Archive for the ‘Nikon Nikkor 70-300 f/4-5.6 Reviews’ Category

Nikon 70-300 mm f/4-5.6G Review

July 24, 2008

Nikon 70-300 mm f/4-5.6G Review

“Very nice zoom lens, not for low light or dark indoor though”

nikon nikkor 70-300 f/4-5.6G

First, I’m giving this 70-300mm lens a 5 stars rating partly because the price is inexpensive (which is good in my opinion). Usually you get what you paid for, however in this case you get much more than what you paid for.

If your primary objective is to take pictures in low light situation such as wedding and concert, then get the 80-200mm f/2.8 or the 70-200mm VR f/2.8 instead.

Get this lens by any means unless you already have those alternative and more expensive zoom lenses that I mentioned above.

Pros:
1. Inexpensive
2. You can get up close and personal (300mm which is equivalent to 450mm if you attach it to a DSLR)
3. Very sharp and fast in bright light situation (outdoor etc), though it gets a bit softer as you get closer to the 300mm
4. Very light
5. Bokeh is suprisingly good
6. Great for portrait

Cons:
1. Plasticy build and looks cheap (but I don’t think you should care on this)
2. Very bad on low light situation especially if the object is moving/sports photography, but still works fine for long exposure with tripod like photographing fireworks or night light building/city/car lights.
3. Focus seems to be slower on low light situation (focus hunting a bit more)

Bottom line: this lens loves a lot of light.

If you give this lens a lot of light, it will take good care of you.

Last but not least, after you get this lens, go and buy the nikon 50mm f/1.8 AF-D prime lens for $100 or less (equivalent of 75mm if used with DSLR which is very good for portrait and semi-zoom). This is a very fast lens and works extremly well in low light situation even without using flash. This lens will complement your 70-300mm lens very very well.

Happy photographing!

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Nikon AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6G Review

July 17, 2008

Nikon AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6G Review

“Great optics for a low price”

nikon nikkor 70-300 f/4-5.6G

First off, let me tell you that this lens only works fully with the latest Nikon SLRs because it has no aperture ring to set f/stops. You must do that electronically using a D100, D2H, D70, N80, N75, F5 or F100. However, Nikon does provide a nice compatibility chart telling you how to use this lens on older Nikon cameras. So you can use this lens on S and P modes with the N90s, N8008s, N 6000, and N4004. This backward compatibility of lenses and bodies is one of the strongest points of the Nikon system. Even a 24 year old lens can be used with a new Digital SLR, to some extent.

The lens is very light for it’s zoom range. It has a reasonably substantial feel, unlike some of the Sigma lenses I’ve used. It’s made of polycarbonate, which is the same stuff the F117 Stealth fighter is made from.

If you shoot lots of portraits, this is the lens to get. The telephoto allows you to throw the background out of focus with relative ease. The lens has a 9 bladed iris, so out of focus elements are rendered in very subtle and beautiful forms. The Japanese call this “Bokeh” and much has been written about it. It’s very nice that the Nikon engineers took this aesthetic principal into account when designing this economy lens. Once again, Nikon proves to be a design driven company.

The zoom ring has a nice feel with good manual dampening. Zooming is precise with no “slop” or wobble. Manual focus is about average for a lens of this caliber. It’s possible, but no great joy. Since I’m used to the silky feel of Nikon’s old AIS lenses, I doubt anything could rate higher. Autofocus for this lens is much better, and seems to be quick and precise. About the only time it balked was when shooting delicate cloudscapes. This is common for AF lenses and simply requires you to quickly disengage the AF on your camera body and rack the lens to “Infinity” setting.

My D70 DSLR made this lens handy to grip and insanely light. The great thing about using this lens on a DSLR is that you end up with a 450mm zoom lens! great for bringing in distant objects. Watch out when shooting against strong backlight, however. This lens seemed to have more than a little “Purple fringing”. Shots done in normal lighting conditions exhibit zero fringing, and superb sharpeness. So that’s the good news.

Overall this lens is a great bargain and worthy of the Nikkor name. Don’t let the low price fool you. Although it’s not a Nikkor 80-200 f/2.8 by any means, this lens is highly capable and a great second lens for your D70 Digital SLR or N series 35mm SLR. Nikon USA offers a 5 year warranty FREE if you mail the registration postcard in within 10 days of purchase. So be sure to get that in the mailbox right after buying!

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Nikkor AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Review

July 3, 2008

Nikkor AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Review

“Good for everything but low light.”

nikon nikkor 70-300 f/4-5.6G

I agree with the other reviews here, for the money it is a bargain. I just want to caution again anyone that expects to capture clear shots in a low-light setting with this lens. As you might expect, that would be difficult with a “slow” lens. The auto focus has trouble in low light and motion, such as at a football game in the evening, for example, will of course blur. A sports lens it is not but then that is where you need the really expensive fast lense.

