Best 300mm DX lens

webmastadjwebmastadj Posts: 120Member
So I am trying to decide on what direction I want to take to get my D5600 to the 300mm range. My choices are the following (I will reference them by letter):

A) AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR

B) AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR

C) AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR

I already have the 18-140mm lens and trying to decide if I should replace that lens with C. I know C is a bit heavier than my current 18-140mm but will it give me better quality? The high max F for the 140mm would be 5.6, so in theory, C would have a lower F value at 140. Would this along with replacing the 18-140mm worth the $1,000? Or would the other options give me a better image?

If I do not decide to replace my current 18-140mm, then I have two choices, A and B. I have read that A is a good lens, but the only thing that concern me is the max aperture of 6.4 at 300mm vs the 5.6 of B. Basically my question is which lens would give me the best image? Both are at the same price point.


  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    edited January 16
    It sort of depends on what you are shooting. The 18-300 superzoom is going to generally give you less quality from 18-140 than the 18-140, as it has to worry about being a 16x zoom for a living, vs a 7x zoom, so there are going to be more compromises/tradeoffs in it's design.

    The 70-300 is a 4x zoom, so it has the fewest tradeoffs vs the 5.5x 55-300 and the 16x 18-300. It also turns out it's pretty good at 300mm, according to the reviews I've seen.

    The 18-140 is a decent lens, and pairs well with the D5600, I'd keep it.
    Post edited by Ironheart on
  • PistnbrokePistnbroke Posts: 1,167Member
    The best 300mm for your DX camera will be an FX lens ..just look at DXO to pick the best ....
    The problem with your 5600 is you don't have any fine focus adjust but a Tamron 150-600 G2 would get over that problem. difficult choices.
  • webmastadjwebmastadj Posts: 120Member
    @Ironheart So then the max aperture doesn't make that much of a difference to worry about? That is what I was curious about, the less of times zoom equals higher quality lens and image. Also I am assume the less glass in the lens, the better quality?

    @Pistnbroke Thanks for the recommendation. I was trying to stay under the $1,000 mark and really liked the 70-300 price point of $400 as I am just a budding photo junky.
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,104Member
    edited January 17
    A few more options for you :-)
    D) 70-300 F5.6 FX :- The older FX version.. also check out the Tamron version.

    C2) 18-300 F3.5-6.3 :- The newer, cheaper, smaller, sharper version compared to the f5.6. If you want to replace the 18-140, I would replace it with this one. Its one of the most paired lenses with the D500!
    C3) Tamron 16-300 3.5-6.3 :- even wider range.. !

    E) Tamron 150-600 G2 :- as suggested. Its really pretty good.
    E2) Nikon 200-500 :- The nikon option.

    F) Nikon 300 mm F4 PF :- Small, light, awesome. As they say buy cheap lenses and buy many times. Buy the best lense once.

    The best bang for buck, I would suggest you keep the 18-140(great lense) and get the new 70-300 AP-F so Option A! C2 for convenience ! The new 18-300 F3.5-6.3 is really quite nice. For a super zoom, IQ is not bad at all, only second behind the 18-140(out of a dozen or so options!)
    Post edited by heartyfisher on
    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.

  • webmastadjwebmastadj Posts: 120Member
    @Heartyfisher Would you do the 70-300 DX version or the FX version? From what I understand, the DX version out preforms the FX version as the DX version is the newer model.
  • KnockKnockKnockKnock Posts: 346Member
    According to Thom Hogan and gasp, Ken Rockwell, your option A is the best choice. Just newer tech.
    D7100, D60, 35mm f/1.8 DX, 50mm f/1.4, 18-105mm DX, 18-55mm VR II, Sony RX-100 ii
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,104Member
    edited January 17
    Yeah.. Option A is what sound best but we have had a member here who went with Option D (FX) Hopefully @egosbar will chime in as to why...
    Post edited by heartyfisher on
    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: 257Member
    I believe the member that went with the FX version was using D7000 which currently doesn't support the AF-P lenses, so he didn't have a choice.
    D7100, 85 1.8G, 50 1.8G, 35 1.8G DX, Tokina 12-28 F4, 18-140, 55-200 VR DX
  • webmastadjwebmastadj Posts: 120Member
    edited January 17
    @heartyfisher Thanks, I will go with the DX 70-300 with VR (option A). The only downside is I don't see how to get the lens hood for it as it doesn't come with one. Guess don't need it, but nice to have to help protect the lens.
    Post edited by webmastadj on
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    @webmastadj The lens hood is an HB-77 available from adorama.
  • manhattanboymanhattanboy Posts: 928Member
    edited January 17
    What do you need 300 for? That will dictate what is the best lens for you. Do you need the zoom? Do you need all the light you can muster? Do you need something small? How much can you spend? All of these will factor into what is the "best" lens for you. The 300 lens right now that would give you your desired "best image" is something no one has mentioned yet, and that is the 300 2.8 prime; but I doubt that is what you are looking for ;)
    Post edited by manhattanboy on
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    To answer the original question, which is what @manhattanboy is getting at, I would say the 300mm f/4E PF is the "best 300mm DX lens". Even the mighty 300 f/2.8G will have to bow to the 300 f/4E PF in terms of sharpness, weight, VR. The only thing it has is a stop of light. The f/4 FX lenses make great DX lenses

