Action

Action photography is probably the second most demanding type of photography there is. I place it second behind people photography because it is largely "skill based" and anyone can learn the skills required.

Action photography is also possibly the most expensive type of photography one can do. That's because it is very demanding of the gear. The faster your subject is, the faster you and your gear has to be. The smaller the subject is the bigger the lens will need to be. You get the idea.

So let's talk gear first. Professional level action photography requires a camera that focuses VERY fast with excellent subject tracking capability. The camera has to perform well at high ISO's in order to enable faster shutter speeds. The lenses required are very long, ~ 400mm minimum, and they also have to be fast with wide apertures in order to allow faster SS's. This means it is EXPENSIVE. We're talking about pieces of equipment that cost many thousands of dollars *each.* And then you have to add in heavy duty tripods and specialty tripod heads.....it adds up very quickly!

The point here is that you shouldn't expect that just buying a DSLR is going to really improve your ability to get pictures of your kids playing soccer. In fact, the small sensor super-zoom camera may be a better choice for you. Yes, it will have more limitations than a pro setup does, but it also costs a whole lot less.

So what is the "minimum equipment requirement?" Well, there isn't one really. Anything you can buy will have it's own particular issues. Let me try to break it down for you in what *I* might  consider the minimums to be. I'll break the list down by subject-equipment-good/bad.

Sports- Super-Zoom camera- low cost, long lens, good for sunny days, poorer high ISO performance, slower AF.

Sports/ Motor Sports/larger Wildlife- Entry DSLR w/ 200mm lens- higher cost, shorter lens, better for less sunny days due to better high ISO performance, better AF

Birds/ Aviation- Entry DSLR w/ 300mm lens- longer lens for the smaller subject...300mm really is about the minimum. I'm often working at 800mm. 

You'll notice that I didn't list a "pro DSLR" or a 400mm f/2.8 and TC's event hough that's what I use.  Even the best gear isn't going to be able to get good shots in every situation.

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