Old 03-05-2016, 02:12 PM   #26
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Bob,
I have a D90 and in short the 18-200 was bought many years ago and I didn't have the funds to upgrade when VR came out and the 70-300 was purchased more recently and I didn't want to compromise. I have realized the 70-300 doesn't get used much and I want to focus on my main shooting ranges to improve within my means! What pictures I take now I want to insure the best results with what I have and to those who wonder why I didn't make the change sooner, my budget has limited my appetite for better gear. Just willing to invest more now to preserve the moments I capture from here on out.

Rich
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Old 03-05-2016, 02:37 PM   #27
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Bob,
I have a D90 and in short the 18-200 was bought many years ago and I didn't have the funds to upgrade when VR came out and the 70-300 was purchased more recently and I didn't want to compromise. I have realized the 70-300 doesn't get used much and I want to focus on my main shooting ranges to improve within my means! What pictures I take now I want to insure the best results with what I have and to those who wonder why I didn't make the change sooner, my budget has limited my appetite for better gear. Just willing to invest more now to preserve the moments I capture from here on out.

Rich
I wasn't questioning why you didn't upgrade 18-200, I just didn't even know there was 18-200 non VR's. I got one when Nikon came out at same time as D200 and I just assumed obviously uninformed that they all were at least anything recent and I think others may have assumed your was.

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Old 03-05-2016, 03:20 PM   #28
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Before some or maybe its too late now��, rush to ridicule me for not changing sooner. As much as I enjoy getting out and railfanning my priority for the last several years was getting my son and daughter through college to the best of my ability and it was well worth it. Now I'm playing catchup �� and trying to invest properly for my habits.

Enjoy, Rich
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Old 03-05-2016, 03:58 PM   #29
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Before some or maybe its too late now��, rush to ridicule me for not changing sooner. As much as I enjoy getting out and railfanning my priority for the last several years was getting my son and daughter through college to the best of my ability and it was well worth it. Now I'm playing catchup �� and trying to invest properly for my habits.

Enjoy, Rich
Rich, I don't know how I can again tell you I didn't mean anything negative by my comment, I was simply trying to clarify what you had. I am sorry you took it that way!!! Like I said, I railfanned for many years with a $300 28-200 plastic lens to go with my plastic N80 so I would be the last person to,,,,. I guess I will just stick to posting photos.

Bob
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Old 03-05-2016, 04:39 PM   #30
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I also do have a nice MEFOTO tripod that I like and that is not the issue but the VR capability is one that I want to address as my 70-300 is the only one having that now.

Adding either a used Nikon 16-85mm VR ($250) or a used Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 HSM OS ($250) is really all you need then. The Nikon is a sharp lens and a great zoom range. I would bet you would use it 90% of the time. The Sigma is a little better optically, and the f2.8 will give you the ability to shoot at a faster shutter speed without cranking up the ISO. Shutter speed is critical for trains, I think. The downside of the Sigma is it doesn't have the zoom range of the Nikon. Later on, as funds allow, you could pick up a good deal on a used Nikon D7000. These currently go for ~$300 on ebay. They have more resolution than the D90, and also will let you shoot at ISO 1600 instead of ISO 800. That translates into a twice as fast shutter speed.

Remember that you can sell your current D90 and 18-200mm and get ~$300. I'm assuming your 18-200mm is not a Nikon and does not have VR. All Nikon 18-200mm did have VR, from what I've read, and bring ~$260 on ebay.

The way I buy camera gear, I think through what I want it to do and how much I want to pay. I then look at where the best value for the money seems to be. I buy almost everything from ebay. I've had good luck there.


Kent in SD
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Old 03-05-2016, 05:20 PM   #31
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Here's a website I use a lot to compare test results of different combinations. It's useful to put things into a perspective.

