Bookmarks

You haven't yet saved any bookmarks. To bookmark a post, just click .

  • Advantage NIKKOR: top photographer's take on the 500mm & 600mm

  •  

    Top sports Photographers review the AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4E FL ED VR and AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR during Wimbledon and The Open 2015

    With summer in full swing, so too are the seasoned sport photographers – doing the rounds at some of the UK’s most prestigious sporting tournaments.

    We caught up with two such photographers, Nikon UK Ambassador and AFP news photographer Leon Neal and Official R&A photographer and Getty pro David Cannon, who each managed to get their hands on one of our brand new telephoto lenses; the  AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4E FL ED VR and AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR.  But how did these lenses perform during two of the country’s most elite sporting events? Read on to hear their verdicts…

     

    Leon Neal at Wimbledon 2015 with the AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4E FL ED VR 

    We caught up with Leon Neal after an exciting two weeks shooting Wimbledon 2015. Here Leon gives us the inside scoop on the new AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4E FL ED VR lens, and explains how it helped him achieve ‘ace’ shots with ease…

    What are your first impressions of the new 500mm?

    It’s a great improvement on the previous version, being much lighter with incredible snappy focus that locks on to fast moving subjects accurately.

    © Leon Neal/AFP© Leon Neal/AFP

    How does the lens differ to other long lenses in your kitbag?

    Until recently, I was on the previous generation of 400mm lens which was much heavier, but the new 500mm really fits in well with the new generation of lighter, faster Nikon FL lenses.

    © Leon Neal/AFP© Leon Neal/AFP

    How has the lens helped you to achieve the shots you needed?

    Working at Wimbledon, space is a premium so there isn’t enough room for changing monopods between lenses without getting in the way of the photographers next to you. Amazingly, the 500mm is light enough to handhold and not just for short periods.  Using lenses of such focal length on tennis courts is pretty challenging with the players moving in and out of frame very quickly and sometimes erratically. The improved focus and tracking on the 500mm when used with the Nikon D4s made life a lot easier in getting the shots I needed.

    © Leon Neal/AFP© Leon Neal/AFP

    Who has been your favourite player to photograph at Wimbledon this year?

    While Roger Federer remains a fan favourite, I much prefer Novak Djokovic as you can see how his game is going through his expressions and his desire to return the ball. His dives and screams of anguish really make strong images.

    © Leon Neal/AFP© Leon Neal/AFP

    What is your favourite shot from the tournament?

    The tournament provided some incredible sporting moments with the world’s best players going head-to-head, but my favourite image was taken off-court on the final day.  A police officer was on duty in front of the main screen at “Henman Hill” when he became caught up in watching the developing Men’s Single Final. Within moments, he was absorbed in the match, wincing, frowning and covering his mouth in shock as Federer and Djokovic fought it out.

    After getting the shots and filing them remotely to the editors, I returned to the office to find the officer was waiting for me. Fearing the worst, I prepared to justify my photos only to find that he’d had a call from his Mum, telling him he was “all over the internet” and he wanted to get a copy! The pictures did really well, being shared on twitter and Facebook many times.

    000_DV2082803© Leon Neal/AFP

     ——

    David Cannon at The Open with the AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR

    Official R&A photographer and Getty pro David Cannon took the new 600mm lens for a test ride at The Open in St Andrews. So what was his verdict? He tells all fresh from the Old Course…

    What are your first impressions of the new 600mm?

    Surprise, excitement, possibly the sharpest 600mm I have ever used – the initial results are stunning!

    © David Cannon/ Getty© David Cannon/ Getty

    How does the lens differ to other long lenses in your kitbag?

    I love the 600mm for golf – it is my standard lens I use travelling the world covering golf tournaments.

    How has the lens helped you to achieve the shots you needed?

    At St Andrews, more than almost any venue in golf, I feel I need the extra focal length to get me near to the subject, as we are often a long way from the golfers. The other exciting feature of my initial work with the 600mm is the ability it gives me to crop images a lot harder than perhaps we would normally do.

    144th Open Championship - Day Two© David Cannon/ Getty

    Who has been your favourite player to photograph at The Open this year?

    I am still biased to Adam Scott – I love shooting Adam but boy is his putting frustrating to watch! So he is still my no 1!  Overall, I would have to say the 600mm was the winner – it was sensational!

    © David Cannon/ Getty© David Cannon/ Getty

    © David Cannon/ Getty

    © David Cannon/ Getty

    What is your favourite shot from the tournament?

    It still has to be the picture of Tom Watson finishing in the fading light on Friday night – it was so dark I gambled madly and the lens and camera backed me up, so I managed a memorable picture of a truly great champion hitting his last tee shot in The Open which he had won 5 times!

    However, after play on the Sunday night at the end of the third round whilst we were editing in the media centre, suddenly the whole place ‘lit up’ as the sun came out briefly at around 7.40pm – looking out of the back door I saw a rainbow, so I just grabbed the D4s and the 16-35mm and ran as fast as I could for the 18th green. I managed to get the tail end of the rainbow over the 18th green and the R&A Clubhouse with some digital enhancing it looks pretty stunning especially in black and white – so actually for me the weather was the story in more ways than one!

    © David Cannon/ Getty© David Cannon/ Getty