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Nikon 80-400mm VR  
User currently offlineDsmav8r From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 579 posts, RR: 7
Posted (13 years 9 months 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 4318 times:

I am leaning towards purchasing a 80-400mm VR as a partial replacement for my 80-200mm 2.8 and 300mm F4. Not a complete replacement, but something that *could* replace those heavy monsters on light-packing trips. I have been trying to get ahold of a demo model for 2 months now, but it is next to impossible.

Has anyone had any recent experiences with this lens? Especially doing airliner photography? I have heard mixed rumors that this lens doesn't particularly do well in action shooting. I still love the idea that I could shoot KR25 at 300mm without having to worry about shake.

Any users????  Big grin

Aric Thalman
Omaha, NE


To most people, the sky is the limit. To those who love aviation, the sky is home
16 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinePropfreak From Switzerland, joined Mar 2000, 157 posts, RR: 8
Reply 1, posted (13 years 9 months 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 4096 times:

hi Aric
I got my lens since about 3 weeks and I do own the 80-200/2.8 as well. you can't really compare those two, I think. the 80-200 is really a pro-lens which is very fast. I do have a MF 400mm and nothing inbetween, thats why I opted for the 80-400 but I would never give away my 80-200, also you can use it with less light available (I shoot with KR64). so far I am quite happy with my new lens. The AF is a bit slow, but I think it takes simply some time to get used to it. Once focused it's really sharp. have a look at some of Sunil Gupta's shots - most of his recent Taiwan stuff are taken with that lens, I heard.
have fun
Olav


User currently offlineSunilgupta From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 784 posts, RR: 14
Reply 2, posted (13 years 9 months 17 hours ago) and read 4063 times:

The lens works very well for action shots. If you go to my site http://www.lockon.f2s.com and follow the link for "Taiwan" shots, over 90% of the action shots you see there were taken with the 80-400 VR.

I have had little problem with hunting on the F100. In fact the only time I can recall loosing a shot was when I had the wrong AF sensor selected on the F100... not a fault of the lens. I've put about 40 rolls "through" that lens with no complaints.

I suspect that for very fast moving action like a jet coming straight for you it may not work well, but how much of that do you do?

Optically the lens it brilliant. See
Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Sunil Gupta

for an example of a shot taken at 400mm on Kodachrome 64.

Use of K25 is best left to static shots because you may loose shots due to DOF problems unless you have perfect light. I have had some success with it on action stuff but it is not worth the aggravation when you get ruined shots.

PS. I have the 300 f4 as well and I now feel it is redundant.

Sunil


User currently offlineAirNikon From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 290 posts, RR: 35
Reply 3, posted (13 years 9 months 15 hours ago) and read 4057 times:

I got mine last week, after only a three-week wait. I haven't used it yet (with real film) but I have played with it a bit, and I am not sure if/when the VR is really working. For that reason I left it at home during my latest trip and took the 80-200 f/2.8 instead. Also, do I really want to trust the lens when the shutter readout indicates 1/15? What would I REALLY be shooting?

I don't think anything (affordable) will replace the Nikkor 2.8 in the short term.



Don't get married, don't have kids, and you will have more money than you know what to do with...
User currently offlineSunilgupta From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 784 posts, RR: 14
Reply 4, posted (13 years 9 months 10 hours ago) and read 4037 times:

AirNikon,

Leaving it at home will not let you learn how great this lens is. I agree about the 80-200 being a great lens but, as I've said before, its focal length is just not long enough if you don't have ramp access or can’t get very close to the approach.

Take it with you, put some film in the camera and you won't be disappointed. The 1/15 indication sounds a bit odd. Did you leave the camera on DX while you were playing with it with no film?

The VR can be turned on for viewing and shutter release or just shutter release. Sometimes the effect is subtle but to see it, you should zoom out to 400 and find a small object to focus on. You’ll see it working then.

Sunil


User currently offlineAirNikon From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 290 posts, RR: 35
Reply 5, posted (13 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 4029 times:

OK, so I hooked it up to the trusty F5 (with film in it this time), but I am still uncertain if the VR feature is working. The owners manual refers to "vibrating in the viewfinder". I have not seen this, or have I and it is very subtle? What is the preferred VR Mode - 1 or 2?

Pardon the stoopid questions, but this dog is learning new tricks...



Don't get married, don't have kids, and you will have more money than you know what to do with...
User currently offlineBO__einG From Canada, joined Apr 2000, 2771 posts, RR: 18
Reply 6, posted (13 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 4031 times:

I was just wonderign what kind of Nikon Series Camera you have? and How long have you have been using it for?

Mines currently a Nikon EM with 75-150mm as my current max.
I too am going for a major upgrade in a few days for my Birthday present..
Target was 75-400mm with F-3.5 or 2 if possible..
Unfortuneatly I have a camera thats 20 years old.

Bo.