Nikon D90 with lenses Nikon 18-200mm VR, Nikon 16-85mm VR, Sigma 18-50mm OS:
http://www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compar...77_439_206_439

Nikon D7000 with same lenses as above:
http://www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compar...77_680_206_850

Nikon D7100 with same lenses:
http://www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compar...77_865_206_865

What you want to pay attention is the first line, the "P-Mpix". Note that as camera resolution goes up, so does sharpness. D90=12mp, D7000=16mp, D7100=24mp. Note the sharpest combination is the D7100 with Sigma 18-50mm f2.8 OS HSM. Now to really make things hard for you. Nikon uses the same sensors in several different cameras. The ~$500 D7100 uses the same sensor as the $350 Nikon D5300. What's the difference between them? D5300 only has one thumb wheel, meaning you have to choose what to set it to control (aperture, or shutter speed.) D7100 & D90 have two wheels, one each for aperture and shutter speed. The viewfinder on the D5300 is much smaller. The D7000/D7100 is easier to use, but image quality should be the same.

D7100 with Sigma 18-50mm or Nikon 16-85mm, and Nikon 70-300mm VR:

http://www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compar...77_865_260_865

The DxO site is fun to play with and gives you some hard numbers to compare. One thing it does seem to show is how sharp the Sigma 18-50mm is for what it cost.


Kent in SD
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Old 03-05-2016, 07:30 PM   #32
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Rich, I don't know how I can again tell you I didn't mean anything negative by my comment, I was simply trying to clarify what you had. I am sorry you took it that way!!! Like I said, I railfanned for many years with a $300 28-200 plastic lens to go with my plastic N80 so I would be the last person to,,,,. I guess I will just stick to posting photos.

Bob
Bob, you didn't upset me in any way and I didn't intend my latest post at you, lol!! Please feel free to keep posting as I appreciate it and besides my skin is much thicker than that, so no worries .

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Old 03-05-2016, 07:40 PM   #33
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Better glass does matter. That's one of several reasons why I moved from Nikon's DX to FX cameras. The glass is better and the sensors are better. Sure, you can use FX glass on a DX body, but good luck going wide.

I have the following FX lenses, all Nikkor. Listed in the order of frequency that I use them.

24-120 f/4 VR: Best walking-around lens for trains. I take most of my shots with this lens...probably 90% or more. Sharp, but has some odd distortion at the wide end. Not soft on the long end like some super-zooms.

24-70 f/2.8: Duplicates some of the focal lengths of the 24-120, but is a full stop faster. Nice and sharp. Fast AF. No VR, but you really don't need it. Heavy. Great in the rain (has a big-ass hood, and is not an air pumper). Unfortunately, it doesn't have much reach and you feel a bit naked with it on there.....but it is lovely glass!

70-200 f/4 VR: Sharpest lens I own. Fast AF. Would love to have the f/2.8 version but cost was not the issue. This lens is HALF THE WEIGHT of the 2.8 version, and when your bag weighs as much as mine, that's important. I also like the fact that it is not an air pumper. Put a raincoat on it and it stays put. Air pumpers suck with a raincoat on. Unfortunately, I probably take 5% of my shots with this lens.

16-35 f/4 VR: I probably take the fewest with this super-wide lens, but I have no fear of putting it on. It is nice and sharp. I chose this over the vaunted 14-24 f/2.8 because of much lower weight, the addition of VR, and because you can put a filter on this lens.....you can't do anything with that bulbous front element on the 14-24 but guard it with your life.

70-300 f/4.5-5.6 VR: The only non-pro (no gold ring, no nano-crystal coat) lens I have for FX. Decent glass for $600....cheaper now. AF not as fast as I would like. I hardly ever use it for trains. A bit soft at the long end....like most consumer lenses.

I used to use the DX 18-200mm VR. It was OK, but again, soft at the long end. Some copies are really nice, like the one John West uses. Mine, not so much. I still have it, along with one DX camera. I just don't use it much any more. The advantage of a super-zoom is obvious. One lens, one body, good-to-go. If you can put up with the "issues" that a super-zoom has, it is very, very convenient.

Changing lenses sucks. You can get dust on your sensor, and most lens drops happen during hasty lens changes. I use two bodies. One with a 24-70 or 24-120, and one with a 70-200. Heavy, yes. But like a 2-gun gun-slinger, I am always ready for whatever presents itself.

