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Archive 2013 · Question about the AF-S 80-400mm
  
 
Tyl3n0L
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Question about the AF-S 80-400mm


Good day everyone!

Ok I'm planning to buy the new AF-S 80-400mm for my D800. But I am still debating if it is worth it or not! 3000$ is not cheap. I had the 70-300vr which I especially loved on my D40, D90. It was lightweight & small however at 300mm on my D800 I think it was a bit soft and I decided to sell it a couple of months ago.

I also had the Sigma 150-500mm but I never liked it. I regretted buying it. I think it was too big, to heavy & personally I never thought it was sharp beyond 300mm. I also sold it.

Now with the new 80-400 I heard good thing about it but I am still wondering how it does compare versus the 70-300VR. Is it sharper at 400mm than the 70-300VR at 300mm? Overall, is it a sharper, faster lens than the 70-300VR?

I also heard very good thing about the 70-200 f/4 but I am afraid it's a bit too short... There's the new Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 which look's very good too but quite expensive...

Decision decision...







Jun 29, 2013 at 09:25 AM
workerdrone
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Question about the AF-S 80-400mm


Sounds like some folks are dumping their 200-400's for this lens. If it's worth doing that it suggests that the price is arguably reasonable and it's in an entirely different league than the 70-300.

If you're looking for "bargain reach that leverages the D800 resolution", then maybe the 300/4 AFS?



Jun 29, 2013 at 10:25 AM
ckcarr
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Question about the AF-S 80-400mm


Nothing compares to the 80-400mm vr "G" lens for what it is - in the Nikon world anyway. Except buying a 300mm f/4 af-s and adding a tc... But then you have a fixed focal length and older lens without Nanocoat and all the bells & whistles.

Is it worth $2,700? Depends on your personal budget. Some won't blink. Others cringe. It's a very expensive lens no doubt. However, the prices are a trend I'd expect to see continue as our dollar is worth less. There was a rumor floating about that the price might get adjusted through rebates in a while... But, that could be like waiting for a D400... I had the lens for a bit, but my buyers remorse was too much... If it does rebate at $400 to $500 I'll be back in...

Anyway, what are you going to do. It is what it is...

There are now several reviews out on the lens that might be worthwhile reading for you. Here's a couple:

The Mansurov review http://photographylife.com/reviews/nikon-80-400mm-vr

Gordon Laing at Camera Labs. http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/Nikon_Nikkor_AF-S_80-400mm_f4-5-5-6G_ED_VR/



Jun 29, 2013 at 01:02 PM
molson
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Question about the AF-S 80-400mm


Tyl3n0L wrote:
Now with the new 80-400 I heard good thing about it but I am still wondering how it does compare versus the 70-300VR. Is it sharper at 400mm than the 70-300VR at 300mm? Overall, is it a sharper, faster lens than the 70-300VR?



I'm one of those people that actually likes the 70-300 VR, and I think it performs relatively well on my D800/D800E bodies, but I also have the AFS 80-400 VR, and it's sharper at 400mm than the 70-300 VR is at any focal length.

The main drawback of the AFS 80-400 VR (besides the current sticker price) is the need to spend another $200-$300 for a third-party tripod collar - the Nikon one is virtually useless.



Jun 29, 2013 at 01:21 PM
ckcarr
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Question about the AF-S 80-400mm


By the way, look back a bit. There is a master thread all about this lens, with examples and discussion...

Molson, it's not quite that bad but I know what you are saying, for that money it should be rock solid direct from Nikon... The Kirk replacement is $169.95 and the Really right Stuff is $235.



Jun 29, 2013 at 02:16 PM
rick_reno
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Question about the AF-S 80-400mm


workerdrone wrote:
Sounds like some folks are dumping their 200-400's for this lens. If it's worth doing that it suggests that the price is arguably reasonable and it's in an entirely different league than the 70-300.

If you're looking for "bargain reach that leverages the D800 resolution", then maybe the 300/4 AFS?


Cruising Ebay this am, I counted 21 200-400's up for sale. Prior to the release of the new 80-400, I would see a max of 3 of these. They're being replaced.



Jun 29, 2013 at 02:30 PM
Alan321
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Question about the AF-S 80-400mm


It depends a lot on why you want it. If you really do have a need or a want for long tele zoom with a moderately high zoom ratio then a 70-200 just won't do it for you. Nor will a 70-200 with a TC. For many people a 70-200 might be ideal but for me the 100-400 was always more appropriate. In Nikon that translates to the 80-400.

That's all about focal length range and using a single lens for whatever I might want to shoot. When you take actual image quality into account then things get harder because better IQ usually comes at the expense of higher price, limited zoom range, more weight, etc. All of those can ruin your day but I think that the new 80-400 will make a very capable and flexible and worthwhile long FL daytime handheld lens. Possibly not so good for low-light stuff or for applications that are quite specific and can be covered with a prime or a better grade of zoom like the 200-400.

However, if you are after the very best IQ from a D800 then you don't want to be using f/8 and smaller apertures if you can avoid it, and the 80-400 is not at its very best at maximum aperture. For that the 200-400 is likely to be better more often than not, and a supertele prime will be wonderful - so long as you can work within the limits they impose on user convenience.

