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Old Mar 26, 2013, 06:29 PM   #1
Cheese&Apple
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New Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VRII?

Just wondering if any of the Nikon wildlife photographers have given any thought to the new 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VRII lens.

Here: http://en.nikon.ca/Nikon-Products/Pr...tTabs-Overview

I have the 70-200mm f/2.8 which is an absolutely outstanding lens. But, with the TC 2.0 III attached to get me to that invisible and all important line of 400mm, I'm not impressed. For me, this combo is soft (even stepped-down) with slow AF that produces far more misses than hits.

I know it's very expensive but, given the reach and the fact that the next step up to the great Nikon primes at 3, 4, 5 & 600mm will break the bank and possibly my back, is anyone considering this purchase? And, are the Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 happy with their set-up?

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Old Mar 26, 2013, 07:18 PM   #2
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I'm answering as a Canon 100-400 owner . For me , the 100-400 is about as good as it gets in a single lens . It's a compromise to be sure , along with being relatively slow and having a variable maximum aperture , but it's one I've lived with for some time now. Also beats carrying (and paying for ) a couple of big primes .
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Old Mar 26, 2013, 07:30 PM   #3
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Peter, a bit out of left field, but have you investigated the Sigma 150-500? Quite a few of the bird shooters around here swear by them from both Nikon and Canon camps. You do have to use a monopod to support it though, unless you are really beefy. The IQ I've seen from them is actually surprisingly good for well under a grand, if you have them between f/8-11 when past 300mm.
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Old Mar 27, 2013, 01:56 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ijohn.8.80 View Post
Peter, a bit out of left field, but have you investigated the Sigma 150-500? Quite a few of the bird shooters around here swear by them from both Nikon and Canon camps. You do have to use a monopod to support it though, unless you are really beefy. The IQ I've seen from them is actually surprisingly good for well under a grand, if you have them between f/8-11 when past 300mm.
http://www.lenstip.com/184.4-Lens_re...esolution.html

The resolution at 500mm seems to be subpar at best.

On the other hand, the other Bigma (the 50-500mm giant) seems to have much better performance on the long end.


As for the Nikon 80-400mm, you get what you paid for, so you'll expect some great performance out of that lens. If I were you I'd combine this setup with a 1.4x teleconverter for the extra reach. You might lose autofocus on the long end depending on your camera, but it may be worth it.
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Old Mar 27, 2013, 07:32 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prodo123 View Post
http://www.lenstip.com/184.4-Lens_re...esolution.html

The resolution at 500mm seems to be subpar at best.
Thanks for that link Prodo123. After emailing 2 of the bird photog's last night, they say they don't use it past 420-450mm and one of them uses it with his D700 with no hugely noticeable loss of IQ for his bird shots.

Sorry for the OT response.
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Old Mar 27, 2013, 07:53 PM   #6
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If you don't need the wide end on this lens, get a 300mm/f4 and a 1.4x teleconverter. This is the setup I use for bird photography and it works great. There is no visible loss in image quality with a teleconverter attached. Although losing VR is tough, I shoot on a tripod 90% of the time. The other 10%, my shutter speed is high enough that VR wouldn't be useful.
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Old Mar 27, 2013, 08:09 PM   #7
Cheese&Apple
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Thanks for the feedback guys.

someoldguy: Good to know because I'm sure that the Nikon version will perform at least as good as the Canon version. I'm happy that Nikon has finally updated theirs...the previous version (their first lens with stabilization) had focusing issues.

John: I took the Sigma "Bigma" out for a test drive a couple weeks ago and found it a bit too soft at the long end. I'm sure that stepping-down would help but that is of course a trade-off. The fast movers and birds in flight shots need all the light I can get. Thank you for the suggestion though...much appreciated.

Prodo: Your right when you say that you get what you pay for. I have no doubt that Nikon has produced a very good lens with this one but, for $2700, I would hope for a great lens.

Lenses are the bane of the wildlife photographer. Trying to balance image quality, weight and cost against the passion for great shots isn't easy.

The camera shop I haunt is great and they have no problem with me trying a lens for a weekend before making a decision. As soon as they get one in stock I'll give it a try and see how it goes. Besides, at this point, I'm tired of looking at MTF charts and reading the crazy comments in some other forums.
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Old Mar 27, 2013, 08:22 PM   #8
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Fezwick: Thanks...I did think about this option as so many say that the results are outstanding. Of course there is a trade-off with the fixed length but the biggest problem I have is the lack of VR. I'm generally out walking and hiking when hunting for birds and much prefer hand-holding so stabilization is a HUGE plus for me.

I will say that if Nikon ever updates the 300 f/4 with VR...I'll be lining up for it.
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