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Thread: Zoom Lens Recommendations

  1. #1

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    Zoom Lens Recommendations

    I am looking into purchasing a new lens for my camera. I find myself going to locations, in which I need that wonderful zoom lens for (but haven't got yet). I have a Nikon D40, just to give ya an idea of what kind of equipment I am working with.

    I am looking at Amazon.com: Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 SLD DG Macro Lens with built in motor for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras: Camera & Photo.

    OR

    Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG APO Macro Motorized Telephoto Zoom Lens for Nikon SLR Cameras


    I have no experience with Sigma lens, and didn't want to make a decision in which I would regret. So, I thought it best to talk to some folks who have this type of lens or from this manufacturer.

  2. #2
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Zoom Lens Recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by Luv4Photos View Post
    I am looking into purchasing a new lens for my camera. I find myself going to locations, in which I need that wonderful zoom lens for (but haven't got yet). I have a Nikon D40, just to give ya an idea of what kind of equipment I am working with.

    I am looking at Amazon.com: Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 SLD DG Macro Lens with built in motor for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras: Camera & Photo.

    OR

    Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG APO Macro Motorized Telephoto Zoom Lens for Nikon SLR Cameras


    I have no experience with Sigma lens, and didn't want to make a decision in which I would regret. So, I thought it best to talk to some folks who have this type of lens or from this manufacturer.
    Look here for compatibility.
    http://www.d40-lenses.com/zoom-lenses/

  3. #3

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    Re: Zoom Lens Recommendations

    Sigma do really good glass IMHO. I've got the 70-300 and I'm pretty happy with it (I think it's the APO but without rooting around in my camera bag I cant be 100%). Also have Sigmas 10-20 and 17-70 both excellent lenses.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Zoom Lens Recommendations

    Shawnda

    As well as comments that members post in here, you could check out what's been said in the past.

    If you look below this message on the left there is 'View Tag Cloud'. If you click on this and then from the list presented, choose 'lenses', you will be presented with a list of threads in which the subject of lenses has been discussed.

    I can't remember if the specific lenses you are referring to have been discussed, but you might like to look.
    Last edited by Donald; 11th January 2011 at 06:51 AM.

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    Re: Zoom Lens Recommendations

    Hi Shawnda,
    I have the Nikon 70-300 DS VR lens. At present I'm using it on a DX camera, a D90, and really like it's performance so far. It focuses a little closer than 6 feet, and at 300 mm and that distance it's a good macro lens. Not 1:1 though. It give you a lot of distance between you and insects or birds you might be stalking. And, I think it can be used with a full frame camera like the D700, which I'm thinking about in the future. Good luck with your decision. Another source for opinions are all the website comments on dealers, like B&H and Amazon.
    Merle

  6. #6

    Re: Zoom Lens Recommendations

    Donald, why don't you start a thread specifically asking people to view tag clouds?


    1. Luv4photos, I assume you already have some lenses that cover the 20 to 70mm focal lengths? I find that 70mm, even on a full frame camera, is too long for most instances. This might represent a problem in tight quarters. So I would recommend carrying a general purpose lens, like a 24-120 f/4, in addition to the 70-300.
    2. I have no experience with 3rd party lenses so I cannot comment on the Sigma "macro." What I have for traveling is the 70-300mm VR Nikkor. This is an adequately sharp lens, but the autofocus tends to hunt quite a bit even in broad daylight. Thankfully, this hunting only occurs when the original scene is way out of focus. Eg, when I focus on a close object, and point the lens at objects in the distance. In addition, its small aperture can be very limiting. Another gripe is the sticky feel of the overly large zoom ring. I say "overly large" because I find it hard to rotate the lens itself when mounting or dismounted the lens. The 70-200mm VR2 is superior in almost every way; significantly faster AF, constant f/2.8 and superior VR. But it's simply too heavy and large for walking around. Additionally, the zoom ring of the 70-200mm is so large that it's difficult to rotate it from one end to the other. In comparison, the 70-300mm is a joy to use. It's much more ergonomic and has a good weight. Thus the 70-300mm is a good compromise in terms of image quality and weight. As such, the 70-300mm represents a very good buy. You just have to be rather patient with it.
    3. I would suggest getting a lens that has VR, like my 70-300mm VR. It really helps improve the chances of getting sharp shots.
    4. Also consider getting a good carbon fiber tripod with a good ball head if you are into landscapes.

