ail5901 From American Samoa, joined Aug 2011, 4 posts, RR: 0 Posted (1 year 9 months 13 hours ago) and read 2408 times:
I hear the nikkor 80-400mm is a little slow to focus, and thus not suitable for sports. I am thinking it may still be fast enough to catch good airline shots, though, and the 400mm length on my DX body is quite appealing for the price and my usual spotting location.
Is the focus speed going to kill it, or should I be in good shape?
The AF is slow when compared to AF-S Nikon lenses (but then, many are!) If you're shooting airliners on approach or departure, it should be OK most of the time. If you're chasing a fast jet around the sky at an air show, then it will struggle - the slowness of regaining focus will notice.
The lens is more than adequate in good light, but in poorer light it can struggle to produce reliable results.
alevik From Canada, joined Mar 2009, 806 posts, RR: 8 Reply 3, posted (1 year 9 months 7 hours ago) and read 2350 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW HEAD SCREENER
I'll throw my support behind this lens for aviation photography. I'd say a good 70-80% of my 1800 images on anet are with this lens. For airplanes that generally travel in a straight, predictable line, it works just fine focus wise. Even in early morning or late evening panning with 1/15 to 1/80 I have no problems with focus.
n314as From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 4, posted (1 year 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 2278 times:
You do not need autofocus or vibration control for airliner action shots. Pre focus on the area to shoot then concentrate on panning the plane in that area. The old fashion way manually focusing is the correct way to do these. Autofocus could be tricky and sometimes you will lose your shot. They have a mind of its own. Steady hands and concentration is all you need.
Derekf From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2001, 824 posts, RR: 0 Reply 5, posted (1 year 8 months 4 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 2246 times:
Quoting n314as (Reply 4): Pre focus on the area to shoot then concentrate on panning the plane in that area.
How do you focus on an area of sky that you think the aeroplane might be in?
I used the Nikon 80-400mm at an airshow and had no problems with the autofocus. I don't recall many problems with focus errors on any of the autofocus lenses I use. I got plenty of focus errors in the old days with manual focus though.
scbriml From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2003, 11370 posts, RR: 50 Reply 6, posted (1 year 8 months 4 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 2210 times:
Quoting Derekf (Reply 5): I don't recall many problems with focus errors on any of the autofocus lenses I use.
In my experience, the problem is if you're trying to follow a fast jet across the sky and using AF-C mode, if the lens loses it's lock on the plane, it will hunt to regain focus. Given the relatively slow focus performance of the 80-400VR, it can take a relatively long time to regain focus.
Maybe I'm just crap at following F-16s across the sky?