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Nikon AF VR Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED

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NOT UW related

 

Hi, Does anyone own this lens and can tell me their overall view? I seem to remember it being discussed before but cannot find it with search.

 

I am looking for a long focal length lens for wildlife and sunsets and have narrowed it down to this and the Sigma 5-500. As thye are both about the same price. The additional size of the Sigma discounts the little added cost of the Nik for me.

 

I have read of some "issues" with the AF (but as the 105, with its slow AF, is my favourite lens I am hoping this would not be major headache)

 

Any other alternatives anyone can recommend?

 

Cheers

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I have this lens and love it....AF is slow for very fast sports maybe, but fine for wildlife, etc.....very sharp and easy to handhold.....the VR really works well :D

 

This lens always goes on all my trips for topside use

 

Karl

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I use it as my exclusive long lens. It's not real fast but seems sharp to me. I like the lens a lot but I don't shoot a lot of sports.

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It's a very nice lens. I use it as my only long lens. For a full review read this.

 

Cor

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I read Thom Hogan's reviews for the 80-400 and the 70-200 and got the 70-200 with a 1.7x teleconverter.

 

http://www.bythom.com/80400VRlens.htm

http://www.bythom.com/70200VRlens.htm

 

What I like about the lens is that it focuses fast and is tack sharp across the full range, even with the teleconverter.

 

http://www.nikonusa.com/template.php?cat=1&grp=5

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Thanks Peter for the info on the 70-200 plus 1.7x. I have the 70-200 and was wondering about the 1.7. I have found the VR feature to be very useful. Used it successfully on a heaving ship out in the Gulf of Alaska as well as for hand-holding at low rather slow shutter speeds. The attachment shot was a 1/30th! I am not sure if I would bring it on a scuba trip due to its size and weight .

Tom

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Having been trained by Nikon on their AF-S lenses I learned these lenses from the inside out. The 70-200 coupled with the 1.7X is a great long lens system. The 80-400 is a great lens optically but it's early generation VR technology does not perform as well as the 70-200. Also the 80-400 auto focus is mechanically driven by the camera's AF motor and has to move the mass of the front lens group in and out. The 70-200 is an AF-S lens with internal focus, so it's built in motor has to move a smaller, lighter lens group a shorter distance.

 

However like I said the 80-400 is a great lens optically and it's probably not fair to compare it with an AF-S IF lens with much newer technology. Hopefully we won't get carried away and start comparing it with the 200-400, now there's a nice long lens.

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I've had the 80-400 VR for over a year now, and love it. You really can hand hold this lens. Admittedly not super-fast, but it doesn't that weigh much (considering what it is. It's a wonderful wildlife lens, which I try to take with me whenever I can.

 

Attached (if it works) is a shot of a Komodo dragon I took on a working trip last week. It wasn't that big a dragon, however.

 

Frogfish

 

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Robert - it worked! Wonderful photo.

 

Cheers

James

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You mentioned sunsets. As in, shooting into the setting sun? The image with the big ball of orange with something artfully silhouetted in front of it?

 

You might think fixed focal length. Zoom have always had a ghost and flare problem for me with light sources in the frame, and the newer ones appear to be getting worse, since they seem to have a zillion elements in them.

 

All the best, James

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Thanks for all the advice. I bought one last week. I am now getting used to using a lens of this length which is a task in itself for me. Stunning lack of DOF at closest focus has been my first lesson but a lesson I have learnt well from (its bokeh is very good!). I made the mistake of trying out the silent wave focus 70-200 first - it really is amazing but I liked the idea of 400 x 2 rather 200 x 2 on the teleconvertor. Unfortunately the AF is deplorable on the teleconvertor with the 400. All in all I like the lens the lens a lot and its really extending what I can take - thanks for all the advice.

 

Paul

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Is the 70-200 a VR lens also? I have been looking at getting a longer lens with better quality glass than my old 75-300 5.6. It is not sharp at 300, and I am looking to step up the quality.

 

These may look sharp, but they are the typical soft sharpness of a cheap long lens. These are not easy shots to get so I want to get something long, sharp and fast.

