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What telephoto lens would you get for under $1150 USD?

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by Jonathan F/2, Feb 12, 2019.

  1. Nikon 70-200mm 2.8 VR I + 1.7x TC

    0 vote(s)
  2. Nikon 80-400mm AF-S G VR

    0 vote(s)
  3. Nikon 70-300mm AF-P FX ED VR and pocket the cash

    8 vote(s)
  4. Nikon 70-200mm 2.8 VR II w/no TC

    0 vote(s)
  5. Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6 VR

    8 vote(s)
  6. Nikob 300mm PF VR (spend extra)

    1 vote(s)
  1. I'm planning to sell off my Sigma 120-300mm 2.8 Sport for something a bit more weight and travel friendly. I don't want to spend more than $1150 USD. First party Nikon lenses only, but considering used prices mostly. What would you get if you needed a general telephoto lens? Will potentially use in low light and all-around general shooting. I also have a Nikon 85mm 1.8 G lens I can use in conjunction with any option. Needs to fit in my carry-on airport roller case. Thanks for any opinions!
  2. Ann_JS


    Feb 18, 2015
    New York State
    I would wait until I could stretch the budget to buy a Nikkor 300mm PF.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. Is the 300mm PF VR that good? I can stretch for it, but I was planning to use additional funds for a travel laptop as well!
  4. Ann_JS


    Feb 18, 2015
    New York State
    I find the 300 PF to be truly excellent.
    I have also used TCs on my 70-200 f/2.8 in the past (and they work surprisingly well if you stop down a bit) but I have seldom done that since I bought the 300PF.
  5. Your idea of travel friendly and mine must be different. The only one on your list that fits that description for me is the 70-300 which I will likely buy eventually as a travel lens for myself.
  6. I’d get either one of the 70-200’s, it’s a very versatile lens that I’ve found really easy to travel with. My 2nd choice would be the 70-300 you listed, I don’t have one but have seen very positive reports on it here, from people who I’m pretty sure know a lot more about this stuff than I do. Not sure about that 1.7x TC, I have one but was not impressed with it. The 1.4x ii or iii works better for me, and the new 2x TC gets good things said about it on the 70-200.
  7. Ann_JS


    Feb 18, 2015
    New York State
    The 300 PF is about the same size as the 24-70.
    When I first got mine, and took it on Safari, someone asked me why on earth was I using a 24-70!

    I did have a 70-300 but I recently passed it on to a college student. The quality at the long end is not great so it needs to be stopped down and the bokeh then becomes very nasty.
  8. The 300pf is great for travel and hiking. It has me thinking about selling my Sigma 150-600 Sport and picking up the 500pf. The more I try to handhold that beast the more I love my 300pf and start thinking of making a change.

    From the lenses you listed above, I would rent/try the 70-300 AF-P to see if you like the performance and can live with the slower apertures.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019
  9. Which 70-300 are you referring to (I think there are something like 5 versions floating around)? I have the P version and, as the saying goes, it performs far above where its price might otherwise indicate. But I tend to only use it when the utility of a zoom demands it. Otherwise, the 300PF is my goto telephoto.
  10. Frank Iacone

    Frank Iacone

    Feb 12, 2019
    I just bought a used 300MM F4ED with the silent wavew motor for $695. I had the screw type older model and sold it and sadly I missed it for sports and portraits. Sharp lens and used its a can't miss.
  11. Now everyone has me thinking about the 300mm PF! I think I could make a case for the 20mm 1.8 + 85mm 1.8 + 300mm f4 VR kit. I forgot to mention I have a 70-200 f4 in Sony mount, but I feel kind of weird not having a 2.8 lens beyond 85mm, hence thinking of getting another 70-200mm 2.8, but that would make for FL duplication.
  12. yes it's that good and more, on par with the big exotics
    • Agree Agree x 1
  13. Any ideas on good used prices on the 300 PF?
  14. I picked up mine for $1600.
  15. I cannot agree with Ann more on this. The 300/4E PF is that good, even wide open at f/4. It takes the TC14EIII well with very little IQ degradation.

    It is small and light and the VR works well. I used it in Yellowstone with the TC14EIII on a D500 and couldn't be happier.

    Some samples:
    Nikon 300mm f/4E PF

    Found one over at KEH ($1742-$1899):
    Nikon Nikkor 300mm F/4 E PF ED VR N AF-S Autofocus Lens {77} at KEH Camera

    MPB has 2 for sale for $1584:
    Used Nikon 300mm f/4E PF ED VR AF-S - mpb.com

    Both places I trust and have 6 month warranty on them. I've purchased more from MPB here lately.
    • Like Like x 1
  16. You say nothing about the type of subjects you'll be shooting, which can have a big impact on the suggested lens.

    When I'm shooting motorsports, I use my 70-200/2.8 VR II (sometimes with the 1.4x III). When I'm hiking and shooting landscape, I use the 70-300 AF-P. They're two very different lenses, and I use them as such.

    My suggestion was the 70-300 AF-P, which can be had for $600 new or $500 used, and you could pocket the remaining ~$600 to put towards that computer you want. Conversely, if you cam back and said you would be shooting a lot of sports where subject isolation and keeping up your shutter speed is a top priority, I would say to go with a used 70-200 VR II, which can be picked up used for right around the top of your budget.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  17. I still have mine as I couldn't bear to sell it. That lens is like a gateway drug for long primes.
  18. I had one and loved it except for the size and weight. The 300/4 PF is half the size and weight, just as good optically, and comes with VR which makes handholding it a breeze. But it is pricey.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  19. That was my question as well, which version?

    My thoughts exactly, an E-M5 mkII and the new O12-200 would be more my idea of light travel gear. :p 

    Subjects and extent of travel? Are we talking about an African Safari or a trip with the kids to Disney? Unless we're talking about dedicated photo travel the only options I'd consider on your list are the 70-300 and 300 f/4. But I'd really want to add the TC for the f/4.
  20. Thanks guys, ended up getting a 300mm f4 PF VR used in the $1300 USD range! :D 
    • Winner Winner x 3
    • Wow Wow x 1
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