70-300 comparison

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I have a Sigma 70-300, but am looking for something in that same zoom range with much better quality, and much faster focusing. Price is an issue, so looking at a nice 80-200 or something of that nature is out of the question right now. How much of an upgrade would it be to go from the Sigma 70-300 to a Nikon 70-300 VR? Anyone here have experience with each to give a good comparison?
 
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It will cost you this much
Or it will cost you this much
If you sell your Sigma, you can offset some cost too.
What body you use? Nikon 80-200 AF f2.8 will only auto focus on bodies with internal motor like D90, d300, D200, D7000, D700 and some more.
It will not AF on bodies like D3200 or D5100. You good with Nikon 70-300 AFS VR on those bodies.
 
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I use a D200...funny, I did not think about the used route for the 80-200.
 
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If you go for 80-200, make sure you get AFD if you want to use CP filters. AF has a rotating front and AFD front does not rotate. Optically they both very good.
You can also consider Tamron 70-300 VC. Some people like it better than Nikon. Nikon 80-400 AFD VR is also in a run for you. Although not very fast, it provide very long range and very good IQ. Cost much more than $500.
 
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The Sigma 100-300 HSM is an awesome lens and you won't give up any length. I shot one for a long time and wich I still had it. Look at some of the posts from cre8foru. He shoots one and often with a 1.4x and produces some awesome results.
 
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The 80-200 is a great lens, and available used for a little more than a new 70-300 VR, but it also weighs considerably more and lacks 100mm on the long end. Is f/2.8 worth that to you? It was to me . . .

That having been said, the Nikon 70-300 VR is probably the best lens available for its price.
 
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I have a Sigma 70-300, but am looking for something in that same zoom range with much better quality, and much faster focusing. Price is an issue, so looking at a nice 80-200 or something of that nature is out of the question right now. How much of an upgrade would it be to go from the Sigma 70-300 to a Nikon 70-300 VR? Anyone here have experience with each to give a good comparison?

I was in a similar situation, but really wanted F4 @ 300 for the subject isolation, so I bought a Sigma 100-300 f/4. If you do not need f/4 @ the long end, both the Nikon & the Tamron stabilized 70-300's are very good. If I had to pick one, I'd go with the Tamron. Tamron often discounts this lens with a $100 rebate, which beats you home. Throw in the 6-Year warranty and it becomes hard to resist. Tyr-Sog makes a compelling case for the Tammy in his images above. Best
JT
 
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I recently bought the Tamron 70-300 VC and before choosing it I compared it with the Nikon 70-300 VR and Sigma 70-300 (without OS). I can explain why if interested.
 
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One thing to add. Some people like to dismiss the Tamron. They often give The Digital Picture test as a supposedly reliable example of how the Tamron is not good at 300mm and worse than the Nikon.

Here is a comparison showing the TDP example at 200 and 300mm at the top and my own example at the bottom. The TDP examples were just screen shot from their website. My samples are 100% crops. The point is only to show the difference between 200mm and 300mm in both tests. I don't know what was wrong in the TDP test, maybe it was a bad lens, a focus problem, or something else, I really have no idea. What I know is that it's a poor example of what the lens is like.

8712448397_fe621d60e6_b.jpg
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I recently bought the Tamron 70-300 VC and before choosing it I compared it with the Nikon 70-300 VR and Sigma 70-300 (without OS). I can explain why if interested.

Please do.. I'm in the market for one of these 70-300's. (also considering the new Nikon 28-300). I would love to hear what you think. thanks
 
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I would also be interested in hearing what made you choose the Tamron over the Nikon. Funny, just last weekend I was talking to another photographer at Lime Rock, and he told me that many say the Tamron is better, but did not know why they said that.
 
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OK, first a few things to explain. I use FLs over 100mm maybe 5% of the time. I wasn't going to invest in one of the 70-200 lenses or the 28-300, mainly because with their prices they would be a poor value to me.
Saving some weight is also nice (I don't really have a problem with the weight, I just really prefer lighter lenses).
So in the end it was a choice between the Nikon 70-300 VR or the Tamron 70-300 VC.

  • Sharpness from 70mm to about 240mm (or slightly less) was more or less similar.
  • Above that and especially at 300mm the Tamron was significantly sharper.
  • In its sharp range, the photos from the Nikon look a bit more vivid and contrasty straight out of the camera (RAW). The Tamron would require slightly more PP to match (nothing really special that can't be done using PP and it's not a big difference).
  • The Nikon feels a little better made to me. Of course, I can't say for sure without actually disassembling the lenses and see how they are actually made. It's just intuition based on how they feel when using them. The difference is small anyway.
  • The VC on the Tamron has a more mechanical and louder sound when it starts to work and also when it stops. The VR has a much softer sound when it starts and stops.
  • The VR is louder (but not especially loud) and more obvious (I can feel it more through my fingers than the VC) while it is working, making a strange vibration, but nothing that is not possible to get used to. The VC is less obvious while it is working.
  • The VC is just a fraction slower to start, though both the VC and VR take a moment (it's fast but not totally imediate).
  • The VC is IMO much better. It really stops the movement and is the best in that way than any VR/IS I've tried. The VR stops the small vibrations too but gives a more "wavy" feel. For video the VC can cause weird "jumps" I think.
  • The Nikon focuses a little faster. Not a lot, but it's noticable.
  • The Nikon has more of those blue/purple lines at contrast points, especially at 300mm.
  • Here, the Tamron comes with a one year warrenty. The Nikon comes with a three years warrenty.
  • The Tamron is a little more than $100 cheaper here.
  • Tiny insignificant bonus point: The Nikon has a better front lens cap and the Tamron has a better back lens cap :)
Overall, for me, the advantages of the Tamron, mainly value, sharpness at 300mm and the better VC were far more important than any advantage of the Nikon. This is not a final test since it's based on just one copy of the Tamron and two copies of the Nikon. BTW as you can see my test of the Tamron is very different to what TDP shows. OTOH the two Nikons I've tried look more or less similar to what TDP shows (i.e. a drop in sharpness at 300mm).
 
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I live at 200mm > 300mm. The Tamron AF couldn't keep up with me
shooting team roping, roughstock, and BIF. All the Nikon 70-300's
I had were tack sharp at 300. Handheld technique plays a huge
role is one's ability to deliver high IQ images. Just sayin' :eek:
 
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I shot both the nikon and tamron 70-300... I bought the Tamron as there was no major difference that i could see between the two
 
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I just opted for the Tammy 70-300vc w/ XLD for 300 shipped and paypal used basically brand new. Reason why is because the Tammy is better on the long end which is exactly what I need it for. Nikon is built a bit better and feels better in your hands, but Tam performs better IMO.

You should be able to find either lens for $300 used.
 
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OK, first a few things to explain. [....]

Thank you for taking the time to explain. I did own the Nikon 70-300VR several years ago, but I remember not being impressed with it on the D300. Perhaps I got a bad copy, but I should really give it another chance now that I've learned a few things over the years and now I have a newer body (D800). The Tamron is an interesting lens but I have to find one locally to test.
 
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I'd swear I can't feel a thing with my 70-300 when the VR is working!
I didn't think about this before I tried it. I just felt something moving, maybe sort of vibrating. Or maybe I heard it, hard to say (from memory now). I didn't know what it was at first but then noticed it was because it didn't feel like this when I tried the 24-85 VR lens. I realized it was probably the VR and turned it off to make sure (it was the VR).

Maybe it depeneds where your hand touches the lens? Or maybe some people feel/hear it more than others?
 

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