Best way to spend $$$$ on Nikon Camera Gear

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by tony_icuspit, Jan 16, 2010.

  1. I'm an amateur photographer who likes to take photos of sporting events (football, lacrosse, soccer...) that my son participates in. As a way of helping the teams, I sell the photos and give back the profit. (
    For equipment, I have a D300 with battery pack, a Nikon 400300 AFS 4.0, Nikon 180 ED AF 2.8 and a 18-55 AFS 3.5-5.6.
    I've saved up some cash enough to purchase a Nikon 70-200 AFS VR II 2.8. Because of the existing equipment that I currently have, I am having second thoughts.
    Any advice on how to spend my hard earned money wisely?
    Thanks in advance.
  2. Just thinkin'-
    ... any flashes in your possesion?
    The area of lens coverage you are lacking is that 70--300 +/- as you are on the sidelines and lots of close-mid-distant play is occuring in front of you.
    Do you find the 180 or 400 lacking for zoom capability? I can't be in your shoes or wallet, but that's what I would ask myself.
  3. I do also very similar photography as you do. I have two son's playing soccer, and I do take quite a bit of photos of them. I have D700, so I don't have the 1.5 crop factor as you do. I use mostly the old 80-200 AF-D and sometimes 28-70 AF-S from behind / sides of the goal.
    I have been thinking of getting 1.4TC for the 80-200, as it is a bit too short if the action is on the far end of the field. With D300 crop factor I think 70-200 would be very useful. Of course, you still would not be able to cover the whole field from one spot, but you would easily cover half of the field.
    So, I would say it is not a bad choice at all.
  4. I do feel the lack of zoom capability and the Nikon 70-200 AFS VR II would very well fill that void. Being a zoom lens, would it be as sharp as my Nikon 180 2.8 AF? It is not an AFS but it is sharp.
    For flash, I have a Metz that I just bought recently. I also have a Bogen monopod and tripod.
    Jim and Juhani, thanks for your input. I might sell my 180 and purchase a 70-200 as you have suggested.
  5. The 70-200/2.8 is a stellar lens on the D300. Note that you could do just fine with the previous version, if you find someone selling one in good shape at a better price than the pricey Version II flavor. The newer version has somewhat better VR, but that's scarcely an issue for sports. Likewise, the new version's corner improvements aren't something you'd even see on a DX body.
  6. Matt, thanks for the info. $500 difference is a lot. Just like you said, if you don't need the "extra" features, why pay for it.
  7. Is the Nikon 400 AFS 4.0 a Nikon 300mm f4 AF-S?
    If so, how do find the lengths of the 180 and 300 for your needs. I ask because I am concerned that while the 70-200/2.8 VR II is an awesome lens it may in fact be too short. It is also incredibly expensive for what you are getting. Apparently the II is so sharp it will be at least as good as the 180 except maybe at infinity.
  8. Also consider the very "cheap" Nikon 80-200/2.8. Save yourself the $1000 to $1500 they charge for VR and AF-S.
  9. You're right John. It was a slip of the finger. It's actually a 300 AFS 4.0. The 300 is an AFS and the 180 is just an AF. For some reason, I did not feel that the 180 wasn't fast enough for my needs. Maybe I should take a close look at the photos taken with each lens to see the difference.
  10. Thanks for the advice by the way John.
  11. There appears to be another zoom lens out there on the used market that I always assumed existed but never saw until this morning. It is the Nikon 80-200/2.8 AF-S D. If you can find one it could be under $1000 USD. Nikon has made at least 7 xx-200/2.8 lenses, so it makes it tough researching them. I have no idea why Nikon continues to offer the 80-200/2.8 AF-D instead of the AF-S version.
  12. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Clearly the OP lacks a zoom. 70-200 could be a bit short for those sports, depending on how far you are from the action. But if that zoom range works for you, I would get an AF-S one. There are indeed three to choose from as mentioned about: 80-200mm/f2.8 AF-S (with a poorly designed tripod collar), the 70-200mm/f2.8 AF-S VR version 1 and the current version 2.
    I have owned the first two and have used the latter. As usual, you need to pay a lot more for small improvements in quality. Choose based on your budget.
  13. Luckily, I'm close to the coaching staff of the teams and they let me prowl the sidelines like a member of the team. Thanks for the advice.
  14. I shot some high school football and small town softball games played at night under lights the past year. I used D300 & Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VR (1). Results were very good. Mostly shot at ISO 800, ISO 1600 when I had to. Not sure there's a big difference between 1st version and new version of 70-200mm VR when used on D300. Personally, I think you'd be better off spending that extra $1,000 on lights. The latest Nikon pro zooms seem to give noticeably better image quality than most of the older AFD single focal lenses, but I have not tried the 180 f2.8 AFD. (Highly doubt it's better than 70-200mm VR 1 or 2 though.) The AFS does seem to help with night shots too.
    Kent in SD
  15. Anthony, the 180mm you say is fast enough, but is it long enough? The 180mm can give you a ballpark figure to a 70-200mm.
  16. I too am still concerned. I shoot soccer from the sidelines and my preferred view from behind the goal line. I use a 200/2 and 400/2.8 with and without 1.4x converters on a crop body D2X. I feel the 80-200 range would only FILL THE FRAME in 33% of shots. So, in my opinion the VRII is way over the top. If you could get a used AF-S 80-200/2.8 for around $1000 and use it in combination with your 300/4 AF-S I think you would be successful. I would also be very tempted to add a TC-14E for both lenses.

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