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Nikon 200-400mm F/4 VR - Anyone Have One?  
User currently offlinePsyops From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (8 years 3 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 10449 times:

I am considering a new lens purchase. The two contenders are (for my Nikon bodies):

1. 200-400mm f/4 VR
2. 300mm f/2.8 VR (which can be used with my 1.4TC)

The zoom certainly gives flexibility in focal length, but the prime would give me speed for non-av stuff (i.e. indoor sports)

Anyone use either of these lenses?

Thanks

Pete

18 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinePavvyben From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2006, 178 posts, RR: 3
Reply 1, posted (8 years 3 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 10421 times:

I was considering one of these as well not to far in the near future. Ive seen good results from both. The 200-400mm is good throughout the entire focal length and is sharp. The 300mm 2.8 is also very sharp, you could use a 2x TC (it prob sounds mad because on other nikon lenses its very soft) and the images would come out extremley sharp giving you 600mm  Smile. Thats from a D70 aswell, so results could be improved if you are using one of the high end bodies.

The 200-400 would give you more flexibility like you say. I think another reason for the 300mm f2.8 is the 2.8. You wouldn't believe how much of a difference 2.8 makes compared to 4, especially if you are using this for indoor sports. Its a tough decision, if it had the choice id buy both (i can't afford it though lol) but id probably go for the 300 prime.

What other lenses do you have?

Cheers

Ben


User currently offlineScbriml From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2003, 12462 posts, RR: 46
Reply 2, posted (8 years 3 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 10420 times:
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Quoting Psyops (Thread starter):
1. 200-400mm f/4 VR

Do you mean this beast?


You obviously have way too much money! wink 



Time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like a banana!
User currently offlineJRadier From Netherlands, joined Sep 2004, 4676 posts, RR: 50
Reply 3, posted (8 years 3 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 10399 times:

I know someone who does, will see if I can get him this way.


For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and ther
User currently offlineAndersNilsson From Sweden, joined May 2004, 416 posts, RR: 16
Reply 4, posted (8 years 3 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 10381 times:

One photo taken by Bill Bulek with the 200-400mm VR on a.net:

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Bill Bulek



A link to a site that compared these two great lenses: http://www.hickingbotham.com/reviews/nikon300200400.htm

Anders

[Edited 2006-07-27 15:53:24]

[Edited 2006-07-27 15:55:33]


Airliner photography is not a crime.
User currently offlinePsyops From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (8 years 3 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 10365 times:

Quoting Pavvyben (Reply 1):
What other lenses do you have?

I have the 80-200mm f/2.8D, the 80-400mmVR, 300mm f/4, 17-55mm f/2.8 and 10.5mm f/2.8. I find the 80-400 soft out past 300mm. All are used on my two D200 bodies.

Quoting Scbriml (Reply 2):
You obviously have way too much money!

I guess. I have never seen a hearse followed by a Brinks truck though.

Quoting Pavvyben (Reply 1):
You wouldn't believe how much of a difference 2.8 makes compared to 4

I think that is the thing that is making the decision most difficult.

Pete


User currently offlinePavvyben From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2006, 178 posts, RR: 3
Reply 6, posted (8 years 3 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 10352 times:

Id say get the 300mm f2.8, the focusing on the 300mm f4 isn't excatly lightning speed. For aviation have either the 80-200mm or 17-55mm on 1 body and then a 300mm 2.8 on the other. That gives you a bit of flexibility. Then stick on a TC if you need with no quality loss at all  Smile. Put it this way what ever you decide you can't go wrong with either  Smile

User currently offlineMdundon From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 41 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (8 years 3 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 10344 times:

I have mine for about a month now. Before this purchase, I was using a 70-200 VR with a 2x teleconverter. The results of that pairing were a bit on the soft side, but more than acceptable to me. The 200-400 VR is a beautiful lens with lovely handling characteristics. It is heavy, resulting in limited handheld shooting although it's not impossible. I tend to use mine on a Gitzo carbon tripod with a small ballhead. The relative slowness of this lens, compared to a prime, does not affect me at all. I have used it for general aviation spotting, indoor sports and skyline photography.

