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Archive 2013 · Affordable telephoto options for Nikon?
  
 
kankushok
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p.1 #1 · Affordable telephoto options for Nikon?


Hi, I was just wondering what's considered the equivalent of the Sony 70-400mm or the Canon 100-400mm in Nikon mount? I know that Nikon makes an 80-400mm, but from what I've read it's not really on the same level as the others as it lacks AF-S and the same level of sharpness as its competitors. Of course Nikon has the high end 500mm f4, 20-400 f4 well covered, but is there anything (3rd party options included) that would be equivalent to the affordable (relatively) telephoto zooms offered by Sony and Canon?


Jan 28, 2013 at 04:57 PM
charlandk
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p.1 #2 · Affordable telephoto options for Nikon?


How about the sigma 50-500 or 150-500?


Jan 28, 2013 at 05:05 PM
Vox Sciurorum
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p.1 #3 · Affordable telephoto options for Nikon?


The best value in Nikon's long lenses is the 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR. With a high density sensor it will do a decent job. If that isn't right for you and the 80-400 isn't right you'll have to go third party for a zoom.


Jan 28, 2013 at 05:36 PM
Kerry Pierce
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p.1 #4 · Affordable telephoto options for Nikon?


Nikon's 80-400 isn't quite as bad as some make it out to be, so long as you take the time to learn how to use it. The VR, quite frankly, sux and I suspect it is the reason that many folks dog the lens. It isn't real sharp wide open, but the main thing is good technique and high shutter speeds are a must. Hand holding at 400mm is much more difficult (without effective VR) than many people realize. The tripod foot is poor and needs help or replaced. I've had the lens since 2004 and have gotten some excellent images from it, but only after learning how to get around its issues.... It is probably a better lens today, with the much better high ISOs that one can use to keep the shutter speeds well up where they need to be for sharp images, but I am just guessing. I've not used it for years.

Having said that, I can't recommend the lens at anywhere near the price that they are asking for it today. IMO, they are really ripping people off with the current MSRP on the 80-400. I also have a Sigma 50-500, non-OS, that performs about as well, for a much more reasonable price.

The Sigma 100-300 f/4, apparently is no longer made. My copy is better than the 80-400, with faster aperture and much faster focus. The Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 is even better. Dunno about the current versions with OS, though. I've read conflicting reports on them. I think it probable that too many people expect the 120-300 to perform at the same level as a Nikon 300 f/2.8 and are disappointed when it doesn't.

good luck
Kerry



Jan 28, 2013 at 06:01 PM
macdane
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p.1 #5 · Affordable telephoto options for Nikon?


Kerry Pierce wrote:
Hand holding at 400mm is much more difficult (without effective VR) than many people realize. The tripod foot is poor and needs help or replaced.

Agreed. This lens is so small and light (given the FL) that people think it should be easily handholdable. It is, but only if you can keep your shutter speeds up. The tripod foot is fine if you're shooting at reasonable shutter speeds on a monopod, but leaves you wanting more if you're looking at longer exposures on a tripod.

I also have a Sigma 50-500, non-OS, that performs about as well, for a much more reasonable price.
That would probably be my recommendation. I haven't tried on on a Nikon body, but I used to shoot the bigma on my Olympus E-1 (with the 2x crop factor, that's equivalent to 1000mm) and had great results on both tripods and monopods.

Dane



Jan 29, 2013 at 05:51 AM
hijazist
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p.1 #6 · Affordable telephoto options for Nikon?


Vox Sciurorum wrote:
The best value in Nikon's long lenses is the 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR. With a high density sensor it will do a decent job. If that isn't right for you and the 80-400 isn't right you'll have to go third party for a zoom.


+1. It's a really good lens and goes around $350 on the B&S here. Now you didn't mention your budget or what you are going to to use it for.

Another more expensive option is a Nikon 300 f/4 AF-S with a TC 1.7II. I had both the 70-300VR and the 300 f/4 and both are excellent value for the money. The VR is a bit soft at the long end while the 300 AF-S is tack sharp even wide open, and I couldn't tell the difference when I added the TC.



Jan 29, 2013 at 06:00 AM
 

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Frogfish
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p.1 #7 · Affordable telephoto options for Nikon?


Kerry Pierce wroteThe Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 is even better. Dunno about the current versions with OS, though. I've read conflicting reports on them. I think it probable that too many people expect the 120-300 to perform at the same level as a Nikon 300 f/2.8 and are disappointed when it doesn't.

Hi Kerry, there is a huge thread on POTN (a Canon forum but with a sprinkling of Nikon users too) on the Sigma 120-300. The discussion (so far I've been through 130 of the 194 pages !) compares the 120-300, bare + with x1.4 and very often with the Sigma x2.0 which they generally rate higher than the Canon x2.0, with many other options both Canon & Nikon. The results with the x2.0 are simply stunning and many consider it to outclass the Canon 300/2.8 with a x2.0 (though not bare). I haven't seen or noticed any comments on comparisons to the latest Nikon 300/2.8 but it was compared favourably to early versions.

