Best long lens fopr action photography - Nikon

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esp_imaging
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Posted Tue May 28, 2013 12:45PM

I'd welcome thoughts on long lens options for covering competitive tennis and other action sports. Nikon fit only, please.
My primary concern is outdoors during daylight, but obviously low light performance is a consideration.
Whilst I want a decent spec lens, I can't justify 300mm f/2.8's, 400mm f/4s or similar. 
Image quality and autofocus speed / accuracy are issues. I'll be using with D800 / D4 / D3x bodies (possibly swapping between2 different lenses on 2 cameras at the same time, it's most unlikely I'll have 2 D4's, unfortunately)

Options include :


80-400 f/4.5-5.6 (thoughts on the old, cheap version vs the new expensive version welcomed).


300 mm f/4


70-300 f/4.5-5.6

+ Various sigma & etc lenses


I already have the 70-200 f/2.8 VII.
If anyone has experience of the 300mm f/4 prime and the 70-200 with any of the standard teleconverters, I'd be grateful for opinions too.


 


 
cmannphoto
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Posted Tue May 28, 2013 1:20PM

I love my 400mm f2.8 as well as my 300mm f2.8. I have been shooting action/sports for over 30 years. I have always gone with the faster lenses. Even the other day I was shooting some horse racing in mid day sun but when the clouds moved in having the faster glass was great to have.

I picked up the TC17E II teleconverter before the 2008 Olympics and love it. 


Try to get the longest fastest lens you can afford, then add a good teleconveter to the collection.


I would check around your area for rental shops to test a couple versions, or just rent the big glass when you need it, if you are not shooting sports all the time.

I know several people love the 200~400mm f4 


Good Luck
erniedecker
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Posted Tue May 28, 2013 3:31PM
Since you already have the 70-200 2.8, I'd get either a 1.4 or 1.7 TC, or both. That would put you around 300mm which seems to be what you choices indicate would be enough reach.  If you're looking for something in addition to your 70-200, then I'd vote for the 300 f4. I used to have it and it's a great lens, although I don't shoot much sports.
ClarkandCompany
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Posted Wed May 29, 2013 12:50AM
Kelvin posted this in another forum


http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2013/03/the-requested-80-400-af-s-vs-70-200-vr-ii-and-2x-comparison


Don't forget you can always shoot in crop sensor mode too, especially the D800 has plenty of pixels to spare and that would give you a 300 2.8 just using the middle part of that great 70-200. For all those pixels the D800 ain't bad at high iso's as I'm sure you will know, way better than the D3x imho.

(Edited on 2013-05-29 00:52:00 by ClarkandCompany)
TexPhoto
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Posted Wed May 29, 2013 6:45PM

I would definitely start with a 70-200 f2.8.  The best VR Nikon if you can afford it, the cheapest used Sigma if thats your budget.  Assuming you are shooting on a crop sensor, 200mm is already pretty long. 


"D800 / D4 / D3x bodies"  What?  If that is your stable of cameras, you can afford good glass. OK, now my recomendation is I would definitely start with a 70-200 f2.8. 
ClarkandCompany
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Posted Wed May 29, 2013 11:20PM
nikonrumors has just put a piece up comparing the old and new 80-400's here
esp_imaging
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Posted Thu May 30, 2013 3:23AM
Thank you all for you comments.
To clarify:
I already own a D800 and D3x. I am considering trading the D3x for a D4.
I already own the 70-200 f2.8 VRII. I find it excellent, but I will need something longer.

Posted By ClarkandCompany:


nikonrumors has just put a piece up comparing the old and new 80-400's here



Great timing! Thanks for this.

I'm still weighing up options for a new lens and/or teleconverter and/or hiring.

As far as I can tell, lens hire is about twice as expensive in the UK as in the US, so it's more of a considered option here.

(Edited on 2013-05-30 03:27:58 by esp_imaging)
lostinbids
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Posted Thu May 30, 2013 8:09AM

You can hire a 200-400 f4 from these people http://www.hireacamera.com/lens_hire/detail.asp?model=747


£74 for a weekend doesn't sound too bad. 


I have the 1.7EII and it works well with the 70-200 2.8.  This is probably going to be your cheapest option and most convienient (teleconverter is a lot lighter and takes up a lot less space in your bag).  With the D800 you have a lot of crop room too, the d4 less so but then you have the speed to capture more action.
esp_imaging
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Posted Thu May 30, 2013 9:09AM
Thanks Jo. It looks a great lens.
I'll need it for 8 days inclusive, if that just counts as 1 week then the hire cost is £211 including courier. If I was using it every day for the full week this would be great, but unfortunately the specific job I have in mind is just for a few selected matches during the week, so my fee is proportionately small.
The hire price would get me most of the way to buying a teleconverter, or contribute a fair chunk towards a 300mm f/4. Having managed 10 years in business and never used anything longer than 200mm, I'm uncertain, but maybe I should just bite the bullet and buy a longer lens...
TexPhoto
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Posted Thu May 30, 2013 11:10PM

Awsome. knowing what you lready have makes this so much easier.


I would definitly recomend the 1.7X teleconverter.  (or the 1.4 or 2X, or both)  Image quality with your already awsome 70-200 will be good.  Probably as good as any inexpensive 300-500mm zoom.


