One of my first experiences with how poor a performer my 70-300mm nikkor was at nature shots at distance. I was easily over 50 ft. from this heron as he hunted his prey, and there's nothing I did wrong to get such a soft shot.
Animals that I can sneak up on under 25ft away, the lens performs like a champ. Over that image quality starts to erode and eventually fall off a cliff. With shots of people, it's not nearly as much of an issue as your rarely trying to record every hair and pimple on a person's face from 50 ft away.
So bad is this my longest auto focus zoom at taking nature shots, that I've had to resort to pulling out my 25 year old manual focus 300mm nikkor. Ancient and not optimized for digital sensors it still takes great shots paired with my digital camera (assuming I can focus in accurately on a moving target - most of the time I can't), even if it's a robins nest 50ft away, because that's what Nikon's engineer's designed it to do. Wish I had the time to set up my tripod and use it on this scene.
Clove Lakesbirdsfallgreat blue heronStaten IslandnatureNYC