Nikon 70-300 VR how good is it?

Discussion in 'Photography Forums' started by simon ess, Feb 8, 2009.

  1. simon ess

    simon ess
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    Hi I'm new to photography, having got a Nikon D40 with 18-55 kit lens and Nikor 70-300 zoom fo Christmas. Now, It's almost certainly me rather than kit but all my pics taken with the zoom seem a bit soft whatever I do. I would like to achieve the sharpness I see in lots of the posts here.
    Do you think I would get better results with the Nikon 70-300 VR or should I just accept that I've got a lot to learn and my technique needs to get a lot better? I could afford the Nikon lens in a few months, but wouldn't want to spend that much if it won't make much difference because it's me that's the problem.
    Thanks
     
  2. dazza74

    dazza74
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    I feel it's money well spent the 70-300 VR, it's the one lens I own that I never consider selling at any point. A couple of pics using it :

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  3. simon ess

    simon ess
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    Thanks Dazza. Love the robin - that's exactly what I'm after. Still not sure if it's the lens or you're just better / more practiced than me.
     
  4. dazza74

    dazza74
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    It's the lens ;)

    Seriously it's up there with my two Tamron's I own for sharpness IMO. The other beauty of the lens is that it's not a DX one so can be used on a full frame camera further down the line if you upgrade.
     
  5. Fozzybear

    Fozzybear
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    Great shots there Dazza - excellent feather detail in the robin and really like the wet rounded stones!

    If it's the £100 Nikon zoom little chap then I had one on my old D50 and I'd agree, it was pretty bad. The 70-300VR is much, much, much better! I use mine for wildlife mostly and have to crop heavily sometimes but it handles that pretty well too. Very little colour fringing at all and the VR is brilliant if you are working in less than perfect light.

    Some shots I've taken with it:

    [​IMG]

    a heavy crop (big size here):
    [​IMG]

    another heavy crop (big size here):
    [​IMG]

    slight crop (big size here)
    [​IMG]

    it's not too bad for long distance, but technique is key if you have to crop in heavily as it's easy with any lens to lose detail - I took this one from a LONG way off, looking across The Wick at Skomer Island and had to crop in a lot too (big size here):

    [​IMG]


    There's very little I don't like about it really, AF is not super-fast but fast enough and I wish it was longer at times (but telephotos are never quite long enough anyway! :D). All in all any deficiencies I find in photos taken with it are usually down to my technique rather than the lens.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2009
  6. dazza74

    dazza74
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    A little while back there was a post regarding the benefits of VR and I thought I would have a play with this lens just taking a couple of pics of a picture I had on the wall :

    [​IMG]

    Amazing how knackered you are indoors at 300mm without VR :)
     
  7. simon ess

    simon ess
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    Thanks folks - I can feel a hit on my bank balance coming. But, one good pic of a fox, like fozzy's, would make it more than worth it.

    Would anyone like to talk me out of it?!
     
  8. stormchaser2005

    stormchaser2005
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    It might help if you posted some photo's so that people could look and try and help with what you may (or may not) be doing wrong?

    I bought the 70-300 VR just before christmas and thankfully before the price went up! All the agility pics on my flickr were taken with the kit lens but the rest are all the zoom. I have to say I agree with dazza, I can't seem myself ever selling it. I have some good shots that I would never have got with the kit lens, this is one of my favourites and it has been cropped

    This is the original;

    [​IMG]

    and this is the crop version;

    [​IMG]

    this dog can out accelerate and out run an ex racing greyhound, my friends deer hound cross and more than one saluki cross that I have fostered so he really is shifting and he is never anywhere near me when we are out. The same day I got this one of my merle;

    [​IMG]
     
  9. stormchaser2005

    stormchaser2005
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    nope
    :rotfl:
     
  10. Fozzybear

    Fozzybear
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    Good comparison shot Dazza.