The 200-400 is an awsome choice, just very expensive. I'd also consider the new Sigma 120-300 f2.8


I don't rent myself, it is just too expensive.  i find that I can buy a lens used, use it for a s long as i want, and sell it.  in the end my "cost" is pretty simmilar to a 4 day rental.  ocationally I break even or make a profit.  Of course you have to be good at buying and sellign on eBay, and you have to have the $.
Sieboldianus
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Posted Fri May 31, 2013 6:33AM
What do you think of the 80-400mm AF-S in terms of speed/shooting outdoor action. Is the 5.6 aperture limiting the use of it for capturing very fast movements? For example: I was only able to freeze some very fast movements with my old D300 and 2.8 70-200mm below 1/800th shutter speed. I guess this will be even more difficult with the 80-400mm because of its lesser light sensitivity. But then I have the D800, which has higher ISO. Does the higher ISO equally compensate for the slower glass?
esp_imaging
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Posted Fri May 31, 2013 9:14AM
Posted By Sieboldianus:
What do you think of the 80-400mm AF-S in terms of speed/shooting outdoor action. Is the 5.6 aperture limiting the use of it for capturing very fast movements?


Good question, although I think the speed / accuracy of the autofocus is a big part of the equation here too. So there will be a trade off between narrow aperture giving more depth of field, hence focus accuracy is less essnetial, but needing a longer shutter speed, so subject and camera movement are more of an issue. If anyone has first hand expereince of action shots with this lens I'd be most grateful to hear.


 
ClarkandCompany
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Posted Fri May 31, 2013 11:51AM
I have hired the odd long lens but found the hardest thing to adapt to is the physical size of these beasts and  the very limited field of view you have , you move a fraction and your tennis player is gone that combined with shutter lag, low light, fast moving objects etc is a recipe for a stressful shoot.....I try to stick to slow moving objects...


Anyways I found this helpful


http://blog.stanleyleary.com/2013/01/nikon-d4-sports-camera-setting.html


The D800 and D4 share the same AF unit. Another one 


http://d3lost.blogspot.dk/2012/04/testing-my-nikon-d4.html

Good luck!
Sorry could not make the links clickable 
(Edited on 2013-05-31 11:57:28 by ClarkandCompany)

(Edited on 2013-05-31 11:58:54 by ClarkandCompany)

(Edited on 2013-05-31 11:59:38 by ClarkandCompany)
Sieboldianus
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Posted Sat Jun 1, 2013 9:05AM

Posted By ClarkandCompany:
I have hired the odd long lens but found the hardest thing to adapt to is the physical size of these beasts and  the very limited field of view you have , you move a fraction and your tennis player is gone that combined with shutter lag, low light, fast moving objects etc is a recipe for a stressful shoot.....I try to stick to slow moving objects...


Anyways I found this helpful


http://blog.stanleyleary.com/2013/01/nikon-d4-sports-camera-setting.html


The D800 and D4 share the same AF unit. Another one 


http://d3lost.blogspot.dk/2012/04/testing-my-nikon-d4.html

Good luck!
Sorry could not make the links clickable 
(Edited on 2013-05-31 11:57:28 by ClarkandCompany)

(Edited on 2013-05-31 11:58:54 by ClarkandCompany)

(Edited on 2013-05-31 11:59:38 by ClarkandCompany)



Very helpfull, thanks! I never needed 1/2000th, but with the longer lens and higher resolution of the D800, it might be wise to limit the camera below this shutter speed. I will probably be shooting some action shots in 2-3 weeks with D800/80-400mm and look forward to try these tips.
esp_imaging
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Posted Mon Jun 3, 2013 9:39AM

I got a good deal on a used sigma 120-300 f/2.8 zoom (it's the brand new model, so maybe it's an ex- demo or something).
Will need to do a few test shots before the weekend to get used to it.

I was tempted by a used mint condition 200mm f/2 and a 2x teleconverter, for £3700 together, but sanity prevailed!


It sounds like the 70-200 plus 2x teleconverter may have been OK, but I will feel far happier with the 70-200 on one body and a 120-300 on the other. I would have felt a bit limited by having a TC on my only long lens, so I'd have my 24-70 on one body and a 140-400 on the other. I think the covering the 70-140 zoom range will be important.


I may still get a teleconverter, probably only the 1.4x, it gets consistently excellent reviews.
Sieboldianus
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Posted Fri Jun 7, 2013 8:32AM
I just ordered the 80-400mm AF-S and a Aquatech Sportshield SS-200+Eyepiece for D800. I will test this combo next week here in the Bay Area. Alltogether quite an amount, but luckily I don't think I'll need a TC.

(Edited on 2013-06-07 08:33:14 by Sieboldianus)
esp_imaging
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Posted Fri Jun 7, 2013 9:32AM
^^ Cool. We'll be able to compare notes!
I checked out the venue yesterday and I will be immediatly courtside, so I'll use the 70-200 quite a lot, but a bit longer will be great for some options.
ClarkandCompany
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Posted Fri Jun 7, 2013 12:33PM
I'm suffering from lens envy...Good luck with long new glass-
esp_imaging
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Posted Fri Jun 7, 2013 2:10PM
Thanks!
I'm amazed how cheap the sigma was. It has just been replaced by a newer model, but it seems to be quality based on test shots.
Sieboldianus
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Posted Sat Jun 8, 2013 10:29AM
Yes, look forward to comparing the 2.8 300mm to 4.5 400mm. For me, the longer reach was more important than light sensitivity (hopefully I won't be regretting this). I agree with Clark, the price is really one of the highest I have paid for a piece of gear.
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