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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 4:48 pm 
So i've been shooting for a little while now, i started about 7 months ago with a d90, 18-105, and 50 1.8.

I've now found that there are two lenses that I'd like moving forward, a good telephoto as my current kit only goes to 105mm which just simply isnt enough for a lot of everyday situations, and i also find myself wanting another prime lens, probably 85mm for portraits.

But i've decided that i want the telephoto first... i'm looking for something to compliment the 18-105, at least until i eventually replace it.. but for now to compliment it. I've looked a lot into the 70-300 VR from nikon, however i'm worried that it might not be bright enough, I already find myself wishing my 18-105 was brighter...

so looking for something brighter i thought maybe a 300mm prime would serve me best, and the nikon 300mm f4 looks like a solid lens, however the Non AF-S version is said to have a pretty slow auto focus, which would bother me, and i'm not positive i wouldnt miss the ability to zoom because there is a petty big difference between where the 18-105 ends (105mm) and where id have to use a 300 prime (300mm).

Now i've started to look into third party lenses, and sigma has got me pretty intrigued, however the one that looked the most attractive to me (the 100-300 F4 HSM) is now discontinued and i'm having a ton of trouble finding it used... so now i'm throughly confused as to what i should do!

Here's what im looking for in the lens:
-Capable zoom range, preferably to 300mm or further, but still considering something like a 70-200 as well
-Fairly bright, I think i'd like F4 at the long end, but if it's longer than 300mm i guess 5.6 or something is ok.
-Quick auto focus, quiet is good too
-Well built, nice zoom ring and manual focus ring, internal zooming is a plus
-Tripod collar is a bonus

And here's what i dont want:
-Stabilization, I don't need VR, or OS, or what have you..
-Dont care about name brand, perfectly happy using a third party on my nikon as long as it performs well
-Dont mind buying used or refurbished if its a good value
-Doesn't need to be full frame compatible, although it's obviously not a negative if it is


so yeah, sorry for such a long post here, but let me know what you think!


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 5:04 pm 
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I'm going to give you a leftfield telephoto prime option. It's a fantastic price, great bokeh, great build, build in hood and built like a tank.

Google the Nikkor 180mm f2.8

It's the poor man's 200mm f2 - I've just tried one and I'm really tempted - seriously sharp straight off the bat at f2.8

Negatives, well it's a prime that doesn't go to 300mm but with sharpness like that you could always crop.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 6:31 pm 
I had looked at the 180 f2.8, just not all that closely because the focal length fell shorter than what I had wanted... but on the plus side i've read it has superb optics, great build quality, and obviously i'd take f2.8 over f4 all day every day...

how do the optics compare to the AF 80-200 f2.8? Im expecting them to be better as it should be with a prime over a zoom, but just how much better? The flexibility of a zoom might be a big help for me... I would look at the 70-200 f2.8 as well, it's just out of my price range unfortunately, I'm looking to keep it at or under 1,000 USD.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:43 pm 
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the Nikon 70-300 VR is the obvious choice (although it has VR - well, you can switch that off)
It's optically the best of the bunch of 70-300s that are out there.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 8:28 pm 
Thomas-- If i were to get a 70-300 the Nikkor AF-S 70-300 VR would certainly be my choice, i'm just trying to figure out if that lens is best for me or not, as i'm not sure it would be as bright as i'd like, and I don't need the VR necessarily... I understand that the VR would compensate in some situations for the less bright f5.6 lens, but in most situations where VR would matter (slower shutter speeds) I'd be using a tripod anyways... the situations in which is doesn't do anything for you (action shots where you need higher shutter speeds) is what's got me a bit worried. I'm not strictly an action photographer, so this wouldn't be all i was using the lens for, but it's something i'd like to be able to do more of, so i'm trying to at the very least consider brighter lenses.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 9:03 pm 
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The only brighter lenses are usually shorter (like 70-200/2.8).
So you have to decide whether you need 300mm or f/2.8.
You can have both, but that comes at quite a price...

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Last edited by Thomas on Tue Jun 21, 2011 7:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 9:23 pm 
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I'll put in my 2 cents...

I'd personally go for the 300mm f/4 AF-S, it's a good combination between a good reach and a fast aperture. Being f/4, it's right in between f/2.8 and f/5.6, and it's sharper than the 70-200 and the 70-300 as it's a prime lens. You also get the ability to use teleconverters, such as the TC-14II to boost the focal length (although note that your aperture becomes 5.6, you lose a bit of optical quality and an AF that will probably hunt a bit more). But of course, you can't really use a teleconverter on a 70-300 at all without the AF being unusable at f/8.

Anyways, I'd go for the 300mm f/4, I generally don't have an issue with primes, but that's me personally. When I use my 200mm f/4, I generally find myself wanting a slightly longer focal length, and I don't usually need the versatility of a zoom. Of course, keep in ming that the 300mm f/4 doesn't include VR, if that's important to you.

-Evan

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Gear: 7 Nikon Nikkor AI-S and AF-S lenses, SB-700 flash, Nikon D7000, Nikon FM, variety of accessories

"There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs."
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 10:44 pm 
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I have a 300mm, a 400mm and a 500mm prime and I find it always hard to have no zoom at those focal lengths. My favorite would be a 150-500 lens to cover them all.
That's why I suggest a 70-300 VR.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 12:02 am 
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I'm very happy with my 70-300.

The only time I think it would be challenged would be sports in low light.

If you're using a tripod, the price performance of this lens is hard to challenge. I also find the zoom range useful (I'm often taking shots all along the zoom range), and the lens is sharpest at 70mm (where the 16-85 and 18-105 are relatively weaker), so it's very versatile, and will mean that you won't have to swap the 18-105 so often.

For handheld I find the VR makes a differenct, but the D7000 is imposing further demands on my techniques because of its high resolution.

A tripod mount would have been useful (and makes it easy to get a horizon when it rotates) but the lens is not that heavy.

But there are plenty of good lenses out there and your needs may favour something else.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 4:36 am 
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I have the 70-300VR too. It's good at what it does, but it isn't going to be a good fast focus lens in lower light - it hunts.

If your budget is around the $1000 mark, aren't 80-200 Nikkors around that mark these days?

Personally, I'd look at what focal lengths I'm going to be shooting at and budget accordingly. If I'd be shooting all day up to 200mm, then I'd invest heavily in the 70-200VRII, otherwise I'd make do and compromise with the 70-300VR, which is what I've done. In good light on the D90 it's plenty good enough. You'll have to use good technique if you're mounting on a tripod though, with shutter delay and/or remote release as it acts like a tuning fork.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 7:50 am 
Perhaps an 80-200 with a 1.4x tele?

You're on a crop body, so it will be a 120-300mm, with the teleconverter a 168-420mm f/4

And plus you can always take the TC off if you dont need the extra length


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 9:37 pm 
the 80-200 is intriguing, and quit possibly what i'm leaning towards at the moment, although the 70-300 is definitely not out of the question... and the sigma 100-300 F4 looks like it would be a good fit too, although im not seeing many around for purchase (they were discontinued i guess)


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