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Thread: Need your advice on buying a tele lens

  1. #1
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    Default Need your advice on buying a tele lens

    Hello Members,
    I am going on a safari trip to Kanha in May and I would need a tele lens for it.

    I have a Nikon D90 with 18-70 AF-S 3.5-4.5 G Nikkor and 50mm 1.8 prime currently.

    I do not have a tripod and do not have the inclination to buy one for quite some time. So I would like to have a VR lens. My budget is around 20-30K.

    I think the default thought would be the 70-300 VR lens.. that costs me 26K in Bangalore. With this, at 300mm and 5.6aperture, low light (evening)photography might be a challenge I guess.

    What is your opinion on this lens and its price? Is there a better lens? Any other suggestions? (Sigma?) I would like to know your opinion.

    Thank you very much in advance.

    Regards,
    Prem

  2. #2
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    Prem,

    My suggestion is to always take the best optics possible. I am a canon user and have in the past used third party lenses like Sigma, tokina, tamron etc but have stopped using them for a long time due to quality reasons.

    During the initial phase I used to pick up third party lenses as they are significantly cheaper. Quality wise they are ok but not equivalent to the top notch Canon and Nikon lenses. So if you pick up a Sigma lens, then it is Ok as well. Remember, sharpness is also a function of shutter speed, stability (camera support systems) and technique.

    I used to use a 70-300 lens without an IS version during my film days. And I have got many sharp shots (including one where a tiger has caught a pangolin). You have to understand the limitations of this lens and use it accordingly.

    Your camera (D90) has a crop factor of 1.5 and the 70-300 mm lens at the 300mm would be equivalent to a 450mm (300mm *1.5) lens in 35mm format. That would help you get shots of most big mammals and a few birds.

    These days you can increase the ISO so even in low light you would be able to get much better images that we used to get in the film days.

    A Nikon 80-400 would be better but that would cost you much more.

    So I feel 70-300 should be ok according to the budget. But lets look at the opinion of our Nikon users.

    Cheers,
    Sabyasachi

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    Default

    Thanks Sabyasachi! Helps a lot.

    80-400 is clearly out of my reach for now.

    For my budget (30K), the 70-300 and 55-200 are the only lens that have VR I think. So, I am almost set to buy 70-300.. but just wanted to know if it is cost worthy. A lot of people have told me that 70-300 is soft beyond 200-220 range. Also, it costs almost double that of 55-200.

    Let me wait for the Nikon users opinion too.

    As another piece of news, there is a place in Bangalore where Canon guys can rent lenses.. unfortunately they dont have Nikon lenses (since commercial mention is not allowed, I have refrained from mentioning their details.)

    Cheers,
    Prem

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    Hi Prem,

    I'm not SLR guy, but i feel lens is the heart of the photography. Instead buying mid range / medium quality lens. please wait for sometime and save more money for good quality lens and mean time do continue with your lens and have Habitat / landscape photography. B'coz one day you'll definitely need quality lens for birding & wildlife photography.

    I think this will ultimately cheaper & good option for you. Never spend money in hurry. Just my opinion . You'll surely don't like my idea as you are going for tigers

    Rahul

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    Today, there seems to be a trend that photographers must buy the best body / lens available. That's not the way we started. We started with what we had or could afford.

    I started with a Contax II with a 50mm lens. Later, when I moved to AF SLRs I had an EOS 50 with a Tamron 28-200 lens. I am currently a Canon user.

    Buy the 70-300 VR. If there is a photographer in you, the lens will serve you well.

    Apana

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    Hi Apana,

    You are very right & equally good suggestion too, but it think there will be hardly a few people who can afford to upgrade their equipments on regularly basis. To upgrade the camera system needs lots of money. I think not everyone can do it for a long time...

    Rahul
    Last edited by Rahul Parekh; 01-05-2009 at 08:33 AM.

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    Rahul,
    One SLR body is just sufficient. No need to upgrade your body so soon. These days the shutter life of our camera are very good. Most of the cameras have atleast 1 lakh shutter life. How many of us have taken 1 lakh photos in one camera?

    Long back when I was photographing with a Canon EOS 300 and 70-300 mm lens (without IS), I had photographed a tiger catching a pangolin. An extremely rare behaviour. I haven't seen it ever since despite upgrading my arsenal. :-) With that body and lens combo I had clicked a nice full frame shot of a pied kingfisher and that too eyelevel. Unfortunately that tree and area has been cleared and a commercial complex has come up. My suggestion don't wait for that super tele lens. Buy what ever you can and then go out to watch and photograph wildlife understanding the limitations of your equipment.

