82mm protection filter and tripod - Nikkor AF 300mm F4?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by dilom_ski, Jul 19, 2014.

  1. Hello everyone,
    I recently bought a Nikkor AF 300mm F4 (non AFS) for my D7000 and I am glad for my choise.But now, since I want to go wild for birds and other animals, I have two questions.
    1.82mm protection filter for the lens - which one to buy, does it decrease quality and do I need a filter like that at all, or its enough with the build-in lens hood for front lens protection?
    2.Tripod and head for birding for the d7000 + the lens - around 2,3 kg - which tripod to get?I saw manfrotto 190 looks good, but the legs have these noisy adjustment clicks, I think readjusting the tripod in the presens on birds (when in tent for example) must be more silent.Give your opinions about tripods and heads, thanks!
     
  2. Dilom, unless you work in very awkward conditions, I wouldn't bother with a filter to protect the front element. Awkward conditions would be: lots of spray, water, dust - a filter is easier to clean. For protection against bumps and such, the lens hood works better than a filter.
    Tripod and head - more complicated story. I have the AF-S 300 f/4, Manfrotto 055DB legs (rated to 8kg). That works fine. The problem is the head - previously I had a ballhead according to spec rated to 16kg. It ought to take this lens with a D300 without issues - but it didn't. The rating is really only for loads that aren't under any angle. Put it under an angle, and the difference between a decent head and a good head become very obvious. Unfortunately, the price is also quite different.
    If you do not mind working slower, for less money 3-way heads tend to be more stable and secure. If you want a ballhead, spend serious money to get something good because a mediocre ballhead spoils all the fun.
     
  3. I've been very happy with the Hoya "Pro-Digital" line multi-coated filters. They are my current go-to brand and model.
    But, I agree with Wouter. Keep the hood extended and go filter-less.
     
  4. I used to own this lens. And it had a filter on the front. Why? Because I do not like risking such an expensive and excellent lens from bad external elements. The only filter brand I would place on this lens is a high quality B+ W or Heliopan filter. But the other posters are right. It is an optional thing to do. More important is to get a good tripod and very good ball head. Induro has recently introduced a new series of carbon fiber tripods which I would recommend over the Manfroto. It is the Grand Series EP. It does not have a center column, but if you want one, you can get it as an accessory. I prefer tripods for heavy lenses not to have center columns. I do not like tripods with adjustment levers for the reasons you mentioned and one other: they get caught on branches and such things when being carried in the field. You will love your 300mm lens. It was one of my favorite landscapes lenses. I now have the AFS version.
    Joe Smith
     
  5. Although I've never used one, I've heard a gimbal head is good for birding.
     
  6. 82mm protection filter for the lens - which one to buy, does it decrease quality and do I need a filter like that at all, or its enough with the build-in lens hood for front lens protection?​
    I owned the lens and I did have a filter on it. I photograph a lot on beaches or near the ocean and found cleaning the filter a lot easier than cleaning the front element. Can't recall the filter brand, it likely was a Hoya though.
    Tripod and head for birding for the d7000 + the lens - around 2,3 kg - which tripod to get?​
    I would consider the 190 marginal for your application; I owned a set of 055 legs and they are certainly up to the task but I traded them for an Induro CT 414, replacing the standard column with a short one (Induro just came out with a series of tripods without center column - if I were to purchase today, that's what I would be getting). In addition to being lighter than aluminum tripods (though depending on size, not by all that much), carbon tripods are more comfortable to work with when its cold or wet out. The Induro 4xx tripod is definitely overkill, I would recommend you have a good look at their 3xx.
    opinions about ... heads​
    I started with a ball head and found them not suitable for bird photography - and I traded up for a gimbal head: Jobu Jr.3 Gimbal Kit with Swing-Arm HM-J2 from Jobu Design. It is sufficient for smaller lenses but I wish I had opted for an Induro GHB2 instead (I had issues with balancing a 300/4AF-S with TC-17EII attached). I have not used one - but the Acratech Long Lens head looks interesting too (or you could get their panoramic head - which is essentially the same thing).
    The cheapest tripod/head solution will likely set you back some $500-$600 - and it is very easy to push that way past the $1K.
     