Oddly enought, I find that this lens is better on my D2x than on the F5.

Regards,

Michael


User currently offlinePsyops From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (8 years 3 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 10343 times:

Thanks Michael and everyone for the comments.

Appreciated.

Pete


User currently offlineRedfox From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2003, 172 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (8 years 3 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 10331 times:

I have owned both of these lenses (200-400 f4 and 300 f2.8) The 200-400 f4 is extremely large and is difficult to use and I need a monopod because I cannot hand hold it for any longer than 20 seconds. As the zoom ring is mid-way along the lens if hand holding it cannot be zoomed without using three arms! A monopod is a must if you wish to take advantage of its zoom capability and allows all day use. All AF-S TC's can be used with 200-400 f4 but I recommend only TC14E II which gives 560mm f5.6 because the lens is very long its difficult to get a sharp image without motion blur I have never managed a sharp photo beyond 450mm using TC's. The 300mm f2.8 is an extremely sharp lens and surprisingly small and portable, approx 200mm shorter in length than 200-400 but is still heavy but handholding is possible for short periods. It weighs 500g less than 200-400VR but due to its shorter length its feels easier to manage but only for short periods.

If you are looking for a brilliant all rounder lens that can be hand held all day with decent reach with results 90% of the two lenses above I recommend 70-200 f2.8 using TC17E II but keep the primary lens away from f2.8 as its quite soft until f4. Crank up the ISO so it never goes below effective f6.3 and you have yourself a blinding lens and teleconverter combination. I have sold my 200-400 f4 and have a buyer for 300 f2.8. I now use 70-200 f2.8 with 1.4 or 1.7 TC's and dont miss upto and over 400mm range but it depends what and where you shoot.

Remember the lens does not create the photograph YOU do, but if you wish to print your photos at A3 or above then lens becomes important but to resize at 1024 for the longest side any lens will do providing there is little motion blur. One thing to remember is to be aware and keep within the bounds of your equipment limitations, camera included.

Here are some examples for all three lenses using the same cambera body:-

Nikkor 200-400VR ED-IF f4

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Stephen Fox



Nikkor 300VR ED-IF (nano) f2.8

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Stephen Fox



Nikkor 70-200VR ED-IF f2.8 with TC17E II (340mm, f9.5 ISO 400, D2X)

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Stephen Fox




I prefer the Mustang using 70-200 and TC and it was much easier to pan with a shorter in length and lighter lens combination.


User currently offlineChrisH From Sweden, joined Jul 2004, 1136 posts, RR: 16
Reply 10, posted (8 years 3 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 10318 times:

I've handheld both lenses for long periods of time without problems. It will depend on how strong you are  Wink


what seems to be the officer, problem?
User currently offlineCodeshare From Poland, joined Sep 2002, 1854 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (8 years 3 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 10300 times:

@Redfox: very good points. Looks like the 70-200 + TCs is a winner for me.
Are all your photos taken with the D2X?

KS/codeshare



How much A is there is Airliners Net ? 0 or nothing ?
User currently offlinePavvyben From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2006, 178 posts, RR: 3
Reply 12, posted (8 years 3 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 10293 times:

You can't go wrong with the 70-200mm 2.8 either . I use the 1.7TC aswell with a D2x and its fantastic. Never hunts and its very quick to respond and it doesn't hunt.

User currently offlineErwin972 From Netherlands, joined May 2004, 500 posts, RR: 44
Reply 13, posted (8 years 3 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 10232 times:

Quoting JRadier (Reply 3):
I know someone who does, will see if I can get him this way.

