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Archive 2013 · UPDATE: Tested - 80-400 Vs 300 + TC Vs 70-200 + TC
  
 
Steve Perry
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p.3 #1 · p.3 #1 · UPDATE: Tested - 80-400 Vs 300 + TC Vs 70-200 + TC


I had a chance to go out and try again with the 80-400 + 1.4TC. Higher shutter speed and VR on this time. I did the bottle and my dog (he's on the website but I'll out the bottle below).

Overall, it's really good. However, it's still too slow if you ask me - F8 hurts when you're shooting deep in the woods at twilight.

Here's the link with the full test and new pics:

http://www.backcountrygallery.com/photography_tips/nikon-under-3k-tele-comparison/

Here's the Prestone bottle @ 550mm:









Apr 06, 2013 at 01:09 AM
binary visions
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p.3 #2 · p.3 #2 · UPDATE: Tested - 80-400 Vs 300 + TC Vs 70-200 + TC


You da' man, Steve. Thanks for the update.

While I'd never say this is a wildlife photographer's dream lens at 560mm f/8, it sure will be adequate when I need something to grab-and-go, or to bring on a hike.



Apr 06, 2013 at 01:18 AM
Steve Perry
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p.3 #3 · p.3 #3 · UPDATE: Tested - 80-400 Vs 300 + TC Vs 70-200 + TC


binary visions wrote:
You da' man, Steve. Thanks for the update.

While I'd never say this is a wildlife photographer's dream lens at 560mm f/8, it sure will be adequate when I need something to grab-and-go, or to bring on a hike.


You're very welcome

And I agree. I think it's a great grab-and-go setup. I'm planning on using it when the 600mm is to obnoxious to have along. Although I've seen pics of (crazy) people with a 600mm mounted to their kayak



Apr 06, 2013 at 01:24 AM
Two23
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p.3 #4 · p.3 #4 · UPDATE: Tested - 80-400 Vs 300 + TC Vs 70-200 + TC


You know, I keep going back to that Lens Rental blog and am thinking that for the money, the best performance/cost (i.e. value) is the Sigma 50-500mm. It's a bit sharper than the original 80-400mm VR and probably pretty close to the 300mm + TC-14. Yes, f6.3 but the D7100 can handle that, and you get 500mm. I'm going to sit tight for perhaps the rest of the year and see if the price drops.


Kent in SD



Apr 06, 2013 at 03:40 AM
m.sommers00
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p.3 #5 · p.3 #5 · UPDATE: Tested - 80-400 Vs 300 + TC Vs 70-200 + TC


You can see my AFS 80-400mm results from a visit to our zoo. Scroll through going to the right.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/54199117@N03/8601671949/in/photostream



Apr 06, 2013 at 04:23 AM
binary visions
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p.3 #6 · p.3 #6 · UPDATE: Tested - 80-400 Vs 300 + TC Vs 70-200 + TC


P.S. don't buy pre-diluted antifreeze, you pay almost the same amount for the undiluted stuff and you can always add your own water


Apr 06, 2013 at 01:02 PM
Steve Perry
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p.3 #7 · p.3 #7 · UPDATE: Tested - 80-400 Vs 300 + TC Vs 70-200 + TC


binary visions wrote:
P.S. don't buy pre-diluted antifreeze, you pay almost the same amount for the undiluted stuff and you can always add your own water


You're probalby right.



Apr 06, 2013 at 01:09 PM
trenchmonkey
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p.3 #8 · p.3 #8 · UPDATE: Tested - 80-400 Vs 300 + TC Vs 70-200 + TC


kevinho wrote:
Steve,

Great writeup. Appreciate the time you took to do the review. My biggest question has been "is the 80-400 $1000 better than the 300 + TC?" In the review you made some fair, objective observations in that regard.

In the end, given my budget constraints, I'll go for the 300 + TC. Now only if Nikon would do the upgrade to Vr for the 300 f/4.


