This past weekend I went to Decatur, MS to shoot the East Central Community College homecoming game. Since it was homecoming the game was early, kickoff was 2pm. So, since there was plenty of light I decided to shoot the whole game with the Nikkor 80-400mm and left the 70-200mm in the bag.
I just wanted to try shooting the whole game with something that would give me the extra reach. Zooming all the way in to 400mm let's you get photos like the one above. I couldn't have done that with the 70-200.
But I don't know if it's worth it. The 80-400 is really slow compared to the 70-200, in more ways than one. First it's got a slower aperture, f/4.5-5.6 versus a constant f/2.8, but that would be OK for daytime games if it weren't for the other problems. See, it's also a lot slower to focus. I mean a lot. And it's slower to use, because the zoom ring is so stiff. So stiff that the rubber grip is coming loose. It's just got a cheap plastic-on-plastic feel. The zoom ring on the 70-200 is smooth.
And the last thing is the close focusing distance. Even zoomed all the way out to the short end at 80mm, it still feels like the closest focusing distance is about 6 feet. The 70-200 can get down to around 3 feet I think.
So, until we buy a 400mm f/2.8 (never), I'll still use the 80-400mm, but I don't think I'll shoot a whole game with it again. It's a pain to shoot football switching lenses on just one body, but that's the way it is.
Oh, and the final score: MGCCC 37, ECCC 21.
Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED Autofocus VR Zoom Nikkor Lens
Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II AF-S Nikkor Zoom Lens For Nikon Digital SLR Cameras
Nikon 400mm f/2.8G ED VR II AF-S SWM Super Telephoto Lens for Nikon FX and DX Format Digital SLR