|Nikon's 70-200mm f/2.8 AF-S Nikkor Lens|
- The zoom range of 70-200mm gives me a pretty effective shooting range of about 15 - 150 feet while having the ability use the full frame on the subject. That's going to vary a little bit depending on how much background you want to include, but it is a good working distance for just about any sport.
- This lens has an f/2.8 aperture, which makes it ideal for shooting indoors where there may not be as much light. This lens will pull in as much light as is available to give you the best opportunity to take a good photo. That's important when you are working with shutter speeds of 1/800s or faster. That's not a lot of time, so having a lens that can capture the most available light in these situations is preferred. Slowing the shutter speed allows for capturing more light, but there is a pretty good chance that your subject will be blurred. You will still need decent indoor lighting but all things being equal, you have a much better chance of a getting a quality shot in a gym using this lens compared to one with a higher minimum aperture. I tried taking sports action shots indoors with my 55-300mm lens with a minimum aperture of f/4.5, and the results are markedly different. The shots are so much darker and many of them were unusable due to the inadequate lighting in the gym.
- The sharpness that this lens provides throughout the entire range of 70-200mm is excellent. The earlier version was notorious for the images having "soft corners". One common metric that is used to rate lenses is called the blur unit. And the lower this number is across the frame, the better. At f/2.8, the blur units are no higher than 1.5. There just aren't that many lenses out there that can give you that kind of sharpness at that aperture setting. And that is what makes this lens a great choice for sports action photography. Here is one of my favorite shots taken at a spring training baseball game earlier this year.
Spring Trainng Baseball: SD vs. Seattle. Taken with Nikon 70-200mm Zoom Lens. Shutter Speed 1/1600s, f/4
So those are main reasons why the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 Nikkor Lens is my favorite. I do have three other lenses, but when I want to take sports action photos, whether I am indoors or outdoors, I'll always go with my trusty 70-200mm zoom. Now, it is a pretty heavy lens, weighing about 3 lbs. 6 oz. But I'll gladly haul it around. It's a small price to pay for the kinds of shots I have been able to take with it. What is your favorite lens to use and why do you like it? Please share your comments below. I am always interested in learning more about what other photographers, especially the seasoned amateurs and professionals are using. Until next time . . .