Need advice on second, backup camera + lens for sports

Started Jul 5, 2013 | Discussions thread
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Need advice on second, backup camera + lens for sports
Jul 5, 2013

I currently shoot a D3s + 70-200 f2.8 for sports. This setup has been my main gear for the past 3 years now. I used to have a D300, but I finally sold it earlier this year since it was seeing very little use compared to my D3s. I figured I might as well get some cash back out of it rather than just having it sit around and collect dust. Early in the year, I didn't anticipate needing another camera, and my shooting demands were slowing down.

However, I've signed up to shoot a major, international sporting event in mid-August, and I have no effective sports/action backup camera. I have been hoping, like everyone else, that Nikon would have launched it's mythical D400 (or whatever) by now, but I'm guessing this will not happen for months, and even when it does, I won't be the first to get it given the demand.

At the same time, I've been toying with the idea of spoiling myself and getting the Sigma 120-300 f2.8 OS lens: I hear good things about it. The other alternatives is Nikon's 200-400 f4 - a sweet lens but one that is almost 2X the cost of the Sigma. I'm not sure the added length serves me well in the long run.

I bring up the lens because the current generation of sensors is good enough that on a restricted budget, I might be able to get away with a less capable lens, but push the sensor to its limit. But this depends on the camera I get.

As for a backup camera, I really don't know what to do.

  • I'm reluctant to get a D4 because I'm not sure the cost can be justified when the D3s is still a fantastic camera.
  • At the same time, I don't think the D7100 will be the best for sports given that it's not as robust as the DXXX line up. 
  • I could just get the D800, pick my shots more carefully to compensate for the lower frame rate, and just crop in given it has 36 MP images. Or maybe the D600...
  • The last thing that occurred to me is that if I'm concerned with frame rate, I could pick up an old D2hs and use that for now. They're about half the price of a D7100, 8 fps, but at only 4.1 MP, it would be a significant change (loss?) in terms of overall image quality and sensitivity.

So, I'm a bit lost as to what to do. I'm also open to suggestions about other systems to could provide equivalent performance (m4/3). Any advice? Thanks.

Nikon D2Hs Nikon D300 Nikon D3S Nikon D4 Nikon D40 Nikon D600 Nikon D7100 Nikon D800
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