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Photography Question 
Celeste McWilliams

How to Get More Zoom

My current telephoto set-up is a Nikon D300 and Nikkor 70-300mm lens, which essentially gives me 450mm of zoom since the lens is made for a film camera. I'm happy with the quality of photos with my current set-up, but am looking for an inexpensive way to get more zoom. (Is that possible?) I don't have the big bucks to drop on a high-mm lens. I am not very familiar with extension tubes or teleconverters, and have heard both pros and cons (and stories of incompatibility) for each. Any recommendations?

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6/11/2010 5:06:15 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  Extension tubes don't give you more zoom; they reduce your minimum focusing distance. Teleconverters are an inexpensive way to increase focal length, with inherent give and take with aperture/shutter speed loss. But you need a good one, and a good one may not fit that lens.

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6/11/2010 4:17:08 PM

Lynn R. Powers   Celeste,

Gregory is correct about the cheapest way to get more mm is to purchase a 1.4TC. Do NOT use a 2X except on the finest telephoto prime lenses (fixed focal length).
I doubt that your lens will accept a teleconverter. With an f/stop of f5.6, you will have to use manual focus and your camera will be limited to f8 while wide open and full zoom. At these magnifications, you NEED a very sturdy tripod, remote or cable release, high ISO and mirror lockup. Don't skimp on the tripod. If you pay much less than $200, new, it is not sturdy enough.
You have a great camera, and that is from a Canon user, so I recommend that you use your current lens until you save all of your pennies for a year or so and purchase a quality lens. Your camera deserves at least a darn good one. Unfortunately, this does come at a cost.
The best lens for the least amount of money that I have been able to find is the Sigma 150-500 f5-6.3 APO OS HSM for $1000. You may also find something used at B&H, KEH, or Adorama. Buying from Craigslist and other places in general is a shot in the dark. Buying at what seems to be cheap prices for new equipment is always a warning.
Good luck.

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6/12/2010 11:36:06 AM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  Definitely check out E-Bay, Keh, B&H Used Department and other venues for a good deal on used telephoto lenses.
If you don't mind focusing manually, an old AI-S Nikkor prime super-telephoto is fully compatible with the D-300 (...except for the exposure meter, which will only work in Aperture Priority and Manual modes).
My D-300 system includes a 300mm f-2.8 and a 600mm f-4. Both AI-S manual focus lenses were acquired used at a fraction of the cost of new glass.

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6/13/2010 2:53:40 AM

Melissa Papaj
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/28/2005
  Hi Celeste - I am lucky enough to have the 300mm 2.8 lens which is HUGE! But I also like to use my 70-200mm 2.8 lens with my 2x teleconverter, but as everyone else says, I would highly recommend good lenses for teleconverters. One for the aperture capability and two for the quality. Best of luck!

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6/15/2010 8:23:01 AM

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