View Full Version : tele lens

05-05-2010, 2:09pm
I want to buy tele lens mainly for wildlife, zoos, birds etc
what focal lengh am I after? I think its around 500
but considering my DX sensor, that's about 300-350

I have Nikon D80
budget is less than 1500
I'm thinking about 2 options currently
1) Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR
2) Sigma APO 120-400mm f/4.5-5.6 DG OS HSM
3) Some other Sigma or Tamrons


05-05-2010, 3:01pm
for wildlife and birds, better get your wallet out. Even with DX, 500mm can be just enough and sometimes you will want more. The Nikkor 70-300 you note, is a great lens for the zoom range it offers, but it is a fairly slow lens in terms of aperture and focusing on moving wildlife in all but good light is tough. Things like birds which are only 100-150 metres away are quite small even at 300mm.

That lens also hunts quite alot at 300mm, I find I have to back it out to closer to 270mm to get it to lock focus and that is with VR on and trying to hand hold. In contrast, I can hand hold a 400mm f2.8 and 200-400mm f4 (Both Nikkor) and neither hunt focus on my D700 or D3 while tracking planes, birds boats, bikes and other moving things.

There is always the option to add a TC, but not on the Nikkor 70-300mm and the Sigma you noted may be compatible with a TC but is so slow that it would be useless with AF I imagine, particularly in anything but the very best light.

Instead of the 2 above you have mentioned, I would suggest the Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8 v1.0 with either a TC17 or TC20. I have seen good pics even with the 2x TC using this lens and the 1.7 is even better in terms of quality. At the end of the day the 70-200mm with the 2x TC will be no slower than the lenses you mentioned above at 400mm, and the added bonus is you have fast glass from 70-200mm for portraits and other uses without the TC's. You can easily get one for the $1500 you have as there is always quite a few on Ebay, particularly in the USA with many selling them to go to the newer version, and the TC's are anywhere from $250 used.

Sadly, big, fast glass is everything you want it to be, except cheap.

05-05-2010, 3:16pm
Nikon 300 f/4 with 1.7TC

05-05-2010, 3:30pm
sigma 150-500mm should fit the budget if you shop around. thats what i have. :)


for under $1200 above...

05-05-2010, 5:34pm
+1 for Kiwi's reply.

Don't get the 300/4 with AF-D(cheaper).. but the AF-S version(much better)

Second hand they should cost about $1200(give or take a few $), new that can sell for about $1500.

Another alternative is the Sigma 100-300/4. This lens has a very good reputation for high IQ.. almost as good as the 300/4 Nikon prime. Where the Sigma zoom lens tapers off in performance, is when combined with a teleconverter. Still good, but not as good as the Nikon prime with TC's.
Someone like DWI has the Sigma zoom lens for about $1400(new).

05-05-2010, 7:01pm
100-300 f/4 sigma plus 1.4 tc, very cheap second hand and still under budget new.

05-05-2010, 7:21pm
sigma 150-500mm should fit the budget if you shop around. thats what i have. :)


for under $1200 above...

That's what I went for. Still in the honeymoon period but I'm enjoying it.

Both Paxtons and Camera House in Parramatta agreed to match this price for me. Paxtons got the cash due to brilliant service from the sales guy.

06-05-2010, 11:53am
G'day CB

Back in my film-camera days, I had a 1000mm for in-the-wild nature work - lovely piece of milk-bottle, but even then, there were times when I was asking too much ... the birds in the top of the trees were still too small etc etc

Whatever milk-bottle you get "will" do 75% of shots, and "won't" do them all - for the remainder - just enjoy the view :-)

Regards, Phil

11-05-2010, 3:13pm
sad things you say here :( looks like I'll have spend moooooooooooooooreeee
still not sure thou
N 70-200,
N 300,
S 100-300
S 150-500

11-05-2010, 3:36pm
if kyou are considering the nikon 70-200 then you could save by going for the sigma 70-200 and maybe have enough left for a 1.4 TC?

11-05-2010, 5:10pm
i have the nikon. in midday light, it is fine for speed, but under heavy cloud, or early/late daylight, it slows down alot. many shots end up being 1/30(bad light) at 300mm, and even when (well) stabilised, i can see some blurring in my nature shots. sharpness/resolution/whatever the term is quite nice though, even at 300mm.

i find focus to be fine and VR is very good on this lens though.

10-06-2010, 9:05am
are there only two types of Nikkor 70-300 lens??
coz here I see three ranges of price!
1) about $150
2) about $600
3) about $900
2 and 3 look the same (with VR), but maybe I miss something!

10-06-2010, 9:36am
The first one is the older version without VR - shocking by all accounts.

The second one is effectively the grey import price for the VR - DD have a shopfront in North Sydney though. Lots of people here have had good experiences with DD (me included).

The third is the local stock price and is identical to the second one.

10-06-2010, 9:46am
Birds: 400mm is the minimum. A slow 70-300 will only frustrate,

Wildlife: zoom is really, really useful. Far more useful with mammals and reptiles than it is with birds, where you are almost always at the maximum focal length and wanting more.

Never buy a lens that won't do what you want without a teleconverter. Never.

The Nikkor 300/4 doesn't have VR. Don't even think about a lens without IS/VR/OS in these sort of focal lengths.

The best lens for what you describe is the Canon 100-400/4,5-5.6L IS, but (of course) it wont fit on your D90. The Nikkor equivallent is the 80-400 VR, which is said to have excellent optics but for some very peculiar reason does not have a modern, fast focus motor (no USM/Silent Wave) and is less suitable for birds because of that. Still worth considering though.

Sigma have an 80-400, a 120-400, and a 150-500, all with OS. One of those will be your best answer. The 150-500 is by far the most popular.

10-06-2010, 9:57am
There's actually only two currently available Nikon 70-300mm lenses.

the $150 version is the generally lesser quality non VR version.

the older cheaper f/4-f/5.6 is non VR.
the better f/4.5-f/5.6 version is VR and the one to get.

Prices on the VR version vary wildly form the $600 and up to $900 that I've seen too.
From what I know of this lens, it's pretty solid and performs very well. This is the one to get.. at the cheaper price of course!

21-06-2010, 8:39pm
thanks all for help
I've got 70-300 vr
the testing shoot is here (http://www.ausphotography.net.au/forum/showthread.php?p=608962).