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devil-may-care Diver and U/W tog
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All,

Been asked by a friend who is buying a Nikon D3000 (moving up to entry level dslr), mostly to shhot indoor sports (baskeball etc) and they've asked for recomndations on a good general purpose fast-ish lens.. doesn't have to be Nikon could be Sigma, Tamron etc...

Now this all hobby entry level stuff so not realling into £2k pro spec f2.8 100-500 type stuff.. just a reasonable fast-ish zoom..

I know nothing about Nikons as i use a Canon..

Any info/advice appreciated.. :D

Thanks

Mike
 

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I know it probably costs more than the camera but one of the best all round lenses for a Nikon is the 18-200mm VR 3.5-5.6 at about £500.
It has very fast, very quiet focusing and manual overide, so you can fine tune the focusing without putting it into full manual mode.
If they don't need the zoom function then the Tamron 90mm f2.8 is a nice, reasonably fast fixed focal length lens, but the focus is slow and noisy, so your better off using manual focus. I have used this lens to get good results at concerts, but you need to get pretty close to the stage. This lens is also great for macro.
 

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The only stupid question is the one you don't ask!
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I'd second the 18-200 as that is what sits on my D80 most of the time. It can be picked up second hand for quite a good price (Used Nikon SLR camera lenses). The 18-70 is a good lens and is dead cheap, but for sports I think he'll want longer than that.
Rob

PS there is a Sigma 70-200 fast lens on that second hand site for about the same as the 18-200. I know nothing of that lens though
 

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For indoor sports, you need something with a very fast autofocus. Zooms are great, because he can instantly change the composition, as, more than likely, he will be in a fairly fixed position.

I have the 70-300mm VR. The VR is great, it really works, I have shot at 300mm, using 1/60 and got good results. Autofocus is quick, and it too has the AF-S motor, so instant manual focus if needed.
It's not the fastest lens though, in terms of aperture, and light levels can be quite low indoors. However, the high ISO performance of cameras nowadays is a lot better than in the past. Not too sure if the D5000 has it (my D90 does) but auto ISO adjustment is a handy feature. If the shutter speed drops below a certain speed (preset by the user), it starts to up the ISO (to a maximum set by the user)

Also, the 70-300mm can also be used on full frame if I ever go that route. Some lenses designed for the DX cameras cannot.

If he is fairly serious about it, an 80-200mm F2.8 AFS, 2nd hand, stuck on a monopod would be fantastic. But, good lenses hold their value, so they are not exactly cheap (although a LOT cheaper than the 70-200 F2.8 VR) although it will hold on to it's value.

A good lens on a mediocre camera will give better results than a mediocre lens on a good camera.
Also, figure what his D5000 will be worth in 2 or 3 years. Probably naff all. A good lens, bought 2nd hand for £500 would probably be worth around, oh, £500. So, in essence, his use of the lens has been free. And the lens is still usable on other cameras.
 

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The only stupid question is the one you don't ask!
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A good lens, bought 2nd hand for £500 would probably be worth around, oh, £500. So, in essence, his use of the lens has been free. And the lens is still usable on other cameras.
It can be even better than that. I went DSLR 3 years ago and bought 3 lenses. I've just sold 2 of the lenses for more secondhand than I paid new - that's how much lenses have gone up.
 

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I personally use a Sigma 17-70 f2.8-4.5 HSM as my main day to day 'walk around' lens but I also carry a Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 HSM for stuff that needs a longer reach. Both of these beauties could be picked up for about £500 all in second hand these days although the 70-200mm is a heavy old beast which may be a turn off for some. I also own a Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 which is my workhorse studio lens but it weighs a tonne and don't even ask how much that lens is worth - more than a lot of people's cars, I suspect! lol

If I were after a light, highly portable and compact lens for day to day holiday snapping, I'd probably go for the 18-200VR or perhaps the 70-300VR if I was happy to carry more than one lens with me. That said, the Tamron 18-270mm is getting some good reviews and is cheaper than the Nikon so you might want to check that one out too...
 

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Personally I'm usually just a tad leery about "super zooms" whether in the SLR market or the P&S market where it gets even worse (26x anyone?).

That's because a prime lens has always been considered (at its focal length) better than a zoom at the equivalent focal length. I think this has been largely dispelled with the advent of P&Ss, extremely intelligent autofocus (had to happen - tried to focus a P&S via that stupid little back screen?) and yes, extreme zoom on those things so zoom, too, has gone ahead in leaps and bounds.

Nevertheless I am wary. As Mike knows I am limited in my lens purchases to Sigma (no real drawback actually) and when I first bought the camera body I bought the 10-20mm f/4-5.6D EX DC HSM Autofocus Zoom Lens and the 18-50mm F2.8 EX DC Macro HSM, excellent lenses both and I then bought the 18-50mm F2.8 EX DC Macro HSM. I was perfectly happy with all three lenses ... but

Along came the 10-20mm F3.5 EX DC HSM and I decided I had to have it. Anyone want the 10-20mm f/4-5.6D EX DC HSM? Thought not.

Notice anything? The focal length of none of this is particularly extreme, 3x at most.

Then I went considerably mad (no wife to nag me so why not?) and bought the 150-500mm F5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM (actually about 255mm to 850mm on my camera) for, by my standards, no little amount of money. It's winging its way to me as I speak and, no, it will never be mounted except on a tripod. Actually, I rather like tripods at my doddery old age anyway. Whether it'll be any good is another matter entirely but I do like the idea of getting close ups of the birds in my garden without having to try too hard.

So what am I saying? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I'm leery of super-zooms and then I go and buy one.
 
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Personally I'm usually just a tad leery about "super zooms" whether in the SLR market or the P&S market where it gets even worse (26x anyone?).

