I posted some comments about my Nikkor 80-400VR being a bit soft (Royal said same thing), and having spent a few hours at AMS and had some cracking images effectively rendered useless because they're too soft, I decided to investigate the issue. Having run off dozens of test shots with identical camera settings, I have reached the following earth-shattering conclusion.
GET THE BEST FILTERS MONEY CAN BUY!
I know it seems obvious, and it's totally in line with my general belief (you get what you pay for), but sometimes the temptation to save a few £s when you've just shelled out £1K for a lens is just too great. This is especially true when the filters are large, and not inexpensive.
The full story - I traded in my Sigma 170-500 for the Nikkor 80-400VR at Jessops (no problem and they gave me a reasonable deal). The Sigma had a Hoya UV(0) on which didn't fit any of my other lenses, so the salesman agreed he'd 'give' me a UV filter for my new Nikkor if I left the Hoya on the Sigma. He said they didn't have a Hoya in the required size, but gave me a Jessops one, promising me they were actually sourced from Hoya.
Having shot at lots of places, and finding the images generally soft, I was becoming totally fed up with this lens. Compared with my Nikkor 70-200VR (same price range), it was a pile of poo. However, in a moment of clarity, I considered that a £1K lens really shouldn't be as bad as this one seemed to be. Hence the testing.
The testing results were simply stunning! I'll share three small crops from full images with you (all from about 25m at 400mm with VR on):
Hoya filter from 70-200 (coincidently same size):
So there you have it! My one piece of advice to anyone investing substantial £s in a new lens is simply - buy the best filter you can get. There's no point in spending your hard-earned dosh on a decent lens and fitting a crap filter. For all the good that Jessops filter has done, I might as well have smeared Vaseline on the front of the lens.
I'm off down the shops to buy an expensive 77mm filter, and I'm looking forward to some sharp shots the next time I go shooting. Suggestions as to a suitable fate for the crappy Jessops filter are welcome!
Photopilot From Cuba, joined Jul 2002, 2439 posts, RR: 20 Reply 7, posted (7 years 10 months 1 hour ago) and read 4666 times:
From my experience, nothing beats a genuine Nikon L37C UV filter for each of my lenses. Yes they cost more, but there's simply no substitute for quality and sharpness as has just been demonstrated above.
Dehowie From Australia, joined Feb 2004, 1044 posts, RR: 38 Reply 8, posted (7 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 4575 times:
I had that exact issue with a polarizer which also was 77mm.
On the 100-400 it was ok out to 200mm but anything beyond it just became softer and softer.
No good at all and had to be swapped.
What was amazing was the amount of convincingthe guys in the shop need to wake up to the problem.