Lens Range

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Artful Dodger, Jun 26, 2012.

  1. Artful Dodger macrumors 68020

    Artful Dodger

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    #1
    I'm looking into buying a longer lens for wildlife & mild sports. I know by looking on here some folks have gone with some Sigma lenses because they are less expensive than their Canon, Nikon, Sony etc line and I'm asking how have they been as far as durability and longevity are concerned?

    My current lineup is a D7000, lenses are 70-300mmVRII and I started out with the 18-200mm Nikkor.

    I'm looking at lenses in the range of 400-500mm. No primes as I'm trying to keep cost down since this isn't my income means. I have been reading up on the Sigmas be it the 120-300 f2.8 with a teleconverter which is high on the price side at this time, or their 50-500mm as it seems to have better reviews and newer guts than the 150-500mm from them.

    I looked into getting a Nikkor 80-400 but it seems like it's really needing a refresh at this time or there are better options out there. I also looked into the 80-200 and adding a 2.0 TC but it seems like that option is ok for a quality setup.

    I do feel a bit limited by the lineup Nikon has at this point so again how are the third party lenses holding up at this time for those using them?

    Thanks!
     
  2. deep diver macrumors 65816

    deep diver

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    #2
    Your 18-200 and 70-300 provide a lot of range and flexibility. I guess it depends on what and where you are shooting, but a 50-500 or 150-500 might make more sense than any 400.

    I have had a D50 with the 18-200 for 5 or 6 years. It is a good light rig to carry. About 9 months ago I got a D7000, Nikkor 28-300 as my "walking around lens", and the Nikkor 80-400 for when I only want a long lens. I might have gone to something 500, but that is a bit too long for what I shoot, my weight limit, and my wallet. I have been enjoying the new rig a lot and have gotten outstanding images from the 80-400.
     
  3. Prodo123 macrumors 68020

    Prodo123

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  4. Artful Dodger thread starter macrumors 68020

    Artful Dodger

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    #4
    deep diver my main subjects would be things such as a jet ski in the Niagara River, which are around 300ft away but are large in size so my 300 is fine unless they are on the opposite side of the river of course. The next and most noted would be birds such as an Egret, swan, eagle or hawk. All of these I've been able to get relatively close to, say around 100ft to 150ft. I think having a bit more of a reach would help out for my second reason which is less about the equipment, more about being or finding a good place to sit with having a very bad back so the extra length always helps, ironic since most zooms can get up there in weight :cool:

    While I've done well with what I have I just want to make sure the next zoom is what I'd like and give me the range I thought that going from a 200-300 would be able to do. I do enjoy those lenses and they still get use on my D50 which holds the 18-200 most of the time.

    I too have the D7000 and you are using the 80-400 on yours, do you find the focus fast or does it seem slow? I have read people saying that both the 70-300 & 80-400 are slow but on my D7000 I must have a different take on slow I guess. My 300 seems pretty fast during the day and still at a night sports game so I take those reviews as they are since the speed and focus seem fine to me :rolleyes:

    My main thought is for the same price, will a Sigma last and is it worth the extra distance or not. If all things equal, if both lenses were a bit soft all the way out 500 a bit backed off would still be more than the 400 in the same manor.
     
  5. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #5
    I heard you get a body of choice for free. But you still need to pay the assistant who lugs that thing around for ya! :D :p
     
  6. admwright macrumors regular

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    Scotland
    #6
    If you are not totaly against a prime look at the 300mm f4, with the 1.4 converter you have 420mm f5.6.

    I just got the prime last week and have been very impressed with the quality (gone from the 55-200 VR). Small to medium birds are looking much better and great detail. Also stumbled across a beach polo match (horses) and followed the action very well, though the horses get a bit big in the viewfinder when they get close to you!

    I also used it on a V1 and the detail is even better than from my D3100.

    Hope this helps
    Andrew W.
     
  7. mustang_dvs macrumors 6502a

    mustang_dvs

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    #7
  8. Ruahrc, Jun 27, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2012

    Ruahrc macrumors 65816

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    #8
    I was also going to suggest the 300mm f4 prime. From what I hear it's a fantastic lens. Pair it with a TC and you've got a fairly economical setup.

    Or another option is the Nikon 70-200 vrii and the tc2.0 iii. That is also a 400mm f5.6 and I hear that combo is pretty good quality too considering its using a tc2.0

    Finally, have you considered older generation primes? For some applications or with a little practice using older AF-D lenses or even MF primes is okay and you can pick them up used for thousands less than a modern AFS VR ultra long prime. Image quality is likely right up there with the modern lenses, as telephotos are among the most straightforward lenses to design. A little bit more saving up and suddenly something like that is getting within reach, if you pardon my pun.
     
