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Archive 2012 · Nikon 300 f2.8 lens question
  
 
gridironphoto
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Nikon 300 f2.8 lens question


I am asking this question on the sports forum since it is so specific to sports.

I want a 300mm f2.8 auto focus for shooting night football games. Some of the stadiums are pretty dark. This will be used with a D300s body.

My preference is the AF-S version of the 300mm f 2.8 lens, but the AF-I version is about $1,000 cheaper. My research ranges widely form Ken Rockwell's report that the AF-I is too slow (yes, I know, Ken Rockwell...) to sports shooters who say the AF-I is slower than the AF-S but still a very nice lens.

Does anyone have specific experience shooting night football with the AF-I and the AF-S that can compare them?

Also, I know that the AF-I repairs are no longer done by Nikon, so the chance that the AF motor could burn up also concerns me.

Thanks.



Aug 19, 2012 at 08:58 PM
WThiry
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Nikon 300 f2.8 lens question


Never shot the AF-I, but I have shot all the AFS versions of the 300 except the VR II. You can't go wrong with any of the AFS models. I have spoken to folks who have used the AF-I version's, and yes they are slower. And you are correct on the repair part. Adorama has a AFS-1 for around $3099 or so in E+ condition I think and there are a few AFS-II versions on FM for around $3200. Look up Alan Ness, he as an AFS-II for sale.




Aug 19, 2012 at 09:13 PM
rustyfingers
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Nikon 300 f2.8 lens question


I use the AF-I version and it works fine.


Aug 20, 2012 at 05:44 PM
VarsityMonthly
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Nikon 300 f2.8 lens question


Love mine and until I bought a 400 f2.8 it did maybe 90% of my published work. Have had it for years. Ken Rockwell is not a sports photographer and from what I read on his site just now, has never even used the 30mm AF-I.


Aug 20, 2012 at 09:06 PM
kylehess10
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Nikon 300 f2.8 lens question


I can't comment on the AF-I but last year I was using the previous version of the 300mm f/2.8 (AF ED) and then upgraded to the AF-S and there wasn't a dramatic difference, but still noticeable when looking full-res, so the price difference was understandable once you actually get your hands on both of them. AF speed will always get better with the more recent version of the 300mm but budgets do get in the way for all of us.

Here's some photos I took with the AF ED (version before AF-I)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/kylehessphotography/sets/72157626327256007/detail/


And here's shots I've gotten with the AF-S:
http://www.flickr.com/search/?w=53312364@N00&q=300mm%20af-s



Aug 21, 2012 at 05:06 AM
 

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gridironphoto
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Nikon 300 f2.8 lens question


Thanks everybody. Its a wide range of opinions but I feel better about considering the AF-I. I think at this point I am going to see if the cash flow will magically pick up in the next few weeks so I can get a AF-S. Two reasons. First the little quicker AF doesn't really make me want to part with the extra grand, but the repair issue does bug me enough to spend the money. From what I have read, if I already had a AF-I that was working well, I wouldn't spend the money for the upgrade.

One consideration that was not mentioned in the thread was how much difference does shooting in darker conditions effect the AF speed. Does the change in light amplify the AF differences between the two lenses, or does it stay about the same? I am looking at high school football night games.



Aug 22, 2012 at 02:15 AM
Aqualung
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Nikon 300 f2.8 lens question


I believe that AF-I is not supported (repaired) by Nikon any longer if that matters. I have the AFS version (last one before VR) and it works great...it's about US$3k used these days.

I think the AF-I would still do fine for HS night football games.

Chris



Aug 22, 2012 at 10:23 PM
Widgic
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Nikon 300 f2.8 lens question


gridironphoto wrote:
[snip...]One consideration that was not mentioned in the thread was how much difference does shooting in darker conditions effect the AF speed. Does the change in light amplify the AF differences between the two lenses, or does it stay about the same? I am looking at high school football night games.


Ability to focus in low light / low contrast is a function of the camera, everything else being equal of course (i.e. between two lens with the same aperture, letting the same amount of light hit the AF sensor - which I believe is the case between the 300mm F/2.8 AF-I and AF-S).

Where you might see the difference is when the light in getting low enough (or the contrast to be low enough) for the camera AF to start hunting. The AF-S lens will hunt faster than the AF-I so the camera might find the sweet spot focus point faster.

I personally thing that the AF-S for sports is really worth the investment. I'd skip the VR, but I would try really hard to get AF-S lenses.

Denis
www.widgic.com



Aug 23, 2012 at 12:06 AM
gridironphoto
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Nikon 300 f2.8 lens question


Thank you both. The low light explanation makes a lot of sense, even if the difference is small.


Aug 23, 2012 at 03:09 AM





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