Recommendation for an excellent SLR digital camera to capture sports images
I need a great SLR camera with a fast shutter speed, long focal length lens (or a recommendation for a separate lens) and rapid shutter release. All this with high quality images
Always an awkward sort of question to answer, as we don't know your expertise, or your budget.
In my opinion, if you want the best all-round for sports, I would recommend (obviously), the "Canon EOS 5D Mark 3" with a "EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS Lens"
The Canon EOS 5D Mark 3 has great pictures at all ISO's, and can shoot at 5.6 fps, great for sports. Auto-focus can be as fast as 0.2.seconds, again great for sports.
Couple that with the EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS lens and you can photograph almost anything! I've gone for this lens as it offers tons of options, including a fast auto-focus, and image stabilisation. It also stops you having to carry around loads of lenses.
I would love to own a set like this, but unfortunately the biggest stumbling block is the cost. These two together will retail anywhere from $4000 to $5500
You did ask for excellence!
Sony has a series of DSLRs called the Alpha Series. The ones on which the mirror does not move are fast, fast, fast at 10 frames per second. And they shoot great video as well. I bought one and am very happy with it. One of the perks with the sony alpha is that the old Minolta (bought by sony) AF film lenses fit the DSLR and the AF works. This makes additional lenses very affordable on ebay. I have purchased a 50mm portrait lens and a 100-200mm zoom lens, each for about $80 on ebay. You can get the camera and kit lens for well under $1000.
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