Quantcast

Potographing downhill racing and riding, camera choice?

muddy beast

Turbo Monkey
Nov 26, 2005
1,819
0
Hey,
I've been looking into getting a digital SLR for about a year now and I may just be purchasing one in the next month or so. I was wondering what cameras people use to take their downhill or mountain biking photography? Also I was wondering if anyone rides with there SLRs in there camelbacks to take a picture on demmand of theirs friends or of portraits.

I have been looking at buying a Canon Rebel XTi SLR camera for mountain bike photos perticularly, but also for all my other photography. The features on it I like are the compact size in comparison to other camera so I can fit it in my camelback Mule, the filter cleaner, the 10 megapixels so I can do mass editing on the computer and zoom in on the computer what I may have missed in real life, the quick start-up time, and the fast pictures so I can get thoughs air shots and not have any blur, and lastly the price.

Can anyone help me lean in the final direction of putting out the money for a good quality camera? And does anyone have any suggestions toward a different camera?

My price range is around $750 USD, but the lower the better since its taking money from my bike funds...I will likely use Ebay to purchase the camera cheap.

P.S. Any lense recomendations too?
*and my bad for spelling "Photographing" wrong...and posting in the wrong place (?)*
 

kidwoo

Celebrating No-Pants Day
Aug 25, 2003
22,269
1,958
In my pants
Oh great.....this got moved to a forum with less than 5% of the intended audience where the original poster wanted it.

stoopit
 

Kornphlake

Turbo Monkey
Oct 8, 2002
2,639
0
Portland, OR
I'm not a big fan of the Rebels, the grip is too small for me and I've unfortunately used the scroll wheel on the back of the higher end cameras so the navigation arrow buttons seem pretty cumbersome.

That said anything with a larger grip or with a scroll wheel will either cost you a lot more or will have much older technology and you will only be able to find it used on ebay. I'm thinking something like a 10D or maybe a 20D would be my choice in that budget, but you'll have to decide wether a few, if any, added features and better controls/ergonomics are worth the expense of a few megapixels and a heavier larger body.

I don't know what you're looking for in terms of lenses, assuming you're set on Canon, the 50mm F/1.8 is a good fast lens that you can find cheap. It doesn't have USM so it doesn't focus quite as quick as some of the higher end lenses, but it cost less than $100 which makes it a good value and the aperture is so big it will be usefull long after most zooms have been put back in your camera bag. Whatever kit zoom lens you can come up with will be junk by most serious photographer's standards but may serve you pretty well, for the price the kit lenses are also a good value, just don't expect amazing things from a $130 lens. It's hard to say what you'll need for certain, I'm saving for a 70-300 F/4-5.6 IS lens now, I plan on using it more for wildlife, but plenty of people have found it useful for sports.

If you can I'd get a good hot shoe flash too, if you're trying to get shots with a lot of motion blur you'll need a pretty strong flash, expect to spend as much for a flash as you would on a lens. They aren't cheap like they were 15 years ago, but they do a lot more neat things too.
 

Transcend

My Nuts Are Flat
Apr 18, 2002
18,045
0
Towing the party line.
No time to talk, 24 is on. Some cheap flashes are available, but they will u sually require an offshoe trigger (wizards etc) as the trigger voltages are pretty high (above the 6v canon recommends).

I am not a fan of the rebel because of the small size and low weight. It feels like a plastic toy. It's also not very rugged due to said plastic body. The 10d can be had used for around $500 with grip, and is a fantastic camera, with magnesium body. It lacks the higher MP count and much better Af of the newer bodies though.

