need a telephoto lens for my Nikon D90: which one to choose ?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by aurore_fourdin, Mar 19, 2011.

  1. Hello everyone,
    I am quite new at photography (well, it's been a year that I took it seriously). I owned a D90, a sigma 17-70mm and NIkkor 50mm (as well as the basic kit 18-55 & 55-200mm which I am going to sell soon as I don't use it). Up to now, I am quite happy with it... but now I am more interested in shooting nature, especially animals. I am going on a trip in a few months, so I am looking for a good and not too expensive photo lens. After reading so many review/critics and asking friends, I have to admit that I am even more confused than before...
    My two choices were actually between the SIGMA 150-500 (larger range) and the SIGMA 120-400 (quicker). I was looking into the Nikon 80-400, but it is quite pricey here (in Europe).
    Now, a friend who is a professional photog, told me to look also into the TOKINA 80-400mm, cheaper and according to him better than the SIGMA.
    What are your experiences about TOKINA lenses ? I've never own one, nor use one before.
    Thanks a lot !
  2. I own a Tokina 11-17 and it's of the best.......many serious photographers rate Tokina lenses above Sigma and tamron.
    I have a Nikkor 18-300 FX which I use with my Nikon D90 and though is a FX, I take great pictures and never have any isssues with it.
  3. Honestly, the 70-300 VR is a GREAT travel tele zoom. Look into it. The 80-400 is 2 or 3 x the price and if you're printing 8 x 10 or smaller, you can just crop in on the 300mm end of the cheaper lens and get essentially the same picture.
  4. Sorry , I meant 28-300 Nikkor lens. !!
  5. Agreed with Peter Hamm, I'd recommend looking at the Nikon 70-300VR or Tamron 70-300VC. If you really want/need the extra reach, do consider that all the lenses you mention are considerably larger and heavier. So do visit a shop that has them on stock to see if you are comfortable with that (and whether your bag and tripod like it too).
    In terms of build quality, Tokina is top. But what I've read about the 80-400 (having been interested in it), it is slow to AF and not extremely good. The Sigma 120-400 adds an optical stabiliser, which may come in handy when not using a tripod.
    If you have the 55-200 VR version, I'd actually give that one a look again. It may be small and unassuming, but results from it look really quite good. Sure it's lacking in reach, though, but it could get you going.
  6. Keep what you have right now and add to them,you won't get much for those lenses if you try to sell them believe me. The tokina's in my opinion are better than either of the others if you want 3rd party lenses,I prefer Nikons,but thats me. The tokina 80-400 might be a good choice I'm not familar with it. Do some research on it online. Also someone said Nikon 70-300 VR thats a real choice,I have one and recomend it highly.
  7. I sold a used 18-55 VR on Ebay recently for $129 and a 55-200 VR for $159, which seem like pretty normal prices, so minus fees you could get about $250 which goes a long way toward a 70-300 VR or VC, which is what I'd do.
  8. All the superzooms, including Nikon's, have deficiencies, either average image quality and/or slow focusing. I would either add a used Nikon AF 300mm f4 ED to your 55-200 VR or consider either a used Nikon AF 80-200mm f2.8 D ED with TC-14e, or a used Sigma 100-300mm f4. All of these options would be sharper than any of the lenses you are considering and the Nikon 70-300 VR.
  9. You did good Andy L those prices are slightly less than brand new prices !
  10. I own both the 70-300 and the sigma 150-500; in my experience the 70-300 VR is a very useful lens in that you can shoot it wide open with excellent results. Autofocus is pretty crisp and in general the lens works well for a general walk-around lens if nature is your thing. It's inexpensive for the performance level of this lens, although you might find the 300mm a bit short given what you already have.
    The Sigma 150-500 is a very different beast; whereas the 70-300 was "inexpensive", the 150-500 is "cheap" - cheapest way to get to 500mm, but it does show. I don't shoot it wide open as mine copy tends to work better at f/9, and the autofocus is leisurely. That said, the stabilisation does work very well (as does the VR on the 70-300).
    If you can accept having to stop down or ISO up (usually both) by default, then the Sigma can deliver good results. YMMV - if you go down the sigma route, make sure you get it from somewhere that you can return the lens if you find it unsatisfactory.
    One alternative possibility favoured around here is using an AF-S 300mm f/4 with a TC-14e, for 420mm @~ f/5.6.
  11. hi there, i have quite a bunch of tokina lenses: 12-24/4, 17/3.5, 35/2.8 macro, 100/2.8 macro and 24-200/3.5-5.6. all of them are really good, except the superzoom, which isnt very contrasty and is only sharp at f/8. i've heard the 80-400 is decent optically, but i wouldnt expect to get critically sharp results from it handheld--you'd need to use it stopped down, on a tripod, for best results.
    if i were you,however, i would probably go with one of the stabilized telezooms, like the tamron 70-300 VC or nikon 70-300 VR. you really can't lose with either of those and it's a pretty versatile range, even if you eventually go to longer lenses.
  12. One more vote for the Nikon 70-300 VR (don't look at the non-VR one). The VR is quite effective and very helpful. The range is not as long as you wanted, but it's a decent choice for the money. I used to have one with my D90 before and the high contrast & sharpness made me love it.
  13. where are you going? if it's not too critical of a trip, your 55-200mm VR might do the job. a little more reach and a little more money, the 70-300mm VR. i'd say save the money for other fun stuff on the trip ----- like food, lodging and souvenirs :)
    and if you don't have a 35mm f/1.8 or a 50mm f/1.8, you should get one. either one (my choice is the 35mm) will be a fun lens on a trip.
    the tokina lenses served me well in my pj days in the far east and asia. but that was many moons ago.
    so if you are sticking to your list, i will get the tokina, from previous experience with that particular lens (and not having experience with the others). also from the economic standpoint.
  14. I will give a +1 for the NIKKOR 70-300mm VR as a great travel tele-zoom. My first preference for wildlife is the 300mm f/4, but you would be looking at double the price of the 70-300mm, three times the weight, and no VR.
  15. The Tokina 80-400 is not stabilized so you'll need a tripod at the long end. I'm another vote for the Nikon 70-300 VR which I have or the Tamron 70-300 VC. The Sigma 70-300 OS is also worth considering.
  16. @ all: Thanks a lot for your comments.
    The VR/OS is indeed quite important, as I don't often use a tripod ... well, I usually go hiking, so carrying a tripod isn't that convenient.
    I was looking into the Nikon 70-300 VR, but I loved to photograph animals - like birds, bears, whales, dolphins, reindeer... so I need the range. I am afraid that it will be a bit too short ... the sigma 150-500 is a beast and quite heavy, so I was thinking the 120-400.
    @ Ramon V: I am going to Norway for my job and then Australia for holidays, so both places are amazing for wildlife photography.
    @ Eric Arnold: how is the tokina 12-24mm ? I heard (from many photographers - pro or not) that it was great for landscapes
  17. While I can't speak from personal experience, I 've read some good things about the Tamron 200-500. It's not stabilised, but the weight difference is noticable. On my shortlist for hiking, with a monopod probably.
  18. Well ... just to let you know: I finally went for a 70-300 Vr ! I wasn't convinced by the sigma and I found a great deal for a 70-300. And I also took a Tokina 11-16 after trying one from a friend ... I just fell in love with that lense.
    In the future, I think I will get a 300 or 400 with a teleconverter ;-)
  19. Tokina 150-500 will not work with the D90 but will work with the D7000
    I am not allowed to mention whre I got this information from > Instructions from
    I though this was an open Forum. Guess I need to close my account and go else where to share my knowledge.

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