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Old Mar 2, 2009, 5:19 PM   #1
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Hey there folks!
Love the site...I have been reading for years, but this is my first true post to the boards. Anyway, a little background... I just graduated from college (for the second time) and I am looking to get back into photography as a part time freelance sports photographer.

I own a nikon N70, F4, and F5 and just recently purchased my FIRST D-SLR in the D300. I haven't even shot a picture with it yet because I want to get some new glass with it.

The short version of the story is all of my previous glass except for three "cheap" lenses were damaged in a fire at my parents house, so I am basically starting from scratch. Having been out of the "game" for a while, I am looking for some suggestions on lenses. I will be shooting sports the majority of the time, but also shoot weddings and other local events. I spent most of the afternoon reading all about which lenses would be good for sports and such... and my current flagship lens will be the Nikon 70-200 f/2.8.... but thats a few pay checks away. In the mean time, I was wondering about other lens companies?

I know Nikon makes some really nice lenses, and so does Tokina. I was never impressed with my old Tamrons, but apparently their quality has come around? I've read some of the Sigma horror stories, but I've shot with a few really good sigma lenses before with my film equipment.

I guess to summarize, are Tamron's/Tokina/Sigmas a good replacement/substitute for the Nikors? I can read individual reviews on each type of lens I want, but I am just wondering about overall QA and QC, etc. Any help, thoughts, or suggestions would be appreciated!
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Old Mar 2, 2009, 5:47 PM   #2
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It's hard to say as there are some strong Sigma lenses, some strong Tokina's etc as well as there are some weak Nikon's so there are no hard and fast rules.

Before you spend a lot of money on the 70-200mm f2.8 it is worth checking that this lens will do the trick for the sports you want to cover. You might find that it simply is not long enough so you could be throwing your money away. So what do you want to shoot and under what lighting conditions?
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Old Mar 2, 2009, 6:04 PM   #3
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I shoot hockey (indoors), football (day and night), baseball and soccer.

I had a 80-200 f/2.8 AF-D before it was damaged and I loved it. I had a 1.4x teleconverter and it was my favorite piece of glass... I also had a Sigma 100-500 HSM 3.5-5.6 (or something along those lines) and it was a pretty nice lens too... but just a tad slow.

Hockey will be my main sport, followed by football, baseball, then soccer.
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Old Mar 2, 2009, 6:08 PM   #4
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OK, so football and baseball are probably where you will struggle for range, but the good thing is the 70-200 handles a 1.4x TC OK which will help but still might leave you a little short. The usual choice if you needed the range on a budget is the Sigma 100-300mm f4 but this won't be any good for the indoor or under light shots. So the real winner is the Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 but that is going to set you back quite a bit of cash.
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Old Mar 3, 2009, 11:06 AM   #5
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And the 120-300 will be a bit cramped for hockey on an aps-c sensor.

The reality is you're not going to have a single lens that will work well for everything. You'll do 50/50. The lens will be great for hockey and good for football but way too short for baseball or soccer (if full field). So a 70-200 2.8 fits your top two needs so I think it's the right buy to start with. Just realize you're not getting a good solution for the other two sports but there isn't a single lens that will work for your primary sport (hockey) and also do well for the other 3. The 120-300 works for the other 3 just not a great fit for hockey.

And, I just read your initial post. If you're really looking to get work as a freelance shooter, that lack of reach outdoors is gong to really constrain your marketability - even with football now. I would suggest looking at the used market to get some longer glass for outdoors work if you want to make money off this. You can save on the 70-200 by getting the sigma - it should be good enough but you'll need longer glass if you want to compete in the freelance market for outdoor sports like soccer/baseball. For example, 400mm 2.8 is a common baseball lens for newspaper photos (2nd body with 70-200 2.8). For soccer you'll find 400mm, 5000 and 600mm lenses - you'll simply miss too much action with only 200mm.


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Old Mar 3, 2009, 11:32 AM   #6
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John, I've not shot hockey before but I thought that a couple of prime faves for this were the 135mm f2 and the 200mm f2 so even with the APS-C the 120mm wide end should be OK for a lot of the work..... just a thought.

It's an expensive thought anyway LOL
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Old Mar 3, 2009, 1:08 PM   #7
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I did end up ordering the Sigma 70-200 today, and I know it will be good for hockey (and sprint car racing... forget to mention that). I will be looking into some longer lenses for the outdoor sports... football and baseball, but I don't plan on getting into those too hardcore for at least another year. Just something fun to do on the side.

Now I need to look for a lens that will pick up the bottom half of the range for me.... something along the lines of an 18-55, 24-70, etc. Any good, relatively non-expensive options that you would recommend?
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Old Mar 3, 2009, 1:14 PM   #8
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pbook4g5 wrote:
Quote:
Now I need to look for a lens that will pick up the bottom half of the range for me.... something along the lines of an 18-55, 24-70, etc. Any good, relatively non-expensive options that you would recommend?
FYI: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13580_3-10...?tag=mncol;txt

Personally I recommend the Tokina 16-50 f/2.8 if you don't need VR - Just check it:
http://www.photozone.de/nikon--nikko...report?start=1
http://www.photozone.de/nikon--nikko...review?start=1
-> It equals or exceeds the higher cost Nikon's in every way except for CA which can easily be overcome in post-edit...
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Old Mar 3, 2009, 1:25 PM   #9
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NHL wrote:
Quote:
pbook4g5 wrote:
Quote:
Now I need to look for a lens that will pick up the bottom half of the range for me.... something along the lines of an 18-55, 24-70, etc. Any good, relatively non-expensive options that you would recommend?
FYI: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13580_3-10...?tag=mncol;txt

-> Personally I recommend the Tokina 16-50 f/2.8 if you don't need VR - Just check it against Nikon's:
For non sports work I like those. But if the OP is intending the lens for close-up sports work they won't fit the bill. Maybe sigma's 24-70 2.8 hsm when it actually ships. But low light the non HSM, by accounts I've read, does not stack up against the USM / AF-S / HSM lenses - not surprising. Sadly the Nikon 24-70 is $1600. So I would suggest waiting on the Sigma HSM version.
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Old Mar 3, 2009, 1:58 PM   #10
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Yeah that Sigma 24-70 f/2.8 HSM would be pretty nice when it ships... I'll keep my eyes out for it and just stick with an older Tamron 28-105 for now. Chances are, this lower focal length lens will be for general photography more than sports.
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