A better 300mm lens

Discussion in 'Nikon Lenses' started by Timppa, Jun 22, 2019.

  1. Timppa

    Timppa No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Hi all,

    I have been shopping a lot lately (to much GAS) and now have 7 lenses...
    I would like to reduce this number to 5 lenses. But I need some help from you guys.
    (I use a D7500 camera and no intentions to go FX).
    I have the following lenses:
    A 10-20mm DX nikon lens, I like the wide angle, but I feel it's not enough... I then got myself a fish eye samyang 8mm and I really feel I am using this a lot more! So much more fun. So I am thinking to sell the 10-20mm lens. Also, then main purpose of the lens was for wide angle at night, but it is not fast enough for it...
    Then I got the Sigma 18-35 f/1.8
    This lens is beautiful, fast and strong. And despite only 18mm at the wide end, I can take better pictures at night with the F/1.8
    I also got the Nikon 16-80 f/2.8-4 lens and the tamron 16-300mm lens
    (And a nikon 200-500mm and tamron 90mm macro, but these are not important now for my question).

    I am looking for a lens that can reach about 300mm and is optically an improvement to the tamron 16-300 and close (can be bit less) to the 16-80 nikon.
    This is for, in combination with my sigma 18-35, ment for traveling and handyness.

    Thing is, I got 3x the 16(18)-35mm range covered...
    I really love the sigma, so I want to keep that one.
    So basically I want to sell my nikon 10-20, nikon 16-80 and tamron 16-300.
    What do I want instead? Well...
    The 10-20 doesn't really need replacing, I am fine with the samyang.
    The 16-80 is an awesome lens, but at 16 i really have to stop it down to f4 (f2.8 is just soft). 80mm is also to short for traveling, since I like to take some wildlife pics (my other 200-500 lens is just to big for travels).
    The tamron 16-300 is handy, but soft at 300mm and simply not that great, handy to travel yes, but great, no...
    So what lens should I get instead?
    I am reading about:
    Nikon 18-300
    Nikon 28-300 FX
    Nikon 55-300 DX
    Nikon 70-300 DX
    Nikon 70-300 FX
    Or how about a 70-200 F/4 lens?
    Perhaps the tamron 70-210 F/4?

    On my last travel I did, i took my nikon 16-80 and tamron 16-300. Mostly the nikon was used and occasionally nthe tamron if I saw some wildlife.
    I didn't think about taking my sigma, just because I knew that if I took it, i would be using my tamron for anything above 35, and I didn't want that. The nikon 16-80 is just way superior to the tamron there.
    1 problem is, if I go for a lens starting at 70mm+, I have a big gap between 35 and 70mm.
    So I am leaning more towards the nikon 18-300 or 28-300 (but are these so much better then my tamron 16-300?).
    I am thinking, with selling those 3 lenses, I will get close to €1000, so that is my absolute max budget (can be used lenses as well).
    Also weight and size is important, I read like a 70-200 f/4 is close to 900gr. This is absolutely the maximum weight I want for this lens while traveling.
    So what are you guys thinking? What other lenses or options do I have, tamron, sigma, tokina?
    If only there was a 35-300mm lens f/4 VR DX! :D

    Alright, thanks!


     
  2. jaomul

    jaomul Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Getting too caught up in the numbers. Probably to many lenses. Say you had the tokina 11-20 f2.8, covers wide fairly fast. Along with siggy 18-35, lots covered.

    Add in 18-140 Nikon for general, along with your 200-500, don't worry about the 140-200 gap, crop a bit more.

    You've a multitude covered, add the Nikon 300mm f4 as an excellent 300mm prime
     
  3. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I would look into a 70-300 Dx lens, the AF-P VR model; it is light, fast-focusing,reasonably-priced,and better than the more-or-less 15 year-old 70-300 VR design, which is an older, full-frame f/4.5~5.6 model, whereas the newer AF-P is an f/4.5~6.3. You already have the big, 200-500/5.6 for "serious" tele work...now, get he 70-300 for lighter days, trips, walks, etc.
     
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  4. ac12

    ac12 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    The 18-300 is an ultra-zoom. In general, with all of the ultra-zooms, IQ is compromised for greater zoom range. So if you want more IQ, reduce the zoom range.