Kevin, do you have any input on the Nikon D750 as I might just treat myself now, lol! It would be a big advancement but the package deal is pretty good as it would be the body and the 24-120 f/4 (right in my main range like you using it 90% of the time) for about $2300.00 at the local store I support and be a savings of about $700-1000 if bought separate ? I have toyed with getting another body to give myself some insurance should one fail in the field as that happened once before and can quickly ruin things ! I didn't intend on going this much out but am pondering the thought and I could keep the 70-300 on my other body and be in good shape. Still in the thinking stages but I am intrigued with that deal.

Please anyone chime in and thanks, Rich
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Old 03-05-2016, 07:43 PM   #34
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Here's a website I use a lot to compare test results of different combinations. It's useful to put things into a perspective.

Nikon D90 with lenses Nikon 18-200mm VR, Nikon 16-85mm VR, Sigma 18-50mm OS:
http://www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compar...77_439_206_439

Nikon D7000 with same lenses as above:
http://www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compar...77_680_206_850

Nikon D7100 with same lenses:
http://www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compar...77_865_206_865

What you want to pay attention is the first line, the "P-Mpix". Note that as camera resolution goes up, so does sharpness. D90=12mp, D7000=16mp, D7100=24mp. Note the sharpest combination is the D7100 with Sigma 18-50mm f2.8 OS HSM. Now to really make things hard for you. Nikon uses the same sensors in several different cameras. The ~$500 D7100 uses the same sensor as the $350 Nikon D5300. What's the difference between them? D5300 only has one thumb wheel, meaning you have to choose what to set it to control (aperture, or shutter speed.) D7100 & D90 have two wheels, one each for aperture and shutter speed. The viewfinder on the D5300 is much smaller. The D7000/D7100 is easier to use, but image quality should be the same.

D7100 with Sigma 18-50mm or Nikon 16-85mm, and Nikon 70-300mm VR:

http://www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compar...77_865_260_865

The DxO site is fun to play with and gives you some hard numbers to compare. One thing it does seem to show is how sharp the Sigma 18-50mm is for what it cost.


Kent in SD
Thanks Kent, a useful tool!

Rich
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Old 03-05-2016, 08:12 PM   #35
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Bob, you didn't upset me in any way and I didn't intend my latest post at you, lol!! Please feel free to keep posting as I appreciate it and besides my skin is much thicker than that, so no worries .

Rich
Big Smile Ok, I break my vow in 10 seconds but just because you asked about D750. I have the D750 and 24-120 and find it an excellent fit. Between the fixed F4 and the D750 noise capabilities you have good flexibility. I also have the 70-300 and for me it is usually one or the other depending on the situation. I have primes that have been mentioned but they are used for night time shooting of moving trains.

However, you should read about the D750 recall and find whether your store has one or when.

I personally don't like the idea or working with two bodies, there are obvious pitfalls besides having camera geek written all over you at the wrong place and wrong time. I certainly keep another body with me but not on me. Pros do it all the time but obviously ............


I'll just throw out my view on changing lenses. When I had the D200 I was obsessed with not trying to change. I had the little swab kit that I learned to use. After D200 I have not had a problem, now I am changing lenses all the time between primes and the 24-120. I think we have to remember the whole concept of the SLR, it is not a fixed lens system??


Bob
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Old 03-05-2016, 08:14 PM   #36
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Kevin, do you have any input on the Nikon D750 as I might just treat myself now, lol! It would be a big advancement but the package deal is pretty good as it would be the body and the 24-120 f/4 (right in my main range like you using it 90% of the time) for about $2300.00 at the local store I support and be a savings of about $700-1000 if bought separate ? Rich
Hi Rich,

Short answer.... The D750 is a very nice camera. It is stripped of a lot of pro features because Nikon doesn't want to take business away from the D4s/D5, but none the less a very good enthusiast camera.

Quick Notes:
  • AF Array - Bigger than the D610, but never big enough for me. I like to compose with the frame and this AF array is still small by my standards....remember, I have a D4 also.
  • AF Speed: Pretty good, but I have heard people say it is bullet-proof, focuses in the dark, yaddah, yaddah. Not true. It is good, but in dark conditions, it can still hunt.
  • Burst Rate: 6.5 fps. Good enough for a train shooter.
  • Get the grip. It makes the camera heavier and easier to shoot portraits. It fits nice and tight. Pricey though.
  • Usable ISO: IMHO, good to about 5000. Not as good as the D4, but still beats the hell out of DX cameras.
  • 24-120mm f/4 lens. Decent glass. I see lots of pros use it. Decently sharp. IMHO, better than Canon's ubiquitous 25-105 f/4L. Can't go too far wrong with this lens.

