Without spending a fortune, what camera and lens can I buy for horse show photos?
I really enjoy taking photos at horse shows and having my boyfriend take photos of me when I show. Our camera, which was "cutting edge" in its day, is unfortunately a little outdated (Nikon CoolPix 8400). Most notably, although it has a "sports" mode that allows you to take photos quickly, it does not have the feature which newer cameras have to take a "burst" of photos-- assuring that you capture the right timing on photos over fences. When I use the sports feature (which is not all THAT fast), what invariably happens is that the FENCE and background are in focus and the moving object/horse is not in focus. I also have a lot of problem when I have to shoot across a ring. I can zoom, but in doing so I severely reduce the quality/sharpness of the photo. On an even slightly overcast day, I can really only get shots of a jump several feet away from me.
When I got the camera, I took a lesson with a professional. He dissuaded me from buying any type of telephoto lens. He wasn't a horse person though, and my lesson was taking photos INSIDE the ring at home. I don't think he quite understood that at a show you can't saunter inside the ring and stand next to photos to get shots.
I think it's time for a new camera and this holiday season might not be a bad time to ask for one. I'm not looking to do this professionally and I don't want to spend a ton-- but I also want something that's relatively fool proof and will take good quality, reliable shots. More and more, there are NO photographers at the shows I go to-- so this is my own chance to preserve memories from these shows. I don't want to have to worry that it's too cloudy to take any photos, or that I can't get decent shots because the jumps are too far from the places I can stand. I also really think I need/want the burst feature to make things a little more foolproof re: timing.
I'd love your thoughts and ideas. Budget around $1000 and under, if possible.