I am lurking  Wink

Well, the 200-400 VR is a lens to fall in love with, but as stated before you need a few extra rounds of fitness training or a good monopod. The 200-400 is usable with the 1.4 and 1.7 TC's. It's an impressive, incredible bulky and big lens. It lets you stand in front of the crowd most of the times. You can even use it for self-defense. So far I didn't use it often with airplanes, have only one example of the 200-400 on the D2X in the database:


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Erwin



BTW: the Nikon 70-200 2.8 VR is also a nice one (probably Nikon's best telezoom) and offers a lot of flexibility, even more when combined with the TC's: where the 1.4 and 1.7 give great detail and the 2.0 tends to get a little soft when aperture is below f/8. The lens fits easily into anysize bagpack.

98% of my pics in the database are with the 70-200.


Kind regards,
Erwin



My gear: Nikon, Sony, Red, Sachtler etc.
User currently offlineRedfox From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2003, 172 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (8 years 3 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 10226 times:

All photos taken with D2X since May 2005 when I was using 80-400VR f4.5-5.6 but that lens was not up to the resolution of D2X. I began to search for a decent Nikkor at 400mm starting with 200-400.

Quoting Codeshare (Reply 11):
@Redfox: very good points. Looks like the 70-200 + TCs is a winner for me.
Are all your photos taken with the D2X?

KS/codeshare


User currently offlineLHRman From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2004, 398 posts, RR: 6
Reply 15, posted (8 years 3 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 10195 times:

Quoting Pavvyben (Reply 12):
You can't go wrong with the 70-200mm 2.8 either . Never hunts and its very quick to respond and it doesn't hunt

I have the strangest feeling this lens doesnt hunt  Wink.

Quoting Pavvyben (Reply 1):
(i can't afford it though lol)

Are you sure? With your spending in the recent months I seriously wouldn't put it past you  Smile.

Dave
Capital Aviation Photography



Always after the picture you can't get..
User currently offlinePavvyben From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2006, 178 posts, RR: 3
Reply 16, posted (8 years 3 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 10187 times:

Quoting LHRman (Reply 15):
I have the strangest feeling this lens doesnt hunt

Is that from experience Mr Potter?

Quoting LHRman (Reply 15):
Are you sure? With your spending in the recent months I seriously wouldn't put it past you

Maybe ill go and buy one then, envy is such a bad thing  rotfl   rotfl 

[Edited 2006-07-28 15:48:00]

User currently offlineLHRman From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2004, 398 posts, RR: 6
Reply 17, posted (8 years 3 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 10161 times:

Only messing, and too right im envious! I wish I had some more Canon L glass that was worth the money you've spent in the last 6 months.

Dave



Always after the picture you can't get..
User currently offlineCalgaryBill From Canada, joined May 2006, 686 posts, RR: 5
Reply 18, posted (8 years 3 weeks 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 10119 times:

Thanks Anders for the plug above!

I'm new to the forum, been lurking here for a while but this thread interested me and I figured it was time to sign up...

I have the 200-400 and it's a fantastic lens. Yes, it's heavy to handhold, but it's perfectly balanced on a monopod (there are even two threaded holes to balance the lens differently depending how small/large your camera body is) . When it's on the monopod I find the zoom ring is at just the right place, right in front of the tripod mounting bracket, to allow fast panning without over reaching or adding camera shake.

I haven't used the 300, but some of my friends have them and would never part with them. Personally I do not think the 1 stop difference in max aperature is a problem - the old 300's didn't have VR, and I've found the VR easily allows slower shooting than 2.8 non-VR would allow.

I also own the 70-200 2.8 VR. It's also a great lens, but I "feel" like I'm getting sharper images with the 200-400. There are a lot of angles around the Calgary International Airport where the 70-200 just isn't long enough without a TC.

For me, the decision which lens to get between the 300 and the 200-400 simply came down to flexibility and the ability to zoom/reframe shots on the fly. The 33% longer reach on the zoom is an added bonus...

Bill


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