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Re: Manual Focus Nikon Glass

Well, I stopped by the local pro shop in downtown Seattle after having lunch with an old friend I had not seen in almost 10 years. Lunch was great with her, but I had brought my camera bag with me and was eager to see what they had in the used case.

Turns out they had not much interesting in the used case, but they did have the brand spankin\' new 80-400/4.5-5.6 AFS VR. I also had my 400/5.6 ED AI with me, so I decide to do a side-by-side match as best I could with my D800. No tripod, but the 80-400 has VR and it was a nice sunny afternoon in Seattle for a change.

What was the upshod at 400mm? Well, in the center at f/5.6 and f/8 the brand new lens from Nikon just barely beat out the 30 year old lens - only noticeable at 100%. It was just at tad sharper and had a bit less CA. So I checked in the edges and far corners and what do you know? - The old 400/5.6 ED handily won that battle at both apertures tested. The new 80-400 was blurry and wavy for sure while the 400/5.6 ED was just slightly less sharp in the far corners.

So, if you need 400mm and don\'t need VR or AF, then save yourself $2K and find a 400/5.6 ED or ED-IF . . .

PS - I also was not that impressed with the VR steadiness at 400mm - my 70-200/4 + TC20EIII seemed much much more rock steady than the 80-400/4.5-5.6 AFS VR.

Really to do it right I would need to put both lenses on a tripod, but both hand held - one with VR and the other not - is not so bad of a comparison. Some pictures later.

- John

Mar 23, 2013 at 03:08 AM

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