Seeking opinions on the Nikkor 50-300mm

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by rthomas, Oct 17, 2016.

  1. rthomas

    rthomas Member

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    I'm looking for a manual-focus zoom for my F3, to compliment my 25-50mm. Basically I want one lens for distant subjects, and one for normal walking-around use.

    So, if anyone here has experience with either version of the 50-300mm f/4.5 Zoom-Nikkor, I'd like to hear it.

    Also if you've got alternative suggestions, please share. Thanks.
     
  2. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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  3. ac12

    ac12 Member

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    That is one hunk of a lens. Nice in concept, but the bulk and weight limits its practical use. Unless you are under 40, maybe under 30, that lens is goina be drag on your shoulder to carry. I stopped looking at 80-200/2.8 lenses because of the bulk and weight. The f4 lens is lighter than the f2.8 lens, and I will trade the 1 stop for less weight, a good compromise for me.

    I would go with the 75-300/4.5-5.6 AF, or 80-200/4.5. Both lenses are much lighter, for easier carry.
    Do you REALLY need the 300mm reach? If not I would drop down to the 80-200/4.5.
    And the 80-200/4.5 has a really nice 1-touch push/pull zoom, which is really nice for action/sport shooting.
     
  4. RichardJack

    RichardJack Subscriber

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    Hi,
    I used a 50-300mm many years ago. It was huge and heavy and not as sharp as my primes. It's not as sharp as the newer Nikon zooms. I agree with the suggestion about the 80-200mm f2.8.
    That is a sharp lens. There are several variations so do your homework and read the reviews. On the cheap side, I am very happy with my 70-210mm AF-D f4-f5.6 Nikkor (does have an aperture ring). I originally bought it for my wife and was amazed how sharp and contrasty the images are. It's not built like a Gold Ring lens but for about $100 it's a keeper.
    http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/7021056.htm
    Rick
     
  5. Millard Marc Thomas

    Millard Marc Thomas Member

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    Hi. (You have an odd name!)
    I've owned both an early "chrome front ring" version of the pre-Ai Nikkor 50-300/4.5 and a 1982 Ai-S ED version, and I can attest that they are worlds apart. Not only is the non-ED verxion 1.75 inches longer and more than three-quarters of a pound heavier than the Ai-S ED version, but their respective optical quality simply can't be compared. YES! -- the 50-300/4.5 ED Ai-S is a big, heavy lens (4.3lbs.;1.95kg.) ... but you won't regret the images it takes! PS:. If you do get a 80-200/4.5 Nikkor, make sure it's one of the "NEW" Ai versions with 12 elements and a serial number greater than '760801' -- these lenses have a rectangular baffle at the rear to distinguish them. (I've personally given up on the Nikkor 80-200/4.5 -- not because of IQ -- but because their one-toucn zoom mechanisms are invariably loose, regardless of cosmetic condition.)

    -- mthomas
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2016
  6. ac12

    ac12 Member

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    MMT
    That 'loose' zoom makes it really easy to "follow zoom" and "follow focus" at the same time, like when shooting sports.
     
  7. Millard Marc Thomas

    Millard Marc Thomas Member

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    @ac12:
    I remember reading here some time ago that these lenses need a replacement piece of properly greased felt to restore their original zoom "feel." In fact, I just bought a nice Nikkor 100-300/5.6 -- because my 50-300/4.5 ED DOES sometime become too heavy for my 64-year-old hands -- and have found that it too exhibits this same annoying "zoom creep."

    Really, I'm handy with tools. This cannot be a difficult problem to address; I hereby resolve to buy some tools and manuals!

    Anyway, I still maintain the OP can't go wrong with a 1982 or later Nikkor 50-300/4.5 ED Ai-S -- so long as he understands that the lens was never meant to be a cheap and cheerful, do-everything super-zoom.

    Marc
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2016
  8. ac12

    ac12 Member

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    MMT,

    I don't understand the issue with "zoom creep."

    In order to have good follow zoom, using a single ring zoom (zoom+focus), the zoom has to be EASY and smooth to zoom. I do not like a single ring zoom that has a stiff/dampened zoom, where I feel I am shoving the camera into my face when I pull the zoom ring back. And having to hold the camera or lens, to get the leverage to push/pull the zoom ring, against the drag of the zoom.

    The cost of that is if you have the zoom pulled in and tilt the lens down, then yes the zoom ring may more forward. Though I never noticed if it did or not, because if it did, it did not bother me. But I consider that a minor cost, to get the smooth easy handheld zooming.

    I guess we just look at things differently.
    I consider EASY zooming a positive thing, for the way I shoot.

