nikon 55-200 vr is this the lens for me ? ,

Started Oct 28, 2012 | Questions
MikeyDigs New Member • Posts: 23
nikon 55-200 vr is this the lens for me ? ,

Hey everyone ,  Im new the the Dpreview   My question is about the nikon 55-200 vr , I purchased this lens refurbished along with 18-55 vr  I read some reviews and they seemed to be a must have and the price was minimal.  I have two d7000 bodies , I also have nikon 70-200 vr 2.8 and dx 35mm 1.8   Her is my question , I shoot alot of shots at horse show, photos of horse jumping , for use on my website ( I am in the horse business)  I love the light weight aspect of the 55-200 vr and have had mixed results   some great shots and lots of not so great .  In any low light situation I use my 70-200 vr1 2.8 ( this lens is great I know that, but its Heavy )  I feel that I have not mastered the 55-200 vr   I also feel I have not mastered the d7000 I have tried different focus modes and focuse points , still trying to find my way   Any thoughts and suggestions ?  I love the 55-200 vr as a walk around lens as well .  How do I get better results ?  thanks everyone

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MikeyDigs

telecomm Junior Member • Posts: 36
Re: nikon 55-200 vr is this the lens for me ? ,

It's difficult to say without seeing examples of the photographs you're unhappy with.

Are you happy with the 70–200 f/2.8 results? If so, the slower focusing speed of the 55–200 might be an issue, since your subjects are moving. You might also try manual focus (with either lens), pre-focusing, for example, on one of the jumps, then shooting as a horse jumps over the obstacle. Also, are you using the continuous shutter release? That might help too.

dw1 Regular Member • Posts: 210
It was for me...

I'm still kicking myself for selling my 55-200.  It is the best value zoom nikon makes in my opinion.  I had no problem shooting moving subjects with it.  Very sharp and I just liked the way it rendered.

Suggestions?  I'd just say practice with it.  i don't know what else to tell you, it worked very nicely on my D300.  I loved the size of it too.  Very lightweight.  If I end selling a couple of my lens that overlap I'll probably buy another 55-200.

D

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Fujifilm X-T20 Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-17E II
OP MikeyDigs New Member • Posts: 23
Re: nikon 55-200 vr is this the lens for me ? ,

This shot is a good example of my question/problem   I took this just to prctice and the timing is good but the horse /rider and not in focus   I am not sure why,  I think my lens is fine , I beleive its my focusing technique    Any suggestions    I was thinking that I should turn off auto focus  , Im not sure

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MikeyDigs

OP MikeyDigs New Member • Posts: 23
Re: nikon 55-200 vr is this the lens for me ? ,

This pic is a little better / sharper , it was take on a different day  , late afternoon sun going down      any thoughts    ??

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MikeyDigs

DRode
DRode Senior Member • Posts: 2,815
Re: nikon 55-200 vr is this the lens for me ? ,

Sports action photography requires great tools and great technique. While the 55-200 is a great value for getting sharp images in good light, it's not a sports lens. It's not bright enough or fast enough to be effective.

However, you do have the 70-200 which is an excellent action lens and will work well with the solid AF of the D7k. So, you have the tools.

The remaining 70% of sports photography is technique and some settings.

There is too much to cover here. However, take a look at http://johnfriend.blogspot.com/2009/10/nikon-d300-auto-focus-for-sports-i.html for some tips on camera settings. This is not exactly what I use but it's a good start. Also, check out the sports action forum at http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/board/47. If you want to get better, there are lots of sports shooters there that can help with technique and can critique your shots. Some of them can be a bit crusty but they are often helpful as well

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Hugo First Contributing Member • Posts: 780
Re: nikon 55-200 vr is this the lens for me ? ,

it's not so much your gear as how you're using it. in both the sample shots, your focus point is in the wrong place. the first is on the rider directly behind your subject; in the second focus appears to be on the right side of the horizontal beam somewhere. i'm not sure where you were aiming, what focus mode or other settings were being used. to start, i'd lock on the center point, use continuous auto (AF-C) focus. you follow the rider, and try to keep the focus point on their body until they're where you want to make your shot. if you're just putting 'er in full auto and expecting the camera to nail focus, i don't think that'll work, no matter how fancy your gear is.

i don't do a whole lot of this kind of shooting, but it's just a matter of learning to follow the action and taking your shot... keep practicing, and good luck!

Catallaxy Veteran Member • Posts: 3,724
Re: nikon 55-200 vr is this the lens for me ? ,
1

Love the 55-200 VR, one of my favorite lenses.

