Telephoto Zoom for Everything

Joined
May 13, 2007
Messages
990
Location
Cleveland, OH
I'm in the process of moving from primarily manual focus primes into something a little more managable especially for wildlife photography.

Right now my kit consists of:

10.5mm DX Fisheye
18-70mm DX
24mm F2.8 AF
50mm F1.8 AF
55mm Micro F3.5 MF
55mm F1.2 MF
100mm F2.8 E-Series
135mm F2.8 MF
300mm F4.5 ED-IF
400mm F5.6 (Heinz Kilfitt Fern-Kilar...monster glass!)

What's the best way to effectively consolidate the longer lenses into a more modern AF telephoto zoom? I saw Tokina had a new 80-400 that looked to score pretty well, but how would that compare to say... a 70-300VR? I'm open to pretty much everything under $1000 at this point.

I'd appriciate anyone's input!

-David
 
Joined
Oct 19, 2006
Messages
1,020
Take a look at the Sigma "BIG MA" at 50 -500 MM. There was one on the "for sale" bord the other day.
 
Joined
May 13, 2007
Messages
990
Location
Cleveland, OH
How usable is the BIGMA 50-500mm wide open? I tend to run around on a mountain bike quite a bit, and that limits my ability (depending on the terrain) to bring a tripod with me. So most of my shooting (now atleast) is wide open handheld or monopod with the D70 cranked up to ISO800
 
Joined
Mar 21, 2006
Messages
1,706
Location
New Zealand
I tend to run around on a mountain bike quite a bit, and that limits my ability (depending on the terrain) to bring a tripod with me.
I'd say the 70-300VR is the best contender then. It has good reviews, and it's small and light enough to carry on a bike. VR will allow you to shoot without a tripod. It matches up perfectly with the 18-70 DX - they both take the same filters and you get the full range of 18-300mm with good quality.
 
Joined
Jan 2, 2007
Messages
966
Location
Nottingham, UK
I found the 300mm end of the 70-300 quite soft (compared to my Sigma 70-200 + TC), and it will probably be a dissapointment for you if you use it mainly at that end.

The 80-400 is a good quality lens, but the AF might be a bit slow for wildlife. I can't comment on the Tokina 80-400 but I've heard good things about the Sigma version.

Also check out the Sigma 100-300mm f/4 and 70-200 f/2.8.
 
Joined
May 26, 2006
Messages
856
Location
Charlottesville, VA / Palo Alto, CA
> You can't go wrong with the 200-400mm f4 VR.

True, if you can avoid bankruptcy in the process of acquiring it :)

> One of the best (if not the best) telephoto zooms Nikon has made.

Or anyone else, for that matter!
 
Joined
May 26, 2006
Messages
856
Location
Charlottesville, VA / Palo Alto, CA
How usable is the BIGMA 50-500mm wide open? I tend to run around on a mountain bike quite a bit, and that limits my ability (depending on the terrain) to bring a tripod with me. So most of my shooting (now atleast) is wide open handheld or monopod with the D70 cranked up to ISO800
Pretty good, actually, even at 500mm. I keep reading people say that it's soft, but I had occasion to compare it with my 200/f4 Micro - not one of the lenses people usually say is disappointing - and the Bigma came off pretty well, really. I don't find it necessary to go to ISO 800 all that often, although I do use ISO 400 most of the time with this lens.
 
Joined
Jan 13, 2006
Messages
1,743
I recently purchased, but haven't yet received, a Sigma 100-300/4. By all accounts, it's supposed to be a wonderful lens, and it's a managable size and price. When I get it, I'll post some pictures.

DAB
 
Joined
May 5, 2005
Messages
23,780
Location
SW Virginia
Another 70-300 VR at 300mm, cropped considerably:

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Original here.
 
N

Nuteshack

Guest
for under a grand u would be hard pressed to beat the 70-300vr for wildlife...and considering it's portability, i think it'sa BIG winner ....;-))
@ 240mm wide open
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Joined
May 13, 2007
Messages
990
Location
Cleveland, OH
For $479 it looks like the best deal out there. Surely won't be built like a tank, but I can always find a 80-200 F2.8 on eBay if I feel like beating on my zooms!

Maybe somewhere down the line we can get a composite material in our non-pro lenses that brings together the toughness of the metal housings and the low weight of plastic.
 
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