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View Full Version : New Toy: 70-300VR



erichlund
07-02-2007, 11:54 AM
Well, I've been hearing so many good things about this lens, I figured I just had to get one to replace my Tamron (75-300). I won't have time to shoot with it until this weekend, but I do have some first impressions. The first thing I notice is that it's not quite as fast at the wide end as the Tamron, though the 4.5 vs 4 difference is negligible.

I need to get into the gym. This lens is heavy, and front end heavy at that. It becomes significantly more difficult to hold steady at 300mm. It will be a lens that requires very good technique. The Tamron is about 18oz (w/hood), and the Nikkor is 29oz. With the long focal length, the VR will be essential in moderate light, that or a tripod. I didn't get it out of the box until very late afternoon, and I had a hard time getting a sharp photo at 300mm hand held. Of course, I was at ISO 100, so I didn't give it the best chance given the light.

The lens doesn't have a macro capability. That's OK by me, I don't really use it on the Tamron either. I also have a 55mm AI-S micro for that sort of thing.

The build quality is good. Not quite bulletproof, but everything feels solid. The zoom and focus rings both operate quite smoothly, feeling neither sloppy loose nor too tight. I haven't had it long enough to judge if it has any issues with creep like the 18-200, but I don't really expect that to be a problem.

Once again, a new filter size. Fortunately, the 67mm filter size is one that I had from my Canon A-1 days. So I already have a polarizer for it. I now have lenses at 55, 62, 67, 72 and 77mm filter sizes. If I do get rid of the Tamron, then the 62 goes away.

Now I just have to decide an an ultra wide angle...:cool:

Bob_Benner
07-02-2007, 03:17 PM
Well, I've been hearing so many good things about this lens, I figured I just had to get one to replace my Tamron (75-300). I won't have time to shoot with it until this weekend, but I do have some first impressions. The first thing I notice is that it's not quite as fast at the wide end as the Tamron, though the 4.5 vs 4 difference is negligible.

I need to get into the gym. This lens is heavy, and front end heavy at that. It becomes significantly more difficult to hold steady at 300mm. It will be a lens that requires very good technique. The Tamron is about 18oz (w/hood), and the Nikkor is 29oz. With the long focal length, the VR will be essential in moderate light, that or a tripod. I didn't get it out of the box until very late afternoon, and I had a hard time getting a sharp photo at 300mm hand held. Of course, I was at ISO 100, so I didn't give it the best chance given the light.

The lens doesn't have a macro capability. That's OK by me, I don't really use it on the Tamron either. I also have a 55mm AI-S micro for that sort of thing.

The build quality is good. Not quite bulletproof, but everything feels solid. The zoom and focus rings both operate quite smoothly, feeling neither sloppy loose nor too tight. I haven't had it long enough to judge if it has any issues with creep like the 18-200, but I don't really expect that to be a problem.

Once again, a new filter size. Fortunately, the 67mm filter size is one that I had from my Canon A-1 days. So I already have a polarizer for it. I now have lenses at 55, 62, 67, 72 and 77mm filter sizes. If I do get rid of the Tamron, then the 62 goes away.

Now I just have to decide an an ultra wide angle...:cool:

Ultra wideangle = one word, TOKINA. The Tokina 12-24mm is an awesome lens.

Prospero
07-02-2007, 05:25 PM
Congrats on your purchase, Eric. The lens seems to get nothing but good feedback here, so I am sure that once you get used to it, you will love it.


Ultra wideangle = one word, TOKINA. The Tokina 12-24mm is an awesome lens.

So is the Sigma 10-20 and the Nikkor 12-24. The Nikkor probably is best but most expensive. Between the Tokina and the Sigma its a toss up. Both are sharp, the Sigma vignets while the Tokina is prone to flare and CA, the Tokina is faster, but the Sigma is wider. It's all a matter of what you think is most important.

erichlund
07-02-2007, 06:35 PM
Congrats on your purchase, Eric. The lens seems to get nothing but good feedback here, so I am sure that once you get used to it, you will love it.



So is the Sigma 10-20 and the Nikkor 12-24. The Nikkor probably is best but most expensive. Between the Tokina and the Sigma its a toss up. Both are sharp, the Sigma vignets while the Tokina is prone to flare and CA, the Tokina is faster, but the Sigma is wider. It's all a matter of what you think is most important.

