Lack of VR in Nikon 300mm f4 - big deal or not?

Started Apr 22, 2013 | Discussions
familypast
New MemberPosts: 24Gear list
Like?
Lack of VR in Nikon 300mm f4 - big deal or not?
Apr 22, 2013

Hello All,

I am new to this forum (and to photography) and am looking for a telephoto lens to use on my Nikon d90 for birding. I've been combing through this forum, which has helped me narrow down my search to either the Sigma 50-500 or the Nikon 300mm f4 (along with a 1.4 TC).  I like the idea of a prime, so am leaning toward the Nikon 300mm.  However, I want something that I can use hand-held, so am worried about the 300mm's lack of VR.  How big of a deal is this?

I rented a Sigma 150-500 this past weekend (the 50-500mm wasn't available), but even with Sigma's OS (and a monopod), I didn't get many sharp pictures from it.  If I get soft, shaky pictures WITH image stabilization, than what will happen without it?  Or is it possible that I was doing something else wrong (e.g. wrong shutter speed, etc.)???  Again, I'm a newbie, so I was probably doing multiple things wrong.

Any advice? I am going to the "Biggest Week in American Birding" the first week of May and hope to either rent or buy something in time for the trip. BTW, I am also considering renting a Canon camera, along with their IS version of the 300mm, but would much rather stick with the Nikon.

Thanks!

Debbie

 familypast's gear list:familypast's gear list
Nikon D90 Nikon D7100 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4D ED-IF Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E II +5 more
Nikon D90
If you believe there are incorrect tags, please send us this post using our feedback form.
starman1969
Senior MemberPosts: 2,674Gear list
Like?
Re: Lack of VR in Nikon 300mm f4 - big deal or not?
In reply to familypast, Apr 22, 2013

It is a good question you ask. I myself chose the 300mm f4 af-s over the Bigma because I pretty much knew that I would only be using the long end of the lens.

Alas my 300mm is no more. Smashed to pieces when a gust of wind blew it to the ground on my spindly tripod. I can say that it was a cracking sharp lens. I also have the 1.4x converter which I purchased at the same time. There was no noticeable loss in quality or focus speed when using the 1.4x on the 300mm f4.

The lack of VR is just something to keep in mind. As a rule minimum shutter speed should equal focal length. If you are using the 1.4x that's 420mm, so I'd go for 1/500sec shutter speed as a minimum.

Hope this help & I hope you get a nice bright day which will make it easier for you.

-- hide signature --

They are watching us......

 starman1969's gear list:starman1969's gear list
Nikon D800E Nikon D600 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G +6 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
ffnikclif
Contributing MemberPosts: 865Gear list
Like?
Re: Lack of VR in Nikon 300mm f4 - big deal or not?
In reply to starman1969, Apr 22, 2013

I have had my 300mm f/4 lens for 6 years or so & I just love it. It is one of Nikons better lenses & for the price I consifer it the best buy in the nikon line up. I shoot mine hand held w/TC 1.4 a lot but if the shutter speeds aren't high enough I use a stout tripod. I have the 400 f2.8 & if I had the 300 f/2.8 I would still keep the 300mm f/4. It is easy to hand hold & has the ability to close focus  which is perfect for small birds & insects & flowers. Terrific lens on DX & FX alike.

Fred

 ffnikclif's gear list:ffnikclif's gear list
Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-20E III Nikon D3S Nikon D800 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4D ED-IF Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED +15 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
marcus300
Regular MemberPosts: 233Gear list
Like?
Re: Lack of VR in Nikon 300mm f4 - big deal or not?
In reply to familypast, Apr 22, 2013

I have the 300 f/4 afs with a 1.4 tc attached at all times.
Yes. VR would be very nice addition to the lens but for me it is not a deal breaker, the lens is fantastic and I can shoot it for long periods handheld.
I did test the lens aginst both 50-500 n 150-500 sigmas and the Nikon was far superior, i'm so glad I have the 300 f/4

 marcus300's gear list:marcus300's gear list
Nikon D300
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Antal I Kozma
Contributing MemberPosts: 877Gear list
Like?
Re: Lack of VR in Nikon 300mm f4 - big deal or not?
In reply to familypast, Apr 22, 2013

familypast wrote:

Hello All,

I am new to this forum (and to photography) and am looking for a..................

.........advice? I am going to the "Biggest Week in American Birding" the first week of May and hope to either rent or buy something in time for the trip. BTW, I am also considering renting a Canon camera, along with their IS version of the 300mm, but would much rather stick with the Nikon.

Thanks!

Debbie

I wish the f4 version had VR. I have the f2.8 VR II but wouldn't mind to have the lighter F4 if it had VR.

I find VR so useful in the 300mm range. Opens up hand held photographing to a great degree, helps with TCs as well.

Anyway, go with the Nikon system if you are more familiar with it to start out with.