    With a 300mm f4 L IS lens and 1.4x TC, I photographed a mother and cub in rajbehera water in late evening at 6.30pm. 1/20th sec at ISO 400, f5.6. The image was sharp. Didn't win an award, but had reached the semis of the BBC wildlife photography competition. So I am saying that you can photograph at f5.6 and try to make the maximum out of your equipment. Last year, I was photographing at 800mm f5.6 (400mm f2.8 plus 2x TC) in rajbehera late in the evening and the cubs were jumping on each other. The light was terribly low and I didn't get sharp shots. So even with such equipment, I fail at times.

    So please don't worry too much. Pick up this lens and refine your photography. When you feel you are ready to upgrade and don't need this lens anymore, then sell it.

    Cheers,
    Sabyasachi

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    Sabyasachi,

    I'm not against the performance of the 70-300mm lens. Lens sounds excellent as you both well experienced & celebrated wildlife photographers recommened it. Prem you should go for it . I was just concerned about your investment...

    Rahul
    Last edited by Rahul Parekh; 01-05-2009 at 02:04 PM.

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    Thanks Sabyasachi, Apana and Rahul!

    @ Apana,Sabyasachi : Indeed golden words. Equipment does not do anything (beyond a point). "The photographer" does! It makes more sense to focus on the art of photography and not the equipment.

    @ Rahul : respect your views too. It is indeed costly for us (hobby photographers). It makes sense to buy the best we can (within our budget). But I differ in the wait and buy approach. I would rather buy something today.. experiment.. and upgrade if need be. That way, my focus is on learning. Cost usually can be managed somewhere somehow if there really is a need for high end equipment I guess. But difference in opinion is what makes us so unique. Thank you for your different perspective.

    Regards,
    Prem

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    Oops I forgot.

    The Kanha trip stands cancelled due to leave problems (how I wish I were my own boss today ).

    I have decided to buy the 70-300 VR, but can wait for 2 weeks or so since I dont have a pressing need now. (Also, Sudhir Sharma (from INW) has started a lens renting venture... so I can rent out a couple of lenses from him and try out and then decide )

    But good lesson for me from this thread! Focus on your skills.. not the equipment. If you have the right skill, any equipment is the right equipment.

    Cheers,
    Prem

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    Thumbs up

    Hi Prem,

    I'm so pleased. I'm my boss. No need to take leave . Have a wonderful memories & experiences with your new lens. I agree with Apana & Sabyasachi, They both love my images... but i still believe equipments make a big difference. If not, than why everyone upgrade to the higher end camera system & lens!!!

    I think different way b'coz I never take anything as hobby. None can learn from hobby. Everyone can learn from passion. Whatever I do whether a big work or small, I do it passionately and as professional way. In this manner I can learn & complete the work in a great way. Secondly I learned the art of patience from my life & profession. So i can wait for a long time to get the right moment to hit the deck

    One more thing that makes me different is my purpose of photography is different to yours...

    Yes, we can manage the cost at anytime, but I value the monetary aspact of our life b'coz i stared my life from '0'.

    Wish you learn many skills from your new equipments, I'll wait for your new images too

    with all best wishes,

    Rahul
    Last edited by Rahul Parekh; 01-05-2009 at 09:09 PM.

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    I don't know much about DSLRs and equipment, but you should see the BBC - Veolia wildlife photographer of the year results.
    Hardly anyone has used high end tele lenses... most are around 300mm, very few are maybe 400 or 500mm. And all are absolutely fantastic images. It really shows you that the photographer matters, not the equipment.

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    Sorry guys for being a bit out of topic here but cant stop myself from asking........Sabyasachi....i am really curious to see the tiger/pangolin shots....can you pls upload it some time...thanks!!!

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    Abhishek,
    It is important to use the lens according to the image that you want to create. However, most of the times we pick up the lens and try to create an image out of the situation.

    In the hands of a expert even a consumer lens can do wonders. However, if two experts are photographing the same scene with similar compositions, then the one using a better lens is likely to get better quality.

    Murugan,
    I will have to scan those. May be some time I will share.

    Cheers,
    Sabyasachi

  15. #15
    Rakesh Dhareshwar Guest

    Default

    Maybe a bit too late for a reply. BUt I would try and get a 2nd hand 170-500 / 50-500 for that kind of budget . 70-300 is ok for mammal and people photography , but for birds , it will be found wanting .

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