200/f2 vs. 70-200/f2.8

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Cynicor, Feb 19, 2008.

  1. Cynicor

    Cynicor Guest

    I was at some youth hockey games this past weekend, and the official
    photographers had four lights on each ice surface, tied to Pocket
    Wizards. I used my 70-200 f/2.8 and I got tons of really good pictures
    at f/8, ISO 400, 1/250. I could easily have gone down to f/5.6.

    The official shooter had a 200 f/2 lens, which was humongous compared
    with mine. But how much benefit do you get in that situation when you
    use a fixed-length lens? You're not going to be shooting wide-open, so
    it would seem to me that the extra benefit mostly disappears at f/5.6,
    and you're left with a much larger, less-flexible setup.
    Cynicor, Feb 19, 2008
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  2. Cynicor

    Paul Furman Guest

    Normally people *do* use the lens wide open for sports:
    Paul Furman, Feb 19, 2008
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  3. Cynicor

    Cynicor Guest

    Right - maybe the company uses it for other events where they can't set
    up lights. But it would seem unwieldy in this situation.
    Cynicor, Feb 19, 2008
  4. Cynicor

    John Navas Guest

    The fixed focal length lens will have the advantage in image quality --
    no zoom measures up. The zoom will have the advantage of different
    focal lengths.
    John Navas, Feb 19, 2008
  5. Cynicor

    Cynicor Guest

    We're not talking about taking photos of molecules, though. You're not
    going to look at the 70-200 f/2.8 and say "Damn, what a crappy zoom
    photo." You're also not printing 40x30" from it. (Maybe someone is, but
    I don't know of anyone who has - they'll go 8x10.)
    Cynicor, Feb 19, 2008
  6. Cynicor

    John Navas Guest

    I can look critically at 8x10 prints side by side and tell the
    difference. I'll bet you could too.
    John Navas, Feb 19, 2008
  7. I doubt that. But it makes no difference anyway.

    With a fixed focal length there are going to be more
    shots that require cropping than there will if the zoom
    is used.

    The significance is apparent when two locations are
    selected to give the same relative field of view, one
    with the fixed 200mm and the other (which will be
    closer) with the zoom at 70mm. The comparison to look
    at is a shot is made with the zoom set at 200mm compared
    to a cropped image of the same area made by that fixed
    lense in the more distant location location.

    With top of the line lenses (for example Nikon's f/2.8
    zooms) the zoom will perform better.

    The fixed 200mm focal length lense at f/2 has two very
    slight advantages. One is potentially lower light and
    the other is potentially shallower depth of field. The
    difference in either is so slight as to be insignificant
    (compared to the advantages of a quality f/2.8 zoom).

    What you've said is perhaps valid if comparing typical
    consumer grade 70-200mm f/~4 zooms, which is probably
    the only kind you've ever worked with.
    Floyd L. Davidson, Feb 19, 2008
  8. Floyd L. Davidson wrote:

    ... and, just possibly, if it is heavier it may have the advantage of
    greater stability (against vibration and jitter).

    The camera's auto-focus may work better too, but I don't know if a pro
    would be using auto-focus for such shots.

    David J Taylor, Feb 19, 2008
  9. Cynicor

    Guest Guest

    there are too many variables between different photos to attribute any
    perceived difference to a specific lens. also, to even begin to see a
    difference requires pixel peeping, something in which you claim you
    have no interest. i am certain that you will not be able to reliably
    identify the lens used any better than pure chance.
    Guest, Feb 19, 2008
  10. The Nikon 200mm f/2.0G weights 6.4 lbs, while the
    70-200mm f/2.8 is exactly half that, at 3.2 lbs. The
    fixed lense is actually 1/2" longer, but it has a 4.9"
    diameter as opposed to the 3.4" diameter of the zoom.

    They both have VR, but (particularly at 6.4 lbs) I just
    can't imagine shooting a entire hockey game handheld!
    Hence the VR doesn't strike me as having value for that
    particular job.

    I haven't used either. I have the older 80-200mm f/2.8
    AF ED zoom, which probably provides a very good basis
    for guessing that the two newer lenses are excellent
    tools, as it is roughly the same as the 70-200mm zoom,
    absent VR and with slower AF.

