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300sectionjr

9/28/'07 vs. Columbus Blue Jackets

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Actually if I recall correctly Iceberg's actual fight happened in the one blind spot I had where I was sitting. So I don't think I got any of his bout. The shot you probably are talking about was I took before any of the "real" fights ever got started.

Believe me, I'm a big fan of his too -- although not for as long as your friend has been -- so if I'd gotten any good ones of his fight, you can believe they would've been in the collection.

Thanks for responding though! They are great pictures. I'm going to have to get a real camera before I go to a game again... so awesome!

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Thanks for responding though! They are great pictures. I'm going to have to get a real camera before I go to a game again... so awesome!

Well if you're looking for a good entry-level DSLR, Canon's Digital Rebel XTi makes a good starter. Vronnie12 can tell you more about that model since that's what she's got, but I started out with a 35mm Rebel XS and used to get some pretty good stuff. In fact if you look at my albums from the 1997-98 season, all of that was shot (on film) with said Rebel XS and a relatively inexpensive 75-300mm zoom. The lens is available currently for under $300 and you can get a Digital Rebel body for under $500 if you look in the right places. But maybe not the XTi model -- I'm not sure.

Bottom line is you can go with pretty much any of the Canon/Nikon/etc bodies but what's going to have a bigger impact on your shots than anything is the lens(es) you use. The old saying goes -- you buy the body, but you invest in the glass. And it's absolutely true. If you compare my stuff from this year and last year you'll see the difference better glass makes. I had the same body -- but I upgraded my lens significantly. And the difference is amazing.

Canon seems to be the preferred choice of the "official" forum photographers here -- I have the 30D, Vronnie with the Rebel and MattDoc with the 20D (the predecessor of my model). But Nikon (and others) make good products too. Some swear by one or the other, but the truth that these days is it's more a matter of what features you want than anything else. The quality of the equipment is pretty much even across the major brands. For me (and Matt if memory serves) there was also the issue of not having to buy all new lenses. Since I've always had Canon EOS equipment, all my old lenses work with my new body. Since you're just getting started, that's not an issue for you now -- but it will be if you decide to upgrade later. Just something to consider when you're looking for that first one. The other advantage you'll have if you go with Canon is that you'll have at least 3 people on this forum that will have advice for you if you need it. (Apologies to any Nikon users who may be in our membership -- you may be there and I just don't know who you are.)

Good luck!

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Bottom line is you can go with pretty much any of the Canon/Nikon/etc bodies but what's going to have a bigger impact on your shots than anything is the lens(es) you use. The old saying goes -- you buy the body, but you invest in the glass. And it's absolutely true. If you compare my stuff from this year and last year you'll see the difference better glass makes. I had the same body -- but I upgraded my lens significantly. And the difference is amazing.

Good luck!

Thanks for this. I actually have a Pentax standard SLR and a couple of pretty good lenses... not great, but good... a 28-80mm and a 70-300. Neither are as fast as I'd like them to be.

I'm leaning towards a Pentax 110 or 100... I can't remember which, and dont know if the image stabilization is necessary for the cost. Mostly, I'm looking at a Pentax because the two lenses I have would work with it. But I want one really great, fast lens. Have you found a 200mm is a good size for shooting hockey? I'd also probably want something that I can use at NASCAR races when I'm traveling (that's my real job... NASCAR, not photography...) so something that can work in both settings, an arena or racetrack, would be great.

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Thanks for this. I actually have a Pentax standard SLR and a couple of pretty good lenses... not great, but good... a 28-80mm and a 70-300. Neither are as fast as I'd like them to be.

I'm leaning towards a Pentax 110 or 100... I can't remember which, and dont know if the image stabilization is necessary for the cost. Mostly, I'm looking at a Pentax because the two lenses I have would work with it. But I want one really great, fast lens. Have you found a 200mm is a good size for shooting hockey? I'd also probably want something that I can use at NASCAR races when I'm traveling (that's my real job... NASCAR, not photography...) so something that can work in both settings, an arena or racetrack, would be great.

How much lens you get depends on a number of things. I used to shoot a 75-300mm, but fully racked out it wouldn't muster more than f5.6 which is not nearly fast enough IMO. I was willing to give up the 100mm in focal length to get the f2.8 aperture and I have to say it's been well worth it. That and this model uses the "L" series (low dispersion) glass, so I stay sharp from corner to corner even with the large aperture. You can look at the two games I've shot this year -- one from the lower level and one from the upper level and that may help you decide if 200mm is enough for you. And I guess I should note that this model lens doesn't have Image Stabilization, but I didn't feel like it was necessary at only 200mm focal length (after all I'm used to shooting 300mm without it, and had to shoot at least a stop slower to compensate for the aperture). But the way you make it sound, Pentax builds their IS capability into the body rather than the lens -- so I'd say get it if it's not cost prohibitive. After all, it can't ever hurt you.

I've shot races before at LMS and Rockingham and found that for daytime races my 75-300 was sufficient even though it's not as fast. In fact the first two races I shot I was also carrying an old Minolta Maxxum with a 400mm f6.3 and it was adequate for capturing the action. A lot of it depends on where you're sitting though. When the cars pass directly in front of you you're going to be lucky to get anything regardless of how fast your lens is unless you're up pretty high. I found that I was much better off catching them as they exited the turn to my left. So for racing, I'd say use your 70-300 for daytime races. You're shooting a much larger playing field and some of the action is going to be up to a mile (or more) away. So bring all the focal length you've got.

