Any sense in keeping an 80-400 zoom when I've just bought a 55-300 zoom for a bigger sensor?

FlyingOkoFlyingOko Posts: 15Member
edited April 2013 in Nikon Lenses
My long-lens combo to date has been a D80 with 80-400mm zoom (the old one, of course). Recently I bought a D3200, followed by a 55-400mm zoom. Now, given the relative sensor sizes (3,872 x 2592 on the D80 vs. 6,016 x 4,000 on the D3200), I can digitally zoom the image by a factor of over 1.5 on the D3200, thus giving me an image that's equivalent to around 450mm on the D80's sensor. Is this correct?

Given that I spend a long time walking (or cycling) with my camera and lenses, the 1kg difference between the two combos makes a huge difference. The difference in image quality between the two combos is hardly noticeable. Any sense in me hanging on to the old 80-400mm? It's autofocus is slow and can't be overridden. To me, it's become a bit of a clunker.

I've done a short test, comparing the results of the 80-400mm on the D80 with the 55-300mm on the D3200. Results here: http://jeziorki.blogspot.com/2013/04/lighter-long-lens.html

Comments

  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    I think when we talk about digital zoom, a lot is lost in the process. Shooting a DX sensor, the lens resolution is is what determines the sharpness. My suggestion would be to simply choose which lens you like and use it. As I have an old version fo the 80-400 f/4.5-5.6 myself, and it is quite sharp, I can only say that the new lens is so much sharper the value of the old 80-400 is probably down to $500.

    But, if you decide the new 55-300 can be enlarged by a factor of 1.3 so as to get a 400mm "equivalent" then that is fine.
    Msmoto, mod
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    Comparing the results of a D80 with the D3200 is like going out to prove that a toaster is better than a brick oven.
    The idea of getting a new body is to get sharper/better images, not to crop and get the same results that you have had in the past. The way you are testing it doesn't make any sense - you have replaced the D80, so it does no good to do comparisons with it - stick with the same body (d3200). Be sure to test the 80-400 on your D3200 VS the 55-300 on your D3200 to see the results that you are happy with it.

    Things to consider:
    -Weight - this seems to be a big concern - and I don't think many will blame you for that. Carrying around the "big boys" does get old. If sticking with the 55-300 causes you to take the camera out more, then that is a very good thing.

    -Zoom range on DX / 55-300 = 83-450mm equiv / 80-400 = 120-600mm. That is a whole lot of reach that you are giving up by going to the 55-300. If you need the reach (birding etc), then keeping the 80-400 would be a good thing to have when you need it. With your new camera, you could easily crop it 50% which would make that 600mm to 900mm equiv where the new lens would only get you 675mm equiv. of reach. That is a major difference.

    -If you think you will move to FX (full frame sensor) anytime soon, I would keep the 80-400 as it is a FX lens and the 55-300 is DX.

    -The 80-400 still goes for about $1,000 US (600-750uk) and it is probably a good time to sell it before it drops more due to the updated release - if that is a concern.

    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • shawninoshawnino Posts: 453Member
    Are you confounding sensor size and pixel count?
  • FlyingOkoFlyingOko Posts: 15Member
    @ shawnino -

    Sensor size - both are DX... is there another way to measure sensors...?

    @ TaoTeJared -

    The D3200 lacks the internal autofocus motor to focus the 80-400mm, a big problem.
    Hang on for an FX body? Weight considerations mean the only full-frame I'd consider buying in future would be a rangefinder body (my dream camera here would be a digital Nikon S3 :))
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,172Member
    @ shawnino -

    Sensor size - both are DX... is there another way to measure sensors...?

    @ TaoTeJared -

    The D3200 lacks the internal autofocus motor to focus the 80-400mm, a big problem.
    Hang on for an FX body? Weight considerations mean the only full-frame I'd consider buying in future would be a rangefinder body (my dream camera here would be a digital Nikon S3 :))
    @ FlyingOko : Sounds like for you the 55-300 is the right lense.. I would agree, sell the 80-400 its not giving you any extra functionality.

    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.

  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    @ TaoTeJared -

    The D3200 lacks the internal autofocus motor to focus the 80-400mm, a big problem.
    Hang on for an FX body?
    Thought that went without saying - or maybe the D3200 was a gap fill to a higher camera later.

    Weight considerations mean the only full-frame I'd consider buying in future would be a rangefinder body (my dream camera here would be a digital Nikon S3 :))
    I'd say you have your lens then. Or to be honest, depending what you shoot the most of, you may want to look at the M4/3rds next time around if size and weight is a concern.
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    edited April 2013
    I think there may have been some variability in the early 80-400mm VR lenses. Mine is very sharp and I have shown images of this. For example:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/fantinesfotos/7415832360/sizes/o/in/set-72157629918001642/

    I think the value is dropping like a rock. And, maybe it is just as well to keep it around as a spare.
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
  • AcquaCowAcquaCow Posts: 3Member
    Honestly, the 55-300 is too slow to focus, quite annoying at times actually.
    The 80-400 is sharper, but bigger/heavier/clunkier... Old version isn't AF-S.

