What to buy for shooting action that doesn't cost as much as a D4?

Started Nov 14, 2013 | Discussions thread
Grevture Veteran Member • Posts: 4,188
Well, for a temporary solution ...

You sure put some very strict demands on that temporary solution ... I shoot sport for a living, albeit only part time, but still, and I seem to have less stringent demands then you

jfriend00 wrote:

D700 - looks like about $1500 on eBay for good condition with no too many clicks on it. Could use my D300 grip and batteries with it to get 8fps. About 1 to 1.5 stops better at high ISO than my D300. Lose quite a bit of reach compared to my D300.

I know this is a touchy subject with at least one big thread being active where the arguments fly in all directions, but really, the whole reach advantage thing is a bit overblown. You can put a TC-14 on your D700 to get the same reach and still have about half a stop better low light capabilities then with a D300. Yes, you can, really.

D3 - looks like $1800-$2500 on ebay. Pretty much same the same sensor as the D700, you get better AF and more fps and buffer and obviously the large body style.

Actually, if you buy a D3 which has not been upgraded with a buffer extension, you do bizarrely enough get less of a buffer then with a D700. The AF difference is subtle and you have no dust shake on the sensor (which is a dust magnet).

D3s - looks like around $3000 on ebay. High ISO improved even more, but more money.

Ans also, compared to the D3, you get a twice as large buffer, dust shake and a camera which is usually about two years newer then the average used D3. So there is more to the price difference then just higher iso.

I'm a bit worried about the reach of all these 12MP FX cameras so if I decide which one I'm interested in getting, I will probably rent first to verify I'm OK with the reach.

Again, I shoot sport on a regular basis and I find the whole reach discussion a bit overblown. Get a TC-14 and forget about it.

I'm only considering options that get me 8fps so that rules out D7000, D7100, D600, D610 and D800. I rented a D800 last season for a couple games and did not find it to be a good solution for me.

You can of course have all sorts of demands, but seriously, why being so strict with 8 fps?

While I appreciate having 8 fps for those occasions when it helps, I actually run my D3 and D3s on 5 fps most of the time.

Now I would leave D7000, D600 and D610 out of the discussion for another reason - while the 39 point AF works well in normal light, in weak light it is noticeably less reliable then the 51 point AF you get in the other cameras you are considering.

The D700 would be the most money efficient. However, I'm tempted by the additional high ISO improvement in the D3s and would enjoy the faster fps, but it seems kind of spendy for an interim camera. I have money, but am interested in being efficient with it.

The main target is full field soccer in twilight. I will typically shoot 3-400 shots per game and cull that down. I have three types of shooting and I use all three: single shot timed for peak moment, short burst of 3-6 shots around a possible peak moment (such as players going up for a header or a player collision or a goalie diving for a ball), longer burst of a sequence that remains interesting for an extended period of time (sometimes 15 shots or even until the buffer is full). An example here might be a break-away forward dribbling toward the goalie, making moves as they go and I don't know when they're going to actually shoot or what the goalie will do.

What would you recommend I acquire and why?

The D3s sure is a brilliant camera and would be my first recommendation, that is if you really like working with a large camera body. Personally I love the big cameras - which is why I have three of them - but if you have not used one a lot, do try before you buy - some photographers just don't like them. If you feel the price is too high, then go for a D3. And if you don't like a big body, then the D700 would be my next recommendation very closely followed by a D7100.

Either way, you are going to be fine. I got my first D3 body when it was first released in late 2007, added a second body a little over a year later and then a D3s two and a half years ago. Between them, they have taken about 600 000 images, the vast majority sports images. I almost exclusively shoot with 70-200/2,8 + 300/2,8, the latter often with a TC-14.

Below a somewhat random selection of sport shots, mostly soccer since that what we consider football in the civilized parts of the world

D3s + 200-400/4

D3 + 70-200 + TC-17 ... Teleconverters work fine for sports

Women's volleyball, national championship final

My favorite sport ... Wish I could see Red Wings live

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I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every moment of it!
By the way, film is not dead.
It just smell funny

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Nikon D70s Nikon D3 Nikon D3S Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II Nikon AF-S Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8D ED-IF +7 more
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