Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

April 15, 2011

Exercising a new lens

Filed under: backyard, Birds, Cats, composition, favorite places, Gilbert Water Ranch, Non Birds — richditch @ 10:08 pm
American Coot

American Coot

American Coot, Gilbert Water Ranch, 4/8/2011, Nikon D70, 70-300 VR @ 185mm, ISO 400, 1/500th second at f/8.

I’ve owned a lot of different lenses since I started in photography 40 or so years ago. There’s no such thing as a lens so good it can do everything well, although a lot of lenses these days can do a lot of things and yield good or better results most of the time.

I recently added a Nikon AF-S 70-300 VR zoom, even though I already had that range covered with other lenses: the long end of my 18-70, a 105/2.8 AF macro, an ancient 200/4 manual focus macro, the small light cheap 55-200 DX format lens, an old manual focus EDIF 300/4.5, and my workhorse 300/2.8 AF-S lens. Each of those lenses has (or had) a primary purpose in my kit and gets used when needed.

The new 70-300 VR was purchased as a used lens in “like new” condition from so I could use it as a walkabout lens and handheld (VR designates Vibration Reduction in the Nikon system) when I”m spending most of my energy on the 300/2.8 mounted with a 2x as a 600/5.6 lens.

I’m thrilled with the results so far and I’m happy I picked up this lens. It stays mounted on my old Nikon D70 body most of the time, although I have also used it with the D200.

The coot image was taken while I was sitting behind my D200 and 300 with 2x on a tripod shooting the Long-billed Dowitchers of my previous post. When this coot wwalked very close to my feet I grabbed the D70 with 70-300 and got this image.

Agave leaf

Agave leaf

Agave leaf, backyard, 4/3/2011 at 6:44 pm, Nikon D200, 70-300 VR @ 300mm, ISO 800, 1/50th second at f/5.6, +1/3rd stop exposure compensation.

I was trying to get a few quick shots of birds in the backyard near sunset to see what I could do in low light and at a slow shutter speed. The birds didn’t cooperate, but this agave leaf gave me a nice graphic. ISO 800 is not a great setting on the D200 as it can produce substantial noise in the image. But it seemed wise to use it in this case. I gave the image an extra 1/3rd stop exposure to help keep the noise under control and shot wide open at maximum zoom for this handheld shot.

Ernie in my chair

Ernie in my chair

Ernie, 4/7/2011, D70, 70-300 @ 70mm, ISO 400, 1/100th second at f/4.5.

Since the D70 was handy with the 70-300 mounted it was the obvious choice when Ernie stole my chair.

In all three images I shot handheld. All three images are sharp with excellent detail and contrast. The lens and the VR perform above my expectations and I have no regrets in buying it or in using it in any of these situations.

I’ve already posted a variety of images taken with this lens, all handheld, beginning with this tree series.



  1. Rich,

    Ass you know I love my 70-300mm with VR, it is a geat walkabout lens that produces crisp images. Once upon a time I thought about selling it after I’d gotten my 80-400mm VR and 200-400mm VR but I just love how light it is, how fast it can focus and with it being a zoom lense I can adjust the focal length to suit my needs. I’m glad to see you are as happy with your’s as I am with mine.

    Comment by Mia — April 16, 2011 @ 4:55 am

  2. Good to see the lens is working out for you Rich. Ernie, on the other hand, doesn’t seem as though he shares your enthusiasm 🙂

    Comment by Chuck Gangas — April 16, 2011 @ 5:21 am

  3. One of my favorite light weight hiking lens that has produced some very nice sharp images depending on the light. Looks like Ernie found a good spot.

    Comment by Jim Hackley — May 10, 2011 @ 2:49 pm

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