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Photography Question 
Cheryl Delage

Choosing an SLR Lens

I'm shopping around for a new lens, preferably a 70-300mm zoom for my Nikon N80. Several have been recommended, including the Nikon lens and the Quantaray lens. The big difference other than Nikon being twice the price is that the Nikon lens is claimed to have a higher quality of "glass." Anyone have any suggestions as to what constitutes "higher quality of glass" in a lens? Opinions greatly appreciated.

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6/13/2004 5:36:41 PM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/18/2000
  Conventional glass lens elements cannot focus all wavelengths/colors to the same point. This is called chromatic aberration. It is similar to the way a glass prism separates white light into a rainbow because the different colors refract at different angles. It is especially problematic in long focal length lenses. The design of conventional glass zooms like the Nikon 70-300 f/4-5.6G and Quantaray (made by Sigma) 70-300 f/4-5.6 DL do a good, but not great job of correcting chromatic aberration.

Lens makers have developed more "exotic" glass formulae that are less susceptible to chromatic aberration. Nikon calls theirs ED (Extra Low Dispersion) and Super ED, and lenses such as the 70-300 f/4-5.6D ED use one or more these elements. Similarly, the Sigma/Quantaray 70-300 f/4-5.6 APO (Apochromatic) incorporates 2 "SLD" (Super Low Dispersion) elements, and Tamron's 70-300 f/4-5.6 LD uses an element of LD (Low Dispersion).

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6/13/2004 7:55:53 PM

Cheryl Delage   Thanks for the information Jon, if I may ask a follow-up; Is there an obvious visible difference in the final outcome of prints .. when using a higher end quality lense .. -vs- the Nikon or Quantaray?


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6/14/2004 5:13:07 AM

Cheryl Delage   As a second part to my last question, which brand(s) of lenses would you consider to have the "higher end glass"?


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6/14/2004 5:41:47 AM

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