~300mm Nikon zoom sought

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by moe_p, Aug 12, 2003.

  1. I am throwing myself on your mercy for recommendations for an
    inexpensive AF zoom lens up to 300mm for an N70, particularly in the
    second hand market. Range around 70/80-300mm. There are situations I
    am needing more than 210mm in.

    I would prefer a second hand lens so that I lose less money when
    trading on it- unless you know of a bargain recent lens. I found it
    quite hard to sift through different models on the internet going
    back more than a couple of years.

    To me, the bargain basement is <=$150. Obviously I don't expect very
    fast apertures and do expect a solution of least compromises. The
    long end is the most important.

    I am not used to such big zoom ratios and hope such zooms really have
    significant quality rather than being toys for gadget freaks.
  2. The best consumer zoom in that range you can hope for, if you are looking to the Nikon brand will be the 70-300 f4-5.6ED, or possibly the older but better built 75-300 which shouldn't be too hard to find in your price in used condition. Don't expect any third party brand to be any better, either. The plain truth is any zoom in that range isn't going to be a world-beater at 300mm and anywhere close to wide open (f5.6). For many it will be good enough, especially if stopped down 2-3 stops when used in good light, but if you are looking for real performance at 300mm one of these zooms isn't going to be the answer.
  3. I have some experience with this one: "70-300 F4-5.6 SIGMA D APO MACRO SUPER (58) *WITH HOOD, CAPS, CASE" (description snipped from www.keh.com, where it sells for $149 in 'excellent plus' condition). Optically, it is the equal of my Nikon 70-300 f/4-5.6 (which I paid $300 for new). I dumped my Sigma when it wouldn't focus right on my F100, though it had worked for years on my N90s.

    Neither one of these slow consumer zooms is as good at 300mm as even my 25 year old Nikkor P 300/4.5 (and if you know 300's, the Nikkor P is not well thought of). In fairness, if you've never seen the results from an excellent 300mm, you may not know what you're missing. I have done some nice work with that Sigma, and at $150 I can recommend it.
  4. I would say your best choices are...

    1) a used Nikon 70-300mm ED, auction price approx $200


    2) a used Nikon 300mm f/4 AF, auction price approx $400 to $500

    Here's one for sale at $450


    I've got both and like them both. I consider the ED zoom a must have for lightweight use (nice to have 300mm at weight = 1 lb)
  5. Todd, your description exactly matches a lens of about two years ago, only called Super DL where I saw it. I saw a test surprisingly showing the non-apochromatic version as superior in that case, which would make it a good deal (it was <$200 new I think).

    How long should I expect the lenses to physically be?
  6. I've had the Tamron 100-300, which wasn't bad for what it cost and can be had for $60-70 used US. I've also owned a Nikon 70-300 G which you can also get used for about $100 US and was inferior optically and in build quality to the Tamron. I sold both of those for the older Nikon 75-300 which is great optically, but the push/pull zoom is a bit awkward and the lens goes to full extension when its on your shoulder. I opted against the Nikon 70-300 ED because the reports I read indicated that it wasn't much better than the 70-300 G. I also own a Nikon 180 2.8 that is excellent, and can be had for about $350, but that sounds shorter than you want.
  7. How long should I expect the lenses to physically be?
    Sigma has a website where you can get the specs:
    Looks like 119.5mm in length. It does 'grow' somewhat as it is zoomed, focussed, etc. I can't comment on the superiority / inferiority of the DL vs. APO versions other than Sigma markets the APO as 'better', and I've had experience with the APO version.
  8. After flirting with the idea of a 28-300, I decided to stick with the 70-300 idea since my two lenses would still be worth about the same as the hyperzoom but give less geometry problems.

    It's tough to call on the options I have seen so far:

    cheapest: Nikkor 70-300 - no aperture ring (!), no macro, same lens group design as the Tamron and Nikon D ED.

    still cheap: Sigma 70-300 Super DL - 1:2 macro, quite good reviews everywhere putting it above the competitors last year in testing.

    almost as cheap: Tamron 70-300 LD - 1:2 macro, and otherwise same lens group design and low dispersion glass as the Nikon D-ED (check Ken Rockwell before calling it a lie), seemingly a bargain but may not be better than the Sigma- photodo results are very old.

    Be good if I had a shop with them all or even the nerve to buy 3 and send two back...

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