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@JJ_SO Please note the shot that darkslide just posted. It is in these type of situations that the additional stop comes in handy. In addition, note the ISO, even though it is still high, with the f/4 one will probably have to raise even more.
Er ... one thing I don't understand : Tried the 70-200 F4 and 70-200 F2.8 at 200mm on my D3s, and there's a difference in focal (bigger subject) just like a DX vs Fx ???
Does it matter much?
Lens focal length are only an approximation. I am not certain but I think the 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII is long on the 70mm end...more like 75 or 80mm perhaps. I remember a complaint some time ago about this. But the point is that at the long end, 200mm there could be a slight image size difference. Maybe as much as 10%. I would like to hear if others have observed anything like this or am I imagining it... :-S
D3s 70-200 @ 200mm 1/45s f/2.8 ISO 8000
D3s 70-200 @ 200mm 1/90s f/2.8 ISO 8000
I think I've cracked it on a few of the series!! (He said modestly...)
Both shots are wonderful and of great expression.
Just be aware - and only darkslide knows that - if the action could be freezed at 1/45, one f-stop more would be exactly 1/20. My experience is, 1/20 is doable if you can get the shot in the moment the faces are relatively calm. I don't want to compete or anything with darkslides excellent stageshot, I just like to state, it's not only his lens/camera but also a lot of experience in situations like this.
And here's what's possible (in the better circumstances) with the f/4:
D7000, 6400ISO (and I don't care about the noise ), 200mm, 1/15, f/4
My recommendation for silent situations goes clearly for D7000 and D600 - no other Nikon will be as silent as them, except the point'n'shoot or the 1 Series which aren't made for ISO beyond 3200, I guess?
Edit: The Quiet mode on these two bodies really deserves to be called so, while the D800 is just a s loud. No wonder - while I was testing my tripod combinations I found out the movement of the body due to shutter vibration is maybe 1/3 of the movement of D800 with same lens, same tripod head, same legs. darkslide, try to get one rented for your next shooting. I'm still observing the price of D600 although the dust issues.
And my experience with lowlight shooting is: if you dance on such a small edge, you can't rely on only one f-stop more. There's a good reason Nikon offers as well a 200/2 The camera needs to have super ISO skills, you need to know how to expose, you need to know your gear and your own skills, too. Then you get, with lots of lost, blurred / out of focus / wrong moments shots constantly more and better pictures out of these situations. And the reactions to these shots are rewarding as well as my own feeling about "this time everything was in place at the right time". And I always "underexpose" - I know the D7000 tends to make the pictures too bright, so as standard correction with matrix metering I have between -0.3 and -1. In dark situations I go down to -1.5/-1.7 which for my taste works better than no correction. I don't want to have blank highlights in a face and in such light conditions, there's not much information in the shadow areas worth to be kept.
I've found some thick neoprene sheeting - similar to what they make scuba divers wet suits fromand I'm going to try to make a 'blimp' to cover the camera - yesterday evening was just too frustrating with the shutter noise.
I never had a missed, "too late" shot with the D7000, but maybe I was just lucky. I just saw you're using D3s and like the D800 it's more the "whammo, got the shot, stand back everybody" feedback tupe of camera.
The fact that I am in the 'dark bit' off stage when I'm taking my photographs, I hardly think the fact that the audience can't read the serial number on the camera body would be a problem. Despite being 'slightly' overweight I'm almost transparent...
Lastly there isn't a camera body with the sensitivity of the D3s which has a quieter shutter/mechanism.
EDIT: Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the input be it a suggestion or a question :-)
Not that great of a review
I did not read anything about the f/4 yet but at least it could be possible that it shows a different viewing angle.
At infinity both should show the same field of view.