Fast lens or stabilization?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Syndac, Mar 28, 2008.

  1. Syndac

    Syndac TPF Noob!

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    I've been trying to decide for many months now and it's about time I made the purchase. I'm looking for something beyond my nikon 18-70 lens and can't decide which is more important, a 2.8 aperture or optical stabilizer. I'm comparing the sigma 70-200mm F2.8 and 80-400mm with OS. I'm choosing sigma because I can't justify the near $2000 price tag on the nikon. Does the fast aperture allow fast enough shutter speeds that I wont need the optical stabilizer?

    So far they're just hobby pics. I do a lot of outdoor activities (camping, hiking, army, etc) and hopefully will find a way to make money off them soon.
     
  2. Phranquey

    Phranquey TPF Noob!

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    IMO, the most important factor is the f/2.8, not the VR. The near $2000 price tag is if you want f/2.8 AND VR. Very good deals can be had on a Nikon 80-200 f/2.8 AF-D for around $600 to $700, and these are fantastic lenses...I owned one prior to upgrading to the VR.

    EDIT: I don't know how you feel about ebay, but everything I have has come from there, as long as you are a careful shopper...

    Here is the lens I am talking about:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Nikon-Nikkor-80...yZ152383QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
     
  3. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    VR can't freeze your subject. But that said VR can give you a 3-4 stop improvement, whereas 2.8 is only 2 stops faster than 5.6 at the 70mm end of your 18-70mm
     
  4. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Depending on what you shoot and how you shoot, VR might actually be the much better option.

    If you shoot outdoors, the 2 extra stops of the f/2.8 lens are often not really enough, in particular since light is often best (but rather weak) in early morning or late evening.

    Also, for many shots which are not action shots, you might want to use the lens with more DOF than at f/2.8 ... and VR works at all apertures ;)

    One should also not forget, that in outdoor travel, you yourself might often be at the brink of total exhaustion .. which usually means shaky hands, and VR helps a lot here.

    Of course you could also just bring a tripod, which is not easy with all sorts of outdoor travel though.

    So my advice is, if many shots will be action shots with fast moving subjects, get the f/2.8 lens, if not, then either use a tripod if feasible, or get the VR lens.
     
  5. Socrates

    Socrates TPF Noob!

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    It all depends on what you shoot. A large aperture is, of course, the traditional solution but it has the downside of minimizing your DoF. Of course, with some photos, a shallow DoF is desirable so the large aperture is a clear winner.

    VR gives the effect of a large aperture without minimizing DoF but you've got to be careful as it does nothing for subject movement. When I first got my 18-200 VR, I took some pics of my granddaughter at 1/15 second. The furniture was crystal clear but she was blurred!
     
  6. Riggaberto

    Riggaberto TPF Noob!

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    I'm definitely glad I chose fast vs stabilization. Better for portraits, I like the extra stops, instead of just "theoretical" stops of shooting.
     
  7. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Syndac, if it moves- get faster glass to catch it. If you move get the stabilization.

    In other words, what you have heard here is correct because even Nikon is not good enough to stop the world. ;)
     
  8. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    A fast lens is going to be optically superior to a slower VR lens. The VR is a mechanical soloution to a moving subject whereas a faster lens is going to rely on the lens tube and glass to be larger and this will in most cases make the lens optically superior. So I guess it all depends on what you are looking for.
     
  9. LWW

    LWW TPF Noob!

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    Go for the speed and buy a $50 monopod for extreme low light conditions.

    I can hand hold my 80-200 2.8 down to 1/60 at 200 pretty easily ... and slower with a monopod.

    The VR will NEVER make up for the shallower depth of field with a 2.8 ... and often that is what makes a fast action photo *POP* ... frozen action with shallow DOF ... whereas a VR lens will leave yo with the higher DOF and a blurrier center of interest.

    LWW
     
  10. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I prefer fast primes....... f/1.4 or f/1.8, good IQ.
    and/or
    easier to pack, general walk-around zooms..... good IQ, with IS, good focal range, fast aperture comes second priority.

    If I want to focus on best IQ and fast aperture, I shoot with primes. If I need something as a walk-around lens, I shoot with zooms. In my mind, shooting with even a fast zoom means, I didn't choose the fastest nor the highest IQ glass nor did I choose the easiest handling.... it is a middle ground.

    I'm the minority in the forum though.. at least I think so. I do understand the necessity of a fast zoom for some shooters like wedding photogs... just not for me. If I did go back to shooting weddings and such, my selection of lenses would have to change.

    Someone mentioned that fast zooms going to be optically superior to slower zooms. Its a rule of thumb and generally true... but NOT the RULE.
     
  11. keith204

    keith204 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    nicely put. I chose fast glass.
     
  12. Syndac

    Syndac TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for all the feedback... I'm now leaning towards the faster lens :D
     

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