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Archive 2013 · UPDATE: Tested - 80-400 Vs 300 + TC Vs 70-200 + TC
  
 
Kerry Pierce
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p.5 #1 · p.5 #1 · UPDATE: Tested - 80-400 Vs 300 + TC Vs 70-200 + TC


@binary visions, I like the bokeh in your sample. I don't think it's bad at all.

I'm thinking about this new lens vs the new Sigma 120-300. I have the old 80-400 and an old 120-300 Sigma, without OS. It's been a while since I used either one, but seems to me that the IQ of the Sigma with 1.4x TC was as good or better than the old Nikon, but with much better AF.

Given the hefty price of the new AF-S 80-400, I'm curious about the upcoming new version of the 120-300, so I am going to sit back and see how that pans out. Assuming that the new Sigma is excellent, the only real problem would be the weight and size that it brings to the table. I still use my old 80-400 when I want convenience.

Kerry



Apr 16, 2013 at 12:15 AM
binary visions
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p.5 #2 · p.5 #2 · UPDATE: Tested - 80-400 Vs 300 + TC Vs 70-200 + TC


So, I did a whole bunch of testing this weekend.

I took the 300mm f/4, the 1.4x TC, the 1.7x TC, my new 80-400mm and my 70-300mm out to a parking lot and shot a bunch of test charts.

Then I took my new 80-400mm and the 1.4x TC out to a local park and did some shooting of subjects I've shot a lot with both other lenses/TCs.

All told, here are my impressions:

- The 300mm has a startling amount of purple fringing when compared against a lens that doesn't have any. The 80-400mm has virtually none. I knew the 300mm did this, it's just even more noticeable when side by side with the new zoom.

- The 300mm + 1.4x TC is less sharp than the 80-400mm. The 300mm + 1.7x TC is very slightly more sharp than the 80-400mm + 1.4x TC.

- The 300mm & 80-400 @ 300mm are very similar. 80-400 is obviously a stop slower, but that's no small accomplishment, given how sharp the 300mm is. Also, no purple fringing on the zoom.

- If I were only interested in the long end, I am very impressed with how well the 300mm + 1.7x TC holds up. It is slightly sharper than the zoom + 1.4x. Not a whole lot, but still - very good. All this for half the price. Sweet.

- Given that I don't have to pinch pennies right now, I am extremely pleased with the 80-400. It is sharp across the board, fast to focus, and allows me to half a "grab and go" zoom lens with very few compromises. This will be perfect for vacations, especially since it accepts the 1.4x when needed, giving me a huge zoom range for wildlife on trips where I would be unable to lug a big lens, would be hampered by the lack of a sub-300mm option with the f/4 prime, and would be uncomfortable with the optical compromise of the 70-300mm.

- The addition of VR makes wildlife video actually feasible. I had the opportunity to watch some cygnets leave the nest for the first time and made a video of it, which would have been unwatchable without VR.



Apr 16, 2013 at 01:16 AM
binary visions
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p.5 #3 · p.5 #3 · UPDATE: Tested - 80-400 Vs 300 + TC Vs 70-200 + TC


Kerry, if you can heft the weight of the 120-300mm, I think the new 80-400mm is slightly overpriced, maybe by $500-600.

I think it's an exceptional lens in many respects, and hits about a perfect spot for my needs, so I have no issue swallowing the price.

However, for people whose needs are shifted a little (e.g. they can afford to carry a little more weight, or they only need the long end of the zoom, etc.) I think there are some other excellent options that will either save money or give you more for the money.



Apr 16, 2013 at 01:21 AM
Kerry Pierce
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p.5 #4 · p.5 #4 · UPDATE: Tested - 80-400 Vs 300 + TC Vs 70-200 + TC


I agree, binary visions. Ideally, I'd like to have both of the new models, but I am considering a 200 f/2 in the future, so that will put a crimp on my budget. I liked using the old models that I have, the 120-300 when I needed that level of performance and the 80-400 when I wanted convenience. But, I'm not getting any younger and those big lenses seem to get heavier every year. So, I'll have to consider this one carefully.

thanks
Kerry



Apr 16, 2013 at 08:29 AM
Chris Dees
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p.5 #5 · p.5 #5 · UPDATE: Tested - 80-400 Vs 300 + TC Vs 70-200 + TC


The new 80-400 is a pricy one but the 120-300 is even $1000 more (and not available yet). The 120-400 is more than twice the weight of the 80-400 (comparable with the 200-400).

@binary visions - your profile lists a 200-400 as well, did you already compared that one to the new 80-400?
My idea is to swap the 200-400 for a 80-400 (and get some cash ) and use my 500 for the long end.



