Camera Nerd Update

August 19, 2007

So I’ve played around with the rented Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens for a few days. Yesterday I even shot some indoor sports with it. My experience has not been great so far.

To be fair, I think my dissatisfaction with the shots from yesterday are due to the amazingly poor light at this indoor venue. As soon as I arrived I took a few test shots and quickly realized that in spite of the f/2.8 speed of the lens I’d have to push everything to the limit: ISO 1600 instead of lower, and shutter speed 1/400 instead of faster. These necessities left me with noisy, soft pictures. Ick. Even having made those compromises, I had to significantly bump up the exposure in post-processing – which only exacerbated the noisiness issue.

But the lousy light wasn’t the only problem. The fact is, I’m not used to shooting such a long lens, nor am I used to shooting on a monopod. I missed a lot of great shots simply because I couldn’t frame it correctly. In the past I’d have been a mere 20 feet away, crouching under the flying taekwondo kicks. This time I was half a gym away. No doubt experience would take care of these problems, but still.

Anyway, I put up a lot of the better shots. See them here.

On a happier note, the demonstration itself was fabulous.


No comments yet

  1. Long lenses and their slow apertures suck. But I definitely think the lighting in the gym is to blame too. Are you still on the d50? I’m thinking about upgrading to the d200 if I could scrounge together the money for it…

  2. This particular long lens has a fast aperture: f/2.8 all the way through the focal range. Even at that aperture, though, and at ISO 1600 I was still unable to shoot at a shutter speed of faster than 1/400th of a second – too slow to avoid blur on the fast action shots.

    I’d sell a kidney for a D200. šŸ™‚

  3. Jay B

    I’ve looked at the Nikon D200 and D80. I currently have a D50 and Canon E30D. If you plan on carrying the camera around on vacation, the zoo or an all day event the E30D gets really heavy. The D200 is close to the same weight as the E30D. That’s why I’m looking at the D80 – it’s much lighter (same as the D50), but shoots the same resolution as the D200. The D80 doesn’t have all the features of the D200, but still shoots some very high quality images. The D200 does shoot 5 frames per second (same as the E30D) which is great for stop action shots at sporting events. The Nikon does a better job at indoor photography under varying available light conditions and flash as compared to the Canon E30D. Outdoors, the Canon is slightly better. I plan on giving the D50 to my daughter, but I know I will miss the light weight and indoor shooting capability, so Iā€™m looking at the D80.

  4. Some of the blur is gonna be caused by the long lens length, not just the shutter speed or aperture.

  5. I suppose. But I had the VR turned on and used a monopod! Even so, I guess…

  6. I have the D80. LOVE IT. It is light weight and fabulous. Highly recommend it. I really don’t know anything about how to use it (yet), but everything so far seems pretty easy.

  7. Freezing people in mid-air in dim light from across a gym isn’t so easy! šŸ˜‰

    Congrats on your new camera. šŸ™‚

  8. I am thinking that my indoor sports/low light/portrait lens purchase will be a 85mm f/1.8. A f/1.4 would be nice, but too pricey right now.

    Did you use the SB800 at all yet?

  9. Scott,

    I have a Rebel XT and a 28-135mm f/3.5-f/5.6 ISM lens. For what you’re shooting inside, with ISO 1600 and an f/2.8 you should be pretty good… if you want help in freezing the action more, you might want to look at a high end flash unit. Something that will “reach” close to your lens range.

    I’m going on a cruise in December, and am renting a 10-22mm and a 300m f/4 to take in addition to my lens above and my “Thrifty Fifty” 50mm prime.

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