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Which long lens?

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by ksebruce, Aug 4, 2008.

  1. ksebruce

    ksebruce Guest

    Thinking of a longer lens. Budget will run to:-

    Nikon 80-400 or Sigma 150-500

    Can't afford a faster lens, which would you buy please?
  2. Nikkor AIS

    Nikkor AIS

    Jun 5, 2008
    Hi Ken: It would be helpfull to know what body your using and what you intend to shoot with it. Iv seen many terrific capture's made with the Nikon 80-400 VR but have no first hand knowledge of it. I did check www.keh.com and this lens cost over $1,400 new:eek: . In that price range you could pick up a used Nikkor 300 2.8 ED-IF AIS and a T.C 14B converter and have money to spare. I know the advantages of AF and VR , however the speed of the Nikkor 300 2.8 lets you stop motion in less light than the slower lens you mentioned. Welcome to the cafe.

  3. ksebruce

    ksebruce Guest

    Hi using a D300. I have the 18-200vr and a Sigma 28-300. We do a lot of walking and see some great wildlife so lens would mainly be for this also some sports as my grandchildren race BMX's and their dad races minis so a zoom seemed ideal.
  4. jimeast


    Mar 17, 2008
    Metrowest. MA
    Which Lens

    Not to change the choices, but I would get the Nikon 300 f/4.0 and a TC 1.4 or 1.7 if needed.

    I pluged this response in at the same time you responded, so I did not realize you have the 28-300. I'd probably still get the 300 f/4.0, but it's just me & my opinion.
  5. adaml


    Feb 21, 2006
    Don't know anything about the Sigma, but I can tell you that the Nikon 80-400 has some of the best IQ of any Nikon zoom lens, even out to 400mm. It's not the fastest lens out there, and AF is not lightning fast either, but for my shooting, it's not a problem, and the IQ makes up for it.
  6. Hi Ken,

    I have had the same thoughts myself and have come to the conclusion based on this site that the 70 - 300VR is probably the best solution.

    See this thread:


    Checkout page 5 where I ask about the 80 - 400 or the 300 F4. The opinion is the the 80 - 400 is slow to focus and big. It would seem the 70 - 300 is the best choice.

    I have now found someone selling at a sensible price and will be ordering tomorrow.


    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  7. I've had the 80-400VR and was pleased with the results I got but focus is a bit slow, even on a D200. The D300 might be a bit better. I've now sold the lens and I'm using the 70-200VR and 300/4 combo with the 1.7TC.

    The Sigma 120-400 and 150-500 both have an internal focus motor (HSM/AF-S) so that should be sufficient. They also have stabilization (OS/VR). Pricewise both Sigmas are availble under US$1000.
  8. You will have a lot of overlap of focal length if you get one of the zooms. I think you can sell your Sigma 28-300. In my experience, there is not much action in the range of 200-300mm. Looks like most of the wildlife, will be below 200mm, or above (read as well above) 300mm. Getting the 80-400 VR will give you a great glass IQ wise, but will be slightly slow and slower AF, as it does not have Internal motors. It will cover all the range you want to, but as I said, those li'l Painted Buntings will still be elusive. My recommendation will be to go with the Nikon 300/4 AFS and get a kenko DG Pro 1.4x TC. It will give you a great glass with decent speed and also nice AF speeds. It is very hand holdable, but you really need atleast a monopod for prolonged shooting.

    Good luck.
  9. I'm not sure you can make a blanket statement. I agree about the image quality, but I've tried and there's no way I could get a decent yield of critically sharp results hand holding the 300/4, much less the 300/4 with a 1.4x teleconverter. With the native lens, camera shake entered the equation... even at 1/500.

    Image stabilization is an invaluable asset when it comes to hand held telephoto work. I'd suggest the 80-400VR if you need that much reach, or the 70-300VR, because of its advanced VR and AF-S, if you can get closer to your targets. Jmho.

    This shot was taken hand held (by a not too steady photographer) at full zoom with the 70-300VR.
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  10. Jeff Lee

    Jeff Lee

    May 16, 2006
    I'd recommed the 300 AFS f/4 with either the 1.4 or 1.7 if you want a long lens. 300 works well Handheld for me and a monopod works well with the 1.4.

    This lens is incredibly sharp:



    These were both done on a tripod (I just can't use a monopod with the 1.7 and get any more than 50% keepers, too old at 58:) )

    Look at the the close focus of the Dragon Fly and the shot of the BH (which is just about full frame here - it is very sharp). If you want a long lens and want a semi-handholdable one- the 300 with a monopod and the 1.4 will make your eyes bleed.
  11. johnmh


    Nov 21, 2007
    Greater NYC
    Have been waiting on a revised Nikon 80-400 with AF-S - apparently it will be coming out this fall now (check Nikon Rumors). Wish Nikon hadn't taken so long.

    Tried a used Tokina 80-400 as a 'long carry' for backcountry treks this spring - gives you range in a small package but IQ is nothing great. Used the Nikon 200-400 for 'close to the car' shots but it's simply too large and heavy for long treks at my age and a bit bulky for airplanes. The 200-400 is a great lens but I really wanted something more compact.

    After the revised Nikon 80-400 didn't show in July, I picked up a Sigma 150-500 as a 'long carry'. Debated this lens' slower speed against the 120-400 and went for the longer reach. It's pretty much what I expected - not a bad lens for the money - and that may be the issue. I wish Sigma had charged a more and upped the IQ, opened up the lens a little more from 5-6.3. The internal focusing motor and vibration resistance work OK but can be a little soft at the edges. But let's be real - My 'ideal' is the 200-400. I'm comparing the Sigma to a lens that cost 4-5 times more. Again, for the money, the Sigma is fine. However, the quality for the Nikon 80-400 is better (perhaps proportionally to the 50% higher price)...... It's just that the AF speed was a bit slow.

    With hindsight - if the revised AF-S 80-400 VR maintains IQ and picks up focusing speed - I'd wait a little longer for that lens. I've gotten shots with the Sigma I might not have gotten otherwise and expect it to come in handy during August trips, but stil may be looking at the revised Nikon later when it comes out.
  12. I too have problems with handholding the 300/4 as my hands are far from steady but with a monopod or tripod I get decent images using the 300/4 with 1.7TC.
  13. ksebruce

    ksebruce Guest

    Thanks to all for the advice. I think I may wait and see if a new 80-400 shows in the near future.
  14. weiran


    Jan 2, 2007
    Nottingham, UK
    New 80-400VR rumours have been going on for years, I'd say there's only a fair chance of it coming out this year, Nikon have already exhausted their new lenses for the year and I think it's unlikely they will release anymore.

    I'd be looking at the new HSM super-zoom Sigmas that are starting to surface, the AF in the Nikon 80-400VR would definately be restrictive for BMX stuff.
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