In all other ways, I find the lens excellent. Nor do I have a problem with the manual focus as others here have mentioned. Maybe I have not been spoiled by a much better manual focus, I find it adequate. This is a fun lens. You can expect to see things with your camera that you won’t be able to see with your naked eye.

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Nikkor 70-300 f/4-5.6 Review

June 14, 2008

Nikkor 30-700 f/4-5.6 Review

“Definitely worth $150!”

nikon nikkor 70-300 f/4-5.6G

I bought the D50 with the 2 kit lenses (18-55 and 55-200). At the beach shooting surfers I came up a bit short. Photographing birds I came up short. Even photographing sunsets was a bit wimpy. So I knew I needed just a bit more “firepower.”

So I did some research, including Amazon, and thought I’d give the 70-300G a try. I bought it from a local dealer in case I needed to return it. The first day was rainy, so the lens was shooting at f/4-5.6 and I wasn’t impressed. But the next day I headed out to a local bird santuary, and wow! The extra power of a 300 makes a bit difference.

The reviews here are right on. If you need a low light lens, this isn’t it. But if you’re willing to live with a setting of f11 for the 300mm setting, the quality is superb. To be honest Nikon probably shouldn’t even call this an f4-5.6, but a f5.6-f8 lens, and the settings shouldn’t allow any larger openings (I usually set my camera in aperature priroty at f11 when I put the lens on). It is also very slow to focus in low light situations, if at all (the worst I’ve found is fireworks); in those cases I usually focus manually.

For me, a 300mm lens is a drastic improvement over a 200mm. If you find yourself usually shooting in daylight, this lens will do it for you. You’ll be amazed at the pictures. Like another reviewer said, everyone with a D50 or D70 should own one. In fact I would recommend it over the 55-200mm. If you need to shoot in low light situations and you need the whole 300mm, you’ll need to spend a lot more.

UPDATE: I’ve been using the lens for a couple months now, and am still very happy with it. The pictures are great, and I am still sold on the extra power. In fact, I’d be willing to sell my 55-200mm and keep this.

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Nikon 70-300 f/4-5.6 Lens Review

April 29, 2008

Nikon 70-300 f/4-5.6 Lens Review

“Good lens for this price”

nikon nikkor 70-300 f/4-5.6G

Weighing in at about 15 oz., this Nikkor AF zoom lens is a lot of bang for the buck. The zoom range is 70-300mm; if you use a Nikon digital SLR like my D70, the effective range is 106-456mm due to the 1.5x crop factor. 300mm or 450mm, this is a very powerful zoom lens for relatively little money.

The maximum aperture of the lens is f4 at 70mm and one stop slower at f5.6 at 300mm. These are of course slower than more expensive Nikkor’s which can go to f2.8, but for that you’d be shelling out many times more money. For most outdoor daylight photos as well as well-lit portraits, this lens does the job. At f5.6 and 300mm, you’ll get a nice shallow depth of field that will give you that “professional” portrait you’ve been looking for. Just make sure you use a tripod.

This Nikkor sports excellent optics (despite not being an ED — see below), and is a full auto-focus lens when mounted on Nikon SLRs that can do AF on G-type lenses. To switch into manual focus on one of these cameras, be sure to set the focus switch on the camera body to M (manual) first, before engaging the focus ring. Because this is *not* an AF-S (S for silence) lens, it does not have the “ultrasonic” built-in motor and is completely driven by the camera, that’s why you want to set the focus mode switch on the camera to M before turning the focus ring.

Because this is not an AF-S lens, it’s noisy when hunting for focus. Being an economics lens, it focuses pretty fast when there’s plenty of light, but in low light situations, it can “hunt” for focus for a long time. In fact, where there’s little light, you’ll need to half-press the shutter button several times before the lens autofocuses properly; and don’t be surprised if you have to switch to manual focus. (Just remember to set the camera’s focus mode to M!)

Other features missing from this low-priced lens are a macro mode and low-dispersion (called ED by Nikon). Of course, it doesn’t have vibration reduction, either.

Oh, if you have a digital SLR, you’ll get an additional benefit of using a non-DX lens on a d-SLR: because only the central part of the image from the lens actually hits the sensor, you won’t have to worry about aberrations that affect the edges, esp. when using low-cost lenses. From corner to corner, side to side, your picture will be sharp.

In short, for a little over $100 you are getting a genuine Nikon-designed (but made in China) lens with excellent optics, a long zoom range, fast autofocusing in bright light, and relative light weight but solid construction. On the other hand, the low, low price means you won’t get macro, ED, ultrasonic focusing mechanism, or the very best optics that much more expensive Nikkor lenses have.

If you have enough money, I recommend getting a high-quality zoom lens that covers the wideangle to telephoto focal lengths. My favorite is the compact and lightweight Tamron 28-300mm Di XR LD lens sold here on Amazon (although you do give up aperture speed).

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