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My New Refurb 70-300 VR/Soft/Quality/Blurry - Me or the Lens?

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  • My New Refurb 70-300 VR/Soft/Quality/Blurry - Me or the Lens?

    In December, I picked up a Refurbished 70-300 VR, after reading many positive reviews about the lens in general as a step-up (but not too much of a step) from the 55-200 VR, which I had and was impressed with.

    I have not been able to bring the lens to a dealer to check to see whether it's good, and have instead tried to analyze most of my shots. A few things I've noticed:

    1) Past 200-230 mm, quality falls off. I expected this as it is not a pro-grade lens, and has a variable aperture.

    2) Focusing is not fast, and when focusing on an airplane very high up (contrail) or the moon, the lens will not even recognize it and instead focus to 5 ft. This could also be the metering on my D40 (??) - again, not the most surprising.

    3) Macro is much worse than the 55-200 VR, which could focus much closer (not really pertinent to aviation photography).

    But reviewing my shots so far since December, I have decided to take it in to be checked out by a pro, as I still have about 10 days to send it back to Adorama Hassle-Free if it is not up to code. I was wondering if anybody with experience with the lens can take a look at some of my shots and help me determine whether it is my style, the D40's metering, or if the lens is indeed soft/inaccurate at focusing and should be exchanged.

    The first two are, admittedly, through a window:

    210mm, f/8, 1/400th ISO-200

    http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5298/...daabf570_o.jpg

    112mm, f/8, 1/250th, ISO 200

    http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5292/...91373b8c_o.jpg

    This Delta shot was NOT taken through a window and has better lighting than the first two. 230mm, f/8, ISO200, 1/640th, +.3 exposure comp (The exposure comp setting was there from a few days earlier...oops)

    http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5093/...2358fea9_o.jpg

    OK and a few not of airplanes. Usually when I take lizard/bird shots with the 55-200 VR, I can stand much closer to the action, so the number of shots I got was higher. Here's one where I managed to get close to the lizard.

    300mm, f/8, 1/1600th, ISO 400, EV -0.3

    http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5170/...6fcd8260_o.jpg

    This looks pretty sharp...of course not all of the shots were like this, many fewer due to poor close-focusing compared to the 55-200 VR.

    Anyone with this lens, etc. Please let me know whether you think I have a dud. It may just be my style; let me reiterate that I am for all intents and purposes an amateur - I've only had my DSLR since Fall 2008, and this lens since Dec. 2010.

    Thanks!

  • #2
    Firstly, you can't use the shots through as window to decide as you have introduced another piece of (non optically ground) glass into the equation.

    Secondly, set all items in camera such as saturation, sharpening, contrast etc. to Normal.

    The Delta shot looks like it was taken at long range. EXIF data says 35mm zoom equivalent is 345mm.

    The lizard's head and shoulders are well focussed especially as you are at 300mm zoom there. The blurry back and tail is almost certainly a depth of field issue.

    You mention Macro !! The 70-300 VR doesn't have a Macro feature

    I have a 70-300 VR Nikon lens which I swear by. Cracking bit of kit. It won't do any harm to have your lens checked out, especially as it has been refurbished (who by and what did they do to it ?) but it looks OK to me.
    If it 'ain't broken........ Don't try to mend it !

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    • #3
      Originally posted by brianw999 View Post
      Firstly, you can't use the shots through as window to decide as you have introduced another piece of (non optically ground) glass into the equation.

      Secondly, set all items in camera such as saturation, sharpening, contrast etc. to Normal.

      The Delta shot looks like it was taken at long range. EXIF data says 35mm zoom equivalent is 345mm.

      The lizard's head and shoulders are well focussed especially as you are at 300mm zoom there. The blurry back and tail is almost certainly a depth of field issue.

      You mention Macro !! The 70-300 VR doesn't have a Macro feature

      I have a 70-300 VR Nikon lens which I swear by. Cracking bit of kit. It won't do any harm to have your lens checked out, especially as it has been refurbished (who by and what did they do to it ?) but it looks OK to me.
      Thanks Brian. I'll post some more shots of a wall or something with all the settings constant. I bought it "Refurbished by Nikon" from Adorama, which is supposed to be refurbished back to original sale quality. Good point on the macro - I did not buy it for that anyway! I'm going to zip in to have it checked, as the warranty is done in 11 days!

      Comment


      • #4
        I think your shots are bad examples, the Air Canada Embraer shows a lot of heat blur, the tractor's rims or the trailing edge of the rudder look very distorted from heat blur.
        The Delta A320 looks like it's motion-blurred, the winglet and reg look smeared, on other parts it looks less obvious.

        But I agree with Brian, I think your lens is fine

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