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Old Sep 19, 2010, 10:25 PM   #1
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Default Which lens for the D5000

I am going to buy a Nikon D5000 with the 18-55mm lens, but I am not sure which zoom lens to get the 55-200vr or the 70-300vr. I do plan on shooting wildlife photos, but alot of my pictures will be family and vacation photos. I also go to NFL games once in awhile also, most of the time I am in the upper deck seats.
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Old Sep 19, 2010, 10:26 PM   #2
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go with the 70-300mm, you will need to reach for wildlife.
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Old Sep 20, 2010, 5:52 AM   #3
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For wildlife, you'll need the longer focal length. And you won't miss much by not having the 55-70 range covered.

For football from the upper deck, 300mm will be better than 200mm, but neither will be very good. The following shots are from the nose bleed section at FedEx Field at 300mm on a 1.4X teleconverter (so 420mm) (the TC was unchipped, so the focal length in the EXIF data isn't corrected.) It was fun at the time, but in retrospect the effort was wasted.
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Old Sep 20, 2010, 9:08 AM   #4
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I disagree with TCav's view that you won't miss the 55-70 region. For me, I like to carry just one lens if possible. It isn't a matter of making the tele zoom reach down to the standard zoom's range -- it is that 70mm with a 1.5 crop factor is just too long to use as a walking around lens. I would opt for the new 55-300 f/4-5.6 VR if it were me (I own a D5000 and will probably be trading in my 55-200 for that lens, but I'd like to see detailed reviews first and don't feel any great rush to upgrade.)

By my lights, the big question is whether you expect to swap up to a full-frame camera in the foreseeable future. If so, the 70-300 makes sense, as it is a full-frame lens. I have absolutely no interest in going larger, and don't want to lug the heavier and bulkier glass of a full-frame. So, for me, the 55-200 or 55-300 make the most sense.

BTW, I will probably be getting the Kenko DGX AF 1.4 TC at the same time that I upgrade. If you get something like that (the 2x TCs seem to lower IQ substantially relative to the 1.4x, and the Kenko looks pretty good to my eye, as well as working with all the AF-type teles on a Nikon.) If you aren't planning on spending a lot of time using the really long reach, you can get a full-frame equivalent reach of 620mm with a xx-300mm lens and the 1.4x TC. You may have to manually-focus at the long reach because of focus hunt through the darker lens, but that shouldn't be a big problem.

[ETA: If I were going to get a 70-300 fx lens, I would probably get the Tamron SP AF70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di VC Ultra Silent Drive (USD) Telephoto Zoom, which can be picked up through the end of DEC for $400. It is getting very favorable buzz and is a very attractive price.]

Last edited by tclune; Sep 20, 2010 at 11:16 AM.
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Old Sep 20, 2010, 11:46 AM   #5
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More reach is always better, but as TC mentioned (and showed) if your not close to field level, you won't be able to capture much. The other issue to consider, is many stadiums will not let you in with a big tele lens. I've never had an issue (I've been in NFL stadiums in Philly, Cincinnati and Indy) but your luck depends on local rules.
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Old Sep 20, 2010, 12:31 PM   #6
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As to the 55-70mm gap, I did just fine for quite a while with my two favorite lenses, the Tamron 17-50/2.8 and the Minolta 70-210/4.0 'Beercan'. The 50-70mm gap between the Tamron and the Beercan was never an issue for me.

As for the Nikon 55-300 VR, it sells for $400, the same as the Tamron 70-300 VC. Neither of them has been tested to any significant degree, but when both Nikon and Tamron build $400 lenses, I'd say that the Nikon will be better built but the Tamron will have better image quality.

As for teleconverters, a 1.4X TC adds a full f-stop to the maximum aperture of the lens. The lenses we're talking about all have a maximum aperture of f/5.6 at the long end. When you put a 1.4X TC on them, the maximum aperture goes up to f/8.0, so the AF stops working. The reason I got away with it on the shots I took was because the TC I used was "unchipped" so the camera didn't know the maximum aperture was really f/8.0, so it didn't know enough not to try.
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