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Thread: Guidance Re: Telephoto Lens For D-80

  1. #1

    Default Guidance Re: Telephoto Lens For D-80

    I am adding a few lenses to my collection for my Nikon D-80.
    I have my 18-200 all-purpose kind of lens.

    I just added a 14-24 f2.8.

    Issue is with the telephoto:
    70-300 f4.5 - 5.6

    VERSUS THE -

    80-400 f4.5-5.6
    (Camera shop guy says this one is 'huge' and recommends the previous lens.)

    I haven't handled either yet, but will by the end of this month.

    What will I be shooting?
    Don't know, exactly, but I am returning to Alaska and renting an RV for some 'natural adventure' soon!
    And I also shoot some sportscar racing and other car events.
    Well, I also shoot sailboat racing...
    And also random shooting -- throughout life!

    Thanks in advance for any thoughts, experience and / or guidance!
    Doc

  2. #2
    Member Sierra Hotel's Avatar
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    Doc,

    I have the D80, and the choice of lens comes down to what you're going to do with it, as you alluded to in your note.

    The general consensus on the 70-300 is that it's a typical consumer-type lens, capable of delivering good IQ within the limitations of the lens. Because it's a fairly slow lens (as compared to the 80-200 f/2.8 or the 70-200 f/2.8), it is somewhat useless for indoor shooting (think sports like basketball) and for low light situations (dawn or dusk). And for outdoors shooting you really can't extend the reach with a teleconverter due to the light penalty (1 stop for a 1.4x, 1.5 stops for a 1.7x, and 2 stops for a 2x TC).

    A good review on the lens is available at http://www.naturfotograf.com/lens_zo...#AF70-300f4.5G, and also at http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/70300g.htm. The VR lens is a better choice, but you didn't indicate if that's the one you're looking at.

    The 70-300 is a MUCH better carry lens, due to the mass of the 80-400, and it's WAY cheaper. If you feel that you have to have a tele-zoom, the 70-300 is an OK choice, and the more economic choice between the two.

    Another choice would be consider a prime telefoto like 300mm f/4 or even the f/2.8. They give you the reach and are fast enought to use a TC and give you excellent IQ. For the price of the 80-400, you could buy the 70-300 VR and a 300 f/4.

    Personally, I have the 300mm f/4, the 80-200 f/2.8, and I also have a 55-200 f/4.5-5.6 VR. I was going to sell the 55-200 due to the overlap with the 80-200, but it's much smaller, and easier to carry around. I'm a firm believer in buying good used glass, and sources like KEH (www.keh.com) and Adorama are priceless.

    Good luck with your choice, it's good to see another NAS sufferer (Nikon Acquisition Syndrome!), and I hope your trip is memorable.

    Regards,

    SH

  3. #3

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    Sierra Hotel,

    Thanks for the response. Just last night, as you mentioned, a fotog friend also suggested I search for faster glass, also due to lack of contrast and bokeh.

    I haven't had a chance to search further, but will check your sites after work tonight. Yes, btw, I am looking at VR lenses.

    'NAS' - you are 'spot on!' I went with the D-80 because I have a collection of SLR Nikon lenses and gear gathered over the years -- much of which I acquired second hand when that was within my operating budget as a surgical / EM resident, and allegedly they are interchangeable with the D-80, but I haven't figured out the conversion to see what I would lose using them.

    I have been quite pleased with the D-80, learned a lot and yes, now expanding the options!

    Thanks for the guidance!
    Kim

  4. #4
    Member Floyd_Davidson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RSKY BIZ View Post
    'NAS' - you are 'spot on!' I went with the D-80 because I have a collection of SLR Nikon lenses and gear gathered over the years ...
    Something to consider... rather than replace slow glass with fast glass all across the board, replace the body with either a D300 or a D3.

    It appears you are most interested in long lenses, and therefore it might be reasonable to assume the D300 (with the DX sized sensor) is more useful to you than a D3 (which has higher ISO settings). The DX sensor of course makes the effective focal length 1.5 times what it would be for any given lense on the the D3. Depth of Field is also wider with the smaller sensor (nice if you do macro work).

    The higher ISO, wider angles, and narrower DOF of a D3 is nice for portraits and landscapes.

    You didn't mention lenses in the 500 to 800mm range, where the effects of the D300's smaller sensor are extremely hard to replace with another lense, so it is possible that a D3 and a 300mm or 400mm lens would be more useful than a D300 with the shorter lenses.

    Also, if you keep the D80 as a backup, it can be used to handle long telephoto work (or macro work), which would make the D3 more attractive.

    I realize that D3's are expensive, but compared to two or three f/2.8 telephoto lenses as opposed to f/4 or f/5.6 lenses, the numbers are greatly on the side of higher ISO in the camera compared to wider apertures in the lenses!

