18-200 VR upgrade to 70-200f4, is it worth it?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by robert_lenahan, Jan 25, 2014.

  1. Hello,
    I have a 18-200 VR 3.5/5.6 and a older 70-300 4/5.6. My son is a avid baseball player and I take a ton of shots at each of his games. I am considering the upgrade to 70-200F4 and possibly the 70-200F2.8. My question is how much would I truly gain by upgrading? The 70-200F4 looks pretty sweet and of course the 2.8 is what it is, but it's expensive. Price difference right now about $700 from the 2.8 to the F4. Will I see that much of an improvement. I have a D7100 and a D200.
  2. Will I see that much of an improvement​
    Well, you're asking us to put a cash value on something that is very subjective to you - i.e. how much you value the photos of your son? And is $700 a lot for you, or is it pocket money?
    Practically speaking a 70-200 f/2.8 will allow you to make exposures that are 4 times faster than what you can do with the 18-200 because of the wide aperture. That is generally better as it will lead to less blurry shots of fast moving action. There is also at a shallower DOF at f/2.8 which can be good (smoother backgrounds) and bad (need to focus more selectively). Balance that against the costs and weight of the lens.
    Hope this helps.
  3. If you want a 70-200mm F2.8 which is more "Cost effective" you might also consider the SIgma or Tamron offers for a 70-200 F2.8 which are offcourse a bit "less" sharp than the Nikon version,
    but still very good..
    And unless you want "Poster Size" pictures as a result, i bet you would not see the difference ...
  4. Rent one or more and see.
    I got the new Tamron 70-200/2.8 and it's *VERY* good. I really do not miss the extra $1k I could have dropped on the Nikkor.
  5. Assuming you are shooting outdoors in decent lighting, an affordable upgrade path might be the newer version of the lens you already have, the 70-300mm AF-S. Its IQ is substantially improved over the version you have.
    The advantage of the f2.8 lens over the f4 is probably not so much in its IQ but that you get better results in lower light (better AF, lower ISO, and slightly better out of focus backgrounds.
    Additional items that need to be factored into the equation - the body you are using and the size of the prints you are making (or final use of the images). The f4 version of the 70-200mm is probably your best choice for improved IQ.
  6. Thanks for the responses. Im leaning towards the F4 and then selling my 18-200 and getting the 24-70 2.8. Could probably do that for the same out of pocket cost as the 70-200 2.8
  7. how does that figure? isn't the 70-200/4 something like $1500 and the 24-70/2.8 approx $2200 whereas you can get 500-550 for the 18-200?
    So you're out of pocket something like 3000+ and dragging a bunch of extra weight around via 2 zooms, esp the 24-70. I can't imagine that that is going to be particularly useful given the distance you'll be away.
  8. You are leaving out two bits of very CRUCIAL information. First, are you shooting at night or only daytime? Second, what camera are you using? I guess a third question is, has 200mm been long enough? Unless you shoot at night a lot, I would NOT buy the 24-70mm f2.8. It cost a TON of money and is bulky. You would be better off with an f4 lens and increasing ISO by one stop, most likely. Again, it's just not possible to recommend anything here because I don't know if you are shooting in daylight or night, and what camera you are using.
    Kent in SD
  9. Getting rid of the 18-200 could make you very happy. The fact is, I think it was a very decent lens on a 6MP camera, but on the D7100 it's probably giving you really soft images from about 100mm on.
    I suspect that the 70-200 f4 would be enough for me in that situation, but honestly, I'm loving the smaller lighter 70-300 f4.5-5.6 that I have now. Very sharp all the way out 1 or 2 stops down and very usable wide open even.
    But I wouldn't pair it with a 24-xx lens. 24 is too narrow at the wide end. I'd say if you want fast get a Tamron or Sigma 17/18-50 f2.8 instead, or even the 16-85 VR.
  10. How many years will you be shooting sports pics of your son? Will he ever play under the lights? I am thinking that your next lens should be significantly different than what you already have.
    You sound like you are pretty serious about shooting. If so, I think the f2.8 lenses are going to be the best bet in the long run. Best value lenses (IMO) are the 70-200/2.8VR1, and the old 300/2.8 screw drive AF lens. Either can be had for about the same as the 70-200/f4. The 300/F4 AFS is a very good lens, also, as are the 80-200/2.8's.
    Under the lights, it is often difficult to get good results even with an f/2.8 lens, so slower lenses won't help, for sure. VR does not help stop action, either.
    The 2.8VR1 will work with a TC to add flexibility. The better Kenko TC can be used with the 300/2.8 AF fairly well, also, to derive a 420/f4.
    I had the version 1 300/2.8 AF that everyone says focuses too slow. Was not my experience, I had no problems tracking running people with it using modern bodies. Had a little extra money one day and upgraded to the AFS version that is slightly better. Wish I had the old lens back and that money in pocket, now.
    I just got the 70-200/f4 AFS VR to replace my 2.8, since my son's HS sports career will be over soon. It is an exceptionally good lens that is more portable than the 2.8, for sure, but is probably not the most versatile sports lens. It will work very well for daylight action, of course. Just tried it with a TC-17 to create a 340mm/6.7, got good results on a stationary subject, but not better than a 300/2.8. Now I will have to try it on a runner!
  11. probably not relevant in this case but I am a fan of the 18-200 for when I dont want to drag around a whole 'kit' and be mr. photo. Maybe I have a good copy but it really fits my need for a walk-around lens except for the slow-ish 5.6 on the far end.
  12. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I have a D7100 and a D200.​

