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

Started Nov 14, 2013 | Discussions thread
OP jfriend00 Forum Pro • Posts: 12,367
Re: What to buy for shooting action that doesn't cost as much as a D4?

Kerry Pierce wrote:

jfriend00 wrote:

I hear you on the lack of a D400. I'm not sure why Nikon is avoiding that. They are also avoiding a D750 (FX speed camera).

Those would be the ideal solutions, certainly.

I can't change lenses during the action so it sounds like you're suggesting I just shoot with D7100 and 300mm f/2.8. The issues with that are:

1) You're asking me to spend $5800 on the 300 f/2.8

2) The D7100 is only 6fps and has a pretty small buffer

3) Shooting with a prime instead of the zoom significantly compromises how much of the soccer field I can cover.

I think I'd rather spend less money on a used D3s with my 200-400 and not have any of these issues.

I've been pondering your questions for a while and I simply can't come up with a really good option. All have good/bad points. My testing of the d7100 has been mostly a testing of my patience and frustration. I haven't been able to do the tests that I wanted to do, even though I've extended the rental period a few days.

Even so, my impressions of the d7100 are that, thus far, it seems to be a better choice than I had originally thought it would be. The AF is as good as I've seen on a DX body. Using 12bit files and the 95MB/s Sandisk cards, I have been able to shoot RAW + basic JPG in decent bursts. This would work for all but the most demanding times where 8fps really shines.

I would also suggest that you look at the Sigma 120-300 f/2.8. A full stop of light is always a good thing. Yes, you lose 400mm, but you don't lose the zoom and it is about half the price of the Nikon 300 f/2.8, IIRC. It works very nicely on the d300, about like having an overweight 70-200vr.

You can get a refurbished d7100 for $919 right now. Of course, I don't think it is a better option overall than the d3s, but I'd do both, as I've been doing all along. The UI and handling leave a lot to be desired, but from what I've seen thus far, the AF makes the camera just stomp all over the d7k.

Of course, you could go wild and crazy, getting a d7100 and a d700, keep the 200-400 and get a 120-300 for the lower light stuff.

It's a tough nut to crack and I hope that I've given you something positive to consider. As an interim body, the d3s is very expensive. If you were going to keep it and run dual formats as I do, then the cost isn't so bad.

Food for thought.

Thanks for the info on the D7100.  Unless I can see holding onto a D3s for a long time, I think the common sense approach is for me to rent a D700 and try that to see how well it works for me.  It's basically a twin of the D300 so that would be the least adjustment in handling too and at this point an FX complement to my D300 is probably useful.  I could imagine holding on to a d700 as a backup sports body even after getting something newer (if and when Nikon ever makes another semi-affordable sports body).

If I have reach issues with the D700, then the D7100 is probably the next thing I should rent and try and see if losing a little high ISO performance vs. the D700 is OK and if I'm OK with the fps/buffer on the D7100.  Refurbished might make sense for the D7100 too because it's not the be-all-end-all camera for what I shoot either that I would keep for a really long time so I'll probably replace it when something better comes along.

Unfortunately, I don't have any events in the right twilight lighting to actually try all this on before the season starts in early January so that makes it a little hard to evaluate and get the right hardware tested and acquired in time.  I'll have to find some sort of action around the same hour of the day to try to shoot now with a rental.

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