rationalizing a better lens for events

Started Mar 29, 2014 | Discussions thread
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pistachioShell Junior Member • Posts: 40
rationalizing a better lens for events

I use the following lenses on a Nikon D5100:
12-24mm f4 DX
35mm f1.8 DX
85mm Macro DX
55-300 f4.5-5.6 DX
300mm f4 w/ TC1.4

Here is how I use them:
on the camera most of time (except for times listed below): 35mm f1.8
photo walk in the city: 12-24mm + 85mm macro
photo walk in the woods & etc.: 12-24 + 85 macro + 300 f4 w/tc
travel kit: 12-24 + 55-300
events for a local nonprofit org: 55-300mm

The last one is the problem. The pictures are of speakers on a stage in various venues around town, sometimes including their slides, sometimes including the audience to show a good turnout, and afterwards including small groups of people talking. Pictures go online and in a newsletter. The 55-300 is not bright enough in many of the venues we use. I end up using the whole range of focal lengths, or at least trying. But the shutter speed is too slow, especially at the long end. I would splurge for a better suited lens, and since I'm spending my own money, it would be even better if I could use the new lens for personal use too.

Here are some options:
Nikon 70-200 f2.8 VRII, 3.4 lbs, about $2,000 used, 6 mo. warranty
Nikon 70-200 f2.8 VRI, 3.2 lbs, about $1500 used, 6 mo. warranty
Nikon 70-200 f4, 1.9 lbs, about $1200 used, 6 mo. warranty
Sigma 50-150 f2.8, 3lbs, about $950 new, 3 yr warranty

The 70-200 VRII is the gold standard for comparison, but too expensive for me and the VRI is reported to be as good on crop sensors. The f4 would be an improvement, especially at the long end, but I'm buying for low light situations so f2.8 is better yet. The 70-200s might be a little long on the short end for group shots, for which the Sigma would be better. If I got one of the 70-200s I would probably have to take the 35 f1.8 as well to events. The used Nikons will probably hold their value better than the new Sigma for resale later, but the new Sigma has a better warranty. The 70-200 f4 + tc would be good to have in my travel kit, but not the heavy f2.8s. Can use the TC with all the Nikons. At 280mm with the tc, I could still get the close-ups of speakers, and probably with 150mm too, but not so sure. If I got the Sigma, I could spend the remainder on 77mm ND and CP filters.

What to do. What to do.

 pistachioShell's gear list:pistachioShell's gear list
Sony RX100 III Nikon D7100 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 12-24mm f/4G ED-IF Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4D ED-IF Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E II +3 more
Nikon D5100
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