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      02-27-2012, 10:19 AM   #1
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Best lens for sports night pictures for Nikon DSLR

I am currently looking for a sport lens that performs well in low light environments. I'm running short of lenses when it comes to those kind of conditions.

I shoot hockey games in poorly lit arenas and also some snowboard events; which finals are more often at night time. I'm getting poor results even at high ISO with the lens I have now. But i'm blaming the low aperture of my slow cheap lenses; thus why i'm looking to upgrade to the Nikkor 70-200 2.8 VRII lens.

Is there another lens I should consider? I see that some users on here got that lens and got some very good results with it, even for wildlife; which is a added bonus.

I think i'm gonna rent it before I buy it; but I would like to try a couple before taking my decision.

Thanks for the help!
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      02-27-2012, 09:49 PM   #2
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Try the sigma version of that lens. I use it to shoot hockey with my D90 and it works well.

Only thing...it's extremely heavy, but it's well worth the savings.
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      02-28-2012, 12:22 AM   #3
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If you are OK without VR then I recommend the Nikon 80-200 f2.8 it's less than half the price with still pro-level quality (both in build and picture).
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      02-28-2012, 08:23 AM   #4
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I'm kinda burned trying to "save" on lenses. I think that if I have to drop that kind of money on a lens, I dont want to regret because I tried to save a bit.

Every time I cheaped out on a lens, it led to disapointments. But the two last ones I bought, I went for the best in their category and i'm glad I did. (Really love the 50mm 1.4 and 12-24 wide) That's why I want the VRII version; but its also the only version of the 70-200 that I got on my price list. Besides, I dont want to bring my tripod all the time so going without VR is out of the question.

I dont have anything but nikkor lenses, but I get special pricing with them too; so that explains a lot.
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      02-28-2012, 10:57 AM   #5
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If you can afford, go for it!
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      02-28-2012, 11:16 AM   #6
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I know Don't shoot a Nikon, but I have a 70-200mm F2.8 canon, and I used to have the 70-200mm F4.

Originally I bought the F4 thinking 2.8 wouldn't be necessary. (and to an extent it isn't) but after giving in and getting the 2.8, which has basically the same optical quality, but much faster, it was worth it to me.

I wouldn't shoot It wide open, you'll have trouble getting your subject in focus, but rather, shoot at about a 3.2 and it will get rid of some of the natural vignetting and give you a little more wiggle room with the focus. And still be excellent at night.

How high are you going on the ISO? 1600 should be ok (i haven't shot a D90) but if you're wanting better ISO, consider picking up a used D700 and just cranking the ISO. Though you will lose focal length with the full frame.
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      02-28-2012, 11:19 AM   #7
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also back in the day when purchasing one of my other lenses, I compared a sigma to a canon, and the optics were pretty comparable. However, it took so long for the sigma to focus on the suject in comparison to the canon that I put down the extra 6-700$ knowing that I was paying for the better image stabilization and auto-focus technology.

would I have been happy with the Sigma? Likely, but would I also have missed some amazing shots with it? most definitely, and to me, that's what makes the extra money worth it.
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      02-28-2012, 12:18 PM   #8
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The1: We think alike. We never NEEDED dvd's, but once we tried them, we shot the VHS out the window!

As for the ISO, I cranked it up until I got proper exposure (even pushed it a little too far), but I was getting blurry results; even if the exposure was ok. The culprit is the aperture; which was too low because of the focal. Even when opening up, (and trying to crop in post-process), it still lacks in the sharpness department. The crappy 55-300 4.5/5.6 doesnt help at all when you have to get past the 200mm focal lenght. I'm kinda trying to do telephoto with a zoom lens; doesnt work very well.

I have a D800 on order and i'm planning on keeping my D7000; so that'll give me the better of the two worlds; really. Those two will complete each other (with proper glass) pretty well I think.

The D7000 is supposed to perform well under those conditions. So I'll try and rent that lens to see if it will get me the results i'm looking for. But i'm affraid to get into trouble if I rent it too soon; since i'll most likely want it afterwards.

But I only have this lens in mind. I would have liked to consider a couple other comparable options before making that kind of purchase.
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      02-28-2012, 12:26 PM   #9
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lol, the 5.6 at 300 definitely isn't doing you any favours...

even the 4.5 at the close end of things is very slow. Great for sunny days and such, but even decent lighting indoors would cause you trouble with those apertures.

Supposedly there are 2 versions of the D800 coming out. one is short a coating on the sensor which allows for sharper images, but the likelyhood of more moar is very high. But the camera us supposed to come with software to help with that as well. Might be a consideration, and allow even higher ISOs be to usefull.

