The Sigma 70-200 2.8 OS came in the mail a little while ago and I have just started to play around with it. So far it seems like a very nice handling lens that captures sharp and colorful images even at 12,800 ISO from my D3s. The OS is very responsive as are the internal focusing motors. I own the Nikon 70-200 2.8 VR II and will be comparing these two lenses side by side in the final review which I am working on. Keep in mind there is a huge price difference determining which one to go with will depend on where you are at as a photographer.
Below you will find one FULL RES sample image to download and pixel peep if you would like. Keep in mind the image was captured at 12,800 ISO form the D3s and shot in a very bad lighting situation.
Let me break down and explain real quick why my settings where what they were in the image. The settings were Nikon D3s ISO 12,800 1/200th @ F3.2.
When shooting sports my goal is to 9 times out of 10 freeze the action. Shooting in the bowling alley which had terrible light forced me to bump my ISO to an extreme place taht only the D3s can go (and still retain quality) which is 12,800. I had to bump the ISO in order to give me a fast enough shutter speed to stop most of the action. The rule of thumb is you do not want to have your shutter speed slower than your focal length. In this case the focal length was 160mm and the shutter speed was 1/200th. If you drop your shutter speed below the 1/160th you could possibly end up with not sharp images due to small movements from your hands on the lens.
I did have OS on which will counteract my hand holding. But keep in mind that having the OS on will not help FREEZE a moving subject, it is there to keep your image still. I chose to shoot at F3.2 to give myself some more leeway when it came to focus and depth. If I missed my focus and it was on his ear or cheek instead of his eye, I would have a better chance of keeping the image in focus at F3.2. Another option would have been to drop my F stop to F2.8 which would have given me the ability to bump my shutter speed slightly higher.
During the video you will hear me say that I am starting my focus early. What I mean by this is I wanted to engage the focusing motor and OS in the lens so that when DAVE started his approach my continuos focus would track him. With OS and VR it generally takes about 1 second for the motors and gyros to engage and start to keep your images steady. I have had occurrences with my VR lenses where I shot a picture before the motors had engaged causing my image to be blurry.
One final thing I wanted to mention is about filling the frame when shooting sports. There seems to be an accepted rule that cropping is a pre requisite when it comes to shooting sports. I fully disagree with this, but that is my personal opinion. I feel that when shooting sports try to fill the frame as much as possible just like you were shooting anything else. In the image below I did not crop the shot, I pre visualized the image and capture the framing I was looking for. If I were to crop this image which was shot at 12,800 the grain would be even worse. Try your best to fill the frame even when shooting sports images and you will feel like you accomplished something great.