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Old Jun 11, 2008, 8:12 AM   #1
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Hello everyone! I am a newbie, but have serious questions.

I currently own a Nikon D80 SLR, I have about 3 lens but I am about to venture on a Alaskan land and sea Cruise and want to get something that I will be able to get the best shot.

Let me give you a little background so you can help me here:

I have had the D80 for over a year, I take pictures for fun, not for a career.



I have the following:

Nikon DX AF-S Nikkor 18-130 1:3.5-5.6G ED lens which I use the most for day to day photos

AF Nikkor 28-80mm 1:3.3-5.6G lens I hardly ever use with the D80 (maybe 2 times in the past year)

Tamron AF 75-300mmb 1:4-5.6LD Tele-Macro 1:3.9 lens that I use on occasion but I find my photos get fuzzy.

Nikon SB 800 flash, bogen tripod w/ joystick head and a mono pod



My latest toy is a Promaster 2x auto focus Teleconverter, which I haven't played with much. I figured it would help me get closer pictures, and of course with my current lenses it is a bit fuzzy especially with out the tri/mono pod.



So here is my question – I am looking at the VR (vibration reduction) Nikon lens, in particular the following 2

Nikon AF 80-400mm VR Zoom Nikkor F/4.5-5.6D EDfor around $1500

And the Nikon AF-S 70-300mm VR Zoom-Nikkor F/4.5-5.6G ED-IF for around $500



The price difference is significant. I would like to use this for my trip to AK, as well as pictures of deer, birds or what ever else I can find to photograph.



What is your opinion? Which one should I get? With the Teleconverter I am thinking the 70-300 would be best, but can I really justify getting a lens similar to what I already have?



Oh and also, I am no pro – I am still looking for a class in my area to show me how to truly use my camera in the manual mode (fstop, etc) – so many photos will be taken Auto Focus, although I have been trying manual on my own.. just not good with it.



Thank you in advance!


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Old Jun 11, 2008, 8:27 AM   #2
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You'd probably lose Autofocus trying to use that TC on a typical 70-300mm type lens.

You will lose 2 stops of light (only 1/4 the light will get through the lens to the camera) with a 2x TC. So, a 70-300mm f/4-5.6 would become the equivalent of a 140-600mm f/8 -11 lens wearing the TC. It's very unlikely the camera would Autofocus using one with that lens type (plus, you're going to degrade optical quality some using a TC). Even if it tries to AF (depending on the TC design, it may not report the corrected aperture), it would probably struggle and hunt a lot in anything other than great lighting.


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Old Jun 11, 2008, 8:30 AM   #3
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Jimc,

Is there another lens you would recommend? I would like to keep the price under 1500 if possible.

Any suggestion for what I am trying to do is helpful.



Also, I am trying to get to Africa on a safari in 2010 (if I play my cards right, I should be able to swing it).... so this is kind of killing 2 birds with one stone. If you know what I mean.
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Old Jun 11, 2008, 8:35 AM   #4
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I'm not much of a long lens shooter.

Some of our forum members do a lot of birding, and the Bigma (Sigma 50-500mm f/4-6.3 EX DG HSM) is a popular choice in a longer zoom. It's not exactly a small and light lens though (weighs in at around 4 pounds). It is not stabilized.

Hopefully, some of our members will chime in with recommendations.

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Old Jun 11, 2008, 8:38 AM   #5
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Thanks! I have been looking through other posts and this is a great website.

I will stay tuned.
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Old Jun 11, 2008, 9:32 AM   #6
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litllam wrote:
Quote:
Jimc,

Is there another lens you would recommend? I would like to keep the price under 1500 if possible.

Any suggestion for what I am trying to do is helpful.
I highly recommend the new Sigma if you really need VR: http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fo...mp;forum_id=66

I've done a lot of travels with my Bigma: http://www.pbase.com/nhl/sigma_50_500

It's not a light lens, but so are most other in the 500mm range
-> Currently I shoot with a 16-50mm f/2.8 and the 50-500mm which cover all the focal lenghts that I need for my trips overseas, and it all fit in one bag: http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fo...891671#p891671

Nikon's longer lenses tend to be in rare supply and command several $K over the competition - I mean you can even switch brand and get a Canon tele prime plus body and still come out ahead! :?

IMO you do not have much choice within the Nikon brand for affordable wildlife:
1. A 300mm or less is just too short for birding as you don't get the correct crop and the defocus is just not there unless you can open up to f/2.8
2. The other choice the 80-400VR is detracted by its non AF-S drive so you'll have to work a bit harder in action shots
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