Beginner Best Telephoto Lens

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G
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#1
Hi guys

Just treated myself to a Nikon D3500, got it at a decent price, with the 18-55 kit lens.

I'm happy with that for what I've been messing about with so far, but if I'm looking at doing some sport and motorsport stuff, as well as some generic wildlife stuff.

As I'm not looking to specialise in any one particular area, I was wondering if anyone had opinions (haha) about the 'best' telephoto lens that will help me with all of these types of shooting?

Any and all help is appreciated
 
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moodye
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#3
Well the reason I'm looking for a one-for-all is that I dnt have a massive budget. Wouldn't really want to spend more than a few hundred max.
 
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Dominic
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#5
I'd probably go Tamron SP 70-300 Di VC USD (model A005) it's a good price new (about £329). You've got the 18-55 to cover the wider stuff.
 
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#6
I’m certainly no expert and others here will have more knowledge but I had the D5100, Tamron 17-55 2.8 , Nikon 18-200 3.5-6.3 (ish), I then picked up a second hand sigma 70-200 2.8 macro for a few hundred quid, nothing else ever really got used, sure I’d use the 17-55 for a group shot but mostly the 70-200 never left the body and you could simply add a 1.4 TC at a later date giving you a 98-280 F4.

You will find it’s still very short for birding but usable, I found the 2.8 was the saviour as I could “use it” more.
 
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Toni
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#7
I've had a few superzooms, and the image quality tends to be fairly faecal. If you can afford it then a 70-200 f2.8 zoom would be a good investment (especially used).
 
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#8
The D3500 is compatible with the AF-P line of Nikon lenses. A 70-300mm AF-P lens would be a good compliment to the 18-55mm lens. You can get the DX VR version for around £300 new. It gets very good reviews. The FX version is about £500. One of these would probably be a better route than getting a super zoom (e.g. 18-200mm).
 
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#9
Well the reason I'm looking for a one-for-all is that I dnt have a massive budget. Wouldn't really want to spend more than a few hundred max.
Just pointing out that the thread title is ‘best telephoto lens’ and your actual requirement seems to be ‘best s*** superzoom’.
Superzooms are a crap idea, if you really want one, go for it, but they’re a crap idea.
 
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Andrew Cliffe
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#10
I had an superzoom for a while when I was starting out. It seemed a good idea, but in reality, it wasn't - it couldn't deliver the image quality I hoped. It got returned to the shop within a fortnight.

There will be a number of 70-300mm lenses out there which will give good results for a beginner, but they will be a long way from the 'best' telephoto lens, which is likely to cost (when new) north of £ 1k.
 
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Mike
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#11
Where the leap from a 2nd long lens to one do-it-all superzom?

I would advocate the Nik-Kit 55-200... these can be bought brand new for around £100 if money is tight its a lot of bang for the buck. It does lack a bit of well, most stuff esp that extra bit of reach at the long end, BUT, for many, that's probably no bad thing, so many only ever use either extreme of a zoom.. and a that tends to mean its actually easier to find and keep subjects in the frame, and avoid blurr and shake....

Cheap way to have a go ad find out what you actually need any more of.
 
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moodye
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#12
Just pointing out that the thread title is ‘best telephoto lens’ and your actual requirement seems to be ‘best s*** superzoom’.
Superzooms are a crap idea, if you really want one, go for it, but they’re a crap idea.
I dont recall ever asking about a superzoom, crap or otherwise. I was looking for advice on the best telephoto lense that would allow me to take distance photos in many different genre.


Everyone else, thanks for the feedback, and I will take under advisement. It's all about balancing money out for quality in return, as I knew it would be, but at least I know where to start looking now.
 
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#14
I dont recall ever asking about a superzoom, crap or otherwise. I was looking for advice on the best telephoto lense that would allow me to take distance photos in many different genre.


Everyone else, thanks for the feedback, and I will take under advisement. It's all about balancing money out for quality in return, as I knew it would be, but at least I know where to start looking now.
I think there may have been confusion about your language here. :)
‘One-for-all’ was taken to mean superzoom, by quite a few people.
 
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#15
I think there may have been confusion about your language here. :)
‘One-for-all’ was taken to mean superzoom, by quite a few people.
FWIW, that is not the way that I took this. The initial post was clear that the OP was looking for a second lens to address a range of situations needing a telephoto, a len that would complement, not replace, the current 18-55mm lens. I took 'one for all' to mean 'one lens suitable for all of the OP's telephoto situations' which were listed as:' ... some sport and motorsport stuff, as well as some generic wildlife stuff'.
 
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#16
FWIW, that is not the way that I took this. The initial post was clear that the OP was looking for a second lens to address a range of situations needing a telephoto, a len that would complement, not replace, the current 18-55mm lens. I took 'one for all' to mean 'one lens suitable for all of the OP's telephoto situations' which were listed as:' ... some sport and motorsport stuff, as well as some generic wildlife stuff'.
Well I certainly wasn't alone...
There is no one size for all. Maybe the nearest you will get is the Tamron 18-270mm
I've had a few superzooms,
I had an superzoom for a while when I was starting out.
 
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#18
I've had the Tamron 18-270 PZD and the 70-300 USD.

The 18-270 was a bit of a disappointment, I was never really happy with what it produced, more of a jack of all trades, master of none type of lens.