The XTI has the advantage of a better processor, MUCH better AF and better low light performance (less noise at high iso).
 

muddy beast

Turbo Monkey
Nov 26, 2005
1,819
0
Oh great.....this got moved to a forum with less than 5% of the intended audience where the original poster wanted it.

stoopit
glad you see my delema...
:-/

And as for all the advice, thanks guys...its been helpful. My main delema behind getting an SLR is I'm coming from a cannon powershot were I just had tot get really lucky to get a good shot, in turn I take alot of photos to find that one perfect one. So because Im coming from a powershot, I dont know a whole lot about SLRs more then reviews and ads I read. The good thing is I'm willing to sit down for weeks to learn how to use all the controls and what not, but I dont know them yet.

Ill look into the 10D cameras used, but is the 10d much more difficult to use then the XTi?

thanks...
 

Transcend

My Nuts Are Flat
Apr 18, 2002
18,045
0
Towing the party line.
The 10d has less features than the xti. It's an older camera. The reason it gets recommended a lot is it is much sturdier than the xt/xti and has a larger form factor. It just feels more comfortable in the hand, but that's a personal thing. It may not work better for you. The magnesium body though is a big plus if you aren't gentle with your gear. I have one I keep as a backup, 4 years and it's still ticking.
 

muddy beast

Turbo Monkey
Nov 26, 2005
1,819
0
hmm well I think it all comes down to having to hold these cameras in my hand...

I looked at the 10d and 20d on ebay, it seems the price varries but overall the 10d is cheapest used but it has 6 MP...which is lower then I'm looking for. The 20d seems to be pretty nice and 8 MP sounds about right for what Im looking for, but im not sure. And the XTi has good MP and is small so I know I can carry it around, however its also the most expensive at $700-800 for the kit.

Any extra help for the amateur would be greatly appreciated.
 

blue

boob hater
Jan 24, 2004
10,165
0
california
If you're printing anything, 8mp is about the minimum.

When I find a pile o' cash I'm picking up a 20D. I abuse my **** too much to get a Rebel.
 

muddy beast

Turbo Monkey
Nov 26, 2005
1,819
0
Why do you want so many pixels?
I've grown up in the world of digital editing, and was really into graphics for a few years. I find the bigger the picture, the easier it is to edit things and make it smaller and get better quality.

Like I said I'm sorta a noob when it comes to SLR cameras, so I probly dont need to edit anything after taking a picture...but I have yet to be proven wrong of my theories, feel free to correct me.
 

muddy beast

Turbo Monkey
Nov 26, 2005
1,819
0
If you're printing anything, 8mp is about the minimum.

When I find a pile o' cash I'm picking up a 20D. I abuse my **** too much to get a Rebel.
is that the only reason your getting a 20D over an XTi? I'm very good at taking care of my stuff, does this come into play?
 

w0ntwan

Chimp
Apr 2, 2004
38
0
San Luis Obispo
I've had my XTi for the past six months and love it.

As said earlier, not having the dial on the back is a little troublesome but as an amatuer it is still plenty of camera. One huge advantage is the big screen on the back, a lot easier to see when compared to the older canon cameras.

As for durability, if you are good to your equipment then you shouldn't have an issue with the camera. As mentioned earlier, if you are going to bring it on rides, it is lighter than the 10d and 20d.

The lense that comes with the camera, the 18-55mm is decent enough to get you started, I'm still using mine and the quality is decent enough. You will start to shoot with this lense and you will get a feel of what you want to expand to. I picked up a 70-300mm a couple of months ago, but I find that I still shoot with my smaller lense more.

Just go down to Best Buy and play around with it. Usually they'll have a few models for you to play with. Either way, you are getting a SLR and you are going to have fun.
 

muddy beast

Turbo Monkey
Nov 26, 2005
1,819
0
I've had my XTi for the past six months and love it.

As said earlier, not having the dial on the back is a little troublesome but as an amatuer it is still plenty of camera. One huge advantage is the big screen on the back, a lot easier to see when compared to the older canon cameras.

As for durability, if you are good to your equipment then you shouldn't have an issue with the camera. As mentioned earlier, if you are going to bring it on rides, it is lighter than the 10d and 20d.

