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Thread: Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 AF-S VR II IF-ED to use with Nikon D7000

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    Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 AF-S VR II IF-ED to use with Nikon D7000

    Currently I have the Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR for DX camera. It has been a great lens in general, and I love the 300mm capacity. The 70-300mm VR has many good reviews, despite some discussion of soft focus when it is used close to 300mm. To me it sounds like an upgrade, since it has IF and VR II. (Cannot afford the new 80-400mm right now, although that would be an even better choice.)

    Opinions appreciated on whether this is a truly an upgrade for me.

    Also, how will it affect my long-distance photography (nature, wildlife). I have not got a good understanding of what it means when Nikon states " 300mm of telephoto reach (450mm equivalent on DX-format D-SLRs)". I mean, 300mm is 300mm. My suspicion is that this is a perceptual thing rather than actual. Please enlighten me.

    The price in the Nikon Store Outlet is $269.96 for a refurbished lens. My thought is that the possibility of the problems I have read about is decreased because it went through the "refurbish" process.

    I could sell my 55-300mm to pay for part of the cost.

    Thanks for your insights.

    Susan

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    Re: Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 AF-S VR II IF-ED to use with Nikon D7000

    Hi Susan
    For what it is worth, earlier this year I obtained a new Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR for use with my D5100 but replaced it with a used Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 AF-S VR II IF-ED. I found very quickly that I could not get sharp enough images with the 55-300mm at the 200-300mm range. Now this may well have been my skill level but I don't have the same problem with the 70-300mm. I had the 55-300mm checked by the store (who sent it to Nikon). The report back was it was OK but was told it was a kit level lens, implying I should not expect better. Make of that what you will. If your 55-300mm is as sharp as you want to 300mm then the 70-300mm will not offer you extra reach (as far as I am aware) but may be quicker to focus. It is also larger and heavier. I believe it is also able to be used on FX as well as DX but as I only have DX cannot comment on that aspect.
    The above is just my experience and I am not implying the 55-300mm is a bad lens at all. Here in Australia there is a significant price difference between the two.
    Last edited by Snowy55; 3rd September 2013 at 04:16 AM.

  3. #3

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    Re: Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 AF-S VR II IF-ED to use with Nikon D7000

    Quote Originally Posted by Snowy55 View Post
    Hi Susan
    For what it is worth, earlier this year I obtained a new Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR for use with my D5100 but replaced it with a used Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 AF-S VR II IF-ED. I found very quickly that I could not get sharp enough images with the 55-300mm at the 200-300mm range.
    Hi Barry.
    I bought the 55-300mm when I first purchased my camera, and considered it and the 18-105mm to be my "training wheels"! This was my first DSLR. Now I am more critical of the sharpness of my images, which is why I want to get a lens that will help in this regard. So many of my photos are taken in the 200-300mm range, and often not in the best light.

    Quote Originally Posted by Snowy55 View Post
    Now this may well have been my skill level but I don't have the same problem with the 70-300mm. I had the 55-300mm checked by the store (who sent it to Nikon). The report back was it was OK but was told it was a kit level lens, implying I should not expect better. Make of that what you will. If your 55-300mm is as sharp as you want to 300mm then the 70-300mm will not offer you extra reach (as far as I am aware) but may be quicker to focus. It is also larger and heavier. I believe it is also able to be used on FX as well as DX but as I only have DX cannot comment on that aspect.
    The above is just my experience and I am not implying the 55-300mm is a bad lens at all. Here in Australia there is a significant price difference between the two.
    I do not really believe there will be any extra reach, it is just that when Nikon makes those kinds of statements, it makes me doubt my understanding! I don't really mind the extra size and weight, because I use a tripod most of the time. And I carry my equipment in a backpack when I am going somewhere.

    The 70-300mm is actually designed for the FX cameras, which is why it has a narrower angle of view on the DX cameras.

    Here the price difference between the two is not that much, and I my intention is to get the refurbished lens directly from Nikon. Hopefully they will have properly fixed all the things that people complain about - which can be fixed. Like soft focus at higher ranges. Plus, there are some camera stores that also do a big on-line business which would purchase the 55-300mm for resale. That would decrease my expense to replace it with the 70-300mm.

