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Which Telephoto Zoom Should I Choose?

Following our camera and wide-angle zoom lens articles we thought we would feature some useful pointers on choosing a telephoto zoom to accompany your SLR, from introductory zooms to the professional range.

AF-S 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR, and the AF-S 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DX VR

These two lenses have a very similar range, although the slight price difference between the two can be put down to the fact that the 70-300mm is a full-frame lens, compatible with all Nikon DSLRs, the 55-300mm being a DX lens will only work fully on bodies with the cropped sensor. The 70-300mm lens also focuses internally, allowing one to use circular polarizing filters.

These compact zooms are lightweight and optically sharp, only really lacking in very low light situations which demand wider apertures, but for general outdoor work and wildlife they produce great results for any keen amateur photographer.

Including VAT their prices are as follows:

AF-S 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR IF-ED = £435.00
AF-S 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR DX = £295.00

White-Naped Mangabey taken on Nikon D200Sample image of a White-Naped Mangabey taken on Nikon D200 + AF-S 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED VR at 300mm, ISO100, f/6.3, 1/160

AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G AF-S VR II IF-ED

This is a very flexible top-end zoom, giving a portrait-to-telephoto zoom range with an f/2.8 aperture to cope with low light.

The lens can be used in conjunction with any of the current Nikon teleconverters to give up to 140-400mm (or 210-600mm if used on a DX camera), giving it versatility for a variety of situations.

These lenses are ideal for wedding photographers, sports and wildlife photographers and serious amateurs requiring sharp optics and a flexible range.

The prices for the lens and the teleconverters currently available including VAT are as follows:

AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II IF-ED = £1635.00
TC-14E II 1.4x teleconverter = £315.00
TC-17E II 1.7x teleconverter = £315.00
TC-20E III 2x teleconverter = £415.00

Sample image taken by Sam Kurtul on D300S + 70-200mm f/2.8G AF-SSample image taken by Sam Kurtul on D300S + 70-200mm f/2.8G AF-S
More of Sam’s images can be found at: http://www.worldofthelens.co.uk/

AF 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED VR

The 80-400mm lens is the only VR lens that Nikon make which, due to its manual aperture ring, can be used on mechanical film bodies as well as Digital SLR cameras. Considering its vast range it is also relatively compact for what it is capable of, and ideal as a one-lens solution for most long-distance work.

The 80-400mm is £1189.00 including VAT.

AF-S 200-400mm f/4 VR II IF-ED

This is the top-of-the range professional zoom lens for wildlife and sports photographers who need the highest optical quality with no compromise on speed of focus.

The 200-400mm can be used in conjunction with all of the current Nikon teleconverters, although in some cases the auto-focus may not perform optimally when using the lens with the TC-20E III 2x teleconverter, but can be used perfectly in manual focus mode. Combined with a 1.7x teleconverter this lens can reach up to 680mm, or 1020mm on a DX body!

The AF-S 200-400mm f/4G VR II IF-ED is currently £4999.00 including VAT.

Sample image taken by Simon Stafford with an AF-S 200-400mm f/4 VR II + TC-20E III teleconverterSample image taken by Simon Stafford with an AF-S 200-400mm f/4 VR II + TC-20E III teleconverter

For any further information about any of these or other Nikon products, please do not hesitate to give us a call, email Tabitha (tabitha.hardy@graysofwestminster.co.uk) or come to the shop in person.

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