Yeah, I’ve got that itch again and no amount of cream is going to make it go away :).

I really would like to “take it up a notch” with my picture taking and get back into taking action shots of the kids playing sports (soccer, lacrosse, baseball, basketball, etc.).

A friend, who shall remain nameless, recently purchased a rather large and somewhat expensive lens has me greenish with envy. It’s really sweet – thankfully, he shoots a Canon and I shoot a Nikon (which means that I can’t even try the lens on my camera body – thus making me less likely to run out and get one after I tried it). I am toying with the idea of jumping in and taking some action shots when I’m at the soccer field and throwing them up on his site to see if I could sell some shots. BUT at a recent game, I realized that the lens I have now just isn’t going to give me the flexibility in most lighting situations that I’d need to really take this serious.

Just to compare (and it isn’t apples to apples), he’s using a Canon f2.8 – 300mm VR (which is basically Image Stabilization) lens, I’m using a Nikon 70-210mm f4-5.6 lens (no VR). What does that mean? A couple of things. First off, the lens he’s using is a fixed 300mm lens, so he can’t zoom in and out, it’s a fixed focal length of 300mm. It is an AWESOME lens, but I like the ability to zoom out and get more of the action if I wanted to, versus just an up-close and personal shot 100% of the time. Second, because he’s at a fixed f2.8, his lens will let in TONS of light, which allows him to crank up his Shutter speed and freeze the action much better than the lens I’m using which the max Aperture at 210mm is f5.6.

My lens goes from 70mm to 210mm, which due to the 1.5x magnification that the camera body causes, roughly equates to 105mm to 315mm. That produces some great shots! Sometimes I can’t get as close to a shot as I’d like, but still, it produces decent pictures.

Here are a few pictures from a recent soccer game. It was nearing sunset, so the sun was throwing long shadows on the field and more than 1/2 of the field was in the shade.

Soccer - bad shadows

Soccer - Low light, out of focus

Soccer - Low light, blurry

In the three shots, the first is too dark because the way the light was coming in on the shot… the second was out of focus (low light problem?) and the third is blurry because I couldn’t get enough light in the aperture to get a high enough shutter speed to freeze the action.

That’s a bit frustrating, but predictable given the lens I’m using.

I just gave a quick look for some indoor shots to give an example, but I don’t have any with my D70. I’m pretty sure it is because I just can’t take any shots with that camera in low-light situations without a flash.   With the flash, I can get some good action shots but I seem to remember when I took shots at Springfield Spirit games, if I used the flash under the basket, I’d get yelled at ;).

Here’s what I’m looking at right now: Nikon AF-S VR Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G. Problem is this: the price!

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