Telephoto Lens for Nikon D40? Suggestions welcome.

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by tejaykay, Feb 2, 2009.

  1. tejaykay macrumors 6502

    tejaykay

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2008
    Location:
    Edinburgh
    #1
    Hi all,

    Thought I'd hit the Digital Photography section for some advice as I normally get good tips from the rest of Macrumors. I got a D40 a few months back and absolutely love it. I've always been a keen photographer and think I have a bit of a natural eye for good composition. I would never consider myself a pro/genius though.

    I like to take a lot of photos at sports events and am in the market for some decent zoooooom to move up from the kit lens. Price is an issue though and I'm not really willing to pay more than £200/$300. I've been looking at the Nikon 55-200MM VR lens, but would ideally like just that bit more of a push to get some long shots. Ideally I'd want the Nikon 70-300mm VR but am open to any suggestions. I understand everyone says you should spend all your money on lenses rather than the actual body, but that really isn't an option for me at the moment. Is it really so terrible to look at a more budget brand like Sigma or Tamron?

    Also, is image stabilisation really important, or is it more of a personal preference? Can anyone recommend any good value telephoto lenses for the D40?

    Thanks for any suggestions.
     
  2. jaseone macrumors 65816

    jaseone

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2004
    Location:
    Houston, USA
    #2
    If you are going to be shooting handheld then you definitely want image stabilization like VR on a telephoto lens, the 70-300VR is being touted as one of Nikon's cheapest high quality lenses and I highly recommend it. Are you able to stretch your budget at all to afford it?
     
  3. sailor720 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    #3
    check out the non vr version of the 70-300 they are around $150 and if your using it for sports you need your shutter fast enough that the vr will not matter anyway
     
  4. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    #4
    The G version of this lens is not very good. A better option would be to look for a good used copy of the ED version, which preceded the current VR version. However, neither of these lenses will autofocus on a D40. The 55-200vr is probably the best bet given the budget constraint.
     
  5. leighonigar macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 5, 2007
    #5
    My dad had one of the ED version a few years ago. He found it unsatisfactory and sold it. The newer VR version is supposed to be better. These are all quite slow and I suppose difficult therefore to use well but there aren't really alternatives.
     
  6. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    #6
    I had the ED version until I sold it about 18 months ago. AF was slow on a D100, but ok on the D2x. It hunted a lot. I kept it mainly as a lightweight alternative to my 80-200 f2.8 AF-S. I'm spoiled by the image quality coming out of the 80-200, so I never used the 70-300. I even carried it all the way to the Philippines and back again without ever mounting it on my camera. But having said that, the ED version is still better than the G version.

    People seem to like the 70-300VR. The images I've seen coming from it haven't wowed me.
     
  7. leighonigar macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 5, 2007
    #7
    It was the image quality that got to him. I think he got it shortly after moving from Kodachrome, with a Nikon 300mm prime to digital with that. I had to agree though, it wasn't a good lens. Perhaps he got a particularly bad one?
     
  8. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    #8
    Could be. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't all that great either. The top image was shot with the 70-300 on a D100. The bottom image came from a D2x with the 80-200. I liked the top image well enough to print it, but it's still kind of flat.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  9. NintendoChick macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2008
    #9
    I like my 55-200. Like any lens, you have to understand it's shortcomings...

    Examples:
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    [​IMG][​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Overall though, I've enjoyed it. :D
     
  10. UnclePaulie macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2004
    Location:
    LA, CA
    #10
    I used to have a Nikon D40, and I used the 55-200 VR lens with it. For the price, it's a great lens. Some reviews I read complained about vignetting at full telephoto, but for an amateur like me I thought the image quality was great. And it's an AF-S lens so it'll autofocus nicely on the D40. I sold mine used for $150 so if you're looking to save some money, I'm sure other people are selling theirs for around the same price.
     
  11. tejaykay thread starter macrumors 6502

    tejaykay

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2008
    Location:
    Edinburgh
    #11
    I'll be mainly using it for sports as I'm happy with the kit lens for the most part. Most of the shooting will be done on continuous shooting mode and the purchase is mainly for getting a telephoto lens so I can take close up shots. Does this denounce the need for the VR/Image Stabilisation?

    So do most people advise not looking at budget lenses? Also, do users find 200mm sufficient, or is 300mm worth it?
     
  12. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    #12
    I apologize for inadvertently introducing some thread drift.

    I think most people are suggesting you get this Nikon lens: link to B&H product page The only alternative at your price point is a similar lens from Sigma, but you'd be better off sticking with the Nikon lens.

    200mm is fine for most purposes. The photos I posted were taken at 145mm and 210mm, respectively. If you decide you want to start photographing birds or surfers, then you'll need longer lenses and considerably more money in your budget.

    With your present camera body and your budget constraint, the 55-200VR is probably the best choice for you. If you can stretch your budget a bit, then the 70-300VR would be worth acquiring. There aren't any other really good alternatives given the constraints your camera body and your budget place on the choices.
     
  13. admwright macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2008
    Location:
    Scotland
    #13
    I have the 55-200VR and it can give some very good results. The VR really helps when the light is not so good as long as your subject is not moving too much. For sport in good light this should give you good results. The 200mm should also be fine as the "most popular" sports lens is the 70-200 2.8, it's benefit is it can handle poorer light and still keep the shutter speed up. The longer reach of the 300mm would be beneficial if you are doing wildlife, especially small birds.

    All the best
    Andrew W.
     
  14. tejaykay thread starter macrumors 6502

    tejaykay

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2008
    Location:
    Edinburgh
    #14
    Thanks for all the help. I'm thinking about the 55-200mm VR now. Going to keep my right on ebay though. Thanks again!
     

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