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Old Dec 6, 2012, 4:39 PM   #1
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Default 70-300mm tough choice

Hi folks,

I recently bought a Nikon d5100 that came with the kit 18-55 lens. ive had it a couple of months now and have got some nice shots with the standard bit of kit. This is my first DSLR and i have no other lenses to date, so i am looking to purchase a zoom lens with built in macro as a possible bonus. The macro isnt the urgent part, but i previously shot with a pana fz100 superzoom so im missing the bird shots and motor racing photography a little and thought this might be a nice direction to go in. Here's the catch... my fiance is buying the lens for me as a christmas present and i want to do this as cost effectively as possible, without expecting something too lavish. I've seen the Tamron 70-300mm with macro + motor for around the bargain price of 100.00 and having read a few reviews, im rather intregued. Now i know im not going to get the same quality and build as i would from the Nikon lens but as a first lens and not a main lens surely this kind of value is a worthy purchase?

Also seen Sigma do a similar model, so if anyone has any personal usage of the lens in question or the Sigma equivelant your input would be very helpful in my decision making. in terms of budget, the equivelant lens in Nikon's range i could afford would probably be a 55-200 vr af-s lens, but i really would like a bit more range if possible.

any advice would be truly welcomed.

many thanks,
John
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Old Dec 6, 2012, 5:26 PM   #2
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Skip the Sigmas. It's not that they're bad; it's that, for about the same price, the Tamrons are better.

At the low end of the price range, there's the Tamron 70-300 Di LD. It does 1:2 macro at 300mm, but it's not really sharp at that end, and it's not stabilized. It's not a great lens, but it's better than anything else at twice the price.

Next is the Tamron 70-300 VC USD. It's better and it's stabilized, but it costs a lot more too.

Then there's the Nikon 70-300 VR.
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Old Dec 6, 2012, 8:38 PM   #3
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Everything Tom said. Also, I tagged some pics on my flickr site with this lens. This is not ALL, but will show what a "cheap" lens can do.

HERE
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Old Dec 6, 2012, 8:52 PM   #4
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John, these pics of the Blue Angels air show were shot with the Tamron 70-300 LD DI 1:2 Tele macro. Inexpensive, but a real value for the price.

Air show part one

Air show part two

Air show part three

For the price, you could do worse...
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Old Dec 9, 2012, 5:38 AM   #5
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as TCav noted dont rule out the nikon 70-300
this is an excelent lense
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 3:25 PM   #6
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I HAVE THE TAMRON 70-300 USD.... it is a beast very sharp and the stabilization is fantastic although is slow on the odd occasion (lighting) but I love it.
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Old Mar 2, 2013, 9:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kazuya View Post
as TCav noted dont rule out the nikon 70-300
this is an excelent lense
I have the both 55-200 and the 70-300, both are Nikon AFS and VR. The first thing you notice is the 70-300 is big and heavy, I knew that from reading the specs, but when I got it in my hands it was "holy crap". The 55-200 is just a little bigger than the 18-55. The 55-200 is light enough that I could put it in a pocket "in case I want it". The 70-300 isn't going to fit in any typical jacket pocket... if I take that I'm lugging the whole bag. The 70-300 is a better optically at the long end, and it's FX in case I go full-frame someday, but it's a beast. I bought the 70-300 used off ebay for only a little more than a new 55-200.

The halfway in between is the Nikon 55-300. I've never used it, but it's worth considering.
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Old Mar 3, 2013, 7:39 AM   #8
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True, the 55-200 is a good deal smaller and lighter than the 70-300, but there are some significant reasons for this, and some significant consequences as well. The 55-200 is a DX lens, which means that it only projects an APS-C Size image, so the optical elements are smaller and lighter. It also reaches it's maximum aperture of f/5.6 sooner, also because the optical elements are smaller. As a consequence of the smaller optical elements, it also vignettes a lot more than the 55-300 and 70-300.

The 55-300 is also a DX lens, so it's smaller and lighter than the 70-300, but because of its longer zoom range, its bigger and heavier than the 55-200.

The 70-300 outclasses the others by a wide margin, but it's an FX lens, so that performance comes with a size and weight penalty.

But image quality doesn't come cheap.
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Old Mar 5, 2013, 11:57 PM   #9
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Dont sell the 55-300 vr short as a good compliment with the 5100. It's lighter weight, so easier to carry for longer periods of time, and DX, but it's pretty sharp, and focuses well in good light. I got one for my D90 when the lens first came out. Isn't as rugged as the 70-300, more plastic, but does have a metal mount. Pop Photo subjective quality test rated it slightly sharper than the 70-300 for blowing up photos also. If you plan on eventually going FX, then the 70-300 is a no-brainer.
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Old Mar 6, 2013, 8:45 AM   #10
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I agree with "FranKo170", The Nikkor 55-300MM F/4.5-5.6 G ED VR AF-S is a great zoom lens. As compared to the Nikkor 70-300MM zoom, the 55-300 is lighter, less expensive and just as sharp. In fact many reviews claim it's actually slightly sharper than the 70-300 at certain focal lenghts and equal in others.
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