Nikon 70-300mm VR f/4.5-5.6 QUESTIONS

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Hello all,

Im considering the Nikon 70-300mm VR as my telephoto to compliment my D3100. I currently have the 55-200mm VR DX for my telephoto but no want a longer reach. I do have some questions about the 70-300mm VR tho...

1) I've been reading reviews and heard that the 70-300mm is a "true" 300mm lens? While 300mm on the Nikon 28-300mm is NOT "true"??

2) I've also read that on DX cameras, this lens is like a 105-450mm. But on FX its 70-300; I'm kind of confused. Will I get more "zoom" (to 450mm) when equipped on my D3100?

3) This is a DX and FX lens correct? Does say DX on the lense tho.

4) IF I compared how close a subject was at the same point using the 55-200mm a 200mm, and 70-300mm @ 200mm as well, will both images be the same in terms of zoom?

5) I would love to shoot moon photography, 70-300mm zoom enough for a sharp image of the lens? Or will it be too short in focal length, same for bird photography. Any good??

Thank you all!
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sashbar

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Hello all,

Im considering the Nikon 70-300mm VR as my telephoto to compliment my D3100. I currently have the 55-200mm VR DX for my telephoto but no want a longer reach. I do have some questions about the 70-300mm VR tho...

1) I've been reading reviews and heard that the 70-300mm is a "true" 300mm lens? While 300mm on the Nikon 28-300mm is NOT "true"??

2) I've also read that on DX cameras, this lens is like a 105-450mm. But on FX its 70-300; I'm kind of confused. Will I get more "zoom" (to 450mm) when equipped on my D3100?

3) This is a DX and FX lens correct? Does say DX on the lense tho.

4) IF I compared how close a subject was at the same point using the 55-200mm a 200mm, and 70-300mm @ 200mm as well, will both images be the same in terms of zoom?

5) I would love to shoot moon photography, 70-300mm zoom enough for a sharp image of the lens? Or will it be too short in focal length, same for bird photography. Any good??

Thank you all!
0ptics

1/ I do not know what do you mean by "not true 300 lense". I have both 70-300 and 55-200. I do not even bother to take 55-200 out of the box. 70-300 is a little bit soft at 300, but still very good, I can post a picture of 300 mm, wide open and cropped and you will see that it is still good.

2/ 300 mm is 300 mm on both DX and FX. But because DX sensor is 1.5 times smaller the frame you have on FX at 450 equals the frame that you would have at 300 on a DX sensor. Effectively it means that you can crop a picture taken on FX camera at 300 mm by 1.5 and you will get your "450 mm" shot.

3/ 70-300 is a FX lense, which means it will perfectly work on both FX and DX. And a cropped camera benefit from the fact that its sensor will use only the central part of the glass, hence less dictortion. If it says DX on the lense, it is a DX lense, meaning it will not work on FX most of the time. Some DX lenses can work on a FX camera at some focal lengths, but as a rule using a DX lense on a full frame camera is not recommended.

4/ Yes, the only difference will be the amount of distortion that will be bigger with 55-200, because it is stretched to its limit.

5/ Depends how big do you want your moon. If you use a tripod, the focal length a bit less than 300 and the shutter speed less than 8 sec, it will be sharp. With more than 8 sec you will register the movement of the earth and the moon will not be as round as it should be.
 

480sparky

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Hello all,

Im considering the Nikon 70-300mm VR as my telephoto to compliment my D3100. I currently have the 55-200mm VR DX for my telephoto but no want a longer reach. I do have some questions about the 70-300mm VR tho...

1) I've been reading reviews and heard that the 70-300mm is a "true" 300mm lens? While 300mm on the Nikon 28-300mm is NOT "true"??

2) I've also read that on DX cameras, this lens is like a 105-450mm. But on FX its 70-300; I'm kind of confused. Will I get more "zoom" (to 450mm) when equipped on my D3100?

300mm is 300mm is 300mm. Click here to see the difference between DX and FX.

3) This is a DX and FX lens correct? Does say DX on the lense tho.

If it says DX on the lens, it can still be used on an FX body, but there will be vignetting unless it's set to DX mode.

4) IF I compared how close a subject was at the same point using the 55-200mm a 200mm, and 70-300mm @ 200mm as well, will both images be the same in terms of zoom?

200mm is 200mm is 200mm, whether it's a 200mm prime or a zoom that has 200mm within it's range.

5) I would love to shoot moon photography, 70-300mm zoom enough for a sharp image of the lens? Or will it be too short in focal length, same for bird photography. Any good??

Not a very good lens for shooting the moon. The moon is angularly very small. The angular size of the moon is the same as a dime at 6'4½", or a quarter at 8'6". Now take your 300mm and see how 'close' it appears.
 

SCraig

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3) This is a DX and FX lens correct? Does say DX on the lense tho.

If it says DX on the lens, it can still be used on an FX body, but there will be vignetting unless it's set to DX mode.
I think he left out the word "Not". It is NOT a DX lens, it is an FX lens, which is why is does not say "DX" on the lens.

Sparky is right in that a DX lens can be used on an FX camera however there will be vignetting, however an FX lens can be used on a DX camera with no problems.

I have that lens and love it. If mine broke today I'd buy another one just like it tomorrow.
 

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I believe there is a 10% plus or minus "fudge factor" on focal length and allowable length marking...at least one high-priced 120 to "300mm" zoom was actually measured around 280mm on the long end. Also, on some zooms, there is simply huge loss of effective focal length when the lens is focused closer. One of the Nikon consumer-priced zooms loses boatloads of focal legnth as it is focused closer. The new 70-200 f/2.8 VR-II Nikkor for example; at its closest focusing distance at 200mm setting is around 130mm in actual length, I believe is what I read in one test report.

So, there are two instances of where the marked focal length is simply inaccurate.

Popular Photography's lens reviews often mention true, measured focal length.
 
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clarnibass

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Yes, what Derrel is referring to is usually called "focus breathing" and this is why e.g. 300mm if often not exactly 300mm, 200mm is not exactly 200mm, etc. Breathing is more common (and usually more extreme) with zoom lenses than prime lenses.

First, a lens specified focal length is at infinity focus. Meaning if a lens is marked 70-200, for example, then it has this range when focusing at infinity. Focusing closer can change the focal length because of breathing.
Second, the specified focal length for just about every lens (and especailly zoom lenses) is rounded even at infinity. So a lens might be e.g. 192mm even at infinity but will say 200mm. It is just usual to round specs like this.

You can see the breathing by focusing on something closer with a more or less defined background i.e. so you can see clearly both the close focusing subject and the background, whether the former or the latter is in focus. You can see the close subject taking more or less of the frame when you focus on it or on the background and same for the background. Some lenses actually become more narrow when focusing close.
I can post an example to show this.
 

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