    Don't do it!
    :D

    :lesson:
    Remember that technique is as, if not more, important... don't trick yourself into thinking that you'll instantly take good shots just because you have a good lens. Unless you're a jammy bugger that's naturally good at photography be prepared to spend a lot of time learning.
    /:lesson:

    ...but a good lens does help! :)
     
  11. simon ess

    simon ess
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    Cheers Stormchaser. Obvious now you mention it.:oops:

    Can I direct you to this thread of pics I took today?
    http://www.avforums.com/forums/photo-sharing/931994-walk-woods.html

    Fozziebear - That was pretty much my view before asking the question, and pretty much still is. I know a couple of musicians who say there's no point in having an instrument that's much better than the person playing it, but I also know an art teacher who says you should buy the best possible materials you can or your technique and enthusiasm can suffer. I wondered which view best applied to photography.
     
  12. dazza74

    dazza74
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    The art teacher has it about right for me, I think you should buy the best you can resonably afford. Lenses hold their money fairly well normally and are a good investment some are even appreciating in value. Musicians it's probably envy to some extent they know somebody who has a grand piano in the living room and can only play chopsticks :)

    I'm a great believer in you buy the best you can afford then your not looking around a few month's later saying to yourself "maybe it would have been better if I'd bought that".
     
  13. simon ess

    simon ess
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    Thanks for the input. Here's the plan:

    1. Practice, practice, practice.
    2. Get a new lens in time for summer hols.
    3. More practice.

    Wish I'd taken up photography years ago - it's perfect for me. Lots of fresh air, lots to learn and lots of lovely gadgets. And the folks on this forum are the icing on the cake.
    Cheers,
    Simon
     
  14. blackmore7

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    Its a fine lens, I could not find enough reasons to keep it though sadly.!

    But I was shocked to find how big it is, looked and felt massive on my D40 anyway.

    I also found it was hardly ever on my D40 after six months ownership, not wide enough for walk about and the long end was not needed as much as I thought It would be

    So could not warrant keeping it, just like the 10-20 Sigma I lusted after and then found it was left in my camera bag and not on the D40 more than not, so I sold both.


    Now I use the 16-85 bought at christmas, but its going I think, I am a little disapointed with its value to performance ratio, limited range, the price is in my point of view too much for the decent enough, but not outstanding lens. ,

    Better for my allround use is my great copy 18-200VR :smashin: and find its the best option so far and for 90% of the time for my PQ needs and simple style of shooting, this lovely lens can do most things for me at least, its my second copy and it has no PQ weakness is good enough unless you go below F5.6, no issues with this copy not even any lens creep yet, fingers crossed.

    I would rather have the £500 the 70-300Vr and the 10-20 Sigma both sold for recently, and give up the 10% of times I would perhaps want to use them.

    All this though is only my point of view , others have different opinions and need to have the 70-300VR I am sure they will be happy with its performance. blackmore7
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2009
  15. Valleyman

    Valleyman
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    Oh you cynical old goat you!

    You're telling me the £400 macro lens that I've never used wasn't worth it? But it makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside knowing I COULD use it!!!!

    Humph
     
  16. Zone

    Zone
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  17. dazza74

    dazza74
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    I can see where "blackmore7" is coming from, my 70-300mm VR doesn't get used for example as much as my 12-24 but I wouldn't sell it because if I ever fancied a trip to the local zoo having nothing more than 50mm will be quite limiting.

    Dilemma I've got is what to do with my 17-50, but I'm loaved to sell it for £200 and lose money so gonna find a use for it :thumbsup:
     
  18. Fozzybear

    Fozzybear
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    It's certainly not a small lens, but not that big in telephoto terms... depends what you're used to. Would certainly seem outsized on a D40, it's a fair size on my D300!

    Conversely to blackmore, I find the 70-300 is rarely off my camera! Since early last year it's been my most used lens, along with my 300mm f/4 prime, as I got heavily interested in nature and birdwatching last year. I'll often even go out with the 70-300 as my only lens as I know that it's the wildlife that I see that I want to photograph. It used to be that the Nikon 18-70mm was my most used lens, but I very rarely use it now!
     

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