D7500 which super Telephoto? 150-600, 100-400 vs my AFP 70-300

Started 9 months ago | Discussions thread
CMCM Senior Member • Posts: 5,912
Re: D7500 which super Telephoto? 150-600, 100-400 vs my AFP 70-300

When I wanted to get a "better" long lens than my Nikon AFP 70-300, I was considering these lenses: Both Sigma and Tamron 150-600, the Nikon 200-500, and ultimately, the Sigma and Tamron 100-400 models.

My first big lens test was the Tamron 150-600 G2. Its size and weight kind of shocked me at first. I wanted to like it, but I was really not impressed with my results. However, being a first experience and since the light that day wasn't optimal, I wasn't sure I could judge it well. But it WAS heavy and a bit hard to handle for hand held shooting, which I wanted to be able to do.

Second test was the Nikon 200-500. It seemed a lot better than the Tamron, and even though it was only my second time out with a big lens, I got some really great photos with it. I liked the fixed f5.6, too. But at a bit over 5 lbs (more than the Tamron), my hands and arms were really tired after about 30 minutes of shooting and the day I used it, I finally had to switch back to my 70-300 just because I got so tired.

I never could find a Sigma 150-600 rental, but then I started thinking about the Sigma 100-400. I read up on it a lot, and a great many people were very enthusiastic about it. At the same time, I also tested the Tamron 100-400 to compare them. I found both lenses took equally good photos of stationary subjects, but in my experience the Sigma did better at tracking and keeping focus on moving subject (birds mostly). I got more keepers with the Sigma. And as I looked around for photos from these lenses, I saw a LOT out there from the Sigma and I loved the overall sharpness, contrast and quality of the photos from this lens. At the same time, I saw relatively few from the Tamron and the ones I saw I didn't like as much as those of the Sigma.

After thinking a lot about it, I compared the type of shot I'd get with 400mm vs. the 500mm of the Nikon 200-500. Not an enormous difference, actually, and I finally decided I could use 400mm with the Sigma and easily crop up just a little bit to get what the 500mm would have shot at 500. Realistically, I also could see that the much smaller and lighter 100-400 was a world of difference to handle and shoot with, far easier to handle, and that I would more likely take it around with me and be inclined to shoot with it more, whereas with the bigger lenses it would be...welll....a big deal.

I don't regret my decision to get the Sigma because I use it a lot and it's quite manageable to shoot with. I can also fit it into my camera bag mounted on my D7500, ready to pull out and use at a moment's notice. I couldn't do that with the larger lenses.

Final realization for me: 400mm, 500mm, 600mm....it's really never enough in many instances. That's why I also carry around my Nikon P900 (2000mm equivalent), which if the light is good can produce very good images of stationary images that are far off (it's not a satisfactory BIF machines, admittedly). And I'm considering getting the P1000, which has a 3000mm equivalent. It's fun and satisfying to have both options and these two Coolpix cameras can produce an incredible focal length that is impossible with any of the usual long DSLR lenses. I had found that I got my favorite photos (especially BIFS etc.) at a range often well under even 400mm because it's better to be as close to the action as possible. If shooting a bird way up in the sky, even a 600mm will be shooting a small bird against a big sky and you'll be cropping way in for that one as well, with all the degrading effects of such a big crop.

If money were no object....I'd keep my 100-400 but I'd probably splurge on one of the big lenses just for fun, maybe the Nikon.  And of course, I drool over that Nikon500 PF just for its smaller size and lighter weight.  I'll get that one the minute I win the lottery.  

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