Affordable upgrade to 70-300mm

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
BillW1204 Forum Member • Posts: 97
Re: Affordable upgrade to 70-300mm

mrmanfitz wrote:


Your feedback is really helpful. Almost exactly wanted I needed to hear, in terms of upgrading from 70-300 to 70-200. Much thanks!

I generally agree with Arnie's comments above. i am fortunate enough to have several Nikon telephoto options, including the 70-200 2.8 E version and the 70-300 AF-P FX version.

I got the 70-200 during Nikon's recent sale.  It is amazing. Fastest lens to focus that I have and exceptional image quality.  Used it to photograph my son running a marathon this weekend.

That said, if I could have only one telephoto lens and budget was a concern, I think I would choose the 70-300 AF-P FX lens.  It is relatively inexpensive even new, particularly given its quality.  It focuses very fast (although not as fast as the 70-200 2.8 E).  Its image quality is very good -- I have shot it on DX (D500 and D7200) and high MP FX (D810 and more recently, D850 and Z7) bodies.  It goes to 300 mm, which I would often miss (although, as mentioned above, adding a 1.4 TC would help on a 70-200, likely with some cost in dollars, weight, focusing speed and image quality).  And it is light weight, great for hiking and travel.

When I photographed my kids playing soccer during daylight hours some years back, I generally used the 70-300 mm VR (I believe this is the lens you are using) or the 80-400 mm lens on a DX body.  I liked having the long end available.  So while a good 70-200 2.8 lens would be an upgrade at f2.8 or f4, it would be a downgrade from 201 to 300 mm.

In my experience, the 70-300 AF-P FX lens is noticeably better than the 70-300 VR (although I sold mine at the same time I got the AF-P version, so I did not do a direct comparison).  I believe it focuses faster and is sharper, particularly at the longer end.  You might check Thom Hogan's review of the 70-300 AF-P FX lens.

It may come down to which is worth more to you:  f2.8 & f4 or 201mm to 300mm.  F2.8 and f4 may give you access to faster shutter speeds at a give ISO (or lower ISO at a given shutter speed) and somewhat better ability to blur the background or isolate the subject (but not if you need to stop down for some depth of field).  But background blur/isolation is also very much a function of how close you are to the subject compared to how close the subject is to the background. I have often been able to get nicely blurred backgrounds with 5.6 lenses and have had busy backgrounds with 2.8 lenses.

Good luck with your choice.

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