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Old Sep 2, 2008, 2:06 PM   #11
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Thanks Greg - Based what you're saying it would seem better to spend the close to $3,000 on a D700 and use my current 70-300 lens than to spend that kind of cash on a Sigma 120-300 2.8. Of course for under $2000 I could get a D300 as you mentioned.

Hope I'm not beating this to death. I just want to take pictures of varsity baseball the next few springs and my current set-up prevents this.
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Old Sep 2, 2008, 2:12 PM   #12
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JimW. wrote:
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Well I appreciate all the advise on a new lens vs. camera upgrade. I've really been researching the Sigma 120-300mm DG and finally find a price of $2190 at amazon and hesitated, then overnight it and other sites went up over $500. :shock:

Now I have to really rethink as spending $2700+ is a lot of money for this speciality lens. Is it normal for prices to come back down on this lens or should I consider other options? Perhaps a new camera (d300?) that would help with night games?
Here's the real challenge. There are several factors at play here that make your request very difficult:

1. Baseball from outside the fence. That's tough. 200mm is good for about 25 yards, 300mm is good for about 40 yards. What this means is from outside the fence it will be extremely difficult if not impossible to get quality shots of the infield except from inside second base towards your shooting position. I.E. it will be tough to get a quality shot of action at second base. And that's in good light.

2. Aperture. You'll need 2.8 no if's ands or butt's about it if you're going to shoot under the lights. For example here are the settings for Progressive Field in Cleveland: Night exposure 1000 iso, 2.8, 1/500 Sec. That's a major league park. Here are the settings for Tropicana Field in Florida: Exposures were around 1/640s ISO 800 f/2.8 at home plate, but fell off 1/3-2/3 of a stop in the far reaches of the outfield . Since we're not talking pro lighting you can expect about a 2-stop drop-off.

So, here's the reality: 200mm is way too short. So you'll spend a lot of $$$ and get mediocre shots in daytime and probably poor shots at night (because you'll be cropping so much).

The d50 is long in the tooth - focus systems and high ISO have improved greatly since then. But you still need quality glass.ISO 1600 (which you'd be using on the D50 even with 2.8 at night) isn't stellar. So you're spending a LOT of money on the 120-300 (fantastic lens - I shoot baseball with it) and you still wouldn't get great shots at night. I would be inclined to consider D90 and Sigma 100-300 f4 plus 1.4x TC. You won't be able to get much at night but you'll get some great daytime shots. I think that's a better spend of money than getting the 120-300 and keeping the D50. For what it's worth I shoot the 120-300 and I wouldn't bother trying to shoot a night baseball game outside the fences with it.

Bottom line? you'll want 400mm worth of lens (before factoring in the 1.5x multiplier) if shooting from outside the fence. Given that, you're better off having a QUALITY 400mm solution that's 5.6 - and what I like about the 100-300 plus TC solution is you could ditch the TC and still get SOME shots in late afternoon.

And yes, I do shoot baseball. And you are NOT going to get quality shots by doing huge crops.














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Old Sep 2, 2008, 2:14 PM   #13
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JimW. wrote:
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Thanks Greg - Based what you're saying it would seem better to spend the close to $3,000 on a D700 and use my current 70-300 lens than to spend that kind of cash on a Sigma 120-300 2.8. Of course for under $2000 I could get a D300 as you mentioned.
Actually - you'll want a new lens too. Your current lens is not a stellar performer from 200-300mm. You'll need good performance from 300-400mm. But again, don't count on shooting night games under the lights.

