What Shoud You Purchase First?
I feel that learning sports photography is best accomplished by the hands on approach. You can learn about composition, ISO, shutter speed, aperture, focal length, etc. by reading articles. However, to truly understand how your camera works, you have to use it. And in order to do that, you need to, if haven’t done already, purchase your first camera, lens, and memory card. Without these essentials you might as well take up playing the air guitar.
Budget is probably one of your concerns as you enter the world of sports photography. You have probably heard that the necessary equipment to shoot sports at a professional level is expensive. And, it can be. But, since you are just starting out, you may only want to test the waters before you dive into the deep end. A large initial investment as a beginner is not needed. To save time I am going to suggest a couple cameras with accessories that you can start with. I have done the research so you don’t have to. They are budget friendly, have limitations but they will work fine until you gain more knowledge and experience and then you can upgrade.
And, yes, I know there are many more cameras by many manufacturers that could be showcased. These are just a couple suggestions.
First up the Nikon D3300 kit.
The kit comes with not only the D3300, which is a great starting point, but also two lenses. One is the Nikkor 18-55mm DX VR II and the other is the Nikkor 55-200mm DX VR II. Nikon has released the Nikon D3400 and is basically an upgrade. However, is it a better camera? The upgrades are pretty much nuances and for your purpose is not worth the added cost.
You will also need a memory card to capture your spectacular sports photos onto. All of this for a little over $517 will get you started.
(Full disclosure: I am compensated for my endorsement of CreativeLive. However, I have taken their classes and can attest they are informative and helpful.)
On the Canon side is the EOS Rebel T6 kit.
This kit along with the memory card and the EF-S 18-55mm and EF 75-300mm Zoom Lenses, sets you back about $526.
Why have I suggested these cameras? There are two main reasons. First, they are budget friendly. Second, these cameras are good enough to give you a taste of what sports photography is about. I would caution that they have limitations but with my help, you will learn how to utilize them to get the most out of them.
Interested in what the specs are for these camera kits? Check those out HERE
If you want the D3300 replacement, check it out here.
Nikon D3400 DSLR Camera with AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR and AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED If you don’t want to commit to a purchase just yet, check out renting the gear from borrowlenses.com or lensrentals.com. I have personally used borrowlenses.com and have had great success.
UPDATE Aug. 7, 2017: I shot an ASA/USA 18A fastpitch softball tournament and utilized the Nikon D3300 paired with the Nikkor 55-200 4-5.6 lens. I only spent about an hour and you can check out some of the unedited photos HERE.
After shooting the game and viewing the photos, I stand by my statement that this camera is a good starting point for getting a taste of sports photography. However, as I have mentioned, it does have limitations. You will need to be shooting an event with plenty of light. The camera’s focusing capabilities are a little slow and since you have probably been to a few sporting events, sudden athletic movements are common. This means you will have to keep that in mind when anticipating your shots.
So, check out the photos and make your own decision.
Ok, you have equipment, what’s next. Well, read the user manual and get familar with your equipment. Make sure you actually use your equipment along side reading the manual.
Once you know your equipent like the back of your hand, it’s time to learn about exposure. Check out my blog series on Constructing Exposure.
Have questions? Contact me and I will be happy to answers your questions.