The lense that comes with the camera, the 18-55mm is decent enough to get you started, I'm still using mine and the quality is decent enough. You will start to shoot with this lense and you will get a feel of what you want to expand to. I picked up a 70-300mm a couple of months ago, but I find that I still shoot with my smaller lense more.

Just go down to Best Buy and play around with it. Usually they'll have a few models for you to play with. Either way, you are getting a SLR and you are going to have fun.
great thanks! first hand comparison was helps alot.

keep 'em coming guys! :-D
 

Transcend

My Nuts Are Flat
Apr 18, 2002
18,045
0
Towing the party line.
I've grown up in the world of digital editing, and was really into graphics for a few years. I find the bigger the picture, the easier it is to edit things and make it smaller and get better quality.

Like I said I'm sorta a noob when it comes to SLR cameras, so I probly dont need to edit anything after taking a picture...but I have yet to be proven wrong of my theories, feel free to correct me.
More pixels doesn't really mean anything.

I can print huge images from a 6mp 10d, and the sports camera of choice, the entire world over, is the 8.2mp canon 1dmk2. It is also the photojournalist's tool of choice (soon to be replaced with the 1dsmk2 though here).
 

Kornphlake

Turbo Monkey
Oct 8, 2002
2,639
0
Portland, OR
Unless you are really set on owning a Canon (I own a Canon and can't really complain) I'd take a look at Pentax DSLRs as well, to me they are way ahead of Canon and Nikon as far as ergonomics and the AF Pentax cameras I've used have had much better auto focus in low light with cheap lenses, I know there are something like 3000 lenses that will fit the Pentax as their mounting system hasn't changed as lenses have evolved, you just won't be able to auto focus with some older lenses, if you like buying used you may be able to find some better deals on old Pentax lenses. The Rebel XTi is a new camera that I haven't had time to fiddle with though so it may be a better option if it weren't for the midget sized grip. There are a lot of cameras that sit in your budget it's just a matter of picking one, you can go used and get something that may be a little bit more durable and may feel better in your hands or you can get newer technology in a smaller package, it's really up to you and how much you think you'll use the various controls, how big your hands are, how long you can carry a weight around your neck without getting a headache...

Another thing to factor into your budget is a good gear bag, you don't really want your expensive camera and lens flopping around in your camelback, at the very least you want to put it into a padded holster style bag and pack that inside your camelback. I've got a big SLR that takes great pictures but most times I'll leave it behind if I'm planning on doing much ridding, I never enjoy ridding when I'm carrying it because I'm afraid I'll wreck and smash it.
 

ianjenn

Turbo Monkey
Sep 12, 2006
2,500
286
SLO
great thanks! first hand comparison was helps alot.

keep 'em coming guys! :-D
The 20D is pretty good, I think you may be able tio find a new one somewhere for like 700-800. It is fairly fast and has a sturdier feel to it than the XT. Look maybe at a 28-135 IS USM lens. I have 1 and it is pretty good. They cna be found on ebay for like $400 or so!
 

binary visions

The voice of reason
Jun 13, 2002
21,653
402
NC
If you're printing anything, 8mp is about the minimum.
Bulls**t. This is just wrong, wrong, wrong, and this kind of misinformation is what's causing the deluded buying public to purchase newer cameras with worse image quality because the manufacturers stuff extra megapixels into the sensor and declare it "better."

I print 8x10 and higher all the time with my 5mp Sony. Nikon's current sports camera, the D2Hs, is only 4mp and believe me, there are plenty of pros who are maybe, just maybe, making big-ass prints from it. People have been making a living for years with 4-6mp cameras and most recent tests show that large prints from 6mp compared to large prints from 10mp are virtually indistinguishable from each other. You have to quadruple the number of megapixels to simply double the resolution.

