Noticeable difference between 200mm and 300mm?

Started Nov 2, 2009 | Discussions
rockford33
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Noticeable difference between 200mm and 300mm?
Nov 2, 2009

Looking into getting a longer reaching lens. Currently have a D60 with 18-105mm and would like something with more reach for the future (most likely pee wee soccer games and the like when my son is old enough, hopefully next year). I have been looking at the 70-300mm, but wonder if the 55-200mm would do just as good at half the price. I have found a couple of websites (tamron has a good tool) showing what you see at different focal lengths, and I dont see a huge difference going from 200mm to 300mm. I actually think there is more of a difference going from 105mm to 200mm, even though you are going up in both cases by 100mm.

Anyone with experience (and photos are nice too) of shots taken at 200mm vs. 300mm? The tools just don't seem to really show a large difference. I might need to take my camera to a store and see if they will let me try both.

Thanks,
Neil

Bob GB
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Re: Noticeable difference between 200mm and 300mm?
In reply to rockford33, Nov 2, 2009

Going from 105 to 200 mm represents a magnification of 1.9 (90% increase), while from 200 to 300 is a 1.5 magnification (50% linear increase). But remember that from 105 to 300 represent as much as a factor 2.86 (186% magnification).

The 70-300VR is a better lens with superior VR compared to the 55-200VR. The 70-300VR will focus faster too, particularly important for sport shooting. At the same time the 55-200 is cheaper and smaller, but only you can make the choice.

It is a good idea holding both lenses in a store and find how you feel about them.

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apaflo
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Re: Noticeable difference between 200mm and 300mm?
In reply to rockford33, Nov 2, 2009

rockford33 wrote:

I dont see a huge difference going from 200mm to 300mm. I actually think there is more of a difference going from 105mm to 200mm, even though you are going up in both cases by 100mm.

The difference between the two is not important, it's the ratio of the two. 100mm to 200mm is 2:1,

and if you want to see that much change over a 200mm lens, you have to use a 400mm lens.

Anyone with experience (and photos are nice too) of shots taken at 200mm vs. 300mm? The tools just don't seem to really show a large difference. I might need to take my camera to a store and see if they will let me try both.

If you have a 200mm, getting a 300mm may not be worth it (but a 400mm might be). But, if you don't have a 200mm, for outdoor sports the 300mm (or better yet a 400mm) is definitely the one to look at.

For indoor sports a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens is almost a requirement, but that has a lot more to do with the usually poor lighting in most gyms, which makes an f/2.8 (or a D3s camera) very nice.

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M87
M87
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Re: Noticeable difference between 200mm and 300mm?
In reply to rockford33, Nov 2, 2009

rockford33 wrote:

Looking into getting a longer reaching lens. Currently have a D60 with 18-105mm and would like something with more reach for the future (most likely pee wee soccer games and the like when my son is old enough, hopefully next year). I have been looking at the 70-300mm, but wonder if the 55-200mm would do just as good at half the price. I have found a couple of websites (tamron has a good tool) showing what you see at different focal lengths, and I dont see a huge difference going from 200mm to 300mm. I actually think there is more of a difference going from 105mm to 200mm, even though you are going up in both cases by 100mm.

It's not the number 100 that is important. but its relationship to your staring point. 100 added to 50mm would be a tripling of the focal length. 100 added to 100 would be a doubling of the focal length. Now 100 added to 200 is only multiplying the focal length by 1.5, you can see where this is going. Take it to its almost unaffordable affordable extreme for us mere mortals, moving from 400 to 500 gives you only a 1.25 multiplcation factor.

Better to start at a common reference point for your comparison, so equating both to your 105, 200 would get you twice as close and 300 would get you three time as close.

Anyone with experience (and photos are nice too) of shots taken at 200mm vs. 300mm? The tools just don't seem to really show a large difference. I might need to take my camera to a store and see if they will let me try both.

If you don't get samples by the weekend, I will stick my 150-500 on and take some of the same scene at 200 and 300 for you to compare. Unfortunately, it is dark when I go to work and dark when I get home, so can't do anything during the week.

Thanks,
Neil

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Phorcys
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Re: Noticeable difference between 200mm and 300mm?
In reply to M87, Nov 2, 2009

Personally, without getting into tech specs or trying to start debates, I notice a big difference in reach between 200-300 when compared to 300-400. I realized this when shooting with my 70-300 vs the 80-400.

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RBFresno
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Difference between 200mm and 300mm?. Look here..
In reply to rockford33, Nov 2, 2009

http://www.tamron.com/lenses/learning_center/tools/focal-length-comparison.php

However, be aware that for some zoom lenses, the maximal focal length is for objects at infinity . For objects closer, the effective focal length may be less .

People somtimes complain that their zoom which is "supposed to go to 200mm" only goes to 150mm. This can happen with some lenses when the subject is closer than infinity.

