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Photography Question 
Erik Rasmussen

Nikon or Canon, for sports

I have to opportunity to be the team photographer for a USHL hockey (unpaid,since it is a junior team). I have a Nikon collection, but none that is really usable for sports. I cant ignore the dominance of Canon at sporting events and was wondering if it was worth it to make the switch. I currently have a D70, but will be needing a much more powerful camera if I hope to make sports photography a living. Is it recommended for sports, to go with a 20D, or go with a used D100 (obviously would like a D200 or better, but its not in the budget)? Since most of the equipment will need to be upgraded, staying with Nikon only saves me a little bit (only the body), so just wondering if I should make the switch. Suggestions?

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10/2/2006 4:22:40 PM

Raymond H. Kemp
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/2/2004
  Since this is unpaid save your money and stay with the D70. The D70 has better electronics than the D100 and you won’t really gain anything switching to it. Nearly the same could be said about the Canon 20D although you will pickup a couple of mega pixels and more importantly it shoots at a maximum 5fps which for sports such as hockey is almost a must have. The D200 I think is a better way to go so you can hang on to your lens and it’s also rated at 5fps and over 10 mega pixels. But what you really need to look at is the glass that you will use. Consider the lighting conditions and how close you can get to the action. You may need to invest in a fast lens such as the Nikon 70-200 VR ED 2.8 or better to get the results you are looking for.

I noticed on your gallery you have taken some racing photos. What lens are you using now? It may work okay for your hockey photography.


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10/2/2006 6:48:20 PM

Erik Rasmussen   I had planned on getting a new lense, but was curious to see if it was not to late to switch since I was going to be spending some money. Theres got to be a reason why you see mostly Canon at sporting events and figured if it was worth it, nows the time to switch. I was looking for 5 fps and was thinking about the 20D if I was to switch.

Outside of most the macro shots, almost all the pictures on my site were with the same lense, 28-300mm 3.5-6.3. The team plays in Nationwide Arena which is where the Bluejackets play and I may have access to strobes. I guess I was wondering more of who has the better glass, Nikon or Canon? Im hoping this is the next step for me and figured i'd look over the 2 (nikon and canon) again before I start to move forward.

Thanks for the suggestions


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10/2/2006 7:02:55 PM

Raymond H. Kemp
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/2/2004
  As far a Nikon or Canon at sporting events it stems back to the early days of digital photography and how fast a lens can focus. Nikon was clearly a “Johnny come lately” in this department with their slow auto focus lenses compared to the much faster focusing Canons. Nikon has since come out with their Silent Wave technology on their higher end lens which now rivals the Canons in auto focus speed.

I’m a Nikon man myself and have been for over 30 years. Nikon lens have always be reputed for their outstanding quality and still hold that distinction today, especially their ED glass. Both Canon and Nikon have excellent glass and I doubt you will see much difference between the two on their higher quality lines. I do feel Nikon glass does hold an edge on superior quality over the Canon.


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10/2/2006 8:04:40 PM

Kerry L. Walker   Actually, the preference of sports photographers goes back even further than that, back before digital and even before autofocus. Many years ago, Nikon was the preferred camera of photojournalists while Canon was the preference of sports photographers. It was believed that Nikon had the advantage with the short glass whereas Canon had the advantage with the long lenses. These days I would suspect that distinction has been erased in both directions. I wouldn't pick one over the other based on the glass as both have excellent lenses. In fact, if the glass was the only reason for picking a camera, we would all be using a Leica or Contax (who is now out of business) based on the quality of the Leica and Zeiss lenses.

Having said all that, I do believe Canon has had an advantage over Nikon in the digital realm until recently. I think that advantage has been pretty well erased too.

If I was you, I would make my decision on which camera system to choose by which one feels the best in your hands. I recently decided to upgrade and went with Nikon because of the ergonomics (and because I believe the Nikon flash system is ahead of Canon). Handle the cameras you are trying to decide between and see which fits better and which you find easier to use. I don't think you will make a bad decision whichever way you go.

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10/3/2006 6:25:04 AM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/18/2000
  Canon is the overwhelming favorite of sports photographers because they were ahead of Nikon in offering (a) fast frame rate (10 fps with the 1N RS and 1V, 8.5 fps with the 1D), (b) fast autofocus with in-lens USM, and (c) Image Stabilization. Nikon has since matched these key features with 8 fps F6 and D2Hs, AF-S, and VR. Someone entering the field now does not necessarily have to go with Canon.

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10/3/2006 6:55:09 AM

JAMK  Photography
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/13/2004

I've considered switching to Canon myself and I'm also a team photographer for a minor league basketball team and a former team photographer for an arena fb team. However, Nikon fits better for me and I like the Nikon Creative Lighting System. I mainly shoot sports and I think Cannon Mark II is slightly faster in focusing over my D2H but I didn't think it was that much of a difference to switch.

I also have a D200 and love it. I think the images are better than the my D2H, the noise for sure. I have the D70 also and used it for sports, it does fine but you will need to time your shots more. My partner used it as his primary until he got a D2xs and he got awesome shots with his D70.

My advice to you is buy the D200 and a nice f/2.8 lens. A 70-200mm f/2.8 would work just fine for Hockey.

Contact me if you want and I'll be happy to help you (tips) out with your hockey team may be unpaid by the team but there's ways to make some cash.

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12/5/2006 5:27:36 AM

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