D2Xs, D2Hs or wait for D3H for sports?

Started Aug 23, 2006 | Discussions thread
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jfriend00 Forum Pro • Posts: 11,327
D2Xs, D2Hs or wait for D3H for sports?

I currently own a D70 with several pro lenses. While I take photos of a wide variety of subjects, the one type of shooting that is driving me to upgrade from my D70 is shooting kid's soccer. The auto-focus system in the D70 just isn't as fast or as intelligent as I'd like. It can't keep up with an 8 year-old soccer player running straight at me and the fact that the sensors are so far apart makes it pretty hard to track a moving player without slipping off a sensor. I do get some great keepers, but I also miss more than I'd like. I'm sure I can work even more on my technique, but if technology will help, I'm willing to invest.

So, I'm looking at the possible upgrade paths from my D70. The D80 likely makes some auto-focus improvements, but it's probably still in the same league as the D70 since that's the model it's replacing. And, if the pro cameras are better in this regard, I'd rather spend to get that. The D200 is surely a step above the D80, but if the other pro cameras are even better than the D200, I should just go there.

I've borrowed a friend's D2X for one soccer game and it was a major improvement over my D70 so I know there's a big improvement to be had. I don't really need 12MP for soccer. Then, I started reading about the D2H. It seems like the camera that was most designed for the demands of soccer (fast frame rate, low noise so you can boost shutter speed for low light sports and great auto-focus), but it's also pretty long-in-the-tooth and likely to get replaced fairly soon. I'm also a bit wary of only 4MP because I do often need to crop my soccer photos, either because I had to leave some room in the frame for unpredictable action or because some of the action was a little out of the reach of my 70-200. So, if there was a modernized D2H (e.g. a D3H) with 8MP and similar characteristics otherwise, that would probably be the ideal camera for me.

So, with the fall soccer season approaching, I'm left with the following choices:

1) Get the D2Xs. It's shipping today and has the best auto-focus system Nikon knows how to make. It's not as low noise as the D2H, but not terrible.

2) Get the D2Hs. Forget about the 4MP. The D2Hs is the camera Nikon built for soccer shooting so go buy it. When the D3H is announced, just be happy that the D2Hs still takes great pictures.

3) Wait for the D3H and just use my D70 until it comes. In reality, this probably means wait untl Photokina to see if Nikon announces the D3H and, if they do announce it, gauge when it will really be available. As soon as Nikon announces and ships this camera, it's the one I'm going to actually want so as long as it's coming sometime in the next 6 months so wait for it rather than buy something else and then wish I had this.

4) Buy a used D2H or D2Hs as an interim camera while I wait for the D3H. This one is starting to intrigue me because I might get a short term solution without suffering the depreciation that a new D2Hs would suffer when the D3H comes out. Then, when the D3H comes out, I can evaluate whether I want to upgrade to it or not and I won't be out as much money as if I bought a new D2Hs. If this was an interesting option, I'd probably wait for Photokina to see what the news is or isn't about a D3H just in case it comes out quickly.

I should add that I'm willing to spend what it takes to get the best equipment, but I want to do so efficiently so I'd like to buy a camera that I'll feel comfortable keeping for two years. That tends to make me shy away from buying a camera near the end of it's life cycle.

Thoughts? Is the D2Xs just as good for soccer as a D2Hs is or D3H will be so I should just go buy that now? Or is the "H" line significantly better for action sports and I should decide between the D2Hs and waiting for the D3H?

Thanks in advance for any helpful advice.

Here are some of the types of shots I'm after:

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