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Without spending a fortune, what camera and lens can I buy for horse show photos?

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  • 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 Our camera, which was "cutting edge" in its day, is unfortunately a little outdated (Nikon CoolPix 8400).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.
    ~Veronica
    "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
    http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

  • #2
    There's a mom at our barn that shoots photos of us for fun with a Nikon D90. They turn out really well for an amateur shooter and a relatively inexpensive model...here's one she took of me.

    https://fbcdn-sphotos-a-a.akamaihd.n...4_375527_n.jpg

    I think I put a little bit of tint on this in a photo editing program, but you get the jist. This was taken from outside the ring, so it's got good zoom, is clear, and easy to operate.

    Comment


    • #3
      This month's Consumer Reports rates digital SLR cameras. You can probably read it at the library or buy it on the newsstand.
      I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Originally posted by Guin View Post
        This month's Consumer Reports rates digital SLR cameras. You can probably read it at the library or buy it on the newsstand.


        Good thought! But generally I find those ratings don't take into account what is specifically needed for horse show photography?! Like the advice from the person who gave me a lesson saying a zoom lense wasn't necessary-- I'm not sure he really understood what a horse show is like.
        ~Veronica
        "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
        http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

        Comment


        • #5
          I have a CR subscription. I'm happy to print out anything you might want to look at.

          On the advice of my brother, who is a hobby photographer, I got a Canon T3i that I really like using. He has a Nikon D90 and loves his. He bought me a lens to use for picture taking. I need more practice and am not very good at it yet, but it's fun.

          The other place I got great advice was a camera store. I went to a Ritz because it was nearby. There is a great camera store in Philly (I think it's near Drexel) that my brother loves too. The people are knowledgeable and helpful. I will google the name and send to you. That's where he actually bought my stuff. Black Friday last year.

          Comment


          • #6
            The Canon Rebel is a good basic DSLR and the T1i, T2i, or T3i would work well. You can get a basic "kit" lens that will work for shooting horses. A DSLR will give you the flexibility of putting it on "Auto" while also giving you a varying degree of manual control (Aperture or Shutter Priority, or full Manual mode) if you do want to learn more. The 75-300mm is a decent "kit" lens for what you want to do.

            A good option to save $ is to buy used through a *reputable* dealer. I recommend B&H, Calumet, or Samy's Camera, if you have any near you.

            If you go used you can get a decent lens and body for under $1k.

            B&H :
            http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/browse...7/N/4294246666

            Samys:
            http://www.samys.com/

            Calumet:
            http://www.calumetphoto.com/


            Samy's also does rentals - if there is one close to you it might be worth it to go into the store and try a few different things to see what you like and what works for you.

            You can also rent from borrowlenses.com (Can rent bodies and lenses).
            http://www.borrowlenses.com/

            While it would be an added expense to do a rental, it might be a good idea to see what you like and works for you.

            Feel free to PM me if you have specific questions!
            It's not having what you want, it's wanting what you've got.

            Comment


            • #7
              I went and looked at the CR article again. It does talk about ones with fastest capabilities and reviews a couple of different separate zoom lenses, so it might useful at least for some starting points.

              I could scan and email it to you if you'd like.
              I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry

              Comment


              • #8
                Canon Rebel or Nikon's entry level DSLR with a lense kit. Generally the Canon will be less expensive.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by two sticks View Post
                  The Canon Rebel is a good basic DSLR and the T1i, T2i, or T3i would work well. You can get a basic "kit" lens that will work for shooting horses. A DSLR will give you the flexibility of putting it on "Auto" while also giving you a varying degree of manual control (Aperture or Shutter Priority, or full Manual mode) if you do want to learn more. The 75-300mm is a decent "kit" lens for what you want to do.
                  This is what I would recommend as well. I shoot with a Canon t2i which is a great entry level body, easy to use (you can point and shoot in sports mode and get decent photos) but allows you lots of options as you learn more about photography. I would also recommend the 75-300mm lens for horse shows. The basic one will be fine as you learn, but if you get into it you will eventually lust over a fancy lens, which will run at least another $1000 dollars (I recommend you start saving now). The smaller kit lens that often comes as a package with the body is alright for shooting lessons indoors but isn't sufficient for shooting on a field.

