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Thread: Need more zoom than my 70-300mm telephoto lens - best options?

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    Need more zoom than my 70-300mm telephoto lens - best options?

    Hello, I'm a newbie to this photography thing, but truly do love to take pictures, I have recently bought the Nikon d80, and have two lenses with it, one being a 70mm-300mm, and it doesn't seem to get quite close enough when I'm in the woods taking pictures of wildlife, and I really don't have any idea on what the number s mean on the lenses. I have no training, and plan to take a class sometime, but in the meantime, any help would be great. Please let me know what type of lens I would need, or what I would screw onto the end of the lens mentioned above to get a better close-up.
    Amber

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    Re: Introduce Yourself & Welcome Other Members (2)

    Quote Originally Posted by alohf View Post
    ... I also love to take pictures of wildlife and the wldlife doesn't tend to be very cooperative, so what would your suggestion be for the type of lens to use for that use, I have a 70-300 but it doesn't get quite close enough.
    Re your lens query, I'd make a point that the first thing you'll find is blurry pictures as a result of camera shake at the long (300mm) end of your lens, a longer lens more so; this is exaggerated by the length of that zoom and is difficult to manage.. great care is needed to stabilise your camera for those pics. So, get some practice at that, maybe get a small bean bag to rest the camera on a gate or fence post or preferably buy a solid tripod.
    I would do all this before spending on a new longer lens.
    You might then consider a 1.4 or 2 times converter.. an accessory which will allow you to double the effective length of the lens you have. In my view that'd be better value than buying another lens for perhaps only another 100mm of zoom. There will be other points to learn but that's the direction I'd go.
    Of course our colleagues here may come up with options that will better enlighten us both, don't be surprised!


    good shooting!! roxy
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 10th March 2009 at 03:48 AM.

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    Re: Introduce Yourself & Welcome Other Members (2)

    Welcome Amber,

    I would agree with Roxy's advice about camera supports and holding off from buying more glass (given the 300mm you have). - and think of your poor little mights going without shoes too (I have 3; G, B, G)

    I suspect with a D80, you have more then enough resolution to be able to do a significant crop in post processing and still have a decent image (certainly for web posting) and this has the benefit of being both free, and not losing another stop of light (as I believe teleconverters do).

    Look forward to seeing a picture or three,

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    Re: Need more zoom than my 70-300mm telephoto lens - best options?

    Hi Amber,

    Just a quick primer on lens focal lengths ...

    In a nutshell, the bigger the number the closer things will appear, but the narrower the field of view (ie the more "zoomed in" it will appear).

    So something in the 70-300 range would be great for photographing a single player on a playing field, where as something around 24mm would allow you to capture the entire playing field - and something around 14mm would probably capture your feet below - the stadium roof above - the entire field + carpark + surrounding houses! Longer lenses (400mm, 500mm etc) "bring things closer", but also cost more than many 2nd hand cars and often require specialised tripods and heads to get the most out of them (more $$$).
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 10th March 2009 at 03:50 AM.

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    Re: Need more zoom than my 70-300mm telephoto lens - best options?

    Disregard the advice regarding adding a teleconverter to your 70-300 lens if it is a Nikon lens. The Nikon 70-300 lenses will not take a Nikon teleconverter.

    The next step up, though not a big one, is the 80-400 VR. Quite expensive and a slow focus due to the screw drive focus. This lens also will not accept a Nikon teleconverter.

    Another step up again is the Nikon 200-400, very expensive, fabulous reputation and it will accept Nikon teleconverters.

    There are non Nikon alternatives, but some of them have poor reputations, and the ones with reasonable reputations are expensive. The moral of all this is that long glass equals big money.

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    Re: Need more zoom than my 70-300mm telephoto lens - best options?

    My guess is the lens you have is the: AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED.

    My advice is to get as close as possible to the Wildlife with stealth, use a tripod, bean bag or other support to steady and use the slowest (lowest number ISO) but at the same time using a shutter speed fast enough to stop any Subject Motion.