To the original topic, my biggest complaint with the XTi is that it's got a horrible build quality and I'm not a big fan of the ergonomics either. It's not comfortable in my hand and doesn't make me want to use it. If you're taking a lot of photos, something that feels good in your palm and something with a sensible layout is going to make a world of difference - I highly recommend going out and trying some cameras at the store. See which one you like. For example, I find Canon's ergonomics to be generally bad, never made much sense to me - Nikon feels comfortable in my hand. On the other hand, Transcend thinks Nikon's ergonomics suck. It's all personal preference.

Only real reason to stick with Canon is if you shoot ISO800-1600 on a regular basis. Though even at that, the newer Nikons are catching up and are by no means unusable at that range.
 

Strakar

Monkey
Nov 17, 2001
148
0
Portugal
If you're printing anything, 8mp is about the minimum.
Not true at ALL.

6mp is plenty for sports photography. Good lens, managing light skills (whether trough flashes or learning how to use available light), and good PP workflow will do much more for your photos than extra mp's.

As for the camera, you have to pick the XTi and see if you like the feel of it. If you do, it's a great camera, and probably apart from the 3 fps you'll be satisfied.

If you don't like the tiny grip, look into an used 20D, it's a faster camera, nicely built, and also with great IQ.

I had the XT and could not get past the grip. I used it with the battery grip, which negated it's small size and cost difference comparing with the 20D.

You might want to keep in mind that if you want to get serious later on, good lenses will probably be a necessity sooner than another body.
 

Transcend

My Nuts Are Flat
Apr 18, 2002
18,045
0
Towing the party line.
For example, I find Canon's ergonomics to be generally bad, never made much sense to me - Nikon feels comfortable in my hand. On the other hand, Transcend thinks Nikon's ergonomics suck. It's all personal preference.

Only real reason to stick with Canon is if you shoot ISO800-1600 on a regular basis. Though even at that, the newer Nikons are catching up and are by no means unusable at that range.
Actually, i donlt like the xt/xti either. Too small, cramped and plasticey. I like the giagntic layout of the 1dmk2, with the 10/20/30d in close second. I do much prefer the canon menus though, possibly in large part because i am very used to them and can operate them blind.
 

muddy beast

Turbo Monkey
Nov 26, 2005
1,819
0
all of this is starting to get over my head, I'm not going to lie.

But I think I'll take the recommendations and go to the store and try the feel of a few cameras. Do I need to go to a photography store to try all these cameras (10D, 20D, XTi, ect.) or will something like best buy have them all?
 

Kornphlake

Turbo Monkey
Oct 8, 2002
2,639
0
Portland, OR
You'll have to go to a good photo shop, a Ritz camera or Wolf camera or whatever the chain is called around here will most likely have a 30D on hand that you could try, both the 10D and 20D have been discontinued but the overall shape and feel is pretty much the same, a couple of the buttons may be moved around a little but the biggest difference between teh 30D and the 10/20D will be stuff that you can't feel, but you might see in your photos. An independant camera shop may have some used equipment, including a 20D that you could handle and employees at independant shops tend to be more knowledgable, they could reccomend lenses, flashes and other accessories you might need. Best Buy and Circuit City are not good places to shop for electronics, you'll spend more time waiting for a bone-head employee than you did last time you went to the DMV, at least at the DMV they'll answer questions though.
 

binary visions

The voice of reason
Jun 13, 2002
21,653
402
NC
But I think I'll take the recommendations and go to the store and try the feel of a few cameras. Do I need to go to a photography store to try all these cameras (10D, 20D, XTi, ect.) or will something like best buy have them all?
A good photo store will be more likely to have a variety of cameras, but Best Buy carries both Nikon and Canon, and typically has their consumer level models in-stock. That sometimes, and sometimes does not, extend to the mid-level models like the 20D. You'll have to check out your own local Best Buy to see.

A photo store will be more likely to give you a good test run with them, though, maybe supply you with a memory card to take test shots, etc.
 

Timekiller

Monkey
Oct 9, 2006
697
0
NJ
If you're printing anything, 8mp is about the minimum.