    Naturally, I would love to have the new 80-400mm, but that is an expense I cannot justify at this point. Even if the 70-300mm is not a huge improvement, from what you describe it ought to be sufficient to make me happy with it. When there is improvement in my images, then I will be inspired to save up for the 80-400mm!

    Thanks for your input.

    Susan

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    Re: Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 AF-S VR II IF-ED to use with Nikon D7000

    I was speaking with a pro photographer who uses Nikon exclusively. He saw my gear as being ideal for a serious enthusiast and advised me that if I ever wanted a telephoto zoom lens (I use only prime lenses except for one wide-angle zoom), he felt the 70-300 that you are considering is the best lens for the money that Nikon makes. Knowing the cost and having seen so many wonderful photos made with it, that made sense to me.

    We will be borrowing one for my wife's use on an upcoming trip and I'm really happy for her about that. I'm also wondering if she will be returning from the trip with a request to buy one.

    Congratulations on being able to find one refurbished by Nikon. You might also want to check out B&H and KEH. Both companies have used lenses available ranging in price from $285 to $350, some with a case and some without it. One has been refurbished. Whatever each of those two companies rates the quality, you can take that rating to the bank. Both companies have a no-questions-asked return policy that they happily honor.
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 3rd September 2013 at 12:10 PM.

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    Re: Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 AF-S VR II IF-ED to use with Nikon D7000

    Hi Susan,
    I cannot comment on the 55-300 but can vouch for the 70-300 which I have been using for some time now. I use it on a couple ageing DX cameras and so focussing is not the fastest and I get the occasional hunting when aiming at low contrast subjects. Overall I think it provides great value for money.
    Have a look HERE at an image taken at a recent airshow, where there may be a bit of movement blur thrown in when tracking a fast moving object. There has also been a slight crop. It is taken on a 12Mp sensor and at maximum zoom.

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    Re: Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 AF-S VR II IF-ED to use with Nikon D7000

    Best bang for your buck on FX and DX up to 300mm - simple.

    Mine has faulty VR which I'm not over concerned with. Up to 300mm it's more than sharp enough. Here are a few examples:

    185mm @ f5.6

    Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 AF-S VR II IF-ED to use with Nikon D7000


    250mm @ f5.6

    Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 AF-S VR II IF-ED to use with Nikon D7000


    300mm @ f10 @ 220kph

    Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 AF-S VR II IF-ED to use with Nikon D7000


    300mm, cropped on 12MP DX, f8

    Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 AF-S VR II IF-ED to use with Nikon D7000


    200mm, f6.3

    Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 AF-S VR II IF-ED to use with Nikon D7000

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    Re: Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 AF-S VR II IF-ED to use with Nikon D7000

    Sometimes you get more than you pay for. The 70-300 VR is an example. I used one on a D7k and now use it on my D7100 and I get superb results. Buy one.

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    Re: Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 AF-S VR II IF-ED to use with Nikon D7000

    OFF TOPIC

    Phil, is there any type of photography that you don't do very successfully?

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    Re: Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 AF-S VR II IF-ED to use with Nikon D7000

    I've used the 70-300VR and its predecessor (70-300 D ED) for almost 10 years on DX and FX bodies and think this lens is one of the best values in the Nikon lineup. It's light (compared to my 70-200), focuses quickly, has VR, and can be purchased refurbed for @ $300. Get it, you'll love it.

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    Re: Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 AF-S VR II IF-ED to use with Nikon D7000

    Thank you all for helping me decide. My reading about the 70-300mm VR lens indicated the things you have said, but it can be difficult to be sure when never having used one. I tried to order one today from the Nikon Outlet, but they are out of stock. They have the best price, so I am going to keep checking back and order when they have them again. The person I spoke with said that it is VR II (on the barrel, the VR is in Red, she said that indicates VR II even though it is not written out).

    Phil, your photos are superb. I have not been able to get anything that sharp - ever. Tell me that was from a tripod. Even though the VR II is supposed to help with hand-held, I find it difficult to believe that kind of action could be done that way.

    I hate to wait for this lens, but know I will get it eventually. At least I have my old standby to use in the meantime!

    Thank you again.

