Your Preferred Lenses in MY Price Range

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by eminart, Mar 9, 2008.

  1. eminart

    eminart TPF Noob!

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    Eventually, after I learn to use this camera a bit better, I'd like to do a lot of wildlife photography. I'm curious about what kind of lenses I should consider for that.

    I know I'll need a good telephoto, of some sort, but there seems to be a couple thousand varieties out there.

    So, what would you say is the best lens for wildlife for $500 or less?

    What about for $1000 or less?

    I don't mind if it's used, new, or reconditioned.

    And, on the same subject, how far out can these lenses reach? Let's say a 300mm lense, how far away can something be and still get a nice large shot of it? A duck or eagle, for example?

    It's for a Nikon D80, by the way.
     
  2. passerby

    passerby TPF Noob!

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    If it is purely for hobby or enjoyment than any brand will do. But if you do have intention one day to use it as your profession, than don't settle for less. Nikon cameras are nothing without nikkor glass. This is well known fact. And make sure it has vr feature in it with such focal length.

    But if it is for starter than the Nikkor or Tamron or Sigma 70-300mm is under Aust $300. Online price for tamron is $235 over here. But it does not have stabilization feature in it.
     
  3. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    ehh, I disagree if the OP can spend $1000.

    The 80-200 f/2.8D is a much better option. Not too much difference between 200 and 300mm, but at 200mm it's f/2.8, where the 70-300's are at f/4 and 5.6. VR or not, f/2.8 is a better option because you can freeze action easier, AF quicker, and isolate the background better. Just do the math, at 200mm, you can shoot at 1/250th @ f/2.8 (hand-holdable), where on a 70-300 @ 200mm, you'll be at 1/60th @ f/5.6 (nowhere near hand-holdable, and with VR, could be iffy. forget about freezing action).

    And oh yeah, the 80-200 D is as crisp as the 70-200VR, except the 80-200 is only $800.
     
  4. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I think that it kind of depends on what you mean by wildlife first. Are we talking back yard bird feeder/zoo wildlife or are we talking eagle, bear, elk etc in the rockies?

    If you are talking about the former, then from all I have heard the Nikon 70-200 f2.8 VR is a real nice lens that you might be able to find in your price range used.

    If you are talking the latter then the basic minimum focal length for wildlife is 400mm. 400mm makes me a bit uncomfortable when shooting things like bear. If they fill the viewfinder with anything less than 400mm they are just too darn close and this is probably going to be a very personal encounter. In the 400 + range I do not know of a lens in your price range that would have any fantastic quality. Closest I can think of would be Sigma's "Bigma" at $999.00 from B&H. Keep in mind it has an f stop range of 4-6.3. I have never shot this lens so I can not speak as to it's image quality, however there are a large number of people that seem to like it.
     
  5. Devananda

    Devananda TPF Noob!

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    I have the D80 and I do ...or try to do anyway wildlife photog up here in Wyoming. now much like your self I am on a budget and could not afford the 400mm + prime that said I went with the 80-200mm F2.8 read some reviews it's a sharp/fast lens.
    I all so have a TC but have not used it that much, but it does give you some more reach.

    I all so thought about the bigma looks like a fun lens. but like the other poster said it's slower... but I would love to try it out some day.

    so now all that said unless you have a unlimited budget..and some one to carry all your gear for you. there is always a compromise in this hobby.

    there is all so the 80-400mm Vr but I think the other two are a better choice. just my 2 cents.

    think about what you will be using the lens for the most. all so try renting them I see what "feels right to you"

    in a perfect world there would be a 12-400mm VR with perfect sharpness all the way through and be under 1k..lol

    good luck! I thought about this for months. :)
     
  6. Mav

    Mav TPF Noob!

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    For a nice starter wildlife lens I'd recommend a used 300mm f/4, which I know you can get for around $500. It's razor sharp at f/4, unlike any 70-300mm zoom which will be on the soft side at f/5.6 wide open and need to be stopped down to f/8 for best results. That gives you a two stop speed advantage with the prime for the same quality. If you want a zoom, I think the 80-400VR is about $1000 or a bit more. It's not as fast as the 300/4, but it does give you VR if the wildlife you're shooting sits still. You can put a 1.4x teleconverter on the 300/4 to get you to 420/5.6, but that'll be a lot harder to handhold in marginal light than the 80-400VR will be. Unfortunately there's no 300mm f/4 VR version yet.

    Beyond this you're looking at serious bucks. The 200-400mm f/4 zoom is like 5-grand. And the faster telephoto primes that you can put the BIG converters on like a 300mm f/2.8 are all $3-4k even used. A 300mm f/2.8 with a 2x converter will get you out to 600mm f/5.6, and there's a VR version of that lens now.

    Edit: Could also consider some of the third-party lenses, Sigma in particular. The "Bigma" 50-500mm f/4-6.3 will get you some serious one-lens reach, but the f/6.3 aperture on the long end and 500mm FL will make it pretty much a tripod or monopod only lens in all but the very best light. I'd get a Nikon 80-400VR over the Bigma for the money, unless you really want that last 100mm.
     
  7. passerby

    passerby TPF Noob!

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    I have just finished reading the discussion from the people who went safaris to Africa. All of them agreed with VR feature. Without it such 300mm plus focal length is almost impossible to handle except in broad day light. One of them in the group (most likely newbie) had canon zoom lens without IS feature, and more than half of the photos were blury pictures.
    The nikkor VR is an extra 4 stops according to nikon and reviewers, it is quite achievement really and worth the money for long telephoto.
     
  8. Mav

    Mav TPF Noob!

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    Yeah, VR is definitely a must for safari stuff since you're usually on moving/bumpy platforms a lot. Support systems like a monopod for longer non VR lenses will often transmit engine vibration right through the monopod or whatever you're using to your image which means you need to handhold, which means VR is insanely useful. If you're just hiking on your own though and can manage a monopod too, a cheaper non VR lens can still work great, though.
     

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