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Lens recommendation -- high speed, low light, <$1000

 
 
gstoa
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      08-27-2008
Looking for lens recommendations for my Nikon D40x which will enable
me to shoot high speed in low light conditions (indoor sports under
fluorescent lights). I have the standard Nikon 55-200 zoom which
delivers slow and grainy pictures at f-4 even without Auto Focus. I
am happy to give up the zoom and AF in return for quality pictures
that I can crop.

Suggestions are greatly appreciated.
 
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nospam
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      08-27-2008
In article
<(E-Mail Removed)>,
gstoa <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> Looking for lens recommendations for my Nikon D40x which will enable
> me to shoot high speed in low light conditions (indoor sports under
> fluorescent lights). I have the standard Nikon 55-200 zoom which
> delivers slow and grainy pictures at f-4 even without Auto Focus. I
> am happy to give up the zoom and AF in return for quality pictures
> that I can crop.


you'll want an f/2.8 zoom, or if zoom is not required, an even faster
fixed focal length lens. for zooms, the standard is the nikon 70-200
f/2.8 vr, however, the 80-200 lacks stabilizations and costs about half
as much. for fixed focal length, get a 50, 85 and 200, all of which
are f/2 or faster.

the 55-200 is f/5.6 at 200mm, so you'll have at least a two stop
improvement, possibly four stops.
 
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Henk & Marga Jamin
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      08-27-2008
I went through the same agonizing for bird photos under a rather dense
canopy;
tried the Nikon AF 300F4 ($350 on eBay)and that gave rather nice
results, but that lens
will NOT auto-focus on your D40x. The AF-s version of that lens will,
but is often just
beyond your budget.
Then my wife bought me the Nikon VR 80-400 F4.5-5.6 and I was really
amazed at
how much easier it was with that lens! Unfortunately again, that lens
will NOT autofocus
with your camera. If that is not a problem, I have to say that this
lens will allow you
to make tack sharp shots at 1/125sec at 400mm (600mm effective on your
camera)
HANDHELD!!
All in all, I would advise to wait a bit and buy (or rent first )
the lens that really works
for you, even if it costs a bit more than you had planned initially...!

Henk



gstoa wrote:

> Looking for lens recommendations for my Nikon D40x which will enable
> me to shoot high speed in low light conditions (indoor sports under
> fluorescent lights). I have the standard Nikon 55-200 zoom which
> delivers slow and grainy pictures at f-4 even without Auto Focus. I
> am happy to give up the zoom and AF in return for quality pictures
> that I can crop.
>
> Suggestions are greatly appreciated.


 
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Paul Furman
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      08-27-2008
gstoa wrote:
> Looking for lens recommendations for my Nikon D40x which will enable
> me to shoot high speed in low light conditions (indoor sports under
> fluorescent lights). I have the standard Nikon 55-200 zoom which
> delivers slow and grainy pictures at f-4 even without Auto Focus. I
> am happy to give up the zoom and AF in return for quality pictures
> that I can crop.
>
> Suggestions are greatly appreciated.


I got an old beater manual 300mm f/2.8 Tokina but it won't meter on your
camera. For indoor sports the lighting should stay the same so just a
little chimping to get it right at the beginning. Still inconvenient
though. There is an $800 180mm f/2.8 Nikkor, again it won't AF for you
but should meter. Not much to offer though compared to 80-200 f/2.8.

--
Paul Furman
www.edgehill.net
www.baynatives.com

all google groups messages filtered due to spam
 
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Steve
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      08-28-2008

On Wed, 27 Aug 2008 15:17:32 -0700, nospam <(E-Mail Removed)>
wrote:

>In article
><(E-Mail Removed)>,
>gstoa <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
>> Looking for lens recommendations for my Nikon D40x which will enable
>> me to shoot high speed in low light conditions (indoor sports under
>> fluorescent lights). I have the standard Nikon 55-200 zoom which
>> delivers slow and grainy pictures at f-4 even without Auto Focus. I
>> am happy to give up the zoom and AF in return for quality pictures
>> that I can crop.

>
>you'll want an f/2.8 zoom, or if zoom is not required, an even faster
>fixed focal length lens. for zooms, the standard is the nikon 70-200
>f/2.8 vr, however, the 80-200 lacks stabilizations and costs about half
>as much. for fixed focal length, get a 50, 85 and 200, all of which
>are f/2 or faster.


If you're going to be shooting moving action like sports, VR won't
matter much. Sure, it adds versatility with the 70-200 f/2.8 in that
you can also use it at slower shutter speeds in really low light, but
that's for things that aren't moving. For shooting sports, you'll
want to use a shutter speed fast enough to stop the people in motion,
which is also fast enough that camera shake isn't much of an issue
either. If you try and use it at shutter speeds where VR really
helps, your subjects will be all blurred.

