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Telephoto zoom vs Telephoto prime image quality


Nigeve1 e2
1 920 95 United Kingdom
18 Apr 2013 10:31PM
Hi
I have recently got back into SLR photography particularly wildlife / birds and have just bought a Nikon D7000 and I am pleased with the results I am getting from its sensor compared to the D70 I was using before. I Have been using it with an old Sigma 400mm f5.6 from the 1980's but I am somewhat disappointed with the image sharpness and chromatic abberation (see bird photos in my portfolio Nigeve1,all taken on this lens with D70 and D7000). I know going back 20 years or so, prime telephotos were felt to be best. I am aware that this may have changed and would value opinions; obviously zooms offer greater flexibility. I was thinking of the Nikon 300mm f4 but extra reach would be nice if image quality is not significantly compromised and I would value opinions / experience of suitable alternatives. My budget is up to about 1100.

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18 Apr 2013 11:48PM
Miracles did not happen. Prime is still better than any zoom covering it's focal distance with their range. Only thing to consider here - buying a cheap prime vs advanced zoom. Here the difference may be negligible as compared to zoom versatility - which would be very handy in type of photography you are exploring. I had a quick look at your images-love them!Smile
Unfortunately, I am not from Nikon cohort - Canon is my sort of thing, so I hope it will be not too long before Nikon guys will pay you some attention. Good luck!Smile
19 Apr 2013 12:07AM
Nikkor 300mm f4 is legendary and works well with a 1.4x TC too. No brainer...buy it!
StrayCat e2
10 15.5k 2 Canada
19 Apr 2013 12:41AM
I don't know what the new Nikon VR 80-400mm costs, but I'd check that out, amazing optics.
snapbandit e2
10 2.2k 3 Northern Ireland
19 Apr 2013 12:54AM
I regularly use the 300 f4 with TC1.7x and am well pleased with the results (better IMHO than the Sigma 150-500 which I also have & have rarely used).
the new 80-400 looks like it will be good but looks like it's going to be quite a lot more money Sad (well over 2000 from what I have seen).

Joe B
Coventryphotog Junior Member 1 149 United Kingdom
19 Apr 2013 12:56AM
Sigma 150-500 is almost standard issue amongst birders these days, fits your budget too....

Edit - didn't read the above comments before posting, but still consider it a worthwhile point, we know a few folks with the Sig on a D7000, and it works well.....
StrayCat e2
10 15.5k 2 Canada
19 Apr 2013 1:18AM
You're right Joe, but what a lens. Smile
19 Apr 2013 8:06AM
I have a nikon 300 f4.It is an excellent lans.
19 Apr 2013 8:12AM
Nikon primes of 300mm and longer score optically higher in Nikon's MTF than zooms with the exception of the 200-400 at 400 mm. These lenses are expensive to very expensive, though with faster to much faster auto focus.
The new 80-400 AF-s bridges the gap but at nearly 2,500 current street is not cheap either. It should come down to around 2,000 but still well outside your budget.
Within your budget I suggest a second hand 300mm f4 AF-s and Nikon 1.4x or 1.7x converter - putting optical quality ahead of zoom range.
Another option is a 300 f4 and trade up to a D7100 body. The D7100 1.3x crop gives you more reach with similar MP to your D7000.
Off topic wide angle and mid range current Nikon pro grade zooms are generally optically better than the Nikon 20mm to 180mm "old generation" f2.8 primes which were optically designed some time before the end of last century.
cameracat e2
11 8.6k 61 Norfolk Island
19 Apr 2013 12:18PM

Quote: Prime is still better than any zoom covering it's focal distance with their range


I seriously suggest you read up on the Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 G AF-S ED

Or Maybe This One

Whatever, Fact is this, Top end zooms of today are a whole different animal compared to ancient zooms from the past, Period...!
19 Apr 2013 2:46PM

Quote:
I seriously suggest you read up on the Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 G AF-S ED

Or Maybe This One

Whatever, Fact is this, Top end zooms of today are a whole different animal compared to ancient zooms from the past, Period...!


I would not compare a steam engine to a turbo jet, and lost considerable amount of gullibility long time ago. Therefore serious reading makes more impression on me than online optics seller's advertisements.
BURNSIE e2
6 25 4 England
19 Apr 2013 3:04PM
I have a number of Nikon prime and zoom lens including 14-24, 24-70, 70-200, 80-400 etc.
The Nikon range of glass is exception quality, However I would say Prime is by far better especially a fast lens that would allow for a TC to be attached without too much loss of light.
Having said that fast long primes by Nikon are expensive and heavy.

I toiled over this question for my purchase, however I, in a fit of madness, agreed on a deal at the focus on image show and brought the Nikon 400 f/2.8.
My reasoning for choosing this lens, over the cheaper 500 f/4 etc, was the ability to fit any 3 of the Nikon range of TC's.

Please be aware of the weigh issue and factor in the cost of a gimbal head (circa 250) because you will need something like this to hold it.
Regards
Burnsie
20 Apr 2013 7:31AM

Quote:
My reasoning for choosing this lens, over the cheaper 500 f/4 etc, was the ability to fit any 3 of the Nikon range of TC's.


An advantage of the Nikon system, well known to wildlife photographers since I switched to it in 1999, is any AF point on any body can and does autofocus to a decent enough standard with an f8 combination such as the 500 f4 with 2x for accurate autofocus of static subjects in good light. I did this frequently when I owned the combination and continue to do it with the 200-400 with 2x.
I agree with older bodies focus tracking is limited to little more than walking speed, in flat lighting autofocus hunts, and the performance is probably below Nikon's minimum standard but it definitely works quite well much of the time.
f8 autofocus performance improves to a standard Nikon are happy with with some autofocus points if the OP upgrades to a D7100.
Trev_B e2
7 129 66 England
20 Apr 2013 9:54PM

Quote:Nikkor 300mm f4 is legendary and works well with a 1.4x TC too. No brainer...buy it!


Good advice, Since I bought this lens ten months ago and since added the TC14E 11 I have not touched my Nikkor 70-300 Vr, the 300mm F4 far out performs the zoom, but then it was twice the priceWink

Trev
Nigeve1 e2
1 920 95 United Kingdom
21 Apr 2013 9:14PM
Many thanks to everyone who has contributed. Obviously there are a range of views and although I would like some of the kit mentioned, my budget is restrictive. The balance of comments has helped me a great deal. The most likely at present is the Nikon 300mm f4 and possibly a 1.7x converter. Many thanks to all once again.

Nigel

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