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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> Advice- Replace Nikon 70-300mm-zoom/wildlife
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02/23/2015 08:07:27 PM · #1
So my Nikon AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED VR has stopped working. The focusing motor keeps rolling/rotating and it won't find the focus anymore. Even in total manual mode with the VR motor turned off it still rolls/routates and all my shots are very soft in the focus. I had thought I'd be able to use it manually but that won't work now....sigh.

I use this lens for wildlife mostly and the reach just isn't good enough. I've started a list of lens that I'm interested in. I paid $650 for the lens I have now (new)...I can get them on e-bay for about $150 (ouch) because it's an older lens. It weighs 1.64#. I don't see the point in replacing that lens with the same (unless I'd get a super duper deal). I'd rather put that $$ toward a newer/used lens and get more reach. Here are some of the lens that I'm looking at.

Sigma

Sigma 50-500mm F/4.5-6.3 APO HSM DG OS AF Lens For Nikon - 4.34#
Sigma 150-500mm f/5-6.3 AF APO DG OS HSM Telephoto Zoom Lens for Nikon - 4.2#
Sigma 170-500mm f/5-6.3 APO Aspherical for Nikon - 4.9#

Tamron

Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 USD DI - (I know this one is for Canon but they make a Nikon) - 4.3# -
Tamron SP AF 200-500mm f/5-6.3 Di LD IF for Nikon - 2.73#

OR do I try a teleconverter (I know about the loss of light) with a shorter "lighter" lens. I haven't ever used one so I don't know what it would do. I do use extension tubes all the time and I've figured out how to work around that (loss of light).

I would really appreciate your opinions. I'm a bit concerned about the weight issues, storage/carrying it into the field/airport(s). I'm not a lightweight when it comes to carrying my equipment, I heft it all over the place but a 4# + lens...????? I usually shoot hand held vs using a mono/tripod. But I can adapt to that change - if I can get the photo's that I'm looking for.

I haven't even looked at the Nikon Glass as I probably can't afford it, and I haven't looked anything else either so any other suggestions would be appreciated. All of the above are within reach (finally). One last thing. What is your experience/opinion about buying used glass. I have bought some in the past...gotten some great deals (thanks ANN & NikonJeb) and gotten a couple of duds as well.

Thanks

Message edited by author 2015-02-23 20:13:09.
02/23/2015 08:31:32 PM · #2
I had a Sigma 50-500 and was not impressed with the sharpness. I use my Nikon 80-400 F4.5-5.6 VR for most of my nature shots , with good/sharp results. I have a Sigma 150-600 on order, to get even more reach.
02/23/2015 08:46:38 PM · #3
Originally posted by Drake:

I had a Sigma 50-500 and was not impressed with the sharpness. I use my Nikon 80-400 F4.5-5.6 VR for most of my nature shots , with good/sharp results. I have a Sigma 150-600 on order, to get even more reach.


I think the camera shop here Colonial Photo (Orlando) has them in stock....

That's what I'm worried about...not having enough reach...pound wise it's splitting hairs (IMHO) but there is a difference in the speed of the two lens...I can find the 50-500mm for about $500 +/-...the 150-600mm $1K...worth the extra mm???? I should have enough $$ for either. How much was you Nikon?
02/23/2015 09:04:26 PM · #4
The Nikon 80-400 costs about $2300. The Sigma is about $2000. If your nature shots are primarily of birds, I definitely recommend you look at the Nikon....I get very sharp images of Eagles etc, with it.
02/23/2015 09:48:00 PM · #5
My personal opinion is that the 70-300 that you just broke is one of the best used deals out there. Except that it just barely has enough reach for what you're doing. Some alternatives...

The older Nikon 80-400 is < $1000 used, and is a great lens for the money. Macho guys can handhold it, but I always needed a monopod.

The older Nikon 300mm f/4 AF-S is an excellent lens, nice and sharp, is less than $1000 used, and works well with the Nikon teleconverters. It's also about 4 pounds, and doesn't have VR, so a monopod is pretty much a necessity. I have one of these that I'd like to sell if anyone is interested.

For this kind of stuff, I got tired of carrying around heavy lenses and switched to a Nikon 1 V3, with a 70-300 CX. It's a 1" sensor, so the lens is a 190-810 equivalent. The whole camera and lens combo is 2 pounds. It's totally hand holdable, and fits in the same slot in my bag as my 105 Macro. There's an image quality penalty, of course, with a sensor that small, and it's out of your budget. But for me it was between that and not shooting wildlife anymore because of the weight.
02/24/2015 08:11:50 AM · #6
Originally posted by Drake:

I had a Sigma 50-500 and was not impressed with the sharpness. I use my Nikon 80-400 F4.5-5.6 VR for most of my nature shots , with good/sharp results. I have a Sigma 150-600 on order, to get even more reach.