                  It also takes nice HD videos (although quite shaky unless you have a tripod or shorter lens to stick on).
                  Faibel Farms Custom Fly Bonnets
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                  • #10
                    I've got a budget of about $2000, I'm going to be getting a Nikon D7000 and a Nikon 70-300mm VR lense.

                    But really just look for a simple camera that is fast, I wouldn't get anything under 5fps and buy a good lense because that is more important. And don't let any sales people try to talk you into more expensive cameras because of the megapixels, all basic entry cameras have double digit megapixels and it really isn't that important. No one can even tell the difference between an 8megapixel photo and a 16 one when blown up to poster size.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I have a Nikon D3000 I believe. It takes excellent pictures outside, but when the lightening is poor or in an indoor it does not do so well. I got into a conversation with a local horse show photographer and asked him what he used in the indoor. He also had a Nikon and took the time to show me how to manually use my camera so I could get photos, but they weren't as good as his. He told me that you have to buy a special lens that is 2.8f or lower. Most cameras are 5.6f. The 2.8f lens allows for more light to enter the picture you will take and brighten it up and sharpen it at the same time.

                      Here are a couple samples from my camera. I got mine around Christmas and got a regular lens and the 70-300mm VR lens for under $1000.

                      Jumping around the farm:
                      https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...type=3&theater

                      Jumping at an outdoor show:
                      https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...type=3&theater

                      Jumping in an indoor show:
                      https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...type=3&theater
                      Calm & Collected, 13, OTTB
                      Forrest Gump (Catasauqua) , 17, OTTB
                      Little Bit Indian, 29, TB
                      Owner of Spur of the Moment, Custom made spur straps! Find us on Facebook

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                      • #12
                        Slight hijack here, but are the DSLR lenses interchangeable within a manufactuerer; i.e., if I have lenses for my Nikon 3500 (?) and upgrade to a new nikon DSLR, should the mounts be compatable? I know with the old film SLRs, as long as you stayed with the manufacturer, you could use you old lenses.

                        I would love to have a 70-300mm lenses.

                        Thanks for the great advice, everyone.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by paint hunter View Post
                          Slight hijack here, but are the DSLR lenses interchangeable within a manufactuerer; i.e., if I have lenses for my Nikon 3500 (?) and upgrade to a new nikon DSLR, should the mounts be compatable? I know with the old film SLRs, as long as you stayed with the manufacturer, you could use you old lenses.

                          I would love to have a 70-300mm lenses.

                          Thanks for the great advice, everyone.

                          In most cases, yes.

                          On some of the much older film lenses, the auto-focus will not sync with the newer bodies - but you can still use them with manual focus.

                          As long as you are within the same brand, the lenses should all mount on the DSLR bodies.
                          It's not having what you want, it's wanting what you've got.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            This is hugely helpful information, thank you. Especially the notion of buying used, which I was thinking meant eBay and I was *lost*... buying used from a camera shop sounds like an entirely different ball of wax.

                            Is the consensus that without "burst" I should not bother trying to just get a better lens for my current camera, but should instead start new?
                            ~Veronica
                            "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
                            http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by vxf111 View Post
                              This is hugely helpful information, thank you. Especially the notion of buying used, which I was thinking meant eBay and I was *lost*... buying used from a camera shop sounds like an entirely different ball of wax.

                              Is the consensus that without "burst" I should not bother trying to just get a better lens for my current camera, but should instead start new?

                              I would NOT buy used off ebay. I would not hesitate to buy used from any of the reputable camera stores though .

                              If the only thing that makes you want a new camera is the "burst" mode - then no, that would not be enough to make me upgrade the body and I would just buy a new lens. Shooting horses is all about the timing, and you are better off practicing and getting good with your timing than relying on the burst, because, with the burst, it's really just luck. If you start the burst at the wrong timing, you are still going to miss the shot that you want, and will end up with just before and just after.