  7. I have 3 older Manfrotto tripods, the lightest of which is a model 055B at around 3.5 Kg including head. It's the lightest aluminium tripod I'd consider using with a lens of the weight and magnification of your 300mm Dilom. And then only at a low height - certainly not with the centre-column extended. IMO, a good rule of thumb would be to pick a tripod weighing at least as much as the kit you intend to mount on it. Unless you pay a premium for a carbon-fibre job.
    To be honest I'm not impressed with Manfrotto's latest offerings, especially their lower-priced heads. Too much plastic and unnecessary moving bits for my liking. IMO the Giottos range look better made at a similar price point.
    +1 to not being a fan of ball heads. Weight-for-weight you'll get better stability from a 3-way pan/tilt head, and at least you can leave one or two of the axes unlocked without the entire camera and lens crashing into your tripod legs.
    I'm not sure that tripod clicks would be much of an issue; shutter noise will be far more so. I'm amazed how quick the reactions of small birds can be: I recently set up a tripod near a friend's bird feeder, triggering it with a remote from inside his house. The shutter noise scared the birds away with every shot, and in some cases the bird had taken flight and was part way out of frame before the shot was even taken. That's a truly rapid reaction time!
    WRT filters. That really depends how paranoid/clumsy you are, or if you're in the habit of taking your gear into hostile conditions. Personally I'd rather clean a filter than the front of my lens, but if IQ is critical, then I'll remove the filter. I also use Hoya filters, since I've never seen any degradation of the image when using one. I've also never seen any tests to definitively show the superiority of Heliopan or B+W filters. In fact one of the only halfway scientific tests of filters shows them to represent very poor value for money.
    http://www.lenstip.com/113.7-article-UV_filters_test_B+W_72mm_010_UV-Haze.html
     
  8. Of course, we're all different. Maybe because I've been using pan tilt so long I just prefer them. I had a nice ball head, I
    gave the rig away to my son. You really have to go and try the stuff you intend to use. Try meeting up with other serious
    photogs and get a feel for their equipment. I have a circle of about three where we talk among ourselves about techie
    details and get a first hand view of what's up.

    As for the filters, I don't use them on my longer lenses 180, 300, 400.
     
  9. I'm with Joseph on this. If you introduce piece of glass in a front of your superb lens, you'll degrade the image. Granted, it's a slight degradation, but that's up to you. I went for a 3-legged tripod without the middle column and I can verify that is a solid approach. In my case, I went for a carbon fiber Feisol for tall folks and it weights around 4.85 lbs. Getting good head for your tripod is not easy....I'd recommend overkill (for several reasons). If you are super serious about birding and eventually graduating to 500mm, etc. then get a solid head (gimball type or whatever) and you'll never regret it. Actually, you might be in the neighborhood of similar magnification already: D7000 + 300mm + 1.4 ext (as needed). There are several heads that are worth mentioning, from Arca-Swiss to Markins, to RRS, FLM, etc.
    The bottom line is this, get quality and you'd not have to repeat purchasing these items. I have a photo from local CL and the guy is selling 8 (yes, eight) tripods....all of them look like a joke...and he can't even get $20 for the lot.
    Les
     
  10. Dilom, I use the same lens on a D300.
    FWIW:
    - I bought a very good filter, and I leave it there.
    - I shoot birds with a monopod at Shark Valley, Wakodahatchee, Green Cay, etc. where one can get reasonably close.
    - After a lot of watching on eBay, I found the Nikon drop-in polarizer (it's a CPL-1S according to this Nikon page)
     
  11. I've had good luck with the Hoya Pro1 digital filters, when and if you need them.
    Another vote for a head that allows easy movement of the 300mm lens. In my opinion, a three-way control is too slow for any kind of moving subject with the small angle of coverage of such a lens.
    A cost-effective version of this sort of thing is the Manfrotto 393. It has a U-shaped hang that works for me as well as a gimbal-style in quickness. It's called a monopod head, but works just fine on a tripod, strangely enough ;)
    The older squeeze-grip Manfrotto 222 grip is solid enough for most long telephotos.
    00ciTc-549890284.jpg
     
  12. Thanks for the comments!
    As for filter I was thinking about B+W and Hoya UV Pro1 digital MC, and I saw the test where the Hoya was the best quality, maybe I will buy this filter, specially for beach, swamp and lake conditions (where most birds in my area are).
    As for tripod and head, I will research the models, but as already mentioned, one has to try this in the field to see if it working for him.I will try to do that, instead of rushing in for a wrong choise.
    Anyway, you can share expirience about the topic and the lens itself.About the teleconvertors, I bought the kenko 300 pro 1,4 and I don't really like the image quality with this tc on, nor the autofocus speed.I tried recently a nikon tc-201 with my old 80-200 manuan focus and I think it was decent quality for a 2x tc.Anyone tried that or tc-301 with this 300mm f4 lens?
     