Apr 16, 2013 at 10:31 AM
Steve Perry
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p.5 #6 · p.5 #6 · UPDATE: Tested - 80-400 Vs 300 + TC Vs 70-200 + TC


Chris Dees wrote:
The new 80-400 is a pricy one but the 120-300 is even $1000 more (and not available yet). The 120-400 is more than twice the weight of the 80-400 (comparable with the 200-400).

@binary visions - your profile lists a 200-400 as well, did you already compared that one to the new 80-400?
My idea is to swap the 200-400 for a 80-400 (and get some cash ) and use my 500 for the long end.


Chris -

I've had a 200-400 and now of course the 80-400. I think at close range the 200-400 was a touch sharper, but I really like the size of the 80-400 much better - I think it's a much more versatile lens. FWIW I'm doing a similar setup - I have my 80-400 for close stuff and my 600mm for the long end. I anticipate it's going to make a great combo.



Apr 16, 2013 at 01:04 PM
Chris Dees
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p.5 #7 · p.5 #7 · UPDATE: Tested - 80-400 Vs 300 + TC Vs 70-200 + TC


Steve Perry wrote:
Chris -

I've had a 200-400 and now of course the 80-400. I think at close range the 200-400 was a touch sharper, but I really like the size of the 80-400 much better - I think it's a much more versatile lens. FWIW I'm doing a similar setup - I have my 80-400 for close stuff and my 600mm for the long end. I anticipate it's going to make a great combo.


Thanks Steve, I already thought (hoped?) so.
I was already looking to trade my 200-400 in for a D7100 and 80-400 but I have to pay quite a bit extra.



Apr 16, 2013 at 01:16 PM
binary visions
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p.5 #8 · p.5 #8 · UPDATE: Tested - 80-400 Vs 300 + TC Vs 70-200 + TC


Yes, I tested it with the 200-400 as well. The 200-400 is the sharpest lens I own at close distances, by a fair margin. I just decided that the 80-400 is a better lens for traveling.


Apr 16, 2013 at 01:22 PM
gugs
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p.5 #9 · p.5 #9 · UPDATE: Tested - 80-400 Vs 300 + TC Vs 70-200 + TC


I have been using all three lenses... My summary:

The new 80-400VR: I am not happy with the breathing at short distances, but after taking more RL pics, I think it will become my favorite travel zoom: IQ is really excellent, AF is very good and the lens is relatively light and compact. And it takes TCs!
The 200-400VR, the best IQ of the long zooms, fast AFS, but very heavy to handle (I am just back from a 7 hours assignment with most of the time the 200-400VR hand held...) I used to carry it during my travels, but I am not sure anymore after using the 80-400VR more and more.
The 120-300OS is among my favorites too. IQ is excellent., AF is fast, OS works well. I use it a lot for concerts or other indoor shots. The only serious drawback is weight (similar in practice to handling the 200-400VR). Sometimes AF stops working in low light. Price is a serious advantage.

In other words, all those lenses are excellent, I love using all of them, the new 80-400VR being the most versatile and easiest to use combination, at a high price tag...
The 120-300 is a bargain as a top end recreation lens, and the 200-400VR is my lens for serious stuff.

Guy



Apr 16, 2013 at 09:32 PM
binary visions
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p.5 #10 · p.5 #10 · UPDATE: Tested - 80-400 Vs 300 + TC Vs 70-200 + TC


Guy, glad to hear that you're not finding the breathing to be a big deal. I haven't really found it to be a problem yet, either.

This is such a nice travel lens. I went on an overnight business trip to Florida, so I tossed it in my backpack just in case I had a few minutes. Got up early, went out and took a few shots... very pleased with it. I don't usually travel with the 300mm + TCs, because it has no shorter focal lengths to be useful for anything but wildlife, and I don't usually travel with the 70-300mm because 300mm is right on the edge of being useful for birds, and that's where the lens starts to show its deficiencies.




  NIKON D7100    80.0-400.0 mm f/4.5-5.6 lens    280mm    f/8.0    1/500s    500 ISO    +0.3 EV  




Apr 17, 2013 at 08:14 PM
 

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Chris Dees
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p.5 #11 · p.5 #11 · UPDATE: Tested - 80-400 Vs 300 + TC Vs 70-200 + TC


That one IS sharp!!!!


Apr 17, 2013 at 08:35 PM
binary visions
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p.5 #12 · p.5 #12 · UPDATE: Tested - 80-400 Vs 300 + TC Vs 70-200 + TC


100% crop of the above, SOOC:









Apr 17, 2013 at 09:20 PM
ckcarr
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p.5 #13 · p.5 #13 · UPDATE: Tested - 80-400 Vs 300 + TC Vs 70-200 + TC


I see Camera Labs did their review of this lens and gave it a "Highly Recommended." I think that Gordon Laing is fairly respected.

http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/Nikon_Nikkor_AF-S_80-400mm_f4-5-5-6G_ED_VR/index.shtml



Apr 28, 2013 at 09:35 PM
akclimber
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p.5 #14 · p.5 #14 · UPDATE: Tested - 80-400 Vs 300 + TC Vs 70-200 + TC


Thanks for all the info and testing. I'm considering this for my D800e as my light long range lens. I really enjoy the versatility of Canon's 100-400 and it looks like the new 80-400 would hold similar appeal. The price is steep tho. And like others, I'm also eyeing the new Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 but man, they are quite different lenses. I've used a rented 120-300 on my D800e handheld and it is a bit of a beast to hold and steady for any real length of time and it's pretty large and heavy to lug around - not really a carry everywhere kinda lens like the 80-400. Decisions, decisions...

