* Prices may differ from that shown
I bought this as my first telephoto lens 5 years ago, i was amazed i could get a 300mm lens for £330 at the time, it still retails for the same second hand! I woudl recommend this to anyone looking to do wildlife photography to motorsport, its extremely light and not too large. the downside to it is the aperture is poor, if you can get a 70-200 VR1 for £200 more then go for it, but it wont get you as close, so if your doing wildlife photography then you will have to get better at creeping up to them.
The quality of the photos is good, but not great, it needs more post processing than other smilar lenses, the 28-300 is worth considering for a little but more, which is a great holiday walkabout lens. in my opinion that lens beats this for quality of pictures, and feels better to handle, the 70-300 still feels a bit cheap in the casing.
For all you avid nature watchers out there, animal spotting is a lot easier if you've got the tools to get as close to your subject as possible - and a zoom lens is essential piece of photographic equipment. The Nikon 70-300mm VR is a great choice for those on a budget - and although £300 may not sound like a budget price, believe me there are much, much pricer zoom lenses on the market. It's important to note that this review is for the VR model (as it's the one shown in dooyoo's picture) as opposed to the non-VR 70-300mm lens which can be bought for around £150 less. Quite simply 'VR' stands for 'vibration reduction', and this allows the effects of wobbly hands to be significantly reduced.
Specification and Design
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Although the lens has a far-reaching 300mm zoom, on the whole it isn't that versatile as an all-in-one choice - this is because the 70mm starting point is too telephoto to suit landscape photographers who'll want a wider angle to work with. For me, a 50-300mm would be much more efficient, and mean that I don't need to switch lenses as much as I currently do. There is actually a Nikon 28-300mm lens on the market, but it's a bit out of my budget at around £700. Back to the 70-300 VR, and it's a fairly light lens for its size - this is down to its mainly plastic construction (apart from the metal lens mount), which is what keeps the cost relatively low. That said, the lens does feel well made and has a certain robustness about it. Most importantly the glass used in the lens is top notch, and like the majority of Nikon's other kit lenses, the overall quality is very impressive. The maximum aperture at 70mm is f4.5, and this rises to f5.6 by the time you reach the telephoto end of the zoom; because of this, the lens isn't a great low light performer.
Performance - optical tests
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
First of all let's talk about the zoom ring - this large rubberised grip can be turned quickly and easily, although tiny adjustments can be a little tricky due to the fact that it can stick a little when you first turn it. Although it's auto focus by default, manual focus is an option with the lens, and this is done by turning the smaller ring towards the back of the product. The lens (which takes 67mm filters) is fairly quick to focus, although it can sometimes struggle a little in dim conditions. Regarding the image quality, images are sharp throughout the zoom range and there's hardly any vignetting (darkness at the corners of your image) in evidence. Other chromatic abberations are pretty much non-existent, and the overall image quality is very pleasing.
Final Word - worth the money?
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Overall, I would highly recommend Nikon's 70-300mm VR - it's a great choice for wildlife photographer, offering a long zoom combined with a light weight and reliability. Yes there are some minor niggles, but as I said in my opening paragraph, this is a budget offering and there are always going to be slight compromises made in terms of the build quality. The price is very reasonable for what you get, although if you haven't got quite as much to spend then the Nikon 55-200mm VR may be a cheaper fall-back option (it costs around £150 less).
Having bought my Nikon D3000 camera last year, I was keen to begin adding to my collection of lenses as not only do I enjoy the different photos they take but I was also aware that all Nikon cameras and lenses are interchangeable. The first lens on my list was a telephoto lens. Too often do I go out and about to take photos of both places and nature and am limited by the zoom of my lens; therefore I assumed that a telephoto lens would solve this problem.
The world of camera lenses can be a mind field and I did go about researching the various options carefully before purchasing my Nikon 70-300mm lens. Not only did I want to ensure that I bought a Nikon branded product but I also wanted to ensure that I got the best price for it and so waited until the price of the lens dropped, later on last year.
------The Nikon 70-300mm AF-S VR 70-33mm Lens------
The Nikon AF-S VR 70-300mm is a fine example of some of Nikons most up to date features. The lens is boxed carefully in a light gold oblong box which is illustrated with the Nikon logo. Upon opening the box, the lens is housed neatly inside being encased within a black drawstring fabric bag. This bag is of a very soft fabric and ensures that the lens is kept safe during transition. The box also houses another feature which is a black plastic lens hood bayonet which serves to prevent sunlight reflecting off the lens during use.