RB

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lac111
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Re: Noticeable difference between 200mm and 300mm?
In reply to rockford33, Nov 3, 2009

In addition to all that's been said, it depends on what you are shooting. Consider two extremes: If you are shooting an upclose bird there is a noticeable difference between 200 and 300mm, a distant scene not as much. Another thing to consider is the size and weight of the 70-300VR. I own it and love it, but it's a much heftier lens than the 55-200mm.
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cosmicnode
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Re: Noticeable difference "yes"
In reply to lac111, Nov 3, 2009

I would go for the longer reach of the 70-300 its a basic starter lens for most sports, I enjoy shooting motorsports and would not recommend a shorter lens, you cant add a teleconverter to the 50-200 for more reach it's simply to slow an aperture.I don't shoot footie myself but have seen enough kiddies games to know that you would use the whole range of the 70-300 from the sidelines. Don't forget the difference in angle of view on a 1.5 sensor is equivalent to 150mm extra, the 55-200 is equivalent to 82.5-300mm and the 70-300 is 105-450mm equivalent angle of view, thats 150mm at the long end.
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pickledherring
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Pay attention to angle of view
In reply to rockford33, Nov 3, 2009

I think the instructive number to look at in the Tamron tool is the angle of view at different focal lengths. Let's say for sake of argument you're shooting a subject 50 yards away (about right for watching soccer from the stands?).

Going off the angle of view numbers for 'Digital' (1.5x sensors, presumably) and doing a little geometry you can figure out that (roughly speaking):

50mm = 30.3 degrees = 79.3 ft field of view
100mm = 15.4 degrees = 40.3 ft
200mm = 7.7 degrees = 20.1 ft
300mm = 5.1 degrees = 13.4 ft

So (at 50 yards) going from 200mm to 300mm only reduces this size of your frame by about 7ft, wheras going from 100 to 200 reduces it by 20ft. This may help explain your subjective impressions.

All that being said, I have the 70-300VR and I think it's a fine lens.

Hope that helps,
Klaus

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M Katz
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Re: Noticeable difference between 200mm and 300mm?
In reply to rockford33, Nov 4, 2009

For soccer, really depends on how much of the field you want to be able to cover, and how tight you want the shots to be - for adult sized amatuer soccer at the local park, I can get reasonably good shots on about half of the field from 200mm. By this I mean for example a head to toe shot of one of the players where that player may not be taking up the whole frame edge to edge, but certainly dominating the frame.

Here are some examples with my D70 and 80-200F2.8 lens:

First, close enough to get a tight shot:

Second one is from when too far away to really zoom on one player:

(not great photos, sorry, but will at least give you an idea of what you can do)

With 300mm of course I'd be able to do more, but I suspect I couldn't just stand in one spot and get tight shots of the players no matter where on the field they were.. With kids, everyone's smaller, but then so too perhaps is the field (I'm not sure), so you might be able to get away with 200mm and cover the whole field.

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mothman13
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Direct examples here plus some charts for you ...
In reply to rockford33, Nov 4, 2009

You can go to this address on my site to try 300, 400, 500 and 600mm at 100, 150, 200 and 300 feet to see what a Blue Jay, Mallard duck and Osprey would fill (or not) the frame.

http://www.texasmothman.com/photography-tutorials/birding/birding.asp

As for huge variety of fields of view for varying focal lengths at varying distances, you can look at some charts I made up a while back:

From 5 to 30 feet for APS-C sensor camera:

From 5 to 30 feet for full-frame sensor camera:

From 35 to 60 feet for APS-C sensor camera:
http://www.pbase.com/image/74511517

From 65 to 90 feet for APS-C (DX) sensor camera:
http://www.pbase.com/mothman13/image/92899167

From 35 to 60 feet for full-frame sensor camera (FX):
http://www.pbase.com/mothman13/image/102005825

From 65 to 90 feet for full-frame sensor camera (FX):
http://www.pbase.com/mothman13/image/102005827

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PatMann
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Re: Noticeable difference between 200mm and 300mm?
In reply to rockford33, Nov 4, 2009

For those shots where you actually use the full 300mm focal length, you get more than twice as many pixels on your subject than with a 200mm lens.

However, to shoot action, you need lens speed as much as focal length. I would guess you would lose more shots from a slow shutter speed with the zooms you are considering than from not having a long enough focal length.

My recommendation for action would be an f/2.8 prime or zoom. The problem with your D60 is that only the most expensive of these lenses have the internal focus motors you need.

The D60 with 70-200 zoom, or the D90 with 180 f/2.8 or 80-200 f/2.8 would be my choices for this type of photography.

Based on my experience shooting football in college, (200mm f/4 Nikkor), the 200mm on DX should give you a pretty good field of view - no dramatic closeups except when the action comes close to you, but good for action in context.

It sounds like you have some time - there may be better options for you by the time you need the lens. You might also look at 3rd-party zooms like the 50-150 Sigma - it has an internal focus motor, but I'm not sure it's set up to work with the D60.

Either the 55-200 or 70-300 would be good inexpensive lenses to start with, but I think you'll very quickly be dissatisfied with the speed, particularly if any of the action is on cloudy days or toward evening when light is substantially dimmer.

Best of luck - sounds like some fun shooting in store for you.

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Pat

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rockford33
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Re: Noticeable difference between 200mm and 300mm?
In reply to PatMann, Nov 4, 2009

Wow! Thanks for the replies guys (especially all that good info mothman). I think I will end up waiting and saving for the 70-300mm since I would rather have too much reach than not enough (nothing worse than reach envy). While I would love a f/2.8 lens, I don't think it will be financially in my reach for a long time and most of them won't focus on my D60. Maybe someday if I upgrade the camera, I'll look into that more.

Until then, I am saving up for a 70-300. I still have time since I don't think he can play until the spring at the earliest, possibly the fall (he may have to be 4 around here for the pee wee league).

Thanks again,
Neil

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Gracenrich
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Re: Noticeable difference between 200mm and 300mm?
In reply to rockford33, Nov 4, 2009

If you would like to try a lens befor buying
take a look at http://www.lensrentals.com/
A 300mm draws a lot of attention.

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