D3200 zoom lens options for 300mm+

robstopper

Senior Member
I have a D3200, which I am currently using with a Tamron 70-300mm zoom lens. It generally does the trick, but it does seem to lose quality at lengths much over 200-250mm. As I enjoy aviation photography, and I attend a couple of events each year at IWM Duxford where the display line is not only quite distant from the crowdline but generally facing in to the sunlight too, I'm thinking about upgrading to a longer lens, probably 400mm would be ideal for my budget. I'm banking on the fact that I could use a 300mm focal length but still be well within its performance limitations?

What are my fitment options? I think both Tamron and Sigma do 400mm lenses. Or would it just be better to go for a Nikon 300mm lens, assuming this would be a better performer than the Tamron anyway?
 

BF Hammer

Senior Member
Sigma 150-600mm f/5.6-6.3 C. If you peek at the profiles of users here you will see this lens listed in kits over and over again. It is possibly sharper than your D3200 sensor. I have shot airshows in the past with a 70-300mm Nikon and I would not even consider using that lens today with the Sigma available to me.
 

mikeee

Senior Member
The sigma C has focus fine tuning as part of it's dock. Not sure on the tammy you are looking at, but that could also help your D3200 as it does not have a way to fine tune focus.
 

hark

Administrator
Staff member
Super Mod
Contributor
There are 3 different Nikon 300mm f/4 lenses. Only 1 of them is fully compatible with your body. It's the PF version which is also the most expensive. The other two lenses have the aperture ring.

I think @Woodyg3 has or had the Tamron 100-400mm lens. He might be able to give you some firsthand knowledge.

Just be aware that any of the super zooms will be heavy if that poses a concern for you. Those would include the Nikon 200-500mm, the Tamron 150-600mm, and the Sigma 150-600mm. Of those three, I *think* the Sigma (Contemporary not the Sport) is the lightest in weight.
 

Bikerbrent

Senior Member
thanks for the reply. That's a little bit higher than my budget. I'd been hoping for about £500, but I don't think that will cover it.

I was thinking something like this - Tamron 100-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD Lens for Nikon F (A035) (ashtonlittle.com)

I might be able to get the man-maths to work on it.......

I have a Sigma 150-600mm f/5.6-6.3 C and think it is one great lens. I would recommend you save your money until you can afford it. On the other hand, I have had less than great performance from a few Tamron lenses. At this point, I will only consider Nikon, Tokina, and Sigma lenses.
 

Roscoe Primrose

Senior Member
There are 3 different Nikon 300mm f/4 lenses. Only 1 of them is fully compatible with your body. It's the PF version which is also the most expensive. The other two lenses have the aperture ring.

The other two have the aperture ring, but the AF-S 300mm f/4 should be fully compatible with the D3000 series. That said, if you're looking at one of those, check it with the specific body first, there's a known problem with the AF-S 300mm f/4 (especially earlier production) on some bodies. I had one, worked just fine on a D300, D5500, D90, even my old N80, but wouldn't even try to auto-focus on my D750, my D7100 or the D7200 of someone who was interested in buying my AF-S 300mm f/4.

Also, remember that the 300mm f/4 PF is the only one of Nikon's 300mm f/4s with VR. Also, keep in mind that the D3200 is NOT compatible with AF-P lenses, so while the 70-300mm AF-P DX is a great lens for the money, it won't auto-focus on the D3200...

Roscoe
 
Last edited:

hark

Administrator
Staff member
Super Mod
Contributor
The other two have the aperture ring, but the AF-S 300mm f/4 should be fully compatible with the D3000 series. That said, if you're looking at one of those, check it with the specific body first, there's a known problem with the AF-S 300mm f/4 (especially earlier production) on some bodies. I had one, worked just fine on a D300, D5500, D90, even my old N80, but wouldn't even try to auto-focus on my D750, my D7100 or the D7200 of someone who was interested in buying my AF-S 300mm f/4.

Also, remember that the 300mm f/4 PF is the only one of Nikon's 300mm f/4s with VR. Also, keep in mind that the D3200 is NOT compatible with AF-P lenses, so while the 70-300mm AF-P DX is a great lens for the money, it won't auto-focus on the D3200...

Roscoe

I went here to check compatibility. Possibly the info is wrong.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/prod...elephoto_AF_S_Nikkor_300mm.html/compatibility
 

Woodyg3

Senior Member
Contributor
A long zoom is great for aviation photography. I had both the Tamron 150-600 and Nikon 200-500 in the past, and both worked quite well. I still have the Tamron 100-400, and it is a very good performer, as well. I prefer a zoom since the distance from subject can vary so much in av photography.

I think the key for you will be finding the right lens that also fits your budget. The used Tamron you found online would work quite well and is at least close to your budget. I would keep looking, but that would certainly be a good lens for what you want to do.
 

robstopper

Senior Member
thanks all.

I've got one of the Tamron 150-600mm lenses put aside for me to look at on Saturday. It looks like they also have one of these - USED Sigma 50-500mm f4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM - Nikon Fit | Wex Photo Video but I'm not sure if it would work with the D3200? Or this 400mm one? USED Sigma 120-400mm f4.5-5.6 DG OS HSM Lens - Nikon Fit | Wex Photo Video

I can't decide whether the outlay will be worth it, and if I'll be able to use the long lens sufficiently well to get the benefits of it, or if the results will be no better in reality than my 300mm. The weight and size of it is a bit of a drawback, compared to the relatively compact 300mm.
 

BF Hammer

Senior Member
I believe the Sigma 50-500mm is an older design and not nearly as desirable.

Pretty much any F-mount that has an internal focus motor is fully compatible with your D3200. Otherwise it would work but only by manually focusing.
 

Fred Kingston

Senior Member
Your basic problem is the D3200... I don't want to get pilloried for saying this and I sincerely mean this only from a technical standpoint, but that camera body isn't up to the quality and versatility of higher priced long lenses...

I would look at the Nikon 70-200mm F4... In Excellent used condition for $620... It basically outperforms the Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 in several categories... It weighs 1/2 to 1/3 of the other lenses discussed here, as well being in a more usable focal length range. If you want to get to the 300mm+ range, the compatible teleconverters for that lens, in Excellent used condition are in the <$200 range...

You're being limited by that body. IMO...
 

robstopper

Senior Member
Yeh, I'm aware of the entry-level limitations of the D3200. it was my first DSLR about 6 years ago.

Would I be better off upgrading the body first, then improving my photography skills, before spending big on a long lens that I may not be able to get the best out of?

Wex have a used D610 for under £500 at the moment. I know it's not the newest, but I think as its full frame, should be an improvement over the crop sensor D3200?
 

Roscoe Primrose

Senior Member
In this scenario, the limitations of your 3200 aren't because it's too "entry-level", they're due to the 3200 being too old. The Tamron lens you have now is the weak link. 70-300 lenses are consumer quality even when you get the 1st party lenses, never mind 3rd party. The 70-200 f/4 mentioned is a good lens with the option to use converters, fairly affordable on the used market. The Sigma & Tamron 100-400 lenses are also much better quality than the 70-300 you have now. Remember, you buy glass for the long-haul, bodies are short-term investments.

Keep in mind that the D610 is 350g heavier than the D3200. Also, you were looking to go longer than 300mm, on DX... You'll need 450mm on the D610 just to get the same field of view you're getting now at 300mm on the D3200. Yeah, you could crop on the D610, but then you're at about 10Mp....

Just my 2p....

Roscoe
 
Top