Help needed for nikon lens

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by ragaikaras, Jun 26, 2008.

  1. I have Nikon D40X Camera and my interest is to photograph Birds with good sharpness and details. I was told that the best lens for that is 70-200 mm f/2.8 D VR G ED.IF lens,but it is too expensive. Could any one help me to what will be the next best lens to buy that is not too expensive and produce the same quality of sharpness and details. VR is important. Please reply to: Thank you for your help.
  2. The cheapest big lens for your D40x is going to be the 70-300mm VR at about $450. Below that you have the 55-200mm VR at about $230. But you are asking for top quality at a consumer price, so I doubt you will ever be satisfied.

    What is your actual budget on this lens?
  3. I'm not sure you were given the right advice regarding a lens with a maximum focal length of 200mm (300mm DX). Bird
    photography ideally requires very long lenses with large maximum apertures. I suppose an economical but very big
    compromise would be the AF-S VR Zoom- NIKKOR
    70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED. Even so, for serious birding, I would save my money for the AF-S VR Zoom- NIKKOR
    200-400mm f/4G IF-ED if not a long fixed focal length lens.
  4. Photographing birds, particularly in flight, is very demanding on technique and equipment. In many cases good field
    technique will substitute for high-end equipment. Without the field technique you can expect to either pay the
    multiple thousands of dollars on a single lens as many aspiring bird photographers have done, or accept somewhat
    lower quality in your photos. If you have not already done so I suggest working on field technique as a means of
    getting better results with more affordable equipment.
  5. He said "not too expensive", Robert. Kinda hard with "birds" in the same sentence.

    Back to the OP. Your picture wasn't up yet when I posted.

    It looks as though the water is sharper than the bird, so I'm going to guess it's poor technique and not a lens issue.
    Your 1/1000th shutter shoud have been enough to capture the bird much sharper, and since the water is sharper
    than the bird, I am guessing you did not pan (or you stopped the pan early). Work on your panning skills.
  6. if you're just starting to learn the ropes, you probably would be pretty well served with the 70-300mm f:/4.5-5.6 VR. no, it doesn't have a large aperture, but can give you pretty decent reach while you work on your technique. as noted above, even lacking expensive, high-end equipment, that's your best bet for getting what you're after. i don't claim to be a great bird photographer, but i'm patient and working at it.
  7. Well if VR is required, then 'not too expensive' cannot be met...

    My suggestion is a 300mm manual lens... On your camera that is the equivalent of a 450mm lens...
    Then work on your focusing and panning technique... After all, this is the way is was done for generations with film cameras and they made great shots...

  8. Its just like buying a tripod. People will successively buy one inadequate tripod after another for the sake of what is
    eventually realized as false economy. In the end, they buy the tripod they should have purchased in the first place after
    spending a small fortune for all the wrong equipment.

    Just save your money now and buy the right equipment the first time. You will also save yourself a lot of frustration and disappointment in the long run.
  9. "Just save your money now and buy the right equipment the first time."
    I disagree. I used eight different 300mm (or so) lenses before I understood what the right equipment for my needs was. Each of these lenses taught me more about what I wanted from a 300mm lens so that when I eventually spent the big bucks on the "right" lens it was the right lens for me, not the "right" lens for the typical user. Most of these lenses were either borrowed or purchased used so there was little if any money lost in buying and re-selling the "wrong" lenses, and the "right" lens would have been gross overkill until my technique was sufficiently developed to take advantage of its capabilities.
  10. All three photos here were taken with a 70-300 VR. It's a good lens to start with BUT, as stated earlier it's not very good for
    birds in flight because it simply doesn't have the reach. The bird here is a VERY big bird!
    <img src="">
  11. erik_christensen|3

    erik_christensen|3 Self-employed

    Douglas - and the during the time between the usage of the first 300mm and the right lens the quality of 300mm lenses has most likely be improved considerably
  12. Erik, that's correct.
  13. If you are taking pictures of moving subjects, VR is pretty much useless. For birding, a monopod or tripod can be helpful.

    With good lighting, Nikon's 55-200mm lens will give you high quality images equal to those that the much more expensive 70-200mm will. You can get the non-VR version for about $100 used. It is an EXCELLENT lens. You may find that the 70-300mm lens gives images that are a bit soft between 200mm and 300mm.
  14. In my opinion VR is not needed for bird photography, even for flight shooting. However, a good tripod is as is good long lens technique. The minimum focal length you should have is 300mm. Longer, like 500mm, would be better. I suggest you consider getting a Nikon 300mm f 4.0 AFS lens along with the Nikon 1.4x AFS tc, the TC-14 EII. When your budget allows it, consider upgrading your camera body as you are very much limited in the lenses you can use with your D 40x. And the upgraded bodies have other fetures you will love too for nature photography. One wonderful budget birding lens is the Nikon 500mm f 4.0 P lens, manual focus, but chipped, or electronic. Check your camera manual to see if it will meter with this lens. Personally, I do not think your camera's viewfinder is good enough for accuarte focusing with this lens, but that is just my opinion. The lens is not the issue, it is the viewfinder on the d 40. Joe Smith
  15. Here is a link on long lens technique:

    Joe Smith
  16. Can you swing around $ 1000.00 ?

