Art and Photography

Which lens would you get?

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  • Dec 14th, 2014 9:41 pm
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[OP]
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Sep 30, 2003
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Which lens would you get?

I'm considering a new lens for my camera - Nikon d3200. Currently I only have the kit lens 18-55 F4-5.6
I have kids and most of my photography is of them either a) playing sports/activities outside or b)indoor activities.

In both cases, I'm far away from the action. Indoors, the lighting is usually quite poor and I cannot move closer. in sports, the kids are moving and even farther away.

I have a SB-400 flash and it does a great job when it can but I still find I have to use high ISO (& full zoom) and it's tough for the indoor stuff to get good pictures.

I'm considering the following. the first 2 are cheaper (<$600); the last two are >$1,000; if it's the "right" lens and I'll be buying once, I don't mind considering it.
  • Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.8G - (I've used a friend's own and it's good! problem is it's prime so I'm cropping on the computer. Upside is it's the fastest w/ highest magnification.)
  • Sigma Contemporary 17-70mm f/2.8-4 (seems quite reasonable but really, just appears to be my kit lens but a tad faster)
  • Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 (This and the Sigma below are really just expensive but would cover everything I need.)
  • Sigma 24-70mm F2.8
So, any feedback would be appreciated. I'm not really willing to spend >$1,200.
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10 replies
Jr. Member
Feb 6, 2008
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North York
All of your lenses on that list cover a similar range, and might not give you enough reach. With you budget, what about something like the sigma 70-200 f2.8, or the (tokina?) 50-150 f2.8? You'll need a longer zoom and large aperture to get any sort of indoor action shot from far away
Deal Addict
Aug 30, 2007
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For indoors, you definitely need to update your flash to a more powerful model with a rotating head (on both axes). I'm not familiar with Nikon system, but looks like SB-600 will do the trick. (Or get a cheaper equivalent from Chinese maker Yongnuo - something like this: http://www.amazon.com/Yongnuo-YN568EXN- ... ikon+flash). And then learn to bounce the light properly off the ceiling and walls. The problem with indoor light that it is often of the bad quality, and using a faster lens won't help with that. Plus to really make a difference you'll need really fast (f1.4) primes (f2.8 zoom on its own won't help you much indoors), and with f1.4 apertures your depth of field will often be too shallow (like, not the whole face will be in focus; impossible to have two kids in focus in the same shots).

In addition, having a fast standard zoom (like Tamron 17-50mm f2.8) should help you to overall improve quality of your photos, indoors and outdoors. For sports outdoors you'll need a longer (telephoto) zoom. On Canon, I am using 70-200mm f4 (in daylight) and 135mm f2.0 (indoor sports) for such purposes.
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May 6, 2007
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Sylvestre wrote:
Dec 13th, 2014 3:21 pm
I'm considering a new lens for my camera - Nikon d3200. Currently I only have the kit lens 18-55 F4-5.6
I have kids and most of my photography is of them either a) playing sports/activities outside or b)indoor activities.

In both cases, I'm far away from the action. Indoors, the lighting is usually quite poor and I cannot move closer. in sports, the kids are moving and even farther away.

I have a SB-400 flash and it does a great job when it can but I still find I have to use high ISO (& full zoom) and it's tough for the indoor stuff to get good pictures.

I'm considering the following. the first 2 are cheaper (<$600); the last two are >$1,000; if it's the "right" lens and I'll be buying once, I don't mind considering it.
  • Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.8G - (I've used a friend's own and it's good! problem is it's prime so I'm cropping on the computer. Upside is it's the fastest w/ highest magnification.)
  • Sigma Contemporary 17-70mm f/2.8-4 (seems quite reasonable but really, just appears to be my kit lens but a tad faster)
  • Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 (This and the Sigma below are really just expensive but would cover everything I need.)
  • Sigma 24-70mm F2.8
So, any feedback would be appreciated. I'm not really willing to spend >$1,200.
Ok so i'd say none of the above. the 85mm is a great lens but more of a portrait lens, and not really suitable for sports.

The sigma 17-70 would be ok for general purpose use, but yet again not really for great for sports. If you want a general purpose lens then go with the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 as suggested above, but keep in mind it won't be great for sports.

Forget the 24-70's. They're meant for full frame cameras and really aren't a great solution for your 3200. (especially given the cost).

Personally if I were you I'd get a telephoto lens that's an F4-5.6 then just use a bit of extra ISO. Something like the Nikon AF-S Zoom Nikkor DX 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6 VR (~$250), or the Tamron SP 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di VC USD (~400).

If you really want F2.8 then you're best bets are either the Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM APO, or Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 SP Di VC USD, but they're 1100, and 1500 respectively, and much bigger and heavier. Personally I have a had time justifing a $1500 lens on a $350 body. I know glass is more important than the body but there comes a time when it's just silly.

Oh also, don't bother with a flash. Over those distances its not going to do much if anything, and you're just going to burn it out as it's running at full power all the time.
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Dec 5, 2006
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da_guy2 wrote:
Dec 14th, 2014 8:41 am
Ok so i'd say none of the above. the 85mm is a great lens but more of a portrait lens, and not really suitable for sports.

