Nikon lenses: 70-200 vs 70-180 micro

Started Jul 26, 2012 | Discussions thread
David H Dennis
Regular MemberPosts: 277Gear list
Re: Nikon lenses: 70-200 vs 70-180 micro
In reply to Imanass, Jul 28, 2012

Love that image - gorgeous! Do you know what kind of butterfly that is?

The irony of getting better pictures from a point and shoot than a pricey DSLR has not escaped me. It's not the first time I've encountered this, either - I know someone who used a point and shoot to get shots of one of our nature preserves. He was getting better shots than anyone else in the photo class - and almost everyone else had at least some form of DSLR. His secret? He was a nice retired guy who spent almost all his time in the nature parks. He was also incredibly patient, willing to wait for hours to get a shot. And just as in your case, focus was not critical thanks to greater latitude from the point and shoot.

So here I am, spending thousands of dollars on a fancy DSLR and special lenses so I can improve on pictures taken by a $300 camera! Pretty funny if you think about it.

I actually took my first digital shots with a point and shoot, before there were DSLRs. I hated using a rangefinder, and hated shooting with a LCD screen. Once I got my first DSLR, a Canon EOS D30 (yes, D30 - an antique model!), I got excited about photography again. So I doubt I'd be too happy with a point and shoot, despite the clear advantage in better depth of field. Might be interesting to try a Nikon V1/J1, though - people are getting pretty nice results with those. But I strongly suspect I'll always be a DSLR shooter at heart.

You are right - the 70-180mm lens is expensive and slow, but thanks to the spectacularly small depth of field on the FX sensor, I don't see myself wanting to shoot wider open than that anyway, although of course the wider aperture would have been useful for focus during composition.

As for expensive, well, it's cheaper than the 70-200 and I could use it for a lot of the things I'd eventually want the 70-200 for. It's sort of an illusory economy since I'm sure I will get the 70-200 anyway since I'm very attracted to f/2.8 and super-fast autofocus.

The 70-180 holds a huge attraction to me since it seems like it was designed to do exactly the kind of photography I do - hand-held photography of highly spontaneous subjects at close range.

In the mean time, I hope you'll enjoy the enclosed image, which surprisingly was taken in a neighbor's back yard, not Butterfly World. I was chasing butterflies for about an hour to get that shot!

You will note the use of high ISO (1000) allows a relatively narrow aperture and higher shutter speed. This could have used a touch more depth of field, but over all I think it's one of the best captures I've done. The strength of the D4 in high ISO helps compensate for the depth of field advantage in the point and shoot. I think my f/5.6 depth of field is about the same as yours at f/1.8, but my ISO can be much higher than yours without creating a noisy image.

 David H Dennis's gear list:David H Dennis's gear list
Nikon D4 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Canon Pixma Pro9000 Mark II
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