Need major help!

Joined
May 1, 2006
Messages
55
Location
Soldotna, Alaska
I need to purchase a long lens. I have a friend I am visiting next month that has a lake on the property. I was already looking forward to photographing the many birds that nest there. She was just told that there are 4 nesting pairs of the endangered Piping Plover.

- I own a Nikon D200, 24X120mm VR, 70-200mm VR, 1X4 teleconverter,
acratech ballhead, and a Gitzo tripod.

- I have around $ 1500.00 to spend.

- It would be nice to be able to hand hold as well as use the tripod.

Do I specifically need a VR if I want to hand hold? If am thinking I can only afford the 300mm range. So which one?

Jen
 
Joined
Jul 4, 2006
Messages
502
Location
Georgia via Long Island, NY
The 300f4 AFS + tc14e is as good as it gets at any price. I agree with Greg...if you're gonna be on a tripod, the replacement foot is a very wise investment.
The Sigma 100-300HSM f4 + tc, 50-500HSM, 80-400OS, and Nikkor 80-400VR are all within your range.
Another possibility if you are open to MF lenses is the 400f3.5 AIS + tc-301. Outstanding combo but your support rig and technique are key. I reluctantly sold mine, but it was great (BTW I never saw the CA that others have mentioned ). Of course handholding is not going to be something you'll want to do with this one...at least not with any regularity.
 
Joined
Dec 22, 2006
Messages
510
Jen:
You may want to consider renting a 200-400mm VR or a 5/600mm AF-s II, depending on how close you can get, the amount of light available, and the quality of image you're seeking. Yes, shorter tele's will work, but your odds of getting the 8x10 of a well-exposed, crisp shot increase substantially with one of the super tele's. Given that this may be a 'once in a lifetime' opportunity, renting the best equipment seeems justifiable.
Another thought is to purchase the 500mm P4 (manual focus), which is just above your budget.
My experience has been that compromising focal length leads to dissapointing shots of small wildlife, but my expectations of shot quality may differ from yours.
Best of luck
Dave
 
C

Cabrams

Guest
Though I havent shot with it myself I have seen many pictures with the sigma 50-500mm ex lens that I have to say I was very impressed with. just a thought.
 
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
3,728
Location
Massachusetts
Real Name
David
For hand held the Nikon 80-400 is great and since they are a "nesting pair" the slow AF should not be a problem. Otherwise if you have the tc14e (type I or 2 i think) the 300 f4 is a great lens from all accounts.

If your TC is the Kenko then there are a few here that have actually used it on the Nikon 80-400 with acceptable results given enough light. Also the Sigma 50-500 is made with a limiter that stops you from going down to 50mm so you can put the Sigma TC on it, for Sigma lenses it is best to used Sigma TC's. It turns it into a 700mm, but you need a lot of light.

The only one of these that I have owned is the 80-400, and I did try the TC on it a few times.
 
Joined
May 1, 2006
Messages
55
Location
Soldotna, Alaska
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #6
need major help

Thanks you guys for the response.

I have been asking around and several others have also mentioned the Nikon AFS 300mm f/4.

I do have a TC-14E II 1.4.

My only other novice question ... if I already have a 70-200mm VR lens, would purchasing the 80-400mm VR be redundant for me? I guess I want the best of all worlds.

Jen
 
Joined
Feb 22, 2005
Messages
4,414
Location
CT USA
I had the 80-400VR when it first came out and I was less than impressed with the image quality, especially at 400mm. I recently bought a new 300 f4 and so far I am quite pleased with the image quality, even when using the TC1.4eII (420mm). While I advocate buying only new when it comes to lenses with AFS and/or VR, you might consider a used one if you can find a good deal (There was just a good one here not long ago...). Rental, as mentioned, is also a viable option, unless you just want to use this as an excuse to satisfy your lens lust :rolleyes:
 
Joined
Feb 14, 2005
Messages
1,640
Location
Huntsville, AL
I agree with the 300mm AFS f/4 + teleconverter. I have owned the Bigma i.e. Sigma 50-500 and it's very good, but must be stopped down to f/8 for sharpness (at least mine required this). I currently use the 300mm and also use a 500mm f/4 AFS, which is a good all around big lens. I also like the idea someone posted about renting a big lens. Not a bad idea, because you may only need a 500mm for a short period, and you get to try it out.
 
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
3,728
Location
Massachusetts
Real Name
David
Before I would rent I would think about buying used and reselling if you can. Might be cheaper. I have a trip to Alaska planned for this summer and I'm not sure if I'm going to buy, rent, borrow, or buy for resale myself.
 
Joined
May 1, 2006
Messages
55
Location
Soldotna, Alaska
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #11
Need major help

Wonderful information! I really love this group!

I think I will go with the 300mm lens f/4 with a new collar/foot as recomended. And an added bonus ... B & H has it in stock! Will order today.

My next purchase ... a Nikon wide angle AF 12-24mm f/4G? I think it would be a nice addition (and cover a lot of ranges) to my Nikon kit lens, 24-120mm VR, Nikon 70-200mm VR.

Then a macro ... I am definately in LUST!

Jen
 

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