The lack of VR hasn't cost me many shots....I use the TC-17E II handheld and have no trouble
reelin' 'em in. Lil light and LL technique goes a long way in this business....just sayin'




riversbendphotography

  NIKON D800    500mm    f/9.0    1/1250s    320 ISO    -0.7 EV  






  NIKON D800    500mm    f/9.0    1/1250s    320 ISO    -0.7 EV  




Apr 06, 2013 at 01:13 PM
ckcarr
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p.3 #9 · p.3 #9 · UPDATE: Tested - 80-400 Vs 300 + TC Vs 70-200 + TC


But Trenchmonkey is an exception, his shots are great.

Give the layman both lenses to try, I'd guarantee the keeper ratio will be higher with the 80-400mm with VR versus the 300mm f/4. It's just simple physics... VR does work.

I'll probably keep my 300mm f/4 for a while. Two things that bother me are the cost, and then the Nikon repair record lately. I bought my "D" version of the 80-400 for $1,350 and added a RRS collar for $200. Sort of sorry I sold it now.



Apr 06, 2013 at 02:08 PM
geoff_g
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p.3 #10 · p.3 #10 · UPDATE: Tested - 80-400 Vs 300 + TC Vs 70-200 + TC


VR works but so do fast shutter speeds, and that is the "secret" to sharp images with non VR glass (or with moving targets which are not helped with VR).


Apr 06, 2013 at 04:10 PM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



Kerry Pierce
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p.3 #11 · p.3 #11 · UPDATE: Tested - 80-400 Vs 300 + TC Vs 70-200 + TC


Steve Perry wrote:
I had a chance to go out and try again with the 80-400 + 1.4TC. Higher shutter speed and VR on this time. I did the bottle and my dog (he's on the website but I'll out the bottle below).

Overall, it's really good. However, it's still too slow if you ask me - F8 hurts when you're shooting deep in the woods at twilight.



Thanks a ton for publishing your findings, Steve. That's great info for any of us that are considering the purchase of this lens. I've got the old AF-D version and have always wanted the upgrade to AF-S. So, you've given me a lot of good info to ponder.

thanks
Kerry



Apr 06, 2013 at 04:51 PM
gugs
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p.3 #12 · p.3 #12 · UPDATE: Tested - 80-400 Vs 300 + TC Vs 70-200 + TC


Just some more info for those interested: I have done some real life testing of the new 80-400VR with and without 1.4 TC, and I have been impressed by the IQ fully open @ 400/550mm. The only small issue I had is some front focusing I could compensate in the AF tuning menu.

Next to that I did some comparisons with the other lenses in the same range (I also have a 80-400VR AF-D and the Sigma 80-400 OS). On a D4, IQ is not significantly different between those 3 lenses, center, corner sharpness are very good in all cases. The only HUGE difference is breathing on the new lens. If I shoot a subject at a short distance (about 8 feet), (this is by the way about the distance I was from ducks when I took a few test shots this afternoon), in a controlled environment, I get the following results:
- 80-400VR AF-S 400mm is my reference shot
- 80-400OS @ 360mm gives me the same framing
- 80-400VR AF-D @ 270mm !!!!! gives me the same framing
Since I never use those lenses @infinity I have some doubts about the usefulness of a 80-400mm lens if the actual focal length is very far from the announced value.

Guy



Apr 07, 2013 at 08:49 PM
Elan II
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p.3 #13 · p.3 #13 · UPDATE: Tested - 80-400 Vs 300 + TC Vs 70-200 + TC


gugs wrote:
Just some more info for those interested: I have done some real life testing of the new 80-400VR with and without 1.4 TC, and I have been impressed by the IQ fully open @ 400/550mm. The only small issue I had is some front focusing I could compensate in the AF tuning menu.

Next to that I did some comparisons with the other lenses in the same range (I also have a 80-400VR AF-D and the Sigma 80-400 OS). On a D4, IQ is not significantly different between those 3 lenses, center, corner sharpness are very good in all cases. The
...Show more


You're close to MFD here. There hasn't been an honest focal length for zooms nor aperture rating for macro prime near MFD for some years now. I don't think you're buying this lens for close-ups, so this should be okay?







Apr 07, 2013 at 10:39 PM
Andre Labonte
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p.3 #14 · p.3 #14 · UPDATE: Tested - 80-400 Vs 300 + TC Vs 70-200 + TC


Elan II wrote:
You're close to MFD here. There hasn't been an honest focal length for zooms nor aperture rating for macro prime near MFD for some years now. I don't think you're buying this lens for close-ups, so this should be okay?