    In Robert's opening post, he specified that those are the camera bodies he has.

    Since he is talking about capturing his son's baseball games, I am going to assume that there will be day time and night time games. I would prepare to shoot at night and therefore having f2.8 is a distinct advantage. If Nikon's 70-200mm/f2.8 AF-S VR is too expensive, consider the Sigma or Tamron, which are about the same price as Nikon's 70-200mm/f4 AF-S VR.

    What is not clear to me is how far the OP will be from the action and therefore whether having only 200mm, on DX, is long enough.
  13. I have the 70-200 f2.8 and the 18-200 Vr1. I use the 18-200 all the time for family, around the house and vacations. Believe it or not the 18-200 mounted to a D40, it works wonderfully for that purpose and at 6mp with that resolution its just magic.
    I use the 70-200 only for pro-type things. I tried using it as a general purpose lens around the house and around town, but the reality the f2.8 is too big and heavy and you never have the focal range you want. The F4 won't be nearly as big or heavy. Mounted to my D700 or D7100 the 70-200 takes amazing photos and I have little problems with sharpness or focus. Its simply an amazing lens and the difference compared to the 18-200 is significant. For sports you will also really get a lot out of the constant aperture. With the 18-200 or 70-300 and sports if you want constant aperture you have to go to 5.6. The 2.8 will focus better than the f4 version in low light even if you are shooting at f4 because it uses the wide open aperture during focus. But you pay for it in weight, size and cost.
    I guess my point is don't let your NAS fool you that the 70-200 replaces the 18-200. Its another tool in your arsenal. It does completely however replace the 70-300 as the quality is significant. Keep the 18-200 on your D200, get as much 70-200 as you can afford and dump the 70-300.
  14. I will be able to get very close to the action so 200mm on the DX should be fine. He will have more day games than night but night could be coming when he gets to high school. I appreciate all the info and it sounds like to me the regardless of which one I get, they will be a big improvement over what I have now.
  15. If your son's team plays strictly day games then you could get by with the 70-200 f/4. But if he is ever going to play night games or switch to an indoor sport, then you need the 70-200 2.8. Indoors it's not just a matter of the extra stop of light for exposure but also for faster autofocus. I own the older Tamron 70-200 2.8 (not the new VR version) and while it is great for portraits and weddings it cannot AF fast enough for indoor sports on either my D200 or my D7000. Maybe the new version is better, or the Sigma 70-200 2.8. I rent the Nikon 70-200 2.8 VRII when I have to shoot indoor sports and it works fine, even on the D200.
  16. You can't ask others for buying decision. People are different and their wants and needs are different and also the perceived value of something is different too. Asking others on what to buy is really not a good practice.
    If you don't believe me you can wait until the thread get really long and then see if you can find among all these replies your answer? Or in the end you ended up buying what you were going to buy regardless of what others said?
  17. Just to support the idea of using a third party lens, I use a Sigma 50-150 f/2.8 on a D300s and it is the best lens I've ever used, sharp and fast. It's equivalent to 75-225 on your cameras. But since you're shooting sports, a 70-200 would be like using a 105-300, a good choice would be the Sigma or Tamron. Not sure why you want to get a 24-70, a 17-50 would match your cameras better, equivalent to 25-75, Sigma and Tamron make very good ones.
