Another Lens Purchase Advice Thread

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by rufhausen, Feb 25, 2011.

  1. rufhausen macrumors regular

    Jul 5, 2007
    Littleton, CO
    Current Equipment:
    • Nikon D90
    • Tokina 12-24mm AT-X 124 AF PRO DX
    • Nikon 15-105mm VR Kit lens
    • Nikon 50mm 1.8 D AF

    I'm looking for something for shooting mostly wildlife and kids.

    • Deer
    • Elk
    • Animals at the zoo
    • The occasional bird in a tree/nest
    • Not a lion or grizzly bear at 1000m
    • Kids at karate practice (indoors)
    • Kids playing football (outdoors - daylight)
    • Maybe some street photography where I can maintain some distance

    Other important factors:
    I'm not a professional and don't expect to ever get paid for my photos unless I stumble across Bigfoot while on a hike.
    The nikon 70-200 2.8 or any other PRO Nikon lens is out of the question with the exception of maybe a used 80-200 2.8 based on what I can afford.

    This all brings me to my initial conclusion that it's between the Nikon 70-300 VR 4.5-5.6 and the Sigma 70-200 2.8 HSM II Macro (non-OS version). Obviously the big differences between the two are:
    • Weight (the Sigma is much heaver)
    • Low light capability (2.8 on the Sigma)
    • Range (an extra 100mm on the Nikon. However, I can address this with a teleconverter for the Sigma down the road).
    • Price (probably $300 more for the Sigma).

    For my intended use, I'd like to know from anyone who has an opinion (especially if you have one or both lenses or do a lot of the types of shooting I mention above) on which one makes the most sense.

  2. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Mar 25, 2009
    Folding space
    As far as wildlife/birding goes, 200 mm is not long enough. I have a Sigma 120-400 for this and it just makes the grade.

  3. rufhausen thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 5, 2007
    Littleton, CO
    Are you shooting Full Frame or DX? If you are shooting DX and 400 (600 equivalent) barely makes it, then it sounds like you are saying that the 70-300 wouldn't be long enough either.

    FYI: Birds are probably low on my list. Shooting deer and elk (which can be as common as squirrels here in Colorado depending on the time of year and have little fear of humans in populated areas) would be the more common wildlife target.

    I know this lens won't be the perfect lens for everything past my current limit of 105mm, but I can't buy any more lenses for a while after this, so it needs to be good at most things, but not necessarily perfect - which is why I keep coming back to the Sigma 70-200 with the ability to add a teleconverter later. I'm just concerned that it will be heavy to the point where I'll leave at home and I'll feel the need to get the teleconverter right away to make up the range I'd give up initially.

    On the flipside, if the 70-300 VR isn't horrible indoors at an acceptable ISO, then maybe it's the better alternative.
  4. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Jun 9, 2009
    If you go with the Sigma, count on buying the TC in the same purchase. Even 200mm on a DX body just isn't enough reach.

    Here's an example of a shot taken with my 18-200DX of some Elk at Mesa Verde. This is the full capture, and to get the elk to be this size, he was only 20 or so feet away (i.e. much too close for it not to be aware of you). If this was a squirrel, groundhog, marmot, bird, etc. I'd have had to do some heavy cropping. 200mm is just not really going to be enough.


  5. Cliff3 macrumors 68000


    Nov 2, 2007
    SF Bay Area
    I wouldn't discount the used option. I have bought my various telephoto lenses on the used market and have been satisfied with the value I received. KEH sells used gear and is well regarded - it would be worth your browsing their site for ideas.

    FWIW, photozone has published reviews on the lenses you're interested in.
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    You have answered yuor own question. The80-200 f/2.8 lens is a good reason to own Nikon equipment. You can find used examples of this lens for not to much.

    In fact access toall those good used Nikor lenses is anothe reason to own Nikon equipment.
  7. rufhausen thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 5, 2007
    Littleton, CO
    I've been trolling eBay and would probably pick up the 80-200 for the right price. However, I've been thinking all along that if I got a 70-200 or 80-200, I'd want at teleconverter to go along with it to at least extend the range to 280 or more depending on the TC. As I understand it, only the Nikon 80-200 that has AF-S is compatible with Nikon's TCs and it's of course the most expensive.

    To make a long story short, I went with the 70-300 VR for now. When and if I need the 2.8, I'll bite the bullet then.
  8. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    You can still find good prices on the TC-14B, file off the tab on an AF-S teleconverter or use a Kenko/Tamron 1.4x TC.


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