Nikon 200-400mm VR Recommendation

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by sjohnson803, Sep 30, 2008.

  1. sjohnson803

    sjohnson803 Guest

    So I am itching as usual for a different lens set up. I currently shoot with two Nikon D300s, 10.5DX, 17-55DX, 70-200VR, and 300EDII. I have been seeing a lot more 200-400VR lenses on the sidelines and was curious to see if anyone has any input on using this lens for sports. Ken Rockwell says "If you're shooting action, you want this 200-400." on his review of the lens... Anyone agree, disagree. Would anyone recommend selling my 300EDII to buy this lens at the end of football season. (I can't go more than a few days without telephoto a lens).

    Also, I am planning on selling one of my D300s in January to purchase a D3. Does anyone have comments on using this lens with a D3? Thank you for the input.
     
  2. I remember a post during the Olympics of a photographer using the D3 and 200-400, and saying it was the best combo for sports because you could go so with ISO to counter the f4 aperture. Maybe someone can point you toward that post.
     
  3. Steve, it all comes down to bodies and speed.
    1) what sports will you shoot come the end of football season? The 200-400 is no slouch at f/4, and on the D3 it's more than adequate...however in terms of AF speed and snappiness it just isn't a 300 or 400 prime. You can get away with it to be sure, but if the light gets low, you will experience more issues there unless you're reallllllly careful.

    I shot with one all summer, and I had a great time with it. Very versatile, and I used it extensively in fading light. My 2-page spread in a kiteboard magazine that came out recently (I'll show it to you next time I run into you) was shot with the D3 and 200-400 in rapidly fading light. I managed to get the critical burst off fine at ISO 2000 and a high enough shutter speed without losing focus for more than 2 frames. That was my best sequence of the evening, however... I found myself losing focus more often than I liked.

    In the end, you know the move I made, and I made it for a reason. If you'll be shooting baseball here in the spring, or any of the night softball, you'll be missing the 2.8 aperture more. It was looking forward to this as well that helped spur me to commit to 2.8 long glass.
    I'd love to have one again, but I would really use it mostly for day games and evening work. I have, in all honesty, developed this addiction to really high shutter speeds for night sports, as I'm tired of motion blur there that I didn't want. When it comes to AF as well, you'd be at a disadvantage with the 200-400 for low light.

    One last thing...zooming for sports with the 200-400 takes discipline. I find (more so on the D3 than the D300) that when I was shooting the 200-400, I'd tend to zoom out a bit too much when following action getting closer to me. This may not affect you, but I just found my eye worrying about a more central part of the frame and accidentally ignoring some of the edges, not realizing that I was zoomed too far out for the framing I actually wanted.

    Anyways, digest this, take two tylenol and run into me around campus.
     
  4. biggstr6

    biggstr6

    Apr 26, 2005
    Richmond,Va
    I use it for sports . Have been for about 2 - 2.5 years , but I havent shot night sports with it.
     
  5. Doug

    Doug

    Jan 17, 2006
    East TN
    night sports would be somewhat of a push, however, with a D3 driving, it is a new ball game at very usable 3200-6400 iso. With a D300 driving, you'll be more limited to having some candle power on hand for lighting, because your ISO capability does drop, by how much, I am sure there's an expert that can say, but 1-2 stops of light at least.