Nikon lens recommendations

Discussion in 'Cameras and Photography' started by Bob in WI, Jul 22, 2018.

  1. Bob in WI

    Bob in WI AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I'm looking to replace the 55-200 kit lens for the D3300. Looking for something sharper with VR. I do amateur race photography so I prefer something better than F4 - 5.6 so I can bump up the shutter speed. I'm not that familiar with the current crop of lenses ... I'd appreciate a direction.

    Thanks
    Bob
     
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  2. jbailey930

    jbailey930 AK Member Subscriber

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    Fast glass is pricy! I do like my 80-400 4-5,6 very sharp and fast enough but you may need 1600+iso depending on light. The 300 f/4 s are also nice. The Afs and new pf are very good. I like shooting zooms at tracks for panning and shutter speed isn’t as important hope that helps.
     
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  3. Bob in WI

    Bob in WI AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Thanks. My understanding is there is faster, sharper glass than the kit Nikon lens. I'm trying to find out what lens that may be.
    I've got spots at the track where the cars come straight at you out of a turn - that helps compensate for a less than ideal shutter speed too.
    I wish I was reliably steady enough to pan. I've burned alot of electrons trying.
     
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  4. cratz2

    cratz2 Addicted Member

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    If you don't need a zoom, the AF-D version of the 300mm f4 or even f2.8 is a fantastic lens for the price.

    Shirt of that, it's either the 70-200 f4 (used for a better price) or the 70-300 VR or VR2.

    I had one of the first gen 70-300s and AF speed was stupid fast for a non-pro lens but wasn't super sharp from 250-300.

    I got a Tamron 70-300 OS and is great throughout the entire range, but AF speed isn't much quicker than the 55-200.

    In the Canon world, the STM version of the 55-250 is a big step up from the previous IS2 version and their 70-200 f4 IS is an incredible lens for the price.

    The D500 and a 70-200 VR would be my ticket for race photography. The D500 AF is so much faster (with a fast lens) than the D300 or D700.

    I had a first gen 80-400 VR and while the lens was great, I didn't think the AF was very impressive. I have not tried the newer version.

    The other tip for race photography is to pre focus at a certain spot and switch to manual focus and work on getting your timing right. That saves ALL the AF time.

    Depending on how handy you are with post processing, another trick is to shoot at 'too fast' of a shutter speed to ensure clear but dark shots, then bring up the brightness and contrast in Lightroom or Photoshop.

    I have a pro in the family that used to shoot Indy and F1 and he said that's the way he always got good shots. Of course, he was always outdoors in good light so could hover around F8 and F11. Always full manual.

    He had one camera with a long zoom (or prime) and pre focused and had another body with a midrange zoom set to AF.
     
  5. Bob in WI

    Bob in WI AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    So you think the 70-300 VR2 is an improvement over the 55-200 VR2 (besides obviously the focal length range)?
    This is not VR but is $129 refurbished direct fm Nikon.
    AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED

    Prices for these things are all over the board & its hard to know when the lens exceeds the capability of the camera.
    I'll be honest - I'm finding it all a bit confusing.
    I'm not anticipating changing the camera body.
     
  6. mhedges

    mhedges Super Member

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    You may want to check out the Nikon Rumors forum - there is a recent thread on motor sports photography.

    Theres no way I would buy the non-VR 70-300 DX AF-P lens. I think it’s ridiculous and insulting that Nikon even offers it. I have the VR version and it’s a decent lens with very fast AF, but it’s not as pixel peeping sharp as my other lenses.

    If 200mm is long enough for you and you want something faster there’s the FX 2.8 or 4 lenses. Pricey though.

    You mention not wanting to change your camera body. Are you happy with the auto focus system (number of focus points and coverage) on the 3300?
     

     

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  7. cratz2

    cratz2 Addicted Member

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    Yeah, I would 100% skip the non VR consumer lenses. Even in instances where VR isn't a big help, those are fairly antiquated lenses.

