Purchase Nikon's 70-300 mm lens?

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  • manhattanboymanhattanboy Posts: 1,003Member
    I contemplated this lens for a long time, but eventually decided on the 300 F4. I knew I wanted a lens to push at 300 and I didn't think this would do it for me. My 300 F4 is sharp wide open. I know it is expensive, but if you are serious about shooting wildlife at 300 mm...it is about the least I would go for.

    That being said I think bang for the buck the 70-300 is a good performer. I just think it isn't the greatest for someone looking to shoot it more exclusively at the 300mm range.
    +1 to this exactly. The only thing that sucks about the AFS 300 f4 besides the size/weight is the lack of VR, which necessarily means that most shots are struggling to get to ISO 100 at the shutter speeds I have to shoot at. Also be careful of the depth of field...I normally stop down a half a stop or more from f4 to help keep more of the image in focus if the object is relatively close to you.

    Regarding the choice between the 300f4 AFS and the 70-300 AFS. I will say I have not used the 70-300 ever again after receiving the 300 f4.
    Hope that helps!
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,497Moderator
    I sold mine for the 70-200 f4 rather than kid myself I had a lens that could do 200-300!
    Always learning.
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,493Member
    edited August 2014
    I sold mine for the 70-200 f4 rather than kid myself I had a lens that could do 200-300!
    While the 70-300mm isn't the sharpest at 300mm, it is better than nothing, or cropping from a consumer xx-200mm zoom. Can it match the 300mm F4? At F5.6? Nope. Is it good enough for family photos and travel photography, yup! Would I dump my Sigma 120-300mm f2.8 for the 70-300mm VR? Nope, but I'll tell you it works well enough that I don't hesitate to take it with me on photography centric trips, or when I go on a family outing.

    People can get bad copies of the 70-300mm VR, they do exist. Calibrating the lens can improve performance in some cases, so what seems to be bad may not be.

    image

    image

    Seems good enough at 300mm to me...
    Post edited by PB_PM on
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,497Moderator
    @PB_PM said: "People can get bad copies of the 70-300mm VR, they do exist. Calibrating the lens can improve performance in some cases, so what seems to be bad may not be. Since @spraynpray also said that the 70-200mm F4 was no sharper than the 70-300mm VR at 200mm, so don't take him too seriously."

    Funny that I had a few other people that agreed with me on that point, but not funny or surprising that you choose to publicly attack me again. I don't mind you disagreeing with any point I make - other peoples experience is as valid as mine - even yours, but keep your snide pokes off the forum please. PM me with it if you have trouble holding it in. But even if you don't PM me, let's not make others read it eh?

    Your images above show NOTHING because they are so tiny. I've thrown away images that would still look sharp at that size. How about you post links to your full size images so we can check out how sharp they are and how much PP you did? I only say that because you posted them - if you had just said that your experience didn't align with mine, that would have been good enough. Of course they may be tack sharp - you may have a great copy of the lens (which would explain your position) but it is a bit of a stretch to think I was unhappy enough with mine that I bought a far more expensive lens which turned out to be a bad copy and so was no better.

    To clarify and expand on what I actually said, I found the 70-300VR to be very sharp up to about 240 on my D7000 but only around 200 maybe a little more) on my D7100. The main gain for me with the 70-200 f4 was the VR3, the f4 fixed aperture and better edge-to-edge consistency. Centre sharpness of the 70-300 below 200 was great, so good, that it was as good as the 70-200 f4. Now that seems to have a whole different tone to it than your post.

    Peace.

    Always learning.
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    @spray, I thought we already determined it was your eyes that were bad, not your gear? (just kidding!)
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,497Moderator
    I'll give you what for with my white stick if I can catch you, ya young whipper-snapper!
    Always learning.
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,493Member

    Your images above show NOTHING because they are so tiny. I've thrown away images that would still look sharp at that size. How about you post links to your full size images so we can check out how sharp they are and how much PP you did? I only say that because you posted them - if you had just said that your experience didn't align with mine, that would have been good enough.
    Ignoring first part of your post, since I deleted those comments before you replied. After I posted them, I felt they were unjust of me to say, and unfair to you. :(

    Moving on, to the quoted part. As I've said when asked before, I do not post images larger than that on web, not for you, not for clients, not for anyone. Not because I don't think they would stand up to the test of being shown at 100%, but because I choose not to.
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • dissentdissent Posts: 1,314Member
    Just a comment on my experience with the 70-300 while shooting an airshow; link to Flickr album posted (so far) is here - https://www.flickr.com/photos/92617093@N05/sets/72157646133308601/