Do you know which one you had? There are 2 on the lens equipment list...
02/24/2015 08:29:01 AM · #7
I had a Sigma 50-500 for years and really enjoyed it with what I thought were good results. The downside was the size of the thing when fully extended - it was huge! It also used a very large filter (I think 86mm) if you want a polarizer on it.

You might be better served with getting some fast glass (F4) at 300mm and put an extender on it. 1.5x puts you at 450mm @ F5.6(I think, yes?)
02/24/2015 09:35:44 AM · #8
I have the Tamron 150-600 and the reach is really fun. Let's me get shots I just couldn't get before. It is heavy, but I've been hand-holding and doing OK with it. And you know 21_F.gif vawendy is using it for wildlife, and has gotten some beautiful shots with it. I know, she uses the Canon version, but still ... great value for the money, I think.

I also have the Sigma 300 f/4 which was my previous wildlife lens. Sharp and fast. Just doesn't get out of storage as much as it used to.
02/24/2015 09:50:45 AM · #9
Put the last three thread responders together, mix in a dose of Wendy, and we've got another Shenandoah GTG in order ... springtime Fawn chasing, eh? Use all that long-range glass?

Janine - you should buy Mary's Sigma and put an extender on it. ;-)
02/24/2015 11:28:28 AM · #10
Originally posted by glad2badad:

Put the last three thread responders together, mix in a dose of Wendy, and we've got another Shenandoah GTG in order ... springtime Fawn chasing, eh? Use all that long-range glass?

Janine - you should buy Mary's Sigma and put an extender on it. ;-)
.

Will have to be next yr...we are going to Texas this year for the Bluebonnets!!! But I told Rick that I want to go back to VA&/WVA...that's a beautiful place!!!
02/24/2015 12:27:36 PM · #11
Originally posted by Ja-9:

Originally posted by glad2badad:

Put the last three thread responders together, mix in a dose of Wendy, and we've got another Shenandoah GTG in order ... springtime Fawn chasing, eh? Use all that long-range glass?

Janine - you should buy Mary's Sigma and put an extender on it. ;-)
.

Will have to be next yr...we are going to Texas this year for the Bluebonnets!!! But I told Rick that I want to go back to VA&/WVA...that's a beautiful place!!!

Ha! ... and we're headed to Florida. :-)
02/24/2015 12:31:52 PM · #12
Originally posted by glad2badad:

Originally posted by Ja-9:

Originally posted by glad2badad:

Put the last three thread responders together, mix in a dose of Wendy, and we've got another Shenandoah GTG in order ... springtime Fawn chasing, eh? Use all that long-range glass?

Janine - you should buy Mary's Sigma and put an extender on it. ;-)
.

Will have to be next yr...we are going to Texas this year for the Bluebonnets!!! But I told Rick that I want to go back to VA&/WVA...that's a beautiful place!!!

Ha! ... and we're headed to Florida. :-)


When?
02/24/2015 01:23:37 PM · #13
Originally posted by Ja-9:

Originally posted by glad2badad:

Originally posted by Ja-9:

Originally posted by glad2badad:

Put the last three thread responders together, mix in a dose of Wendy, and we've got another Shenandoah GTG in order ... springtime Fawn chasing, eh? Use all that long-range glass?

Janine - you should buy Mary's Sigma and put an extender on it. ;-)
.

Will have to be next yr...we are going to Texas this year for the Bluebonnets!!! But I told Rick that I want to go back to VA&/WVA...that's a beautiful place!!!

Ha! ... and we're headed to Florida. :-)

When?

I'll send you a PM.
02/26/2015 03:29:12 PM · #14
I just talked to a repair shop (local) and it's my VR motor that has gone bad... :-p He didn't recommend my putting the $$ into the lens as I had figured out...it's just not worth it...

So I'm still researching.

02/26/2015 03:36:52 PM · #15
how about replace with the same lens and getting a 1.4x or 2x extender?
02/26/2015 03:55:57 PM · #16
Originally posted by Mike:

how about replace with the same lens and getting a 1.4x or 2x extender?


asked the repair guy about that...he said NO...that you loose sharpness with the teleconverters (not to mention light...but I can deal with that). I would be very curious to see anyone's examples and hear what they have to say about using teleconverters...
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