Buying 70-300mm lens for Nikon D5100. Which brand?
Hello dear counselors,
I want to buy a new lens for my Nikon 5100, and i want it to be the 70-300mm one, and with VR. I have read a lot to get my mind clear, but I still really dont know if there is a considerable difference between mounting a Nikkor lens or mounting a Sigma or Tamron one (always 70-300mm focal length). I have read that a Nikkor one wont offer AF compatibility, I will have to focus manually. Although I would rather to have the AF option, it is still not a great deal for me having to focus manually. What really is a great deal for me is 1) contrast in the pic, 2) sharpness and 3) image quality in general, specially in the long focal lenghts.
This is my question: concerning these 3 factors just mentioned, would there be a considerable difference between mounting a lens from Nikon, Sigma or Tamron?
Second question (less important): would Sigma or Tamron offer the AF option?
Thank you so so much in advance!
The Nikon 70-300 AFS VR will AF focus on your D5100. That is the lens I'd choose. Buy a refurbished & save some money on one.
All are good lenses, stay away from the older Nikkor 70-300 (you want the AF-S 70-300 f4.5-5.6 VR). The Tamron is rumored to be marginally sharper than the Nikkor at 300mm, but the Nikkor's, AF speed, VR, and build quality make for a more useful lens. If you want something lighter weight, similar in IQ to the Nikkor 70-300 but not as capable in AF and VR, consider the very reasonably priced Nikkor 55-300 DX.
The Nikon 55-300 VR is a much overlooked lens. It's arguably a better match ( weight and coverage ) to the D5300 and it's reported to be quite sharp at the 300mm end.
A few reviews :
I would also not ignore the 55-200 VR. It's a a relatively minor crop from 200mm to 300mm.
The D5100 requires lenses with a built-in focus motor in order to autofocus. Some of the older Nikon, Tamron, and Sigma lenses don't have the motor so they will not AF. The Nikon 70-300 VR, Nikon 55-300 VR, Tamron 70-300 VC, and Sigma 70-300 OS will all AF with your D5100.
IMO the Nikon 70-300 VR is the best all around lens of all of them. It's the best built and it focuses the fastest. The Tamron may be a little sharper at 300mm and it is a good lens all around also. But if you need fast focusing, like to shoot sports or birds in flight, the Nikon is the better choice. The 55-300 VR's strong points are good all around performance and light weight. As I got older my 70-300 VR got heavier and heavier so I replaced it with a 55-300 VR. Both are very good lenses, but the 55-300 VR is significantly lighter. I don't know much about the Sigma so I can't recommend it. I'm a little wary of it because it is not an HSM lens and Sigma's best lenses use the HSM motor.
To sum it up, if weight is not an issue, my first choice would be the Nikon 70-300 VR and my second choice would be the Tamron 70-300 VC. If weight is an issue, got for the 55-300 VR.
VC is Tamron's version of VR and OS is Sigma's version.
I have the Nikkor 70-300VR using it on a D-300. I use it for everything from airshows to birding. I don't have a problem with hand holding or following fast moving planes boats or birds and for me at 80 weight is no problem.
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