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Advice Please on Nikon 300mm Lenses

DrB 7 2 United Kingdom
21 Jul 2013 2:36PM
I am hoping the members can help with some advice on choice of lenses. I am interested in wildlife and sports photography and currently using a 55-300mm zoom lens which has given decent results. I would like to move on and get a fixed 300mm f2.8 to work with my D5100 camera but don't have several thousand pounds to spend!

Can anyone suggest a cheaper lens that will give better results than my current 55-300mm that I could consider?

Alternatively I also have a Nikon D70 camera that I would be happy to use an older lens on if anyone can suggest options?


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Coventryphotog Junior Member 5 149 United Kingdom
21 Jul 2013 4:05PM
Sigma 300 f2.8, Nikkor (Nikon) 70-300 AFS VR G IF ED, Nikon 300 F4, Sigma 120-400....

Plenty to choose from Smile and lots of used lenses @ London Camera Exchange and various other vendors which will doubtless be discussed below.....
DrB 7 2 United Kingdom
21 Jul 2013 4:12PM
Thanks for the info. I will look into them and see where I go with it.
Coventryphotog Junior Member 5 149 United Kingdom
21 Jul 2013 4:58PM
You're welcome Smile
LenShepherd 10 3.6k United Kingdom
21 Jul 2013 6:20PM
You do not mention a budget. I presume below 1000.
As already suggested the Nikon AF-s f4 is an option, or the 70-300 VR.
Although old Nikon AF-! f2.8 are close to 1,000 it is about 15 years since they were made and there are no remaining spare AF motors.
Ffordes have a Tokina f2.8 but the is is a lens I know little about http://ffordes.com/product/12092812381731
If your only camera is a D70 it is no longer a top performer for sports. A second hand D300 and 70-300 could then be the most affordable reasonable option.
Coventryphotog Junior Member 5 149 United Kingdom
21 Jul 2013 7:00PM
I should perhaps add at this juncture that the Sigma 300 2.8 is a significantly more expensive lens, allbeit a lot cheaper than the Nikon equivalent.
scottishphototours 14 2.6k 2
21 Jul 2013 7:08PM
Given your budget is probably under 1000, I'd suggest a Sigma 100-300 f4 with a matched 1.7x convertor would be a good buy for around 500 in mint condition.

On a crop sensor body it gives you a 200-600mm range, though it could be a little slow at around f5.6-6.3....maybe worth looking at.
Frank_Reid 12 227 1 United Kingdom
21 Jul 2013 8:51PM
The first two questions I would ask is..

Do you want a 2.8 lens or not?

Do you want a 300mm or do you want a Zoom.

If you shoot in low (ish) light then 2.8 is a must.

If your subject is at the range (or further) of a 300mm then it is a must.

If you answer yes to both the questions then it has to be a 300mm 2.8 one that you can afford NEW or SECOND HAND either way. As long as you are happy with it and that it will give you results that you can not only enjoy but learn from. Then move onto changing perhaps your camera and then adding to or upgrading the lens.

This is how I would say close to 85% of us move up in the kit we have.

Please let us know what you settle with. remember you have only you to please. Take your time (try them all out) then buy, use and enjoy.

Best Regards

snapbandit 14 2.3k 3 Northern Ireland
21 Jul 2013 9:23PM
Another thing to consider.. do you really need autofocus? (although I do not know how the D5100 reacts to manual focus lenses, you would need to check in case the metering or camera rejects non af-s lenses)
I know many feel that AF is essential & I agree it may help to increase the 'keeper rate', but going for a used good quality manual focus lens may get you a better Image quality & f2.8 lens within your budget.

I have & use (well when I was shooting sport for the magazines I supplied over the last 8 years I used it) a MF Tamron SP 300mm f2.8 and have to say it's IQ is on a par with my Nikon 300 f4, & the images taken when I had to shoot at f2.8 were still good enough to get double page A4 spread images occasionally. If you get used to manually focussing and the subject you are shooting you may barely notice the lack of AF.

Just another option to consider.

Joe B
DrB 7 2 United Kingdom
21 Jul 2013 10:07PM
Thanks for all the info and suggestions. Looks like I have a lot to consider before making a decision!
peterjones Plus
16 4.7k 1 United Kingdom
23 Jul 2013 10:41AM
I recently bought a 300m f/2.8 recent Nikon VR version s/h from an estate; it is heavy and expensive but the results are stunning:


The above was taken handheld with a "venerable" D3S and cropped; btw when you handhold one of these lenses it really does test your hand holding abilities to the limit; the f/2.8 gives a bright viewfinder, faster AF and if you want, great OOF background or rather "bokeh".

I also purchased a 1.7TC from the estate which coupled with the lens gives outstanding results.

G'luck, Peter.
snapbandit 14 2.3k 3 Northern Ireland
23 Jul 2013 7:49PM
No offence Peter, but I think you may have missed the part of the original post where he said
Quote:don't have several thousand pounds to spend!
before you posted to let us know you have a 300 f2.8 VR & 1.7TC. Wink
keithh Plus
14 25.4k 33 Wallis And Futuna
23 Jul 2013 8:14PM
peterjones Plus
16 4.7k 1 United Kingdom
23 Jul 2013 11:07PM
No offence taken, just sharing my experience with the OP not you.
Gundog 5 629 Scotland
24 Jul 2013 9:28AM
Before spending any money on a new or another lens, there are really two questions to ask:

1. Will a different lens allow me to do something that I cannot do at present (or do it significantly more easily)?

2. Will it provide me with a better image quality that I can actually see in the type of end-product photographs I produce?

In relation to 1., a faster lens will allow a faster shutter speed to be used at the same ISO in poor light conditions. But, how many stops? And do remember that high ISO sensor performance is already far better than it was only a few years ago. So a shot that might have required f/2.8 at ISO 400 with a D80 back in, say, 2009 might be surpassed in image quality today by your D5100 using f/5.6 at ISO 1600.

In relation to 2., if you only ever view your photographs on a computer screen or as prints of up to, say, A4 size, then you may simply be unable to discern any difference in image quality produced by a 400 lens and a 4000 lens.

Having said that, I am as guilty as the next man of ignoring such advice in the quest for that extra illusory 2% of IQ.

Real secret in a hobby like ours is to have as much fun as possible within your own personal budget.

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