    I would say that potential sharpness issues aside, the 70-300 VR lenses are definitely a step up over the 55-200 both in terms of build quality and autofocus speed.

    I would restate that if the primary area you want to upgrade is autofocus speed, a body upgrade may be what helps the most, given a certain lens.

    I would also strongly suggest you at least give my tips a try.

    They are free to try! :p
     
  8. C6Bill

    C6Bill AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    You'll be shooting with a fast enough shutter where you won't need VR but the lens you should look at is a 70-200 f/2.8. You're using a crop body so you'll be shooting at an effective focal length of 105-300 MM with that lens. And you are not shooting for money so get the Tamron or Sigma, you can save even more buying used at Adorama. And don't shoot dark and bring up the exposure in post. You'll just be increasing noise. Expose properly then enhance contrast and sharpen in post. Just remember, bodies come and go but good glass will last a lifetime. My 400 MM F/2.8 was made in 1993 and is still super fast and sharp as a tack.

    PS
    I'm a freelance sports photographer.
     
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  9. Bob in WI

    Bob in WI AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Thanks guys. This is my first non point & shoot in a long time (my last "real" camera was a Pentax K). I need to go one step at a time as budget &
    skill allow. I'm replacing the kit 18 - 55 mm lens (it broke - really broke - it came apart!) with a Nikon 50mm f1.8 thats supposed to be much more capable.
    My thought was if the 18 - 55 lens was budget quality, maybe the 55 - 200 is too & the responses here suggest it is. I suppose the next decision is a zoom or a better lens but at a fixed focal length.
    I'll have to give that some thought.
    IMSA race is at Road America 1st weekend of August - looking forward to trying some of your suggestions.
    Thanks again.
     
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  10. mhedges

    mhedges Super Member

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    In my experience the “budget” lenses that are on the market now are actually pretty sharp. The better lenses give you faster aperture, (usually) faster AF, and better build quality. Interesting to hear that yours actually fell apart. I’ve never heard of that happening. Was it damaged somehow?

    The 50 1.8 is a good lens - I have one. Make sure you ordered the AF-S version- the older AF-D won’t autofocus with a 3300. But to be honest I don’t think it’s very suitable as a general purpose lens on DX. It’s just too long, and the lack of VR makes it very hard to use handheld in low light.

    You can pick up a new 18-55 AF-P VR on eBay for under $80. I’d go with that if I were you.
     
  11. Bob in WI

    Bob in WI AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    "You can pick up a new 18-55 AF-P VR on eBay for under $80. I’d go with that if I were you."
    AF-s was the kit lens. Something broke or jammed inside. It would not change aperture & the zoom locked up.
    I tried to force the zoom (I had nothing to lose) & it started to disassemble itself.
    I've not heard of that happening. It never reliably took good pics since new (soft focus & dark) - it must have been defective from the start.
    I did get the AF-s & it is not VR.
     

     

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  12. 2526

    2526 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I used to shoot F1 and motorcycle road racing on film - now THAT was a challenge with no autofocus or autoexposure.
     
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  13. mhedges

    mhedges Super Member

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    There must have been something wrong with it. I had the newest VR-2 AF-S 18-55 (the one that collapses) and it was very sharp.
     
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  14. mhedges

    mhedges Super Member

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    The non-VR lenses out there now are the same (modern) optical design as the VR lenses - they just left the VR out for what I assume are marketing/business reasons.
     
  15. jbailey930

    jbailey930 AK Member Subscriber

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    www.fredmiranda.com and nikoncafe.com are good forums like this one for support and for buying/selling gear. We call it NAS or GAS - Nikon acquisition syndrome or Glass etc....
     
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  16. cratz2

    cratz2 Addicted Member

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    More specifically, I meant to say that I'd skip the 75-300 lenses and go with the 70-300 VR lens in that segment.
     

     

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