    Susan
    Last edited by Green Mountain Girl; 3rd September 2013 at 03:42 PM. Reason: change some information

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    Re: Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 AF-S VR II IF-ED to use with Nikon D7000

    Quote Originally Posted by Green Mountain Girl View Post
    So far the best price I have seen was directly from the Nikon Store Outlet - $269.96
    The current price is $299.96 at the Nikon USA site but none are in stock.

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    Re: Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 AF-S VR II IF-ED to use with Nikon D7000

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamS View Post
    Sometimes you get more than you pay for. The 70-300 VR is an example. I used one on a D7k and now use it on my D7100 and I get superb results. Buy one.
    I couldn't agree more. My experience is identical even to the two cameras. Together with the 18-200mm DX Nikkor, it's the best money I have spent.

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    Re: Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 AF-S VR II IF-ED to use with Nikon D7000

    Quote Originally Posted by Green Mountain Girl View Post

    Phil, your photos are superb. I have not been able to get anything that sharp - ever. Tell me that was from a tripod. Even though the VR II is supposed to help with hand-held, I find it difficult to believe that kind of action could be done that way.
    Thanks, Susan.

    All hand held, no monopod either. VR was off

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    Re: Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 AF-S VR II IF-ED to use with Nikon D7000

    Quote Originally Posted by dubaiphil View Post
    Thanks, Susan.

    All hand held, no monopod either. VR was off
    Phil,

    You must have a VERY steady hand. Pretty sure I hold my camera properly but still have difficulty avoiding blur. Anything you can tell me about how to duplicate your sharp successes? Of course, it might just be lots of practice...

    Susan

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    Re: Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 AF-S VR II IF-ED to use with Nikon D7000

    Hello Susan, I photograph nature mostly birds. I shoot that lens exclusively, it is sharp, focuses quickly and lightweight to carry. I use it on my Nikon D7000. I have not been disappointed, the feature I like and use the most is the manual override of the auto-focus. On you D7000 this lens will give you the full frame equivalent of 450mm lens. It does that because the image is already cropped by a factor of 1.5 because of the smaller sensor in the D7000 compared to the sensor in a full frame camera. Here is a link to my website... all of the images were captured with the 70-300mm.

    http://amazinglight.smugmug.com/

    I read your reply to Phil regarding having a steady hand... I only shoot hand held because for my photography a tripod is too restrictive to respond to a bird that may fly by. At the 300mm end of that lens I use a minimum shutter speed of 1/500 for stationary birds and 1/2500 for flying birds.

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    Re: Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 AF-S VR II IF-ED to use with Nikon D7000

    Quote Originally Posted by Green Mountain Girl View Post
    Phil,

    You must have a VERY steady hand. Pretty sure I hold my camera properly but still have difficulty avoiding blur. Anything you can tell me about how to duplicate your sharp successes? Of course, it might just be lots of practice...

    Susan
    Notice the shutter speeds, Susan.

    As a general rule, aim for a shutter speed of 1/focal length as a minimum on Full Frame, or 1/1.5 x focal length on a crop sensor. Then it doesn't matter if you have VR on (indeed there is some speculation that VR on at these speeds may be a hindrance, but it will definitely help for tracking and maintaining focus). So 300mm = 1/450th, which doesn't exist, so 1/500th is a min I aim for on DX.

    Don't confuse lens sharpness with camera shake or motion blur either. Pan with the subject, even after you've taken your shot, as this will help.

    If you're trying to introduce motion blur in backgrounds while panning and using a slower shutter speed, then firing bursts is useful. Some shots in the burst maybe sharper than others and for the second shot onwards you're not pressing the shutter button but holding it down, so that will help too. It's always best to start with a high shutter speed and then get slower during an event like motorsport as otherwise you may have something that looks good and sharp on the LCD but isn't if you look closely on your computer. At least then you'll have some shots in the bank.

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    Re: Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 AF-S VR II IF-ED to use with Nikon D7000

    Quote Originally Posted by jprzybyla View Post
    Hello Susan, I photograph nature mostly birds. I shoot that lens exclusively, it is sharp, focuses quickly and lightweight to carry. I use it on my Nikon D7000. I have not been disappointed, the feature I like and use the most is the manual override of the auto-focus. On your D7000 this lens will give you the full frame equivalent of 450mm lens. It does that because the image is already cropped by a factor of 1.5 because of the smaller sensor in the D7000 compared to the sensor in a full frame camera. Here is a link to my website... all of the images were captured with the 70-300mm.

    http://amazinglight.smugmug.com/
    Joe, Your images are breathtaking! So sharp, great colors and details. Hope I can do as well when I get the lens.

