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Which upgrade?


emsharris 11 18 United Kingdom
7 Jan 2011 10:55AM
I have a Nikon D300 with AF-S VR 70-300 f4.5 lense which I find very frustrating as I take a lot of outdoor country pursuit sports photography and find in the low light conditions I just cant get "that shot" I have been looking at the f2.8 lenses but need some guidance before I spend my hard earned money!! all advice would be gratefully received - am still a very low key photographer but have had my first few photos in recent issues of Horse and Hound (which I am very chuffed about) and want to keep the momentum going!!
Many thanks in advance, Emma

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Carrera_c 10 273 3 United Kingdom
7 Jan 2011 11:30AM
All depends how willing you are to push your ISO up to keep the shot sharp - depending on what you're looking for - the noise can sometimes add to the atmosphere of the photo.
The F2.8 lens would definitely help you maintain a faster shutter speed but for that zoom range you'll be paying a pretty penny. You may want to also consider the 70-200 F2.8's offered by Nikon and Sigma as well if you're on a budget. Other things to consider when looking at the lenses are; do you want image stabilisation? Obviously this will help the image if your hand's shaking a bit but isn't much help when tracking a moving subject, if you go for a lens without stabilisation you'll easily save a few hundred pound on the price.

Hope that gives you some food for thought.
miptog 14 3.6k 63 United Kingdom
7 Jan 2011 12:07PM

Quote:and find in the low light conditions I just cant get "that shot"


Can you provide a bit more detail on what the problem is you have in low light?
emsharris 11 18 United Kingdom
7 Jan 2011 12:29PM
I am often out in very dull, dreary and dark places and I find that with my 4.5 lens I have to crank the ISO up so much that the image comes out grainy and not tack sharp
miptog 14 3.6k 63 United Kingdom
7 Jan 2011 12:46PM

Quote:I am often out in very dull, dreary and dark places and I find that with my 4.5 lens I have to crank the ISO up so much that the image comes out grainy and not tack sharp


Borrow or rent the 70-200 f 2.8 and see if it improves things, but I am guessing that the conditions that you shoot in would even be a challenge for that.
duratorque 16 427 United Kingdom
7 Jan 2011 12:49PM
If the subject is not moving, a tripod may be the solution, not a faster lens.
samfurlong 13 2.5k United Kingdom
7 Jan 2011 2:06PM

Quote:If the subject is not moving, a tripod may be the solution, not a faster lens.




'outdoor country pursuit sports photography' suggests to me a moving subject.
A 70-200 2.8 or similar would seem to be what you need.
Rent one for your next job and give it a go.
User_Removed 9 4.6k 1 Scotland
7 Jan 2011 2:15PM
Hi Emma,

Like you I have had a lot of photos published in the field sports press (mainly Shooting Times, Sporting Gun, etc.) and know that low light is often a problem. My speciality is wildfowling, which is essentially a "dawn and dusk" pursuit.

Also, like you, I am a Nikon user. I upgraded to a D3s in the summer but kept my D300 for use with longer lenses to benefit from the extra "reach" of the crop factor. My main long lenses are the Nikkor 70-300VR and the (even slower) Sigma 150-500OS.

Really only two pieces of advice I can give (apart from investing in megabuck fast lenses) are:

1. The D300 at ISO 1600 gives very high quality images and you certainly should not fight shy of using that. That camera at 1600 is as good as my old D80 was at 200. But try to fill the frame as much as possible to avoid cropping too much in post-processing. Also you will find that the noise reduction in Lightroom 3 is a huge improvement on previous versions.

2. Use the low light to capture the "mood" of the shot. Often a bit of "gloom" can add to the atmosphere.

3. If you are shooting moving subjects, practice "panning" to enable lower shutter speeds to be used, even if it does add a bit of blur to stationery backgrounds.

Hope that helps.

Good luck.
chalkhillblue 11 164 2 United Kingdom
7 Jan 2011 2:23PM
Another vote for the Nikon 70-200 vr, please try this lens I cannot recommend it highly enough, a bit of
a lump but built like a tank, a good secondhand example is around 1000 from a reputable company, if it
suits your purpose it will be a decision you will not regret, also coupled with a Nikon 1.4TC will give
you a focal length of 280mm with very little, if any, loss of quality.
David
User_Removed 9 4.6k 1 Scotland
7 Jan 2011 8:02PM
....but do remember that f/2.8 is only one stop faster than f/4 and using a teleconverter will immediately remove even that small speed advantage.

The other thing to try, of course, is to get closer. The Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 will only cost you about 79 new and is far sharper than any zoom lens, gives a good speed advantage and, on your D300 has a short telephoto effect. No VR of course, but at 50mm you should not need it. Several "experts" have hailed this as the best value lens on the planet in terms of "quality for your buck", and I use it a lot on the D3s (admittedly mainly for top quality portrait shots).


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