I'm thinking of purchasing a new zoom lense for my D80 but not sure what to buy, hopefully you can help. Looking for something of a maximum 300-400mm reach. Liked Nikon 80-400mm and Sigma 120-400mm but keep reading that the Nikon 80-400mm has slow AF. I currently have Nikon 18-200mm VR so maybe someone can compare these two lenses in terms of AF. I shoot mainly portraits and events mostly as a hobby.
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#1. "RE: Zoom Lenses for D80" | In response to Reply # 0James23p Nikonian since 25th Apr 2004Mon 25-May-09 02:19 AM | edited Mon 25-May-09 02:19 AM by James23p
For me a great lens at 300mm is the Nikkor 70-300G AF-S VR this lens is sharp and I find it very sresponsive on my D80. But 300 may not be long enough since you are looking at 400mm.
I am sure someone else will chime in as I have no first hand knowladge of the other lens. I do know several who have the Nikkor 80-400 and they love the IQ and the AF is not to bad, another lens I know a little about thru friends is the older Sigma 50-500 EX HSM this lens gets very good reviews for IQ and AF speed but it is big and no VR or OS some call it the Bigma.
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#2. "RE: Zoom Lenses for D80" | In response to Reply # 0blw Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Mon 25-May-09 08:01 AM
> Looking for something of a maximum 300-400mm reach. ... I shoot mainly portraits and events
I'm surprised that you are interested in 300-400mm if you mainly shoot portraits and events, but then again I don't do much of that.
> I keep reading that the Nikon 80-400mm has slow AF.
It does have slow AF. What is left unsaid is that all AF is a ton faster than MF, and in fact it turns out that with a little care and practice, even slug-slow AF is capable of doing a LOT more than the conventional wisdom seems to indicate. I do a lot of motorsports, so I have a pretty good understanding of what it takes. Yet I read a lot of what I regard as misleading advice, so I went and tried an experiment at the last race I went to. I took the slowest and least expensive lenses I could think of (slow in the AF sense and slow in the aperture sense), and mounted it on one of the slowest and least sensitive AF systems Nikon has made in the DSLR era. In daylight, I had no trouble whatever tracking racing cars - driven by professionals on a dedicated course, at very high speeds. I didn't even have trouble when using a lens that is considerably slower than even the 80-400VR. The results are reported here.
Does this mean that there's no reason to spend the additional money on faster AF or faster aperture lenses? No! They're there for a reason. But the slower, less expensive lenses are certainly good for a lot more than are often suggested. This of course explains why there are a pretty large number of very sharp, very crisp images posted from the 80-400, of motorsports, birds in flight, and wildlife, to say nothing of more static subjects.
On the 80-400, yes, it turns the AF more slowly than the quick AFS lenses (your 18-200VR is only mid-range speed amongst the ring-motor AFS lenses), but it does have a focus limiter.
As for recommendations, the usual suspects are:
- Nikkor 70-300/f4.5-5.6 AFS VR ($550)
- Nikkor 80-400/f4-5.6 AF D VR ($1500)
- Sigma 150-500/f4-6.3 HSM OS ($1000)
- Sigma 50-500/f4-6.3 HSM ($1100)
- Tamron 200-500/f4-6.3 ($900)
The Sigma 150-500 HSM OS seems like one of the better bets these days, as its HSM focusing is about as fast as your 18-200VR, and it also has OS, which is Sigma's response to VR. I've never used it, but most reports place it similar to the 50-500, which I do own and shoot a lot. (There are lots of samples in birds, baseball and motorsports in my gallery.)
Sigma also offer the 120-400 HSM OS and 80-400 HSM OS (the latter isn't labelled HSM, but it has a ring motor - this was the prototype for what later became HSM), but these haven't found favor amongst Nikonians like the ones above have.
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