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| p.1 #4 · Affordable telephoto options for Nikon? |
Nikon's 80-400 isn't quite as bad as some make it out to be, so long as you take the time to learn how to use it. The VR, quite frankly, sux and I suspect it is the reason that many folks dog the lens. It isn't real sharp wide open, but the main thing is good technique and high shutter speeds are a must. Hand holding at 400mm is much more difficult (without effective VR) than many people realize. The tripod foot is poor and needs help or replaced. I've had the lens since 2004 and have gotten some excellent images from it, but only after learning how to get around its issues.... It is probably a better lens today, with the much better high ISOs that one can use to keep the shutter speeds well up where they need to be for sharp images, but I am just guessing. I've not used it for years.
Having said that, I can't recommend the lens at anywhere near the price that they are asking for it today. IMO, they are really ripping people off with the current MSRP on the 80-400. I also have a Sigma 50-500, non-OS, that performs about as well, for a much more reasonable price.
The Sigma 100-300 f/4, apparently is no longer made. My copy is better than the 80-400, with faster aperture and much faster focus. The Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 is even better. Dunno about the current versions with OS, though. I've read conflicting reports on them. I think it probable that too many people expect the 120-300 to perform at the same level as a Nikon 300 f/2.8 and are disappointed when it doesn't.