    I have a 80-200/4 push/pull manual lens, that is stiff. I asked a tech about a CLA to replace the 30+ year old grease, to get back the smooth feel. He said that it was not economical, as he would have to disassemble the zoom to clean and relube it, then recolimate the lens :-(
     
  9. chip j

    chip j Subscriber

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    For "walking around" I like the Nikkor 28-105 AF or the Tokina 28-85 RMC(green)--it's manual focus.
     
  10. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    "zoom creep" The zoom ring will slide downward if the camera is pointed downward. IE: it's really loose.
     
  11. ac12

    ac12 Member

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    Sounds perfect for me.
     
  12. Leigh B

    Leigh B Member

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    Since you asked for opinions...

    I expect after the first mile you'll set it down gently on the side of the trail,
    hoping that someone will carry it off before you return.

    The term "boat anchor" was coined particularly for this and a few similar Nikon lenses.
    And I'm a Nikon guy for over 60 years, so I'm not bashing the product line.

    - Leigh
     
  13. cooltouch

    cooltouch Member

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    rthomas, for your specific needs, I recommend you consider aftermarket. Specifically, the Tamron SP 60-300mm f/3.8-5.4. I've owned a few copies of this lens (currently I own two). I bought my first one new back in 1985, and paid over $300 for it -- and this was from one of the NYC deep discounters, too. It was an expensive lens back in the day. But it's always been an excellent one for me. For years, it was part of my two-lens walking around kit. (The other was a Vivitar Series 1 28-90) Oh, and it has a surprisingly good macro mode -- it gets all the way down to 1.15:1 -- if memory serves. I don't have one in front of me at the moment.

    These days you can often find the Tamron 60-300 on eBay for well under $100. If you shop around, sometimes you can find one for way cheap. I bought one of the two I own now from a local camera shop for $20. The other one I pickup off eBay for cheap because it was attached to a camera I wanted. So, anyway, something else to consider. Good hunting.
     
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    rthomas

    rthomas Member

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    Thanks for the info, everyone.

    The Tamron is an interesting possibility which I'll check out. I once had a Tamron SP 70-210mm f/3.5 which was nice. If I'm going to have a single telephoto zoom, I'd like it to reach 300mm. AF lenses are off the table, I like manual focus.

    I finally got a Nikkor 25-50mm and I really like it; the 50-300mm seems like a good pairing. I admit that part of my urge to get one is that it's just a lens I always wanted, and it's finally within reach (possibly). It would be used on a tripod, not walking around. I had read that the ED lens is far better and that's the one I'd get.
     
  16. cooltouch

    cooltouch Member

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    Ok, well, one of the useful things about the Tamron 60-300 is it is relatively lightweight, so it makes for a good walking around lens. It does not have a tripod mount, though, and it is rather long. But since you plan to use your long zoom on a tripod, I too would personally be more inclined toward the 50-300 ED Nikkor. Especially if it were within my budget.

    50-300 is a somewhat uncommon focal range. i can think of only one other zoom that encompasses it: the Canon FD 50-300mm f/4.5 L, which is also a great zoom, but it being Canon FD, it isn't gonna do you much good. Besides, the Nikkor tends to sell for less than the Canon anyway.
     
  17. OP
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    rthomas

    rthomas Member

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    Well, it looks like I'm going to get a chance to experience this lens first-hand. Someone local to me is literally giving one away, a non-AI, non-ED version. It looks beat up, and it's missing the tripod collar, but the price is right!
     
  18. fstop

    fstop Member

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    Some of us like it loose.
     
  19. OP
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    rthomas

    rthomas Member

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    Yep. I've got it in my hands now, and I must agree. It's a heavy beast! And also very unwieldy. I can't see using it handheld for any length of time.

    Maybe I'll turn it into a spotting scope!
     
  20. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    My only concern besides the weight with a zoom from 50-300mm even a Nikon one would be that it's a hell of as lot to ask of a lens design to retain image quality throughout the range on a lens with such an extreme focal length range, I know it's a good idea in theory, but in practice a very different matter.
     
  21. CMoore

    CMoore Subscriber

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    Good Heavens.....makes me wonder about the definition of a "Walking around lens".:smile:
     
  22. OP
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    rthomas

    rthomas Member

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    Not this one! I've put it on a shelf.

    If I can find one, I'll get another Tamron 70-210 f/3.5 SP. Had one in college. I slipped on an iced-up sidewalk and fell on it. It turned into a fixed-focus macro lens after that.
     
  23. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Member

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    I own a 70-300Nikkor zoom and it is very decent
     
  24. benveniste

    benveniste Subscriber

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    I looked at picking up one of these when I destroyed my 70-300mm (pre-VR) lens. But even more so than the weight, the deciding factor to me was the minimum focus distance of 2.5 meters.
     
  25. chip j

    chip j Subscriber

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    I have an ancient 35-200 Asanuma that i haven't used yet.
     
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    rthomas

    rthomas Member

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