Lack of VR in Nikon 300mm f4 - big deal or not?

Started Apr 22, 2013 | Discussions
Leonard Shepherd
Leonard Shepherd Forum Pro • Posts: 12,972
Re: Lack of VR in Nikon 300mm f4 - big deal or not?

familypast wrote:

However, I want something that I can use hand-held, so am worried about the 300mm's lack of VR.  How big of a deal is this?

Handholding at 300 mm (or 420 mm with a converter) at relatively low ISO's for best image quality increases the chance of unsharp images due to camera shake at such a narrow angles of view.

However VR does little to reduce camera shake at shutter speeds faster than about 1/500 although it can help autofocus keep an erratically moving bird in focus in the viewfinder.

Many use a tripod with Gimbal type head to reduce camera shake whilst still being able to relatively easy follow a bird in the viewfinder.

Nikon are long overdue putting VR in the 300 mm f4. With this in mind I would buy second hand if you go for the Nikon prime. The Nikon is not a zoom but has better image quality and faster autofocus than the zoom. The zoom offers more convenience and reach.

-- hide signature --

Leonard Shepherd
Many problems turn out to be a lack of intimate knowledge of complex modern camera equipment.

 Leonard Shepherd's gear list:Leonard Shepherd's gear list
Nikon D800 Nikon D810 Nikon D7200 Nikon D500 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED VR +20 more
Slideshow Bob Senior Member • Posts: 1,685
Re: Lack of VR in Nikon 300mm f4 - big deal or not?

Any advice? I am going to the "Biggest Week in American Birding" the first week of May and hope to either rent or buy something in time for the trip. BTW, I am also considering renting a Canon camera, along with their IS version of the 300mm, but would much rather stick with the Nikon.

A couple of ideas...

The new 80-400 AF-S VR would seem to be the perfect lens for your needs, with the same aperture as the 300 with the 1.4x TC. Could you rent one of those? IMHO, that would be the best solution.

Could you rent a 200-400 f/4 for that event? I know it's heavy, but optically it's going to out-resolve the 300mm lenses, especially if you have to rely on a TC.

Good luck.

SB

OP familypast Junior Member • Posts: 25
Re: Lack of VR in Nikon 300mm f4 - big deal or not?

moony16 wrote:

familypast wrote:

Hello All,

I am new to this forum (and to photography) and am looking for a telephoto lens to use on my Nikon d90 for birding. I've been combing through this forum, which has helped me narrow down my search to either the Sigma 50-500 or the Nikon 300mm f4 (along with a 1.4 TC).  I like the idea of a prime, so am leaning toward the Nikon 300mm.  However, I want something that I can use hand-held, so am worried about the 300mm's lack of VR.  How big of a deal is this?

I rented a Sigma 150-500 this past weekend (the 50-500mm wasn't available), but even with Sigma's OS (and a monopod), I didn't get many sharp pictures from it.  If I get soft, shaky pictures WITH image stabilization, than what will happen without it?  Or is it possible that I was doing something else wrong (e.g. wrong shutter speed, etc.)???  Again, I'm a newbie, so I was probably doing multiple things wrong.

Any advice? I am going to the "Biggest Week in American Birding" the first week of May and hope to either rent or buy something in time for the trip. BTW, I am also considering renting a Canon camera, along with their IS version of the 300mm, but would much rather stick with the Nikon.

Thanks!

Debbie

I had to make the same choice, & both of these lenses were ones I considered.  They are both nice, with different strengths.  If birding is your main concern, I'd go with the Nikkor--I've seen lots of music made with this beautiful lens.  The lens I ended up buying weighs virtually the same as the Nikkor 300 f/4, and is easy to handhold--for me.  However, a good technique is vital and lots of practice is needed.  People vary greatly in their handholding ablilities, especially with 1440 grams.  The Nikkor does very well with the 1.4 TC, but realize this adds a bit to your price situation.

Which 300 f/4 do you want?  The AFD or the newer, AFS?  The former is as good optically as the latter IMO, but the AFS can close-focus much better & has superior auto focus.  CF is not usually a concern for birders though. and the AFD model can be bought in the $400 range--tremendous value for the price IMO.  Best

JT

-- hide signature --

Who looks outside,
dreams; who looks
inside, awakens
Carl Jung (1875-1961)

Wow, $400 would certainly make the decision a lot easier.  Thanks for the tip!

 familypast's gear list:familypast's gear list
Nikon D90 Nikon D7100 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4D ED-IF Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E II +5 more
OP familypast Junior Member • Posts: 25
Re: It shouldn't be

Kris in CT wrote:

I wouldn't worry about the lack of VR.  I only have a Tamron 200-500 (no VR) but as long as you keep the shutter speed up you can get good results.  I'm guessing you had a soft copy of the Sigma or your shutter speeds were just too low.  I'm sure the Nikon 300 F4 is sharper then my lens.. I always shoot handheld and have many shots well under the rule that are sharp enough for me...   These are well above the rule...