  18. Just a thought, for the camera bodies you currently have, you would probably be very pleased with the original 70-200mm f2.8 VR lens, which is available used for substantially less than the latest version.
  19. I have a D7100, have Nikons 17-55mm f2.8 & 70-200mm f2.8 VR, and shoot softball night games for a beer league. Some thoughts. The D7100 has superior AF in low light settings, and even ISO 3200 looks pretty good. The 70-200mm f4 will probably do what you want although focus will be a touch faster at night with the f2.8 (such as a used Nikon 80-200mm f2.8 AFS-D, Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 OS HSM, Tamron etc.) Just make sure they are the AFS equivalent--i.e. motor in the lens. I would definitely NOT get a 24-70mm f2.8. It's just too big, and the 24mm end isn't wide enough. A Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 HSM will do the job and is less bulky too. If you aren't doing very many night games at all, f4 lenses will work just fine on the D7100. You say there's several years yet until the kid even gets to high school and would be doing more night games. Here's what I'm thinking. You could put a ton of $$ into camera gear, and then when the kid hits high school he finds a big titty girlfriend and drops out of baseball entirely. You never know. There could also be a few new lenses out by then from Nikon or Sigma that would an even better fit than what's available now. You never know. For what you're doing now, just about anything is going to be a bit better than the 18-200mm, especially on D7100. I would look for a used Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 HSM (HSM = AFS) and maybe, maybe the Nikon 70-200mm f4 VR. Both are excellent lenses with very fast focus. I would keep the cost down for now. In a couple of years if the kid sticks with baseball and does start playing at night, you could then sell the 70-200mm f4 and look for a used 70-200mm f2.8 VR-1. Carrying around expensive, heavy camera gear can quickly drain the fun out of this sort of thing, however. Especially if something gets broken or stolen.
    Kent in SD
  20. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Any faster zoom is going to be a big improvement to your 18-200 super zoom.
    If you shoot any night games at all, f2.8 is going to make a big difference. Nikon AF works far better with f2.8 lenses than f4 lenses under dim light. Therefore, even though you don't actually capture at f2.8, the AF advantage is significant.
    IMO, getting a 70-200mm/f4 now will likely mean another upgrade to an f2.8 in the near future. Plenty of people end up spending more money that way by trying to save money. Again, there are many f2.8 options available. You don't have to get the latest AF-S VR II new. The older VR version 1 is still a fine lens, especially on a DX body. And the Sigma version also tested quite well in my experience: http://www.photo.net/equipment/sigma/70-200/review/
    If you end up using the heavier f2.8 version, consider a monopod to support the weight and add stability over a long baseball game.
  21. When you are shooting sports you don't need VR due to the faster shutterspeeds. So you could save money and go for a used AF 80-200 2,8.
  22. THanks for all the advice. Bought the 2.8. They have a 200euro rebate right now in Germany so out the door new it was 2k.
  23. Good choice in my opinion stay with Nikon glass.
  24. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    If one can afford it, the 70-200mm/f2.8 AF-S VR is certainly a good choice. Having f2.8 also gives you the option to add a TC-14E, although teleconverters tend to degrade the quality of zooms more seriously. I would avoid the TC-20E III on that zoom.

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