Chance favors the prepared mind.
User currently offlineAPP From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2000, 546 posts, RR: 6
Reply 7, posted (13 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 4025 times:

Does the VR function work with the F5? I was under the impresion that it would only work with the F80 and F100. Though I stand to be corrected as it is a while since I read about the lens ( and started drooling over it!!!)
Regards,
APP.


User currently offlineMikephotos From United States of America, joined Oct 2000, 2923 posts, RR: 54
Reply 8, posted (13 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 4034 times:

AirNikon,

I believe you can 1) Turn-on VR for both lens and viewfinder 2) lens only (not noticable in the VF) and 3) completely off. I don't have the lens so I can't say which switch is which but you might have it switched to #2 and just won't notice it via the VF.

Michael


User currently offlineAirNikon From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 290 posts, RR: 35
Reply 9, posted (13 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 4031 times:

Michael, yes that's what the book says but I cannot tell any difference either way. I guess I best stop analyzing the damn thing and actually start cranking-off some shots.

In answer to an earlier question, the lens will supposedly function with F5, F100, N80/F80, N65/F65, and D1. If Nikon were to make this lens useless with the F5, I'm sure they would have received boat-loads of hate mail..



Don't get married, don't have kids, and you will have more money than you know what to do with...
User currently offlineAPP From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2000, 546 posts, RR: 6
Reply 10, posted (13 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 4014 times:

I told you I stood to be corrected!!! Big grin
Regards,
APP


User currently offlinePropfreak From Switzerland, joined Mar 2000, 157 posts, RR: 8
Reply 11, posted (13 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 4000 times:

I use an F-100 and I can't see the VR either - so don't worry AirNikon, it's not your eyes
Olav


User currently offlineDsmav8r From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 579 posts, RR: 7
Reply 12, posted (13 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 4003 times:

My local pro shop just got two 80-400's in yesterday... A buddy of mine that works there let me take one out for the day and demo it, luckily for me Air Force One was in town, so I had a great subject to try it out on.  Smile

I found the AF a tad slow with some "hunting", but nothing that would keep me from purchasing one. The VR feature very useful, but only when shooting stationary objects. Overall, I have very few complaints about this lens... It is very lightweight, has an excellent zoom range, it has ED glass, and it seemed to have a quality construction.

I am sure I will have a more definitive opinion once I get my slides back this afternoon... If the results were as impressive as the lens, the 80-400mm will have a permanent home in my photopack.

Aric Thalman
Omaha, NE



To most people, the sky is the limit. To those who love aviation, the sky is home
User currently offlineAirNikon From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 290 posts, RR: 35
Reply 13, posted (13 years 8 months 4 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 4005 times:

Aric, VERY LIGHTWEIGHT?? The lens weighs 48-ounces, as in three-pounds!


Don't get married, don't have kids, and you will have more money than you know what to do with...
User currently offlineSunilgupta From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 784 posts, RR: 14
Reply 14, posted (13 years 8 months 4 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 4001 times:

A couple of points:

1) The lens works on any Nikon body with five AF sensors.

2) The VR switch lets you a) turn it off, b) turn it on only for shutter release and c) turn it on all the time. The middle option is given to save battery power and some people report that the VR causes them to get seasick. I can vouch for that – it disorients me if I keep it on all the time.

3) To see it work, find a stop sign that is quite some distance from you. Set the lens at 400mm, switch off the VR and point it at the sign. You will see some shaking unless you have rock steady hands. Then move the switch to the other extreme (farthest from the camera body) and re-point – the sign should look a lot steadier. If you prefer to see it working on an airliner, focus in on the farthest jet you can see on approach and try to keep it in the middle focus point.

4) The lens is relatively light wieght if you compare it against the other lenses it will replace.

5) Aric, the VR is not just useful for stationary objects. Canons version is only useful for stationary objects; however, Nikon’s lens can detect panning and disable VR only in the axis of panning. So if you are tracking an aircraft on approach the VR will only work in the vertical direction.

Sooooo, go out and do some shooting!!

Sunil


User currently offlineDsmav8r From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 579 posts, RR: 7
Reply 15, posted (13 years 8 months 4 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 4004 times:

AirNikon,

I should have phrased that a little better. Yes, it still is a large lens... Weight-wise it is a little less than my 300mm F4. But comparatively I found it a lot less cumbersome.

The results from my demo model were very impressive. All slides were tack sharp with no visible distortion throughout the zoom range. Obviously one roll of film is not going to give conclusive results, but it sure is a good start.

This lens will certainly not replace my 80-200 2.8, but it is more than adequate to replace my beatup old 300mm F4 which should of been retired years ago.  Smile

Sunil,

Thank you for all the info and examples, they have been VERY helpful!

Aric Thalman
Omaha, NE



To most people, the sky is the limit. To those who love aviation, the sky is home
User currently offlineJan Mogren From Sweden, joined Dec 2000, 2043 posts, RR: 50
Reply 16, posted (13 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 3969 times:

The Canon100-400mm IS has 2 choises for stabilizing.
One for stationary stuff and one for panning.
The oldest IS lenses didn't.
/JM



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