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| p.1 #14 · Big Zoom Choices under $1500 |
I voted for the Nikkor 80-400 because I have a very high regard for mine. However, whether or not that means it's right for somebody else is a big leap. The lens is very sharp, in its sweet spot, and has great bokeh. For zoo animals and animals in your backyard, look no further. For air shows, I think I'd do fine with this lens--though I'd probably use it on manual focus, which I prefer on all lenses. I've done some BIF with mine, and find my MF ability to be return adequate results. The lens' autofocus capability is not up to my manual focus approach, but but does work OK for big bigs such as hawks and herons. That said, I decided a while back that if one wishes to be a BIF specialist, the appropriate gear is very expensive. For me, BIF is an occasional shoot, not a passion, so I decided not to center my gear choices around BIF
So though I consider the NIkkor 80-400 an outstanding lens for the money, it may or may not be the one for you. By the way, it's also a plumb wonderful portrait lens. For tripod mounting, I'd recommend replacing the Nikon foot with the Kirk.