The 80-200 f/2.8 is about the best you can do with a zoom for under
$1000 for shooting indoor sports. You're going to end up shooting
with it wide open and at high ISO, like 1600, if you want to get an
indoor under flourescent lights shutter speed of like 1/300 or faster,
which is what you'll need to stop the action.

But here's the problem.. no autofocus on a D40. So if that's a
concern for you (it would be for me, especially since you're shooting
wide open aperture) then you'll have to go to the 70-200 VR for twice
the price. It's a great lens, go for it. You won't be dissapointed.

As the other poster said, if you're happy to give up the zoom you can
get yourself a cheap 50mm f/1.8. But the same problem.. no autofocus
on a D40. Same thing with a 50mm f/1.4 or an 85mm f/1.4. As far as
I'm concernted, that counts them out as useful indoor sports lenses
where you're wide open with no DOF.

The 200mm f/2.0 would be great, and will autofocus and work perfectly
on your D40. But have you checked out the price? It's 3-4 times what
you want to pay.

You want my opinion on what you *should* do? Get yourself a used D200
AND an 80-200 f/2.8 AND a 50 f/1.8. You can get all of that for about
the same price as a 70-200 f/2.8 that you need to work with your D40
and you'll have a MUCH better system for shooting indoor sports. The
D200 will blow away a D40x in every respect when it comes to fast
action shooting. Hell, if you sell your D40x and the lens you have,
the addional cost of all that will be less than your $1000 that you
want to spend.

Steve
 
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nospam
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      08-28-2008
In article <(E-Mail Removed)>, Steve
<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> >> Looking for lens recommendations for my Nikon D40x which will enable
> >> me to shoot high speed in low light conditions (indoor sports under
> >> fluorescent lights). I have the standard Nikon 55-200 zoom which
> >> delivers slow and grainy pictures at f-4 even without Auto Focus. I
> >> am happy to give up the zoom and AF in return for quality pictures
> >> that I can crop.

> >
> >you'll want an f/2.8 zoom, or if zoom is not required, an even faster
> >fixed focal length lens. for zooms, the standard is the nikon 70-200
> >f/2.8 vr, however, the 80-200 lacks stabilizations and costs about half
> >as much. for fixed focal length, get a 50, 85 and 200, all of which
> >are f/2 or faster.

>
> If you're going to be shooting moving action like sports, VR won't
> matter much. Sure, it adds versatility with the 70-200 f/2.8 in that
> you can also use it at slower shutter speeds in really low light, but
> that's for things that aren't moving. For shooting sports, you'll
> want to use a shutter speed fast enough to stop the people in motion,
> which is also fast enough that camera shake isn't much of an issue
> either. If you try and use it at shutter speeds where VR really
> helps, your subjects will be all blurred.


that's true, but vr can help with panning, and that can help with some
sports. it's also a decent lens, and the stabilization might be useful
in other situations.

> The 80-200 f/2.8 is about the best you can do with a zoom for under
> $1000 for shooting indoor sports. You're going to end up shooting
> with it wide open and at high ISO, like 1600, if you want to get an
> indoor under flourescent lights shutter speed of like 1/300 or faster,
> which is what you'll need to stop the action.
>
> But here's the problem.. no autofocus on a D40. So if that's a
> concern for you (it would be for me, especially since you're shooting
> wide open aperture) then you'll have to go to the 70-200 VR for twice
> the price. It's a great lens, go for it. You won't be dissapointed.


nikon made an 80-200 afs, which unfortunately has been discontinued and
can only be bought used. however, if you can find one at a fair price,
it's a very good lens. sigma makes a 70-200 hsm (afs equivalent) and
the tamron 70-200 has a built-in motor but it's not ultrasonic and
therefore slow.

> As the other poster said, if you're happy to give up the zoom you can
> get yourself a cheap 50mm f/1.8. But the same problem.. no autofocus
> on a D40. Same thing with a 50mm f/1.4 or an 85mm f/1.4. As far as
> I'm concernted, that counts them out as useful indoor sports lenses
> where you're wide open with no DOF.


yea, i forgot about the autofocus. it might be an opportunity to get a
d90

> The 200mm f/2.0 would be great, and will autofocus and work perfectly
> on your D40. But have you checked out the price? It's 3-4 times what
> you want to pay.
>
> You want my opinion on what you *should* do? Get yourself a used D200
> AND an 80-200 f/2.8 AND a 50 f/1.8. You can get all of that for about
> the same price as a 70-200 f/2.8 that you need to work with your D40
> and you'll have a MUCH better system for shooting indoor sports. The
> D200 will blow away a D40x in every respect when it comes to fast
> action shooting. Hell, if you sell your D40x and the lens you have,
> the addional cost of all that will be less than your $1000 that you
> want to spend.


i'd suggest a d90 or d300 over a d200.
 