    300 f/4E PF MTF

    300 f/4D MTF

    300 f/2.8G MTF

  • BVSBVS Posts: 257Member
    The DX 70-300 VR is actually a pretty nice lens. Good build quality for a kit lens (other than the plastic mount), silky smooth focus ring, quick silent focusing (which makes video at least semi-competent), and pretty good image quality - if you have enough light and can keep it steady. The VR does it's thing reasonably well, but I found it challenging to keep it steady at 300mm on my heavier D7100 due to its light weight and long skinny design. It's also f/4.8 at 140mm vs 5.6 on the 18-140 and seems to have less focus breathing.

    The only reason to get the 18-300 f/6.3 is if you really want the smallest most convenient overall package, and/or don't want to have to change lenses, and don't mind giving up some image quality. It's a pretty good lens for what it is, and the VR works well, but it's pricey, is somewhat slow to focus, and has major focus breathing at close range, so you're not really getting 300mm all the time.

    The 18-300 f/5.6 is an older lens than the 6.3, is bigger, heavier, more expensive, and reportedly has some optical issues, although I haven't tried one myself. I would pass on this one.

    The 55-300 is the predecessor to the 70-300. I haven't tried this one either, but online tests I've seen say it's soft at 300mm. Still, at around $200~$250 refurb it's the cheapest of the bunch.

    Many people like the FX 70-300, and you get f/5.6 at 300mm, but it's twice the weight of the DX version, and some people say it's soft at 300mm.

    If you had lots of money to burn, the 300mm PF is an awesome lens, and you can stick the 1.4 TC on it to get 420mm f/5.6, but you only get one focal length, and yeah it's $2,000 + $500 for the TC.
    D7100, 85 1.8G, 50 1.8G, 35 1.8G DX, Tokina 12-28 F4, 18-140, 55-200 VR DX
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    Thought I'd post the MTFs for the rest of these lenses we're discussing:

    AF-P 70-300 DX tele (300mm):

    AF-S 70-300 FX tele (300mm):

    AF-S 55-300 DX tele (300mm):

    AF-S 18-300 f/5.6 DX tele (300mm):

    AF-S 18-300 f/6.3 DX tele (300mm):

  • webmastadjwebmastadj Posts: 120Member
    @Ironheart I saw it on Adorama too, but it is on back order.

    @manhattanboy I plan on using it for wildlife, get some shots of aircraft and anything else generic I need the reach for. I found my self wanting to get closer when using the 140mm this past weekend. I was impressed with the 140mm when I caught a chopper flying over; when zooming into the image, being able to read the tail number was impressive. Unfortunately, I can’t justify the cost or usablity of a 300mm prime (wish I could). I am looking for something that will get me that range of 140mm to 300mm.

    @BVS The plastic mount is the only thing that scares me on the lens but I assume they did that for cost and weight.
  • Ton14Ton14 Posts: 140Member
    edited January 17

    I am looking for something that will get me that range of 140mm to 300mm.

    Another thought. You need a sunny day to get f/8 or f/11 with 1/200 shutterspeed (ISO 800 o.k 1600) for your photo's and need some software tweaks to get reasonable results. My 70-300mm f/4.5-f/5.6 jumps to f/5 by 170mm and you get f/5.6 by 250mm - 300mm, the range where it is not so good. Keep in mind that you are limited with all the lenses you mentioned, so what do you want to shoot and when, in that range you mentioned.

    On sunny days I get good results with the 70-300mm f/4.5-f/5.6, but here in Holland we don't have many of them. :)
    Post edited by Ton14 on
    User Ton changed to Ton14, Google sign in did not work anymore
  • webmastadjwebmastadj Posts: 120Member
    @Ton14 I knew with both lenses, they wouldn't be great low light lenses. I do have the 35mm f/1.8 which does do great indoors and at night, but of course doesn't have the range. But my advantage, I do live in Florida, so we get a "few" sunny days down here.
  • DaveyJDaveyJ Posts: 834Member
    edited February 4
    I have every single 70-300 Nikon lens mentioned. I also have extensively used 300 primes. The 70-300 is a better deal. Why?When you know you need a 300 lens, it is best. Problem is in the field you do not! Add this problem....weight, price, etc,. I bought a 70-300 AF-P DX VR, actually two as my business partner bought one two and we have tried them both. Our conclusion was the FX 5.6 is better! I am very aware what Thom Hogan wrote...I found otherwise.....I have had better luck on 70-300 VR 5.6 and the next lens I will get for D7200 and D500 is the Tamron G2 150-600 a big lens but the lightest of that genre....I owned 70-200 2.8s (two) sold them both...too heavy, the 70-300 is a better option for me in field. The Tamron G2 long lens is needed for some dangerous or distant wildlife where a longer lens is required. The 150 low end though means you probably better also,be carrying a shorter zoom...which I prefer to be the GREAT 16-80 Nikkor!
    Post edited by DaveyJ on
  • webmastadjwebmastadj Posts: 120Member
    @DaveyJ I did purchase option A (AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR) and have found you are correct. When I go out, there is no telling what range I am going to need. With the 70-300, from the little experience I have with it, I find the zoom to be a good fit. I still would love a long prime, but I don't like to limit what I can shoot at a particular time. At times I am still find myself wanting more than 300.

