Best Wildlife Telephoto Option for $1,000?

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

  1. shadowlands

    shadowlands No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    My Tamron 70-300 VC on my V1 with FT-1. Boom! 810mm for free! OK, I already owned the Tamron and V1. But just got the FT-1. I'm excited.
    My Nikon 70-200 F2.8 becomes 540mm at F2.8.
    Sure, it's only with a limited use 10MP camera, but it's still really nice for telephoto.
    NikonV1FT170300.JPG NikonV1FT170200.JPG


     
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  2. Rafterman

    Rafterman No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    That's quite the setup. Your V1 looks SO tiny mounted to that 70-200! :eek-73:
     
  3. birdbonkers84

    birdbonkers84 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I have the 300mm f/4 lens, and its awesome. Can't wait to try it on my new D500.
     
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  4. Rafterman

    Rafterman No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Just a little update here. After using the 300mm f/4D with and without my 1.4x TC for a couple weeks, I decided to return it to KEH. I didn't like using a lens at that long of a focal length without VR. When I did get good shots, they were sharp, and the 300 definitely lives up to its reputation. However, I'd much rather have VR to make hand-holding an easier task when I can't or don't want to carry a tripod/monopod around with me.

    After some more thought and research, I ended up with a mint condition Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR I. While it obviously won't have the reach of a longer lens, Thom Hogan gave it a great review, especially for use on DX cameras. In addition, and probably most importantly, he noted its stellar performance with teleconverters, saying...

    "Performance with the TC-14E teleconverter is nothing short of astonishing. How good is it? Well, I can't see any differences between the 70-200mm at 200mm with a TC-14E and the highly regarded 300mm f/4 AF-S! That's both unexpected and unprecedented. In other words, if you need a 300mm f/4 AF-S, just get the 70-200mm and a TC-14E. You'll get a more versatile lens and lose no sharpness.

    With the TC-20E teleconverter, the results are still good, but sharpness is slightly compromised in the corners. I would characterize the results as being a "better-than-adequate" 400mm f/5.6. You might be able to do better with a dedicated 400mm or the 300mm f/4 AF-S with a TC-14E, but the 70-200mm and TC-20E combination will get you by if you don't have one."

    Those statements were enough for me to pick one up, and I'm glad I did. It's fantastic on its own, and works very well with my 1.4 TC. I'm going to pick up a 2x TC as well for those times I really need to reach out far. I know there's a general loss of IQ when using TCs, but since I'm not selling my shots to National Geographic, that fact is not a deal-breaker for me. With the two TCs, I have a pretty nice focal length combo after crop factor is taken into consideration:
    • 105-300mm f/2.8
    • 147-420mm f/4 (1.4x TC)
    • 210-600mm f/5.6 (2x TC)
    I know that at f/5.6 it almost certainly won't be as sharp as the Nikon 200-500mm, but this is a much more versatile solution for me. I did look into getting a 70-200 VR II, but they're about $400-500 more than the VR I and I don't like the focus breathing it does at the minimum focus distance, becoming more like a 135mm as opposed to 200mm at distances under 10 feet.

    I'm really happy with this lens so far, and thanks to the build quality and sharpness, can see myself enjoying it for years to come.
     
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  5. birdbonkers84

    birdbonkers84 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    That's a shame, I don't use a mono/tripod either, but have never had problems with it, but hey each to their own, and you have to do what's right for you! All the best with your new lens :)
     
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  6. Rafterman

    Rafterman No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thanks. I wanted to like the 300. I really did. I don't always have the best light to shoot with outdoors though, and I didn't want to have to crank up the ISO too much just to reach a 1/250, 1/500, etc. shutter speed without VR. It is what it is though. At any rate, I'm thoroughly enjoying the 70-200 and the VR is helpful enough. Since this lens came out in 2003, it's 15 year old technology, but it gets the job done. :)
     
  7. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I owned the 70-200 VR-G from the first week it came out until early 2017...it was a fantastic lens on DX Nikon bodies! I tried it with the TC14e-II,and it's good. When it came out, we were around 6MP, and the F-mount cameras were at 6MP or less.

    It has pretty bokeh! It's got a slender barrel, and is _super easy_ to hand-hold. VERY nice in the field, or indoors. This lens is the best-ever 70-200 in terms of being light and nimble in the hands.
     
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  8. beagle100

    beagle100 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    OK, a 70-200 lens seems short for wildlife but hey, maybe they're really close
    www.flickr.com/photos/mmirrorless
     
  9. ac12

    ac12 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I've shot baseball and softball with a 75-300 without VR on a DX body, and it is HARD. Even on a monopod, while I don't have up/down motion, I do have side to side rocking motion. Add wind, and it is really HARD to keep steady.
    Even if you shoot at 1/1000 sec and can freeze motion, trying to aim with a lens that is moving around that much is HARD.
    VR helps not only the shooting, but the aiming.
    So I am a strong believer in using VR on long lenses.
     
  10. LWW

    LWW No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Not to be argumentative, but hand holding skills are easy to acquire.

    1-point your left shoulder towards the object, square your feet up to about shoulder width, turn your left foot slightly to your left and keep your right foot planted.

    2-hold the camera grip with your right hand and cradle the lens with your left hand at a tad forward of the lens/camera balance point.

    3-press the camera VF slightly against your eyebrow and tuck your elbows in against your rib cage with your left elbow under or close to under the centerline of the lens.

    4-take shallow breaths while framing and pause briefly while firing the shutter.

    If you doubt how important this step is, extend your arm and forefinger and sight down that line ... observe how your finger bobs while breathing, and how it stops when you pause.

    Depress the shutter gently with one finger ... don’t stab it with your finger and don’t squeeze it with your whole hand.

    With these basics VR/VC/IS becomes a tool and not a crutch.

    If you are using VR/VC/IS and one more step ... wait the split second for it to settle in, so to speak.

    I hope this helps.
     
  11. LWW

    LWW No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yes and no.

    First it’s a 300 MM school equivalent.

    Second it’s light enough, small enough and fast enough to be easily hand held and maneuvered.

    Third, quite amazing wildlife photos were taken on 6 MP DSLR setups, so a 15-50 MP DSLR allows for plenty of cropping.

    Like most things in life, expensive gear will aid skills ... it won’t replace skills.

    A skilled photographer with a pawnshop 6 MP DSLR and 70-200 f4 lens will get more keepers than an unskilled photographer with a $7.5k rig.
     
  12. birdbonkers84

    birdbonkers84 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    My 300mm lens doesn't have VR and I get on fine photographing rugby. Already looking forward to the new season in September!
     

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