I currently own a D1. I have two lenses, the 17-35mm f/2.8D AF-S and the 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6D AF. I plan on taking shots for a local soccer fanzine, and I've found that the 28-200 doesn't focus quite fast enough for that action. Also, it doesn't get me quite close enough.
I'd love to buy the 400mm F2.8 D AF-S lens, but I'm not a pro and I can't justify spending almost eight grand for it. So as an alternative, I've been thinking about the 80-200mm f/2.8D AF-S and using the TC-20E 2x Teleconverter with it. This would give me an effective range of 160-400mm, or 240-600mm when you consider the D1's 1.5 multiplication factor.
If I do buy the 80-200 AF-S with the doubler, I'll probably eventually sell the 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6D AF and buy the other AF-S zoom, the 28-70mm. That way I'd pretty much be covered from 17-70mm, then from 80-200 with AF-S glass, and with a doubler I'd go all the way to 400 (of course multiplying everything by 1.5 since I'm using a D1 body).
Is this an effective way to go for a non-professional, advanced amateur photographer? Would I be better served saving my pennies and splurging on the fixed length 400mm AF-S instead?
Yours is a good solution. The teleconverter is reported to work very well with the 80-200mm f/2.8 AF-S. I have yet to try it. Another alternative is the 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED VR lens. I just got it for Christmas and not enough opportunities to really test it, but, it will be more luminous at shorter focal lengths and the same at the long end, however, maybe you can get better sharpness from a single lens. Have a great time JRP My profile Previous photography stuff, before Nikonians: A Brief Love Story
There's another lens you might like to consider: the AF-S 300mm f/4. It costs a bit less than the AF-S 80-200mm f/2.8, and you can also use it with the TC14E extender to increase it's range.
Having said that I'd reckon the two AF-S zooms and the extender would be a much better buy since they would give you a lot more versatility, plus the difference in quality between them and the 28-200mm is drastic.
Focusing speed with the AF-S lenses should be everything you could wish for: it's in situations where you're tracking a moving subject that they really come into their own.
As for how suitable a route it is... well, it's what I did!
AlanC is the lucky owner (as you are) of a D1. But what he did is to own: AF-S 28-70mm f/2.8D IF ED AF-S 17-35mm f/2.8D IF ED AF-S 80-200mm f/2.8D IF ED Drop the 20-200mm of yours as soon as possible. Have a great time JRP My profile Previous photography stuff, before Nikonians: A Brief Love Story
Yeah, I will show results. I'm planning on taking a lot of shots at the upcoming USA v Mexico World Cup Qualifier on February 28th. I'll be in the front row at the goal end, so I should be able to get some good shots, both of the action on the field and of the fanatics in the stands.