    My question to you, would you recommend the Tamron 150-600 over the AF-S NIKKOR
    200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR
    ? I am just curious if the image quality would be better with the NIKKOR lens vs the Tamron. Of course just basing my bar on price (more expensive = better).
  • PistnbrokePistnbroke Posts: 1,167Member
    from all the test I can find the Tamron 150-600 G1 is better than the G2 and a lot cheaper. Cannot find any test of the 200-500 on the same camera as the Tamron for comparison.
  • SportsSports Posts: 337Member
    I think the N 200-500 is really easy to evaluate. IQ is really good for the money, but AF is kind of slow.
    The good thing is that there are no bad entries in the long zoom segment these days. It's hard to go wrong.
    D300, J1
    Sigma 70-200/2.8, 105/2.8
    Nikon 50/1.4G, 18-200, 80-400G
    1 10-30, 30-110
  • PistnbrokePistnbroke Posts: 1,167Member
    Webmastadj ......sigma 300mm F4 will get you there cheap below $200
  • DaveyJDaveyJ Posts: 834Member
    edited February 5
    Webmastadj: I have photographed with the 200-500 on D7100, D7200, D500. It is good for closer shots. The Tamron I find better for longer more distant shots. A lot of wildlife shots require longer focal length and mind younthese are DX cameras, which I PREFER, for my wildlife use. But I have been less than 10 ft away from wild and very aggressive Brown Bears...way bigger than a Yellowstone Brown Bear (due to such a rich diet) , and also Wolves and Mountain Lion. When you get lucky to be that close a 16-80 would be better, most of the time it is 500 ft plus. There I would put the money and the Tamron G1 or G2. Mike Jackson on Best of the Tetons owns both 200-500 Nikon and the G2 Tamron, almost all of his long work is G2. Often with a D5. The 200-500 is one of Nikon's best lens.

    The Tamron G2 is a remarkable lens and has the tap console feature which allows the latest firmware update, sometimes the extra 100mm is worth it. The G2 is lighter, fits Arca Swiss tripod quick mount, I use Oben. I have NO personal use for primes! I always am in places I need zooms. I owned nearly .25 million in prime lens, mostly on medium and large format. When I was shooting that gear....I discontinued using expensive spot letters and used Minolta for shooting and metering for the big rigs, then I switched to Nikon as Minolta kept switching mounts and because of Nikkor glass.....I noticed my 35 mm shots were really good....and sold the bigger stuff....only miss the Fuji G617 and four lens panels from Wide to long. I find that I need to change focal lengths in the field for almost every action setup. Primes are better for a given focal length. But when moving a camera will spook the subject, or would put me over a cliff, or up against heavy machinery......The prime is a liability. In my next wildlife adventure....the long lens will be the G2 Tamron.again having experience with the G1 I am sure that is a good move. However I am planning on having both the 16-80 and the 70-300 4.5-5.6 right there...the 16-80 on D7200 or 7100, 70-300 on a D3200. I just have had too great results with that lens to keep it on the bench. There will be times the 70-300 gets used a lot.
    Post edited by DaveyJ on
  • egosbaregosbar Posts: 55Member
    edited February 6

    Yeah.. Option A is what sound best but we have had a member here who went with Option D (FX) Hopefully @egosbar will chime in as to why...

    very happy with the fx 70-300 vr g , reason i didnt go the dx version is there just wasnt enough reviews on it a few months ago , im definitely not unhappy i went the fx as it still gives me an option in the future to go to full frame most glass i buy now will be fx

    Post edited by egosbar on
  • retreadretread Posts: 393Member
    I have two ways t go to 300 on DX. Both are FX glass. The 70-200G VRII, and the Tamron 150-600 G2. Very happy with the 70-200 and use it with a TC 20III at times with good results. If I were buying new I think I would get the 70-200E but not in the budget to trade up.

    I have had the Tamron for just a couple months and am just getting the hang of using it but looks like it is a winner.

    I do hope to add a FX body at some time in the future. All my glass is FX save two on wide end.

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