Upgrade to my 70-300 VR?

Joined
Jun 11, 2008
Messages
950
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Middletown, NY
Hello all,

I'm looking for a lens with better IQ than my 70-300 VR. Mostly what shoot is wildlife and on the long end. This lens isn't really cutting it around 300mm on my new D7100. I'd like to keep this under $1000 if possible, but I fear the IQ I want may not be possible in this price range. Any recommendations?
 
Joined
Mar 23, 2008
Messages
3,126
Location
Santa Barbara, California, U.S.A.
You're correct that it will be hard to improve on the 70-300 VR for under $1000...

Here are some options to improve your IQ at 300/400/500mm:

- 70-200 f/4 VR + 1.4 or 1.7 TC - no gain in aperture, but should be a bit sharper at the long end... Will cost you about $1700 for the lens with 1 TC, though...

- 70-200 f/2.8 VR II + 1.4, 1.7, or 2.0 TC - gain 1 stop at 280mm with the 1.4 TC, extend reach to 400mm with the 2.0 TC... Cost: $2700 for lens + 1 TC...

- 80-400 VR AF-S - your best zoom option at 400mm - but also $2700...

- 300 f/4 AF-S + 1.4 or 1.7 TC - gain 1 stop at 300mm, extend reach to 420/500mm - really excellent IQ for the naked lens and with the 1.4 TC, still ok with the 1.7 TC... Cost: $1700 with 1 TC. Also, you don't have VR so you probably need to improve your support system, so it can get more costly...

- Sigma 150-500 OS or 50-500 OS - these are your cheapest solutions, but not as good as the 300 f/4 + TC, IMO.

You can also try to save some money by buying used, in particular on the 300 f/4 AF-S which pops up quite regularly in the For Sale forum!

Cheers

Mike
 
Joined
Jan 21, 2012
Messages
393
Location
Canada
I went from the 70-300VR to the 300/4 AF-S. Highly recommended upgrade, and fits your budget. It's better at f/4 than the 70-300VR at f/5.6, so effectively you gain more than one stop.

Get the TC14 later if you need it.
 
Joined
Jun 11, 2008
Messages
950
Location
Middletown, NY
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #6
Thanks everyone!


my used 300/4AFS was $850 on fm
a used 1.4 tc can be found for under $300
so you can get close but you need to spend some time looking
Btw, what is 'fm'? I'm sure I'm going to slap myself in the head when someone tells me.
 
Joined
Jan 2, 2009
Messages
5,509
Location
Alaska
Definately if your interested mainly in the long end of 70-300 go with the 300mm f4. I just picked one up used to pair with a new 7100 and they are a match made in heaven. And as others have said, adding a 1.4x TC does not noticeably degrade IQ. That lens commonly comes up in the for sale forum for around $900.
 
Joined
Dec 2, 2011
Messages
19
Location
BT, Ukraine/Norcross GA
Sigma 70-200/2.8 OS EX HSM may be a good option for you. IQ is amazing. Sharp wide open.OS is amazing. And the price tag is not bad. I have no idea how it performs with a TC though.
 
Joined
Feb 11, 2007
Messages
2,222
Location
Orlando, Florida
I can vouch for the D7100 and Nikon 300 AF-S f/4 lens with and without the TC. Just superb. The first image, Osprey, is with the Nikon 1.4TC and the second image, roseate spoonbill chick, without the TC.

Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


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Joined
Dec 27, 2010
Messages
852
Location
Vermont
As mentioned in other posts getting better than your 70-300 for under $1000 is going to be a challenge, but can be done if you're willing to compromise slightly.

I fully agree with the people that say that the Nikon 300mm f/4 is the way to go. I don't have a Nikon, but actually came across an older Tokina AF 300mm f/4 for around $200 that works extremely well on my D7000. I've also had the opportunity to use it with a Kenko Pro 300 DGX teleconverter, and the results were fantastic. I will be purchasing one of these teleconverters very soon to go with my 300.

The AF-S version of Nikon's 300mm f/4 is nice, but if you shop around you may be able to pick up the earlier AF version of this lens for around $500-$600 or so. Optically it is identical to the newer AF-S model. The only issue is that it doesn't have the built in focus motor which is a non issue as your D7100 has a focus motor built in, and can auto focus the lens. Add the Kenko teleconverter for $259, and you're set.

Also, don't be afraid to bump your ISO up a bit. In good light my D7000 has virtually no visible noise up to as high as ISO 1250. ISO 1600 will start to show minor noise in shadowed or dark colored areas, but still not visible to most people. Even ISO 3200 can be useable depending on what's in the frame, and even then it can be minimized in Photoshop. Your D7100 should be at least as good, if not better noise wise at those ISO's.
 
Joined
Jan 21, 2012
Messages
393
Location
Canada
The AF-S version of Nikon's 300mm f/4 is nice, but if you shop around you may be able to pick up the earlier AF version of this lens for around $500-$600 or so. Optically it is identical to the newer AF-S model. The only issue is that it doesn't have the built in focus motor which is a non issue as your D7100 has a focus motor built in, and can auto focus the lens. Add the Kenko teleconverter for $259, and you're set.
This is not correct - the AF-S model is a different optical design with 10 elements in 6 groups and 77mm filter threads. The older AF-D model has 8 elements in 6 groups and an internal filter holder.

The AF-S has better IQ especially with TC.
 

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