Cheers!



Apr 29, 2013 at 03:11 PM
molson
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p.5 #15 · p.5 #15 · UPDATE: Tested - 80-400 Vs 300 + TC Vs 70-200 + TC


My AF-S 80-400 VR is slightly sharper than the Canon EF 100-400L IS, and noticeably better than any of the five copies of the Nikon AF-S 200-400 VR I've owned. At close range the "focus breathing" design flaw makes it closer to a 300mm focal length at the long end, but I can live with that. I'm looking forward to trying this lens with a Canon 500D closeup diopter.

What I don't like is the weight and cost - with a RRS tripod collar (the Nikon one is useless) the total cost is going to be over $3000, and the weight of this lens with the RRS collar and foot attached is going to tip the scales within a few grams of the faster and sharper Canon 400mm f4 DO IS.




May 15, 2013 at 04:35 PM
ckcarr
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p.5 #16 · p.5 #16 · UPDATE: Tested - 80-400 Vs 300 + TC Vs 70-200 + TC


Noticeably better than a 200-400mm, that say's something!

Unfortunately, even with our little complaints (too fat for my hands), too expensive, tripod collar, etc... It's the best we're going to get from Nikon for probably the next 10 years. In 10 years, I'll probably not even have an interest in photography... So, I'll take it now.



May 15, 2013 at 04:57 PM
Frogfish
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p.5 #17 · p.5 #17 · UPDATE: Tested - 80-400 Vs 300 + TC Vs 70-200 + TC


molson wrote:
My AF-S 80-400 VR is slightly sharper than the Canon EF 100-400L IS, and noticeably better than any of the five copies of the Nikon AF-S 200-400 VR I've owned. At close range the "focus breathing" design flaw makes it closer to a 300mm focal length at the long end, but I can live with that. I'm looking forward to trying this lens with a Canon 500D closeup diopter.

What I don't like is the weight and cost - with a RRS tripod collar (the Nikon one is useless) the total cost is going to be over $3000, and the weight
...Show more

Really ? I mean having had so many copies of the 200-400 I guess you should know but both my mates use the 100-400L and having tried out the 200-400 the other day I can say those lenses don't even come close in either AF speed or sharpness. So if the 80-400 only shades the 100-400 ......... ?

I'd really like to see some test measurements to back that up - I'll have to check all the usual suspects to see what I can find



May 15, 2013 at 05:50 PM
binary visions
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p.5 #18 · p.5 #18 · UPDATE: Tested - 80-400 Vs 300 + TC Vs 70-200 + TC


The 80-400mm doesn't come close to the sharpness of my 200-400 f/4 at close range.

At long distances, the 200-400's "near-sightedness" starts to kick in and the 80-400mm surpasses it, but in close the 200-400mm is the sharpest lens I've used.



May 15, 2013 at 06:21 PM
Chris Dees
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p.5 #19 · p.5 #19 · UPDATE: Tested - 80-400 Vs 300 + TC Vs 70-200 + TC


molson wrote:
..............

What I don't like is the weight and cost - with a RRS tripod collar (the Nikon one is useless) the total cost is going to be over $3000, and the weight of this lens with the RRS collar and foot attached is going to tip the scales within a few grams of the faster and sharper Canon 400mm f4 DO IS.


Isn't the 400DO over $6000? At that price it should be a lot better.
But I agree with the other remarks.



May 15, 2013 at 07:20 PM
binary visions
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p.5 #20 · p.5 #20 · UPDATE: Tested - 80-400 Vs 300 + TC Vs 70-200 + TC


molson wrote:
What I don't like is the weight and cost - with a RRS tripod collar (the Nikon one is useless) the total cost is going to be over $3000, and the weight of this lens with the RRS collar and foot attached is going to tip the scales within a few grams of the faster and sharper Canon 400mm f4 DO IS.


Well... within a few grams is hyperbole. It's still going to be at least a half pound lighter, likely more. Additionally, you're comparing to a different optical technology - diffractive optics are a different animal, and have some plusses (size/weight) and minuses (OOF highlights look funky).

Then, as mentioned above, "over $3000" is still less than half the cost of the 400mm DO.



May 15, 2013 at 08:56 PM
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