telephoto zoom lens choices

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Lamyraison, Sep 18, 2007.

  1. Lamyraison

    Lamyraison TPF Noob!

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    Hi everyone,
    My first post on this forum and i'm hoping to get some advice..
    My sister is getting a d80 and wants a long telephoto zoom lens to with it, mainly for wildlife photography. The budget is around 1000 euro. Now 3 options we have come up with are:

    • Sigma AF 170-500/5-6.3 DG APO Nikon
    • Sigma AF 50-500mm F4-6.3 EX DG HSM APO Nikon
    • Sigma AF 80-400mm F4.5-5.6 EX DG OS APO Nikon
    Now from most of what i have found on the net, the 50-500 is better quality than the 170-500. But being such long lenses for a relatively low price, it makes me sceptical of the quality of either of them. Anybody here have any experience with these lenses and can give me some advice on that point?
    The third option is a slightly shorter lens, but with image stabilizing. This in my opinion might be more of an advantage than the extra bit of length of the other two lenses. What do you guys think about this?

    So those are the options that i've come up with so far. I guess what i am asking for is your opinions/experiences on any of these choices, and maybe suggestions for other alternatives. Any help is much appreciated.

    Thanks in advance,

    Lamyraison.
     
  2. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Welcome, I wish I could offer more, but I don't know much about Sigma lenses. Apparently quite a few people like them. I've got a grand (USD) burning a hole in my pocket and my eye is on the Nikkor 300mm f/4 only because I don't have 4500 for the f/2.8.
     
  3. soylentgreen

    soylentgreen TPF Noob!

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    Dunno much about those particular lenses, but if you are going over 200mm I highly recommend a sturdy tripod or a lens with OS, VR or IS if you are going to hand-hold. At the long end, the slightest vibration and movement will be magnified and shots will get soft if your not careful. That said, the lenses are a bit small aperature-wise, so you will be relying on fairly decent light to get a good shutter speed at a usable ISO. If it's quality you are after, the range of shorter lenses are your best bet in your price range. Sigma has a much touted 70-200 f/2.8. Nikon has the same, but at a premium price. What you sacrifice in range is more than made-up for in image quality. It's difficult to find a single lens that will cover that large of a range without sacrificing IQ and carrying ability. My advise will be to start with a quality lens that you will be happy with. The learning curve will be much more pleasant. ;)
     
  4. Lamyraison

    Lamyraison TPF Noob!

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    I completely agree with you. However she already has a shorter lens (70-200 if i remember correctly), and 200mm is just too short for the sort of wildlife photography that she will be doing. Thus we are looking for a longer lens, and the three that i mentioned seem to fit her needs and budget (unfortunately long prime lenses are frighteningly expensive :confused:).

    Right now I am leaning towards the 80-400 OS, mainly because i think the image stabilizing is almost a must-have on a long lens, especially if you want to shoot handheld as well. From reviews that I have read, it seems that the biggest gripe about this lens is that the AF is slow.
    Unfortunately, she is off to africa coming monday, so there is not a lot of time to try things out..

    Any more opinions/suggestions much appreciated,

    Lamyraison
     

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