That's because a prime lens has always been considered (at its focal length) better than a zoom at the equivalent focal length. I think this has been largely dispelled with the advent of P&Ss, extremely intelligent autofocus (had to happen - tried to focus a P&S via that stupid little back screen?) and yes, extreme zoom on those things so zoom, too, has gone ahead in leaps and bounds.

Nevertheless I am wary. As Mike knows I am limited in my lens purchases to Sigma (no real drawback actually) and when I first bought the camera body I bought the 10-20mm f/4-5.6D EX DC HSM Autofocus Zoom Lens and the 18-50mm F2.8 EX DC Macro HSM, excellent lenses both and I then bought the 18-50mm F2.8 EX DC Macro HSM. I was perfectly happy with all three lenses ... but

Along came the 10-20mm F3.5 EX DC HSM and I decided I had to have it. Anyone want the 10-20mm f/4-5.6D EX DC HSM? Thought not.

Notice anything? The focal length of none of this is particularly extreme, 3x at most.

Then I went considerably mad (no wife to nag me so why not?) and bought the 150-500mm F5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM (actually about 255mm to 850mm on my camera) for, by my standards, no little amount of money. It's winging its way to me as I speak and, no, it will never be mounted except on a tripod. Actually, I rather like tripods at my doddery old age anyway. Whether it'll be any good is another matter entirely but I do like the idea of getting close ups of the birds in my garden without having to try too hard.

So what am I saying? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I'm leery of super-zooms and then I go and buy one.
It's the same old problem, Christian - jack of all trades means master of none! Like you, I too am a bit skeptical of super zooms as they're always going to be a compromise. I personally prefer to split the zoom range between several lenses and use primes (or my gorgeous Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 which is probably one of the best lenses Nikon has ever produced!) when quality is paramount. For me, it's the speed and quality of the glass that matters rather than the convenience or weight advantages that super zooms provide - I'd much rather switch lenses when I need a zoom range outside that of the lens that's connected to my camera body.

All this is a bit of a mute point to your average camera user, though, especially if the lens is being bought for travel/holiday use. I have lugged my lenses around various parts of the world and whilst the IQ I get from them can be glorious, I still look on enviously when someone stood next to me can zoom from 18mm to 270mm with a twist of their wrist. Unlike you, I still believe that today's super zooms do not offer the quality of a decent prime but they're still pretty damned good - just compare the edge to edge sharpness, bokeh and chromatic aberration of a prime to a super zoom and you'll see what I mean. That said, unless you're shooting commercially, I don't think the difference in quality is worth worrying about...

BTW - I've also got a Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6 and think it's a cracking lens! Have you seen the new Sigma 8-16mm? Now that looks nice! :)
 

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For indoor sports I would recommend a 70-200mm f2.8. I have the Sigma 70-200 f2.8 MkII HSM Macro. Very fast AF in conditions I've been able to test so far. Some shots I've take with it in the short time I've had it can been seen here:

IIRC the D3000 doesn't have an AF motor in the body so you will need Nikon AF-S or Sigma HSM desginated lens. I don't have experience with other manufacturers offerings so can't comment. The Nikon version includes VR but is around £1600, the Sigma version is around £650 but doesn't include VR.

I used to have the Nikon 18-200 VR, it's great as an outdoor walkabout general purpose lens, but it's not very fast and not great for indoor low light work unless you want to up your ISO to very high levels.

From my observations so far the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 comes highly recommended.
 

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From my observations so far the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 comes highly recommended.
Another vote for the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 - I've got one too and it's gorgeous! it would certainly benefit from the addition of VR (or 'OS' as Sigma call it) but considering you can pick one up second hand for about £350, it's a steal! It is quite a heavy lump of glass, though, which may turn some people off...

BTW Ian - did you ever sell that 35mm DX? I'm in the market! :)
 

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Have you seen the new Sigma 8-16mm? Now that looks nice! :)
Bardo,

I just wish you hadn't said that! Here I've been, desperately trying to keep that thing off my mind. ;)

Incidentally, I do think that prime lenses will always be better than zooms at the same aspect ratio, as they certainly should be. But I don't shoot professionally and never will, matter of fact there are very few of my pics anywhere on the web and even my avatar was (obviously) not shot by me. Good pic though, Ikelite housing, Nikon F3, twin strobes I can't remember the manufacturer of and Fuji Velvia shot at 40, developed at 50.

Corey knows his stuff but I simply couldn't figure out why he was trying to take a shot of the backside of a giant clam.
 

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Sorry to throw a spanner in but hardly any of the lenses mentioned are suitable for indoor sport, especially with the D3000 which has pretty poor ISO performance.

Indoor light is hardly every any good so you NEED fast glass - at least f/2.8 constant throughout the range.

You can get a Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 HSM (it NEEDS to be the HSM version on the D3000) for around £350 which would do (assuming the focal length is ok).
 

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Sorry to throw a spanner in but hardly any of the lenses mentioned are suitable for indoor sport, especially with the D3000 which has pretty poor ISO performance.
Really? None of the lenses mentioned are suitable for indoor sport?

PS there is a Sigma 70-200 fast lens
If he is fairly serious about it, an 80-200mm F2.8 AFS, 2nd hand, stuck on a monopod would be fantastic.
I also carry a Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 HSM for stuff that needs a longer reach.
For indoor sports I would recommend a 70-200mm f2.8.
From my observations so far the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 comes highly recommended.
Another vote for the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8
Indoor light is hardly every any good so you NEED fast glass - at least f/2.8 constant throughout the range.
You can get a Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 HSM (it NEEDS to be the HSM version on the D3000) for around £350 which would do (assuming the focal length is ok).
I think that point may well have been given already.
 
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