I need some advice on a lens purchase. We are planning a trip to China this coming summer and I need to complete my photo kit for 3 weeks of travel. I currently have a Nikkor 28-105mm f/3.5-4 D and Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 need input on a telephoto zoom. I'm looking at either a new Nikkor 70-300mm f/4-5.6D ED or a used Nikkor 75-300 f/4.5-5.6. The tests at photodo.com show the newer 70-300mm rated at 2.4 vs 3.2 for the 75-300. I have looked at the Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8D lens, but am put off a little by the nearly 3 lbs in weight. I also like the fact that I could use my 62mm filters on both the 28-105 and either of these lens I mentioned. I would like to get the lens ASAP so I have time to get used to using it before the trip. Any thoughts or suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
I have used both and can recommend both. The lighter newer version is now in the posession of my capable photographer daughter, but I still have the 75-300mm f/4.5-5.6 AF in my F4s bag. It can be found at bargain prices used. I feel it is a tad sharper than the D ED, but don't trust my eyes too much. Here is an image taken with it.
I also have the 75-300/4.5-5.6 AF (non-D). Have had it 10 years or so. I'm not a lens evaluator but I'd say it's pretty sharp and contrasty for my needs. (However, my needs do not really call for a zoom in this range so I don't use it often. That's probably why I don't "yearn" for a 80-200/2.8 AF either...).
Mine has the tripod collar, the push-pull zooming action and 62mm filters. Manual focusing is a drag on this lens since the focus ring is so way out in front, my hand has to slide up and down the barrel, but that's probably not a concern with you. I've no experience with the newer 70-300 AF's but I read they're smaller, shorter and no tripod collar. Although they're good lenses in their own right, reports I've read place the older 75-300 a little better.
Here's a photo of my local skyline taken with the 75-300 in the fall of last year. Other equipment used: F4s, Velvia, tripod. 10 sec @ f/8.