  7. #7

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    Re: Zoom Lens Recommendations

    I have a Sigma 70-300 zoom (APO DG Macro) for Sony. I'd suggest you look around on the web for reviews from users, as there are mixed reports on Sigma lenses. That said, optically mine gives full satisfaction (after a year it developed mechanical problems, not a nice Xmas present :/ )

    Remco

  8. #8
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    Re: Zoom Lens Recommendations

    I have used Sigma Lens for a number of years and have never had any problems. I currently have a Sigma 70-300mm 1:4-5.6 APO that I use on a Canon 5DMkII with excellent results. I have used it with a 2x Converter with mixed results largely with focusing as the auto-focus does not always hit the spot. If there are definite edges then there are no problems and autofocus works fine. Manual focus is not a problem.
    I also have a Sigma 24-70mm 1:2.8 EX DG Sigma lens that is my lens of choice for the Canon and use it for the greater majority of my photography. I have used this with the 2x Converter with no problems.

  9. #9

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    Re: Zoom Lens Recommendations

    Hi Shawnda,

    I am using Sigma 70-300 APO DG (Motorised) with my Nikon D3000. Its a very very good lens. & considering its price even better. My friends had been using it & they are pretty happy with its performance. I got mine for $209 on 31st Dec. I hope thats the one you are talking about....

  10. #10

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    Re: Zoom Lens Recommendations

    You may want to also check out the Tamron 70-300mm lens. It's getting great reviews. I just ordered one today so can't give you any first hand opinions yet.

    http://www.tamronlensreview.com/tamron70300vcreview

    They have a $50 rebate going on for that lens here:

    http://www.adorama.com/TM70300VUNK.html

    Ed

  11. #11

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    Re: Zoom Lens Recommendations

    The Sigma 70-300 APO macro which will go to half life size is an excellent lens and is not too expensive. I have had one for my old Minoltas for nearly 20 years and still use it on my Sony A350. Certainly there are better lenses available from Carl Zeiss but they cost thousands of dollars instead of a few hundred.

  12. #12

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    Re: Zoom Lens Recommendations

    I have the Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG APO Macro Motorized for Nikon, and although the glass is great for it's price.
    It was the mechanics that made me buy the nikon 70-300mm VR to replace it. After two years of use (~5000 shots) the zoom-ring got so lose that I had to hold it while making pictures pointing the camera downwards. Also the AF is pretty noisy and not very tight either. When mounting the hood it tends to even turn the focusring when it's on AF and that will only get worse with further use.

  13. #13
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    Re: Zoom Lens Recommendations

    Hero, I have the DG APO in Canon form.
    It has been a good lens for me.
    I recently bought a 70-200 f4 and I have yet to put that Sigma lens back on my camera. I would rather crop my photos more than have that extra reach?!
    But again, IMO that Sigma lens is great for the money.

  14. #14

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    Re: Zoom Lens Recommendations

    I just bought the Nikon 70-300 for my D90.
    Checking all the choices on slrgear.com made my mind up. They are an independent testing site. Worth while looking at.

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    Re: Zoom Lens Recommendations

    Hello guys, I too am trying to decide on a zoom for my Nikon D40. I presume I'm best off going for a zoom rather than a telephoto lens for general photography?

    I've seen some lenses sold as zoom/telephoto combined so I'm a bit confused,

    Thanks,
    Jim

  16. #16
    Mark von Kanel's Avatar
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    Re: Zoom Lens Recommendations

    Hi jim, make sure you pick something compatible i dont think the d40 has is own focus servo.

    Type G or D AF Nikkor

    • AF-S, AF-I
    • Other Type G or D AF Nikkor
    • PC Micro-Nikkor 85mm f/2.8D

    • Other AF Nikkor*2/AI-P Nikkor

    • Non-CPU



    • IX Nikkor- All functions supported
    - All functions supported except autofocus
    - Can only be used in mode M; all other functions supported except autofocus
    - All functions supported except autofocus and 3D Color Matrix Metering II
    - Can be used in mode M, but exposure meter does not function; electronic range finder can be used if maximum aperture is f/5.6 or faster
    - Can not be used

  17. #17
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Zoom Lens Recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by NikonD40 View Post
    Hello guys, I too am trying to decide on a zoom for my Nikon D40. I presume I'm best off going for a zoom rather than a telephoto lens for general photography?