EDIT: the D700 is a stellar camera. But with a consumer grade lens like the 70-300 I think it's not a wise spend of money. Much better off getting a mid-level DSLR like the new D-90 and a better lens as both your lens and camera need upgrading if you want to improve the quality of your shots.
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Old Sep 2, 2008, 2:22 PM   #14
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JimW. wrote:
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Is it normal for prices to come back down on this lens or should I consider other options?
Sorry forgot to address this part. Don't expect the price to fall. When I bought my copy 3 years ago it was going for $1800. Kinda makes you cry don't it?
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Old Sep 2, 2008, 7:26 PM   #15
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While I can't speak for the Nikons I can show you one of my results with a Canon lens.
The baseball shot was shot with a high end camera but the lens would work equally well on a lower model. This lens can be gotten at B&H for $1190.
Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II, EF 70-200 f/2.8L @ 180mm, f/2.8, 1/400s, ISO1000
Also keep in mind that this was shot at a minor league park (Yogi Berra Stadium, Montclair, NJ) which has much better lighting than the typical HS or municipal field. It was the only night baseball game that I ever shot.
For HS night football I'll use my EF 100-400f/4.5-5.6 IS as wide as I can get the aperture and at 1/160s ISO1600

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Old Sep 2, 2008, 7:28 PM   #16
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Here is a night football shot. Taken at Cedar Grove High School, Cedar Grove, NJ

This lens can be found at B&H for $1460

Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II, EF 100-400 L IS @ 320mm, f/5.6, 1/160s, ISO1600


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Old Sep 3, 2008, 8:57 AM   #17
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JohnG wrote:
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Bottom line? you'll want 400mm worth of lens (before factoring in the 1.5x multiplier) if shooting from outside the fence. Given that, you're better off having a QUALITY 400mm solution that's 5.6 - and what I like about the 100-300 plus TC solution is you could ditch the TC and still get SOME shots in late afternoon.

John - Thanks for such a detailed response, it has been very helpful. Since most of my shooting is during daylight I should probably spend my money in that direction.

Guess I'm confussed by the quote above. Are you saying the 100-300 with the TC is the quality solution, or are you saying to look at a quality 400mm lense. If so, what are some quality ??-400mm to consider?

I like your thoughts and it will ultimately steer me toward a better spend for my needs. Thanks!!
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Old Sep 3, 2008, 9:01 AM   #18
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Hi Jim,

John is referring to the Sigma 100-300mm f4 lens (he mentioned it in an earlier post) as this is one of the sharpest zoom lenses on the market and works wonderfully with the 1.4x TC making a strong 140-420mm f5.6.

As he said this is not going to be a low light solution but with the D90 you are looking at a nice package.

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Old Sep 3, 2008, 9:05 AM   #19
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JimW. wrote:
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Guess I'm confussed by the quote above. Are you saying the 100-300 with the TC is the quality solution, or are you saying to look at a quality 400mm lense. If so, what are some quality ??-400mm to consider?

I like your thoughts and it will ultimately steer me toward a better spend for my needs. Thanks!!
Sorry for the confusion. You want a quality lens solution that goes out to 400mm and retains quality. I am, indeed, suggesting the 100-300 plus TC meets that requirement. As I mentioned I like the solution because you can remove the TC in poor lighting and still get some shots. Without the TC it's fabulously sharp lens and still hand-holdable. I'm not a Nikon shooter so I cannot recommend an alternative lens in the same price range. I know another popular lens is the Sigma 50-500 (aka Bigma). That will get you plenty of range and it's reasonably sharp (although not as sharp as the 100-300). But, since it's a 5.6 lens you won't be able to shoot in poor light. But everything is a trade-off. The bigma gets you more range but the 100-300 plus TC gives you better sharpness and more low-light flexibility (although still not able to shoot at night). Welcome to the world of sports shooting - where there is no single perfect lens.

I would caution thoughabout other third party lenses from Tamron or Tokina - they don't have advanced focus motors like the Sigma HSM so that will be an issue. They can be tempting buys because they are less expensive and often reasonably sharp - but the focus speed is an issue for sports shooting so I would stay clear of them.
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Old Sep 10, 2008, 2:48 PM   #20
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I to enjoy shooting highschool baseball with similar setup.

D80 and a Tokina 80-200 f2.8

200mm is only good enough for shots around home, first and third standing near to each base. I have read so much about the recomendations for the sigma 100-300 F4 EX. I really do like the IF! What about these other considerations in the same price range?

Sigma 50-500 f4 EX DG HSM

Sigma 120-400 F4 DG OS HSM APO

Sigma 150-500 F% DG OS HSM APO

These other lenses are all relative in price at B&H. Any thoughts??
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