    Tamron recently released their 35-150/2.8-4. Is that close enough to your ideal lens?
    • I REALLY like that focal length in a relatively fast lens. It nicely covers the DX equivalent of the FX 70-200. There is NO similar lens for a DX camera, except for the slower super zooms. If I did not have a 70-200/4, I would buy this lens.
    • However it is half-way short of your 300mm target.
    • At 790g it is a bit lighter than the 70-200/4 lenses.
    The Tamron 70-210/4 is a lower cost option to the Nikon 70-200/4.
    I have the Nikon 70-200/4, and love it. The IQ is GREAT
    • When I was younger, I would have no problem carrying it as a travel lens, however as I got older, it is now too heavy for a travel lens.
    • Both the Tamron 70-210/4 and the Nikon 70-200/4 weigh about the same. 850g.
    • Both lenses have optional tripod collars, if you need them. I use one on my 70-200/4.
    The Nikon 70-300 AF-P VR DX at 530g is a good light weight option for your D7500.
    • But at f/4.5-5.6, it is slower in max aperture than the 35-100/2.8-4 or the 70-200/4 lenses. If you shoot in lower light, that could make a difference. Will this make a difference to you, only you can make that call. For a travel lens, that might be an acceptable trade-off for less weight.
    • At 530g, it is about 40% lighter than the 70-200/4 lenses. Or if you reverse the comparison, the 70-200/4 lenses are 60% heavier. So if weight is an issue, the 70-300 AF-P VR DX is a strong contender.
    • And get the VR version, NOT the non-VR version.
    With your Sigma 18-35
    • For a seamless jump, I would go with the Tamron 35-150,
    • Or with a 2x jump from 35-70, a 70-200 or 70-300.
      • A 2x jump is not as bad as you may think it is. In the film days, one of the standard 2-lens PJ kits was a 35 + 85 or 105 prime. 35 to 105 is a 3x jump. I used 2x as a minimum when I planned my 35mm film lens kit; 50 + 135 + 300.
    Another option is a 18-140 + 35/1.8, 2-lens travel kit. The 18-140 is a great GP lens, and the 35/1.8 will deal with low light indoor pics.
    For me, 140mm is long enough 90+% of the time. However, the 18-140 does not have the IQ or speed of your 16-80.

    Note: The Nikon and Tamron zoom rings turn in the same direction. The Nikon and Sigma zoom rings turn in opposite directions. This is a problem only if you zoom with muscle memory, as sports/action photographers do, and if your muscle memory is trained for a Nikon lens. For me, using a Sigma lens was a very frustrating experience, because I was constantly turning the zoom ring the wrong way, and loosing shots. If you don't zoom with muscle memory, then this is not an issue.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2019
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  5. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    This issue of turning the wrong way used to be more of an issue when the Sigma lenses used to both zoom the wrong way and focus in the wrong direction in manual focus.now days we are mainly concerned with the zoom direction only in the focusing is done by an AF motor.I have purchased three Sigma zoom lenses in the past 18 years,and the one I used the most was the Sigma 100 to 300mm F4 EX HSM back in the 2003 to 2006 era. I liked it because on 1.5 X Nikon bodies like the D1h and the D2x, it gave me a good amount of focal length flexibility on a 1.5 X sensor, and I used it for track meets mainly, but also baseball and softball.

    However handy it was in terms of focal length flexibility,I did not like it's "wrong way" zoom action, and its occasional tendency to hunt for focus in seemingly simple situations. I had another Sigma at the time, the 180 mm f/3.5 EX HSM APO macro. About once each session of use the 180 mm Sigma macro would go on a wild back-focus hunt, in situations where there was no reason for it to do so. Now these were two of Sigma's most expensive and best,or EX series, lenses. These were not consumer grade lenses, but were the top-level lenses that Sigma offered at that time.

    While the picture quality was not horrible by any means, the actual shooting performance of these lenses let me down in quite a few situations, and despite how good the lenses were in terms of optics, I was really disappointed all too often to see a shot in my mind's eye and to attempt to capture it and have the lens screw up at random. After a while I kind of retired both of these lenses, since despite their good qualities, there was something about them that was just not worth putting up with.