  5. #5
    Member Sierra Hotel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RSKY BIZ View Post
    'NAS' - you are 'spot on!' I went with the D-80 because I have a collection of SLR Nikon lenses and gear gathered over the years -- much of which I acquired second hand when that was within my operating budget as a surgical / EM resident, and allegedly they are interchangeable with the D-80, but I haven't figured out the conversion to see what I would lose using them.
    Kim, virtually all Nikon lenses from AIS (1970's) on forward will work with the D80 - but you won't necessarily have full functionality, as they won't meter TTL. The Ken Rockwell site has a lot of good info on this type of stuff - even if you don't like his style (he can be rather full of himself), he does provide an independent perspective, and I've relied on his on-line advice quite a few times for acquisition decisions.

    I've found that as long as I get an AF lens, it does everything I need it to do. My only caution is that if you go with DX lenses (lenses intended for use only with digital cameras with the DX sensor), you will limit future camera choices. All non-DX lenses will work with FX (full frame) cameras like the D3, and actually work very very well with DX cameras. My personal preference is to stay away from "G" type lenses, as you will note that they lack an aperature ring. Maybe not too important in the digital world, but who knows, maybe you'll want to get a film body someday, and the "G" lens won't work with it.

    I like Floyd's logic regarding the D300, and it's in the affordable range - if I didn't already have a D80 . I am happy with the camera body I have, but will move probably up to get some additional capability in the next few years.

    IMHO the D3 is out of range cost wise for everyone but professionals, who either don't have to pay for their equipment, make a lot of money (or want to!) with their equipment, or get it provided free from the OEM. I don't see it as an affordable tool for the hobbyist. Man it would be nice, but at ~$5,000 at reputable on-line vendors (more in your local stores) for what is being viewed as throw away components (look at the price for a D2H now, top of the line a few years ago and now it's available for less than $1,000), most of the information I've read suggest buying the best lenses you can afford, as they won't depreciate anywhere near as badly as camera bodies. That's the track I've chosen, and I hope it works for me (that having been said, I would take D3 in a heartbeat if some benevolent soul were to give me one!).

    Again, have fun. The Nikonian site (www.nikonians.com) also has excellent information as to what lense willl work welll with your camera.

    Cheers,
    SH

  6. #6
    Member Floyd_Davidson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sierra Hotel View Post
    I like Floyd's logic regarding the D300, and it's in the affordable range - if I didn't already have a D80 . I am happy with the camera body I have, but will move probably up to get some additional capability in the next few years.

    IMHO the D3 is out of range cost wise for everyone but professionals, ...
    Sometimes, for a particular set of circumstances, the D3 isn't as expensive as it appears. For example, if you want to take wildlife pictures that will require something at about 600mm on 35mm frame size or about 400mm on a DX body and must work in relatively low light. If money is no problem, a 600mm f/4 Nikkor cost about $9500 and the D3 to go with it is just over half that, so the total cost is $14,500. Clearly you and I are not going there!

    So another way to do it is buy a D300 ($1800) and a 400mm f/2.8 ($8150), for a total of $9950! I'm still not interested...

    But a D300 with a 300mm f/2.8 lens ($4500) and a 1.4x Telextender (~$250 ??) only adds up to $6500. Still high, but this is essentially a 630mm f/4 lens on a camera that can shoot at ISO 1600 with reasonable noise. This is perhaps our target kit?

    A D3 ($5000) and a 300mm f/4 ($1125) and a 2x telextender comes to $6375! A 600mm f/8 lens on a camera that can shoot at ISO 3200 (loss of 1 ev over the ability of the camera above, but a much better camera in all other respects).

    A D3 and an 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 with a 1.5x telextender comes to $6680, which is more than the last two above, but also has significantly more versatility and might well be worth the extra $300.

    Any of the last three are close enough in actual cost that a buyer would have to evaluate the different feature set to make a decision.

  7. #7
    Member Majik Imaje's Avatar
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    Default Telephoto lenses !!

    (yawn) ! - Interesting write up. ! full of fun facts that are useless !!

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    Member Sierra Hotel's Avatar
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    Noted. Why post if you're not going to contribute?

  9. #9
    Member Majik Imaje's Avatar
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    Default Just my 2 cents .. .. coupled w/ 40 yrs experience.

    Aren't you glad.. ... that 'true' artists are not so 'vain' and inquisitivie about non-sensical things ?

    Hey ! what a marvelous painting, which brush did you use ? camel / sable ? how did you make that pencil line ? which hardness did you use to accomplish that shape / line ?

    which brand of paint did you use, ?

    I need to 'get' these things so I can accomplish true works of art !

    ( I do not understand) why people list the lenses they have. I am not interested, I only care about the 'final' IMAGE !!

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    I don't use Nikon cameras anymore, but agree with your idea of buying a good lens or two for your D80, taking into consideration what others have told you here, but only relating to lenses, not to bodies. Bodies come and go. In a couple of years the D3 will be old technology in relation to what's to come with the next D3 series. Both Canon and Nikon compete heavily, and outdo each other in features all the time. The good quality lenses maintain their value through the years, while the bodies are replaced as new features are added.

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