The sigma 17-70 would be ok for general purpose use, but yet again not really for great for sports. If you want a general purpose lens then go with the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 as suggested above, but keep in mind it won't be great for sports.

Forget the 24-70's. They're meant for full frame cameras and really aren't a great solution for your 3200. (especially given the cost).

Personally if I were you I'd get a telephoto lens that's an F4-5.6 then just use a bit of extra ISO. Something like the Nikon AF-S Zoom Nikkor DX 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6 VR (~$250), or the Tamron SP 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di VC USD (~400).

If you really want F2.8 then you're best bets are either the Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM APO, or Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 SP Di VC USD, but they're 1100, and 1500 respectively, and much bigger and heavier. Personally I have a had time justifing a $1500 lens on a $350 body. I know glass is more important than the body but there comes a time when it's just silly.

Oh also, don't bother with a flash. Over those distances its not going to do much if anything, and you're just going to burn it out as it's running at full power all the time.
Sigma non OS lens can be found between 400-500.
Yes, flash won't help for indoors. Other parents will be mad at you If you use it
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Aug 30, 2007
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Sure, my flash recommendation was for regular indoor shooting, not for indoor sports. For indoor sports there is no cheap solution I am afraid. I do okay with my 135mm f2.0 on a crop camera - I still need to use ISO 800 or so (skating ring), and it is a 1000$ lens. Indoors sports are very challenging because you both have low light and fast action situations, which are conflicting.

85mm f1.8 is actually a pretty decent compromise for indoor sports. Not sure about the Nikon version, but the Canon's model has fast AF which is essential for action shooting. 85mm is reasonably convenient focal length on a crop camera for sports.
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Mar 24, 2004
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You want a fast prime for indoor sports. 85/1.8 is a good idea.
Member
Jan 19, 2006
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You need a fast long lens based on your intended usage. You can look at some Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8 lens (such as AF ED two ring version) instead of the recent 70-200 VR I and II, if VR is not that important to you.
[OP]
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Sep 30, 2003
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Thanks for all the feedback. Few things:
The current flash is adequate in smaller areas and like another poster said, in bigger venues, flash is useless and kinda discouraged. The kids do gymnastics, swimming & karate (indoors) along with the usual plays etc; and outdoors is skating, soccer along with just the usual playing.
It's really taking better indoor pics I want to accomplish. Whatever works for indoors may be overkill for outdoors but that's fine. Also looking for a single lens.

I did once borrow a friends Nikkor 70-200 but it was very slow to autofocus (maybe my camera too?) and that killed a lot of shots. I did love the zoom capabilities but found the camera still needed high iso (usually >2200).
antaholics wrote:
Dec 13th, 2014 3:41 pm
All of your lenses on that list cover a similar range, and might not give you enough reach. With you budget, what about something like the sigma 70-200 f2.8, or the (tokina?) 50-150 f2.8? You'll need a longer zoom and large aperture to get any sort of indoor action shot from far away
I'll look into those. Another person also suggested those.
pulsar123 wrote:
Dec 14th, 2014 8:12 am
In addition, having a fast standard zoom (like Tamron 17-50mm f2.8) should help you to overall improve quality of your photos, indoors and outdoors. For sports outdoors you'll need a longer (telephoto) zoom. On Canon, I am using 70-200mm f4 (in daylight) and 135mm f2.0 (indoor sports) for such purposes.
I will also look at the 135mm.
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Slim chance the Nikon 70-200 is slow to focus. If you were using ISO 2200, then it was super low light and your camera is the problem if you had focusing issues. Or could have been user-error. Keep in mind your camera uses contrast to focus. If you aim the focus point at something really dark/black or bright/white, you will have a hard time attaining focus, no matter what camera you use.

As a start, it is good to have the following four items, keeping in mind that you are using a crop body. They will allow you to do most types of photography.

Wide-Mid Tele Zoom Lens:
Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 non-VC (sharper than the Tamron VC version)
Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC (not as sharp, but outstanding for video or if you really need the stabilizer)
Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 Art (decent sharpness, f/4 at the long end which is pretty useless)
Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8 (the best you can get but a lot more expensive)

Telephoto Zoom:
Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 VC (the sharpest 70-200mm just behind the Nikons. Definitely worth it, at $1500)
Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 OS (older lens, pretty sharp. terrible for sports and fast moving subjects)
Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 VR (one-third of the Nikon trinity. enough said)

*note: IMO, because you are using a lower end body, f/2.8 is worth it. Shooting with a cheaper telephoto at high-iso on a lower end body is not exactly great.

Prime: Depends on which focal length you like. Most in the market are pretty good. Below are a few that stand out.
Nikon 35/50/85mm f/1.8G
Sigma 35/50mm f/1.4 Art

Flash: ETTL, point it upwards or at any white walls and you're good. Need something that can bounce. SB-400 is not suggested... Move up to a SB-500 at least.

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