Decidedly a consumer camera, but damn decent. Don't waste your money on a D610. It will disappoint you. If you want to go FF, go with the 750. The only downside is that if you have DX glass, it won't be too useful on this camera. Yes, there is an auto-DX crop mode, but you lose a lot of resolution. I like your plan to use this camera for most shots, and put the 70-300 on a DX camera and use it for tele shots. That will work....and OBTW, the 70-300 is an FX lens, so it will work just fine on the D750.

Good luck!
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Old 03-05-2016, 09:34 PM   #37
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the package deal is pretty good as it would be the body and the 24-120 f/4 (right in my main range like you using it 90% of the time) for about $2300.00 at the local store I support and be a savings of about $700-1000 if bought separate ?

Well well. We here have pushed you off the deep end. From my perspective, the D750 is probably the best of the expensive foamer cameras, and the 24-120mm f4 VR is a great general purpose lens. Since you're now talking about this one, another comparison is in order. A new D750 and new 24-120mm is $2,300. Let's see what else that money can do. A used Nikon D800E is going for $1,500 on ebay. D750 has 24mp; D800E has 36mp. The D750 shoots faster frames per second and has a slightly better AF system. In short, a good semi-pro sports camera. The D800E has 50% more resolution and lower price. How do they compare? Here's D750 with 24-120mm vs. Nikon D800E with Sigma 35mm & 50mm f1.4A lenses:

http://www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compar..._1307_0_1057_0

Cost: $2,700 (used, ebay.) Clearly the D800E with Sigma lenses is in a completely different class, comparing test data. That doesn't tell the whole story though. Photo gear has to be looked at (1) what you want it to do (2) what you'll do with the photos (3) your style (4) how much you want to pay. If you shoot in very low light or want to make huge enlargements, and tend to shoot very carefully & deliberately with a tripod, the D800E with Sigma Art lenses is the way to go. If you mostly shoot in daylight, mostly shoot run & gun, don't make prints bigger than 11x14, the D750 with 24-120mm would be a better fit. It depends on your style and your priorities.

There are things I look for in a lens besides sharpness. The two big ones are resistance to flare, to resist flare & ghosting from engine headlights. The other major thing is CA (chromatic abberation--purple fringing.) I selected the Nikon 20mm f1.8G over the Sigma 20mm f1.4A even though the Sigma was a bit sharper because the Nikon was more flare resistant.

All in all, if you rarely make prints bigger than 8x10, mostly only shoot in daytime, in the real world very very few people (if any) will be able to tell if you took a shot with a Nikon D7100 with Sigma 17-50mm or a Nikon D750 with 24mm-120mm. There just won't be that much perceived difference. Note the D7100/Sigma has sharpness rated 14 P-Mpix and the D750 combo has sharpness rated 15 P-Mpix. The D750 sensor is a better sensor, but the Sigma 18-50mm is a better lens. It nets out to no real difference. Both will make the same quality of print at the same size enlargement (since both are 24mp sensors.). There is a big difference in cost though. It pays to think things through before spending big bucks on camera gear.

http://www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compar...77_865_321_814


Kent in SD

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Old 03-05-2016, 09:35 PM   #38
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I personally don't like the idea or working with two bodies, there are obvious pitfalls besides having camera geek written all over you at the wrong place and wrong time. I certainly keep another body with me but not on me. Pros do it all the time but obviously .......


Bob
Bob, ummmm let's see, most railfans are seen standing in places very public or some not so for sometimes hours waiting for what most do have any idea (railroad tracks present or not) and can't understand why one would take pictures of trains in all types of weather! Worried about looking like a camera geek? Nah, just part of the hobby at this point as I pretend like I'm part of the normal landscape at times .

Having two bodies is of no biggie to me and trust me, if one fails and it's your only one and you're off the beaten path you'll wish you had another handy on you. Maybe it's the bad luck that seems to follow me but it really ruins the experience and the only memories you take away are the ones etched in your mind of that day.