-- hide signature --

My sober voyage into bird photography
http://www.facebook.com/KristoferRowePhotography

Kris, these are impressive!!!

 familypast's gear list:familypast's gear list
Nikon D90 Nikon D7100 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4D ED-IF Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E II +5 more
Rutgerbus Senior Member • Posts: 1,840
Re: It shouldn't be

300 f/4 AF-s is a wonderfull lens, as most people already mentioned in this threat.

Something what has not been mentioned yet is that is also a very nice close-up lens since the close focus distance is less then 1m. This makes it a very useable macro-lens as well. So you will buy two lenses in one buy actually.

two thumbs up for the Nikkor.

-- hide signature --

www.rutgerbus.nl
Photographic Moments

 Rutgerbus's gear list:Rutgerbus's gear list
Nikon D80 Nikon D700 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4D ED-IF Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED +1 more
wgas1946 Junior Member • Posts: 36
Re: Lack of VR in Nikon 300mm f4 - big deal or not?

d800 300 f4 + TC 2.0EIII

Using 300 f4 frequently with TC 2.0, works pretty good on D800 IMO.

David Nall
David Nall Forum Pro • Posts: 15,439
Re: Lack of VR in Nikon 300mm f4 - big deal or not?

wgas1946 wrote:

d800 300 f4 + TC 2.0EIII

Using 300 f4 frequently with TC 2.0, works pretty good on D800 IMO.

This is a nice shot but ruined by de-noising.  The birds look like plastic.

-- hide signature --

Visit my gallery at http://davesphotography9173.zenfolio.com/
View of Yosemite Valley, Bridalveil fall 4 frame vertical pano taken from the tunnel parking lot.
http://davesphotography9173.zenfolio.com/img/s2/v58/p1109307522-2.jpg

 David Nall's gear list:David Nall's gear list
Sony Alpha NEX-7 Nikon D4 Nikon D800E Nikon 1 V2 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR +11 more
David Nall
David Nall Forum Pro • Posts: 15,439
Re: Lack of VR in Nikon 300mm f4 - big deal or not?

familypast wrote:

Hello All,

I am new to this forum (and to photography) and am looking for a telephoto lens to use on my Nikon d90 for birding. I've been combing through this forum, which has helped me narrow down my search to either the Sigma 50-500 or the Nikon 300mm f4 (along with a 1.4 TC).  I like the idea of a prime, so am leaning toward the Nikon 300mm.  However, I want something that I can use hand-held, so am worried about the 300mm's lack of VR.  How big of a deal is this?

I rented a Sigma 150-500 this past weekend (the 50-500mm wasn't available), but even with Sigma's OS (and a monopod), I didn't get many sharp pictures from it.  If I get soft, shaky pictures WITH image stabilization, than what will happen without it?  Or is it possible that I was doing something else wrong (e.g. wrong shutter speed, etc.)???  Again, I'm a newbie, so I was probably doing multiple things wrong.

Any advice? I am going to the "Biggest Week in American Birding" the first week of May and hope to either rent or buy something in time for the trip. BTW, I am also considering renting a Canon camera, along with their IS version of the 300mm, but would much rather stick with the Nikon.

Thanks!

Debbie

There is a lot to love with the Nkon 300 f4 AFS.  It focuses very fast, and can be used with TCs to reach out a little further.  I have one and often use it with the Nikon 1.7 TCE-II.  VR wouldn't be all the helpful unless using for static subjects such as sitting birds.  Even then, if you keep your shutter speed up to around 1/500th or so, it isn't needed.  Here is one example I shot last month with it on my D4.  Dave

-- hide signature --

Visit my gallery at http://davesphotography9173.zenfolio.com/
View of Yosemite Valley, Bridalveil fall 4 frame vertical pano taken from the tunnel parking lot.
http://davesphotography9173.zenfolio.com/img/s2/v58/p1109307522-2.jpg

 David Nall's gear list:David Nall's gear list
Sony Alpha NEX-7 Nikon D4 Nikon D800E Nikon 1 V2 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR +11 more
QWK SVT Forum Member • Posts: 58
Re: Lack of VR in Nikon 300mm f4 - big deal or not?

Here's the 300mm f/4 AFS with a 1.7TC, wide open on a D90.  This was pretty much taken at sundown, so a Manfrotto monopod was used; my shutter speed was only 1/80" (ISO 640).

This is the 300mm f/4 AFS (no TC), mounted on a D300, stopped down to f/5.6.  Shot hand-held in the middle of the day, with a shutter speed of 1/1000" (ISO 800).

Again the 300mm f/4 AFS is bare, but this time wide open on a D700.  Hand-held, the shutter speed was very high, at 1/4000" (ISO 1400).

