Nikon 600mm VR lens for Sports Photography

Using the Nikon 600mm VR super telephoto lens
This weekend, I tested my dream lens. The Nikon AF-S Nikkor 600mm f/4G ED VR.
It’s a lens that all bird, wildlife and sports photographers covet. For me, I hired it for a weekend’s cricket photography.

The 600mm VR is quite unlike anything I’ve ever used before. The lens, in its case, is big, heavy and it was quite a job lugging it across London on the Tube.

I tested the Nikon 600mm lens with a Nikon D80 which, at best, fires 3fps, so it’s not the best camera for sports photography. That said, using the 600mm VR, the autofocus was quick, silent and sharp.

It took quite some time to get used to the lens. It’s big and cumbersome. Focusing on the batsmen and bowlers was absolutely fine but, manoeuvring the lens round to follow a player fielding the ball whilst looking through the viewfinder was difficult. I found that, when looking through the viewfinder, it was very hard to know exactly where the lens was pointing. This meant I missed quite a bit of the action. I suppose this is something that would improve with practise.

Nikon 600mm VR Cricket Photography batsman

I also found that the 600mm probably had a bit too much welly for what I needed. With the magnification of the DX format camera the 600mm effectively became 900mm. Now, the ground where I was shooting, Highgate, was quite small so I had trouble keeping the bat in frame when shooting batsman at the far end. When focusing on the batsman at the near end, I could only get a very small percentage of the action in the frame.
I rented the lens from Fixation, in Kennington, London. The cost was £56 plus 10% insurance and VAT. For weekends, you only pay one day’s charge.
You can see examples of my work here:
Saturday 15th
Highgate 2nds V Harrow
North London
North Middlesex V Twickenham

Sunday 16th
Highgate V Southgate Compton
Highgate Taverners V Pimlico Strollers

James Davis

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