Zoom lenses

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by xstephenx, Jun 11, 2008.

  1. xstephenx

    xstephenx TPF Noob!

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    I am looking for a new lens for my camera. I currently have a Nikon D80 with 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G ED-IF and a Nikon 50mm f/1.8 am looking for a longer zoom lens. Budget is not a huge concern, although I definitely can't afford $2-5000 on a lens. The lens will be primarily used for wildlife shots so I would like (if I can afford) a 400mm. I found the following lenses (they are only 300mm) and was wondering if the only real difference between them is the ED glass?

    70-300mm f/4-5.6D ED
    http://www.adorama.com/NK70300AFDU.html

    70-300mm f/4-5.6G
    http://www.adorama.com/NK70300AFGU.html

    Aside from those lenses I have been finding longer zoom (400-500) that sigma makes in a reasonable price range. The lenses below are what I found at adorama:

    50-500mm f/4-6.3 EX DG APO HSM (just as example of the heavier lenses)
    http://www.adorama.com/SG50500NNKAF.html

    135-400mm f/4.5-5.6 DG APO (significantly lighter than above)
    http://www.adorama.com/SG135400DNKA.html

    When shooting wildlife (primarily in rain forest/jungle settings; Yucatan Peninsula) how much difficult it is to get a good shot without using a tripod if you have image stabilization. I realize that at 4-500mm I will be looking at a SS of ~1/1000. I haven't fully researched these lenses yet, I am still reading reviews. I was just wondering if anyone had any insight into their own experiences. Is a 1.5-2kg lens going to be too much to haul around and be able to get good shots, if so, will one of the 300mm lenses above suffice for wildlife shots? Thanks for any help.

    Stephen
     
  2. TamiyaGuy

    TamiyaGuy No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    "ED" stands for Extra Dispersion, and is a type of coating on the lens that helps with lens flare a bit. However, the two lenses also differ in general image quality and build quality; you get what you pay for. They will certainly see you through, and when used right, can get you some very nice photos. The prime Nikkor 300mm f/4 lens is also a good one, if perhaps a bit above your price range.

    Try each of them out at a local camera store, and if their price isn't good, buy it online (from a reputable store, mind you). Whatever you choose, have fun!
     
  3. Mav

    Mav TPF Noob!

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    The Nikon 70-300VR for $500 USD is far better than either the 70-300G or ED variants. It's sharp at maximum aperture, and with the stabilization you can safely get 300mm shots at less than 1/30s. It's not "pro quality" glass, but for what it is it's great. The next step up is the 80-400VR for $1000 USD. The VR system isn't quite as good, and the optics might not be as sharp, but it does give you extra reach. Then there's the 300mm f/4 prime which has amazing image quality, is faster, but still no stabilization for about the same price as the 80-400 zoom. You can put a 1.4x teleconverter on it and get 420mm and f/5.6, but you'll definitely need at least a monopod. Beyond that you're looking at either off-brand stuff or professional level lenses like the 200-400 f/4 VR which cost a ton of money. The off-brand stuff (Sigma) seems to be hit and miss with image quality. The "Bigma" (50-500mm) is definitely a tripod only lens at the long end. You need very good support for that for field work, and it's huge.

    I'd probably go with the 70-300VR or 80-400VR and if you're not getting satisfactory results start saving for the nice stuff.
     

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