Night races... well, good luck with that. I was never able to get much of any quality at a night race. But the only ones I've ever been to were in Charlotte, so it might be easier at other tracks. I haven't tried my 200mm at a race (I've only had it about a month) but I know there were times when I felt like even 300mm wasn't enough -- especially at Charlotte. For a track like Michigan, California, Daytona or Talladega I can't even imagine how small it would seem.

Bottom line is I don't think you'll find a lens that's good for both sports unless you start getting into the ones that are way outside my budget. And even if you did I'm not sure they'd let you get into the RBC Center with a 300 or 400mm f2.8. Those lenses get into the "trash can" size class and I'm pretty sure they'd balk at letting you take it into the stands. The racing crowd probably wouldn't care, but I'm not sure how well I'd like the idea of taking a $3500 lens into the stands at LMS. Not to mention they weigh a ton so you'd be lugging around a lot of extra weight all day. And they might balk at letting you bring a monopod in. (Then again, maybe not...)

So far I'm happy with my choice of trading off focal length for speed. If I decide later that I'm too far away, I can get the 1.4x teleconverter and basically have a 300mm f4.0 which is still faster than what I had before -- just not as fast as my f2.8. There are always going to be tradeoffs, the key is to find ones you can live with. So... if I were in your place, I'd get the fastest, sharpest 200mm I could afford for hockey and primarily use my 300mm for (day) racing even though it's slower. Given a bright sunny day, if you dial in all the aperture you can get, even an f6.3 will allow you to shoot at 1/500 or 1/750 (possibly faster even) and even if you have to "push" it a stop, you can correct for underexposure with Photoshop or similar software. And I've found (much to my chagrin) that yes, despite all my arguments to the contrary for years, digital does require less exposure compensation (and other adjustments) than film scans -- even scans from negatives. Racing, since it takes place outdoors, usually offers you plenty of light for your photos. Hockey on the other hand isn't so generous. But your subjects are a lot closer, so you can trade off the length for the speed and get away with it.

And since I know virtually nothing about Pentax gear, I can't offer much more than those general observations. Hope they're helpful!

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How much lens you get depends on a number of things. I used to shoot a 75-300mm, but fully racked out it wouldn't muster more than f5.6 which is not nearly fast enough IMO. I was willing to give up the 100mm in focal length to get the f2.8 aperture and I have to say it's been well worth it. That and this model uses the "L" series (low dispersion) glass, so I stay sharp from corner to corner even with the large aperture. You can look at the two games I've shot this year -- one from the lower level and one from the upper level and that may help you decide if 200mm is enough for you. And I guess I should note that this model lens doesn't have Image Stabilization, but I didn't feel like it was necessary at only 200mm focal length (after all I'm used to shooting 300mm without it, and had to shoot at least a stop slower to compensate for the aperture). But the way you make it sound, Pentax builds their IS capability into the body rather than the lens -- so I'd say get it if it's not cost prohibitive. After all, it can't ever hurt you.

And since I know virtually nothing about Pentax gear, I can't offer much more than those general observations. Hope they're helpful!

Thanks again. I'm really going to study your photos. I'm going to do some research on lenses, and figure out how much I'm willing to spend, because I know it's all in the lens. My 80-300mm lens is SLOW, like in the 5.6ish f-stop range, and it just doesn't work for indoors. And I think a 200m would be fine for me for racing stuff. If I'm shooting anything at-track, it's of our events, or from the garage/pits, so I'm not super far away.

Now, I just have to find lenses online, etc., and price them out. I know what the bodies cost, that's easy, but I want a good lens. There's no point in buying a nice new camera if the lens I have is crap!

Again, thanks so much for all of your input. If the price is right, I'll switch camera brands, but I'd like to still have my lenses for less complex subjects, you know?

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Thanks again. I'm really going to study your photos. I'm going to do some research on lenses, and figure out how much I'm willing to spend, because I know it's all in the lens. My 80-300mm lens is SLOW, like in the 5.6ish f-stop range, and it just doesn't work for indoors. And I think a 200m would be fine for me for racing stuff. If I'm shooting anything at-track, it's of our events, or from the garage/pits, so I'm not super far away.

Now, I just have to find lenses online, etc., and price them out. I know what the bodies cost, that's easy, but I want a good lens. There's no point in buying a nice new camera if the lens I have is crap!

Again, thanks so much for all of your input. If the price is right, I'll switch camera brands, but I'd like to still have my lenses for less complex subjects, you know?

Well I'm not about to tell you to switch brands if you're happy with what you've got. As for the 80-300, f5.6 is a tad slow to try to shoot hockey with, but as you can see I got away with it for many years. It's just a balancing act trying to figure out the exposure that gives you the fastest shutter speed with the best possible exposure. But I was able to get away with shooting at 1/250-ish even at f5.6. Not as fast as I'd like, and it requires a steady hand to be sure, but you can do it. If budget is a concern, you might try getting the body and using the 80-300 for a while until your budget will allow for something faster.

the biggest problem with shooting hockey is not that there's not enough light -- even though it's played indoors. The problem is more that the light is usually in the wrong place. That is, you have a very large, very white reflective surface but it's mainly behind your subjects. And the higher you are in the stands, the more pronounced this problem becomes. The trick is to find an exposure that gives you the best results, then set your camera to manual and lock in those settings. This will differ form one rink to the next, but NHL arenas are usually pretty well lit. Also, with a digital body you should be able to set custom white balance (you can with the Canon bodies anyway -- I don't know about others) which will help with your exposure temps. All of this will help -- especially if you're left using a slower lens for a while.

And I know exactly what you mean about switching brands. Not that I'd have a reason to do that anyway, but there's no way I'd want to start over with all new lenses. That would be more than my budget could stand.

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