I'm researching two long tele lens in the $1-1.5k range, Nikkor 300 f/4 and Sigma 150-500 APO OS. If there are other lens that I should also investigate, please let me know. I already have Nikkor 70-300 VR. But I found it to be not sharp enough at 300. The main usage will be to track flying objects like birds. So I won't be using a tripod though I have a steady hand. I expect the shutter speed to be 1/500 or faster. So the tradeoff is the prime vs stabilizaion. The questions I have are (1) at 1/500, does stabilization really matter, even for 300mm? I would think it takes time for the mechanism to counter act the shake? (2) How does the IQ of Sigma 150-500 compare to Nikkor 70-300 at 300mm? Thanks.
Nikkor 300 prime or Sigma 150-500 APO(7 posts) (5 voices)
I was interested in that 150-500 when it came out .. but the reviews have been mixed. The 300 F4 however is a super lens. I think that some Forum members have it. Cant think of any lens in that Focal length that would beat it in terms of IQ.
At the shutter speeds you will be working at (as noted 1/500s) image stabilization is unneeded, so the os feature of the Sigma is useless. The 300mm F4 AF-S is a nice lens, and I've had mine for over a year now, but of course there are limitations with prime lenses, namely the fixed focal length. The Sigma of course has more reach.
Once you start putting a TCs on the 300mm F4 AF-S (anything more than the 1.4x TC) you'll start to see a drop off in image quality and auto focus speed and accuracy. The loss of auto focus accuracy is a big issue, even with the 1.4x TC your keeper rate drops, and with any of the other TCs AF will be too slow in many situations to track birds in flight.
I've never used the Sigma or the 70-300mm VR, since I have never used either of them. That being said, from what I have read the Sigma 150-500mm has the best sharpness in the 150-400mm focal range. I would not be surprised if it was better than the 70-300mm at 300mm.
Once you start shooting at those focal lengths just getting shutter speeds of 1/500s of second isn't enough, even the slightest movement can cause blur due to camera shake. I often shot birds in flight from my tripod for this very reason. Even a monopod would be a big improvement over hand holding.
tc - welcome to the forum, as for Your choice:
- please use the search option, as there was a lot of words spoken about 300/f4
- IMHO, 300/4 or N80-400vr, forget this sigma
Nikon 80-400mm VR focus too slow for many BIF, so forget that too.
To start check http://www.lenstip.com, they have good reviews. Resolution (MTF) charts aren't everything but they help. They don't have the nokon 300 f4 but you can compare your 70-300 to the Sigma. And as others have said the Sigma 150-500 doesn't look good. One alternative to the nikon 300 f4 is the Sigma 100-300 f4 which gets good reviews. And an f4 will provide the option of a 1.4x TC.
A truism in bird photography I read once is the best lens is always 200 mm longer than what you have on your camera.
I'll like lenstip.com - do You know guys it's polish web site, if You don't than now You do :D
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