Yes, have already looked into the recall too, thanks.

Rich
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Old 03-05-2016, 09:44 PM   #39
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Kent,

Ya, "pushed off the deep end", my wife thinks that happened a long time ago! Now since you're from a cold weather region, tell me how I can somehow farm more in the cold months so I can get out during the spring, summer and fall months ..

Any snow left there? This winter was the opposite from last winter for us and been a dreary brown most of the time!

Rich in NH
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Old 03-05-2016, 09:57 PM   #40
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Kent,

Ya, "pushed off the deep end", my wife thinks that happened a long time ago! Now since you're from a cold weather region, tell me how I can somehow farm more in the cold months so I can get out during the spring, summer and fall months ..

Any snow left there? This winter was the opposite from last winter for us and been a dreary brown most of the time!

Rich in NH
Yes, the big drifts are left but it's hitting 40+ degrees today, 60 tomorrow. We are entering the "brown" time of year. I own a farm in Missouri and keep up with farming here pretty well. Growing season is long enough for row crops. Beans and corn are most popular, with canola and sunflowers popular as you move west to the drier plains. Not as much wheat as there used to be. About two hours north of me they grow sugar beets. In Missouri you can double crop, but not here. As for farming in cold months, buy a dairy. Or, if popularity with the neighbors isn't important, start a hog confinement.


Kent in SD

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Old 03-07-2016, 03:31 AM   #41
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Tamron 150-600 pretty much lives on the 6d now. I spend Saturday around DC / Harpers Ferry and I may have taken it off for 2 shots.

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Old 03-07-2016, 07:36 AM   #42
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Tamron 150-600 pretty much lives on the 6d now. I spend Saturday around DC / Harpers Ferry and I may have taken it off for 2 shots.

Loyd L.
150-600mm - Yikes, that's quite a spread for one lens, a lens that sells for under a grand, no less. I can't help but think you are getting images that are "sharp enough" but not necessarily sharp. Then again, I often am frustrated when I think how rare the situation exists that the extra sharpness of my limited to fixed range lenses ever comes to into play. Heck - one of my most recent shots to be published in a magazine was taken on my I-Phone....

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Old 03-07-2016, 10:57 AM   #43
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150-600mm - Yikes, that's quite a spread for one lens, a lens that sells for under a grand, no less. I can't help but think you are getting images that are "sharp enough" but not necessarily sharp.
Full size (unsharpened):


Of this:


I think it's more than sharp enough.

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Old 03-07-2016, 03:38 PM   #44
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150-600mm - Yikes, that's quite a spread for one lens, a lens that sells for under a grand, no less. I can't help but think you are getting images that are "sharp enough" but not necessarily sharp. Then again, I often am frustrated when I think how rare the situation exists that the extra sharpness of my limited to fixed range lenses ever comes to into play. Heck - one of my most recent shots to be published in a magazine was taken on my I-Phone....

/Mitch
I am no expert on this but I have a general sense that what matters in zoom lens quality is a) the ratio of min to max focal length, and b) whether it spans the wide/tele divide.

Regarding the first criterion, the 4X of a 150-600 lens is not a particularly large multiplier. It is less than the 4.4x of a Canon 24-105 L and less than the 5x of the Nikon 24-120, and equal to the 4x of a Canon 100-400 L or a Canon 75-300 L.
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Old 03-07-2016, 04:38 PM   #45
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The super-duper zoom....as opposed to the plain-old super zoom....seems to be the latest fad in DSLR photography. These are lenses with pretty substantial focal ranges (50-500mm, 150-600mm, 200-500mm), that offer a ton of reach, but aren't particularly fast (most are f/5.6 or 6.3). Sigma seems to have the biggest product offering so far, and was perhaps the first out of the gate, but other 3rd parties are hopping on the bandwagon. Even some of the DSLR manufacturers, such as Nikon are diving in.

At first blush, most of us would probably shake our heads that such lenses could really be any good, given the price-point (typically $1,000 - $2,000). The initial reviews on these things have been mixed, but at least some of these lenses are getting pretty solid reviews for image stabilization and sharpness. So unless you're shooting in bad light, the ambitious enthusiast photographer can now shoot wildlife or other subjects that used to require lenses costing $6,000 or more, and weighing so much that you would need a Sherpa Guide with you to carry the darn thing around.

