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

Cash in the Arctic for Charity Cricketers

Oxford, UK, Thursday 1st March 2007 – A team of cricketers from Oxfordshire is hoping to raise thousands for charity by playing in a tournament with a difference; the matches will be played on – ICE.

The players, who all work for Abingdon-based publishers Taylor & Francis, will brave sub-zero temperatures and blizzards when they travel to Tallinn, Estonia to compete in the annual Real Ice Cricket tournament in March to raise money for Comic Relief. The matches will be played on the frozen Lake Harku where the wicket will be painstakingly carved out of the ice and the boundary clearly marked off to prevent anyone accidentally plunging into the freezing waters below. A normal indoor ball is used and cricket spikes are worn for grip but players are discouraged from wearing whites in case they get lost in a snowdrift.

Team Manager Nick Browne said; “We thought this would be a ‘cool’ way for us to raise lots of money for Comic Relief; although I’m concerned that by playing in such freezing temperatures our noses will naturally turn red. “If we progress in the tournament we’ll have the chance to play against the Estonian National Cricket team – although they’re not widely recognised for their cricketing ability, I’ve heard they take it very seriously, so I hope they don’t give us a frosty reception.”

James Davis, who is also Captain of Oxford Cricket Club’s Third XI, commented: “I initially thought my team mates were winding me up, but now I’m really looking forward to the tournament and raising money; it’ll certainly bring new meaning to fielding in the slips.”

The team departs for Tallinn on 7th March. To donate to Comic Relief, visit the team’s special Red nose Day page at

See the coverage in the Oxford Times:

‘Plenty of slips for the bowlers

‘Given the slip

‘Plenty of slips for the bowlers’

‘Given the slip’

‘Given the slip’

‘Ice cricketers’ play for charity’

Taylor & Taylor & Francis charity success

James Davis