    If you can swing about $ 1000.00 I would buy a 300mm AF-S f/4 - - super sharp at f/8, but probably fine already at f/5.6 - - but I've not ever tested it there. Ignore VR & buy even a cheaper tripod to stabilize the lens - - - You'll love the result. Don't know if it will AF or not good with the D40x facts on where you get what - - but the 300mm AF-S f/4 is a wonderful reasonably cheap great starting birding lens. With long lens technique you'll do well with it,

    Birding gets easily expensive, but this way you can start out on a budget.

    Lil :)
  17. A agree completely with Bob Hooper.

    "Just save your money now and buy the right equipment the first time. You will also save yourself a lot of frustration and disappointment in the long run."

    I don't necessarily practice it, but I agree with him.

    Study carefully because there's also the phenomena of spending a fortune on junk that one thought was top of the line.
  18. Lil Judd's suggestion of 300/4 AF-S would have my vote - in fact, it is the lens I use until I can swing the money for one of the five times more expensive ones. I use it routinely with the TC-14E and it is giving me good results even if used wide open, and still works reasonably well with a TC-17EII - it all depends what your demands and the end use of your pictures are. I doubt the D40X is a good camera to be used for birds in flight, the AF system isn't very fast (I had a D70 and it wasn't adequate).

    Another option if $1000-$1500 isn't in the budget would be the older 300/4 AF lens - focusing is notably slower than with the AF-S version but the focus limiter is more versatile and can at least partially compensate for the slower speed. A Kenko 1.4x extender could be used to extend the range - the combo could be had for around $700 I guess.

    Still, 300mm is awfully short for bird photography - so the above suggestions are to be taken in the context of the budget constraints.

    Probably the best "budget" lens for bird in flight is the Canon 400/5.6 - had I not already invested in my Nikon equipment, then that would be my lens of choice for that particular task.
  19. Dieter, I don't believe the older 300 f/4 will autofocus with his D40x. If he's willing to do manual focus, there are many choices available. However, I find my keepers really go down when I use manual focus.
  20. You are right Bruce, I forgot that the D40, D40X and D60 only autofocus with AF-S lenses.
  21. For less than $100, you can get a older AF-S 70-300mm G Nikkor lens. It is not too bad for the money, and a larger bird helps some.
  22. I think the non-VR 70-300 also lacks an AF motor. It's a non-AF-S G lens (interestingly, no aparture ring neither). It's going to be hard to photograph birds w/ that lens on a D40.

    Most recommendations here are clearly out of his budget. The 55-200 VR and 70-300 VR are clearly the only two somewhat feasible "cheap" choices.

    *The 55-200 VR is only good for normal sized birds 10 feet away. That's pretty much point-blank range for bird photography.
  23. One of several hundred attempts I have only this bluejay and a few pigon, and duck shots that I think are good. But these birds sat there looking me. They posed for me and my camea while I was on the back porch. This was taken with the 55-200mm VR. At 200mm, 1/320 sec, F5.6. One problem I've found with autofocus with trying to shoot birds in trees is that the camera keeps missing the focus point I'm aiming at. It focuses on a twig of leaf in front or behind the bird. From my porch, shooting into the trees I have better luck trying to manual focus on the bird. But I'm a rooky and not very serious about birding.
  24. While not a stellar performer, the 80-400 VR may be a good choice relative to price/performance. Its been
    noticeably absent from this discussion, and while its certainly got its limitations technique and opportunity can result
    in good images. --Rich
  25. While not a stellar performer, the 80-400 VR may be a good choice relative to price/performance. Its been noticeably absent from this discussion, and while its certainly got its limitations, technique and opportunity can result in good images. --Rich
  26. Jerry S. - The problem you may be having is that your using too many focal points & dynamic setting, then their grabbing the tree & branches instead of your main subject trying to focus on the whole scene. Try lowering your focal points & using single point closest subject and placing it directly over your bird. This was shot with D300 & Nikkor 18-200 VR 1/200 f/5.9 ISO 800 at 200mm
  27. Is this better?
  28. I thank all of you for your help and I will consider Following your suggestions.

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