The lens itself is rather long and bulky in construction being a size of 80mm x 143.5mm before the lens has even been extended. It looks no different to any other lens in makeup having a black plastic encasing which is ribbed and textured to enable good grip around the body of the lens. The only detail to the lens is the text to illustrate the zoom position, and the aperture sizes, each printed in a metallic font on the body of the lens.
The lens comes with a 62mm shutter cap which is fixed to the front of the lens but also comes with a back cap to ensure that the back of the lens is kept clean and free of dust whilst being stored.
A technical list of features that this lens embodies is as follows:
* Aperture Sizes: Minimum aperture is F32 at 70mm - F49 at 300m, Maximum aperture is F4.5 at 70mm - F5.6 at 300mm
* Length of focal range is 70 - 300mm
* Dimensions of the lens are 80 x 143.5mm
* Weight is 725g
* Lens uses internal focussing design
* Houses automatic vibration reduction technology
* Attachment size is 67mm
* Lens is constructed using 2 ED glass elements and 17 elements in 12 groups
* Minimum focus range is 1.5m through the zoom options.
As with all the Nikon range, this lens fits any of the Nikon digital SLR range and I believe that this also extends to the older SLR camera bodies.
------Price and Availability------
When I purchased my lens I bought it on a special deal at Jessop's for £399.99. However it can currently be purchased from Jessop's for £418.95 and from John Lewis for £449.95 with a one year guarantee. This lens can also be bought online, however speaking from experience; I would advise that it is bought from one of the larger retailers as I had no end of trouble trying to previously buy this lens from a well known online camera retailer.
Isn't this expensive you ask? It is quite expensive however I see it as an investment rather than a regular purchase. It will be used for years to come plus it incorporates the technology of telephoto shooting without getting into the major bucks of some of the larger lens models.
This lens is very easy to attach to your camera body as it houses the standard Nikon white spot to enable the lens to be perfectly aligned to the body. Simply line up the white dot on the base of the lens with the camera and click back to fasten. You should know when it is secure as it omits a sharp click to let you know it is on correctly.
The flower shaped lens hood bayonet is a little trickier to fasten as it does not feature the same white spot concept. To fasten it simply requires screwing to the end of the lens, and the best way to do this is by feeling to see that it is on securely.
The first thing that you will notice is the weight of the camera with the lens attached. Whilst the lens is 725g in weight which does not sound much it is heavy after carrying it around for a while and tends to get in the way when strapped around your neck and attempting to tie your shoes for example. In my opinion, it is best to click the small button on the side of the lens prior to shooting which is the Vibration Reduction tool, to ensure that the quality of your photos are not affected by any trembling.
------Shooting your Pictures------
When everything is ready simply take off the shutter cap and get shooting. It is apparent from first use that you will not be able to take photos of people or objects close to you as the lens has a minimum focus range; however things that are a good distance away suddenly appear to be right next to you when looking through the lens.
The lens is adjustable by simply moving the body of the lens round manually to increase or decrease the zoom depending on the distance of the subject. The lens will slowly increase in length showing the plain plastic inside of the lens as it is extended to its fullest length. The focus can be manually adjusted by simply moving the dial at the base of the lens, or you can, as I prefer to do make the lens automatically adjust by simply selecting the appropriate option on the camera body itself.
It is amazing to me the quality of the image when looking at objects that are a good 10m away. To test this theory, I first used the lens on the bird feeders in our garden and got some very good images of the Gold Finches feeding from a good 6m away.
I am quite a varied photographer, enjoying landscape images, wildlife and pictures of people and portraits. I have found this lens to be really useful in shooting my young nieces and nephews, as it has enabled me to capture the expressions on their faces at the beach and park without being right up in their face with a camera trying to shoot them. This lens has also been very good for shooting birds and animals, particularly when I am trying not to startle them as I have been able to take the picture and maintain a healthy distance.
As with any piece of camera equipment the most important aspect is the quality of the pictures that it produces. This lens has undoubtedly provided me with my best images to date, with 99% of them being of a high resolution and completely in focus. It also has the ability to capture subjects close up and retain the background as a hazy blur, thus adding to the depth of the photograph.
My only slight criticism is the weight of the lens, however this is to be expected for such a good quality piece of machinery and only serves to make me wonder how strong the paparazzi must be to lug around their huge lenses.
Overall this camera lens has given me and my family a great deal of timeless and beautiful images. I would therefore highly recommend it as a useful investment piece of equipment in any photographers collection, be it for professional of hobby means.
As a result I am scoring this lens 5 stars out of 5 for quality.
Thank-you for taking the time to read my review.