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Old Dec 3, 2006, 8:36 AM   #1
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I need to be able to shoot Jr. High indoor basketball and outdoor high school soccer. In addition just the normal family and Christmas stuff along with vacation. . We plan on taking lessons later on to be able to fully utilize this camera.



We are new to this and the lens issue gets very confusing. The camera shop is telling us a $1600.00 lens but no way that is in the ballpark. for our budget. How about $600-$700 max, I know I need a 2.8 for low light indoor(at least that is what a different guy said). He told me a Tamron 28-75 2.8 and the a regular 70-300 Nikon G lens for soccer. This combo would be 400 plus 200. Is this the best starting way to go? If not, let us kknow what we really need minimally until we get better amd upgrade lens further. If absolutly necessary, we may be able to stretcg a little further but not to the extreme.



Thanks for your help!


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Old Dec 3, 2006, 1:31 PM   #2
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debral-

I have seen some very impressive photos done with the Sigma 70-200mm F 2.8 lens on a Nikon D-70lately. That might be a possibility to check out.

MT/Sarah
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Old Dec 3, 2006, 3:20 PM   #3
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If you dig through the forum posts here, you'll find that a few of our members shoot a lot of sports, and they'll tell you that f/2.8 is not bright enough for many high school gyms shooting basketball.

So, you may be better off with a prime (fixed focal length, non zoom) lens or two for that use.

A "no brainer" lens for low light shooting is the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 AF lens, due to it's brightness, high image quality, and low cost. Most camera manufacturers make a high quality 50mm similar to this one and these 50mm lenses give you a lot of "bang for the buck".

A Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 AF lens is around $100 brand new, and it will allow you to use shutter speeds more than twice as fast as an f/2.8 zoom for the same lighting and ISO speed. If you can shoot from the sidelines, you may find it to be a very good choice for getting some keepers.

Another lens to consider would be the Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AF Lens. It sells for around $389.95 new from some of the better known vendors like keh.com, bhphotovideo.com, and adorama.com

For use where a little longer lens is needed and the light isn't quite as low, the Sigma 70-210mm f/2.8 APO AF lens that MtClimber mentioned is a very popular lens, and there are several variations of it (with and without the DG designation which indicates better coatings for digital, and with and without the Macro designation that allows you to focus closer). It usually runs $800+, depending on the version.

Of course, the Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 AF-S VR lens is probably the one someone suggested you spend $1,600 on. To some people, it's worth it to get the Vibration Reduction and fast AF-S (Silent Wave Motor) focusing system.

But, if you're on a tight budget, you may want to go used, and look at some of the other Nikkor offerings. I've seen users of both the 80-200mm f/2.8 and 70-200mm f/2.8 AF-S VR lenses comment that the Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8 has about 80% of the focus speed of the higher priced AF-S lens on some Nikon bodies (and focus speed will vary between bodies due to the strength of the internal focus motor with non AF-S lenses). In any event, It would be a better choice in less than optimum conditions compared to something like the 70-300mm you're considering.

For example, http://www.keh.com has Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8 AF Lenses starting at under $400 for the non-D version (more for the D version), with higher prices for those in better condition. I even see one of them in Excellent Condition (and they have very conservative ratings) for $465 right now (with no hood or tripod mount). BTW, http://www.keh.com is a great place to find used gear at very reasonable prices and they have the most conservative ratings around from my experience with them.

Personally, if budget was tight, I'd take a higher quality used lens over a lower quality new lens any day of the week, and for sports use (even in good light), you may appreciate the brighter lens (giving you both faster AF and faster shutter speeds compared to a dimmer lens). Of course an f/2.8 zoom is larger and heavier compared to a dimmer lens like the 70-300mm you're looking at. There are always tradeoffs.

You may also want to consider a TC (teleconverter). You'd lose one stop of brightness using a 1.4x TC with an f/2.8 zoom (making it equivalent to an f/4 zoom that's 40% longer).

