Best camera for photographing sports with a budget

Kyle Dawson

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Sep 22, 2014
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Hey guys I am looking to buy a camera to photograph sports (mainly AFL). I am pretty new to buying cameras ect but not new at all in functionality ect as I have done a course. I am just torn however on what would be my best purchase or road to take for under $2000 if possible, or even under $1000. here are my suggestions and feel free to call me an idiot and tell me something different. I was thinking I could grab a Canon EOS 750D with a CANON EF-S 55-250MM F/4-5.6 IS STM LENS just to be basic. I am looking obviously for great zoom ect with great picture quality. I am not looking to make videos at all, it will just mostly be still action shots of footy. I am torn to get that 750D and just get a really expensive lens (Not sure what one yet) or just upgrade straight to the CANON EOS 7D MARK II, with maybe that same CANON EF-S 55-250MM F/4-5.6 IS STM LENS (hopefully compatible). Would it be worth getting the cheaper 750D which I can snag for $550 and get an expensive lens, or go the 7D which I can snag for $1500, and get that alright lens. Or I could go a total different way if you guys recommend something. I would love some help here. Thank you so much.
 
I assume AFL = arena football league? If so, you've got three huge factors working against you.

  • ■It's indoors, so the lighting will be dim.
    ■It's fast action, so shutter speeds will have to be short to prevent the photos from turning into a blurry mess.
    ■The action will be far from you, so you'll need a decent telephoto.
All of this points to a big lens with a huge aperture (f/2.8), with a modern body capable of high ISO. Unfortunately, this sort of equipment costs several $k.

I assume you already have a camera? Use it to shoot some test shots at the next game. The things you want to watch for are:

1) What focal length range do you need for the type of shots you want? Be aware that the field of view varies with both focal length and sensor size. So you should use either 35mm-equivalent focal lengths, or if you know the camera's sensor size do your own conversion to 35mm-equivalent. This will determine the focal length of the lens(es) you will want to purchase.

2) What shutter speed do you need to freeze the action? It'll probably be around 1/100 sec or faster. Experiment. If your telephoto is not sufficient to mimic the desired shots, crop and enlarge the pictures. The image quality doesn't matter for this experiment. What you're looking for is how much motion blur is present in the photos at a given shutter speed.

3) At that shutter speed, what f/ratio and ISO is necessary for proper exposure? It will depend on the lighting so we can't tell you, you have to figure it out for yourself.

Once you calculate the required exposure, you can figure out if a newer camera body with decent high-ISO performance can save from having to invest thousands of dollars in fast (and heavy) glass. Each f-stop you gain translates into a doubling of the ISO. So for example, at the same shutter speed, f/2.8 @ 1600 ISO would be equivalent to f/4 @ 3200 ISO.

Sorry I can't give you a direct answer, but the answer to your question is highly dependent on what you'll be shooting.
 

Kyle Dawson

Estimable
Sep 22, 2014
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4,510
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Hey mate thanks for the reply, I should've specified the sport better. I live in Australia and it's called Australian Football League. It is mostly shot outdoors on a big oval field. Have been just testing out shots with a Canon EOS 1300D, with a 55-200mm lens which is definitely not ideal at this point in time. Just trying to find the best camera and telephoto lens for this kind of photography, mind you I will not be taking videos so I primarily will use it for shutter photos ect so you are correct with that. The main point of the post was to get some ideas from others on a good camera with a good lens.
 
Jun 28, 2018
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While some prefer the flexibility of an interchangeable-lens system with a large sensor, others dislike the bulk and weight of the gear involved. Fortunately for us all, technology is catching up to those of us who want a small camera with a large sensor and the ability to change lenses.
 

Kyle Dawson

Estimable
Sep 22, 2014
3
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4,510
0


Yeah thank you, I really don't mind with the weight of the gear at all. And any suggestions?
 
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