Just took some test pictures with my new to me 300mm f/4 af-s. All I can say is - what an incredibly sharp lens this is on my lowly D200...the sharpness and bokeh are wonderful...(i currently own a 70-300VR and a 300mm f/4.5 AI). this lens simply is in another class.
I can't wait for my TC-14E to arrive today and Markins Q10 from ProPhoto next week.
To the point on long journey. My goal was to find a quality optic giving me 400ish+ range, and a good head to support it....
I spent endless hours researching..my gut told me to go down the 300 afs route, but the lure of the 150-500 sigma and tamron 200-500 were calling. spent over an hour in the local camera store where I looked over the jr. bigma and the tamron. i was going down the path of tamron but after reading more - it seemed like going down the Nikkor route made the most sense. after checking out ebay I found a great used lens in mint condition, and am awaiting the TC 14E - that i expect will be a great combo based upon posts here and elsewhere.
The other part of the journey was the tripod head - after wasting time with a Feisol, and having to return it to Adorama (who were great by the way - and processed my return in 24 hourss.) I made the decision to just go with the Q10 ball. Yes the Q3 was probably fine - but my view was I just spent 1.3K in glass - so what was another $60 to get the right sized ball head...purchased via ProPhoto.
Thanks to Nikonians for providing good advice and resources.
I once owned a 300mm F4 AF-D lens. Sold it due to lack of use at the time and needed the money. Do wish i still had it now as i would use it more. I recently purchased a tamron 200-500mm for $300 which i couldn't pass up. And its a great lens, hard to use because of the focal length. But for $300 i can't complain.
Mostly bird and other local wildlife. Great deal on the Tamron. It's an underrated lens v. the Sigma from what I have read. And totally understand the $$$...i'll be selling some items i have now to cover some costs....
I went donw the same road and ended up with the 300mm f4 afs too. It was a little easier for me to deside because I already had the TC-14e. I've been very happy with the combination and never once thought I made the wrong choice. I was going to give the Nikon collar a try but found a used Kirk collar for half price so I snatched it up.
While Nikon's filed a patent featuring a new 300mm f/4, don't mistake rumors or wishes for reports. Nikon will probably introduce an updated version eventually, but if anyone knows when or how much it'll cost, they won't be posting the information in forums like this one.
"There is no real magic in photography, just the sloppy intersection of physics and art." — Kirk Tuck
To add to that, it was over 2 years ago when the 80-400 AF-S patent showed up to when the lens itself appeared (out of nowhere). Nikon is a bit mysterious these days with their lens introduction rationale.
I'd love to have this lens,...but other priorities keep getting in the way, and it would be a specialty lens for me.
The new AFS 300 f4 with VR can't come soon enough for me. I'll never buy one, though. I'm waiting for the used versions of the non-VR lens to hit the market. It's damn near impossible to find a used version of the current lens, and when you do, they cost 90% of new. I don't expect a fire sale on the current version when the VR comes out, but at least there will be some competition, and the price might come down a little.
I do expect a fire sale on the 80-400VR, once that lens reaches people's hands. If it drops below $700 used, I might pick one up and see what I can do with it.
The AF-D is a different optical formula than the AF-S with fewer elements and doesn't focus as closely, but they're both fantastic lenses. Yes, the AF-S is better, but the AF-D is certainly better than anything at 300 mm for below $1,000.
Unfortunately, I have had a problem with focus tracking and lock-on for sports with my non-AFS lenses on my D7000. I know some of it is technique, and I have improved that, but I'm afraid of buying any more non-AFS lenses. I upgraded my AFD 50 and 85 f1.8's to the newer AFS versions, and the difference is noticeable.
That said, if the used older-version 80-400 crashes in price, I might just give that lens a try, just because it gets to 400mm, and can zoom for infield shots in baseball.
If I do that, and the old 80-400 meets my baseball needs, I might get the old 300 f4 and give that a try too. I have had that lens on my buy list for years, and just never jumped because it can't AF with the Nikon TC's. But, if I can get to 400mm some other way, then who needs a TC?
I also will probably upgrade to the D7100 (or a D400 if they come out in the next year or so), and that may solve some of my AF issues with screw-drive lenses.
1) try picking a cork from a syrah or metlot, seems to work 3) avoid any corks from NY State wines 4) Chateauneuf du Pape works the best 5) (seriously: take some fishing line and using a needle attach a lanyard so you won't lose it....)
Part of good, albeit indirect, LLT is maintaining adequate shutter speeds. Try cranking the ISO in broad daylight outdoors to get 1/2500 of a second. If you get sharp shots at that SS, then you know your equipment is functioning correctly.
Then rachet SS down from there. But for BIF I recommend no slower than 1/1600.