Thoughts on 300mm primes (for someone new to telephoto and birding)

Started Jun 3, 2013 | Discussions thread
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Colin Stuart Contributing Member • Posts: 549
Thoughts on 300mm primes (for someone new to telephoto and birding)

Hello all,

I have a partner now who's into birding and the more I do it and get into it, the more I wish I had the right lens so I could bring my D200 along with me.

In the past the longest focal length I've had experience with was 105mm (Nikon's 18-105) but I sold that off awhile ago as I didn't have much need for the reach, f5.6 is too slow, among other reasons.

I feel like a 300/4 would be an awesome step for me when it comes to capturing pictures while birding.

Obviously the Nikon 300/4D AF-S is what I wish I had... but it's pricey. $1100-1350 new, used it's not much cheaper. But there are some other older options:

  • Nikon 300/4 AF
  • Tokina AT-X 304 AF 300/4
  • Sigma APO 300/4 Macro
  • Sigma APO 300/4 HSM Macro

It seems like I can find all of these on ebay or elsewhere. Is there anyone who's owned and has compared multiple of these lenses and can tell me how they stack up? If I can score one for $400-600 and still be pleased with the results... awesome! Checking out flickr, it seems like they're all plenty sharp, I'm just trying to find out if there's any glaring pros/cons to having the Sigmas or the Tokina or the Nikon. The AF-S is simply too rich for my blood right now.

Thanks to anyone that can help!

 Colin Stuart's gear list:Colin Stuart's gear list
Nikon D810 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G Tokina AT-X Pro 11-16mm f/2.8 DX Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G Nikon 85mm F1.8G +1 more
Nikon D200 Panasonic Lumix DMC-F5
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