Looking for info on the 70-300 VR

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Santa Gertrudis, Apr 26, 2010.

  1. Santa Gertrudis

    Santa Gertrudis TPF Noob!

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    To those of you that have it, was it worth it? Is the image quality pretty good? How is it past 200mm? Just any general info, and example photos would be great. Thank you!
     
  2. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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  3. Santa Gertrudis

    Santa Gertrudis TPF Noob!

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    Thank ya, Derrel!
     
  4. lvcrtrs

    lvcrtrs TPF Noob!

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    I pretty much have it glued to my camera. If you are a pro you might wish to look to someone else for input but I find for birding most times it just isn't long enough. Also, Nikon told me they do not have a TC that works with it. Not surprisingly in good light it's mighty fine. As a matter of fact you might not even need to USM your pics. But for anything other than good light I find some PP is needed to perk things up a bit. It's pretty fast to focus. I've never noticed any vignetting. Easy to hand hold. Again, my pics are amateur/hobby but you can search my threads for some samples of what it can do. So many are at 300 then big cropped. I would buy it again, but would probably go for something shorter that a TC would work with first.
     
  5. Santa Gertrudis

    Santa Gertrudis TPF Noob!

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    Thank you, lvcrtrs! Some nice looking photos you have there!
     
  6. farmerj

    farmerj TPF Noob!

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    these were taken with the 70-300 VR

    1
    [​IMG]

    2
    Last spring about this same time.
    [​IMG]

    3
    These guys are on the river bank of the Mississippi in St Cloud MN. Easy shooting anytime from about 20 feet
    [​IMG]

    4
    Deep in the woods and underbrush. Cloudy overcast day.
    [​IMG]

    5
    this big guy was about 100 yards out. I pushed the USM on this one to show the lines in the face. To me he seemed rather thin.
    [​IMG]

    6
    Probably my favorite. About 200 yards. I had a bunch of branches and stuff in front of me that make it look really soft and out of focus. I need to find the original again. This copy has been saved so many different times over...
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2010
  7. emh

    emh TPF Noob!

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    I've had mine only for a short time, so haven't had a chance to try it in low light, but it's quite good in daylight, especially for the price.

    Here's Photozone's review with their typical analytical take on things: Link
     
  8. lvcrtrs

    lvcrtrs TPF Noob!

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    You are quite welcome and ty for the comment.
     
  9. MrLogic

    MrLogic TPF Noob!

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    Another review from a Nikon expert...

    Sample variation could be an issue here... I guess. Anyway, Brad Hill's review:




    Recently Abandoned Products - Lenses

    (Updated 08 December 2009). Here's what I've recently jettisoned, and why I decided to jettison it...


    AFS-Nikkor 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 IF ED VR G Zoom. I acquired this lens in December of 2008 as a "stop gap"/temporary solution to fill the focal length hole in my lens collection that was created when I sold my 70-200 mm f2.8 VR (reasons for the sale of the 70-200 are given a few paragraphs below in the section entitled "Lenses - Recently Abandoned Products"). Although this lens ranks fairly low for me in value, I know it's a lens that many Nikon users will be considering, so I'll give a few more details here than some of the other (and more valuable to me) lenses have received. In late November of 2009 I acquired my 70-200mm f2.8 VR zoom lens and my reason for owning this lens disappeared. So, I sold it.


    General comments and caveats: If you search the web you will find many very good to excellent reviews of this lens. Which is NOT what you'll find here. I think the main reason for this is that this lens will be viewed very differently by different photographers depending on whether they are "upgrading" to this lens (usually from a kit lens) or are using it after spending a lot of time shooting with Nikon's pro glass. To be fair, I started using this lens after using some of Nikon's best professional lenses for a number of years. Does it stack up well against them? No. But it costs about 1/10th to 1/20th of what some of my other lenses cost. If it performed as well as them (or even close) I'd be a total idiot for buying the pro glass! However, when you combine this lens's focal range with its small size, light weight, and its effective VR function, you have an extremely versatile lens. Add in the very low price compared to pro glass, and you really do have tremendous value. But, in day-to-day use you do have to make a lot of compromises to squeeze the best out of this lens - read on to see what I mean...


    Image Quality: In the focal range of 70 to 200 mm the image is relatively/acceptably sharp - though not as sharp as the 70-200 mm f2.8 VR when used on a DX camera body. If the Nikon 200 mm f2 (possibly Nikon's sharpest lens) is considered the reference standard and given a sharpness value of "10", I would rate the 70-300 about a "6.5" in the 70-200 mm range. In the 200-300 mm range, I would reduce the rating to the 5.5 to 6 range. If you stop down to the f8 range (or a little smaller as you approach 300 mm), then you could probably add an increment of 1 or so to both of these ratings. So you can squeeze a relatively sharp image out of this lens, but not something so sharp that the viewer would ever give it an "oh-my-god" (which is something you hear a LOT with the 200 mm f2 VR!).