The 70-300 USD (The higher priced Tamron 70-300) on the other hand, was a lovely lens and since moving from Nikon to Fuji is the only lens I actually miss using.
 
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#19
the bigger question would be what sort of lighting conditions are you expecting to shoot in? What distance from subject will you be? What speed would you be shooting at? The word "generic" might mean a happy weekend snapper or a "generic" photography nut .. give some examples of what and where you want to shoot and we can help a bit more. It's easy for people to dump on super zoom lenses but in reality much of the quality comes down to the person using the equipment. If your comparing a photo taken with a Nikon 70-300 to a Nikon 300mm f2.8 then your going to be disappointed in the former ... but your budget dictates that you can afford the 70-300 and not a 3oo mm prime lens, so the decision is easy. I have both these lenses and I still use both of them. The 70-300 is handy to travel with .. the 300 prime not so much. I have a Sigma 150-600 sport and it's fantastic .. but would I chuck it in a bag to go on holiday with errrrmm nooooo ... so it's horses for courses .. if you got a Nikon 70-300 it's a great lens in the right hands .. and that comes with practise :)
 
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Mark
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#20
Where the leap from a 2nd long lens to one do-it-all superzom?

I would advocate the Nik-Kit 55-200... these can be bought brand new for around £100 if money is tight its a lot of bang for the buck. It does lack a bit of well, most stuff esp that extra bit of reach at the long end, BUT, for many, that's probably no bad thing, so many only ever use either extreme of a zoom.. and a that tends to mean its actually easier to find and keep subjects in the frame, and avoid blurr and shake....

Cheap way to have a go ad find out what you actually need any more of.
I’d tend to agree with the above. I bought this lens as my second lens to add to the kit 18-55 to give me more range. It’s a great lens for the price. I take a lot of motorsport pics and have got some great shots from this.

I’ll also add that I’ve also got a Nikon 18-300 super zoom which I bought specifically for holidays/traveling as I often found that switching lenses was impractical so wanted something to cover all options. Despite what some might say, I’ve had some pretty good shots out of that too. Yes it won’t be in the same class as an fx 300mm prime, but as others have said it depends what your shooting, light conditions, etc. I’d also add weight as a consideration. The fx 300mm lens will be pretty heavy. If your just going to shoot sport and can use a monopod it will be fine. But if you want something to carry round all day round your neck, not so sure!
 

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#21
This has been a very interesting conversation of confusion. The terms 'all rounder', telephoto, and zoom can be confusing when used interchangeably. I would presume that this confusion was caused by misunderstanding which is understandable given that the OP's camera is a D3500 indicating he is a novice or fairly close to that. Maybe some good gentle soul would favor the OP by going back over this discussion and pointing out what the confusion is all about in order that the OP may learn from this experience. I can only say this. From my film days telephoto was more the dominate term than zoom. Telephoto was meant to mean a fixed focal length on the long size. Say over 100mm. The term 'all rounder' is more of a lay term which photographers never used between themselves because such a lens was only found on cheap, snap shot cameras. Though there were 'flexible' lenses which could be used in a variety of situations within a specific genre. For example, I was shooting street. Then SLR's were all manual, even manual focus. So shooting at close range, a candid street portrait, just was not done very often. Rather it was done with a short telephoto like a 105mm. The longer range gave one more time to get all the manual adjustments set up before shooting. The 105 was the 'all rounder' for street at that time. Just long enough and also close enough for a variety of situations. But, only in a very narrow sense. The sense of understanding the circumstances of shooting in the genre the photography was performed within. Just as here when said 'nature' shooting means to include birding with its various specific needs and demands. As has been pointed out by so many in this discussion - a lot more needs to be better defined before any real suggestions can be made with confidence. I would hope the OP takes away this from the conversation more than any suggestion about a recommended lens for the moment. When he gets it all straight in his head, then a more realistic choice about a lens can be made.
 
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#22
Best value is the AF-P DX 70-300mm VR, £155 new (grey) from e-infinity.com, or about the same on eBay.
Great next step lens for a novice, very sharp and fast, struggles a bit in lowlight but worth the money.
Anything longer and the price increases greatly, possibly used Sigma 150-500mm £400-450.
 
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#23
How about we dont confuse the poor sod any further and just give examples of cheaper lenses that may be within his price range while pointing out that bigger more expensive lenses may not be his ideal purchase. Basically, even a cheaper lens like a 70-300 can still give excellent shots for a fraction the cost. Lets face it, bang for the buck they are very good. sure there are other lenses out there from Sigma and Tamron that may be cheaper .. and possibly near the same quality .. but I know that if I were to make a list of lenses that I could buy with a limited budget to give me decent pics with a good range, then the 70-300 would be in there.
 
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#26
Well the reason I'm looking for a one-for-all is that I dnt have a massive budget. Wouldn't really want to spend more than a few hundred max.
In Micro Four Thirds you don't need a massive budget to get a good range: The kit lens 14mm to 42mm (28m to 84mm in FF) plus the Plastic Fantastic 40mm to 150mm (80mm to 300mm FF) which costs around $65.00 used (many available) gets you from 28mm to 300mm (FF) for the cost of the camera plus $65.00. Can't beat that with any other system.
 
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