    I've seen some lenses sold as zoom/telephoto combined so I'm a bit confused,

    Thanks,
    Jim
    Hi Jim,

    Welcome to the CiC forums.

    A few basics to get you started;
    "Zoom" means you can vary the focal length, or you might describe it as magnification (in binocular terms).
    A Telephoto lens is one that apparently magnifies a view compared to your naked eye.
    A Wide angle lens is one that 'gets more in'.
    Both types of lenses can be fixed focal length (also called "prime") or Zoom.
    For example;
    Fixed Telephoto = 300mm, Zoom Telephoto = 70-300mm.
    Fixed Wide angle = 28mm, Zoom Wide Angle = 12-24mm.

    Some lenses even cover both and zoom all the way from Wide Angle to Telephoto.
    e.g. 18-200mm.

    So you see that zoom and telephoto are not mutually exclusive words.

    Surely the D40 came with a lens, which one do you have?

    Lens compatibility is complex, for now, despite Mark's advice being accurate, best only to look at Nikon AF-S lenses, if you see any others, ask us before placing an order to avoid a possibly expensive mistake.

    Cheers,

  18. #18
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    Re: Zoom Lens Recommendations

    Thanks for the information guys.

    My Nikon came with a Nikon DX SWM ED 18 - 55mm lens. I intend to do some longer exposure tripod shots but wonder what general purpose zoom is best for carrying round and for use without a tripod?? Thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    Hi Jim,

    Welcome to the CiC forums.

    A few basics to get you started;
    "Zoom" means you can vary the focal length, or you might describe it as magnification (in binocular terms).
    A Telephoto lens is one that apparently magnifies a view compared to your naked eye.
    A Wide angle lens is one that 'gets more in'.
    Both types of lenses can be fixed focal length (also called "prime") or Zoom.
    For example;
    Fixed Telephoto = 300mm, Zoom Telephoto = 70-300mm.
    Fixed Wide angle = 28mm, Zoom Wide Angle = 12-24mm.

    Some lenses even cover both and zoom all the way from Wide Angle to Telephoto.
    e.g. 18-200mm.

    So you see that zoom and telephoto are not mutually exclusive words.

    Surely the D40 came with a lens, which one do you have?

    Lens compatibility is complex, for now, despite Mark's advice being accurate, best only to look at Nikon AF-S lenses, if you see any others, ask us before placing an order to avoid a possibly expensive mistake.

    Cheers,

  19. #19
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Zoom Lens Recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by NikonD40 View Post
    My Nikon came with a Nikon DX SWM ED 18 - 55mm lens. I intend to do some longer exposure tripod shots but wonder what general purpose zoom is best for carrying round and for use without a tripod?? Thanks
    Hi Jim,

    What's wrong with that one?
    OK, it's a bit slow (f/5.6 at 55mm from memory) and a bit short at the telephoto end.

    It all depends what you want to shoot; wildlife might suggest a long telephoto.

    This is like asking which car you should buy without us knowing if you have a tiny garage, six below-teen kids to tranpsort en-masse, or that you only have 1000 to spend on it, etc. it is too easy to give advice which is not relevant to you.

    What you did mention was 'longer exposure tripod' shots, this could still be urban light trails and architecture or coastal sunsets.

    As a general lens, there are many worse than Nikon 18-200mm I use (600), unfortunately it duplicates your kit lens range and it isn't any faster (I wish it were on occasion). It isn't perfect, but I'd recommend it over a kit lens anyday, funds permitting, at time of camera purchase.

    Therefore you might want to consider the Nikon AF-S 70-200mm VRII at f/2.8 to get the advantage of a faster lens and longer lengths, but; it isn't light (1.5kg) and it isn't cheap at 1600+ (if only I could justify the expense and body building necessary)

    I use the Nikon AF-S VR 70-300mm f/3.5-f/5.6 as my carry about long lens for wildlife (400), not fast, but not heavy or too expensive either.

    Third party alternatives may well disappoint on image quality but I'm sure someone will advise on something suitable.

    Cheers,
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 15th November 2011 at 10:29 AM.

  20. #20
    Mark von Kanel's Avatar
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    Re: Zoom Lens Recommendations

    David,

    1.5 Kg Heavy? lightweight!

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