I'm probably leaning toward the Tokina, but I want to try the Sigma first. However, I have to find someone that actually carries Sigma. I've got a list of Ritz stores, so I'll check around. Most of the other stores won't touch them. (There's a sign in there somewhere... :rolleyes:)

We're going on vacation in about 4 weeks, so I want to have everything in place before then. Driving 101 up the California coast.

LR Max
07-02-2007, 07:05 PM
Eric,

A little trick I learned with my 18-200VR, when you are shooting with a slow shutter speed, hold the camera by the BODY only. If you hold the lense, the photos come out blurry. But if you put both your hands on the body, it seems to produce clearer images.

Just thought I'd pass that along.

Bob_Benner
07-03-2007, 12:56 AM
I have found the Tokina to be every bit as good as the Nikon, sigma would be the 3rd choice.

K1W1
07-03-2007, 01:38 AM
Eric,

A little trick I learned with my 18-200VR, when you are shooting with a slow shutter speed, hold the camera by the BODY only. If you hold the lense, the photos come out blurry. But if you put both your hands on the body, it seems to produce clearer images.

Just thought I'd pass that along.

Why would that be?
In theory the lens will wobble much more if it's only supported at one end. Holding something that is front heavy like a 70-300 only at the body of the camera would be really difficult.

Rooz
07-03-2007, 02:02 AM
Eric,

A little trick I learned with my 18-200VR, when you are shooting with a slow shutter speed, hold the camera by the BODY only. If you hold the lense, the photos come out blurry. But if you put both your hands on the body, it seems to produce clearer images.

Just thought I'd pass that along.

thats interesting. personally i found the opposite. especially with the 70-300mm it was near impossible to hold it with body only and get a clear shot. the other great benefit of the VR lens' is the ability to instantly MF with the focus ring so you need to have your hand on the lens for that anyway.

tcadwall
07-03-2007, 05:13 AM
A little trick I learned with my 18-200VR, when you are shooting with a slow shutter speed, hold the camera by the BODY only. If you hold the lense, the photos come out blurry. But if you put both your hands on the body, it seems to produce clearer images.

:confused:
Ok, I see two others that questioned this... I totally agree with the theories that they present, but am really curious. Does your lens feel loose? I just wonder how this could be... But Maybe there is something with the in-lens VR that allows it to be more responsive if it isn't held directly?!?! While I am confused, I know from experience things don't always have to follow the logic that we are familiar with, and sometimes reality is different than theory (theory doesn't always take all factors into consideration)... I will give this a shot to see if it works for me.

longroad
07-03-2007, 05:28 AM
I have this lens and love it.
Im female and must admit i dont have a problem holding this lens steady. I didnt find it to be too heavy (then again i do go to the gym lol) and you definitely want to be supporting both body and lens when shooting with it. I'd feel weird not doing it like that anyway.

I've got some excellent sharp photos at 300mm. The VR works wonders.

As for wide angle, I've already decided on the Tokina 12-24, just waiting for funds to allow.

LR Max
07-03-2007, 06:48 AM
Damn, so many peoples jumping on my ass.

I guess my lense is an oddball but its done that since day one. If you are curious over the subject, you should run some tests. How I discovered this was by bracing the camera against a pole at low shutter speed. First I braced the lense against the pole, no dice. Then I braced the camera body against the pole. Voila, great 1 second shutter speed shot. So, that was my test. How did everyone else test theirs??

I recommend you run a similar test (i.e. fix the lense and then fix the body) to determine what works better for your lense. You you know what works better, then that will be a great piece of knowledge to have in your low light situations.

erichlund
07-03-2007, 07:43 AM
Damn, so many peoples jumping on my ass.

I guess my lense is an oddball but its done that since day one. If you are curious over the subject, you should run some tests. How I discovered this was by bracing the camera against a pole at low shutter speed. First I braced the lense against the pole, no dice. Then I braced the camera body against the pole. Voila, great 1 second shutter speed shot. So, that was my test. How did everyone else test theirs??

I recommend you run a similar test (i.e. fix the lense and then fix the body) to determine what works better for your lense. You you know what works better, then that will be a great piece of knowledge to have in your low light situations.

If the pole was rigid and you held the lens tightly enough to the pole, you take out all the shake. That's like a tripod, and the recommendation is VR off on a tripod. If you hold the camera to the pole, you still have that 29oz lens twisting in the wind with enough movement that VR is still effective. That would be my guess.

I definitely believe that you still want to use your best hand holding technique when using this lens. VR just makes the little stuff that you cannot take out go away.