    So anyway, this idea that a lens turns the wrong way on the zoom; it only takes a few instances of zooming the wrong way and missing the shot to make you realize that it's worth it to pay the extra money to get everything one way, so you don't have to think about such a simple thing as turning the zoom ring the right direction--you just do it, and it works as your subconscious expects it to work.

    Oftentimes in track and field you have on, or two ,or at most three seconds to bring the zoom lens up and to frame and hit focus and to make the shot and then the chance is gone. The same thing goes with the macro lens when you bring the camera up to your eye and press the button and hope that it will hit focus and it focuses 15 feet behind a dead-simple butterfly that is 2 1/2 feet from you--it is extremely annoying. Or when you spot an eagle 40 feet from you and you bring the camera up to your eye and hit the focus and the freaking lens back focuses by 25 feet, as the bird lifts off. Equipment failures like these are really hard to take, when you know that had you had good equipment that functioned flawlessly 99% of the time or more, you would have made excellent photos instead of blurry freaking nightmares.

    I have read quite a few reviews of various third-party lenses when used on both Canon and Nikon cameras. While today's best third-party zoom lenses are typically very good optically, at times it's true that Canon and Nikon lenses perform a little bit better in certain critical areas. A few months ago I read the review of a pretty well-received third-party lens but the reviewer noted a disturbing tendency to fail to focus in normally easy situations, where his Canon lenses performed extremely well.

    One thing that we have to keep in mind today with 24 to 45 megapixel cameras is that we now have the ability to crop much much more so than we used to have. When I started the Nikon D1 was 2.7 megapixels,the D1H was also 2.7 megapixels. In 2005 Nikon's top pro camera,the D2X, was 12.2 megapixels, and had not that good a sensor above 200 ISO. Today even the lowest priced Nikon digital single lens reflex has a 24 megapixel sensor with extremely good ISO performance,and we can crop very heavily and still make usable photos. Case in point :with my Nikon D800 which is a 36-megapixel sensor I frequently use an old, cheap,plasticky 28 mm to 80mm D series zoom lens from the 1990s . I can crop the file down to 1/5 of the full frame area and still have a pretty good image,in effect turning the 80 mm in a very long focal length. By the same token I can shoot a half body shot and crop the file down to a headshot, and it still looks good. In many ways today we have medium format cropping flexibility with the ease and speed and Lens choices of a very modern 35mm style camera system.

    I guess what I am saying is that today's cameras do not need as much lens length as we used to need a decade ago. I think today is it more important to have a sharp,crisp, aberration-free image, and a lot more can be done as far as framing in the computer, rather than in the field as was the case 20 years ago. Similarly I think that the 1.4 times teleconverter now is largely a thing of the past, and I think it is better to have a sharper image shot at a higher speed so that we can get a really crisp,clean image that we can crop. For example with a 70 mm to 200 mm zoom lens,using a 1.4x TC, the converter costs us one for full shutter speed,and cuts Optical quality a little bit while only giving a 280 mm effective focal length of the long end. I would submit that it's actually better to shoot with the bare lens at one stop faster a shutter speed and to crop the resulting image.

    For a Nikon shooter The 85 mm F1.8 AF-S G- series Lens is an extremely sharp telephoto that can withstand extreme cropping and still yield high-quality images
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2019
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  6. ac12

    ac12 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I remember those days. Just as muscle memory is used to zoom, muscle memory was used to focus, and it ticked me off when I turned the focus ring in the wrong direction, then had to recover going the other way.
    And on the non-coupled lenses, even the aperture ring could turn the other way.
    With all the 3rd party brands doing different things, it was quite confusing.

    The zoom direction issue is also why I do not like to carry and shoot both my Nikon and Olympus at the same time. The dang Olympus zoom rings turn in the opposite direction as my Nikon :confused: I should have gone with Panasonic lenses, where their zooms turn in the same direction as my Nikon.

    The ability to crop into an image also depends on the quality of the lens.
    I can crop into an image shot with the 70-200/4 lens much more so than I can with my 18-140 lens.
    This taught me that my D7200 was capable of better IQ than I thought. It was my 18-140 that was not delivering the quality of image to the sensor as the 70-200 was.
     