You missed focus on both these shots. Focus looks to be behind the main subject in both. The shutter speed seems to be ok

Use AF-C. Use Dynamic Area and set it to 9 or 21 point. Select the center focus point and keep it on the rider, preferrably on the rider's face. Set the release mode to burst, not single.

Half press the shutter button and focus on the rider at least a few seconds in advance of when you want to take the photo. Do not let up on the half-press! Follow the rider with the focus dot and keep the rider right under it at all times. swivel with your hips instead of jerking your head/neck around. As the horse rider is jumping, finish the shot by fully depressing the shutter button. Follow through and keep the focus dot on the rider. Do not jab the shutter, it should be a smooth presss. You should be able to get 3 to 6 frames as the horse jumps.

Good luck!

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Catallaxy

OP MikeyDigs New Member • Posts: 23
Re: It was for me...

I got some good tips from this post and your right , I need to practice .....   I have gotten better results in the past few days , and like you said I love the light weight and ease of useing this lens.  I thin my problems have been the wrong focus settings and my technique

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MikeyDigs

OP MikeyDigs New Member • Posts: 23
Re: nikon 55-200 vr is this the lens for me ? ,

Thanks for the tip , I have been practicing you advice and my photos look much better ,  I really like this lens , I knew that I was doing something wrong ,   I think it was too many focus points , I have been using  af-c and single point on the rider ,     much better results   thank you again

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MikeyDigs

jhorse Senior Member • Posts: 2,662
Re: nikon 55-200 vr is this the lens for me ? ,

Hi,

I have this lens as a light travel option and it is superb and capable of excellent results with good technique and stopped down a little.  Its auto-focus is accurate, but not that fast.   So, let me offer my two pence worth on taking horses jumping, as one who used to ride (three day eventing to international standards) and one who enjoys taking photographs of them.  There is no doubt that following a speeding horse with AF is a challenge for any photographer and camera  (and I use a D300s, which has an excellent AF system). Unless you keep the AF mark precisely on the horse as he gallops into the fence then an out of focus image may result. Your image above may fall into this category.

But you have an advantage. The horse will jump the fence which is fixed in a certain position. The ideal position of capturing the horse over the fence depends on the angle you are shooting from, but generally you want the horse’s shoulder over the highest part of the fence – where you have it in the image you inserted above. So, pre-focus on the middle of the fence, or where you anticipate he will jump it, either by AF or manually, then switch the AF off on the camera body (or lens). Now your lens is set for the precise point on the fence.  You can now follow the horse as he gallops into the fence and concentrate solely on composition without any worry about focus and take the picture at the optimum position.  I actually also set the exposure to manual so that everything is set before the jump. It works, try it and you’ll get better results.  By removing two variables I found my images were sharper, better exposed and because I was able to concentrate on composition the keeper rate increased.  Thus, for horses jumping fences, this is one sport where, with an alternative technique, you can get sharper images in manual focus; an advantage that other sports do not offer.

Hope that helps.

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OP MikeyDigs New Member • Posts: 23
Re: nikon 55-200 vr is this the lens for me ? ,

thanks Jhorse    I am going to try this technique .  When I set up to shot at horse shows I often try to shot at least three jumps , so I position my self at a good view point .   Your tip to pre focus and turn the af off was also suggested to me by my photograhy instructor at the art center where I take a photography course .  I think it would work great in a three day / cross country shoot because the jumps a farther apart.  At shows it would be useful when you are situated at a good vantage point to only one jump .  check out my albums on my farms face book page Heritage Farm .  I really like the light weigth of this lens and I think the tips I have gotten have helped me already .  I took this shot today , very sharp

nikon afs 55-200 vr  af-c  single point focus 1/640  f11 iso200  vivid

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MikeyDigs

OP MikeyDigs New Member • Posts: 23
Re: nikon 55-200 vr is this the lens for me ? ,

jhorse   I think my big problem what that I was not keeping the focus point on the horse and following it in a panning motion as the horse jumps .  My timing was ok but I think I was doing something that allowed the camera to grab something else to focus on .  I was getting a lot of shots that were not in focus ( that was driving me crazy) and I thing my reaction was there was something wrong with my lens, I am sure this is a standard beginner reaction .....   I have read alot about this lens and have seen stunning photos posted on this and other fourms of what the 55-200 vr can do , when you do it right .......  On days when there is enough light I wanted photos that looked sharp and crisp .   As you know when a horse is cantering around a course of jumps it does stay in the focus plan for a short period of time ( af-c)  I do think the horse is moving faster than the lens can handle ,  I am in the horse business , so I have plent of oppurtunity to practice

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MikeyDigs

Catallaxy Veteran Member • Posts: 3,724
Re: nikon 55-200 vr is this the lens for me ? ,

A nice sharp photo. Congratulations!

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Catallaxy

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