Thursday, August 03, 2006

Any sports photographers in the crowd?

Fun link: Signs Fantasy Baseball Is Not Your Thing, snagged from AN. Because, you know, I'm gearing up for a good discussion on Saturday at book club.

This blog entry isn't really about baseball. Not directly, anyway.

I've discussed it with a few of you, but I'm looking to get a digital SLR camera before I head off to Japan at the end of the month. Quite frankly, it's no fun to go to a baseball game there and not sit in the outfield seats with the oendan cheering group... but, a LOT of my photos that I've taken of baseball stuff on past trips to Japan, quite frankly, suck ass, since I was just using my point-and-click little Powershot digital camera from said outfield seats. The last time I brought an SLR to Japan was five years ago, and we didn't go to any baseball games on that trip.

The problem is, all of my old SLR stuff is Minolta. My dad gave me his SRT-102 when I was about 16 years old (and it was about 20 years old). I've got a 50mm lens I used for most things, and a sweet Spiratone 500mm 1:8 Mirror Minitel telephoto lens that I used as binoculars at sporting events, and a few varied other lenses that I rarely used. And either way, Minolta is a dying breed, and I'm not actually sure any of my lenses would work in the supposedly-compatible Sony dSLR cameras anyway. I'm basically starting from scratch.

So, I'm looking at acquiring a Nikon D50, which seems like a nice starting point. I've been trolling around various camera stores in Seattle the last few days, and it seems like the "standard" kit at most places includes an 18-55mm lens. This all seems pretty reasonable for a start.

The problem is, what lens do I get that I can shoot from a distance with? Namely, the distance between the first few rows of outfield seating, and home plate? Paul's recommended the 70-300 lens; due to the nature of dSLR's multiplying the focal point by 1.5 or whatever, it seems like the 300 setting would almost be equivalent to what I'm used to with my old 500mm, and there's a version of it that sells for relatively cheap, so I wouldn't be breaking the bank to try it out (which is also a requirement. I'm not buying any damn expensive lenses until I really can get my money's worth out of them).

I'm kind of interested in hearing what digital SLRs other people are using for amateur baseball photography, day or night, indoors or outdoors, etc, and especially if they're working with Nikon. I'm almost definitely going to pick up the D50 kit with the 18-55 lens tonight (Thursday), because I'd like a chance to start playing with it this weekend during the Mariners-A's series. But I'll be shopping around for lenses for the rest of the month, most likely.

So, any camera advice would be greatly appreciated. Remember, you'll be rewarded in the end with lots of cool pictures of Japanese baseball miscellany!

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