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Old Nov 12, 2007, 7:59 AM   #11
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,371

If it were me and I had $1000 to $1200 to spend, I'd go for the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 with a 1.4x TC (Teleconverter) on it and try to use it for your Football, Rodeo and Basketball (and other low light venues where f/2.8 could come in handy).

Now, a TC will degrade optical performance a little bit (and you lose one stop of light with one, giving you the equivalent of a 98-280mm f/4 Lens when you have it attached. But, this lens wearing a 1.4x TC is really not bad from images I've seen.

It's not going to be as sharp wearing a TC as the Sigma 100-300mm f/4 JohnG mentioned without a TC. But, you could stop down the lens a bit anyway for daytime use if desired, and that would give you a lens that you could use without a TC in less than optimum lighting.

A stop brighter lens (i.e. f/2 or better) would really be desirable for the basketball. But, if light is good enough, you could probably get by with f/2.8 an get some keepers at ISO 3200 for smaller print sizes (where any blur won't be as obvious), and you'd have Autofocus (where you would not have it trying to use a brighter prime on a D40). f/2.8 will give you shutter speeds twice as fast as an f/4 lens for any given lighting and ISO speed.

IOW, given budget (and your stated use for the images), I'd try to get by with one lens for everything. I see that 17th Street Photo has it for about $849 right now:

Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM Macro Autofocus Lens in Nikon mount for $849

Here's a TC:

Sigma 1.4x EX DG Teleconverter for Nikon for $164.89

That combo would keep you within budget and give you more versatility in more lighting conditions from my perspective.

I think JohnG has this combo (and he also shoots a lot of sports). So, I'd see what he says about pros and cons of this type of solution.

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