    Unfortunately, between 200 and 300 mm chromatic aberration in the form of simultaneous yellow and purple fringing becomes an issue. If you're a RAW shooter (and I'm guessing many users of this lens would actually be JPEG shooters) this is easily handled with most good raw converters (but it is one more thing to do during image processing). JPEG shooters will have more work to do to solve this problem (how much will depend a little on the camera they're mounting the lens on).

    How good is the bokeh (i.e., how smooth are the out-of-focus zones?)? Only Ok - definitely not good. And, if you are shooting this lens stopped down to extract maximum sharpness out of the lens, in many instances your out-of-focus zones won't be too out-of-focus. So...in day to day use you can pretty much forget about producing tack sharp images with buttery smooth out-of-focus zones. In this "apparent sharpness" regard (a combination of lens sharpness combined with smooth, soft out-of-focus zones) the 70-200 mm f2.8 VR far outperforms the 70-300 mm VR.

    Full frame coverage? I've shot this lens with a D3 and D700 exclusively and have had no issues with vignetting or any appreciable drop off in sharpness towards the image edge. Please bear in mind that I primarily shoot wildlife and much of the time edge-to-edge sharpness isn't a big issue for me. I HAVE tested this lens shooting landscapes and when stopped down to f8 or smaller edge sharpness seems just fine.


    Autofocus performance: When shooting in a warm environment this lens has decent autofocus speed. Not as fast as Nikon's best primes (or best zooms), but it's not bad. However, in cold conditions (below the freezing point) the autofocus speed decreases dramatically, almost to the point of being slug-slow. I have watched for this when using pro lenses, but have never noticed any cold-related autofocus performance declines when shooting with them. I suppose this is another reason you fork out the big bucks for the pro lenses!


    VR Performance: Just fine - works as advertised! The VR function makes this lens much more versatile and usable than it would be without it. There are two things to watch when using the VR. First, TURN THE VR OFF if you are shooting from a tripod. That's what it says in the manual and they're right - image sharpness will go DOWN if you leave the VR on (especially if you're shooting on a very solid tripod). Second, keep an eye on the VR switch - whenever I pull the camera and lens out of my sling bag the VR switch seems to get bumped to the "Off" position. No matter how much I try to avoid this, it invariable gets accidentally turned off. It would be nice if you could somehow lock the VR on...


    Build Quality: Acceptable considering the price. Zoom and focus rings work smoothly and the lens does have a rubberized O-ring on it's rear mount to help prevent dust and moisture from getting into the camera. Lens hood seems to work well in shading the front element, but is easily knocked off even with a light bump.


    Performance with Teleconverters: Nope - not compatible with TC's.


    Summing up the 70-300 mm VR: If you are upgrading to this lens from a Nikon kit lens (and have not had much or any experience with Nikon's best lenses), you will probably love this lens. It is small, light, easy-to-use, and will produce acceptably sharp images over a variety of situations and with many subject types. Combine this with it's low price and you'll likely feel this lens offers great value! But...if you are accustomed to using some of Nikon's best lenses you will probably immediately notice this lens's optical limitations and the compromises you have to make to squeeze acceptable image quality out of it. But it's still cheap! And, I will continue to use this lens as a very acceptable "walking around" lens - it's just SO convenient!


    Natural Art Images: Brad Hill: Camera Gear: Lenses I Use
     
  10. farmerj

    farmerj TPF Noob!

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    I would have liked to have had a faster lens for working indoors. The 70-200 or the 80-200 f/2.8 are still in the running for that task.

    For outdoors work though, this lens has been wonderful. More times than not, I am around f/8 to f/11 though outside.

    VR is fast, focus is fast. Especially in daylight. Indoors you have to work with it, but it is rather easy to pick up on.

    I am by no means a professional, but this lens will suit me for a LONG time. Faster glass would be nice, but only for indoor or action shots.

    I have also used this lens with the Tamron 1.4X TC. It seemed to have been working on all features including the VR portion.

    Here is a couple pictures taken with the TC installed.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  11. chuckinsocal

    chuckinsocal TPF Noob!

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    I have it and love it! Image quality is great (IMHO) and focus and VR is fast. I use it mostly for surfers and here are some images I've taken with it.

    I'm not a pro but I would not hesitate to recommend it.
     
  12. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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