    This was my first time shooting an airshow with a dslr, so I didn't have much of any feeling as to what to expect. I brought along my 300/4, but frankly never got around to using it. Many of the images I found I was getting with the 70-300 were quite acceptable, as seen on the rear screen of the D7100, and many of the images in the album above are in the 250-300mm focal length range. Admittedly these have all had some LR processing and sharpening, but I'm finding many frames that are quite acceptable for me. I'll need to try another venue with the 300/4 (or other lens; I recently rented a 70-200/4 to give it a spin, but not with airplanes) to see if I have any strong feelings that one or another lens was "better" that the 70-300. At my noob level on the photography learning curve, I'm not sure I'm ready to make those kinds of distinctions anyway. I think I can say that at least the 70-300 is (for me) a nice learning tool for working in this focal range, and having this range available was very handy for shooting at the air show. Can't wait to try this again and see what some of my other glass can do for me.
    - Ian . . . [D7000, D7100; Nikon glass: 35 f1.8, 85 f1.8, 70-300 VR, 105 f2.8 VR, 12-24 f4; 16-85 VR, 300 f4D, 14E-II TC, SB-400, SB-700 . . . and still plenty of ignorance]
  • kanuckkanuck Posts: 1,300Member
    edited August 2014
    Yes, you can see why the pro lenses in this range cost as much as they do. It's fine to shoot with the 70-300mm VR for a while or say an older 70-210, but you quickly realize what you are missing out on. Fast focusing, bokeh, sharpness all through the focal range, consistency, and construction durability. Many people try these slower consumer lenses to get a feel for the range and learn that they want more. Nothing wrong with this for sure.

    I have to say though that I really love the straight aperture blades of some of the older D and non D 70-210 lenses. You get some wicked star and light bursts that are only possible with newer lenses like the 70-200 2.8 and F4 maybe if you stop down to like F16 or F18.
    Post edited by kanuck on
  • MIkeAMIkeA Posts: 20Member
    Thanks to all for your thoughts-- and sorry for not checking answers sooner. I use a D610. Based on most of the responses, the 70-300 mm is probably a good purchase for an enthusiast like me. But the idea of getting the 300 mm prime (the "less expensive" one in something to think about.

    Thanks again for your thoughts.
  • PhotobugPhotobug Posts: 5,751Member
    Remember that the 300mm F4 is much less expensive than the 300 F2.8 and the glass is really good. I have the 300 F4 on my "wish list".
    D750 & D7100 | 24-70 F2.8 G AF-S ED, 70-200 F2.8 AF VR, TC-14E III, TC-1.7EII, 35 F2 AF D, 50mm F1.8G, 105mm G AF-S VR | Backup & Wife's Gear: D5500 & Sony HX50V | 18-140 AF-S ED VR DX, 55-300 AF-S G VR DX |
    |SB-800, Amaran Halo LED Ring light | MB-D16 grip| Gitzo GT3541 + RRS BH-55LR, Gitzo GM2942 + Sirui L-10 | RRS gear | Lowepro, ThinkTank, & Hoodman gear | BosStrap | Vello Freewave Plus wireless Remote, Leica Lens Cleaning Cloth |
  • MIkeAMIkeA Posts: 20Member
  • PistnbrokePistnbroke Posts: 2,383Member
    edited August 2014
    Going to the middle ground anybody considered the 28-300 FX Vr lens at about £600 or $900
    For the extra bit of cash seems to me you would get more versitility and DXO give the 300 end a better write up. Just waiting for Nikon to start a cashback offer before getting one.
    Post edited by Pistnbroke on
  • haroldpharoldp Posts: 984Member
    One of the problems is that there is considerable sample variation in this range of lens (low proce, significant zoom ration) which makes comparison difficult.

    My 70-300 VR is quite good through its range at F8, OK wide open to about 200mm, and excellent even at 300mm at F11.

    This may not be typical.

    I rarely use it anymore because the 80-400G is so spectacularly good.

    I have never used the 28-300, but have not had good experiences with such wide zoom ranges.

    ... H
    D810, D3x, 14-24/2.8, 50/1.4D, 24-70/2.8, 24-120/4 VR, 70-200/2.8 VR1, 80-400 G, 200-400/4 VR1, 400/2.8 ED VR G, 105/2 DC, 17-55/2.8.
    Nikon N90s, F100, F, lots of Leica M digital and film stuff.

  • kanuckkanuck Posts: 1,300Member
    I thought it might be interesting to re-hatch this discussion for this lens. This is currently the lens that I want Nikon to refresh the most in their current line-up even more than the 16-35mm F4 and 17-35mm 2.8. I wonder if it will happen anytime soon like this winter....
  • esquiloesquilo Posts: 71Member
    edited September 2015
    Compared to pricier telezooms it is not as sharp in the 200-300 mm range. But it's still most bang for the buck. At 300 mm it is still good enough for photos like this one:
    image
    (Valued image on Wikimedia Commons and Best photo of the month at Swedish Wikipedia.)