    I suggest you attempt to use an aperture about F8 or F11, if these are possible. . . .

    The idea is to get the best quality image possible, and so, if you are not close enough, then the best option is then to crop the image tighter in post production.

    I think a tele-extender is not a great idea if the lens I have listed is your lens.

    You will loose 1 stop of Aperture, and that makes it equivalent an F8 lens at the 300mm FL.

    My guess is a Minimum Aperture of F8 will certainly kill all your AF.

    A tele extender on that lens might also play havoc with VR.

    Certainly your viewfinder will be darker and thus MF (Manual Focus) in the woods might be a pain.

    I am not a Nikon DSLR user, perhaps one who is, might confirm my suspicions re AF and VR.

    WW
    Last edited by William W; 19th March 2009 at 06:12 PM. Reason: Spelling correction only

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    Re: Need more zoom than my 70-300mm telephoto lens - best options?

    I think Bill44 has confirmed my suspicions. I left my post open and returned later tocomplete it, thus not reading what Bill 44 had written.

    WW

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    Re: Need more zoom than my 70-300mm telephoto lens - best options?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill44 View Post
    Disregard the advice regarding adding a teleconverter to your 70-300 lens if it is a Nikon lens. The Nikon 70-300 lenses will not take a Nikon teleconverter.

    The next step up, though not a big one, is the 80-400 VR. Quite expensive and a slow focus due to the screw drive focus. This lens also will not accept a Nikon teleconverter.

    Another step up again is the Nikon 200-400, very expensive, fabulous reputation and it will accept Nikon teleconverters.

    There are non Nikon alternatives, but some of them have poor reputations, and the ones with reasonable reputations are expensive. The moral of all this is that long glass equals big money.
    Teleconverters are only worth using on the very best lenses designed to go with them. On Nikon you need to look at the fine print to see which fits what. There is also the problem that the TC goes between the camera and main lens, so a lot of opportunity for dust to get in. There is a good combination I think 18-200 (http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/18200.htm) & a 2xTC, but fairly expensive.....which is why I went for the 80-400.

    The 80-400 is very slow as explained, but its quality and versatility justifies IMO (and an excellent complement to the 18-135 D80 kit lens if you got that). There is a historic TC for it available 2nd hand still in US that I am occasionally tempted to try....800mm, wow!)

    You will find the D80 is fairly bad for sensor dust, but using the 'dust reference' photo & corresponding corection in NX2 (see threads on sensor cleaning) is an effective antidote.

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    Re: Need more zoom than my 70-300mm telephoto lens - best options?

    Thank you everyone for all the great advice, like I said I am a newbie, and some of the responses are a bit in "foriegn" language, but I will save them and print them! Anything else you can think of that would help someone just starting out is very much appreciated in any field! I will post some pictures when I get them ready! Again, thanks a ton!

  10. #10

    Re: Need more zoom than my 70-300mm telephoto lens - best options?

    Just to reinforce the importance of a good heavy tripod, read up bythom's article.

    And if you're interested in primes (fixed focal length), read this up. Scroll down to the "Exotics" section as well as the "Best Lens at Every Focal Length"

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    Re: Need more zoom than my 70-300mm telephoto lens - best options?

    Walk Closer!

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    Re: Need more zoom than my 70-300mm telephoto lens - best options?

    Walk Closer!
    investing in camouflage clothes might be indeed the cheapest option! good point.

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    Re: Need more zoom than my 70-300mm telephoto lens - best options?

    Quote Originally Posted by iPhillip View Post
    Walk Closer!
    Although sometimes this technique means you fall over the edges of cliffs!

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    Re: Need more zoom than my 70-300mm telephoto lens - best options?

    Quote Originally Posted by alohf View Post
    some of the responses are a bit in "foriegn" language, but I will save them and print them!
    Technical words can be confusiong at times: is there anything specific that could be explained further?

