Currently, I use my smart phone's camera to photograph cars, trucks, and auto racing. I shoot outdoors, mostly in daylight, but often in gloomy overcast weather. Occasionally, I may shoot at dusk. I've decided that my smart phone camera isn't giving the results I want. It performs poorly in low light, rarely produces crisp images, lacks manual adjustments, and it's fixed angle of view is inconvenient and nowhere near long enough to reach my subjects. Thus, I am looking into purchasing a professional DSLR and lens. After exhaustive browsing I've narrowed down my options to:
a) A brand new Nikon D3500 w/ AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300 f/4.5-6.3
b) A brand new Nikon D7500 w/ a used AF Nikkor 80-200 f/2.8D ED (two-touch version)
At this point, I've basically settled on these two choices and it's unlikely I'd consider anything else.
The problem is I am 'on the fence' and can't make up my mind. My questions are not about the cameras, but about the lenses:
- The AF-P 70-300 DX costs less than than even a used 80-200. I hear it's also very sharp throughout it's zoom range and it's focus speed is lightning fast, which is ideal for my uses. My only concern is the narrow variable aperture.
- The 80-200 looks like it's built to last a lifetime: much tougher than the 70-300 lens. I've read numerous but conflicting reviews about the 80-200's acuity and screw-driven AF speed. This has made me doubt the 80-200's performance for action photography in 2019. It's an old film-era lens with an even older optical formula. Given it's questionable screw-drive AF and sharpness, I am unsure whether it can get the job done for me. Honestly, it seems like it's better suited to portrait photography. The reason I am still considering it is the bight fixed f/2.8 aperture plus second-hand copies are relatively inexpensive.
It seems to me that in recent years, most of the progress and improvements in lens design was with zoom lenses. For this reason, despite being a plastic variable aperture kit lens, I'd reckon the 70-300 is as sharp as if not sharper than the 80-200 in the shared zoom/aperture range.
I'd like to get both panning and action-freezing shots so I may use slower shutter speeds or up to 1/2000 sec. Will the narrow aperture of the 70-300 be able to handle heavy overcast or dusk? Will I need to crank up ISO to the point the image becomes exceedingly noisy? If I go with the 80-200, will it be as sharp as the 70-300 on high pixel density DX sensor? Or will it be out resolved?
So, I'd like confirmation or negation of the claims I made about each lens so I can make a decision. If anyone has firsthand experience with either or both lenses, I'd appreciate your experience.
At the end of the day, I care about my pictures above everything else. I just need a camera and lens that can get the job done with minimal compromises and give me results significantly better than what I was getting with my smartphone. Apologies if my question was long-winded; I am just trying to be as thorough as possible to get specific answers.