                              The great thing about DSLRs is that you can get a better lens now, use it with your current camera, and upgrade the camera body separately later on.
                              It's not having what you want, it's wanting what you've got.

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Originally posted by two sticks View Post
                                I would NOT buy used off ebay. I would not hesitate to buy used from any of the reputable camera stores though .

                                If the only thing that makes you want a new camera is the "burst" mode - then no, that would not be enough to make me upgrade the body and I would just buy a new lens. Shooting horses is all about the timing, and you are better off practicing and getting good with your timing than relying on the burst, because, with the burst, it's really just luck. If you start the burst at the wrong timing, you are still going to miss the shot that you want, and will end up with just before and just after.

                                The great thing about DSLRs is that you can get a better lens now, use it with your current camera, and upgrade the camera body separately later on.
                                That seems like a wise plan. I really like my Nikon a TON other than the problem with timing (which I can learn) but more than that-- the distance issue which a lens would solve.
                                ~Veronica
                                "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
                                http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Yeah, basically what everyone else said already. I would start by buying a good Nikon zoom lens that's suitable for horse photography, and then if that proves not to be enough, you can buy a Nikon DSLR body to go with it. Or just buy 'em both.

                                  This is a great crash-course article on Nikon lenses for camera noobs--although in the end, this article agrees that the 70-300mm is the one to get for fast, zoomed, high-action shots.
                                  http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/the...ou-should-buy/

                                  And for other readers out there, there's an equivalent article for Canon lenses.
                                  http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/the...ou-should-buy/
                                  Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    If I decide it's not enough, I can always sell the camera and the lens anyway. I had no idea there was such a market in used, but actually that makes pefect sense to me.
                                    ~Veronica
                                    "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
                                    http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      We have always shopped through B&H in NYC. Excellent, knowledgable salespeople. They are closed Friday afternoons and Saturdays. They sometimes have used equipment and I wouldn't hesitate to buy from them after discussing the particular piece with a salesperson.

                                      I have a colleague who has had very good luck with Adorama (also NYC) used department.

                                      I, too, would suggest going with a less sophisticated/expensive body and putting a bit more in a better lens. Even if you purchase a "off-brand" (read, not Nikon or Canon). We have a 28-105 2.8 Tamron that we've had for years and has never failed us. That's short for horse shows, but they have a new one that's longer. For outside shows, you could get away with a 4.0f (we have a Canon 70-200 4f which Ed shoots with and gets good pics) - however, it would NOT be useful if you do indoor shows. Many really also like Sigma, but we had one that was dreadful and I wouldn't buy another. Very possibly shooting myself in the foot, but once burned....

                                      Carol
                                      www.ayliprod.com
                                      Equine Photography in the Northeast

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by ccoronios View Post

                                        I, too, would suggest going with a less sophisticated/expensive body and putting a bit more in a better lens. Even if you purchase a "off-brand" (read, not Nikon or Canon). We have a 28-105 2.8 Tamron that we've had for years and has never failed us. That's short for horse shows, but they have a new one that's longer. For outside shows, you could get away with a 4.0f (we have a Canon 70-200 4f which Ed shoots with and gets good pics) - however, it would NOT be useful if you do indoor shows. Many really also like Sigma, but we had one that was dreadful and I wouldn't buy another. Very possibly shooting myself in the foot, but once burned....

                                        Carol
                                        Carol, what Sigma did you have? I love my 28-80 mm and the rest of my gear is all Canon L pro series lenses. I've personally found the Sigma line to be much better than the Tamrons in my experience.

                                        If you are shooting on auto, you don't need to worry about the Aperture (f stop). The Nikon 75-300mm is a variable f/4.5-5.6 which is totally fine for outdoor photography. Faster lenses (those with a lower Aperture which lets in more light) are going to be much more expensive.

                                        Getting good indoor riding shots without lights is difficult unless you have a high end set up/gear.


                                        VXF- I still would look for the Nikon 75-300mm, I think that will be your best bet at this point.
                                        Last edited by two sticks; Nov. 10, 2012, 04:25 PM.
                                        It's not having what you want, it's wanting what you've got.

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