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JimW. Apr 15, 2008 5:56 PM

I'm glad I found this site and the pics and comments are very helpful.

I have a Nikon D-50 and a 70-300 1:4-5.6 G lens. I have been pleased with my daytime shots but when the sun gets low, I have to shut down the picture taking.

Eventually I will want to upgrade my camera but I was thinking I should invest in a better lens first to get better baseball shots. What would this group recommend for under $1000? How about if I went up to $1500?


Mark1616 Apr 15, 2008 6:17 PM

Hi Jim,

Welcome to Steve's!! I'm not a Nikon user or a baseball shooter (don't get much in the UK) but from what I know it is going to depend what access you have to the field. You might get away with the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 which is probably the only real starting option, but you might still find that lacking reach. I'm sure JohnG will pop in soon and check this post out and add some practical knowledge to this.

If you are feeling brave post a couple of shots that you've taken, nothing like seeing your photos to get to know someone better.

Happy shooting,


Edit, I forgot to mention that glass will need to be first as even with something like the D300 which has much better high ISO ability you will still need the faster glass.

DRGSin Apr 15, 2008 10:57 PM

Id def start with better glass. Itll make the biggest difference in your shooting right off the bat and its an investment that can carry you through the next few body upgrades. Unfortunately, as mentioned, unless its pee wee ball, the 70-200 is very short and would require substantial cropping. I use it (the Nikon 2.8 version) and the 1.4 tele to take shots of batters fromthe side of the backstop and to catch the action at1st or 3rd. What else do you shoot?

JimW. Apr 17, 2008 3:49 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Mid afternoon shot taken from looking over fence down right field line, just past first base.

JimW. Apr 17, 2008 3:53 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Shot taken peeking over fence on 3rd base side. Nikon D-50 and a 70-300 1:4-5.6 G lens.

JimW. Apr 18, 2008 1:39 PM

Mark - I took you're challenge and posted a couple of pics. I've prided myself on good action shots, until I found this website. The shots others post here are quite remarkable. I've a lot to learn. Is the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 an acceptable lens to use with my D-50?

DRGSin - You indicate the 70-200 is very short, which I also had a concern of. Is there a 300 or 400mm lens that should be considered? If so, will I need to mortgage the house? You also mentioned the 1.4 tele. Would that converter work with the Sigma lens mentioned? Have you found converters degrading the picture as much as cropping? Would the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 with the 1.4 tele be better than the set-up I have now?

You asked what else I shoot...... answer ..... as much as possible. I like taking pictures at weddings and social events/sporting events and creating a slide show using Proshow Gold. Kind of a hobby that takes a lot of time. I really want to get better at taking photos.

Glad I found this website. Fantastic source of information.

Mark1616 Apr 18, 2008 6:03 PM

Jim, and we are glad you found it as it's aways great to get new people willing to share and wanting to learn. To give you an idea how things have changed for me since being here for 2.5 years take a look at;forum_id=82where I give some info based on what I've learnt.

As for working with a TC, yes it will reduce quality but much better than cropping an image.

In answer to getting longer glass, it is not going to be cheap if you still want to shoot at night. If you are happy with just getting improved day shots I would look at the Sigma 100-300mm f4, this is a stunning lens, very very sharp even with a 1.4x TC so you would get a 140-420mm f5.6 lens which would allow great range options. I'm fortunate and use the Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 but that is a huge jump in price (although a great performing lens).

A good way to learn is to start a new thread with some shots in that you would like people to check out and give advice on and as long as you are happy to take the suggestions on board (and not do what some people do and take it personally) you will really improve.

DRGSin Apr 23, 2008 3:13 PM

Heres my setup for baseball right now.

The 70-200 w/ 1.4 teleconverter, an 80-400 and a 400mm 2.8

I have access to be on the field and therefore can shoot the 70-200 w/ tele and get good shots of the batter, shooting from the dug out,the 1st baseman from 1st base side and the 3rd basemanfrom 3rd base side. 2nd base is doable but requires some cropping. Outfield is out of the question. Remember, I dont have the crop factor, either.

The 80-400 can be used with good results when theres plenty of light but when dusk settles in, youll need a camera with greathigh ISO performance. Since youre a Nikon guy, Ill use the D3 asthe example. With the D3 I can continue to usethe 80-400 throughout the evening.

The 400 f/2.8 will require a refinace and a second mortgage so you better be making some $$ LOL.Thats what Ive mainly shot with this season because a) it covers all of the field, b)its new,and c) it takes incredible shots with super fast focus.However...I have to stand 1/2 way from 1st base to the fence in order to shoot 1st base. Not very practical.

With your gear, the D50, Id look into what Mark suggested or even a used Nikkor 80-400. New ones sell for about 1500.00. Im not sure on the price of Mark's suggestion. With your camera's crop factor youll have a nice sized zoom with your only limitation being night time photography. I used it and the D1x for over a year andit worked out nicely...again, except for night time sports.

Complicated? Confused? Tell me how much youd like to spend and i can make it easier for you. LOL

Hope that helps.

JimW. Sep 2, 2008 12:28 PM

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?

Greg Chappell Sep 2, 2008 2:01 PM

JimW. wrote:

Perhaps a new camera (d300?) that would help with night games?
If the higher ISO performance is much better then yes, it could and the D300 sounds like it's much better in that area than the D50. It alsodepends on how good (or bad) the lighting is where you are trying to shoot.At ISO 1600 Ican get decent shots at a major league baseball stadium with a 70-300 f4-5.6 zoom..

But drop the lighting quality enough and I'd never stand a chance with that lens. You really need an f2.8 zoom AND the better high ISO performance. I would bet the D300 and 70-200 f2.8 would do the trick, but itmight also costclose tothe 120-300 f2.8 at$2,700.

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