I used to shoot the F4 in the indoor horse riding arena and still had a bit of trouble with it. I ended up shooting my 100mm F2.8 and my 135 F2 just so I could maximize the light. A lot cropping was needed to get the shots I wanted, but the shots were much easier to get.
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      02-28-2012, 12:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaximusJ View Post
The1: We think alike. We never NEEDED dvd's, but once we tried them, we shot the VHS out the window!
Same with bluerays and bigger televisions....
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      02-28-2012, 12:39 PM   #11
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just get a 200/2.
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      02-28-2012, 12:42 PM   #12
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Quote:
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just get a 200/2.
lol, this would also work.... less glass and zoom = better image quality.
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      02-28-2012, 12:49 PM   #13
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Yep; this is the D800e; but for $300 more, I decided to choose the D800. They also dont know the release date yet; most likely 3 to 6 months after the release of the standard D800.

As for the 55-300 lens, I try to stay the farthest from the extremes possible. Because you just cant get a sharp picture at both extremes when lighting is not spot on. But like you said under ideal conditions, its an "ok" lens; but Its still a kit lens. She basically ruined most of my last shootings. And since the hockey team i'm covering has offered me a contract for the next season's player cards and game coverage, I want to give good impressions and expand from there.

My 18-105 3.5 is more sharp, but lacks the focal. So I ended up using the 300 at an average of 220-240mm most of the time and tried to sharpen them in post process. The end result is pictures that are way too soft. It got a certain artistic style, but that's not what I want. And i'm not yet skilled enough in PS to hide the fact that my lens just suck.
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      02-28-2012, 12:49 PM   #14
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I'll check out the 200/2; never really considered it at this point since its kinda out of my budget.


But it could be a great lens to rent when the occasion justifies it.
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      02-28-2012, 01:01 PM   #15
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Quote:
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I'll check out the 200/2; never really considered it at this point since its kinda out of my budget.


But it could be a great lens to rent when the occasion justifies it.
the 180mm 2.8 might be a decent alternative. it's in at about 1000 canadian, so in the US should be similarly priced.

Haven't heard of anyone speak about it's optics however, but might be something to rent and see as well.

stuff like this, it might be worth considering a monopod? I know it's something to trip over and stuff, but it also helps stop you and make you think. It also keeps the camera at the ready for you so you don't have to raise it up and think as much. (yes, that contradicts, but it's 2 different types of thinking )
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      02-28-2012, 01:06 PM   #16
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My man Ken Rockwell says that it got the best optics out there. http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/180af.htm Kinda impressive for an almost 20 years old lens.
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      02-28-2012, 01:08 PM   #17
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Quote:
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My man Ken Rockwell says that it got the best optics out there. http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/180af.htm Kinda impressive for an almost 20 years old lens.
Carefull, some people around here aren't big fans of Ken Rockwell, you should use small print when saying his name

But it could be an interesting test. 20 years is pretty old...
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      02-28-2012, 01:08 PM   #18
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ken rockwell isn't the end all be all authority on equipment - just keep in mind you gotta use what works for you. play around with a few lenses, see what you like.
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      02-28-2012, 01:13 PM   #19
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I agree that he has a way of telling things that's pretty much "make it or break it" (probably not a good translation). I do not always agree with what he says, but when a product is crap he's saying it and he's also telling why, That, you cant really argue with if it suits your needs or not. You always have to interpret reviews; especially when you dont know where the guy comes from and what he's looking for in a given equipment.

I take what I agree on and leave the rest out there. Same as for other reviewers. But when most of them agree on the quality of a given product, you cant really go wrong.

OT: But I have to say he taught me a lot when I first got into DSLR; but right now, I really like Improve photography's website and facebook page. I'm not into photography for decades like some of you guys, so some of these tips are actually useful to me. Not all of them, but you get the point.
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      02-28-2012, 01:20 PM   #20
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I agree that he has a way of telling things that's pretty much "make it or break it" (probably not a good translation). I do not always agree with what he says, but when a product is crap he's saying it and he's also telling why, That, you cant really argue with if it suits your needs or not. You always have to interpret reviews; especially when you dont know where the guy comes from and what he's looking for in a given equipment.

I take what I agree on and leave the rest out there. Same as for other reviewers. But when most of them agree on the quality of a given product, you cant really go wrong.

OT: But I have to say he taught me a lot when I first got into DSLR; but right now, I really like Improve photography's website and facebook page. I'm not into photography for decades like some of you guys, so some of these tips are actually useful to me. Not all of them, but you get the point.
It's all just points of different reference.

I knew it wouldn't be long until someone chimed in about Ken

Didn't think it would be that fast though... lol
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      02-28-2012, 01:26 PM   #21
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Exactly. Giving more credit to a certain reviewer more then the other would be a mistake if you dont really relate his expectations to yours.
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      02-28-2012, 01:45 PM   #22
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don't cheap out on glass.
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