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I have asked questions before about lenses and I find it all hard to understand. What I need is for someone who understands lenses and how they work to tell me what lens to buy. What I want the lens to do is to be able so zoom in around 10x like my old built in zooms on my old cannon. I have a Nikon D40 for a camera. the lens I have right now is the kit lens that came with the body which is 18-55mm. All I want to do is to be able to zoom in on things like butterflys and birds that you can not get close to without chasing them away by trying to walk in to close.
Am I making sense ? I know we have experts here that should be able to point me to the rght lens. My Budget is around $400.
Tina B

The lens that I use for telephoto as well as some close ups of "butterflys" "birds" etc. is A SIGMA 70-300mm
APO macro super. It enables you to get far enough back so that the butterflys and small insects are not so skimmish :thumbsup: and I beleive its in that price range that you mentioned.

George :)

P.S. some of the pictures taken in my gallery where taken with that lens :biggrin:
"A candle loses nothing of its light by lighting another candle."James Kelly George's Gallery

I am a Canon user, so can't provide any specific recommendations.

What I would suggest is to be sure to get one with Image Stabilisation and allows for close focusing. I think IS may be a moot point for Nikon, but it is important, especially in the longer zoom ranges.

I would suggest you take your camera to a good camera store (with fresh battery and empty memory card) and take some test shots to see what the focusing range is and get some images to take home and look at in Photoshop or some other viewer that will allow you to zoom in.

Use something small as your test object - could be your car keys on the counter, a couple of batteries, etc and one that you can repeat at home with to see how the images stand up for your range of shooting needs.

I suspect that your $400 range is a little low, but try out a couple of lenses like this and see what looks good and fits in your price range. I am fortunate enough to have a camera store in my neck of the woods that has a 7 day return policy on any product - haven't had to use it, but allows for that OOPS moment.

If you don't have this, inquire about working out a deal that allows you to try out a lens and returning it for the purchase of another - things are tough now and they may show some flexibility if you demonstrate your determination to but something. Asking doesn't cost anything and if you get attitude, find another store!
It is also possible to rent a lens, to see if it is really worth exceeding your budget. Unless you buy on the used market, you will likely need to save more money to buy the lens that will do what you wish.
Tina, you are on the right track .....
..... you have identified what you want the lens to do as opposed to trying to decide what lens you want to buy.

John gives good advice -- talk to a person with knowledge in a good camera store. Note that "a good camera store" is NOT a big-box retailer. The salesman there may have knowledge, but, more often than not, he will have little knowledge. He will probably try to "sell you whatever he has".

I can't count how many times my "favorite camera store" has talked me out of what I was sure was "a real good idea". The guy will smile and say something line, "Rusty, I'll be happy to sell it to you if you really want it. And, I have it in stock. But, that particular piece of Nikon equipment is, in my opinion, garbage --- and here's why I think so. ... etc, etc, etc)

If you get anything 200mm or longer, I am a fan of "IS". It adds a lot to the cost and for that reason I have, up to now, bought non-IS lenses. I wish now I had spent the money. You can compensate for not having IS but that means you will need to use a tripod a lot of the time and, when a tripod just doesn't work, you will use a monopod.

There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness" - Dave Barry

If your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough. - Robert Capa
I have a Quantaray 70-300mm lens with macro. It was really cheap at the time and pretty light, although it did do a decent job. No VR/IS though. I could be talked out of it, but you really would want something better.

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