When I find a pile o' cash I'm picking up a 20D. I abuse my **** too much to get a Rebel.
I had to jump on this too... I own a (photo) Lab and I hate when people come in and make this claim. This is why I have a super clear 20x30 hanging above my register that I printed a while back off of a 3.2mp camera.
 

Timekiller

Monkey
Oct 9, 2006
697
0
NJ
And as far as a recomendation, as someone stated before.. go to a shop and feel the cameras and talk to the salesperson, let him/her know what you plan on shooting.. fast mtb sports ect. They should give you a good recomendation on a camera/lens.

BTW The rebel is an awesome camera! My GF shoots with canon, she has a dig. and film rebel. I have had many Nikons therefore have an extensive lens setup, so I won't be switching from nikon for a while.
 

muddy beast

Turbo Monkey
Nov 26, 2005
1,819
0
So I looked around online and stumbled upon the Canon EOS D60. Does anyone know anything about this camera compared to the Canon XTi and Canon 20D. I'm seriously considering the Canon 20D camera because of the raving reviews, fast shutter speed, and high burst rate (not to mention decent price). But the D60 is pretty darn affordable, but I cant find any info on it.

So who can help this Amatuer today?

P.S. Would it help if I post some pictures, to give a feel for the photography I take?
 

muddy beast

Turbo Monkey
Nov 26, 2005
1,819
0
Alright...not to be a pain in the but, but regardless of personal things such as feel of a camera, ect. what is the best overall camera for price and general picture quality of high speed sports (downhill).

-Pentax K100D
-Canon XTi
-Canon 20D

Keep in mind, the cheaper I can get it the better lenses I can get. My budget remains about $750 and I'am really hoping I can get sick pictures out of this budget DSLR for when I go to Moab and Winterpark. Any final thoughts would be great. The Pentax seems to be a great amateur budget camera, but I dont know much about it or Pentax for that matter. The XTi remains a personal favorite, for so many ridiculous reasons since the small size doesnt bother me much *coming from point and shoots, I'm totally cool with awkward feel for a sick shot*. And the 20D just seems like a great camera for a decent price used.

I'm likely going to be using the kid camera for awhile since I dont know much about lenses. But feel free to suggest a lens that will focus fast and keep steady (no blur).

Thanks guys for all the help.
 

Strakar

Monkey
Nov 17, 2001
148
0
Portugal
So I looked around online and stumbled upon the Canon EOS D60. Does anyone know anything about this camera compared to the Canon XTi and Canon 20D. I'm seriously considering the Canon 20D camera because of the raving reviews, fast shutter speed, and high burst rate (not to mention decent price). But the D60 is pretty darn affordable, but I cant find any info on it.

So who can help this Amatuer today?

P.S. Would it help if I post some pictures, to give a feel for the photography I take?
Well the D60 has a more rugged body than the XTI/XT series, but it is a much slower operating camera, writing to CF card etc. I don't know much about the AF though, I only had limited time with one.

I'd still search for a used in good condition 20D. If that failed then a 10D or if you are confortable with the grip a XTI/XT (XTI has better focus though).

Your first step should be to go to a camera store and handle a XTI and a 30D (the 20D and 10D are similar in size and control location). Then start the search.
 

Strakar

Monkey
Nov 17, 2001
148
0
Portugal
Alright...not to be a pain in the but, but regardless of personal things such as feel of a camera, ect. what is the best overall camera for price and general picture quality of high speed sports (downhill).

-Pentax K100D
-Canon XTi
-Canon 20D

Keep in mind, the cheaper I can get it the better lenses I can get. My budget remains about $750 and I'am really hoping I can get sick pictures out of this budget DSLR for when I go to Moab and Winterpark. Any final thoughts would be great. The Pentax seems to be a great amateur budget camera, but I dont know much about it or Pentax for that matter. The XTi remains a personal favorite, for so many ridiculous reasons since the small size doesnt bother me much *coming from point and shoots, I'm totally cool with awkward feel for a sick shot*. And the 20D just seems like a great camera for a decent price used.

