Opinions on xx-300 0r xx-400 lenses?

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Thales, Jul 18, 2010.

  1. Thales

    Thales Past President

    Looking for one quick for a Nikon rig.

    The 70 -300 can be had for 120
    The 70-300 vr for 549

  2. Gomer

    Gomer Honorary Member

    I haven't shot with a 300, but i have a fair bit at 200 F/4 IS (canon's VR equiv). If you aren't shooting in bright light and a tripod, you will probably kick yourself for not having the VR at that range.
  3. Thales

    Thales Past President

    Yeah that is what I am thinking. I kinda want to go with a 400 but that seems like a lot of money.

    We are going to the Pantanal and here:


    So lots of birds and stuff.
  4. A_Lee

    A_Lee Guest

    I agree with Tony -at that focal length, unless you're shooting in really bright sunlight, you may find yourself wishing you had the VR. Unless you plan to using a tripod all the time; but even then iffy. Also, the variable maximum aperture on that lens won't let you stop down as much as you might want to at times. Shooting at 300mm, you'd be at 5.6, which isn't "slow" per se, but unless you're in bright light, it may not allow you the shutter speeds you're craving.
    But if your hands as steady as hell, and there is plenty of light (and a tripod) you can use, you may be okay with the non-VR.

    You can always sell the lens when you return :)
  5. Ibn

    Ibn Supporting Member

    Do you have the 70-200mm VR already? If so, maybe considering carrying a teleconverter or two instead. Both the 1.4x and the 1.7x are excellent and there's virtual little to no degradation with using them. The drawback to the setup is of course the weight (the 70-200mm weighs quite a bit more than either of those lenses above). The nice thing about this lens is the fact that it's weathersealed and there's no extension of the lens with the zoom or focusing. ;)

    If I had to choose one of the above, I'd go w/the VR. Newer optics which many people report as being very usable. It will be softer from the 200-300mm range, but that's to be expected for something of that price range.

    If you don't need the 70-100mm range, there's also the Sigma 100-300mm f/4 as well. I've used that lens before in the past and it's a great lens for the price. Finally sold mine when I picked up the 300mm f/4 AFS.
  6. Thales

    Thales Past President

    Thanks Eric -

    I have the 18-200 vr.

    Any particular teleconverter from B&H better than others? Maybe I'll end up getting the teleconverter and the 70-300 for super super powers.

    I am interested in the Sigma, but I think the VR will be worth it.
  7. eldiablosrt8

    eldiablosrt8 Sponsor

    VR only way to go rich, been there done that
  8. Ibn

    Ibn Supporting Member

    1.4x TC

    1.7x TC

    If you have the 18-200mm VR lens, then I actually wouldn't use any TC with it. You kind of need a faster lens with TCs since you lose stops of light with TC (1 stop with the 1.4x and 1.5 stops with the 1.7x).

    What that means is that at that lens will be a 280mm f/8 lens to start out with (f/8 is one stop less than f/5.6 which is the max aperture for that lens at 200mm). Your camera will autofocus at f/8, but you're only capable of shooting at f/8 or a smaller aperture. Using that lens with the 1.7x TC isn't really advised since you're looking at shooting at f/13 or so, plus you lose autofocus w/the lens.

    If you're looking at shooting birds, you really can never have enough range. Unless you're willing to plunk down a good amount of change, I would look at something with a huge zoom range.

    Here you go (something with crazy zoom, plus OS - Sigma's version of VR/IS):
  9. Thales

    Thales Past President

    Well, that is indeed the dream lens...don't know if I can swing it! But, its really the right 3rd lens for me. 18-200 for most everything. 105 for tiny things. 50-500 for things far away. Seems like the right freaking choice. Do it once and do it right! If not that...not sure! :D

    Thanks so much for the detailed response. Very helpful.
  10. Thales

    Thales Past President

    Ebay for a grand.
  11. Thales

    Thales Past President

    For canon. Boo.
  12. Thales

    Thales Past President

    Or this one for a grand
  13. Ibn

    Ibn Supporting Member

    Narrower zoom range, hence the price difference; also the slight difference in max aperture. It might be the way to go though for that reach and the price point.

    Technically, you can grab the Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 for about $800 and then pick up a 2x TC for another $300 to bring it to about $1100. That'll get you to the 400mm f/5.6 area and will still allow you to autofocus. Not as far out as say the 500mm and I'm not sure how well the 2x TC performs. The newer Nikon 2x TC (III) does a decent job and I've seen people use it on their 300mm and 400mm f/2.8.

    I'm guessing you'll be better off w/one of those lenses without the TC. Expect to stop down any of those lenses to about f/8. Also, keep in mind that at 500mm or so, you're looking for at least 1/500 as far as shutter speed. Not sure how much light you might have to shoot with, but that might be an issue, so be prepared to push that ISO.

    Long lenses are something that I never really invested in due to the high costs and the limited uses. When I was still shooting birds, I got by with the 300mm f/4 AFS coupled with the various TC, which got me out to the 420mm-600mm range. Using 2x TC was always iffy since the details didn't hold too well.

    300mm f/4 +1.4x TC (420mm f/5.6)


    300mm f/4 + 1.7x TC (510mm at f/8)


    300mm f/4 + 2x TC (600mm at f/11)

  14. Thales

    Thales Past President

    I bought the damn thing. Will be here on Friday. Boy Genius me left my camera at work and I am off tomorrow too!
  15. Ibn

    Ibn Supporting Member

    LOL. Nice, real nice.

    Sounds like you need to make a detour tomorrow.
  16. Thales

    Thales Past President

    Yep. Super dumb. On my way now....
  17. A_Lee

    A_Lee Guest

    Two day shipping? Nice :)
  18. Thales

    Thales Past President

    It lives:

  19. tuberider

    tuberider Guest

    Ohhh, what a big lens you have.
  20. Thales

    Thales Past President

    You can touch it tomorrow

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