I doubt that I would buy a 200-400 these days but I am happy to keep both my 200-400 and my new 80-400.

- Alan



Jun 29, 2013 at 06:45 PM
Christian H
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Question about the AF-S 80-400mm


Brian Kushner has been using one on a D800 for a while. Looks tack-sharp wide open. AF is reportedly very fast for this type of lens.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/bkushner/



Jun 29, 2013 at 09:41 PM
jyo1
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Question about the AF-S 80-400mm


I feel the call of the new 80-400...


Jul 01, 2013 at 02:15 AM
rd4tile
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Question about the AF-S 80-400mm


Smokin deal on one here on FM right now with the Kirk collar!


Jul 01, 2013 at 02:36 AM
 

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Frogfish
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Question about the AF-S 80-400mm


The Sigma 120-300/2.8 is a superb lens, incredibly sharp and takes the Sigma TCs (better than Canon, Kenko Nikon's) extremely well. However it is twice the weight of the 80-400 and as you found the 50-500 too heavy so you will this one. This lens is WR the 80-400 is not.
BTW the previous version (HSM OS) can still be found new and is optically identical ... and not far off US$1,000 cheaper !

I did see one poster somewhere say this lens has IF, it doesn't if that is an issue for anyone :

The lens fully collapses at its shortest focal length of 80mm, and the front element moves very close to the barrel, with almost no space left in between. As you start zooming in, the front of the lens starts extending out, reaching its fullest length at 400mm. The inner barrel is made of plastic and unlike some of the cheaper Nikon zoom lenses, does not wobble when fully extended. The lens will take light bumps here and there (try not to bump the lens when it is fully extended), but I would not expect it to survive a serious drop.

Overall the 80-400 is definitely a lens I am considering to replace the heavy 120-300 now that I do not use the 120-300 for birding any more.



Jul 01, 2013 at 04:52 AM
Frogfish
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Question about the AF-S 80-400mm


This was rather disconcerting from the Mansurov review kindly linked to above by ckcarr.

Now I do have to note that there is definitely sample variation on the Nikon 80-400mm AF-S VR lenses out there. The first sample I tested was very good at 80-300mm focal lengths, but suffered badly at 400mm not something I expected after examining the MTF chart. I was rather disappointed with the lens at first, because I could not yield any sharp images above 300mm. Then I put it in a lab and examined the lens at 400mm. The tests revealed rather nasty lens alignment issues, so I sent it back for a replacement. The second sample turned out to be much better, although I did have to dial -10 in AF Fine Tune after calibrating it using LensAlign



Jul 01, 2013 at 05:50 AM
hijazist
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Question about the AF-S 80-400mm


This has been an interesting & informative thread to read. I am debating replacing my 300 f/4 AF-S with the new 80-400 for birding, wildlife & some sports but the price is pushing me towards a used 300 2.8 AF-S II.


Jul 01, 2013 at 06:59 AM
Frogfish
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Question about the AF-S 80-400mm


hijazist wrote:
This has been an interesting & informative thread to read. I am debating replacing my 300 f/4 AF-S with the new 80-400 for birding, wildlife & some sports but the price is pushing me towards a used 300 2.8 AF-S II.


I would note that Mansurov pretty much said that TCs with the new 80-400 are a no-no and showed MTF tables to back up his assertion. It was pretty damning and for birding your 300+ a x1.4 or x1.7 TC is going to blow it away (especially since you don't need VR for birds when shooting over 1/500). It seems the 80-400 is great for versatility but not as a dedicated birding lens, especially with the micro-focusing issues at distance.

I have the 300/2.8 VRII and it is simply spectacular (with all of Nikon latest TCs too) - it is now my birding lens bar none (I'm selling my Sigma 500 and probably the Sigma 120-300 and TCs too).



Jul 01, 2013 at 10:17 AM
hijazist
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Question about the AF-S 80-400mm


Frogfish wrote:
I would note that Mansurov pretty much said that TCs with the new 80-400 are a no-no and showed MTF tables to back up his assertion. It was pretty damning and for birding your 300+ a x1.4 or x1.7 TC is going to blow it away (especially since you don't need VR for birds when shooting over 1/500). It seems the 80-400 is great for versatility but not as a dedicated birding lens, especially with the micro-focusing issues at distance.

I have the 300/2.8 VRII and it is simply spectacular (with all of Nikon latest TCs too) - it is now
...Show more

Thanks a lot for the info The 300 f/4 is indeed a stellar lens at its price. The 300 VRII is a dream lens for me, however, I am considering the 300 2.8 II (non-VR) which is estimated at $3000 used. VR is great but I am looking to use it more for sports & BIF so VR is not a deal decider/breaker, especially at a $2000 difference



Jul 01, 2013 at 10:22 AM
molson
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Question about the AF-S 80-400mm


ckcarr wrote:
Molson, it's not quite that bad but I know what you are saying, for that money it should be rock solid direct from Nikon...