    I'd sell both and get the 70-300 which is sharp (until you pass 200mm), and has relatively fast AF and a much smaller size.
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    I would also sell both but get the new 80-400
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,172Member
    LOL the new 80-400 is about 10 times the price of the 55-300 .. thats quite a big consideration i think :-) is the 80-400 really 10 times the IQ better .. to some maybe .. but i think to most D3200 users .. not so much :-)
    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.

  • DaveyJDaveyJ Posts: 880Member
    I have recommended the D3200 to so many novice photographers that I finally just bought one myself with 3 lens from B&H. Total of less than $1,000. The results with that camera and lens system was so spectacular that I now use this as my most used rig. The 18-55 kit lens is way better than I would have guessed. The 55-300 will focus WAY closer than the 70-300VR I use on a D7100. I did find I was most satisfied by setting the camera up on A priority and shooting a lot on f11 on 800ISO. I think the rig is wonderful especially at this price. The lens I use the LEAST is the 35mm f1.8 prime lens. I have tried several other older lens on the D3200. They were the 60 Micro Nikkor, the 105 Micro Nikkor, the 70-300 Nikkor D lens, and the older 80-400VR. Those four lens did NOT work for me on this body. WHY? Weight or just plain aggravation with the D3200 just not working except in full manual with the camera due to no internal focusing motor. Those SAME lens are really OK on a D90. SO I would sell the 80-400 zoom if I could get what I wanted for that and that lens will continue to fetch a lower price over time. I think FlyingOko has a nice rig and using older lens on it just doesn't add much at all.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,027Moderator
    @DaveyJ: What is your take on the 7-300VR Vs the 55-500 for IQ? I have the 70-300VR and find it soft enough between 240 and 300 as to be useless. What is your experience?
    Always learning.
  • DaveyJDaveyJ Posts: 880Member
    When I use the lens (55-300 or the 70-300) I always try to shoot at somewhat less than max. The 70-300VR seems to focus faster than the 55-300VR but I mostly use the D7100 on the 70-300VR and the 55-300 on the D3200. I have some nice shots on 300 with both lens BUT always try to shoot again at a little less than 300 which incidentally seems to be ABOUT 240.

    However sometimes with really fast and unpredictable subjects like Ruffed Grouse in flight I find myself holding at 300mm and bracing myself at that racked out focal length as an additional field steadying tactic. I had a 80-200 Nikkor and it was sharper at max. On the Grand Canyon cable walk a rental 80-400(New) seemed at its worst on 400. So compared to the 200-400 at 400 the results are a little daunting. My work around solution is use the D3200 on f11 aperture and I do have SOME images with the 55-300VR on 300 that are exceptional. More and more on a fixed income I find myself using budget Nikon gear but the results are hardly always awful. Actually many shots are quite useable.

    I bought the 18-55 kit lens more on YOUR posts than anyones and have frankly been very impressed with the results! LASTLY the 70-300VR focuses faster than the 55-300VR. Also the D7100 focusing is considerably more precise and more control than the D3200. UP Close the 55-300VR is hands down BETTER than the 70-300VR as it can focus MUCH closer! Again I have shots close with the 55-300 on 300 that have made some pros say WOW! Those shots were taken with the D3200.
  • PickerelPickerel Posts: 154Member
    I used to have the 55-300 before I moved up to full frame. Now I don't have as much reach with just a 70-200, but it is so much sharper at 200mm than the 55-300 is at 300mm that I don't really mind the lack of reach. I plan to get something with more reach eventually, but for the time being I just work with what I have (and get closer if I can, I do have useful legs). One thing I found interesting with my 55-300 is that it was much, much sharper when focusing on close targets than when trying to focus at infinity. I was happy with some images of insects and other nearby subjects, and never pleased when using it for tight landscapes.
    Appalachian Trail class of 2013, Georgia to Maine
    Continuing adventures at shepherdadventures.wordpress.com
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited September 2013
    @ Pickerel
    if you crop an image taken with the 70 -200 @ 200mm to the equivalent of one take with the 55- 300 @300mm Is it sharper , or as sharp as the image taken with 55-300


    I plan to get something with more reach eventually, -

    the answer is the new 80 -400


    and if you don't need f 2.8 you can sell the 70 -200 to help pay for it
    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,172Member
    "I plan to get something with more reach eventually,"

    Another option is the TC17
    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.

  • PhotobugPhotobug Posts: 4,535Member
    I have had excellent results using a TC17 on a 70-200 lens. That would be an inexpensive first step until you save up the cash for a new 80-400.
    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 |
  • ChasCSChasCS Posts: 309Member
    I don't have anything I'm going to sell helping to fund anymore camera gear. :-( which is probably a good thing at this point.

    All though I can admit, After checking out the new 80-400mm lens, I am looking forward to buying my own.

    This upgraded 80-400mm lens was a long time in the making, I for one, am glad it's finally here, and in waiting.
    D800, AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR, B+W Clear MRC 77mm, AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR, Sigma DG UV 77mm,
    SB-910~WG-AS3, SB-50, ME-1, Lexar Professional 600x 64GB SDXC UHS-I 90MB/s* x2, 400x 32GB SDHC UHS-I 60MB/s* x1
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