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fishoutofwater

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Reply with quote  #1 
I've spent hours looking and really don't know what I'm reading honestly.

I'd like a DSLR camera and lenses that will allow me to get dance action shots in a dark theater without using a flash. And also one that I can take pics outside too. A zoom feature would be nice as well.

Any suggestions on a user friendly camera with a good manual I can real and teach myself.
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Noel

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Reply with quote  #2 
A Canon rebel with a good lens will do the trick. You need to learn how to shoot in aperture mode or shutter priority mode (which sounds more difficult than it really is, start with the "non flash" all automatic mode while you learn and you'll be happy).

Low light means you need a 'fast' lens. If you really want good shots you have to ask yourself how good and how much zoom. The really fast lenses are huge and will need a tripod for optimal function. If you're willing to compromise I recommend low end (lesser quality glass but really not that bad for a non pro) 18 to 200; or if money is no option go for their higher end premium glass and get the 28 to 300. Low end will cost you a few hundred; higher end will cost you a few thousand.

Fixed lenses are nice but there is no zoom; plus side is they are FAST.

If you go with a rebel just know that the lens that comes with the body if bought as a kit is basically garbage. I really don't know why they even sell them. Yes, it is a "zoom" but it's truly garbage.
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DanceTumbleCheerMom

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Reply with quote  #3 
I have a Canon T6I and it takes great pictures, even with the basic lens that came with it.   For my birthday this year, hubby got me this lens and its amazing.  I can now take great action shots.  

https://shop.usa.canon.com/shop/en/catalog/ef-70-300mm-f-4-56-is-usm
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meatball77

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Reply with quote  #4 
If you are fairly new to photography I'd start out with a fixed lens camera with a nice amount of zoom and several modes.  Then if you really get into photography you can get a really nice DSLR.

I took all my photos on a Cannon powershot until recently.  It was great for outdoor pictures and I was able to take photos that were acceptable on stage.  Here's one like it.  https://smile.amazon.com/Canon-PowerShot-Digital-1150mah-Accessories/dp/B00U6QD88O/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1494375800&sr=8-2-spons&keywords=powershot&psc=1
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joriebelle

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Reply with quote  #5 
What's with all you Canon people?!  LOL.  Listen to Noel, you need a fast lens that does well at high ISO with low light.  I have a Nikon D3 with a 70-200mm lens but it's a full-frame body.  You need AT LEAST 1/250 sec to capture action.  In a dark theater I shoot manual with F-stop 2.8, speed 1/250 sec, and the ISO set to 3200.  At the beginning of every dance I will meter the light and adjust the F-stop if it's too bright.   I will say that you get what you pay for so if you're not terribly picky you can get a decent camera for a few hundred but if you want great pictures you'll want a great camera.
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fishoutofwater

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Reply with quote  #6 
Thank you all. Very helpful information!!!!!
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1tinydancer

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Reply with quote  #7 
You've got some good advice here. I know some here have IG accts showing off their photography but I'm not going to out anyone. Some are really, really good too. I'm envious of their camera skills.

I'm a Nikon person myself and it's all about the lens. The body counts too but I think spending the money on a really good lens makes a difference.
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Noel

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Reply with quote  #8 
LOL Joribell, I should say this... if the photography bug bites you you may want to explore Nikkon; the after market is a little better for used lenses. Consider which brand you want before you jump off because once you get a body you are locked in to their lenses or lenses compatible with their lenses. I was gifted my first rebel and I've stuck with Canon because it's simply more economical to stick with the brand that I already own my different lenses from... One is not better than the other in my opinion. It's sort of like comparing Toyota to Honda... both are going to have a slight edge in one area or another but all in all both are good products.
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dave9988

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Some good advice here for sure.

I'm a Nikon man, for no real reason other than I picked that over Canon when I bought my first DSL.  Canon and Nikon are the big players in the DSL world.  There are now some impressive mirrorless products, but that’s another story.  Once I dropped money on a 70-200 f/2.8 zoom lens – to really capture those theater action shots - it would be silly to switch.  

Someone mentioned that it’s all about the lens (“glass” if you want to sound snobby).  There’s absolutely some truth to that (and that's where I eventually spent on my first upgrades).  But consider that in the digital world, the sensor in the camera is your "film," and with better film, you can get a better image.  So the body matters more than it did in the old days.  In a dark theater it's not necessarily the number of "megapixels" that matter, it's the ability to capture a shot with high ISO that's not so full of grain as to render the image useless.  My D5100 didn't really well over ISO 2500, I found 3200 was sometimes acceptable (and certainly necessary).  So I upgraded to a D750, which has much less grain even at 5000 or more.  The effective zoom isn't as powerful; that’s a trade-off of going from a crop sensor (“smaller film/negative”) to a full sensor (“larger film”).   Spend thousands on the latest pro bodies, and ISO 8000 or more might be perfectly acceptable.  But ... that's a heck of a lot of money, and as much as cameras are electronics?  Yeah, they don't last forever any more.

