18-135mm nikon vs 70-300mm

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by albert, Jun 6, 2007.

  1. albert

    albert Guest

    Recently purchased a Nikon D80 with the 18-135mm kit lens. I was showing it
    off to a friend that owns a Nikon ED 70-300mm 1:4-5.6D (for film camera)
    lens. He is keen to sell this lens. Out of curiosity I ptook two shots of
    a house about 250 meters away. The camera was on a tripod and in both cases
    the lens were at f5.6. One of the lens was at its full 135mm and the other
    at the 300mm (presumably about 450mm on the D80. For the former lens the
    ISO was 100, the latter 200. On my computer I then enlarged one of the
    windows in the image to screen size and found that the sharper image of the
    two was the one taken by th 18-135mm kit lens.
    Is this a fluke result? The 70-300mm is quite cheap but I would have to
    travel to do more tests and to buy it. Semms a bit odd that the new lens is
    so sharp that I don't have to botther with bigger zoom as I can just crop
    and enlarge on my pc.
    albert, Jun 6, 2007
    #1
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  2. albert

    ASAAR Guest

    On Wed, 6 Jun 2007 07:40:21 +0100, albert wrote:

    > Recently purchased a Nikon D80 with the 18-135mm kit lens. I was showing it
    > off to a friend that owns a Nikon ED 70-300mm 1:4-5.6D (for film camera)
    > lens. He is keen to sell this lens. Out of curiosity I ptook two shots of
    > a house about 250 meters away. The camera was on a tripod and in both cases
    > the lens were at f5.6. One of the lens was at its full 135mm and the other
    > at the 300mm (presumably about 450mm on the D80. For the former lens the
    > ISO was 100, the latter 200. On my computer I then enlarged one of the
    > windows in the image to screen size and found that the sharper image of the
    > two was the one taken by th 18-135mm kit lens.
    > Is this a fluke result? The 70-300mm is quite cheap but I would have to
    > travel to do more tests and to buy it. Semms a bit odd that the new lens is
    > so sharp that I don't have to botther with bigger zoom as I can just crop
    > and enlarge on my pc.


    This was an AF lens? According to David Ruether's "SUBJECTIVE
    Lens Evaluations" web site :

    > 70-300mm f4-5.6 ED AF Rating: 3.5-4
    > very compact and light, first two samples tried were moderately
    > defective, third was well-aligned, but not up to Nikon's usual
    > standards at the image edges for their better tele zooms; good to
    > very good sharpness over most of the frame


    If this lens happens to be a lemon or in need of realignment, that
    could explain why your friend is keen to be rid of it. :) You
    might want to try testing the 70-300mm lens at approximately the
    same 135mm focal length or maybe 200mm, as it may be particularly
    poor when zoomed to the full 300mm extension.

    Several samples of another Nikon zooms did better :

    > 75-300mm f4.5-5.6 AF Rating: 4-4.2
    > good wide open (with good sample), very good sharpness overall


    >100-300mm f5.6 Rating: 4.2-4.4
    > unusually low distortion (slight barrel to 135mm, then no distortion
    > to 300mm); very good wide open; not good with converters; constant
    > aperture with zooming


    The ratings are defined as :

    0 - unable to form an image
    1 - very poor image quality, a "pop bottle bottom"
    2 - low image quality, possibly usable for snapshots
    3 - fair image quality, perhaps good at one or two stops
    4 - good to excellent image quality at most normally used stops,
    a professional-level lens, but with some limitations (this
    level, with many fractional gradations, includes most Nikkors)
    5 - excellent image quality at all stops, with only minor
    limitations
    6 - near perfect lens with hard to detect shortcomings
    7 - absolutely perfect lens in every respect

    http://www.donferrario.com/ruether/slemn.html


    Later : following one of the links at the bottom of the above web
    page, I eventually got to Thom Hogan's review, and it bears out my
    suspicion, assuming that it's the same lens you tested :

    > A surprise when it was announced, the 70-300mm ED ostensibly
    > replaced the dated 75-300mm f/4.5-5.6. While it shares many
    > attributes with the older lens, the design is completely new, and,
    > to my eye, the results it obtains are noticeably better.

    . . .

