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 Post subject: Sports Photography
PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2008 3:08 pm 
I am now full frame with my shiny new D700!! I am looking for a lens which will give me good length and strong performance in low light.

The two lenses I'm looking at are the 70-200 (£1100) or the 70-300 (£290).

I know the 70-200 performs better in low light but does the performance shift justify the price diff? Will the D700s better low light sensor performance make a difference to the 70-300?

My main sports include rugby, football and hockey so there is some fast focus shifts and a reasonably high need for good low light performance... Does that mean the 70-300 is just too slow?

I would really apprecaite some feedback from people who have used these lenses or if you can suggest any others that perform well in these conditions. Cheers.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2008 8:15 am 
Hi Jatz,

I think the huge difference in price tell you something. mechanically (speed of AF), built quality and optically, 70-200mm is superior from 70-300.

Although the D700 (one of the best sports camera right now with d3 and canon 1d mark iii), has high range iso, but I will recommend you to to use lower iso as possible.

Between 70-300mm and 70-200, there is around 2 stops difference (aperture). I think it will deteriorate the image quality especially details in low light condition for example indoor or night sport.

With big aperture of 2.8, you can also have a shallower depth of field effect.

However 200mm is quite short, especially if you shoot in full frame format.

I use crop factor camera of 1.6 (Canon 40D) and here are my experience:

For football and soccer, usually more than 200mm is necessary to capture close action.

for field hockey 70-200mm is good enough (because the field is smaller.
for indoor, like volleyball, basketball it is perfect especially in full frame mode.

I never shoot rugby but I assume you might need longer than 200mm to capture close action.

There are ways to overcome the shortness of 70-200mm which are:
1. Cropping the image, but you will lose some details.
2. Buying and extender to increase the telephoto range. (but lose 1 or 2 stops as a result - max aperture become f/4 or f/5.6).

I saw many professionals use 300mm f/2.8 prime lens for field sport, but well, that lens is expensive and also huge to carry around. You might lose many shots due to inflexibility of the focal length.

If you shoot mainly in outdoor daylight, I think 70-300mm will be pretty good because the AF tend to be a lot better in bright condition and also you have extra 100mm reach compared with d700.

But if you concerned about the highest quality possible, indoor/low light shooting and might want to do something else with the lens such as portraits, then 70-200mm is the most suitable for you.

Other alternatives:
Sigma 120-300 f/2.8
Sigma 100-300 f/4

I use Sigma 100-300 personally and i find it to be quite ideal for daytime soccer. Although it is a lil bit big and heavy, but I can still manage to handhold it. There are a tripod ring that come with the lens so you can mount it to monopod/tripod.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 12:47 am 
Hi Enche,

Thanks for the feedback! At this stage I think I am going to go with the 70-200 and a 17E II converter giving me a 1.7x crop and lose 1.5 stops.

Being in Northern Ireland I will be in low light quite regularly and I know what you mean about 200mm not being enough!

Do you think an overall range of 340mm with an aperture 4.3 would be ok?

Would that still be fast enough for sports?

I cant seem to find any other decent alternatives at the moment without paying a crazy £2,500+

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 10:22 am 
User avatar

Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 4:30 pm
Posts: 9886
Location: UK
Hi Jatz,

I've moved the thread over to the Nikon forum where you'll probably get more response, but I've left a "Shadow" behind so you, and others, can find it.


Sony RX1R II. Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 + 1.4x T/C, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8
M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8, Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 12:51 pm 
If you are shooting in broad daylight, then yes 4.6 would be fast enough. With the D700 the aperture isn't going to slow you down. The reason you are paying for the constant f2.8 aperture is also to do with the amount of subject isolation you get.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 1:24 pm 
Small issue, but you also don't have to worry about the aperture changing as you zoom in and out. This can be problematic if you shoot wide-open on a non-constant aperture lens and don't want to keep checking your settings.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 8:46 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Sun Nov 05, 2006 11:08 pm
Posts: 8003
Location: Germany
Your D700 gives you sooo much leeway in using high ISOs like 1600 and 3200 that you could easily get away with the 70-300 at 300mm f/5.6.
Just a thought If you don't want to invest 2000€ and still have some "reach".

Thomas (beware: Nikon-fanboy and moderator!) My Lens Reviews, My Pictures, My Photography Blog
D810+assorted lenses

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 9:33 pm 
340mm with an aperture 4.3 will be good for daylight

for indoor, I think 200mm will be enough for most occasion, so you can use f/2.8.

Thomas has another option that i think is not bad. but if you have budget and enthuasiasm for this field, it is good to invest on the top lens because i know i and some people regretting to buy less quality lens.

At the end i have to sell it and re buy the better one and lose money in the process.

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