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Yes, the 70-200 is VR as well as silent wave! It is also a state of the art lens optically and is priced accordingly. Just a tad heavy unless you intend on using it a bit to justify bringing it on a trip. I use it quite a bit here in AK because of the 2.8 aperture as well as the VR feature. Ambient light levels here can be quite dim! I have owned several versions of the manual focusing 80-200 since they came out in the 70's and often ended up shooting too slow. I used mainly Kodachrome 25 and 64 and they were f/4.5 and later f/4 (never had the 2.8). Between the faster speed of dSLRs (vs. these Kodachromes), f/2.8, and VR, one has quite a number of extra stops in capability today compared to back then!

It also depends on where you are going. Going to Komodo, one would probably want to photograph the dragons and would thus want to be prepared optically!! BTW Robert that is a great shot of one!!

Tom

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Well, Whitehead snatched up the last 80-400 VR from Nikon distributer here and it will be awhile before another one will be available. Does anyone has any experience with Sigma 50-500mm lens? From what I gather, autofocus should be faster than the 80-400 VR but does not have the Sigma equavalent of VR, or the Sigma version of 80-400 with slower AF but with VR equavalent (sorry I forgot what Sigma calls it, something stabilizer? ). I was thinking of the 70-200 but also like the idea of sticky a 2x teleconverter to get more in the range of 700-1000 rather than 400mm. I don't want to spend a lot of money as I do very little topside photography, mainly just to get pictures of my neighbor in the condo next door (just kidding!)

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No experience, but sorting through the same decisions myself, right now...

 

The Nikon 70-200 is just a bit too dear for me, and not quite as long as I want. I am thinking of buying the <heresy>Sigma</heresy> 100-300 f4 HSM -- no VR, but relatively fast (AF-Sish) focus, and bright enough. In fact, as fast as a 70-200 f2.8 with a 1.4X (and a bit longer) -- and still a respectable 420mm/f5.6 with 1.4x converter. This lens has gotten very good reviews (e.g., on <flamebait>FM and <even less reliably, but nonetheless infomatively> on photographyReview</flamebait>).

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I've got the 80-400VR and would be interested in working with a teleconverter as long as all the exposure and AF functions are still available.....any recommendations?

 

Karl

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AF will not be available. An f5.6 lens can AF on a pro body, barely. Add a teleconverter and it's a no-go.

 

Cheers

James

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Karl -I used it with a kenko 2x and it was deplorable - I could'nt even get focus lock without hunting on the edge of a 50 watt halogen ceiling lamp (turned on) and the ceiling, at night. i.e. masses of contrast for the sensor to pick up

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I have this lens as well. It is not a quick focusing lens but it does have a very very clean image. The VR works well. I have had the lens for over two years and wished I used it more.. It is great for nature shots. It uses a screw type focusing mechanism that is definately slower than an afs lens, but heck its not an afs lens and doesn't need to be. You can shoot a 400mm shot hand held if you steady your body by leaning up against a tree or a pole which is pretty amazing in my opinion. It focuses much better on my d70 than on my old S2 , don't know why since they supposedly had the same autofocus system.

 

Tony

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I almost went with the Sigma 50-500 but heard too many bad things about the sharpness at 500 mil. I am seeking sharp focus and the full focal range, which is why Tom has intrigued me with the 70-200 idea using a 1.7x converter. I's so excited I could just sh_t!

 

Joe

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Check out Thom's review of both the 70-200 f2.8 and the 80-400 f4.5-5.6. He gives both good reviews but thinks that the 70-200 is one of Nikon's best lenses and prefers the 70-200 +2x tc combo to the 80-400.

 

Thom's Lens Reviews http://www.bythom.com/nikon.htm

 

I'm considering the same dilema myself once I get the funds. I think from all the excellent reviews of the 70-200 that it is the way to go. This lens seems to have everything all rolled into one.

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Like others I went for the 70-200 f2.8 VR +1.7x tele. Superb combination AF and superior to 80-400 zoom (which by the way can not use Nikon teleconverters).

If you need something longer go Nikon zoom 200-400 f/4 (can use the 1.7x tele, expensive $5000 bucks) or go with the new 300 f2.8 VR (expensive too). You can get a 300 f2.8 no VR version in KEH for a good price. Tripod a must with these lengths.

I handled a 80-400 and the AF is slow, slow, nothing compared with the 70-200 even with the tele 1.7x. <_<

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