Not sure what the question is really?
Are you asking what is the best 70-300 lens for a D80 in terms of quality vs. price?
Or are you asking if the 70-300 is the best lens for the D80?
Or are you asking something else?
You might want to wait and grab onto the brand new TAMRON AF28-300mm f3.5-6.3 VC Di LD lens when it is released. It becomes effectively a 42-450mm lens on the Nikon ... has anti-sh-sh-shake and added that lower focal width.
It's pretty much generally agreed that the Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 APO DG is the best of the "budget" long zooms - sells for a little over $200 at reputable online dealers. Nikon's new 70-300 VR looks really nice but is significantly more expensive (~$500).
+1 for the Sigma.
In terms of bank for buck it can't be beaten. It is a budget lens and other lenses will produce better images in some circumstances but you can't beat the price / performance ratio of this lens for most users.
save your money and buy the 70-300VR over the others.
it is outstanding.
I'm eying the sigma 70-300 lens, given all the good feedback. I've never shoot tele before, so have a couple of questions...
What is the standard min shutter speed for handheld shots at both range of the lens? I understand generally its about 1/60... but shooting at the tele end change this?
also, in another thread, someone shot with VR at 1/2 s at the tele end, can't rem if its 200 or 300... but this is bloody damn impressive... so I've thinking of going for the VR instead...
So IF I shoot at fast shutter speeds (good lighting)... what other difference would there be between a VR and non-VR???
The rule-of-thumb for hand-holding is that you want a shutter speed at least as fast as 1/focal length... so at 300mm you are looking for 1/300th or faster... since most of the affordable zooms are f/5.6 at that length you need a fairly bright day and/or bump up your ISO. By bracing yourself or resting the camera on something solid you can probably get away with 1/250 or even 1/125... 1/60th is probably going to get you a bunch of rejects due to motion blur.
VR claims to give you a 3 or 4 stop advantage, so maybe 1/30th is workable... any slower and you're going to need some luck as well, and of course VR does nothing to stop the action if your subject is moving.
I have got acceptable photos as low as 1/125 sec at 300mm hand held with the Sigma but they are exceptions rather than rules. Generally I try for something faster than 1/320 sec and use the aperture and / or ISO to get the speed acceptable in low light conditions.
The 1/focal length rule is handy to know about be you should not adhere to it like a slave because it comes from the old days when a 300mm lens weighed probably three times what a current DX 300mm lens weighs.
For faster shutter speed shots the VR in the VR lens is probably having a marginal affect. The real difference is the faster focusing and better quality glass. What you pay for in lenses is the quality of the glass and the focussing mechanism above all else.
Actually, the rule of thumb is not based on weight of a lens (the heavier the lens (upto a certain point) the more stable you can hold it anyway.
It is based on that with a very narrow field of view, with abit of shake the optical axis in relation to the projected image will move a LOT, in comparison to a wider view. So, the more tele you go, the narrower the field of view, the bigger the movement of the optical axis will be, and the shorter the exposure time has to be.
You do have to take the crop factor into account too, so 300mm x 1.5 = 450mm. The shutter time should be 1/450th sec for realiable non camera shake blurred photos.
This of course differs from person to person, some are easily able to use shorter exposure times, others will need help already. It is just a rule of thumb, not an exact law.