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Old Apr 4, 2008, 6:11 PM   #1
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Hello from a hockey/dance mom....

I own a Nikon D70s and have $1,000 to spend on a new zoom lens. I want to take pictures of my son's hockey and my daughter's dance recitals. I'm thinking about the Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8 D but wish I had the money for a VR....any suggestions?

Hope not a stupid question.....

Cold in Timmins, ON......

Sue T.

P.S. I really like having a bigger camera and lens than all the other moms!
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Old Apr 5, 2008, 5:36 AM   #2
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snthorne,

VR is nice,, it is very nice to have,, but it's not everything. I have a few VR lenses and it spoiled me in a way but it also got me in the mood to be kind of lazy, letting the lens and camera do all the work for me, although some mightargue that's what photography is about.. I took some wonderful shots with my VR lenses but now I have switched VR OFF on them all,, for 2 reasons...

1. It saves one heck of a lot on batteries, easily doubling my shots per charge, on both my D80 and D300.

2. I am now experimenting more with settings and techniqueswhile VR is switched off.

I find myself taking equally as good and sometimes better shots now without the aid of VR.

If you are sure you want VR then I would suggest the 18-200mm VR. It will cover the focal length rangeyou want and give you a wider field of view below the 80mm you set out for. Bang per buck, this is one great lensand gives great results. I don't know where you are from butI am sure $1000 will go a long way.

Oh,, how about the 70-300mm VR..??? This too gives some real great shots with that extra margin of zoom over the 18-200mm. I really love this lens and it cost less than the 18-200mm. Even in lower light with the right settings, it gives some real good results. It works well on both my cameras.
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Old Apr 5, 2008, 7:48 AM   #3
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Welcome to the forums Sue.

In addition to the Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8, you may also want to consider the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM. The Sigma has the advantage of HSM (Hypersonic Motor Focusing), which is similar to Nikon's AF-S (Silent Wave Focusing).

But, you may find that f/2.8 isn't quite bright enough for some conditions. So, you may want to consider a prime (fixed focal length versus zoom) for the dance recitals (for example, an 85mm f/1.8 ), in order to get more photos without blur from subject movement.

Even at ISO 1600, your shutter speeds probably won't be much over around 1/125 second trying to shoot with an f/2.8 zoom in typical school or church stage lighting. That means you'll probably have some motion blur with much movement. So, a brighter prime can come in handy.

You'll probably have better lock at a better it hockey rink using an f/2.8 zoom (f/2.8 may be bright enough at ISO 1600). But, you'd have to try it to see for sure (a brighter prime may also be a better bet there, depending on the lighting).

No offense to fewpics. But, I would strongly suggest avoiding lenses like the 18-200mm VR and 70-300mm VR for the types of photos you are interested in (I'm assuming you mean indoor hockey rinks and dance recitals on a typical school stage). Those zooms are down to f/5.6 by the time you zoom in much, which is nowhere near bright enough for indoor use without a flash, unless you want to see lots of motion blur with subject movement.

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Old Apr 5, 2008, 8:02 AM   #4
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Can you suggest a few models for the Prime lens--I did a search but had trouble finding what you suggested--Does Nikon make these lenses or Sigma?

Thanks for educating me, by the way, I confess I did not know about Prime lenses but it makes sense!

Sue T.
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Old Apr 5, 2008, 8:11 AM   #5
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For the hocky, you may have a problem getting close enough to get keepers with a prime, unless you've got a pretty hefty budget. An f/2.8 zoom may be your best bet for that purpose in a well lit rink.

For the Dance Recitals, I'd probably look at an Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 if you can sit close enough. It's around $400. I'd see what kind of shutter speeds you're getting with a zoom at a given aperture and ISO speed first. Then, you can calculate how much faster you'd get with a prime.

For example, if you're getting 1/30 second at f/5.6 at ISO 1600 with one of your existing zooms, you'd get around 1/300 second at f/1.8 and ISO 1600 (f/1.8 is 10 times as bright as f/5.6).

