Nikon 120-300MM F/2.8 Zoom Lens

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
OP LensWizard Senior Member • Posts: 1,337
Re: Nikon 120-300MM F/2.8 Zoom Lens

patricksmith32 wrote:

I'd assume the demand for both is about equal as Nikon tends to produce about the same amount of each. If you look at the past few lenses and camera's in this range, they are very similar in total numbers made. For instance Nikon made about 9,000 D5 bodies between the two formats (XQD+CF) and they have also produced a similar number of 180-400mm f4E VR FL lenses. Now Nikon produces the super-tele primes and zooms at a slightly slower rate than they do D5/D6 bodies, but regardless the numbers are similar over time. This tells us that obviously these kinds of cameras and lenses are meant for the same niche segment of professionals. I had a D6 in my hands, that I preordered through NPS at B&H Photo. I was one of the first people in the country to have a D6, but after shooting it side by side with my D5, I decided to return it. The D6 was great so don't take that the wrong, it just wasn't enough of an upgrade or what I was hoping for. If you've read Brad Hill's early reporting on his blog, than you will see that I'm just one of the people that didn't see enough of a difference to justify the cost. He just has a great ability to articulate things, that I don't really have, but I'll try. The D6 had absolutely no improvement in image quality, High ISO or low ISO dynamic range. It's literally and definitively the same sensor as the D5 and the newer processor seems mute as far as contributing to better image quality. I'd say that JPEG images did show a slight improvement in color and maybe 1/3rd of stop better high ISO, but that's probably just different or improved processing in camera. AF performance was slightly better in Group AF, but honestly it's hard to say how much in the limited time I had it. The biggest improvement in AF seemed to be with Auto AF and 3D tracking AF. I don't use either of those, so not for me, but great for some who do. I have all very fast and accurate lenses, the 24-70mm f2.8E VR, 70-200mm f2.8E VR FL and 400mm f2.8E VR FL. So in Group and Single point AF with the three lenses I use, I wasn't able to see much of any improvement. That's simply because the D5 and those lenses are already the best in the world for AF speed and accuracy. The bottom line for me was I love the D5 and the D6 is a very slightly better version of the D5, but it wasn't worth the extra $1500 to me. I was able to sell a lens and camera I'm no longer using and along with the difference in price money that I saved, I bought a second D5 body. I don't think anybody will be disappointed with their D6, especially if they are coming from an older camera like the D3s, D4, D4s. However most D5 owners will probably be better off keeping their D5's unless they are ready to be replaced with a high shutter count. As far as the 120-300mm lens, all I can say is wow! I was totally blown away by the image quality and every other aspect of it. It's truly a fantastic lens and for many people it will be a great choice, but for me I decided to pass on that as well. The reason for me is I prefer the 400mm f2.8 VR FL, because it's slightly sharper, longer and more versatile on the long end with how well it takes the TC-14E III. Plus I have a D500 backup, so between my D5, D500 and TC-14E III every focal length I could want is possible. Now my 70-200mm f2.8 VR FL is always on my shoulder and typically on my D500, where it's more like a 105-300mm lens. Sure it's not in the same league as the 120-300mm lens is, but for me the 120-300mm does not solve any problems for me. As I would still need two lenses to cover the focal lengths I use most often, but I'd rather have a 70-200mm hanging off my shoulder than a 7lb 120-300mm lens. For those photographers that like shooting a 300mm f2.8 lens and a 70-200mm as a secondary lens, the 120-300mm is no brainer and problem solver! Both the D6 and the 120-300mm lens are awesome, beautiful and extremely capable! Anyone lucky enough to get either one or both, your in for a real treat. I'm just happy with my current setup, more than happy actually I'm thrilled. Enjoy your lens and D850!

Thanks a lot for the detailed and awesome response...

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