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Blinky the Shark
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      08-28-2008
nospam wrote:

> nikon made an 80-200 afs, which unfortunately has been discontinued and
> can only be bought used. however, if you can find one at a fair price,
> it's a very good lens. sigma makes a 70-200 hsm (afs equivalent) and
> the tamron 70-200 has a built-in motor but it's not ultrasonic and
> therefore slow.


What is it, then?


--
Blinky
Killing all posts from Google Groups
The Usenet Improvement Project: http://improve-usenet.org
Need a new news feed? http://blinkynet.net/comp/newfeed.html

 
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Dave
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      08-28-2008
gstoa wrote:
> Looking for lens recommendations for my Nikon D40x which will enable
> me to shoot high speed in low light conditions (indoor sports under
> fluorescent lights). I have the standard Nikon 55-200 zoom which
> delivers slow and grainy pictures at f-4 even without Auto Focus. I
> am happy to give up the zoom and AF in return for quality pictures
> that I can crop.
>
> Suggestions are greatly appreciated.


It might help if you say the sport. Is 200mm long enough, or is part of
the problem that you are needing to crop a small piece of the image?

The 70-200 f 2.8 IF-ED VR someone suggested does have a mode for
panning, so if you pan horizontally, it will remove vertical shakes. I
own one of them, and find it a good lens. But you will not get one for
$1000 - even used. But VR is not going to help if people are rapidly
moving, as legs will be going one way, arms another etc. For that you
are going to need a high shutter speed.

One thing I would say, is that if you buy a used Nikon (not 3rd party)
lens, don't pay too much for it, you can probably sell it again for no
significant loss - perhaps even make a profit. Used Nikon lenses tend to
hold their value well. Assuming you have the money up front you can rent
them for free!!! I bought a used 20 mm f 2.8 lens off of eBay a few
years ago, and looking at prices now, I could easily sell it for
significantly more than what I paid for it.
I don't think there is a lot of point in buying a used VR 70-200 though,
as used prices of current lenses seem to be very little below the new
price. In fact, I've seen used Nikon lenees on eBay sell for more than
it is possible to buy one new!

I don't know much about the D40, but others are saying it will not work
fully with some lenses. But the 70-200 f 2.8 IF-ED VR works well on my
F6 and D3.

Sorry, there are no real suggestions, but perhaps some things to bear in
mind. If you can possibly go to the 70-200 f 2.8 IF-ED VR you will not
be dissapointed.
 
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Dave
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      08-28-2008
Dave wrote:

> One thing I would say, is that if you buy a used Nikon (not 3rd party)
> lens, don't pay too much for it, you can probably sell it again for no
> significant loss - perhaps even make a profit. Used Nikon lenses tend to
> hold their value well. Assuming you have the money up front you can rent
> them for free!!! I bought a used 20 mm f 2.8 lens off of eBay a few
> years ago, and looking at prices now, I could easily sell it for
> significantly more than what I paid for it.
> I don't think there is a lot of point in buying a used VR 70-200 though,
> as used prices of current lenses seem to be very little below the new
> price. In fact, I've seen used Nikon lenees on eBay sell for more than
> it is possible to buy one new!


I just see this on Amazon about the 70-200 VR.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Nikon-Af-S-7.../dp/B00009MDBQ


"Something to consider about the price (believe me you DO (as commented
on by another reviewer) forget what you've paid immediately you start
using this beauty) is that it still costs the same as I paid 3 years
ago. Depreciation? What's that then! Check out the second hand values. I
think that speaks volumes!"

Personally I would not buy a 70-200 VR used, simply because the savings
are far too small and you have the assurance of a guarantee. But on for
example a 600 mm f4, the savings of used compared to new are quite
significant, since the new ones have VR and most of the older ones do not.
 
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Me
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      08-28-2008
Blinky the Shark wrote:
> nospam wrote:
>
>> nikon made an 80-200 afs, which unfortunately has been discontinued and
>> can only be bought used. however, if you can find one at a fair price,
>> it's a very good lens. sigma makes a 70-200 hsm (afs equivalent) and
>> the tamron 70-200 has a built-in motor but it's not ultrasonic and
>> therefore slow.

>
> What is it, then?
>
>

Probably a small DC motor, not an ultrasonic motor.
Nikon make some AF-s lenses with "micro-motors" which behave much like
USM equipped lenses (have instant manual override of AF and are
relatively quiet - but are generally slower focusing than ultrasonic
motor types), but the Tamron motor-in-lens designs that I've seen are
slower still, noisier, and don't have the instant AF override by turning
focus ring. Optically, some are very good - if they had ultrasonic
motor AF, they would be excellent overall.
 
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