Lens setup for F1 circuits(silverstone) cheaply

Started Jul 1, 2012 | Discussions thread
PHXAZCRAIG Forum Pro • Posts: 14,130
Re: Lens setup for F1 circuits(silverstone) cheaply

Here are my thoughts on 400mm plus lenses.

Your choices are limited. Basically $1000-2000, or way-too-much. Within the 'affordable' choices you have:

1. 80-400vr - sharp enough up to about 350mm. Have to work a lot with it at 400 to get decent results, and stop down to F9. Not AF-S.

2. Nikon 300F4 AF-S with Nikon or Kenko Pro 1.4 TC - great 300mm lens, excellent with TC. Better IQ than the other choice. No VR. No zoom. Longer and heavier than the 80-400vr.

3. Sigma's - 120-400 (I don't know anything about this one), 150-500 and 50-500 (various versions). The 50-500 seems clearly better than the 150-500, and the price reflects that. Clearly better comment based on samples and stories I've seen here. The 50-500 has been known as the Bigma. The OS (VR) version is called the BigmOS. I've seen excellent results from it, but it's probably a good deal less than 500mm on the long end (rounded up by marketing), and it's slow. Any of the long affordable zooms need to be stopped down considerably to be decently sharp.

4. Tamron 200-500. Very light, not as good in the corners as at least some of the above, but very affordable. Don't think it has AF-S, but not sure. A friend of mine got this lens at the same time I got my 300F4 and TC. She shoots bike racing for money while her husband is out racing. She's got good results out of it.

NONE of the above are likely to impress you the first time you use them, unless you happen to be shooting at high shutter speeds and stopped down to around F8 or more. It takes time to learn to use them (long lens technique), and a lot of that is learning what apertures to use and how to avoid camera shake.

Not to say you can't do well the first time out with them. My Road Atlanta shots were taken soon after I bought the 300F4, but I'd already done testing on it to see the minimum apertures I trusted, plus I had 3 years of experience getting the most I could out of an 80-400. As the saying goes 'F8, and be there'. I'd add: Keep shutter speeds above 1/500th too, unless you are working on specific blurring.

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