In the end a lot of it comes down to how much you think the bug will bite you, how much you think you’ll want to learn & grow with your photography, and how much you want to spend.  Like everything else, you’ll find things are more expensive than you hoped.  Also, this all presumes that you have permission to shoot in those dark theaters … that’s not always a given, even without flash.

Almost every camera will have a full auto mode, or shutter priority mode.  You’ll probably want to start with those modes.  Anything will do well outside.

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threedancingdaughters

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Reply with quote  #10 
I use an older Canon t3. (Desperately wanting upgrade to something with better ISO range/quality!) and got a Tamron f2.8 70-200 lens. Lens was spendy, not quite as much as Canon lens would've been, but I was able to take some pretty decent pics at our comp last weekend (which did allow non-flash). Mostly set at f2.8, 1/500 to 1/800 shutter speed and ISO of 1600. Good advice from others above too! Dance photography is fun and addicting [smile]

for learning how to use my camera, I found an online photo course that broke everything down and explained very simply and very thoroughly what the settings on the camera mean and how to shoot in manual mode, and it was the best money ever spent! So much more helpful than any written manual was for me!
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dave9988

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Reply with quote  #11 
I'll throw this out there as well ... if you want to try expensive gear before buying, there are a couple of reputable camera / lens rental outfits.  I've personally used borrowlenses a couple of times, and it's always been a very professional experience.  Some folks suggest renting rather than buying.  It all depends on how many times you think you'd use a specific piece of gear.

I've also bought some used gear from KEH.  I generally don't do that for the things I figure I'll use the most. They are generally considered to be a trusted outfit, and I have no complaints from my purchases.  Occasionally they have email discount codes that don't last long (sometimes less than a day), but are useful if you can wait and know what you want.
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1tinydancer

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Reply with quote  #12 
For the photographers out there, do you find having a shutter speed of say 1/500 is fast enough for jumps/leaps? And there is no blur?

FWIW, I have the same camera body and lens as dave9988.

What was the class you took threedancingdaughters? I've looked locally for classes, read info online, gone outdoors and practiced, but I know I still have a lot to learn. And I really want to learn.
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PasDeChatMom

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Reply with quote  #13 
1tinydancer - IME 1/500 is fast enough. I've got some shots of my dad playing tennis that are 1/250 I believe but at f8 (wasn't going for the artistic bokeh). 

As far as classes go - I've enjoyed taking the classes from KelbyOne and Lynda. I've also taken a couple of in-person classes from a local magazine that runs photo workshops (https://www.ahpw.org) - obviously that won't help you but maybe there is something similar you could find in your area?
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1tinydancer

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Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PasDeChatMom
1tinydancer - IME 1/500 is fast enough. I've got some shots of my dad playing tennis that are 1/250 I believe but at f8 (wasn't going for the artistic bokeh). 

As far as classes go - I've enjoyed taking the classes from KelbyOne and Lynda. I've also taken a couple of in-person classes from a local magazine that runs photo workshops (https://www.ahpw.org) - obviously that won't help you but maybe there is something similar you could find in your area?


I love me some bokeh! The dancers I usually photograph sometimes ask for 'the blurry background'!
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PasDeChatMom

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Reply with quote  #15 
Me too! I'm the same way with my dance photos - I'm cheap and run around almost exclusively with a 50mm 1.8 on my camera but I'm also not shooting in dark theaters. 
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threedancingdaughters

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Reply with quote  #16 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1tinydancer
For the photographers out there, do you find having a shutter speed of say 1/500 is fast enough for jumps/leaps? And there is no blur?

FWIW, I have the same camera body and lens as dave9988.

What was the class you took threedancingdaughters? I've looked locally for classes, read info online, gone outdoors and practiced, but I know I still have a lot to learn. And I really want to learn.


The class I took was through Shultz photo school, it's geared towards parents who want to take better photos of their kids. It goes though very logical, easy to understand ways of explaining aperature/ISO/exposure/etc, and gives lots of demos and examples. I think they are developing a sports photography course also.

I've had very minimal blur at 1/500 so far. Caught some great action shots of leaps, acro/tumbling. My camera body is older and gets grainy with higher ISO, but I'm ok with the results until I can get an upgrade. I'll try to post one of my pics if I can figure out how to get it uploaded!
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dave9988

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Reply with quote  #17 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1tinydancer
For the photographers out there, do you find having a shutter speed of say 1/500 is fast enough for jumps/leaps? And there is no blur?

FWIW, I have the same camera body and lens as dave9988.

What was the class you took threedancingdaughters? I've looked locally for classes, read info online, gone outdoors and practiced, but I know I still have a lot to learn. And I really want to learn.


I rarely shoot stage photos faster than 1/400, mostly because they tend to be so dark.  And that speed is generally fine.  There's not typically much motion blur at that speed, even with most jumps & leaps.  The most common exception I think are some of the real explosive men's solos.

A little blur just in the fingertips or toes are sometimes OK anyway.  Depending on the rest of the image, that can add to the feeling of motion.
 
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