The field is getting crowded though, so you do have to be pretty specific when you start discussing any particular product. For instance, Mitch and Lloyd were discussing a Sigma 150-600mm.....but there are two different versions of that lens. One is about a $1,000 lens, and the other costs nearly twice as much. I don't have to tell you which one gets the better reviews.
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Old 03-07-2016, 06:14 PM   #46
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For instance, Mitch and Lloyd were discussing a Sigma 150-600mm
Well, I can't speak to which lens Mitch thought he was discussing but Loyd (one L only) said he has the Tamron 150-600, which costs $1000.
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Old 03-07-2016, 10:34 PM   #47
bigbassloyd
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And it is a fantastic lens. Sure I'm not able to hold my nose as high in the air if it was white with red marks, but the photography speaks for itself.

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Old 03-08-2016, 12:54 AM   #48
Noct Foamer
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I am no expert on this but I have a general sense that what matters in zoom lens quality is a) the ratio of min to max focal length, and b) whether it spans the wide/tele divide.

Another factor is the number of ED glass elements (ED=Extra Dispersion) in the lens. Back when I was mostly a wildlife shooter I had a Nikon 500mm f4. Very sharp! However, as I drifted away from that kind of shooting it was difficult to justify having thousands tied up in a lens I wasn't using much. I ended up with a first version Nikon 80-400mm VR (meh), and now have the newer Nikon 80-400mm AFS. (Nice! ) Nikon also now has the 200-500mm VR, a bit longer and tests just a bit sharper than the 80-400mm at the long end. The 80-400mm was $2,000 (used), a 200-500mm VR is about half that. Hmmmm. Sell, or keep? I decided to keep. Sharpness is just one criterion I use for lens selection. The 80-400mm AFS has the better nano coating and more ED elements. It resists flare and CA better, something important to me shooting trains & their bright headlights. I decided to stand pat.


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Old 03-08-2016, 01:51 AM   #49
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I ended up with a first version Nikon 80-400mm VR (meh), and now have the newer Nikon 80-400mm AFS. (Nice! ) Nikon also now has the 200-500mm VR, a bit longer and tests just a bit sharper than the 80-400mm at the long end. The 80-400mm was $2,000 (used), a 200-500mm VR is about half that. Hmmmm. Sell, or keep? I decided to keep. Sharpness is just one criterion I use for lens selection. The 80-400mm AFS has the better nano coating and more ED elements. It resists flare and CA better, something important to me shooting trains & their bright headlights. I decided to stand pat.


Kent in SD
I notice that neither one of those lenses is among the 25 or so on which Nikon is currently running sales. The 70-200mm f/2.8 is $1900 right now....that's a full $500 less than you would have paid 6 months ago. Alas, I already have the f/4 version, so the 2.8 wouldn't do all that much for me but add weight to my bag.

So Kent, you think the 80-400 is the better move than the 200-500? It is certainly lighter and faster on the wide end. As you say, it also has the "pro" features like ED glass and nano-crystal coat. Problem is, I'd only want it for aircraft shots....and I can't hand-hold a 300mm to save my life, so I can't see spending $2300 on something even longer. Shooting bobcats off a tripod maybe, but.....
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Old 03-08-2016, 01:52 AM   #50
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Being an economist by training and cheap by nature, I feel the need to point out that images that are tack sharp at 100 percent enlargement ("actual pixels" in Photoshopese") do not necessarily produce better images for the rest of us to enjoy unless you are making very large prints or cropping around very small details. Low light capability is a more complicated argument but I think the same principles apply. I think a reasonable case can be made that a lot of money is wasted on unneeded capability in terms of the end use of the vast majority of images recorded. You can get high quality pix without investing in the very best cameras and glass, which cost a small fortune.

That said, I am just as guilty as the next guy of being thrilled when I do capture an image that might meet those standards. And I have seen some wonderful low light images that could probably have not been done at least as well with more modest equipment. So I can and have wasted money on stuff that I didn't really need.

But you can be a really good photographer without spending a fortune and simply learning to use what you have well. The biggest challenge is skill not equipment.
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