Best Telephoto for D80?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by spencer_steel, Jul 6, 2007.

  1. Just got a D80 and took the advice posted here - got an 18-70, 18-200, and 50mm
    lens. I'd like to have an extreme zoom AF lens for sporting events, etc. and am
    wondering what the best way to go is. I'm an absolute novice, but seem to have
    picked up that teleconverters are not a great choice, but I don't see much in
    Nikon's line past 300mm. All advice is welcome, and price is not a big
    consideration, although I don't want to be dragging a ten foot lens around.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. 600mm f/4 AF-S Nikkor.
  3. 80-400 or the 300mm f4. For sports I would probably go with the 70-200 although it covers a range you have it is considerably faster and sharper.
  4. 200-400/4
  5. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    Exactly what type of price range are we talking about here, as I see some $5000 to $8000 lenses being recommended here. It is also important to identify exactly what type of photography we are talking about. Even within sports photography, the requirements for shooting soccer are very different from those for basketball.

    For a beginner who already has 3 pretty decent lenses, I would suggest getting familiar with what you already have before adding even more lenses.
  6. Thanks for all of the replies; I shouldn't say that price is NO consideration - I've got a high-end prosumer camera, so I'd like to invest less than a grand in the lens if possible. What's best for sports generally with an emphasis on baseball and golf? Autofocus required, of course, and I'd prefer a zoom to a telephoto.
  7. 80-200/2.8
  8. If I get the 80-200 2.8, will it work well if I but the TC-20EII 2x teleconverter or am I better off just buying the 80-400 lens? I don't know enough to know what I can't get with the 18-200 that I already have that the 80-200 will provide. Thanks.
  9. The Nikkor 80-200/2.8 has better IQ and is faster than the 80-400/4.5-5.6 or the 18-200 up to 200mm, but if your intention is to shoot beyond 280mm (attainable with 200mm lens and a 1.4x teleconverter), then the longer zoom would probably be better. Adding a 2x teleconverter wrecks IQ and loses two stops, which would make the already compromised 18-200 unusable.
  10. You wouldn't want a teleconverter on the 18-200 anyway. Besides the fact that it won't
    focus at the long end, It might damage it!

    For REAL sports, you need expensive lenses. No way around it. 80-400 is a cool lens but
    focuses very slowly, so you will have to really concentrate on your technique. 80-200 f2.8
    is an UNBELIEVABLE lens (especially compared with what you have). How big will you use
    the images (web? Printing? whatever?)? Perhaps you can get an 80-200 f2.8 and crop the

    Also, the new 70-300 VR is supposed to be pretty fast-focusing in really good light. Check
    it out, too.

    Any way you can get to a camera store and check these out? Or any way you can rent them
    to try them?
  11. Peter, Nikon's teleconverters work with AF-S lenses, including the 80-200/2.8:
  12. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    Nikon's teleconverters only work with long and fast AF-S lenses, from the 70/80-200mm/f2.8 and 300mm/f4 and up but not any slow 18-xxx zooms.

    In Spencer's situation, you either compromise with a 70-300mm/f4.5-5.6 AF-S VR or go for the shorter 80-200mm/f2.8 AF-S or 70-200mm/f2.8 AF-S VR and perhaps add a TC. The 300mm/f4 could be an option but lacks the flexability of a zoom.
  13. Nikon 300mm f/4 AF-S << best optical quality + a reasonable weight

    Add a 1.4x TC and you have a 420mm with still excellent sharpness.

    The other way to go is the 80-400mm VR, but there is a sacrifice in IQ for the ability to shoot w/o a tripod.

    Cheers, -Greg-
  14. I'd start with a 70-300 VR, and then figure out what I need that it can't do. It'll run rings around the 80-400(Particularly if you need AF speed) unless you need that extra 100mm.
  15. When you say you want to photograph sporting events- what kind are you talking about? How long a lense do you expect to carry into a venue? I can tell you from personal experience that many professional teams (NHL,NBA,NFL) and their venues will not let you carry long lenses into a game... esp if you are Joe Fan with a fancy camera with multiple professional style lenses. You know... copyright and all that fine print on your ticket about unauthorized use of images of their game, teams, etc... I tried to walk into one NFL stadium with a Nikon 70 - 300 zoom on my D50... that team had a rule no lenses longer than 4 inches... and the 70 - 300 is by no means an extreme zoom... certainly not a "professional" lense. Fortunately the person measuring was not careful with the tape measure. A few months later, I encountered an NHL team and their rule - anyone with a camera with multiple lenses had to be a credentialed professional photographer working for the team or media. ME - I was just a fan with a ticket. They were gouing to keep my camera at the door, but somehow I talked my way in when they remarked that most of their photographers used Canon but that I had a Nikon. I used that observation as proof I was not a pro photographer there to steal images of the game and sell them.

    I would think twice about buying big glass to shoot sports - it might be fun in concept, but unless you are a pro on the sidelines, you may have a hard time getting big lenses in if you are just a fan with a ticket.
  16. Curious if any of the third party manufacturers make any sort of decent zoom in the $800-1800 range that'll fit the bill - I'm not really looking to use the lens at NBA or NHL games, but more to shoot outdoor golf and baseball, plus the ability to use it for close-ups of non-sports stuff that catches my eye. You have all been a real help, except that I'm more confused than when I started, which is nobody's fault.
  17. bms


    FWIW, the Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 got pretty good reviews however runs a bit more, $2200+. I have not tried it, but maybe others have some comments on how fast it is etc.
    I take it you are not a sports pro photographer - I have a 'cheapo' 70-300mm VR and it's decent, although definitely not a pro lens.
  18. I have decided to go with the Nikkor 80-400 lens. Even though I'm going to be shooting some sports, it'll be mostly outdoor stuff and not anything that requires an exceptionally fast lens - maybe my brother picking his nose standing in the outfield. For stuff that isn't moving this lens should give me the power I'm looking for with range out to 400mm. I'm not going to be dragging it into Comerica Park anyway. Thoughts?

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