70 300 Out, 80 200 In.

Lenses can be particularly expensive and seeing as I dislike spending large chunks of money it made sense for me to 'free up' some of my current lens slots. The first which had to go was easy. Unfortunately, although I've been impressed with the eventual image quality of the Sigma 70-300 f/4-f/5.6 DG OS, there are some user issues which plague this lens while I've been using it. 

Nadal @ O2
Rafael Nadal preparing for a forehand at the O2 Masters of 2012

It does have the capacity to produce some great images, as you can see above, the low aperture makes it difficult at times and makes it very difficult to shoot at low ISO values at the full focal length. It's clear to visualise the size that a fully open aperture would be in this image.

Predominately photographing sports, and in particular tennis, I have no time to wait for lenses to autofocus either. Even though this Sigma lens has internal focusing motors, it's accuracy and speed of focusing is still too slow for the speed which I need to capture fast moving dynamic images. You can regularly challenge the accuracy of it's focus point, once images are back imported into Lightroom which can get frustrating when faces, rackets or even bodies or just out of focus; a shame, especially shooting at f/5.6.

Strengths and applications

So this was the first lens in my collection to be moved on for the reasons I've always listed, but what could this lens be used for?

Its focal length combined with a crop sensor body makes for a great wildlife lens. On a 1.5x crop sensor like my D90, or the brilliant D300s, turns this lens into a 450mm monster telephoto. The low aperture shouldn't be as much of an issue as you would mostly be shooting outside in good light and the optical stabilisation helps too.This is actually very good, easily allowing you to drop the shutter speed a stop or two.

I would think this lens would also make for a great motorsport lens, panning and following cars on track. Again the 450mm on a crop sensor body gives you good reach.

It's just not great for sports where you need to be challenging your shutter speed to freeze motion and focus sharply and with a wide variety of distances.

The replacement...?

For me, this is an easy option. I've rented the lens a number of times already for a number of tennis tournaments and it has performed flawlessly. It's lack of optical stabilisation really makes no difference with the high shutter speeds I'm shooting sports at and the autofocus is so lightning fast I'm sure it could follow Nadal's frantic scramblings across the baseline with ease or even, if I ever get the chance, the fast carving of a downhill skier.

Shot with the Nikkor 80-200 f/2.8 AF-D at a tennis tournament I shot last year

Anyway.. it's the Nikon AF-D 80-200 f/2.8, the lens I have used and written about on here a number of times at tennis tournaments. Thoroughly looking forward to ordering it and I will record a full review as soon as I have it in my possession...

... it will be mine! Oh yes, it will be mine!

The Nikkor AF 80-200mm f/2.8 D

Thanks for reading, and this lens will be going to Wimbledon in a few weeks. I'll give you a full run down of it's performance at that tournament, if not before.

If you have any questions or comments please leave them below and I will see you anon.