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  7. Timppa

    Timppa No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thank you all for your input, My D7500 has 21MP, and for me it is more then enough. I crop sometimes a lot, even with my 200-500, It seems the animals never let me get close enough xD
    anyway, I get the point, that nowadays a heavy zoom is a bit overrated, you can crop a lot, and still have a really sweet 2.1MP picture (what is Full HD on your wide screen tv xD).
    of course I do not like to crop this heavy.

    I agree with your 18-300 theory, that the more zoom, the less quality, so I am not really considering this lens anymore.

    I didn't realize that tamron released that 35-150 lens, it sounds awesome!
    It is 2x zoom short of a 300mm lens, but I could easily believe that the tamron created excellent sharpness, and will not cost a lot of a problem for cropping.

    a 70-210 f/4 tamron also sounds great to have, it is not so much more heavy then the 35-150, and will allow me to go that little bit closer, but then I am missing out on the 35-70 zoom range.
    and yes 35-70 doesn't sound like a lot, but it's rather used a lot i believe.
    the 70-300 is the cheapest and handiest alternative, but I would love to see how it compares really in quality to the other lenses.
    I don't think I will go with a 18-140mm lens, then I just rather enjoy my 16-80mm lens and enjoy that 2mm more on the wide end.

    So currently I am doubting between
    35-150 tamron / 70-210 tamron / 70-300 nikon
    You know, I have spend so much time and money this year on new gear, that I kind of promised at home not to do anything anymore :D
    Since I have gear covering this reach, I will use it, and see what ranges I really use a lot.
    I will use something like 'exposurePlot' to calculate what 'mm' I use the most, and based on that I can decide what to buy.

    I also know there is still a 28-300mm lens out there,.... I have lots of reading to do.
    If someone else has a good input, do not hesitate to write it down :)
     
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  8. ac12

    ac12 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    The 28-300 is in the super-zoom category.
    It's purpose is the convenient all-in-one lens, not IQ. If you want IQ, I would not go there.
     
  9. jcdeboever

    jcdeboever TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    This is my opinion and may not be useful to you but I wanted to make a big fart. I was in a similar situation as you at one time, decisions and gas are a bad combo. Anyway, some time ago I bought a Nikkor 300mm f/4.5 AI, Nikkor 80-200mm f/Ais, and a Nikkor 100-300 ais. I got all of these for under $100 from a pro photog. I got a good deal because he knew I would use them and based on condition, he wasn't asking enough. He rattled off some numbers that what I was thinking. He just wanted to move on a pay it forward is all he said.

    So.... I use the 300mm f/4.5 Ai on my D610. I set it up in the menu and started shooting. It is an incredible lens optically. Amazing really. However, you have to manual focus it. Not everyone's cup of tea. I got it and failed 50% with film initially, practiced and raised it to 25% or there about. I like to zone focus from shooting street, I just moved that into other genres. I could do wildlife with it granted I was into it.

    If you want really good glass and are willing to train yourself, ebay is your oyster. 100% Japan sellers are the best in my opinion. Roberts Camera is really good as well.
     
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  10. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Nikon's Ai-S 300mm f/4.5 ED~IF is a neat lens..I used it in the mid 1980's, and bought one in around 2005..it has a nifty internal focusing system...very different from most lenses, and has a skinny barrel...it is a nifty MF lens, with as I mentioned, a _special_ type of manual focusing action that uses the old, 1980's style of "internal focusing". No helical focusing!!!!
    NOT like the older 300mm, non-ED, helical focusing f/4.5 model..I owned one of those from1986-1989.
     
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  11. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I still think a good option would be the 70-300 DX AF-P lens, the model with VR. it has autofocus, full EXIF reporting. and is affordable, available new with a good warranty,etc..
     
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  12. Solarflare

    Solarflare No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Doesnt really matter which 300mm you get from Nikon, they're all great.

    The AI 300mm f4.5 IF-ED is great, sure. The AI 300mm f4.5 isnt any bad either though.

    Of the lens choices given, my personal pick would be the Tamron 70-210mm f4 VC. Its a very primelike zoom, with great color saturation, especially for a zoom.
     

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