Best,
AIK

 Antal I Kozma's gear list:Antal I Kozma's gear list
Nikon D4 Nikon D800 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/2.8G ED-IF VR Nikon AF-S Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED VR +11 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
23Brian
New MemberPosts: 16Gear list
Like?
Re: Lack of VR in Nikon 300mm f4 - big deal or not?
In reply to marcus300, Apr 22, 2013

I have a 300 f4 and use it with the Nikon 1.4 teleconverter, but I always use a tripod in this mode. Yeah you may get some OK shots but if you want critical sharpness, use a tripod. I just ordered the 80-400 afs for this reason. By the way the bird photos posted by starman1969 are not even close to being sharp. IMHO.

 23Brian's gear list:23Brian's gear list
Nikon D800 Nikon D4s Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D +4 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
PHXAZCRAIG
Forum ProPosts: 11,076Gear list
Like?
Re: Lack of VR in Nikon 300mm f4 - big deal or not?
In reply to familypast, Apr 22, 2013

It's certainly hand-holdable with or without a TC, but you'll be wasting a lot of shots handheld, and you'll have to use quite high shutter speeds.

IF it had vr, it would gain a bit of flexibility, but the (few) VR lenses I've used have always been sharper on tripod with mirror up and remote release.    VR makes something hand-holdable, but it doesn't mean it's critically sharp.   Thus I'd conclude that VR would be more nice-to-have than essential.

I recently took the 300F4 to the Phoenix zoo, and shot it handheld with a Nikon V1 - 2.7x crop factor for an effective 810mm.   The camera and lens did great, but I instantly tossed about 2/3rd of the images for blurriness.

Here's one I kept.

300F4 AF-S, wide open at F4.  Nikon V1 - 2.7x crop factor.   Shot handheld.

-- hide signature --

Craig
www.cjcphoto.net

 PHXAZCRAIG's gear list:PHXAZCRAIG's gear list
Nikon D80 Nikon D200 Nikon D300 Nikon D700 Nikon 1 V1 +32 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Gradybaby
Contributing MemberPosts: 550
Like?
Re: Lack of VR in Nikon 300mm f4 - big deal or not?
In reply to PHXAZCRAIG, Apr 23, 2013

This is one with the 300 f4 100% crop

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Gradybaby
Contributing MemberPosts: 550
Like?
Re: Lack of VR in Nikon 300mm f4 - big deal or not?
In reply to Gradybaby, Apr 23, 2013

Here is one more with the 300 f4 I love this lens and have even had good results with the TC 2.o and the D600.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Gradybaby
Contributing MemberPosts: 550
Like?
Re: Lack of VR in Nikon 300mm f4 - big deal or not?
In reply to Gradybaby, Apr 23, 2013

Sorry for three posts but here again is another with the 300 f4 and D600

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
A. Westreich
Senior MemberPosts: 1,195Gear list
Like?
Re: Lack of VR in Nikon 300mm f4 - big deal or not?
In reply to familypast, Apr 23, 2013

D90 with the 300 f4 - a great combination even wide open:

 A. Westreich's gear list:A. Westreich's gear list
Nikon D7100 Nikon AF Nikkor 35mm f/2D Nikon AF-S DX Micro Nikkor 40mm F2.8 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
familypast
New MemberPosts: 24Gear list
Like?
Re: Lack of VR in Nikon 300mm f4 - big deal or not?
In reply to marcus300, Apr 23, 2013

marcus300 wrote:

I did test the lens aginst both 50-500 n 150-500 sigmas and the Nikon was far superior, i'm so glad I have the 300 f/4

Thanks.  That's good to know!

 familypast's gear list:familypast's gear list
Nikon D90 Nikon D7100 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4D ED-IF Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E II +5 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
familypast
New MemberPosts: 24Gear list
Like?
Re: Lack of VR in Nikon 300mm f4 - big deal or not?
In reply to Gradybaby, Apr 23, 2013

Gradybaby wrote:

Sorry for three posts but here again is another with the 300 f4 and D600

Beautiful images...thanks for sharing!

 familypast's gear list:familypast's gear list
Nikon D90 Nikon D7100 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4D ED-IF Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E II +5 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
familypast
New MemberPosts: 24Gear list
Like?
Re: Lack of VR in Nikon 300mm f4 - big deal or not?
In reply to A. Westreich, Apr 23, 2013

A. Westreich wrote:

D90 with the 300 f4 - a great combination even wide open:

Great shot!

 familypast's gear list:familypast's gear list
Nikon D90 Nikon D7100 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4D ED-IF Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E II +5 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
moony16
Regular MemberPosts: 419
Like?
Re: Lack of VR in Nikon 300mm f4 - big deal or not?
In reply to familypast, Apr 23, 2013

familypast wrote:

Hello All,

I am new to this forum (and to photography) and am looking for a telephoto lens to use on my Nikon d90 for birding. I've been combing through this forum, which has helped me narrow down my search to either the Sigma 50-500 or the Nikon 300mm f4 (along with a 1.4 TC).  I like the idea of a prime, so am leaning toward the Nikon 300mm.  However, I want something that I can use hand-held, so am worried about the 300mm's lack of VR.  How big of a deal is this?