  13. The matched tc the lens you have is the Nikon 14B. It is far better than the kenko. It is a manual focus tc. This lens will not likely AF once you add a 1.4 x tc as the widest f stop becomes f5.6. I would not let that bother me, for when I use most tele lenses, I usually end up fine tuning the focus manually anyhow with static subjects. And the AF speed of this lens is pretty slow anyhow. If you plan to use the lens for birds in flight, adding any kind of tc that is AF will likely slow down its AF. Others will have to add some comments if there is any Nikon AF tc that will mate/work with this lens.
    I second the recommendation to get the 39mm drop in polarizer if you are going to be doing landscape work. They are very hard to find. I got mine on eBay and sold it when I sold my older manual focus Nikon tele lenses that took the 39mm drop in filters. I used it mostly for glare reduction on foilage and glare control on water. Rarely did I use it for sky enhancement.
    I have used Hoya filters. My problems with them were not the glass but the poor rings. They just did not hold up. Maybe they have fixed these problems. I had the same problems with Nikon filters.
    Send me a private email and I will email you a pdf handout I have on a presentation on equioment for bird photography.
    Joe Smith
     
  14. I've been shooting outdoors in some truly nasty conditions and never once have had a lens damaged because it didn't have a filter. The only time I had a lens get damaged was BECAUSE it had a filter on it. The lens hit the ground, the filter broke, and that seriously scratched up the lens. I use a lens hood 100% and that's more protection than a filter. Also, when not taking a shot I have the lens cap on. The lens cap is made of very tough plastic, not flimsy glass. People seem to get more careless when they have a filter on, thinking the lens is "protected," when really it's not protected much at all. Over 30 years of rugged outdoor shooting and have never had a lens damaged because no filter.
    For birding and wildlife, the gimbal heads are great. Get one with the Arca Swiss type quick release plut a dedicated plate for your camera. I like twist lock legs on tripods myself, and use a very sturdy Gitzo 1325. Don't go cheap on a tripod and head.
    Kent in SD
     
  15. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I've been shooting outdoors in some truly nasty conditions and never once have had a lens damaged because it didn't have a filter. The only time I had a lens get damaged was BECAUSE it had a filter on it. The lens hit the ground, the filter broke, and that seriously scratched up the lens.​
    I can't believe you posted this example again.
    It is like once a friend of mine got into a pretty serious car accident. The car was seriously damaged, but he was wearing his seat belt so that he avoided major injury. However, the lap part of the belt did put some minor injury on his stomach. Therefore, it is like blaming the seat belt because his only injury from that car accident was from the seat belt so that he shouldn't have worn it at all.
    I had the 300mm/f4 AF from 1990 to the early part of this century. At the time I used a 82mm Nikon L37C filter on it for protection. If you use your lens in dusty, sandy or water spray type situation a lot, I would use a protection filter. However, a filter is made from optical glass; it is not intended for impact type protection.
    The difference is that back then, the 300mm/f4 AF was a $900 lens, and putting a $100 protection filter may make sense under certain conditions. By now, the used value of the old lens is probably $300-400. I wouldn't spend an additional 1/3 of it price on another large, expensive filter unless it is really necessary.
    Another issue to keep in mind is that the 300mm/f4 AF has a built-in, "telescope" lens hood. Upon impact, it might just collapse into the lens barrel and does not protect the lens as well as a screw on or snap on hood can.
     
  16. The filter definitely damaged the lens. If I had been using the lens cap only, there would have been no damage. I saw something similar happen to a friend of mine who once thought he was putting a lens into a pouch on his belt, but instead it dropped straight to the concrete. The filter broke, the front element got scratched. I rarely will use a filter for protection against dust but sometimes will against something like grit laden spray from waterfalls or sulpheric acid from volcanic vents. Mostly, I think filters are sold by aggressive camera stores to up their sales on a high margin item using fear tactics.
    Kent in SD
     
  17. I agree with Shun. Without a filter, there are many ways and a high probability of damaging a lens front element. I have also broken filters and there was no damage to the lens they were attached to.
    Ballheads used with a Wimberley Sidekick (http://www.tripodhead.com/products/sidekick-main.cfm) or a Promedia Tomahawk (http://www.promediagear.com/Tomahawk--Gimbal-attachment-for-Ball-Heads_p_42.html) are excellent for wildlife photography. Be aware that the Tomahawk is a very heavy item compared to the Sidekick. Using these side mount/ballhead combinations allows a lot of flexibility.
    The Wimberley website normally has an excellent table of recommended tripods according to the lens/body combinations to be used. Unfortunately, that page is apparently being updated and doesn't currently have specific information. (http://www.tripodhead.com/faqs-tripod-recommendation.cfm)
    Having used both Manfrotto and Gitzo tripods over a few decades, I have found that a high end carbon fibre Gitzo absolutely smears Manfrotto's offerings - in terms of load bearing capacity, reliability and robustness.
    The Markins Q series ballheads are worth serious consideration.
    None of this gear is cheap. However, unlike camera bodies, they don't become obsolete overnight. If a high end tripod and ballhead are well maintained and cared for they should remain serviceable for many, many years. Buy well, buy once.
     
