Best Wildlife Telephoto Option for $1,000?

Discussion in 'Nikon Lenses' started by Rafterman, Feb 28, 2018.

  1. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    A 70-200 and a 2x TC is not an off-the wall idea....it's a bad idea...

    AND it's also a $1,300 + $400 idea--on a $1,000 budget...


     
  2. jcdeboever

    jcdeboever TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    My issue with birding is the propensity to take naps. I sit there and wait, wait, wait, snoooooooorrrrrr, wake up and the bird is sitting in front of me, laughing at me. Now my 100-400 with TC is too long...I don't don't know how y'all do it.
     
  3. Rafterman

    Rafterman No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yeah, just reaching, I guess. Time to mull it over some more.
     
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  4. Cortian

    Cortian No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I think lenses are the last place in which you want to try to economize. Bodies come and bodies go, but good glass can be forever.

    So figure out what it is you really want to do with the lens, weigh the pros and cons of the lenses that will fulfil your needs (e.g.: weight vs. reach), make your decision irrespective of cost - within reason (e.g.: No way I'm spending $7k on the lens I think I'd like), and set your sights on it.

    If you cheap-out you will almost certainly regret it.

    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” – Benjamin Franklin

    Personally, I'd again urge you to consider the new Tamron 150-600mm lens. At about $1300 it's close to your stated budget and reviews are universally positive. Even the older version got good reviews: Tamron 150-600mm (kenrockwell.com).

    As I stated, above: If I had my druthers I'd probably have the Canon 400mm DO lens. But $7k for a lens is completely out of the question for me. So, if this hobby sticks I'll probably go for that Tamron lens. Heck, if it's good enough for somebody like Kristofer Rowe I expect it'll be more than sufficient for me ;)

    Oh yeah: And you need not worry about cost at the local store. Tamron lenses cost the same at the local store as they do on-line. Unless you buy a non-US version. Then you get no warranty. The Tamron 90mm macro lens I bought, and the 18-400mm lens my wife bought, were each $649 at the local camera store and from every reputable on-line store. So you can go to your favourite local camera store, fondle the lens, and, if you like it, buy it there--knowing you can't legitimately do any better on-line.
     
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  5. zulu42

    zulu42 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I've been thinking, you've got a D500. One of the best birding cameras out there. Compromising on the lens is like putting a 55mph speed limiter on a Ferrari. I wouldn't give up VR. Your concern about weight is very legitimate, but if you like to shoot wildlife... D500 with a Nikon 200-500 or Tamron 150-600... I would LOVE to have that combo. Each time you miss a great shot with a lesser lens, you'll wish you had set yourself up with the awesome birding rig. IMO.

    Get a nice padded case for the lens, attach it to your pack for hiking.

    Interesting and informative thread!
     
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  6. ac12

    ac12 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I am going through this right now on a shorter scale.
    I have been debating 70-200 f/4 vs. f/2.8 lenses.
    For me 2 issues
    • COST. The issue that most of us have. The f/2.8 lens at almost $3k is 2x the cost of the f/4 lens. Although a used (no warranty) f/2.8 lens is pretty close to the price of a new f/4 lens.
    • Weight. The f/2.8 lens is about 2x the weight of the f/4 lens. As a senior citizen, weight has become a factor to me. I cannot easily handle the heavy lenses that I used to use. And it isn't just when using the lens, it is also hauling it to/from the shoot site.
    So despite my desire for the f/2.8 lens, I will probably compromise to the f/4 lens.
     
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  7. BrentC

    BrentC Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    For people who find weight an issue there are more systems out there that are smaller and lighter than DSLR's.
     
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  8. Rafterman

    Rafterman No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well, my search is over! I just bought a used Nikon 300mm f/4 with Kirk collar in "EX+" condition (90-96% of original) from KEH for about $800. I had a new Tamron 100-400mm in my cart at Adorama, but backed out at the last minute because I thought about how little I'd use the wide end of that lens, and I already have the 85mm 1.8G for closer shooting situations anyway. The Nikon has such a phenomenal reputation that it was hard to pass up the quality and f/4 aperture for the price. To help compensate for the lack of VR, I ordered a Manfrotto Element aluminum monopod to go with a ball head that I already have.

    I also just sold my D7000 to a guy yesterday, so in addition to the 300, I bought a used Tamron 35mm f/1.8 VC in "LN-" condition (97-99% of original) from KEH for about $485 and a new Nikon 50mm 1.8G and Kenko 1.4x 300 DGX teleconverter from Adorama. All that's left now is the Tokina ultra-wide, which will have to wait until summertime, since I've now spent quite a bit of coin in the last two weeks!

    Thank you all again for the valuable feedback and opinions. I can't wait to try out all this new glass!
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
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  9. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Pretty sure you'll find a 300 mm prime lens to be a very useful and high quality tool. That lens works very well with the Nikon 1.4 X Tele converter, but it also works splendidly with a Kenko AF extension tube for very large sized close-up photos. It can also accept a Canon 500 D screw in two-element close-up lens.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
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  10. LWW

    LWW No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Excellent choice.
     
  11. coastalconn

    coastalconn Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Oh man I was really late to this party... The 300 F4 is a great lens and you will love it. One word of warning if you get one that stutters a lot when you go to focus, return it asap! The first one I got was a lemon and I couldn't figure out why everyone loved them so much. The 2nd and 3rd were much better(don't ask why 2 and 3)

    I haven't been on nearly as much as I used to be, but I switched back to Nikon 2 years ago and the D500 is the best crop body you can buy for wildlife hands down.

    I won't bother offering my opinions on the other lenses mentioned in the thread. Other than the 70-200G2 is a great lens and so is the 150-600.
     
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  12. Rafterman

    Rafterman No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Hey @coastalconn! I was hoping you'd chime in eventually! I know when we last talked birds on here a few years ago, you were a big fan of the 300 f/4, so I have a lot of confidence in my purchase. I just watched your promo video for the Tamron 150-600 as well, and as usual, you got some amazing images! Raptors are the best! Keep doing what you do!
     
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