*******************

Actually, I like using telephoto lenses with tubes for doing things like flowers and butterflies. What's the point of getting something like the 80-400 AF-S if my 70-200 VR-I does almost as well? I understand some focus breathing may be necessary, but it seems like the latest versions of the 70-200 and 80-400 are going a bit too far in that regard. 400mm should be 400mm at 10 feet and at infinity.



Apr 07, 2013 at 11:40 PM
binary visions
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p.3 #15 · p.3 #15 · UPDATE: Tested - 80-400 Vs 300 + TC Vs 70-200 + TC


For things like butterflies and flowers, isn't the max reproduction ratio the important number?

I know the focus breathing has some implications but for bugs, what I've always looked at was the reproduction ratio, as that is a fixed, measurable number that takes MFD/focus breathing into account.



Apr 08, 2013 at 12:47 AM
Lance B
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p.3 #16 · p.3 #16 · UPDATE: Tested - 80-400 Vs 300 + TC Vs 70-200 + TC


I'd love to know the focal lengths when the subject to camera distances are at say, 3mts, 7mts, 10mts, 15mts and 25mts as these are the distances that I would be interested in.


Apr 08, 2013 at 01:14 AM
Andre Labonte
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p.3 #17 · p.3 #17 · UPDATE: Tested - 80-400 Vs 300 + TC Vs 70-200 + TC


binary visions wrote:
For things like butterflies and flowers, isn't the max reproduction ratio the important number?

I know the focus breathing has some implications but for bugs, what I've always looked at was the reproduction ratio, as that is a fixed, measurable number that takes MFD/focus breathing into account.



Reproduction ratio is important but so is reach. Butterflies like to be in places you can't get close to. Consequently, if you have a 400mm lens, you want it to stay that way even at distances of 5 or 10 feet



Apr 08, 2013 at 03:03 AM
gugs
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p.3 #18 · p.3 #18 · UPDATE: Tested - 80-400 Vs 300 + TC Vs 70-200 + TC


The situation is even worse than I thought. For more than 50% of my kind of usage, the 80-400VR is a 70-300VR, just 5 times more expensive. I was intending to use the lens as a replacement to the old generation or Sigma for birding, and wildlife. If I look at the pictures I have taken in the past, the distance to the subject is very often between 8 to 15 feet. I also took a number of pictures at longer distances (of course), but those are not my top priority.

Just an example (distance is about 12 feet):
First picture: 70-300VR @300mm
Second picture: 80-400VR @400mm

D8A_2962 by gugs, on Flickr


D8A_2965 by gugs, on Flickr

I don't know what you think but I feel seriously cheated with those "modern" lens designs.

Guy



Apr 08, 2013 at 06:52 PM
binary visions
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p.3 #19 · p.3 #19 · UPDATE: Tested - 80-400 Vs 300 + TC Vs 70-200 + TC


It sucks to make a big purchase and have regrets about it, sorry to hear it. The MFD + reproduction ratio should provide some insight into what the focus breathing is like, but it never suffices for having the item in your hands and looking at it.

The last images look like the 80-400mm had an effective focal length of around 350mm, just as a guess from eyeballing the magnification differences. Mine will be here on Wednesday and I'll be doing some testing to see how bad the issue is for my uses.

I think it was the Sigma 120-300 I tested that had a simply amazing amount of focus breathing. I'm not exactly sure what the optical design tradeoff is that causes this but it's clearly getting more prevalent rather than less.



Apr 08, 2013 at 08:56 PM
Kerry Pierce
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p.3 #20 · p.3 #20 · UPDATE: Tested - 80-400 Vs 300 + TC Vs 70-200 + TC


Guy, thanks for posting those comparison photos. For sure, I'll have to check my shots from my 80-400 AF-D before I make a purchase decision on the new lens. Like you, I also have the 70-300vr and I wouldn't be happy with that either.

I'm now starting to think that I should just sell off all of my long zooms, buy the 200 f/2 and then use TC's when I need to "zoom".

thanks
Kerry



Apr 08, 2013 at 10:59 PM
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