Short Surf Lens

Joined
Oct 10, 2006
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116
Ok, so I've been lusting..ok needing.. a lens to take some surfing shots with, but the catch is, its on the East coast. Where I'm from, the action never takes place more than 100 yards out in the water, often as close as 40-50. I'm stuck between a few lenses, each with their own benifits.

First, the 80-200 AF-S. I don't like the screw AF-D or the push pull, so thats why i'm at the AF-S. VR is too expensive for me as well. The problem with this lens, however, is that its 900 at the very least, and I wonder if such a nice optic should be exposed to the sand and salt like that.

Next, Sigma's 100-300 f/4. Its 100mm longer (ok, only about 70, but whatever) than the 80-200, but at a stop shorter. So if i ever wanted to use it for any sports indoors or at night, it might not be the best lens. In addition, sigma QC is always suspect, and it ranks up there in the 900$ range.

Finally, Nikon's 70-300 VR. Its just as long as the sigma, and has VR. The issues are that its slow at the long end, and not IF, so sand may eventually cause problems. Though, with VR i wouldn't really need a tripod, which is always nice, as is the 500$ price tag.

So which would you pick, if any? Would you look at any other lenses?
 
Joined
Feb 14, 2006
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La Jolla, CA
My 80-200 AFS seems pretty indestructible, and I take it down to the beach reasonably often. Buy it a good 77mm filter (I don't generally use filters, but salt air is an excellent excuse) and go nuts. 200 is not enough reach here in SoCal unless you're shooting off a pier, but you make it sound like it would be OK. Beware, this kinda stuff will send you off the deep end on the lust. :biggrin:

Do you see other surf photogs around where you shoot? They can probably help. I regularly see guys with big glass here if the waves are good, but I'm very near a famous SD surf spot (Windansea).
 
Joined
Oct 10, 2006
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My 80-200 AFS seems pretty indestructible, and I take it down to the beach reasonably often. Buy it a good 77mm filter (I don't generally use filters, but salt air is an excellent excuse) and go nuts. 200 is not enough reach here in SoCal unless you're shooting off a pier, but you make it sound like it would be OK. Beware, this kinda stuff will send you off the deep end on the lust. :biggrin:

Do you see other surf photogs around where you shoot? They can probably help. I regularly see guys with big glass here if the waves are good, but I'm very near a famous SD surf spot (Windansea).
yeah no one really looks at east coast stuff, and this break isn't that well known, just looking to get a lil start with my friends. You think of of the 300s would be better than the 200?

Heres what i get with the 18-70 @ 70:

 

fks

Joined
Apr 30, 2005
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sf bay area
hi brian-

how about the 80-200mm AF-S with a kenko 1.4TC? i've had good results with the 70-200mm VR and the kenko, and the 80-200mm should have image quality that's about up there with the 70-200mm VR.

ricky
 
Joined
Oct 10, 2006
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116
hi brian-

how about the 80-200mm AF-S with a kenko 1.4TC? i've had good results with the 70-200mm VR and the kenko, and the 80-200mm should have image quality that's about up there with the 70-200mm VR.

ricky
Aye, but that would add ~200 :eek: (right?) to my already expensive lens, at which point i'd be better off with a sigma 100-300, no?
 
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My Kenko and 80-200 do not get along. The converter is better on every other lens I own! Perhaps the Sigma might be better for you if you want the reach.

Kenkos run about $160+, if I recall correctly.
 

fks

Joined
Apr 30, 2005
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sf bay area
hi brian-

you're concerned about sigma's quality, that's why i recommended the nikon route :smile: the advantage of using a TC is that the 80-200mm is a f/2.8 lens without it, although with a shorter reach. the 100-300mm remains an f/4 lens, so you have a little more flexibility if you go for a TC.

taking a look at the pic you posted, i think you'll need at least 300mm to get tight shots. the 80-200mm + TC may end up being too short later on as get more experience taking surfing shots. i started at 300mm, then moved on to 420mm (300+1.4TC), and even then it's not enough as i want to go for even tighter shots of the action.

there's no easy answer :frown:

ricky

Aye, but that would add ~200 :eek: (right?) to my already expensive lens, at which point i'd be better off with a sigma 100-300, no?
 

fks

Joined
Apr 30, 2005
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sf bay area
hi nancy-

ah, i wasn't aware of that problem. there's always the TC-14E, although it's a bit more expensive.

ricky

My Kenko and 80-200 do not get along. The converter is better on every other lens I own!
 
Joined
Jan 2, 2007
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Nottingham, UK
If you want quality 300mm shots then the Sigma 100-300 or a Nikon 30m f/4 prime will give you better results than a 80-200 + converter.

Also, the 70-300mm VR is IF...
 
Joined
Oct 10, 2006
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116
If you want quality 300mm shots then the Sigma 100-300 or a Nikon 30m f/4 prime will give you better results than a 80-200 + converter.

Also, the 70-300mm VR is IF...
I must've mistyped, then. I meant to say that it is not a fixed length, and the push/pull design tends to suck in ambient air, which normally isn't a problem, but i think salt + sand would be an issue after awhile.
 
Joined
Feb 16, 2006
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Sublimity, Oregon
I have several Sigma's and can attest that their build quality is "up there". I don't know why they have such a bad rap. I have never had a problem with Sigma QC either. The only issue I have with them is their exterior paint doesn't seem to be as durable as Nikon. Sigma makes the best stock tripod foot (feet?) that I have seen.

I don't have the Sigma 100-300 but have strongly considered it. The only reason I purchased the Nikkor 300 f4 instead is because I got a good deal on it and it was available when I needed it. I would think the 100-300 f4 lens would fit your budget objectives fairly close and would be a great lens for your purposes. It has internal focus and it also zooms internally, just like my Sigma 70-200 (that I love), and I think pretty well sealed from the elements, as well as any prime.

If a 300mm fixed length suits you better, the Nikkor 300 f4 prime is a very nice lens and mine works well with the Kenko 1.4. The stock foot sucks though.
 
Joined
Feb 15, 2007
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Worcester, UK
I must've mistyped, then. I meant to say that it is not a fixed length, and the push/pull design tends to suck in ambient air, which normally isn't a problem, but i think salt + sand would be an issue after awhile.
The 70-300 VR isn't push/pull, its a twister.

I have it, obviously, and I think its pretty good.

At the beach, with little shade and lots of light, I don't think you will suffer for it being f5.6
 
Joined
Oct 10, 2006
Messages
116
The 70-300 VR isn't push/pull, its a twister.

I have it, obviously, and I think its pretty good.

At the beach, with little shade and lots of light, I don't think you will suffer for it being f5.6
whatever you want to call it, it still presents itself to sand easier than the other two. I was thinking i'd be fine w/ 5.6, but lenses are usually best stopped down..
 
Joined
Jun 26, 2006
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Douglasville, GA
The Sigma 100-300mm f/4 can be difficult to find at times and also doesn't usually find the same discounts as other more common Sigmas. I'd consider the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM (non-Macro) along with a 1.4x Sigma TC. This way you can shoot short w/ f/2.8 and longer w/ f/4 and minimal image degredation. If you go used you can pick up this combo around $700 from KEH in EX or better condition (and KEH grades VERY conservatively).
 
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