I'm likely going to be using the kid camera for awhile since I dont know much about lenses. But feel free to suggest a lens that will focus fast and keep steady (no blur).

Thanks guys for all the help.
US$750 won't get you any great lens, so you're probably going to get stuck with the kit lens.

When you do get to have some spare to spend on lenses, you'll find that Canon has a much larger product range than Pentax, and better AF. For sports I wouldn't go Pentax.

Between the 20D and XTi, I'd go for the 20D, the 5fps are handy sometimes, and the metal body and better grip are dealbreakers to me.

The added 2mp of the XTi are just not that important.

Edit: I read now that you don't mind the smaller size of the XTi.. then I guess it's a toss-up between 5fps and metal body against smaller size and mfg warranty. (I'd still go 20D though)
 

muddy beast

Turbo Monkey
Nov 26, 2005
1,819
0
Thanks for the imput Strakar, much appreciated.

More imput is welcome, and I dont know if this matters or not...but incase you guys didnt know I'm 15. And I will likely have what ever camera I get for a long time.
 

Timekiller

Monkey
Oct 9, 2006
697
0
NJ
I would stay away from pentax, as strakar said, you will find more lenses, better AF. Plus I have seen many broken pentax cameras in my shop, far more than any Nikon or Canon.
 

Kornphlake

Turbo Monkey
Oct 8, 2002
2,639
0
Portland, OR
It sounds like you are leaning pretty heavily toward the XTi, to give you another piece of encouragement from the other side the XTi has superior technology to the 20D, it's lighter and smaller and will come with a warranty. It makes a lot of sense to just get the XTi, unless you are a pro photographer, alot of the features that differ between the Rebel and 20D are pretty trivial. Chances are you'd never notice them if they were taken away aside from the feel and weight.

If you're thinking about lenses it may even be a good choice to buy a Rebel XT, rather than the XTi version. It looks like it'll save you about $180 that could be put toward a better lens. I think the Rebel XT uses the same CMOS censor and AF sensor as the 20D, it has gotten great results from several pretty serious amature photographers.
 

Tmeyer

Monkey
Mar 26, 2005
586
1
SLC
I bought a Rebel XT last year and have been very happy with it. I was in the same boat as you, wanting an SLR but unsure of what to go with. I ended up buying a kit off ebay that gave me the stock 18-55, tripod, two 1g cards, flimsy tripod and some other stuff(filters, carrying case). I have since purchased a canon 28-135 IS USM lens along with a speedlite 430 flash. The XT has been a lot of places with me and although the grip does bother me, I have had no issues with durability. I can also say that when I first got it, I was not careful enough and could have easiy broken my camera a few times. Since then I have bought a nice Burton Zoompack and have plans to get a chest harness for it in the future. I do like the new XTi because of the LCD size and self cleaning sensor(a big plus for those of us in dusty shooting environments). IMO the XTi is the way to go for a first time SLR buyer, just stay away from the little green box on the dial and have fun!
 

muddy beast

Turbo Monkey
Nov 26, 2005
1,819
0
Hmm thanks guys...this is all helping alot. Honestly the main reason the 20D is staying in my thoughts are the 5 FPS burst mode and getting it used at a decent price with most things I'll need (Batterys, tripod, ect.). But the XTi seems like a pretty good camera and the only major flaw being its size...which odly enough, is because its to small.

So heres a tricky one...What are the differences in the XTi and XT? The XT I can get alot cheaper and get a good flash and lense but I'm not sure. And how big of deal is it to have that fancy sensor cleaner? I have no idea what difference that will make for me. (I'll be shooting alot this summer in dusty and dry places, if that matters?)

Thanks again for all the help guys, I'm taking everything into consideration.

EDIT: Also, is a pack like this decent? This one