FLY2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 16844 times:
So I am now a happy owner of a D90 and I've been having good results with the 18-105 lens that came with it, of course I've used it for things other than aircraft spotting since it is too short of a lens for those purposes.
I've been reading online for reviews on both the Nikkor 70-300mm IF-ED and their 80-400mm lens. Apparently there are complaints on both being soft towards the ends, and some say the 80-400 has outdated optics and an improved version will come soon. The 80-400 costs almost double of what the 70-300 is worth and I wonder if it's even justified.
I've seen they offer these lenses in used condition for considerably less in adorama.com. Is that a good option?
So which one is the smarter buy? I'm leaning towards the 70-300.
EstorilM From United States of America, joined Jan 2009, 124 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 16769 times:
These lenses really shouldn't be considered as the same price range (even if some searches have yielded those results.) Having said that however, I wouldn't call the 80-400 a professional lens (even though, as above poster mentioned, it fetches professional prices for some reason.)
It will work well in certain situations (ie. perfect situations) but if you want to use it as a tool that is always available for you, regardless of the weather and lighting, or as something you grow to count on every time you pick it up and hit that shutter release button, this is NOT a good lens.
I think a lot of people who might come in here defending this lens aren't familiar with a wide variety of pro AF-S Nikkor lenses out there.. as this lens is BEYOND slow - to the point where I've missed many shots with it when shooting sports.
On the other hand, since AF speed and accuracy is a large function of contrast, I could see how this wouldn't be as much of a problem for aviation photography - that will help your accuracy, BUT as I mentioned before it will still be a difficult lens to rely on 100% of the time. For example, if your focus point falls off the subject, this lens will take ALL DAY to "hunt" and re-acquire the subject - less of a problem when set to "limit" as it won't "hunt" back to min focus distance, but still This has been my experience on a D2hs, D2x, and D200 body (all of which have quick internal AF motors and good AF chips.) It might work, but for that kind of $$$, there will be times when you are exceptionally frustrated with it. On the other hand, the 70-200 AF-S has flawless AF - acquisition, tracking, speed, reliability, etc (and would be defined as a true pro lens.)
If I were you, I'd try to find a used Nikkor 80-200 2.8 and get a 1.7x teleconverter, as it will still be MUCH faster, offer superior optical performance, and cost almost the same. It'll also be an internal focus and zoom lens (the 70-400 zoom ring is HORRIBLE, sticks when it's at 70, then flies out towards 400.. very inconsistent, it'll tilt your whole camera/screw up framing when zooming out from 70.)
Another option would be to pick up a Sigma 70-200 2.8 HSM (the DG variant) as this is considered to be one of the best lenses in this range (with the exception of the Canon and Nikkors.) I'd say optical performance is almost as good as those however, but it doesn't feature VR/IS. This would be a great lens for a teleconverter as well, since you don't have to shell out the extra $$ to get a teleconverter which supports VR. It'll also be a new lens, which is always nice.
Clickhappy From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 9823 posts, RR: 64
Reply 3, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 16762 times:
EstorilM has it spot on!
I always have to chuckle at these threads when people post photos of "how good a lens is" and they show us a well lit shot looking something like f/8 for 1/1,000. ANY lens is going to take a decent shot under those conditions.
What makes a lens good is how it handles low light, optical performance when stopped all the way down or opened all the way up, cost, and ease of use.
If you need a zoom go for the 70 or 80-200 f/2.8. If you want more reach the 300mm f/4 is a real crackerjack.
NIKV69 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 16721 times:
Quoting Clickhappy (Reply 3): I always have to chuckle at these threads when people post photos of "how good a lens is" and they show us a well lit shot looking something like f/8 for 1/1,000. ANY lens is going to take a decent shot under those conditions
Actually if you don't try to do too much it performs well. I use my 200 2.8 probably 95% of the time but in certain situations it works fine. If I am shooting on the parking garage at LAS where 300 is useless I get great results. F8 with a shutter of 1/640 works wonders. Now granted you would need good light but why would you want to shoot in poor light? Granted I have found the VR and focusing to be slow but if practice and work at it you can get good results. In fact I have uesd a monopod and turned off the VR and got much better captures. This is the capacity of this lens and it can't do more. It will not be good for sports and stuff like that but then again you have entered a whole different world where professional equipment is needed.
Getting back to the thread starters question about cost effectiveness the 300 would probably make the most sense, provided you can live without the extra reach of the 400.
J.mo From United States of America, joined Feb 2002, 671 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 16623 times:
I will vouch for the Nikon 300mm f/4. Picked it up used at www.keh.com. I use it 99% of the time. I have shot with the older 70-300 G lens and the even older 75-300 (which was better than the G lens) I am now looking to pick up an older Nikon 80-200 f/2.8.
What is the difference between Fighter pilots and God? God never thought he was a fighter pilot.
Alberto Riva From United States of America, joined May 2002, 124 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 16608 times:
Nikon 300/4 AF-S, great lens indeed. Double the price of a 70-300VR but 30% cheaper than the 80-400VR, compact enough to be hand-holdable, and takes 1.4x converters without loss of image quality, which neither of the zooms can do. I'd say it's an easy choice for the 300 if the main use is to be aviation photography. And try macro with it by adding a closeup lens such as the Canon 500D.
That said, between the 70-300VR and the 80-400VR I'd get the 300. I used the 400 exactly once: made the mistake of renting one to shoot the NYC Marathon. Man, was it SLOW. Optically good, but if I can't focus fast enough on a runner doing 25kph, I'm probably not going to be able to get great plane pictures either.
Skidmarks From UK - England, joined Dec 2004, 7121 posts, RR: 53
Reply 12, posted (7 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 16509 times:
Well, it isn't perfect but I'd take my 80-400 over the 70-300 any day thanks. I'd love a super fast lens but cost is the limiting factor here. I get usable pictures that satisfy my needs so no real need to worry. Nothing spectacular and you do get used to the limitations.
And, coupled with the fact I got it for free.........................makes a world of difference