    You can see it's weaknesses when you scrutinize the corners, but the middle is still quite good.
    Post edited by esquilo on
    Nikon D7100 with Sigma 10-20 mm, Nikon 16-85 mm, Nikon 70-300 mm, Sigma 150-500 mm, Nikon 28 mm f/1.8G and Nikon 50 mm f/1.8G.
    Nikon1 J3 with 10-30 mm and 10 mm f/2.8
  • tcole1983tcole1983 Posts: 981Member
    @kanuck...I don't know. Doesn't seem like Nikon has done much in updating lenses in the variable aperture ranges. They usually just add the newest VR, but I haven't heard of much gains in sharpness or performance. Perhaps it could get faster focus. Not really sure what they would do of if it will be updated...personally from what I have seen I wouldn't hold my breath.
    D5200, D5000, S31, 18-55 VR, 17-55 F2.8, 35 F1.8G, 105 F2.8 VR, 300 F4 AF-S (Previously owned 18-200 VRI, Tokina 12-24 F4 II)
  • DaveyJDaveyJ Posts: 1,089Member
    Some of the best wildlife photos I have ever taken were with the 70-300 VR (current one). I also own several of the former lens from Nikon, and probably my other best wildlife shots were with that including some taken with the Nikon F5 and film. I try to avoid 300mm and I always try to stop down to f8. I have been at places guys were shooting with longer Nikon glass like 200-400 F4 and they lost valuable shots as they couldn't zoom down to 70mm when needed. Rarely do I get in a place when everything is just right......when I have been there and done that the 70-300VR served me very well. The new 80-400VR is pretty expensive and heavier. If I was in places where an 80-400 would work that is what I would get. All said the 70-300VR is a WONDERFUL lens. I use the modest 55-300 current Nikkor even more now as it is very light and stopped down is pretty awesome and for closer range work (quite close). So that gives you another Nikkor in that modest cost range. That one to I try to use it below 300mm. The 70-300VR Nikkor focuses faster than the 55-300. But that is not usually a critical difference. I use such a lens usually on the D7100 for what it is worth. I would not buy a 70-300 VR Nikkor without looking into the 55-300 Nikkor but be AWARE the 55-300VR is a DX lens!
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,497Moderator
    That about sums it up @DaveyJ. It is an excellent lens on a DX from 70-240 ('ish' depending on copy variation) but that's it. At 240mm f8 1/250s on a D7000:

    It's all about the light
    Always learning.
  • tcole1983tcole1983 Posts: 981Member
    Like I have said previously. Not having owned or used the 70-300 there have been plenty that have and plenty of reviews. For the price it is a pretty good lens. Compared to more expensive glass I think there is a noticeable difference. Although I don't think there is anything terrible about the example pictures post using the 70-300, looking at my mediocre handheld 300 F4 shots I can tell the difference.

    Through a chain link fence
    DSC_0093

    DSC_0272_20140917_1313-1

    DSC_0169-1

    DSC_0138
    D5200, D5000, S31, 18-55 VR, 17-55 F2.8, 35 F1.8G, 105 F2.8 VR, 300 F4 AF-S (Previously owned 18-200 VRI, Tokina 12-24 F4 II)
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,497Moderator
    @tcole1983: I agree that you could never compare the 300 f4 with the 70-300VR.
    Always learning.
  • BVSBVS Posts: 440Member
    edited September 2015
    I thought it might be interesting to re-hatch this discussion for this lens. This is currently the lens that I want Nikon to refresh the most in their current line-up even more than the 16-35mm F4 and 17-35mm 2.8. I wonder if it will happen anytime soon like this winter....
    I'd like them to refresh it as well, but since most users seem to think it's "good enough", and there's no pressure from any 3rd party lens makers for this type of lens, I don't think it'll get refreshed anytime soon... but we can always hope!
    Post edited by BVS on
    D7100, 85 1.8G, 50 1.8G, 35 1.8G DX, Tokina 12-28 F4, 18-140, 55-200 VR DX
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,185Member
    3rd party tamron 70-300 is repoted to be better... some compare it to the 70-200 f4. And although not as sharp as the f4. It is said to be a good compromise...
    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • BVSBVS Posts: 440Member
    edited September 2015
    3rd party tamron 70-300 is repoted to be better... some compare it to the 70-200 f4. And although not as sharp as the f4. It is said to be a good compromise...
    Maybe. I haven't tried either myself, but the Nikon scores better on DXO, and seems to be sharper at 300mm wide open on SLRGear, although they're similar stopped down.

    DXO Comparison

    Nikon - SLRGear
    Tamron - SLRGear
    Post edited by BVS on
    D7100, 85 1.8G, 50 1.8G, 35 1.8G DX, Tokina 12-28 F4, 18-140, 55-200 VR DX
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,493Member
    Photozone's review pegs the Tamron 70-300 VC as being close or as good at best.
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
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