If light is better than expected, you may be able to get away with an f/2.8 zoom, too. But, I've found that f/2.8 is not really bright enough for moving subjects in the stage lighting I've found in my area on school stages.



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Old Apr 5, 2008, 8:35 AM   #6
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I think you'll find VR won't help that much when shooting hockey. As JimC said, typically the lighting is not so good in indoor arenas, especially non professional. A prime lens is probably you're best bet. Which lens to pick depends on where you typically sit. The problem with primes, is finding one that's going to be long enough. The two most popular primes are the 50 f1.8 and 85 f1.8. They are both reasonably priced, and if you are fairly close to the action, will work pretty well. If you can't get so close, you're going to need to go with one of the f2.8 zooms which are quite a bit more expensive. Again, JimC's recommendations are good ones.

I'm also not a fan of the 18-200. It's a good lens and very convenient, but found the distortion tough to live with, and considering the cost, it wasn't worth it to me. You can get better IQ for the same cost out of two shorter zooms (even the 18-55, 55-200 combo) for alot less. I disagree with Fewpics on the point of turning VR off, though. If you have it by all means use it. Yes it does affect battery life.....only getting 500 shots versus 1000 is still a days worth of shooting, and you should have two batteries anyway. In terms of Vr making you lazy.....well, I don't quite get it. Does using a tripod or some other way to stabilize you're camera make you lazy?? Whether you have VR or not, you still need good technique, and any tool that you have available to help your images, should be used. There really are no settings that can replace VR (aside from raising iso, but that degrades IQ, and even that doesn't actually replace it). Using Vr doesn't prevent one from experimenting and trying different techniques. Also, anything that makes photography easier is worth using if you have it. It's not just about working hard, it's also about working smart and using all the tools you have at your disposal. Besides, if you're going to pay the premium for Vr, then you're throwing your money away by turning it off. I don't think Vr is the magic bullet, or the end all feature. It's just a tool, and part of the decision making process...I certainly wouldn't make a purchasing decision solely based on VR/IS. But again, if you have it, use it.
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Old Apr 5, 2008, 4:41 PM   #7
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JimC wrote:
Quote:
No offense to fewpics. But, I would strongly suggest avoiding lenses like the 18-200mm VR and 70-300mm VR for the types of photos you are interested in (I'm assuming you mean indoor hockey rinks and dance recitals on a typical school stage). Those zooms are down to f/5.6 by the time you zoom in much, which is nowhere near bright enough for indoor use without a flash, unless you want to see lots of motion blur with subject movement.
No offense taken,,

You're most likely correct here. When I saw the word "hockey", I assumed it was our kind of hockey - outdoors and with the curved stick variety and a ball. Over your way I guess you may mean ice hockey (indoors of course and under lights), which is something we don't get into here...

I have a Sigma 70-200mm and although I have never used it under low light conditions, I have seen such results from them and they most certainly are a capable lens...
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Old Apr 5, 2008, 4:55 PM   #8
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It is interesting to note the difference in meaning with various sports titles between regions (both football and hockey come to mind). I'm assuming that Sue means indoor ice hockey, and you're assuming Sue means outdoor hockey. Lens choice just might make a difference, depending on the type of hockey Sue is interested in. :-)

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Old Apr 5, 2008, 5:14 PM   #9
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Being from Northern Canada, I most certainly meant ice hockey in smaller arenas. Also, my daughter's dance recitals take place in professional theatres, with stage lighting.....hope the clarity helps....I certainly am enjoying all the responses!

Sue from Timmins (where spring has finally sprung!)
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Old Apr 5, 2008, 5:25 PM   #10
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I'd probably grab the newest Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM Macro II and give it a go. On a tighter budget, I'd keep an eye out for user reviews of the new Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 (not shipping yet) to see how it's liked at a lower price point.

In professional arenas, a 70-200mm f/2.8 just might do the trick at ISO 1600 (offering a good compromise between brightness and convenience compared to a prime).

If it's not bright enough for the dance recitals (and it may not be), you could always buy a prime later (and you'll probably want the extra range of an f/2.8 zoom like that for the ice hockey anyway).

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