Nikon, seriously, where are lenses for "budget"-birders? 300mm f/4?

Started Oct 3, 2012 | Discussions thread
brunobarolo Senior Member • Posts: 1,112
Re: Nikon, seriously, where are lenses for "budget"-birders? 300mm f/4?

Singeri wrote:

Hello everybody, this is my first post.

I've been shooting birds with Nikkor 70-300mm 4.5-5.6 VR for some time and i'm not really happy with the shots taken with 300mm. I'd like to take my hobby to the next level with a better lens, but I'm only amateur and the Nikkor's reasonably priced tele lens selection is very narrow. There is only 70-200mm 2.8 (too short), and 300mm f/4.

I've got the understanding that 300mm f/4 + 1.4 TC is a very good combo and beats all third party lenses such as bigma. And it's still in the price range of an amateur photographer, who is not very rich or not willing to sell organs for financing the purchases.

It seems that the community has been waiting at least 5 years for an update to 300mm f/4. As everybody is surely aware of, the lens is published 12 years ago. That is a long time in the digital and technological era we are living in. The lens has an ancient manual aperture ring, no back element nor weather sealing. I know it is still a excellent lens, but Nikon, come on. Canon already has 300mm f/4 IS, and there are strong rumors that the 300mm f/4 IS II is knocking on the door. Canon also has the excellent 100-400mm L lens.

What do we Nikonians have for that reach? 12 year old 300mm f/4, and almost as old 80-400mm that is not a reasonable option. Longer or faster tele-lenses designed for professional shooters (5000$+) are updated. But there is no way I can reason that kind of purchase for my hobby. And I'm sure that I'm not the only one.

I'm disappointed that I selected Nikon brand (D7000), because Canon seems to have much better lens options for "budget"-birding. I'm really satisfied with the camera itself though.

I'm completely with you that Nikon should have updated the 300mm f4 AFS with VR years ago. Period.

I'm not so sure, however, if that would help you a lot if you're using it for birding. For birds in flight, you generally want to use shutter speeds of 1/1000s or shorter. In which case VR doesn't help you a lot.

(I'm not into birding that much, but FWIW I can tell you that sports photographers switch off VR regularly because at short shutter times -shorter than 1/500s- VR will rather degrade than improve sharpness.)

If you really want to take your "hobby to the next level with a better lens" and don't want to lose a lot of money, your best bet is a used 300mm f4 AFS and a 1.4 TC II (and a monopod).

I have no doubt that there will be an improved 300mm f4 some day. Maybe next month. Maybe next year. Maybe in 5 years. I don't know, you don't know. But just imagine how many images you miss waiting for an upgrade (that will not serve you much, as compared to the 300mm f4 AFS on a monopod).

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