70-200 for D7200, choices, choices, choices..

Toshanda

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So I am looking at getting a lens for dog show photography, not exclusively - it is just we show a dog, and I am looking for a good all around lens for conformation and agility photography; something that "freezes" sharp images of dogs running and jumping. I am looking at this 70-200 lens as frontrunner, but need some advice on the option. There is Nikon ones - a bit too expensive (I am not hoping to make money off this); Tamron - used G1 or band new G2 versions and Sigma Sports. unfortunately there are not a lot of options to actually try them all so I am hoping to see if anyone tried some of those and can suggest the winner...
I have D7200 and like it so far so not trying to upgrade to full censor just yet.

PS I have asked this about a couple of years ago, but wanted to see if there are new options.

Thank you very much in advance.
 

Strodav

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I have both the D7200 and Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 G2. The IQ of the D7200 is excellent and the Tamron is actually rated the same as the equivalent Nikon lens. I am not familiar with the Sigma version, but, like you, I have other Sigma glass and have been very happy with Sigma. It looks like your D7200 came with a 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6 G kit lens, same as mine, and I'm wondering why it's not getting it done for you as it's an excellent lens. Are you looking for more reach or a faster lens or both?

As important as the camera and lens are your settings. If you don't mind me asking, are you shooting raw or jpg and what are your usual settings for indoor shows and maybe outdoors for agility training. What Post Processing software do you use?

Finally, I love my D7200 and still use it for general purpose photography, mainly family and vacation, even though I have 5 newer Nikon bodies. Since the D7200, which came out in March of 2015, there have been a lot of advances in camera technology. For example, the Nikon Z50 DX, which sells for about $900 new (KEH.com has one like new for $686), has an animal eye tracking AF system, shoots at 11 fps, has better low light performance compared to the D7200 and has video capability. So you are thinking about spending $1300 for a new piece of glass ($950 used at KEH.com) to put on an older model camera. Just something else to think about.
 

ac12

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Dog show is probably indoors, so you want the f/2.8 lens.

Nikon: Look at used Nikon lenses. That would save you $$$
Between Tamron and Sigma: I would go with the Tamron G2.

Potential issue to consider.
- The zoom ring on the Tamron turns in the same direction as Nikon zooms.
- The zoom ring on the Sigma turns in the OPPOSITE direction as Nikon zooms. (Same direction as Canon zooms)
Depending on your hand (muscle memory) this may or may not be an issue for you.
- When I shoot sports, this IS an issue for me. Turning the zoom ring the wrong direction has lost me many shots.
- When I am doing casual photography, where seconds do not matter, it is not an issue.
 
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Toshanda

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I have both the D7200 and Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 G2. The IQ of the D7200 is excellent and the Tamron is actually rated the same as the equivalent Nikon lens. I am not familiar with the Sigma version, but, like you, I have other Sigma glass and have been very happy with Sigma. It looks like your D7200 came with a 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6 G kit lens, same as mine, and I'm wondering why it's not getting it done for you as it's an excellent lens. Are you looking for more reach or a faster lens or both?

As important as the camera and lens are your settings. If you don't mind me asking, are you shooting raw or jpg and what are your usual settings for indoor shows and maybe outdoors for agility training. What Post Processing software do you use?

Finally, I love my D7200 and still use it for general purpose photography, mainly family and vacation, even though I have 5 newer Nikon bodies. Since the D7200, which came out in March of 2015, there have been a lot of advances in camera technology. For example, the Nikon Z50 DX, which sells for about $900 new (KEH.com has one like new for $686), has an animal eye tracking AF system, shoots at 11 fps, has better low light performance compared to the D7200 and has video capability. So you are thinking about spending $1300 for a new piece of glass ($950 used at KEH.com) to put on an older model camera. Just something else to think about.
Honestly, most of the shooting is done in Auto mode. I did try and go more manual, and the 18-140 is good, but I would like to both have a bit more reach and the faster lens. Shoot mostly jpeg. We tried RAW and used PS with lightroom and may get back to that as well...
 

Strodav

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Nothing wrong with auto jpg. I often try auto to see what the camera would choose for settings, then go to manual and adjust from there. If you are happy with your results, great, don't make any changes to your settings and your new lens should let you get closer and give you better results in lower light conditions. If too many of your images are out of focus, or the color is off, or they seem flat or washed out, maybe not sharp enough, then you might want to make some changes.

The first thing to look at is your AF mode, whether you let the camera continuously update focus (AFC) or lock focus when you half press the shutter button (AFS) [Don't use AFA]. There are two critical settings for good jpg results. The first is white balance (Auto, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Sunlight, Flash, Cloudy, Shade), and Set Picture Control (Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome, Portrait, Landscape, Flat) and you can make adjustments to each of these catagories (Quick Adjust, Sharpening, Clarity, Contrast, Brightness, Saturation, Hue). Getting those right will give you the best jpg files possible. The number of focus points you use is important along with the exposure mode. Personally, I shoot raw, AFC, usually 9 focus points, but will go to spot focus to lock in on an eye, mostly matrix metering, but sometimes center weighted, For exposure, I shoot manual. I set shutter speed (1/250 to 1/500 should work for dogs in motion), usually wide open aperture to isolate my subject from the background and auto ISO between 100-1600.

I hope your enjoy your new lens. Don't ever trade in your D7200 as it's one of the best general purpose crop sensor dslsrs ever made. Like I said, I still use mine even though I have a D850 and Z9.
 

ac12

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I would learn the other exposure modes.

Auto has a couple of critical limitations.
#1a. AF uses "closest subject" logic. If the camera finds something between you and YOUR subject, I will focus on that closer object. Been there, done that, was NOT happy :icon_evil:
Example, a group of people at a diner, standing behind the table. The camera will focus on the TABLE, not the people behind the table. :icon_evil:
#1b. Because the AF uses "closest subject," you have NO control over what the camera will focus on. :icon_evil:

#2. If the camera thinks there is not enough light, it will pop up the flash and use it. Even if you do not want it to do that.
Example. At some sporting events, such as volleyball or basketball, the referees will tell you to NOT use the flash. If you keep using the flash, they could have you ejected from the gym.

As a result of this,
- For general use, I use exposure mode P instead of Auto.
- AF mode D9 usually, sometimes I go out to D21.

Example of using other modes:
- When I shoot sports during the day I may shoot in mode S, shutter priority.
- When the sun is going down, I will shoot in mode A, aperture priority, locking the lens wide open, to force the shutter to use the fastest speed that the lighting will allow.
- At night, under lights, I may shoot in mode M, manual.
- When the lighting is difficult to meter, I shoot in M (manual) and manually determine the exposure and shoot.
 

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