There are mentions of problems with the OS and AF breaking down (hopefully that issue will finally be solved with the new version coming out this year because Lens Rentals had it top of their breakdowns) and the OS version is optically much improved over the non-OS version. it's a hugely impressive endorsement of the optical qualities of this lens, so much so that my 120-300 arrived 2 days ago

it is a good read (and some stunning bird images) if you have a couple of weeks of 10-15 pages a night to spare

As far as the OP is concerned then the Sigma 500/4.5 doesn't lag far behind Canon/Nikon's offerings but at a far more affordable price. I picked mine up used for US$3,000 and it is a delight (it's much lighter than the Canon/Nikon too).



Jan 29, 2013 at 09:27 AM
tdong
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p.1 #8 · Affordable telephoto options for Nikon?


I guess you want something less than $1000 ?
then i highly recommend sigma 50 500 OS on sale here at lensrental https://www.lensrentals.com/buy/nikon $891. the nikon 300 f4 plus tc can be sharper but this has convenient of a zoom and cheaper



Jan 29, 2013 at 03:16 PM
Derek Weston
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p.1 #9 · Affordable telephoto options for Nikon?


Once you stop it down to f8 or so there isn't a huge difference between the 70-300 and 70-200. (both newer versions)




Jan 29, 2013 at 05:31 PM
fpimentel
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p.1 #10 · Affordable telephoto options for Nikon?


tdong wrote:
I guess you want something less than $1000 ?
then i highly recommend sigma 50 500 OS on sale here at lensrental https://www.lensrentals.com/buy/nikon $891. the nikon 300 f4 plus tc can be sharper but this has convenient of a zoom and cheaper



The SIGMA 50-500mm or 150-500mm lenses are the best option vis-a-vis the 80-400mm. The potential problem with SIGMA lenses is that they can be quite good or quite bad depending of the copy that you get. I did have the 150-500mm and I tried three copies before the one that I used for several years (after selling the 80-400mm in 2008). It was quite sharp but sometimes not that great above 400mm. At the end, I bought a 300mm f/2.8 that I am using with any of the three AFS Nikon teleconverters (TC 1.4x. 1.7x or 2.x) and the results (regarding IQ) are superior. The other option that I tried for a while was the 70-200mm f/2.8 with the TC2.x III but at the end I settled with the 300mm f/2.8. Other otions (mentioned by others) are the Nikon 70-300mm VR or 28-300mm VR but you cannot add any TC to these lenses.

FP



Jan 29, 2013 at 07:33 PM
kankushok
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p.1 #11 · Affordable telephoto options for Nikon?


Thanks for the responses. I was considering the feasibility of switching from Sony to either Canon or Nikon for better AF tracking performance and ISO performance, and trying to get a feel for what the equivalent would be to my 70-400mm. I was hoping to keep the costs to close to what I could afford by selling off my current system. I'm estimating I can get about 3500 optimistically. Budgeting about 2000 for a body and a decent normal lens leaves about 1500 for a telephoto. I was really hoping that Nikon would work, because they seem to have much more competitive camera bodies ie: D600 vs. 6D (full frame because the APS-C high end cameras are due for a refresh any day, low light capabilities, and I'm doing a lot less wildlife/telephoto work and more portraits than I did).

Having said that, I highly doubt that the 70-300mm VR or 80-400mm VR would be able to match my 70-400mm. The sigma's looked intriguing but I'm very leery due to the oft-raised quality control issues. Based on the responses I got and my own research, the most viable options seem to be:

Sigma 100-300 F4 + TC ~$600 on KEH

Nikon 300mm F4 VR +TC ~$1000

Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 ~1600 at KEH (I think this might be a bit heavy to be practical for me)

I'd really appreciate anybody who can comment on how well these combinations perform in terms of focus speed and sharpness. If you have experience in comparison to the 70-400 that'd be perfect, but being a Nikon forum, I think that might be a bit optimistic .

edit: I realized my math is a bit wonky as the D600 is currently about 1800 used and with any decent performing normal lens would put me over budget. I guess the D7000 or its sucessor would be under consideration as well.



Jan 29, 2013 at 09:11 PM
Fishinfool
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p.1 #12 · Affordable telephoto options for Nikon?


The flexibility of a zoom is nice. I have the 80-400 Nikon, and as other have said, it's really not bad when used properly, and within it's limits. That said, at the price point you are talking, you really cant beat the 300mm AFS f4.0, (Its not VR) along with a 1.4 TC (Own this combo as well). Match it with a D600, and you have about the best bang for the buck in the Nikon system when it comes to IQ.

Larry



Jan 30, 2013 at 02:44 AM





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