    WW

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    Re: Need more zoom than my 70-300mm telephoto lens - best options?

    Perhaps you may wish to read up dpreview's glossary , bythom's nikon lens acronym, luminous landscape tutorial, kenrockwell's lens history + terminology,, Kenrockwell's lens aberrations and of course, the forum's very own tutorial.

    *Note: Don't trust kenrockwell's review too much.

    Edit- To be more precise, his review's are alright but don't trust his recommendations/tutorials's heading. For example, "lens sharpness does not matter". What he actually means is lens at smaller apertures (~f/8) look the same. Also, his sharpness comparison is questionable. Does the Canon mark 2 really look that bad?

    *His site seems to be down at the moment so i can't get specific links.
    Last edited by Blazing fire; 20th March 2009 at 11:43 AM.

  16. #16

    Re: Need more zoom than my 70-300mm telephoto lens - best options?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blazing fire View Post

    *Note: Don't trust kenrockwell's review too much.


    I Completely agree,Ken Rockwell though knowledgeable should be taken with a pinch of salt...Wally

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    Re: Need more zoom than my 70-300mm telephoto lens - best options?

    Ken's "about" page is compulsory reading, but I suspect that he's written it because he probably just can't be bothered by the "agro" he seems to attract from some sectors.

    Personally, I've found him to often raise some wery valid "food for thought" - little things like his comment on how he finds it annoying that you have to push the image playback button on Canon SLR cameras before the zoom buttons will work instead of having them just do nothing if pressed whilst the image is only reviewed ... have to say that things like that annoy me to.

    So take him with a grain of salt if you wish - but there's probably good value is asking yourself "is he right" about points raised.

  18. #18

    Re: Need more zoom than my 70-300mm telephoto lens - best options?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Ken's "about" page is compulsory reading.........
    Mr Rockwell himself tells us on that very same "about page" that we should read his work with a sense of humour (I`m sorry I can`t link to the part I`m talking of,his site seems to be down at the moment)or a pinch of salt,and a little later claims a juvenile sense of humour and if that bothers his readers so be it...Ken Rockwell`s site is on my internet "favorites" list and I study his work closely at least twice in the week and I will keep learning from him,with a pinch of salt.(meaning I will check to see if his methods work for me)...Wally.

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    Re: Need more zoom than my 70-300mm telephoto lens - best options?

    when spending the sort of money one does on a decent zoom lens, its worth looking at a few reviews and it is a great credit to Ken, Thom et al that one can make an informed buy in a very technical area...with a bit of pointing in right dierection by kind folk here.

    I also found it useful to look out owners for their experience using pbase search engine; probably similar on other communal gallery sites. After a year with the 80-400VR, I feel I have got what I was expecting to get from the reviews etc. and if it rolled too far down the cliff next time it jumped out of my hand I would probably get another one.

    I suppose most of you are younger and don't mind the weight and size, but the 33% saving in both weight and length over Sigma 50-500 was important to me. (as was Nikon's practice of producing a downsized version of its D100,200,300 series with 95% of the features - against the Canon practice of a seperate more consumerised box for its 300-450/1000D series of equivalent physical weight and dimensions)

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    Re: Need more zoom than my 70-300mm telephoto lens - best options?

    Quote Originally Posted by wallyir View Post
    Mr Rockwell himself tells us on that very same "about page" that we should read his work with a sense of humour ...
    Hi Wally,

    I agree with you.

    I've never met Ken, but I wouldn't be surprised if he was "just a nice guy who wanted to publish his opinions (as opinions) to anyone who wanted to read them, without the (almost inevitable) hassle of dealing with those who don't agree with him". Almost like "If you agree with me, that's fine; if you disagree with me, that's fine" - I've never read of him being discourtious and unprofessional towards others, but unfortunately many others fail to pay him the same courtesy (anyone would think that they felt somewhat threatened by his writing!)

    Personally, I don't always agree with him, but he's certainly earned my respect.

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