Monday, August 8, 2016

5 Reasons why You Don't Need a 70-200 f/2.8 Lens

This article came to being after I saw a fellow blogger's article: "5 Reasons why You Need a 70-200 f/2.8". I don't claim the article doesn't make valid points, but it's all a matter of personal circumstances. For every pro who truly needs a 70-200 f/2.8 lens, there are 50 amateurs that don't and would not be served well by one.

"Do I need a Nikon Nikkor AF-S 70-200 f/2.8 VR lens"?

My answer: most likely no, but take a look at the five reasons below, and if you see yourself in them, then the "no" becomes more definite.

Positioning is far more important than zoom. This one is taken with a humble 50mm f/1.8

1. It's expensive. Very expensive. It costs about 5 times the value of a Nikon D3300, 4 times the value of an 85mm f/1.8, and even more than the 85mm f/1.4.

2. It's heavy and big. If you don't like carrying a bag just for the lens alone, forget it,

3. Do you own a 24-70mm f/2.8 or some other midrange zoom like it and nothing else? If not, then forget about the 70-200 f/2.8. It just doesn't make sense, in my opinion. The whole idea of a fast zoom is the ability to pair it with another fast zoom then forgo of any other lenses. If you start thinking "Yeah, but maybe I also need the 85mm f/1.8" or "yeah, but what about a faster wide-angle lens?" or even "yeah, but maybe I also need an even wider lens" then you're doing it wrong. For some very specific people, for some very specific situations, such scenarios would be applicable. But for most of you reading these lines (and certainly if you're unsure) the answer is clear: either two zooms and nothing else, or it's not for you.

4. It needs a good support. I know, I know, it has VR. Still, in my opinion, no VR is a substitute for a good tripod or monopod. If you don't like carrying a lot of weight (see #2 above) then skip it

5. In the end, it's only a 3x zoom with "only" a f/2.8 max aperture. This surely sounds sacrilegious, but I'm mentioning this only to make a comparison point. For a sports pro, having every focal length between 70mm and 200mm (at f/2.8) is a huge deal. For an amateur, not so much. Why? Because
A sports pro needs to get all shots; an enthusiast some good ones
If you're feeling taken aback by that, if you somehow resist the idea that you (as an amateur) are not "entitled" to all the shots but only "some good ones", let me elaborate: if you need to sell, you can't afford to lose a single moment, a single incident, a single funny happening; if you do, the other guy will sell the photo instead of you. If, however, you're an amateur enthusiast looking to grab some great pics at the basketball game (perhaps one where your daughter/son is playing), the dynamics are completely different. What you need is not quantity (=every shot imaginable from all possible focal lengths) but quality. In other words, you'll be far better served by a lens such as the Nikkor AF-S 85mm f/1.8, particularly if you can get a bit closer to the action. If you can't, pair it with a standard zoom such as the AF-S VR 70-300, or perhaps the new 300mm f/4. Swapping lenses is bothersome for the pro (who has two or even three bodies after all), but for the amateur it's not a big deal to take a 30-sec break from the action to do it.

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