    Quote Originally Posted by jprzybyla View Post
    I read your reply to Phil regarding having a steady hand... I only shoot hand held because for my photography a tripod is too restrictive to respond to a bird that may fly by. At the 300mm end of that lens I use a minimum shutter speed of 1/500 for stationary birds and 1/2500 for flying birds.
    I guess at those shutter speeds it would be easier to get the images in focus. Whenever I try to use faster shutter speeds, then there always seems to be an issue with having enough exposure, especially on an overcast day. Remember how it is here in New England, with the not so sunny days a lot of the time? This is when I start cranking up ISO, and end up with noisy pictures. Editing helps but sometimes is not as effective as I would like.

    Thank you for sharing those images.

    Susan

  18. #18

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    Re: Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 AF-S VR II IF-ED to use with Nikon D7000

    Quote Originally Posted by dubaiphil View Post
    Notice the shutter speeds, Susan.

    As a general rule, aim for a shutter speed of 1/focal length as a minimum on Full Frame, or 1/1.5 x focal length on a crop sensor. Then it doesn't matter if you have VR on (indeed there is some speculation that VR on at these speeds may be a hindrance, but it will definitely help for tracking and maintaining focus). So 300mm = 1/450th, which doesn't exist, so 1/500th is a min I aim for on DX.
    Thanks for describing how you arrive at the shutter speed for the focal length. I am still learning "tricks of the trade"!

    Problem is, as I said to Joe (jprzybyla), my images at fast shutter speeds tend to be underexposed; if I crank up the ISO, better, but noisy... I do edit, have saved a lot of photos from darkness. So am looking for more advice!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by dubaiphil View Post
    Don't confuse lens sharpness with camera shake or motion blur either. Pan with the subject, even after you've taken your shot, as this will help.
    I have done a bit of panning, so I understand what you mean. For moving subjects this is good advice. Perhaps when I am concentrating on moving the camera with the subject, I will hold the camera steadier. Have gotten into the habit of using a tripod for most photos because despite "proper holding" I have trouble being sure I am holding it still. On the tripod I use a wired remote for the shutter release, too. Guess I am a bit of a coward, not wanting to miss shots! Perhaps that is why I like macro... But pictures of wildlife is really what I love.

    Quote Originally Posted by dubaiphil View Post
    If you're trying to introduce motion blur in backgrounds while panning and using a slower shutter speed, then firing bursts is useful. Some shots in the burst maybe sharper than others and for the second shot onwards you're not pressing the shutter button but holding it down, so that will help too. It's always best to start with a high shutter speed and then get slower during an event like motorsport as otherwise you may have something that looks good and sharp on the LCD but isn't if you look closely on your computer. At least then you'll have some shots in the bank.
    Thanks for the suggestion. While I don't go to motorsport events, I do love photographing wildlife such as birds and deer, especially when in motion. But in general I will take a picture of just about any critter that will let me!

    I know the lens will not make up for my deficiencies, but it has features that I will enjoy - such as the manual override and crop factor with the DX camera.

    Thank you for the extra pointers in addition to the discussion of the lens.

  19. #19
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    Re: Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 AF-S VR II IF-ED to use with Nikon D7000

    Hello Susan, before I retired and moved to Florida 12 years ago I lived in New Hampshire for 58 years. I know the weather well. If you are going to shoot nature/birds and hand hold you need those shutter speeds. In your D7000 the is a setting in the menu for ISO Sensitivity. Turn Auto ISO to on, set a minimum ISO of 100 and a maximum ISO of 3200 with a minimum shutter speed of 500. Shoot RAW with Matrix Metering and adjust the exposure in post processing. Over cast skys will make the images flat so boost the contrast. I use Adobe Lightroom for my post processing.

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    Re: Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 AF-S VR II IF-ED to use with Nikon D7000

    I have been looking at this lens but wondering if it will be too much of a duplicate from Tamron 18-270. I would like more than the 270mm but cannot afford more than the 70-300 right now. But do not need to get if I will not be able to see much difference. Any thoughts?

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