  9. Prodo123 macrumors 68020

    Prodo123

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    #9
    15.7kg...
    With a lens like that, you mount the body to the lens :3
     
  10. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #10
    The Sigma 50-500 is sharper at 500mm than the Nikon 80-400 is at 400mm. Both really want some light though.

    Paul
     
  11. iTiki macrumors 6502

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    #11
    I have a friend who uses the Nikkor 300mm F4 with tele-convertors on her 300s with very good success. I think I read somewhere that Nikon is releasing a new 80-400. Might be a less expensive option than the 300 with tele-convertors.
     
  12. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #12

    Birds have to be the single most demanding subject in term of the cost of the lens required. One thing you might do is look at USED lenses. One of the advantages of Nikon is the range of used lenses available. You can even mount one of the older manual focus lenses.


    You are also going to need a very sturdy tripod. Ball heads are nice but if you are on a budget you might be using a bean bag for a while.
     
  13. deep diver macrumors 65816

    deep diver

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    #13
    I've seen deals on this for only $26,000. At that price I'll get two.


    I use the 28-300 for sports and for "walking around." I have not had any focusing speed problems, even at closer ranges. The D7000's continuous focus certainly helps with this. The 80-400 can be slow because the motor is moving so much glass. At the ranges you are talking about, however, that may not be a real issue.
     
  14. avro707 macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    300mm F/4.0 with a TC is very likely going to give you greatest image quality, but not much flexibility with range.

    I've used the Sigma 50-500 'bigma' before and didn't really like it.
     
  15. codymac macrumors 6502

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    #15
  16. deep diver macrumors 65816

    deep diver

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    #16
  17. Artful Dodger thread starter macrumors 68020

    Artful Dodger

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    #17
    I have to ask since I'm getting mixed reviews for this setup, do you still retain the AF-S or did you lose that?

    Thanks! I've read this is either a lens you love or not (the Bigma).

    I'm strongly considering this setup now, the 300 f4 & 1.4 TC as almost everywhere it seems people lose the AF-S when using the 1.7 TC.

    I've seen that in examples, some are really dark but then again I wonder how many people are using Auto mode and not making things work for them when needed.

    I just read that on Nikonrumors.com as Nikon has some good patients but with everything that happened in Japan I'm more apt to think that has put a halt in most productions that should have happened by now if the disaster never happened. In all reality, it's going to be July and holding out another month and trying to get what I can from my gear will be ok and by then maybe there will be a better timeline.

    I'm on a list at the local shop for a nice zoom (used) as a few have come in and I'm glad I didn't jump because they both ended up with problems which might be rare but I'm glad I was willing to wait a bit.

    I do have a nice sturdy tripod, nice head and all, had my Manfrotto for about 2-3 years now. I got tired of the light budget tripods being nothing more than a larger set of Jarts, weights or not ;)

    I thank everyone for their input and help. I'm not bashing Nikon since I use Nikon but there are times I feel the lens lineup has some good size holes where the Canon lineup is filled where I need it or would like it. So for those people who are new "ish" think ahead to what you want to shoot or where your heart is for shooting and build around the lenses you need. I wasn't very sure even though I had a good idea I wasn't aware of or thought all the way down the road, lesson learned :cool:
     
  18. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #18
    I own a copy of the 80-400VR and have owned the Sigma 50-500 in the past. My 80-400 has been lent out for a few years now & I don't miss it at all. Between the two, I'd advise getting the Sigma.

    Paul
     
  19. Fezwick macrumors 6502

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    Rhode Island
    #19
    I have this setup and it works very nicely. I can't find any image degradation with the 1.4x TC on. Works great for birds and surprisingly good for macro shots, too. Lack of VR isn't a big deal. It's a great telephoto for the money. Buy the older TC (TC-14E instead of TC-14E II). Usually you can find them for cheaper and the optics are exactly the same.
     
  20. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

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    #20
    I picked the Sigma 120-400 over the Canon 100-400 L and I'm happy with it. The IS works great. Here are some shots I took with it at the Nisqually Delta Wildlife Preserve near Olympia, Washington.

    [​IMG]
    400mm

    [​IMG]
    400mm

    [​IMG]
    120mm

    [​IMG]
    400mm

    [​IMG]
    120mm

    All of these were hand held.

    Dale
     

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