    In a nutshell, if I were making significant money from
    shooting hockey or anything similar, I would replace the
    80-200mm with the 70-200mm just to get the faster AF
    (and the occasional handheld using VR would be an added
    I can't imagine anyone not using AF for hockey.
    Floyd L. Davidson, Feb 19, 2008
  11. Cynicor

    Cynicor Guest

    Plus, you really want to shoot at 1/250 to freeze action, and the VR
    isn't going to have much effect at that speed. If you're shooting slow
    enough to use the VR, you're going to get subject motion blur.
    The AF is pretty valuable, but since you know that the best action is
    going to be near the goal, you can sometimes focus right on the goal
    post as a play is coming down, and wait for the action to come into focus.
    Cynicor, Feb 19, 2008
  12. It would be nice if you had time to talk to the photographer and compare his
    200mm shots to yours. This way you can see what this lens is really about.
    I have the 70-200/2.8 VR as well and I find it a great lens, though not as
    good as a 200/2.
    This is one of those lenses that fall into the category of if you have to
    ask you really don't need it. The biggest advantages of this lens are its
    low light performance and superior control it gives the photographer over
    DoF. The low light performance allows AF to be lightning fast. And yes,
    you will be shooting this lens wide open most of the time. I had an older
    AI version of this lens and the optics is beyond amazing.

    Rita Berkowitz, Feb 19, 2008
  13. Cynicor

    Cynicor Guest

    I talked to him for a while (and can get the photos from the sports
    photography site), but the comparison wouldn't be exact because he was
    shooting with a D3 and I "only" had a D300. So issues of cropping and
    comparative manhood would factor in.
    Low light wouldn't be an issue in this case, because he was Pocket
    Wizarding four lights on the ice. There was enough light to have to stop
    down to avoid overexposure. But again, they shoot a lot of events, so
    maybe it was just one of their stock lenses that they happened to be
    using here.
    Cynicor, Feb 19, 2008
  14. Cynicor

    grandepatzer Guest

    Manual Focus (MF) for sports, especially fast moving action is not
    what most pro's would do today. Too many missed shots. Typically, they
    would put the camera in continuous focus mode and track the subject as
    they shoot several frames/sec. I can't imagine any practical situation
    for doing this with MF.

    grandepatzer, Feb 19, 2008
  15. Cynicor

    grandepatzer Guest

    That's a great way to get the wrong subject (player, goalie, puck,
    goal post) out of focus when shooting like these guys tend to shoot,
    especially in the lower light conditions of an indoor hockey area --
    wide open.

    grandepatzer, Feb 19, 2008
  16. I'd go with this last idea, all the way. Especially
    because he was using a D3, which probably means that
    three months ago he was using a D2X. (And I'll bet
    evolution will remove the 200mm as a standard part of
    their D3 kit within six months!)

    With a D2X, in many places (where the flash setup is not
    available) that 200mm f/2 is a real lifesaver!

    The D3 changes everything though. 200mm isn't long
    enough and f/2 is unnecessary with a camera that will
    shoot at ISO 3200 (vs. 800 with the D2X).

    With the D3 that 200mm is likely to be replaced with
    something like a 300mm or 400mm, and it won't have to
    be anything like f/2.0 to produce results.
    Floyd L. Davidson, Feb 19, 2008

    The 200mm will always be a mandatory part of any pro's kit simply for its
    high performance and control over DoF.
    As is with the D3.

    200mm is plenty long, especially if you know how to use it. Floyd, using
    your logic, you might as well take a pinhole lens on your D3 to sporting
    A 300 and 400 is definitely nice. But, using your asinine logic a pro
    photographer would shoot the whole event with a fisheye lens. You gotta
    have variety in your kit.

    Rita Berkowitz, Feb 19, 2008
  18. Cynicor

    Cynicor Guest

    Wait, is this your way of coming out as a hermaphrodite?
    Cynicor, Feb 19, 2008
  19. Cynicor

    Cynicor Guest

    Which, again, this situation wasn't. It was sufficiently lit to easily
    go down to 1/250 f/8, like I did.
    Cynicor, Feb 19, 2008
  20. Cynicor

    me Guest

    me, Feb 19, 2008
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