What camera for indoor gymnastics.

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Gordon
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#1
I have just photographed my granddaughters first gymnastics competition at National level. The kit I used was top notch (1dx ii + 70 -200 f28) which made the job relatively simple. The results were pleasing and the club made noises about me becoming their photographer which is not something I wish to commit to. Inevitable one of the mums, who attends all of the competitions has asked for advice on what camera to buy so that she can get similar results of her 3 girls. This has me stumped, I have been a photographer for 40+ years both as a professional and now a retired "amateur" it has been many a year since I have used anything but the best kit for the job. I know that her budget would be far far less than anything I would normally recommend so would be grateful for any suggestions. Initially she mentioned a budget of £500 but I think that was a figure plucked from the air and she would probably be open to sensible suggestions. I am a Canon user and know little about the many other brands that may be worth considering. Gymnastics competitions normally take place in sports halls of varying sizes. No flash can be used and the distance from the "stage" can vary greatly. My initial thoughts are that a crop sensor such as a Canon m50 with the 55 -200 lens would give the reach and flexibility needed but at the long end it is f6.3 and this coupled with the higher ISO required may give too much noise on a crop sensor.
If any of you have experience of this kind of photography and can make some recommendations I would be grateful.
 
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#2
I am sure I and others would like to give any insight we might have to offer.

But please can you break this down into smaller paragraphs................as I for one find it very hard to read the way it is?

TIA :)
 
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#4
The best value high iso camera available for that money at the moment is the Nikon D3 imo or the D700, very similar.

Pair that with a 80-200 2.8 and it'll be the most affordable kit list possible to get the results that she is looking for.

If you look hard, that is possible to do within the 500 budget.
 
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#5
I'd first question how much use she would plan on getting from it, what her knowledge of photography is, and also if she's aware of how much weight lenses like the 70-200mm f2.8 are. If it's just to take the occasional snap of her daughter doing gymnastics she may be better off getting something like the Sony RX10 bridge camera which is considerably lighter and should produce 'acceptable' images. Also, if her knowledge of photography is not much then I think it's important for her to realise that just buying the gear does not guarantee good photos.
 
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#7
Image quality all comes down to "light." The same exposure (settings) on a larger sensor is more light, and the same exposure at a lower ISO is also more light.

In other words, a smaller sensor image taken with a shorter/faster lens (@ lower ISO) can result in the same image quality/light per area. A more relevant question is probably what she wants to do with the images... i.e. sharing online at small sizes and small prints have much lower requirements.
 
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#8
I am sure I and others would like to give any insight we might have to offer.

But please can you break this down into smaller paragraphs................as I for one find it very hard to read the way it is?

TIA :)
Hi Box Brownie,
Basically, I need rcommendations for a camera and lens for indoor events at a reasonable cost.
 
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#9
Image quality all comes down to "light." The same exposure (settings) on a larger sensor is more light, and the same exposure at a lower ISO is also more light.

In other words, a smaller sensor image taken with a shorter/faster lens (@ lower ISO) can result in the same image quality/light per area. A more relevant question is probably what she wants to do with the images... i.e. sharing online at small sizes and small prints have much lower requirements.
Hi Steven
I think she will want to use them on social media and possibly prints up to A4 for personal use. She will need to accept that she will not get high quality results on a budget.
 
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#10
My initial thoughts are 70-200F2.8 plus a 7d2. depends on the light available. Even this set up is going to cost
Hi Wave01. I have to admit as a canon user that was my initial thought, whether the 7D11 has the ability to handle the higher ISO that may be required is another thing but it is certainly a good consideration.
 
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#14
Couple of possibilities -
Nikon D3500 £279 https://carmarthencameras.com/camer...ikon-d5300-digital-slr-camera-body-black.html
50mm f1.8G (75mm equiv on FF) £209 from the same shop (bundle deal?) or £199 from John Lewis, Wex, Park etc.

Or

Olympus E-M10 II £300 https://www.srsmicrosystems.co.uk/olympus-om-d-e-m10-mark-ii-camera-body-silver.html
Olympus 45mm f1.8 (equiv 90mm on FF) £230 https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00CPLQ...de=asn&creative=22206&creativeASIN=B00CPLQ7GI

I suspect the AF of the Nikon would be better, possibly also noise, but it doesn't have IBIS like the Oly.
 
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#15
Thanks for all your suggestions. I will have a look at them all in more detail over the next few days. All of the pictures I took were at 200mm on FF and still required cropping. I expect all of the venues will require similar so I think she will need something along the lines of a 70 - 200 on a crop sensor.
 
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#16
OK, looking used:

70-200 f2.8: https://www.wexphotovideo.com/tamron-70-200mm-f28-sp-af-sony-fit-lens-1027469/ **** when I first followed the link, that page showed £279 - now it's showing £679! I wonder if someone was loading stuff up & got the price wrong. :(

A58 body https://www.lcegroup.co.uk/Used/Sony-A58-+-18-55mm-SAM-II_245567.html

Or better yet, A68: https://www.lcegroup.co.uk/Used/Sony-A68-Body_242695.html

I still own an A58, and it's great for an entry level camera - better AF than my old D610. The A68 should be better all round than that, and would give her an outfit for £550. Decent mail-order possibility to return goods if not happy & LCE are a decent trader.
 
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#17
Hi Wave01. I have to admit as a canon user that was my initial thought, whether the 7D11 has the ability to handle the higher ISO that may be required is another thing but it is certainly a good consideration.
I use the 7d2 for bif and a variety of other work. I feel quite confident that the 7d2 is up to the job
 
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#18
So you're not going to help unless he uses smaller paragraphs?
:thinking:
So you're not going to help but want to slag off someone else? :thinking: :D

To @Fordsabroad , a budget would help a lot. but if you find yourself cropping 200mm images, then a 200mm prime is cheaper than a zoom, A Nikon crop would hve better IQ and a micro 4/3 would be cheaper and easier to carry.
 
