Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digital SLR and Interchangeable Lens Cameras > Nikon dSLR

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Nov 7, 2006, 7:21 PM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 15
Default

I'm a pretty experienced amateur, and am about to buy a Nikon D80 body and 18-70mm Nikkor lens. I want to do wildlife and bird photography (we have several national wildlife refuges not too far away).

Can someone help me determine which super telephoto to buy? I've looked at the Sigma 170-500, equiv. to 255mm - 750mm in 35mm terms. It has a max aperature of 5-6.5 I think. Will this be a problem with low light photos in early a.m., etc? Will the D-80 have too much noise if I have to boost ISO to 800 or 1600 to use a fast enough shutter speed with this slow lens?

Do you have any other suggestions in the $700 - $800 range like the Sigma?

Thanks very much for any help!
Kodak69 is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Nov 7, 2006, 8:28 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Bob Nichol's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Eastern Ontario Canada
Posts: 822
Default

Sigam APO 170-500mm F5-6.3 DG http://www.sigmaphoto.com/lenses/len...mp;navigator=3

Tamron SP AF200-500mm F/5-6.3 Di LD (IF) http://www.tamron.com/lenses/prod/200500mm.asp

These are some of the few affordable long telephoto lenses. The Tamron has received good ratings on several sites but is a bit more expensive.

Both suffer from being F/6.3 at maximum zoom and are not stabilized which means slow shutter speeds under the best conditions and heavy tripods. The alternative is professional grade lenses with professional grade prices!

I don't have either lens so can't comment on image quality or usability. A search of the forums should give first hand reports.
Bob Nichol is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 8, 2006, 11:21 AM   #3
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 15
Default

Bob,

Thanks for the quick reply!

I'll take a look at the links you provided, and search for first-hand reviews of both of them.

Kodak69
Kodak69 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 12, 2006, 4:03 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
Telecorder's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 490
Default

I've been doing a lot of similar due diligence for a long reach lens, myself, the last 2-3 months. Thefour best alternatives that keep coming up are:

Tamron 200-500 Di (~$600-650+ used)

http://www.photozone.de/8Reviews/len..._563/index.htm

Sigma 50-500 HSM ($600-700+ used)

http://www.photozone.de/8Reviews/len..._463/index.htm

Nikon 300 f/4 + 1.4 TC (~$500-600+ used + cost of TC; Note-Pricing is fornon-AFS/non-D version andis considered to be a great lens w/a TC, as well)

http://www.photozone.de/8Reviews/len...00_4/index.htm

Sigma 400 APO Macro ( ~$400-500+ used; The HSM version is rated a bit higher in IQ than the non-HSM and is a bit more pricey)

http://www.photozone.de/8Reviews/len...0_56/index.htm





From my research, it would appear that the general consensus is that theSigma 170-500 IQ/AFis just below the above alternatives.

A fair guide to IQ is posted at:

http://www.photozone.de/active/survey/querylens.jsp

Use the search feature here and read first hand opinions on the various lenses...

http://www.nikonians.org/cgi-bin/dcf...17&az=list





All of the above can be found in your stated price range on eBay as used if one is patient.New w/warranty is marginal, though.

I have the Nikkor 18-70 DX and really like it, by the by. You'll probably find its one of the better $250 lens.

For my long reachwildlife shots such as Birds-In-Flight (BIF), I've found that my Pany FZ30 + Oly TCON17 is a great system for <$500... This was shot using a RDS Sight with the FZ30 in the EZ 5-MP mode + TCON17 for a focal length at ~910mm EQ (100% crop w/subject about 200 yards out)



I haven't had near as much success with my D50 and kittie Tamron 70-300 LD lens, as yet. As Bob points out, the lack of VR/OIS and f/5.6+ is limiting for only butgood light and probable needMono/Tripod for best images w/o VR/OIS. Whether the noise issue at higher ISOs for higher shutter speeds is a possible/probable issue and, if it is, whether post processing with Neat Image will address the noise is unclear.

The Pany OIS w/Leica's f/2.8 - 3.7 lens is a spoiler so I'm currently using the Pany for the long reach but have gotten the lens lust fever for upping the reach on the D50... Iwas just the low bidder on an eBayused Sigma 50-500 f/4 - f/6.3 HSM lens. Now I have to wait for it to be delivered in a week or so but intend to post some opinions/images when it comes in... Including if the higher ISO 'noise' for higher shutter speedsis an issue and/or if it can be addressed w/post processing.

Telecorder is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 13, 2006, 10:28 AM   #5
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 15
Default

Hi, and thanks for the reply!

I'll take a look at the ones you provided.

What do you think of the Tokina 80-400 f4.5-5.6 AT-XII? It's on Amazon for $640, right in my range. I've read a lot of good reviews of this lens. It's all metal, and has little problem with CA, barrel or pincushion distortion.

Hope to hear from you soon!

:-)okina 840AF 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 AT-X II (639.95 at amazon.com)
Kodak69 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 13, 2006, 11:23 AM   #6
Senior Member
 
Telecorder's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 490
Default

Kodak69 wrote:
Quote:
Hi, and thanks for the reply!

I'll take a look at the ones you provided.

What do you think of the Tokina 80-400 f4.5-5.6 AT-XII? It's on Amazon for $640, right in my range. I've read a lot of good reviews of this lens. It's all metal, and has little problem with CA, barrel or pincushion distortion.

Hope to hear from you soon!

:-)okina 840AF 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 AT-X II (639.95 at amazon.com)
Personally, I can't comment as I only have the Nikkor 18-70 DX and the Tamron 70-300 LD lenses. I've read where there are some good Tokina lenses. The specific one you refer to doesn't appear on the photozone survey but the AT-X does and its rated performance (32-48 on low end open/stopped down; 48-59 on long end) is way below the others I mentioned above (Tamron 200-500 Di: Low End 79-89; Long 65-80)

Photozone does have a review of the AT-X: http://www.photozone.de/2Equipment/r...okina80400.htm

But it would appear as though it, and the AT-XII, are older lenses with the AT-XII having a tripod ring added.

I'd see if anyone on the Nikon forum have any first-hand opinions on it before I go for it... http://www.nikonians.org/cgi-bin/dcf...17&az=list

Either join and post or do a search for a number of 2001-2004 postings. They seem to indicate, "for the price", its a fair lens but is soft >300mm.

For me looking more at usually being at the long end of a lens, the IQ in the center is more important than at the edges which is why I pointed out what seems to be the general consensus of the 'top-4' long mid-priced lenses above to get to >400mm. Your usage and mileage may vary, though (and pocket-book)
Telecorder is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 14, 2006, 1:07 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
Telecorder's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 490
Default

Came across a recent thread on the Tamron 200-500 that might be of interest...

http://www.nikonians.org/dcforum/DCForumID17/16027.html
Telecorder is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 20, 2006, 1:07 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
MsPuck's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 426
Default

If you look at the Wildlife section of Post your Photos on this site, you will see some absolutely gorgeous photos taken with the tamron 200-500. It seems that several of the folks who post regularly on that section use it, and the results are just fantastic.
MsPuck is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 9:53 PM.