Canon Community Canon Community

New Contributor
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎02-02-2013

Best choice for a noob

Okay - I'm sure all of you professionals in the forum have answered this question a million times but please be patient with a noob and give me a straight answer - thanks in advance.


This is not my first stop - I've been researching, asking, shopping, etc. for months (and now I'm more confused than ever!) - in short - here's what I want - a camera for a new-ish user (I am a technophile so I'm not frightened - I learn quick) - I do a lot of video now but want to begin taking good to great stills of mostly my kids in all their endeavors (football, soccer, skateboarding, school, etc., etc., etc.).  I love the photos other parents take that stop the action, focus on the subject and leave the background out-of-focus - that's what I want to do.  I have a fairly limited budget - I'd like to get something that will last me a couple of years and then look to upgrade.


I have a good video camera so I don't need my SLR to do that - please guide me to a body and a lens (some zooming for sports) and maybe where I can get a good, basic education so I have a jumping-off point.  Most of my photos will be displayed digitally (web, etc.) with some printed from time to time - not looking to sell pictures or be published (at least initially!).


I found a good deal on a T2i on Craig's List but I have no idea if that will fit my needs.


Help please - if I haven't given you enough details please ask - I'd really like to figure out what I'm doing before sports start this spring.


Thanks so much!

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 2,341
Registered: ‎11-14-2012

Re: Best choice for a noob

I'm not a pro but I have been published & get paid for some of my photos BUT that's because I do insurance appraisals of collector cars & a cheap P & S will work for that. That said I shoot action & have for the last 5 years & it's fast paced & requires the same skill set shooting many sports does. Your specific list needs both a camera & lenses that AF very fast & lenses will be the budget killer. With the right lenses you won't need to crop deeply into a frame which means you could use older pro bodies which can be bought at bargain prices these days. Bodies to consider are the 1D2n, 1D3 plus the current 7D (in my opinion). Unfortunately I don't know how close you can be to the action so recommending lenses isn't as easy but the 70-300 L IS is a worthy contender due to it's range coverage & very fast AF & IQ. You however may be fine with a much cheaper (try to by used from the local market) 70-200 f4 L which doesn't have IS but most of the sports your looking at won't really need it.

For the portrait stuff you'll need something with a wide aperture to get that blurred background & there are several contenders that can be bought on a budget, but you'll need to consider the crop factor of the body while shopping. the 7D amplifies the advertised length of a lens by 1.6, the 1D2n & 1D3 are 1.3 times that length so in the simplest of terms the 50 mm f 1.4 if used on a full frame body is a 50 mm lens, but on a 1D2n /1D3 it's now going to act like a 65 mm lens & on the 7D (or a Rebel series etc) it suddenly an 80 mm lens. The DOF (depth of field) also changes on each body when using the very same settings. DOF increases with crop factor increases. 

The 7D has a much simpler menu system than the 1D2n, & the 1D3 is in between on that but the 1D3 had a lot of AF issues when it was first marketed but I think most that had issues should have had that sorted out thanks to Canon working with the buyers to make things right, but there's still the chance some buyers never worked their cameras in a way that the realized they had issues. If they didn't see a problem they weren't likely to return the body so if you're thinking 1D3 shop carefully.

"A skill is developed through constant practice with a passion to improve, not bought."
Respected Contributor
Posts: 1,861
Registered: ‎12-02-2012

Re: Best choice for a noob

[ Edited ]



1.)  What is your budget?

2.)  Are the sports outdoors in daytime, or indoors in a gym?


A crop frame camera (Rebel T2i or T4i, or 60D or 7D) will give you a massive boost in lens length, with its 1.6x focal length multiplier.  Assuming you are not shooting dim indoor basketball, etc., you are doing great, and maybe even better, not using a full frame body.  Long telephoto lenses (with good image quality) are insanely expensive, so this in-camera telephoto boost is very nice to have for sports.


A 7D has an incredible autofocus ability for sports, and they are very cheap these days, as these bodies are almost 4 years old, and are rumored to be due for a replacement..


For a lens, I agree with Cicopo that a 70-200 f/4 is (relatively) inexpensive and has good image quality.  You can pick up a 1.4x teleextender to use with that lens to give even more reach.  Stay away from 2x teleextenders, because they hurt the image quality too much.


A T2i would be basically as good as almost anything below the 7D, though not as good as the 7D.  The new T4i Rebel actually has a very much improved autofocus for sports, so if you can't quite reach the 7D, and you can spend more than the T2i, the T4i would be very good.


Canon 5d mk 4, Canon 6D, EF 70-200mm L f/2.8 IS mk2; EF 16-35 f/2.8 L mk. III; Sigma 35mm f/1.4 "Art" EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro; EF 85mm f/1.8; EF 1.4x extender mk. 3; EF 24-105 f/4 L; EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS; 3x Phottix Mitros+ speedlites

Why do so many people say "FER-tographer"? Do they take "fertographs"?
Super Contributor
Posts: 222
Registered: ‎12-29-2012

Re: Best choice for a noob

Excellent advice from both cicopo and ScottyP. If if you got the the budget and can squeeze it in my first choice would be:

- 7D (excellent deals right now)
- 15-85 or 17-55
- 70-200 f/4 or 70-200 f/4 IS

I like the idea of adding the 1.4 Extender for more reach with a constant aperture lens as opposed to extending your reach with a variable aperture lens like the 70-300L. This gives you some options and flexibility based on your lighting conditions.
powered by Lithium

LIKE US on Facebook FOLLOW US on Twitter WATCH US on YouTube CONNECT WITH US on Linkedin WATCH US on Vimeo FOLLOW US on Instagram SHOP CANON at the Canon Online Store
© Canon U.S.A., Inc.   |    Terms of Use   |    Privacy Statement