While I don't own any of the Sigma superzooms, my limited experience with them leads me to believe there's no way their autofocus systems would be able to keep up with a powerful bird coming straight on, like the Great Horned Owl, nor would they do a terrible good job trying to track a fast and erratic little Kestrel in flight.

-- hide signature --
QWK SVT Forum Member • Posts: 58
Re: Lack of VR in Nikon 300mm f4 - big deal or not?

Sorry it's off topic, but does anyone see the three images I just posted?  Two of the three appear as red x's for me, despite appearing fine when I composed the response...

-- hide signature --
David Nall
David Nall Forum Pro • Posts: 15,439
Re: Lack of VR in Nikon 300mm f4 - big deal or not?

They show up for me but the original links are in your signature for some reason.  Dave

-- hide signature --

Visit my gallery at http://davesphotography9173.zenfolio.com/
View of Yosemite Valley, Bridalveil fall 4 frame vertical pano taken from the tunnel parking lot.
http://davesphotography9173.zenfolio.com/img/s2/v58/p1109307522-2.jpg

 David Nall's gear list:David Nall's gear list
Sony Alpha NEX-7 Nikon D4 Nikon D800E Nikon 1 V2 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR +11 more
wgas1946 Junior Member • Posts: 36
Re: Lack of VR in Nikon 300mm f4 - big deal or not?

D800 300 f4 TC 2.0EIII

Dave, thanks for your Comment. How about this one, less de-noising, any better? Fred.

David Nall
David Nall Forum Pro • Posts: 15,439
Re: Lack of VR in Nikon 300mm f4 - big deal or not?

wgas1946 wrote:

D800 300 f4 TC 2.0EIII

Dave, thanks for your Comment. How about this one, less de-noising, any better? Fred.

Not much really.  Go back and reprocess without the de-noising.  It is destroying any sharpness the lens provides IMHO.  Why were you using such a high ISO in daylight?  EXIF shows ISO 2200 @ f8.  Take off the TC and shoot at f4, and then crop to get closer if you can't keep the shutter speed up with it on. Dave

-- hide signature --

Visit my gallery at http://davesphotography9173.zenfolio.com/
View of Yosemite Valley, Bridalveil fall 4 frame vertical pano taken from the tunnel parking lot.
http://davesphotography9173.zenfolio.com/img/s2/v58/p1109307522-2.jpg

 David Nall's gear list:David Nall's gear list
Sony Alpha NEX-7 Nikon D4 Nikon D800E Nikon 1 V2 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR +11 more
OP familypast Junior Member • Posts: 25
Re: Lack of VR in Nikon 300mm f4 - big deal or not?

QWK SVT wrote:

Sorry it's off topic, but does anyone see the three images I just posted?  Two of the three appear as red x's for me, despite appearing fine when I composed the response...

-- hide signature --

All three showed up for me.  Very nice!

 familypast's gear list:familypast's gear list
Nikon D90 Nikon D7100 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4D ED-IF Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E II +5 more
peterclark55 Senior Member • Posts: 2,379
Re: Lack of VR in Nikon 300mm f4 - big deal or not?

No big deal, peter

SanMat Senior Member • Posts: 2,859
Re: Lack of VR in Nikon 300mm f4 - big deal or not?

No - it isn't.  I agree with many of the previous comments.  If you can't extract sharp detail from that lens, it's user-error.  It's not the fastest-focusing lens (though still plenty good for birds-in-flight) - just don't expect to be able to focus as quickly as with lenses like the 70-200 f/2.8, or 300mm 2.8.

I had to take this one standing on one leg (I had just had hip surgery).  The main processing I did with this one (LR 4) was noise reduction (shot with D300s at ISO 900, which was a bit grainy).

Pete

D300s with Nikon 300mm f/4, ISO 900, 1/640 sec., f/6.3, handheld

Robin Casady Forum Pro • Posts: 12,898
Re: Lack of VR in Nikon 300mm f4 - big deal or not?

familypast wrote:

Hello All,

I am new to this forum (and to photography) and am looking for a telephoto lens to use on my Nikon d90 for birding. I've been combing through this forum, which has helped me narrow down my search to either the Sigma 50-500 or the Nikon 300mm f4 (along with a 1.4 TC).  I like the idea of a prime, so am leaning toward the Nikon 300mm.  However, I want something that I can use hand-held, so am worried about the 300mm's lack of VR.  How big of a deal is this?

If subject movement requires that you shoot at 1/500 or faster, you would not have any use for VR. It is only useful when hand holding at slower shutter speeds.

If your subject does not require fast shutter speeds it is likely that you would be able to shoot from a tripod. Even if there is some movement, a tripod with a gimbal would be viable.