    > First, the good news: in terms of Nikon's consumer offerings, this
    > lens is at the top of the heap. I'd call it a distinct improvement on
    > the 75-300mm it replaced. From its widest setting to about midrange,
    > it performs well even at f/5.6, with results at f/8 and f/11 virtually
    > indistinguishable from the considerably more expensive 80-200 f/2.8,
    > except, perhaps, at the very corners. On a D1 I wouldn't have any
    > qualms at using this lens wide open at any zoom setting between
    > 70-200mm. Distortion was visible at the telephoto end, but not enough
    > for me to worry about in the types of photography I do; if you're into
    > using telephotos for architectural work, well, you're going to see
    > enough pinbarrel at the 300mm end to keep you from smiling.
    >
    > On the down side, the results at f/22 and f/32, as is usual for telephotos,
    > is not particularly good. And as you near 300mm, you'll see some
    > softness at all apertures, and the edges are distinctly soft. You can keep
    > both problems reasonably in check by using f/8 or f/11. Chromatic
    > aberration is distinctly present in the sample image, above, though
    > reasonably well controlled (e.g., while present, other telephoto zooms
    > I've used show more).

    . . .

    > Overall, I am quite pleased with the lens, especially on a D1. I'd rank
    > this zoom by itself midway between the other consumer telephoto zooms
    > and the top-of-the-line AF-S 80-200mm f/2.8.


    > Drawbacks
    >
    > * No depth of field scale. In fact, it's hard to figure out the exact
    > focus distance due to the way markings are done.
    > * No tripod mount. Not a big problem unless you shoot at 300mm
    > at slower shutter speeds on a tripod. Actually, when mounted on an F5,
    > I wouldn't want a tripod mount at all, since this lens is so light the
    > weight of the camera body would be a problem. But with light camera
    > bodies, such as the N65/F65 or N80/F80, be careful at 300mm and
    > shutter speeds under 1/125.
    > * Softness at 300mm. You probably won't notice the softness as
    > much as the loss of contrast, especially if you compare results obtained
    > with this lens versus, say, the 300mm f/4. Still, in a pinch, the 300mm
    > this lens produces is quite usable, especially at f/8 and f/11.


    http://www.bythom.com/70300lens.htm
    ASAAR, Jun 6, 2007
    #2
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  3. albert

    Roy G Guest

    "albert" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Recently purchased a Nikon D80 with the 18-135mm kit lens. I was showing
    > it off to a friend that owns a Nikon ED 70-300mm 1:4-5.6D (for film
    > camera) lens. He is keen to sell this lens. Out of curiosity I ptook
    > two shots of a house about 250 meters away. The camera was on a tripod and
    > in both cases the lens were at f5.6. One of the lens was at its full
    > 135mm and the other at the 300mm (presumably about 450mm on the D80.
    > For the former lens the ISO was 100, the latter 200. On my computer I
    > then enlarged one of the windows in the image to screen size and found
    > that the sharper image of the two was the one taken by th 18-135mm kit
    > lens.
    > Is this a fluke result? The 70-300mm is quite cheap but I would have to
    > travel to do more tests and to buy it. Semms a bit odd that the new lens
    > is so sharp that I don't have to botther with bigger zoom as I can just
    > crop and enlarge on my pc.
    >
    >


    Hi.

    From what I have seen and read, neither of the 2 AF 70 -300s, (G & ED), are
    up to much in image quality, sharpness and focus, especially at the long
    end.

    That is why I did not buy one, and went for the 80 - 400 VR, at much greater
    cost. It is a real Nikon with lots of bite.

    However if you are getting it real cheap, it might be worth buying, until
    you can resell and get something better, provided you are aware of its
    shortcomings.

    Roy G
    Roy G, Jun 6, 2007
    #3
  4. albert

    Guest

    On Jun 6, 4:40 pm, "albert" <> wrote:
    > Recently purchased a Nikon D80 with the 18-135mm kit lens. I was showing it
    > off to a friend that owns a Nikon ED 70-300mm 1:4-5.6D (for film camera)
    > lens. He is keen to sell this lens. Out of curiosity I ptook two shots of
    > a house about 250 meters away. The camera was on a tripod and in both cases
    > the lens were at f5.6. One of the lens was at its full 135mm and the other
    > at the 300mm (presumably about 450mm on the D80. For the former lens the
    > ISO was 100, the latter 200. On my computer I then enlarged one of the
    > windows in the image to screen size and found that the sharper image of the
    > two was the one taken by th 18-135mm kit lens.
    > Is this a fluke result? The 70-300mm is quite cheap but I would have to
    > travel to do more tests and to buy it. Semms a bit odd that the new lens is
    > so sharp that I don't have to botther with bigger zoom as I can just crop
    > and enlarge on my pc.


    Interesting, but that's about all, unless you post the images. Are
    you certain that there wasn't a focus error, or camera movement
    ("tripod" does not necessarily mean "still"). Small versions of the
    full-frame images, then some 100% crops to show the sharpness
    disparity would be nice.
    , Jun 6, 2007
    #4
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