My Nikon 70-300 VR lens on my D 7100

Joined
Apr 28, 2010
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Utah
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Carl
It is an excellent lens, but, with advancing age, my personal steadiness is declining. The lens is long and heavy, and I find at 300 mm, with my elbows in and cradling the lens, it is getting more difficult to get sharp photos. I do like the 450 mm angle of view for aircraft, wildlife, birding, and birds in flight. A tripod, even with a fluid head doesn't provide the flexibility I need. I am wondering if I should buy the lighter Nikon 55-200 mm VR lens with its lesser construction, Or, if I can find a good copy of my old 70-210mm push-pull zoom, which was shorter, but not a lot lighter, and I could strangle the len's barrel so the zoom wouldn't move, and do without the extra magnification? :cry: What say, Nikon Gurus? Any advice will be appreciated!:)
 
Joined
Jun 26, 2010
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Redwood City, CA
I have the same lens and was very disappointed with it on my D7100. On the other hand, I'm happy with it on my D500, perhaps because the D500 focusing is so good. I did find the lack of a tripod collar was limiting and bought the 70-200/4 for tripod use.
 
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Joined
Jul 8, 2019
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SF Bay Area, California, USA
For following action, you don't want a fluid head, too much drag, you want a good gimbal head.
I have one and it made a world of difference, in the ability to track/follow a moving subject.

The higher the magnification the more difficult to hold steady, even with VR.

Note that VR does NOT compensate for subject movement.
So if you are tracking a BIF, you NEED a high shutter speed. Depening on the distance to the bird and speed of the bird, I would do 1/1000+.

Make use of ANY available support.

You could look into the "rope-pod" as a field portable device to help steady the kit.
Attach a rope to a 1/4 x 20 bolt into the tripod socket of the tripod foot of the lens or the camera, drop the rope to the ground and step on it, pull upwards on the camera. The tension on the rope will provide vertical stability, basically the reverse of a monopod.

Hand holding becomes tricky.
I have held both light and heavy kits, and I found a heavy kit easier to handhold STEADY than my light kit.
There is a saying that my rifle coach told me "weight is your friend." And he was absolutely right.
But this assumes the correct stance that will make use of the weight, for steadiness. The stance that I use for steady long shots is not the same stance that I use for action sports.

Also a BIF will tax the tracking ability of any camera, especially if you cannot hold the camera steady on the bird. This is when the AF capability of the camera comes into play, and some cameras have better AF than others.
 

JLH

Joined
Jan 28, 2019
Messages
45
I have used my 70-300 on my D7100 for some years now. I got the lens on a deal when I got the camera. I have many beautiful photographs with that combination. Some of the most impressive to me are of classic aircraft landing and departing our local airport during the annual "Thunder Over Louisville" event. I could not ask more of a camera and lens than what this pair has provided me with. Now, it could be I have a good example, I don't know. I do know I have always been very happy with this combination.
 
Joined
Apr 28, 2010
Messages
1,602
Location
Utah
Real Name
Carl
Thanks, all! I have also been happy with my 10 year old lens.

But...Gear Acquisition Syndrome (GAS) has raised its head, and I received my new AF P 70-300E ED 4.5-5.6E ED VR yesterday. :D, In quick initial tests, it is noticeably sharper than my old 70-300 AFS VR at 300 mm, and throughout the zoom range.

Ken Rockwell opines it's because the lens has the same optics as the 70-200mm F/4, or the 70-200 F/2.8! :)

It is not a lot lighter, and the VR has changed somewhat. It still has 3 positions for VR...OFF, NORMAL, and SPORT. Instructions say "NORMAL for stationary objects, and SPORT for when things, like athletes are moving around "rapidly and unpredictably". But, it also says either position can be used for panning shots, but SPORT is recommended. So far, so good! Sounds like both can be used for whatever.

But, the real surprise is... from the instructions..."Vibration Reduction is generally recommended when the camera is mounted on a tripod, :wideyed: although you may prefer to turn it off depending on shooting conditions and the type of Tripod." HUH? Since the Stone Ages, the "word" has been widely disseminated as DON'T use VR on a tripod, or above about 1/400 sec. or Bad Things would happen!

My old lens has three VR positions,OFF, Normal and Active, the last to be used when shooting from a moving vehicle (?) I can count on one finger the times in 10 years I have used my old lens from a moving car, so maybe Mother Nikon has eliminated a not-too useful feature, and thinks it's O.K. to shoot from a moving vehicle with either of the latest settings? Oh, and they also say it is o.k. to use the lens with the VR off, too. Comforting to know! :smuggrin: Maybe I'll call Nikon and get the straight scoop!😉

Anyhow, I am looking forward to using my new lens for race track, air shows, and Hummingbirds and whatever.:D
 
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