I rented a Sigma 150-500 this past weekend (the 50-500mm wasn't available), but even with Sigma's OS (and a monopod), I didn't get many sharp pictures from it.  If I get soft, shaky pictures WITH image stabilization, than what will happen without it?  Or is it possible that I was doing something else wrong (e.g. wrong shutter speed, etc.)???  Again, I'm a newbie, so I was probably doing multiple things wrong.

Any advice? I am going to the "Biggest Week in American Birding" the first week of May and hope to either rent or buy something in time for the trip. BTW, I am also considering renting a Canon camera, along with their IS version of the 300mm, but would much rather stick with the Nikon.

Thanks!

Debbie

I had to make the same choice, & both of these lenses were ones I considered.  They are both nice, with different strengths.  If birding is your main concern, I'd go with the Nikkor--I've seen lots of music made with this beautiful lens.  The lens I ended up buying weighs virtually the same as the Nikkor 300 f/4, and is easy to handhold--for me.  However, a good technique is vital and lots of practice is needed.  People vary greatly in their handholding ablilities, especially with 1440 grams.  The Nikkor does very well with the 1.4 TC, but realize this adds a bit to your price situation.

Which 300 f/4 do you want?  The AFD or the newer, AFS?  The former is as good optically as the latter IMO, but the AFS can close-focus much better & has superior auto focus.  CF is not usually a concern for birders though. and the AFD model can be bought in the $400 range--tremendous value for the price IMO.  Best

JT

-- hide signature --

Who looks outside,
dreams; who looks
inside, awakens
Carl Jung (1875-1961)

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Kris in CT
Senior MemberPosts: 1,629Gear list
Like?
It shouldn't be
In reply to familypast, Apr 23, 2013

I wouldn't worry about the lack of VR.  I only have a Tamron 200-500 (no VR) but as long as you keep the shutter speed up you can get good results.  I'm guessing you had a soft copy of the Sigma or your shutter speeds were just too low.  I'm sure the Nikon 300 F4 is sharper then my lens.. I always shoot handheld and have many shots well under the rule that are sharp enough for me...   These are well above the rule...

-- hide signature --

My sober voyage into bird photography
http://www.facebook.com/KristoferRowePhotography

 Kris in CT's gear list:Kris in CT's gear list
Nikon D300 Nikon D800 Nikon D7100 Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D Tamron SP AF 17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical (IF) +4 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
ABA DABA
Senior MemberPosts: 2,971
Like?
Re: It shouldn't be
In reply to Kris in CT, Apr 23, 2013

Why would anyone want a BIG$$$$$ lens when someone like kris can get captures like he does.

Good job Kris.

-- hide signature --

ABA DABA

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
johnty
Forum MemberPosts: 72
Like?
Re: It shouldn't be
In reply to ABA DABA, Apr 23, 2013

I have used the 300f4 +TC1.4 for years after having issues with my sigma 150-500 and the IQ from the  300 is like the difference between night and day to the copy I had,The Sigma almost needed F11 before anything was sharp.The Nikon is sharp right through from F5.6 to f11 with the convertor on ,some recent shots with the D7100 and the Nikon F4 combination on my Flickr.

cheers John

http://www.flickr.com/photos/johntymon/

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
starman1969
Senior MemberPosts: 2,674Gear list
Like?
Re: Lack of VR in Nikon 300mm f4 - big deal or not?
In reply to 23Brian, Apr 23, 2013

23Brian wrote:

I have a 300 f4 and use it with the Nikon 1.4 teleconverter, but I always use a tripod in this mode. Yeah you may get some OK shots but if you want critical sharpness, use a tripod. I just ordered the 80-400 afs for this reason. By the way the bird photos posted by starman1969 are not even close to being sharp. IMHO.

I didn't post any bird photos.

-- hide signature --

They are watching us......

 starman1969's gear list:starman1969's gear list
Nikon D800E Nikon D600 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G +6 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
slimandy
Forum ProPosts: 14,659Gear list
Like?
Re: Lack of VR in Nikon 300mm f4 - big deal or not?
In reply to familypast, Apr 23, 2013

To some people it is beacuse they have been asking for it for ages, but to me it isn't. I tend to use it in good light or on a tripod (or both). The subjects I shoot tend to demand a high shutter speed where VR is of no use anyway, or a tripod. It's rare that I wish it had VR. In fact if they do bring out a new version I suspect I'll stick with the current one (I have the AFS) because it has an aperture ring and that allows me to use it on a Nikon extention tube.

-- hide signature --

www.andrewsandersphotography.co.uk

 slimandy's gear list:slimandy's gear list
Sony RX100 II Nikon D200 Nikon D700 Olympus OM-D E-M5 Fujifilm X-E1 +1 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads