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Nikon D600

Review Date: Nov 19, 2015 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Cheap, lightweight, fantastic DR, high MP
fragile, poor battery life, weak AF, tight AF cluster

Nowadays you can find these less than $800, which for Nikon FX is a no-brainer. Mine has been in the shop after a 2-foot fall onto carpet, and I've always been wary of how plastic this camera is.

The sensor is fantastic, and I've been happy with performance up to ISO 6400. After that, it gets pretty nasty. The AF module is the most frustrating part of this camera. It is the D7000 system, so the points are clustered tight in the center, and I struggle to keep it locked on in low light field sports.

I use this mainly as a backup to my D3S, and I am happy with its performance in good light. If I'm on vacation and want to travel light, this camera and a small lens works really well.

Nikon 400mm f/2.8G ED VR AF-S

Review Date: Nov 2, 2015 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $6,000.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharpest lens I own. Period. Autofocus is crazy fast and accurate, and will grab subjects when all my other lenses fail. Light carbon fiber hood is a nice touch.
Pretty heavy, but with VR I can hand hold for a while. Very expensive, but you already know that. The two piece hood is a pain, and the screws become stripped easily. The tripod foot is just plain too small.

Plan on buying an aftermarket foot for this thing, because the oem is just too small to be practical. The two piece hood is so it can fold up in the case when reversed, but with a new foot you cannot store the hood in the case.
This lens is big, fast, and the VR lets me hand hold shots at around 1/125 without much thought. I was looking at buying the D-II version of this lens, but some of those lenses are so old, I didn't want to gamble with motors dying after purchase. I wish these weren't so bloody expensive, but this is the cost of entry into true professional sports photography.

Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM "S"

Review Date: Jun 14, 2015 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,450.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: A zoom lens in this FL is awesome. Build quality is top-notch. Rings have just the right amount of dampening. Pretty sharp @2.8 great by 3.5. Not too heavy to hand-hold.
Focus shift, so you can't zoom to 300 and focus and then zoom out. Tripod collar is horrendous. Vingette at 2.8 is pretty bad. Need to buy the sigma dock to unlock fastest autofocus, and even then, it feels slightly slower than my nikon 70-200 VRII. It's fast enough for sprinting subjects most of the time, but I wish it was faster. Metal lens hood, wish it was carbon fiber for weight loss.

Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

Review Date: Feb 9, 2014 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 7 

Pros: Light, cheap, and fast focus. Really wide zoom range.
Soft corners, strong vignette. Plasticy feel