I rented a Sigma 150-500 this past weekend (the 50-500mm wasn't available), but even with Sigma's OS (and a monopod), I didn't get many sharp pictures from it.  If I get soft, shaky pictures WITH image stabilization, than what will happen without it?  Or is it possible that I was doing something else wrong (e.g. wrong shutter speed, etc.)???  Again, I'm a newbie, so I was probably doing multiple things wrong.

If you were shooting at 1/500 or faster with VR on, that could be your problem.

-- hide signature --

Robin Casady
http://www.robincasady.com/Photo/index.html
"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts."
— Bertrand Russell

evan47
evan47 Senior Member • Posts: 1,433
Re: Lack of VR in Nikon 300mm f4 - big deal or not?

familypast wrote:

Hello All,

I am new to this forum (and to photography) and am looking for a telephoto lens to use on my Nikon d90 for birding. I've been combing through this forum, which has helped me narrow down my search to either the Sigma 50-500 or the Nikon 300mm f4 (along with a 1.4 TC).  I like the idea of a prime, so am leaning toward the Nikon 300mm.  However, I want something that I can use hand-held, so am worried about the 300mm's lack of VR.  How big of a deal is this?

I rented a Sigma 150-500 this past weekend (the 50-500mm wasn't available), but even with Sigma's OS (and a monopod), I didn't get many sharp pictures from it.  If I get soft, shaky pictures WITH image stabilization, than what will happen without it?  Or is it possible that I was doing something else wrong (e.g. wrong shutter speed, etc.)???  Again, I'm a newbie, so I was probably doing multiple things wrong.

Any advice? I am going to the "Biggest Week in American Birding" the first week of May and hope to either rent or buy something in time for the trip. BTW, I am also considering renting a Canon camera, along with their IS version of the 300mm, but would much rather stick with the Nikon.

Thanks!

Debbie

i had the same concerns about the 300 f4 and 1.4 tc but listened to other peoples opinions and went ahead and bought them......i was not disappointed with the results!

if you up your iso, or use auto iso and a sensible shutter speed you should be ok. a monopod is recommended  though i can get good results hand held, but for most people it will take a little practice.

the 300 f4 and tc 14ii is a very well rated combination capable of great results. the lack of vr is no real drawback for serious users. if you are shooting birds you will need a high shutter speed weather you have vr or not as small birds in particular are rarely still. they are always moving their heads looking for threats or feeding opportunities, the smaller the bird the quicker it moves!

re the sigma 150-500 os, in my opinion this lens can be a bit of a lottery. image quality varies widely between samples, also, it is closer to 485mm rather than the stated 500. this drops off as you get closer to minimum focusing distance too. some say it falls drastically! it is generally rather soft at 500mm.

the sigmas os is said to be good though, but it can be noisy and take a while to settle.

go for the nikon and learn long lens technique and reap the rewards.

 evan47's gear list:evan47's gear list
Sony a6000 Nikon D7200 Nikon D500 Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E II Sigma 150mm F2.8 EX DG Macro HSM +5 more
hwg Contributing Member • Posts: 554
Re: Lack of VR in Nikon 300mm f4 - big deal or not?

just to be clear are we talking about the

Nikon 300mm f4 D AF-S IF ED Lens?

e.g.

http://www.wexphotographic.com/buy-nikon-300mm-f4-d-af-s-if-ed-lens/p12882

i was considering the bigma 50-500 but as it appears it is not too sharp at teh 500 mm end then i don't see the point.

it sounds like the nikon 300mm + 1.4x or 1.7x converter would give the better IQ but obviusly not at convieient as a zoom.

but if the IQ is not there in the bigma then there is no point.

Am i correcting in saying the 300mm f4 has better IQ than the Nikon 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 VR II ?

-- hide signature --

Harry

QWK SVT Forum Member • Posts: 58
Re: Lack of VR in Nikon 300mm f4 - big deal or not?

just to be clear are we talking about the

Nikon 300mm f4 D AF-S IF ED Lens?

e.g.

http://www.wexphotographic.com/buy-nikon-300mm-f4-d-af-s-if-ed-lens/p12882

i was considering the bigma 50-500 but as it appears it is not too sharp at teh 500 mm end then i don't see the point.

it sounds like the nikon 300mm + 1.4x or 1.7x converter would give the better IQ but obviusly not at convieient as a zoom.

but if the IQ is not there in the bigma then there is no point.

Am i correcting in saying the 300mm f4 has better IQ than the Nikon 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 VR II ?

-- hide signature --

Harry

Yes - we are talking about the AFS version of the 300mm f/4. The lens IQ with the tc14 is great, and pretty good with the tc17. Autofocus degrades a fair bit with the latter, as it really does suck up a lot of light, but still fine for fairly stationary subjects...

Even with the tc's, this is a significant step up from the 70-300VR.

-- hide signature --
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads