Nikon 70-300mm Lens Blur question

Discussion in 'Nikon Lenses' started by Lonnie1212, May 12, 2020.

  1. stk

    stk No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Is it the AF-S version? This lens needs to be stopped down when you pass 200 mm to perform it's best. I still shoot mine wide open at 300 mm and it's perfectly fine, just not great.


     
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  2. Lonnie1212

    Lonnie1212 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thank you for the advice STK. I will try stopping it down the next time I use it.
     
  3. greybeard

    greybeard Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I have the 70-300 VR and it is surprisingly good at 300mm wide open. I shot this yesterday and is probably a 75% crop.
    [​IMG]

    There isn't a lot of fine detail but it isn't necessary with this shot. I was surprised that it came out this good.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2020
  4. Space Face

    Space Face Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I'm interested as to why you think detail is not necessary. You may have a valid point/s but I'm intrigued what they might be, that's all.

    Many long focal lenses don't perform quite as well at their maximum length. I will quite often, for example, pull back a bit on my Sigma 150-600 at the fat end so it's around 550mm. Just seems to render a bit more detail and retain more sharpness.
     
  5. Rickbb

    Rickbb No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I've noticed this on my Nikkor 70-300 as well. I've even thought about sending it off to a repair shop to see if anything is amiss. I find it odd that a lens will focus well beyond infinity on the scale. I mean how can you go beyond infinity. Also the manual focus ring will keep turning round and round, no stopping at all.

    I have an old Vivitar 75-300 from my old film days and if I get time this weekend going to do some comparisons.
     
  6. greybeard

    greybeard Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    In My Humble Opinion, The shot in question is more about the content of men working hard with the sparks coming off the grinder and intense expression on their faces. Granted, if I had shot it with my 300mm f/4 one might be able to see some hair on their arms detail in the beard, would that really change the impact of the shot? And, by the time I had gotten lenses changed this shot may have disappeared. I will say though, that the 70-300 performs much better if you limit the upper range to around 200mm.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2020
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  7. LWW

    LWW TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Actually its human induced blur.

    A camera lens is essentially a lever for light.

    If I remember Mr Radant's freshman college physics class from 47 years ago, doubling the length of a lever ... call it 150 X 2 = 300 for simplicity ... you create 4 times the human induced movement at 300 as you would have at 150.

    As an experiment to visualize this, close one eye and leave your dominant eye open, extend your arm and point with your index finger at a fixed object 10 feet away and note how much movement is in your index finger at the tip. Now extend your arm holding a yardstick aimed at the same object and notice how much movement is at the end of the yardstick.

    The simplest fix is to increase the shutter speed when possible, and it will also help freeze any motion in the subject matter.

    An additional easy fix is to turn on VR if you have it. If not a decent tripod or monopod will do wonders and are plentiful ... and cheap ... used.

    The best, and most fulfilling IMHO, solution is to develop decent handholding skills.

    Here are some technique tips I have learned over 54 years as a photographer:

    1 - With a longer telephoto hold the camera with your right hand, and place your left hand on your right shoulder. This will have your left elbow extended forward, keep it as level as possible and rest the lens in the crook of your elbow. Your elbow can be raised/lowered instinctively/easily for aiming. It may feel a bit odd at first, but becomes intuitive quickly.

    With a shorter lens, hold the camera as before and cradle the lens in your left hand. This stance can also be used with a zoom telephoto if you are racking in and out routinely.

    DO NOT hold the camera with two hands, one on each side like a tourist with a point and shoot.

    DO NOT grip the rig very tightly, muscle tension induces vibration. Rig security is why you use a strap of some sort. Hold it more like you would a baby bird ... enough that it won't get away, and no more.

    2 - Stand at a right angle to the subject, make sure your left shoulder points toward the subject. Spread your feet to shoulder width or a bit more. I prefer to point my left foot towards the subject, but this is preference, because it allows me to turn a bit quicker. I also use my weight shifted just a bit onto my forward foot, lets say 60-40.

    3 - If you use your left hand as a lens support, tuck both elbows against your body, if you use the left elbow as as a brace then just rest the right elbow against your body. In either case you want to remain loosened not tense.

    4 - At the moment you actuate the shutter, briefly pause your breathing or at least breathe as slow and shallow as possible. A half second or so should be plenty.

    5 - This is the biggest beginner mistake, and the easiest fix, depress the shutter with the pad of your index finger only.

    6 - Place the viewfinder

    DO NOT squeeze the camera with your hand. This induces vibration at a horrible level.

    I know this sounds like a lot, but developing those skills can get you stability with a 300 down to 1/125 second fairly quickly.

    I hope this helps.
     
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  8. greybeard

    greybeard Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    My 70-300 is good up to about 210. After that it is noticeably softer.
     
  9. mjcmt

    mjcmt TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Is this softness relegated to the AF-S version only. Is the AF-P version noticeably sharper at 300mm wide open. I've thought about this lens but can't seem to pull the trigger on one because of softness at 300mm and vignetting at 70mm from what I've read. It's not the fastest lens so what's the point of having it if I can't shoot at 300mm f5.6 w/o good results.
     
  10. stk

    stk No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I've never used the AF-P version.

    The point of this lens is that it's surprisingly good, very cheap (buy used), small and lightweight.

    You can get good results wide open at 300mm f/5.6, just not as sharp as at 200mm. This is normal, and applies to most (zoom) lenses unless you go modern, big and expensive. And remember there's more to picture quality than sharpness.
     
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  11. mjcmt

    mjcmt TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Thanks for your endorsement, but I'd never be happy if I'd be shooting at 3oo and had soft images, particularly birds feather detail. The more expensive AF-P for FX has more my interest for reportedly better performance. Still don't want to waste my limited money.
     
  12. ntz

    ntz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I know that posting into this thread is grave-digging ... old thread, but let me throw my two cents in .. I had Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 AF-S and I sold it and bought Tokina 70-200mm f/4 exactly for the purpose, that it seemed to me (at least my lens did) that the performance drops significantly above 200mm .. my current tokina 70-200 lens has certainly a bad reputation for some (because of clunky VR and low performance when shooting against bright source of light) but the image quality and performance is just awesome and cannot be compared with Nikon f/4.5-x lens through entire range (70-200)
     

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