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I never quite understood the 800mm f/5.6 lens - a 600 f/4.0 with TC-14 will be 840mm f/5.6 and almost as sharp, much more versatile, about the same weight, and generally is cheaper, probably because it isn't so rare.
Perhaps because you are not a bird photog. Birders always need more reach
The 800/5.6 ais has 3 ED elements (vs. 2 of the 600/4 & 600/5.6) which supposedly are responsible for the excellent image with all TCs, including the TC20EIII for a very good and relatively "luminous" 1600/11 lens, or a "luminous" 1280/9 (TC16A), or a "luminous" 1360/9.5 (TC17E).
BTW my copy is a ~battered one bought relatively "cheap" at ~USD 2,200.00 3 years ago from a pro wildife photog here in Brazil.
And it is not so rare - almost 3,000 were made and right now I can see at least 8 at ebay!!
Three samples at 1600mm:
Lazy young guy vs. working hard old man by labecoaves, on Flickr
Lazy young guy looking at atmospheric turbulence vs. working hard old man.
Real life test of the Nikkor 800mm f/5.6 AIS EDIF + TC20EIII (=1600 f/11).
Shot with D7000, tripod, ISO 200 f/16 (=8) at 1/160s. ~ 20% cropped. ~200m of distance.
Moon 800mm f/5.6+TC20EIII = 1600mm f/11 by labecoaves, on Flickr
Test of the new TC20EIII on an old Nikkor 800mm f/5.6 AI-S EDIF.
D300, ISO 200, 1/50s at f/16(=8), tripod, MLU during 20 s, cable release.
Spot metering, -0.33 EV.
And my last shot of the "angles of view" panel posted yesterday - note the details on the cloth fabric at 650m of distance, even through some atmospheric turbulence (dry season here, some dust in the air):
1600mmf11 - 650m away by labecoaves, on Flickr
1600mmf11 - 650m away
D600 + 800/5.6 + TC20EIII + tripod + remote shutter, ISO 320, f/22 (f11x2) at 1/200s.
The 3 ED elements of this lens can be responsible for the lack of CA even when using a 2x TC.
Edited on Aug 24, 2014 at 10:15 PM · View previous versions