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#19
So you're not going to help but want to slag off someone else? :thinking: :D

To @Fordsabroad , a budget would help a lot. but if you find yourself cropping 200mm images, then a 200mm prime is cheaper than a zoom, A Nikon crop would hve better IQ and a micro 4/3 would be cheaper and easier to carry.
I'm a big m4/3 fan but I'd imagine you'd need a fast lens to keep the noise respectable indoors. The trouble with this is that fast teles in the m4/3 world aren't cheap if you want new, the 40-150mm f2.8 (which gives 300mm for at the long end) is £1200 new. That being said I've seen one for £660 in 'excellent' condition at MPB. The next issue is that if you want to pair it with something that has decent AF you're looking at the EM1-II, again not cheap (£900+ used). IF that's in budget it is a great combo though, and easy to carry around imo.

Which 200mm primes are cheaper than say a 70-200mm f2.8? I'm only aware of the 200mm f2's for Nikon, do Canon do a cheaper alternative?
 
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#20
The best value high iso camera available for that money at the moment is the Nikon D3 imo or the D700, very similar.

Pair that with a 80-200 2.8 and it'll be the most affordable kit list possible to get the results that she is looking for.

If you look hard, that is possible to do within the 500 budget.
I think that this is a very good answer, I have both of these models.
A D3 in good used condition can be bought for £350 now and a D700 for even less. Couple that up with something like a 80 - 200mm f/2.8 constant aperture zoom lens and and she'll have old but ideal equipment that will do the job perfectly. The F3 is slightly faster than the D700 with 9 fps in full frame and even better in cropped frame, but the D700 isn't far behind when fitted with the optional extra battery pack - can't remember the fps rate without it.
 
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#21
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wayne clarke
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#22
My good lady bought a Canon 750d (entry level) It's supprisingly good in low light. Might be worth trying one and a 50mm if you can beg steal or borrow one to try. The whole lot should be under £500-ish.
As someone else said though a lot depends on the light at the time and what shes planing on doing with the pics size wise. Some of the newer Nikons entry level are also very good. I think you would just have to try it and see what works.
 
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#26
Canon's 85mm 1.8 and 100 F2 are tiny
Yes - agreed.

I was referring to my previous posting re the d3. The 1d and d3 are massive cameras - I love the canon 85 1.8 prime - and bare with my whilst I don my flame suit.... I think as budget 85 1.8’s go, the canon is better than the Nikon (and I own both )
 
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#27
To the OP:
The reality is that you as a photographer who has been doing this for 40+ years can use almost any priced kit to get good pictures.
A Novice with a cheap budget just isn't going to get the same results as you - EVEN if they were using the exact same kit. That is what you have been paid for - your skills, your expertise, your vision & years of knowledge.
There is a reason you are NOT using a £500 setup...
 
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#28
the d3 or the d700 already recommended i think would be an excellent choice on a budget if she doesn't mind the size / weight.
there's a lot going for those 2 cameras despite their age and there is a massive choice of older AF lenses with no focus motor they can use which can be had cheap compared to some
the reason i say this is because i think there is a bit of a gap in the second hand market, the people who buy budget bodies with no built in focus motors cannot use the older lenses if they want to retain AF and the people who buy the better bodies tend to purchase the better quality lenses and look beyond the older stuff
the only mild reserve i have is there isn't much room for cropping with 12 million pixels but the right lens choice would overcome that

500 quid isn't a lot to play with and if the brand isn't an issue i don't think you could do much better for the price
 
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#29
I think that this conversation may have gone off at a bit of a tangent . . .

What we have here is a mum who wants to get some decent photos of her girls doing gymnastics - not a photographer from the sound of it. Maybe the best advice that the OP could give her would be to enjoy watching her girls and to leave the photography to someone else but, assuming that she's serious about photographing them then the right equipment is paramount, if for no other reason that she won't have the skills to manage with anything that isn't up to the job.

I'm no expert on this but I've done a bit of gymnastics photography. the action is predictable but fast, there is always going to be a fair bit of cropping involves so a small sensor camera is a bad starting point because of this. And the lighting can be variable, flash isn't allowed and this means that the camera has to have good high ISO capability, another reason for using a "full frame" camera.

An expensive lens with a super large aperture is just a waste of money. F/1.4 / f/1.8 may be good for gathering the light, but not for use at such large apertures because I'm guessing that she'll actually want them to be in focus. . .

Consumer level cameras that don't have a high frame rate won't work either, unless and until she develops very high levels of skill, which is why I recommend either the D3 or the D700 (D3 is better). 9 fps will give her a fighting chance.
 
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#30
I think that this is a very good answer, I have both of these models.
A D3 in good used condition can be bought for £350 now and a D700 for even less. Couple that up with something like a 80 - 200mm f/2.8 constant aperture zoom lens and and she'll have old but ideal equipment that will do the job perfectly. The F3 is slightly faster than the D700 with 9 fps in full frame and even better in cropped frame, but the D700 isn't far behind when fitted with the optional extra battery pack - can't remember the fps rate without it.
All of the above...But if she has no photographic aptitude then she needs to be made aware that she's going to have spend a considerable amount of time and effort to get similar results...Learning how to operate the camera will be the easy bit. (Obviously I haven't seen your pictures but I assuming they're pretty impressive.)
 
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