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I am looking for a good Nikon lens for my D7000 to shoot both sports & wildlife. I want to get really sharp images. I've been working with the 18-200mm & really disappointed by some of the shots as it can't get the distances I need.

I have heard that the Nikon 300m f/4 AF-S is very good especially with a teleconverter TC-14E11 1.4x, are these both able to fit the above camera? I have allocated about £1100 and looking for new rather than second-hand.

Have you any other ideas?

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3  
The problem I found with the 300 f4 is the fixed focal length sometimes made it hard to locate, say, a small bird in a tree. With a zoom, you can use the wider end to locate your subject, then zoom in for the shot. –  ElendilTheTall Jan 12 '13 at 8:48
    
I just got a d7000 and im in the same situation. Im looking at the new (2013) Sigmma 120/300 f2.8 sport line. It should be for sale soon. And im going to add the 1.4 sigma tc also. Ive read alot of reviews and this seems to be the way to go. (For the coin) –  user17206 Feb 15 '13 at 4:40
    
@ElendilTheTall I understand this limitation, but if you have a good pair of binocular (8x or 10x) you first observe the nature just with your eyes, then with binocular and use the camera after. For me 300mm even with the extender is still short but the quality is much better than a zoom, even the 80-400. The only issue is the lack of VR for the 300mm f/4. –  ruffp Apr 20 at 20:08

5 Answers 5

Wildlife and sports have very similar requirements. They both need long lenses. Sports also really needs a fast lens and so does wildlife except when at rest. That is one reason to avoid an 18-200mm or even 18-300mm, it gets so slow at the long end.

The 300mm F/4 should be much better. If you add the teleconverter though, the aperture drops to F/5.6 which is not good enough. So if you think you need the long reach better start with a Nikkor 300mm F/2.8. Actually if the wildlife you shoot includes birds or small animals, you will most likely need the longer reach. The Nikkor 200-400mm F/4 is always popular to for both these applications. Unfortunately this big heavy glass is outside of your budget. If you do not plan on doing this type of shooting too often, renting is a great option.

Unfortunately I do not see any other suitable choice even from 3rd party vendors. Sigma used to sell a superb 100-300mm F/4 for Nikon mount but I have not seen it for a long time.

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D7000 is a crop sensor, so 300mm becomes 450mm effectively. Isn't it enough for birds without teleconverter? –  Evaldas Dzimanavicius Feb 15 '13 at 8:17
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I shot birds with a 300mm on a crop sensor. The reach is not enough to fill the frame. I got some great images but always with loads of empty space. You can crop a bit, so it's okay. And I could work a bit harder to get even closer but I won't be able to fill the frame. –  Unapiedra Feb 15 '13 at 10:58
    
It obviously depends on the distance between you and the bird, plus the size of the bird, but in most cases you need something longer. 500mm on a cropped-sensor is very common for bird photography. –  Itai Feb 15 '13 at 14:26

While the 300mm f/4 AF-S will give you big aperture and superior image quality, you can also go for a zoom lens with smaller aperture but Focal length-freedom.

For example : Nikon-80-400mm-4-5-5-6D-Autofocus-Nikkor

It is up to you to choose out of the two. It depends on how & where you shoot.

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Before actually buying any lens, I would like to suggest you to rent/borrow a lens first, test a lens for a few hours and it will help you to decide how long is long enough for your needs.

You know your budget and your needs, you also know that you need a fast/bright lens, if you know your desired focal length then you can take a look at online shops such as B&H and Adorama to find some lenses within your budget. I usually use B&H website, their filters are really helpful, even if you don't want to buy from them. for example check this search result, I rounded the price to $1800 and selected Nikon and few other good third-party brands, all you have to do is to check your desired focal lengths.

Now take a note of the lenses that you like and check photozone.de for lens reviews! also don't forget to look up the lenses on Flickr, just search for the lens name plus the type of photography (bird, sport, portrait...)

Also FYI, all current Nikon lenses are compatible with the D7000.

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+1 on renting the lens first. I did this and found out exactly what I needed. Lots of vendors, borrowlenses, lensrental, etc. Surprisingly inexpensive as well. Well worth doing rather than gambling that you made the right choice on a $1000+ lens –  Pat Farrell Jan 13 '13 at 2:57

I have a D7000 and recently bought a 300mmf4. I do have the 18-200VR as well which is probably the best all round lens, but you are correct, for wildlife and sport it just won't work. So far I have achieve some amazing results with the 300, it is super clear and fast enough for most of what I have been shooting. Depending on what wildlife you hope to shoot, getting closer to the subject is always better than getting a bigger, heavier lens. So buy a ghilllie suit, a comfy chair and wait for the wildlife subject to come to you. Even without VR I can achieve very crisp results until the light becomes too poor to shoot at higher shutter speeds. I haven't found the need to add the TC1.4 yet, but I will probably invest in this soon. Like others have said, for the price, you cannot get anything else. I found a second hand one online (which was pracitcally new) for $A400. Best money I have spent in a while. For your budget, get one.

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I would strongly dispute the statement that getting closer with a shorter lens is always better than a bigger lens. You only say that until you have actually used a bigger lens, but once you do, you realize the image quality you get with one is too phenomenal to give it up. You also realize that doubling your focal length doesn't buy you as much in reach as you would generally hope, especially for wildlife. Bigger, longer lenses are always better than a shorter lens and the never-ending chore of getting closer. There are tradeoffs, but in the end, bigger IS better. –  jrista Feb 15 '13 at 6:21
    
BTW, I speak from experience using Canon lenses...the 100-400mm L IS, 300 f/4 L IS, 400 f/5.6 L, 300mm f/2.8 L IS w/ 1.4x and 2x TCs, 500mm f/4 L II w/ 1.4x TC on a 7D. Hands down, no question, all the extra bulk and weight included, there is absolutely no contest between the 500mm and every other lens in that list, even with the 1.4x TC at 700mm, from minimum focus distance (which is only a couple feet!) to more distant subjects. The 600mm f/4 L II is an even better lens for wildlife. Bigger is always better, hence the hefty small-car level cost. –  jrista Feb 15 '13 at 6:23

I see this is an old post BUT here is my 2 cents worth of wisdom. I have a d7000 and I'm goi.g to get this lens and probably a 1.4 tc. I can't afford the bigger lenses or the 2.8 versions. After reading as many reviews on this lens and weighing all the other options this is what in left with. I bow hunt and have taken alot of deer and squirrels with a long bow at very close range so getting close is not a problem. Now for birds of prey it can be tough. Most other birds should be ok.

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