With the Nikon collar attached, and the lens tightened down securely a very solid ball head and large tripod, with just light pressure from one finger I can rock the lens up and down about half an inch. Nikon's collar is very "springy" and this springiness amplifies any movement or vibration - it's exactly the same problem they had years ago with the collars for the 80-200 f2.8 AFS and the early copies of the 300 f4 AFS lenses. Repeating the same stupid design blunders is inexcusable, IMHO.

I received the RRS collar yesterday; it still flexes a bit - the end of the lens moves perhaps a quarter of an inch up and down - but it seems to dampen the movement quite well.



Jul 03, 2013 at 02:19 PM
bpark42
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Question about the AF-S 80-400mm


Tyl3n0L wrote:
Ok I'm planning to buy the new AF-S 80-400mm for my D800. But I am still debating if it is worth it or not! 3000$ is not cheap.


I rented the af-s 80-400 on a recent trip to Florida. It served me well for wildlife shooting on the D800. The lens is quite sharp even at 400mm, and the VR is very good, certainly far superior to the IS on the Canon 100-400 I owned before I switched to Nikon. The autofocus is good as well. It did a satisfactory job keeping up with large birds in flight:


Untitled by bpark_42, on Flickr


osprey by bpark_42, on Flickr

Having said all that, I think the lens is a little overpriced. I would maybe be willing to pay around $2000 to $2100 for it.



Jul 03, 2013 at 03:40 PM
rd4tile
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Question about the AF-S 80-400mm


Frogfish wrote:
It was pretty damning and for birding your 300+ a x1.4 or x1.7 TC is going to blow it away (especially since you don't need VR for birds when shooting over 1/500).


There are quite a few images out there from the 80-400 with 1.4X onboard that show it is quite capable of good IQ in the right hands. And the bare 80-400 is "splitting hairs" close to the 300 VR2 + 1.4X based on my experience in owning both so I'm not sure how the 300 f4 with a TC is going to blow the 80-400 away?

I will give the 300 VR2 + TCs this, it's a lot easier to pick it up, start firing away and get great images. The 80-400 is not that forgiving and I think the VR is part the issue. It seems to work well at very slow shutter speeds but at anything near normal it needs to be turned off or it can introduce a tiny amount of blur (if you're running & gunning) that would lead one to think it's not that sharp.

But if we're talking dedicated, a real birding lens starts with a 500 AF-S 1/2 or VR version and goes up from there IMHO.

Rich



Jul 03, 2013 at 03:42 PM
Frogfish
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Question about the AF-S 80-400mm


rd4tile wrote:
There are quite a few images out there from the 80-400 with 1.4X onboard that show it is quite capable of good IQ in the right hands. And the bare 80-400 is "splitting hairs" close to the 300 VR2 + 1.4X based on my experience in owning both so I'm not sure how the 300 f4 with a TC is going to blow the 80-400 away?

I will give the 300 VR2 + TCs this, it's a lot easier to pick it up, start firing away and get great images. The 80-400 is not that forgiving and I think the
...Show more

Rich. I'm sure you will agree there is more variation in image IQ due to user error / expertise, or lack of, than there is in measurements from MTF charts (though of course there is sample variation) so when highly respected reviewers make the point and show the charts I think that has to be a major consideration in assessing any lens.

From all the images I've seen from the 80-400 (and I'm sure we all agree, or should do, that it's not a 200-400 - which I found stunning) the 100% crops are not of the same IQ as the 300/2.8 (even with a x1.4 aboard, as I find virtually no difference worth mentioning in either AF or IQ performance from that combo). This shouldn't surprise anyone considering the price difference.

Maybe to say 'the 300/4 will blow away the 80-400' for birding contains more than a little hyperbole but is also interesting to note that the 300/4 has been measured as almost as sharp as the 300/2.8 and that there are plenty of super sharp shots taken with TCs around to prove the value of those combos too (look at Trenchmonkey's for example). The 300/4 plus TCs is already established as a lightweight and cost-effective birding combo, unless you want to go to the 300/2.8 an TCs or superteles as you suggested. Whereas the 80-400 shots I've seen over in the Wildlife forum seem to lack high detail, maybe that is the result of shooting birds at distance, maybe you could comment on that ? 400mm at distance/infinity ?

Personally I use the 300/2.8 and TCs as I often find use for the bare 300/2.8 (early mornings/late afternoons in wooded areas) but as I said somewhere on this forum recently, the 80-400 looks to be a lens well worth having in the (my) arsenal, even though IMHO not as my primary birding lens.



Jul 03, 2013 at 07:47 PM
billsnature
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Question about the AF-S 80-400mm


I own the 70-300VR and the 80-400 AFS G and the 70-200mm VRII with 1.4X

The 80-400 is way better than the 70-300VR! It is better than the Canon 100-400mm which I thought was better than the 70-200mm with 2X converter.

Is it is better than the 70-200mm f2.8 VRII and 300AFS with a TC-14EII 1.4X as a combination to cover the range?

Might not be... But it sure is lighter and cheaper and a hell of a lot easier to use and pack.

I am impressed enough with the 80-400mm VR that I am seriously considering selling my 70-200mm VR f2.8 II

Bill



Jul 04, 2013 at 12:01 AM
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