1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Camera recommendation

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Bob Smith, Jan 21, 2016.

  1. Bob Smith

    Bob Smith New Member

    Have two jobs where I take a lot of my own photos and the companies I work for (notice I did not say "shops") aren't going to buy me cameras and don't even have them to loan. I'm not going to plunk down $1000 for a camera and lens but want to know if I can land in the $500 range and can get some decent equipment that can capture clear action shots from 20-30 yards away or even just someone preparing to shoot a free throw or take a penalty shot. I'm a little bit artistic, but not mechanically inclined or tech-savvy.
  2. Rhody31

    Rhody31 Well-Known Member

    Don't buy a camera. Just don't. Use your phone. If bosses don't like the pics, tell them to buy the camera because you can't afford one or give you a significant raise so you can pay for it.
    SFIND likes this.
  3. murphyc

    murphyc Well-Known Member

    A few years ago, I was able to buy used Nikon D1H bodies for $200. But I think that place went out of business. Best bet is probably looking for used DSLRs at a place like B&H Photo or KEH.com, plus used lenses. Should be able to snag a 50/1.8 for less than $100. Canon and Nikon both make good stuff, but at least on Nikons some of the lower end DSLRs (the D40, for example) don't have internal focusing motors. That means it depends on the lens having its own focusing (Silent Wave Motor in Nikon terminology), or else you have no autofocus.
    Or, what Rhody said. :D
  4. SportsGuyBCK

    SportsGuyBCK Active Member

    What Rhody said ...
  5. SFIND

    SFIND Well-Known Member

    Sorry Bob, you're just not going to get good quality at what you're looking to shoot for $500. If you're wanting to take pictures of free throws or penalty shots, I take it you're mostly looking to shoot indoor sports, a la basketball or hockey. Congratulations, you've chosen one of the most difficult lighting subjects on Earth because you need a fast SS, large aperture and high ISO. Translation: you need a lens that can autofocus fast in bad light, has at the very worst a constant aperture of f/4 (f/2.8 is really more like it) and a camera body that can produce clean images at ISO 3200. Yeah, not gonna happen for $500.

    I shoot Nikon and am only familiar with their bodies, but at the cheapest I could recommend would be a used D300s (right now cheapest on Amazon $300) and an 85mm 1.8 lens (cheapest now on Amazon $393). That combination is still going to limit you... you can take pictures of 20-30 yards away, but can't photograph anything closer and get it all in frame and photograph anything further away and expect it to be more than an 1/8th the size of your image.

    Are their cheaper cameras? Sure, but they won't cut it for shooting action in a dimly lit gym. You could go out right now and buy something like a D3300 and use the kit lens that comes with it. Total for that is about $450. Know what the quality of your images would be shooting with that camera and 18-55? Look below.


    If you're fine with that quality, $500 will get you it. But in reality, that's a bad image technically (grainy, bad color, out-of-focus) and artistically (no clear subject, doesn't tell a story). And that's about the best you can get for $500.

    Either live with that quality or invest in tools that will allow you to produce better images (or get your companies to buy you the necessary tools).
  6. SoloFlyer

    SoloFlyer Active Member

    Never buy equipment that your company won't purchase for you. Camera equipment is far too expensive, as SFIND detailed.

    So time to have a chat with the boss. Either they spring for the camera themselves, are willing to reimburse you for you ordering it, or they have to settle for smartphone camera shots.

    Or they can hire a freelancer who has the equipment already.
  7. reformedhack

    reformedhack Active Member

    If you're a freelancer, then, yes, you're on your own to buy whatever equipment you need to do your job. But if you're not, I'll add my support to those posts that suggest you shouldn't buy equipment your company needs for you to do your job.

    I assume you get reimbursed for mileage if you drive your own car somewhere to cover something, right? Paying for camera equipment out of your own pocket to do your job is not substantially different than if your company told you to drive somewhere in your own vehicle — putting wear on your tires, using your gas, burning your oil, etc — without reimbursement.

    Even if you're into photography and want a bitchin' camera for yourself, remember: The more you use the camera, the more wear you put on it — and the more you expose it to theft or damage. What happens if you drop it and break it in the line of work? Will your company reimburse you? (Doubtful, if it won't buy one up front.)

    Just don't do it. Don't set a precedent where your employers might feel more comfortable taking other liberties — not paying for meals or lodging on the road, asking you to work on holidays without holiday pay, saying you're not on the clock when you're traveling to an event, etc.
    SFIND likes this.
  8. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Well-Known Member

    I had a managing editor try to pull that shit on me when I was a rookie 25 years ago working a high school beat. Tried to tell me that my driving time was not on the clock, and that my driving time was covered by my mileage reimbursement. I knew better. Told him the mileage reimbursement was for my car only, and that my time was paid for so long as I was doing something for them work-related. He knew I knew the facts and backed down.

    Moral of the story: NEVER pay for something or do something for free for your employer and definitely don't pay for things your employer should buy to help you do your job. You have an agreement with your employer. You work for them, they pay you money. That's all it is. An agreement that doesn't mean much in the end. Otherwise, if you start footing the bill, what's to keep them from saying you need to buy your own laptop to use for work?
  9. Ice9

    Ice9 Active Member

    I would recommend some sort of "bundle pack" with a long lens. You can get a Nikon D3200 or D3300 bundle pack with a 55-200 lens on Amazon for around $500. Both are very reliable.
  10. MeanGreenATO

    MeanGreenATO Active Member

    I was thinking of getting the D3300. I want a DSLR to shoot video.

  11. SFIND

    SFIND Well-Known Member

    Yeah sure, get a D3300. Just don't expect professional (or even adequate for newsprint) results shooting action indoors. Which is, you know, what the OP wants to do. See my example in above post (pic from a D3000, though I doubt the newest gen can do much better) for what this combo produces indoors. Also if the OP gets a 55-200, good luck shooting indoors at f/5.6 at 200mm as your largest aperture. Hope you like soft images!
  12. RedCanuck

    RedCanuck Active Member

    We have a D3100 at our office and I haven't had a problem with it. Pump up the ISO setting to High 1 and you should be able to shoot clear action indoors — and one of the gyms we shoot in is really, really dark. We've used it for junior hockey, too, which is about as fast as you can get and we're able to stop action just fine.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page