  18. the thing about a filter is, you can always take it off in conditions where it is not needed. it's so easy to incidentally scratch a front element -- even when taking the lens cap on or off. i have filters on all my lenses. B+W and Heliopan have the best build quality, but Hoyas are good too. i dont think there's a real difference in optical glass between a hi-end Hoya and a B+W. the difference is in the ring itself; B+W makes its rings with brass, not aluminum. 82mm filters aren't cheap, but it's a lot easier to replace a filter than repair a damaged front element.
     
  19. The nice thing about filters is that it does protect the lens. Take a look on eBay and you'll find many lenses with scratches or marks on the coating. The image degradation in my experience is minimal but I do use Nikon NC filters which are awesome filters imo. For me, it's not worth getting a scratch or blemish knowing I could've protected the lens and prevented a mishap.
     
  20. Ok, but if you dont have a filter and you get mud, water of dust on the front element, it can be cleaned with special lens liquid and special small towel for lenses, right?
     
  21. I have to say that I agree with Kent about this one. Shooting spiders late one evening, I managed to trip over my own tripod and send a D7000 + 70-200 VRII to the floor. The Nikon clear filter shattered and put a tiny ding onto the lens' front element. It makes absolutely no difference to the IQ that I can see, but will clearly affect the resale value. I also have the AF-S 300 f4 - the lens hood is not as robust as I would like, but I'd take it over a clear glass filter for protection any day.
    Of course, conditions dictate - shooting in surf, mud, etc., might cause me to attach a clear filter, but I'd be just as worried about the rest of the system as the lens front element.
    With regard to which tripod/ball head, I have a different view. I own a couple of Manfrotto tripods, including a 190 CXPRO3 (carbon fibre) and a 468MGRC2 ball head. The tripod is excellent, but with a long lens on my D7100, I'm less than convinced about the ball head, which always seems to dip as I try and set it. It wasn't cheap by local standards - about ZAR3,500 (appx. US$350) if memory serves.
    Then, late last year, I went to a wildlife photography symposium in Cape Town (Wild Shots) where I heard Albert Froneman speak. Google him and you'll see that he is probably South Africa's leading bird photographer. (His wife might disagree - Marietjie is also a superb taker of bird pictures!) He told us that he thinks he still owns some camera supports somewhere but never uses them. Modern technology, he said, allows him to shoot at 1/2000th and also under high ISO. If he doesn't get the shot first time, he comes back and does it again. That also applied, he said, to PP - birds, in his view, are quite predictable.
    Albert has been shooting birds all his life and he's professional. He has, of course, massive knowledge about his subject, which is probably the real key to success. I'm an amateur but have applied the high shutter speed lesson and now almost never carry a tripod. Maybe a monopod...but even that feels like hard work these days.
    Hope that helps!
    Best wishes from Knysna, South Africa.
    Chris
     
  22. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I have to say that I agree with Kent about this one. Shooting spiders late one evening, I managed to trip over my own tripod and send a D7000 + 70-200 VRII to the floor. The Nikon clear filter shattered and put a tiny ding onto the lens' front element. It makes absolutely no difference to the IQ that I can see, but will clearly affect the resale value.​
    The point both you and Kent missed is that if the protection filter were not there, it would have been the front element of the lens that took the hit and shattered.
    It is like that friend of mine in the car accident. The seat belt restrained his body during the impact to save him from serious injury, but in doing so, the lap belt did put a lot of pressure on his abdomen and caused some not-too-serious injury. So the final outcome was that his only injury from the accident was from the seat belt, but turning around and blame the seat belt for everything is just insane.
    Both lens elements and filters are made from optical glass, and glass does not take impact well. Nobody here is suggesting to use filters to protect from impacts. Rather, it is for protecting the lens from dust, sand, rain drops, water spray ....
    But I am well aware that I can explain this to Kent another 100 times, he is never going to get it.
    P.S., Some 40 years ago, once I was changing lenses and a friend bumped into my elbow. The lens was a Minolta 135mm/f2.8 with a build-in "telescope" lens hood similar to the one on the Nikon 300mm/f4 AF. The lens fell onto concrete. I am not sure the hood was extended or not but it just collapsed into the barrel and provided no protection. The Minolta lens cap was an aluminum one that was seriously damaged. I had a Hoya UV filter on. The glass shattered and the metal rim of the filter was also seriously damaged such that I had to take it to Minolta's service center to get it removed. However, at least in that case there is no damage to the lens; both the glass and barrel remained perfect afterwards.
    But in the next 40 years, I have not had another filter that save a lens in such a fashion.
     
  23. One Hoya filter will be a good choise.Will get one soon.
    I like this Manfrotto 393 head, looks good and not so expensive.Have to look for suitible legs for it.
    I also bought an old nikon tc-14b and I am satisfied with the quality of the combo.I will sell my other kenko tc's.
     
  24. How about Vanguard Alta Pro series legs plus Manfrotto 393 head?
     

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