It is interesting that the manual says using VR makes shooting without a tripod easier, but it does not specifically say that you should turn VR off on a tripod. I believe older versions were very specific about this.

coldrain
07-03-2007, 08:16 AM
It is interesting that the manual says using VR makes shooting without a tripod easier, but it does not specifically say that you should turn VR off on a tripod. I believe older versions were very specific about this.
Most compact digital cameras, like the Canon S3 IS, notice being tripod mounted (my guess is they just notice the lack of shake) and then turn off IS automatically, and I think some of the newer Canon IS lenses do that too.
So, maybe that is why they do not mention it with your 70-300 VR, because it switches it off itself?

tcadwall
07-03-2007, 08:17 AM
Originally Posted by LR Max :
Damn, so many peoples jumping on my ass.

Not a pretty picture. :eek:

BTW, I took interest in the comment. Hope you saw that... Too often I have seen quirky things work in spite of what the expected outcome would be. So I definitely am going to give it a shot. Of course, it could be different on different VR lenses as well. Going to be a tough one to test / measure though.


It is interesting that the manual says using VR makes shooting without a tripod easier, but it does not specifically say that you should turn VR off on a tripod. I believe older versions were very specific about this.

I have seen different recommendations for this for different lenses (VR Types) - I almost question whether Nikon is sure of what to recommend with tripod use. I think when you are panning with a tripod / monopod some lenses help with VR on, and some get confused by the panning... Possibly a good topic for a new thread though.

tcadwall
07-03-2007, 08:36 AM
Ok... Found an article on PopPhoto that helps keep this topic deviation stay on-topic since it is discussing the 70-300mm VR against a Canon IS lens.

here is one particularly interesting qoute from the article:

Tripod concerns:
Both Canon and Nikon produce some lenses that can detect tripod use, and stabilize for mirror slap accordingly. Neither of the lenses tested here do that, however, so turn off IS or VR when you use these optics on a tripod. Check the manufacturer's recommendations for other lenses.

And HERE (http://www.popphoto.com/popularphotographyfeatures/3860/whats-shakin.html?print_page=y)is the article.

erichlund
07-03-2007, 08:39 AM
Most compact digital cameras, like the Canon S3 IS, notice being tripod mounted (my guess is they just notice the lack of shake) and then turn off IS automatically, and I think some of the newer Canon IS lenses do that too.
So, maybe that is why they do not mention it with your 70-300 VR, because it switches it off itself?

I've heard this about the newer Nikon VR lenses, but the manual, at least in the English section, doesn't say. In fact, they never specify any time to turn VR off except before turning the camera off (along with certain consequences if you do not).

erichlund
07-03-2007, 08:48 AM
Ok... Found an article on PopPhoto that helps keep this topic deviation stay on-topic since it is discussing the 70-300mm VR against a Canon IS lens.

here is one particularly interesting qoute from the article:


And HERE (http://www.popphoto.com/popularphotographyfeatures/3860/whats-shakin.html?print_page=y)is the article.

There may be some that you can leave on on a tripod, but I think it's safe to say that if you follow these three rules, you can't go wrong:

1) Turn VR off when you are going to turn the camera off.
2) Turn VR off when you are going to use a tripod.
3) Turn VR off when you want to conserve battery power.

Also, follow specific directions for panning.
Use normal for when the only movement is the user.
Use active when the user is riding in/on a conveyance (car, boat, train, airplane, horse).

tcadwall
07-03-2007, 09:29 AM
In fact, they never specify any time to turn VR off except before turning the camera off (along with certain consequences if you do not).

What are those consequences? I NEVER shut mine off - except sometimes if I remember when shooting from a tripod. I shut the camera off, take the lens off... etc. Without shutting off VR.

erichlund
07-03-2007, 01:14 PM
I don't have the manual here, but I believe it said you might hear a repetitive clicking sound. The solution was to turn the camera back on. Sorry to sound so ominous. It must be an intermittent problem, because I can't ever recall worrying about turning the VR off before the camera with my 18-200, and I didn't actually do it with this one, yet I've still never had the problem they indicate.

Still, probably best to develop a new habit pattern.

LR Max
07-03-2007, 02:39 PM
A lot of interesting things being said here.

I can tell you, the "myth" about turning off VR for tripod use is BUSTED. I leave my VR on all the time. The few times I do use a Tripod, I leave VR on and I get a crystal clear image everytime.

Now, like I said, I might have a backwards lense, but those are my observations.