In other words, a 1.4X TC would make a Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8 lens equivalent to a 112-280mm f/4 lens (and f/4 is still twice as bright as the f/5.6 that you'd have on many dimmer lenses at longer focal lengths)

If you shop around, you can find a decent TC like a Kenko 1.4x Pro for under $200 brand new. You will probably want the extra reach for outdoor sports. Note that a TC isn't practical for use with a dimmer lens like the 70-300mm you mentioned (because of the loss in brightness using a TC).

As for a brighter prime versus a zoom for indoor use, a lot depends on your use for the images. Most sports shooters are going to target 1/500 second for basketball and an f/2.8 zoom may not be able to "cut it", even at the highest ISO speed settings if you want that level of quality. Depending on lighting, you may not be able to get shutter speeds that fast using a brighter prime at higher ISO speeds either. So, you're taking your chances with a zoom for indoor sports, depending on your expectations and the lighting.

The shutter speed you need to give the appearance of frozen movement is dependent on several factors.... Speed of movement, focus distance, direction of movement, and viewing/print size.

Your expectations of quality needs to be factored in (i.e, are blurred hands and feet OK in some of your shots, is it OK if they're a bit softer at larger sizes, etc.). The faster your shutter speed, the higher your percentage of keepers with acceptable levels of blur for a given viewing/print size.

Obvious Blur (or even image softness caused by motion) that may not be objectionable at a 4x6" print size may be very objectionable at an 8x10" print size (you'll probably want shutter speeds more than twice as fast for the larger print size).

If you're filling the frame at closer focus distances, you will need faster shutter speeds compared to a distant subject occupying a smaller portion of the frame to freeze movement from what the human eye perceives as blur for any given print size.

For sports use at higher ISO speeds, you'd probably want to fill the frame more, too. For one thing, you'll lose a bit of detail at higher ISO speeds. So, the more pixels representing your subject the better. Focus will also tend to be faster and more accurate when filling the frame with a high contrast subject, and filling the frame helps your subject stand out more from the background.

Your expectation of quality also comes into it. Even at ISO 1600 (or sometimes 3200), a serious sports shooter may see more blur than desired with an f/2.8 zoom in a typical school gym from photos I've looked at.

But, a parent looking to capture snapshots of the kids for use at smaller print sizes may be fine with a bit of blur in hands/feet, etc. It's subjective. Heck, I looked through an album yesterday of a basketball game someone took at f/2.8 and ISO 400. Most had a lot of blur. But, some looked OK to my eyes at smaller sizes when the players were relatively still.

A sports shooter would probably "cringe" at the thought of using those settings for basketball and would want a *much* higher percentage of keepers without obvious blur from movement, and would want shots that could be printed a bit larger (versus needing to take a lot of photos to get some that look OK when the players were not moving much at smaller print/viewing sizes).

In any event, a 50mm f/1.8 is probably an easy choice for indoor use from closer ranges, since you could find other uses for it in less than optimum lighting. Most users value one as a portrait lens, too. At around $100 brand new, it's hard to beat from a "bang for the buck" perspective in a sharper and brighter lens.

Then, decide what you want in a longer lens, depending on your expectations of quality and budget. Ditto for a "walk around" zoom. The Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 you mentioned is a popular choice in a higher quality and brighter lens, if you don't mind something starting out at 28mm (you may want a wider zoom for some uses), in a lens that's a bit heavier than most of the "kit" lenses.



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Old Dec 4, 2006, 1:02 PM   #4
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Thanks for all of the information. It was very helpful.

We are trying to digest it all and find somewhere to take someclasses very soon. Our local camera shop does not give classes. Have any s****estions of some good books for beginners?



Thanks.
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Old Dec 4, 2006, 1:37 PM   #5
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Debra-

I teach for our local community college, so that is a good possibility to find some excellent classes.

MT/Sarah
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Old Dec 4, 2006, 5:39 PM   #6
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Good idea, I never thought about the community college. I will look into it.
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