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Colleeno Apr 19, 2010 10:31 AM

a Sigma or nikon?
I have a nikon d80 camera which I'm looking for a new lense. I think I narrow it down to the Sigma 70 200mm f/2.8 or nikon 80 200mm f/2.8. I take pictures of high school football and basketball for the coaches. I am using nikon 85mm f/1.8. Confused, which one is more suitable for me, any suggestion?

TCav Apr 19, 2010 11:14 AM

The 85/1.8 you've got would be good for indoor sports like basketball, wrestling, and volleyball.

For outdoor sports like football, soccer, and baseball, you need something that goes out to 300mm. The Sigma 70-200/2.8 and Nikon 80-200/2.8 would be ok for night games, because of the large aperture, but you won't be able to capture as much action because of the shorter focal length, and appropriate lenses are monstrously expensive, especially for a hobbyist. (See

For outdoor sports in daylight, the Nikon AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED would be a good choice. It's about $530 at

Mark1616 Apr 19, 2010 1:57 PM

With a D80 for indoor sports then neither, you need to stick with your fast prime as your ISO doesn't go high enough. If you are shooting football under the lights then I would go with either of these, but if it is day games then the best choice is the Sigma 100-300mm f4. I would stay away from the Nikon 70-300 as it is still a consumer lens with only f5.6 at the maximum. The Sigma 100-300 is very sharp and if you need extra reach you can add a 1.4x TC making a 140-420mm f5.6 and still be more than sharp enough to use.

JohnG Apr 19, 2010 3:05 PM

OK - summing things up:
Basketball: Most HS gyms I've shot in tend to be within a stop of 1/400 f2.8 ISO 3200. The exposures you're currently getting with the 85 should help you calculate what shutter speed you will get at ISO 3200 and f2.8. Unless your HS is lit like a Div I college gym, you're going to need to use the boosted ISO 3200 in the d80 to use f2.8.

Football: If it's varsity under the lights then either 70-200 2.8 will work. Preferably with an off-camera mounted sb-800 flash. If it's not varsity under the lights then Mark's suggestions make sense. Night time football can be even worse. Without external flash you're looking at F2.8 1/400 and ISO 3200-6400. It's tough. Now, of all the field sports, football is actually the easiest to shoot with only 200mm. So, while TCAV is right that it can be short, it's not as bad as if you were shooting LAX, baseball, softball or soccer. Just realize you only have about 25 yards of range from your shooting position. So if you follow the line of scrimmage up/down the field you can get action from middle of the field toward your sideline with 200mm.

Can I ask - you say you shoot for the coaches? What is done with the images? Who is paying for the new gear? The reason I ask is it can get a bit pricey to get good shots for prints. But if shots are just going to be used on website then it's no big deal and less money can be spent. If you're being paid, then you need to consider this as a business decision - spend money to make money.

Colleeno Apr 19, 2010 5:07 PM

thanks so much for giving me information on what i should use, football will be under the lights. I started taking pictures of my child and then because i was there i took picture of as many kids as i could. They enjoy looking at them. Downloading to theyre phones and facebook. The coaches use them for slideshows for at the sport banquets and some go in the yearbook. So moneys not involved. So whatever i can get the most out of for the money, Is kind of how i would like to go..

JohnG Apr 19, 2010 5:15 PM

OK, we're talking facebook and pc use. Not worth the extra money for better results. Get the sigma 70-200 2.8. Not a perfect solution with just that lens and the 3200 performance of the d80 but for the intended use, it's good enough.

Colleeno Apr 19, 2010 7:49 PM

do you think there is much difference between the sigma 70 200mm f2.8 and the nikon 80 200mm f2.8

Colleeno Apr 20, 2010 2:48 PM

you said the sigma 70 200mm 2.8 its good enough for pc but what lense would give me good prints? I'm sure i cant afford it but i would like to know.

JohnG Apr 20, 2010 3:23 PM

The sigma 70-200 2.8 will provide decent prints for football depending on light levels. The limiting factors are going to be:
Lack of Reach: 25 yards. Only way to get more reach is to step up in lens. Next lens up the food chain with more reach is sigma 120-300 2.8 ($3300). After that it's the Nikon 300mm 2.8 which is around $4000. I'm guessing those are out of your price range.

Second limiting factor is: lack of light. I don't know how well your stadium is lit. Some places I shoot at require ISO 6400 and f2.8. You don't have ISO 6400 and ISO 3200 is so-so. Your options here are: new camera - the Nikon d3s has class leading ISO 6400 but in reality the d90 would have to suffice. The more realistic option is an external flash mounted on a monopod.

Here's the type of shot you could get with the sigma 70-200 2.8 and an external flash with appropriate power (SB800) mounted on the monopod. This shot was taken with a canon camera and sigma 120-300 2.8 but the sigma 70-200 2.8 is the same level of quality.

Colleeno Apr 20, 2010 4:28 PM

Your right, it is out of my price range, But who knows i may win the lottery. Thanks the info.

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