which was another factor in my getting a D700.
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Old 05-11-2011, 21:01   #3 (permalink)
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Re: A bit of help needed with a purchase

Thanks for your reply Graham. I noticed the button layout on the D700 was pretty much the same as the D300s, and I do flick through focus modes and metering quite a bit during the session so it will be a bonus knowing where all the buttons are!

The 300 is a great camera and is serving me well although I'm finding that with the increased ISO's noise is an issue and when noise reduction is used, normally in Lightroom 3 then the image starts to become a little soft, fine for website use but more players and families are beginning to order prints and although they are happy with them I can see it.

The 700 is fast becoming a strong favourite, have you had the opportunity to use the high ISO's with the camera?

Cheers,
Steve
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Old 05-11-2011, 22:23   #4 (permalink)
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Re: A bit of help needed with a purchase

I routinely use my D700 at ISO3200 and get very useable images!
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Old 05-11-2011, 22:58   #5 (permalink)
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Re: A bit of help needed with a purchase

Thanks for that -Oy-. I don't suppose you have any examples to view? I'll be stretching my budget to the max if I go down the D700 route.

Cheers,
Steve
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Old 05-11-2011, 23:22   #6 (permalink)
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Re: A bit of help needed with a purchase

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The 700 is fast becoming a strong favourite, have you had the opportunity to use the high ISO's with the camera?

Cheers,
Steve
I've not had to explore the high ISO performance Steve. I've read good things about it though, and seen some good picture examples. I doubt that you would be disappointed.

I do have some shots that I took at 1000 ISO when I forgot to re-set the ISO. It is not low light though - it was with flash at under 1 metre range! I'll see if I can find them and post here.
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Old 05-11-2011, 23:37   #7 (permalink)
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Re: A bit of help needed with a purchase

Here we are. 1000 ISO - 1/80 at f2.8 with the 24-70 Nikkor. Range 0.9 metre. Minus 0.7 stop flash compensation used.



ISO 1000 - 1/100 - f4 - 70mm - 0.8 metre Minus 0.7 stop flash compensation used



ISO 1000 - 1/125 - f2.8 - 70mm - 0.9 metre Minus 0.7 stop flash compensation used

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Old 06-11-2011, 09:44   #8 (permalink)
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Re: A bit of help needed with a purchase

Thanks Graham, great little guy posing for you

And the image quality is great, did you have to apply much noise reduction in post?
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Old 06-11-2011, 09:52   #9 (permalink)
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Re: A bit of help needed with a purchase

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And the image quality is great, did you have to apply much noise reduction in post?
No post processing noise reduction in these shots Steve. Camera high ISO noise reduction is set at normal.
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Old 06-11-2011, 10:01   #10 (permalink)
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Re: A bit of help needed with a purchase

Just had a thought Steve. Do you want to try the D700 back to back with your D300s? You can take some shots with both cameras and then compare them at your leisure at home.
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Old 06-11-2011, 14:49   #11 (permalink)
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Re: A bit of help needed with a purchase

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No post processing noise reduction in these shots Steve. Camera high ISO noise reduction is set at normal.
Just remembered - I use Lightroom in my first stage processing. Can't remember if there is any default noise reduction applied. I don't think that there is. I have not done any specific noise reduction in PP with Lightroom, Photoshop or any specialist noise reduction software.
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Old 06-11-2011, 16:26   #12 (permalink)
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Re: A bit of help needed with a purchase

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Just had a thought Steve. Do you want to try the D700 back to back with your D300s? You can take some shots with both cameras and then compare them at your leisure at home.
LOL, great minds think alike! I called into Jessops earlier and they let me fire off a few frames from the one in the cabinet. Haven't checked them side by side yet but the camera felt nice and familiar.

Thanks for the offer though Graham it is greatly appreciated

I don't think there is any noise reduction automatically applied in lightroom just a touch of sharpening.
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Old 06-11-2011, 16:33   #13 (permalink)
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Re: A bit of help needed with a purchase

Bet you did not have the opportunity to try it in low light with high ISO though. If you do want to do a proper comparison just let me know.
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Old 06-11-2011, 18:57   #14 (permalink)
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Re: A bit of help needed with a purchase

I took a couple with the ISO bumped up in the store under normal store lights just had a quick look on lightroom and the camera performs very well and is an improvement over the D300S, bigger pixels I guess.

I'm just about to go into a mammoth work period for the next two weeks (got to pay for it somehow ), but if the offer is still on after that, that would be great
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Old 06-11-2011, 19:54   #15 (permalink)
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Re: A bit of help needed with a purchase

Here's Curtis Stigers at ISO2500



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Old 06-11-2011, 20:11   #16 (permalink)
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Re: A bit of help needed with a purchase

WOW, absolutely stunning

The definition is incredible.

Thanks for posting these, I think my mind is made up!
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Old 06-11-2011, 20:51   #17 (permalink)
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Re: A bit of help needed with a purchase

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I'm just about to go into a mammoth work period for the next two weeks (got to pay for it somehow ), but if the offer is still on after that, that would be great
Anytime
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Old 07-11-2011, 08:56   #18 (permalink)
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Re: A bit of help needed with a purchase

Just a small point, I think Dabhand mentioned in camera noise reduction, I personally never use it and I certainly wouldn't for sports photography as your camera needs time to do this and it slows it considerably.
You can do it just as easily in post processing and it would pretty bad if it made you miss a killer shot
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