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Thread: Nikon AF-S 200-400mm f4 VR

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    Nikon AF-S 200-400mm f4 VR

    Hi all,

    I was wondering if anyone here has used the Nikon 200-400mm lens? If so, what has been your opinion of it.

    I am into wildlife photography as a break from my general day to day wedding and commercial side of things.

    I will be totally honest here and say that yes primes are much better at sharpness but I am not wanting to move around too much just to frame the shot (if that makes sense?)

    Anyway, I was hoping for some feedback if any.

    Sorry the model I am wanting is the first one VR1 not VR2 with Nanocrystal. Unless it makes a massive difference in quality of image?

    Any input will be appreciated

    Lanny
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]Photography is a science but capturing an image is art.
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    I've been using this lens for 6 years now, mainly for birds and outdoor sport.
    If I have to keep only one lens, it will be no doubt this 200-400/4.
    No surprise for IQ on both FX and DX cameras : excellent sharpness wide open, saturated colour and very good bokeh.
    AF speed depends on camera you use (I remember my old D70 struggled to cope with this massive zoom lens !), especially when a TC is attached to it. It performs extremely well on the D800, even with the 3 Nikon TCs.

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    A. P's Culinary Indiscriminant mongo's Avatar
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    Mongo has had the VR1 for about 3 years.

    Mongo has had very mixed results - some stunning (and the lens is most capable of producing this level of image even with X1.4 converter) and others very ordinary. It seems there are a few variables that you have to get just right to get the brilliant results the lens is capable of. From Mongo's experience and deductions, it may be down to how well you use the lens and how accurately you can get it to focus on the subject. If this is achieved, then you can expect brilliant results. It is handy and versatile although just bordering on the edge of getting a little big/heavy but not as much as its alternatives.

    Mongo has read in some write-ups that the VR1 is slightly sharper than the VR2. Not sure about any real advantage the nanocrystal coating gives over the lens that does not have it. If you can take a few test shots before you buy, it would always be preferable.

    these are some when Mongo was just getting used to using the lens.

    minor-for-aus.jpg

    wd3.jpg

    NE Honey eater.jpg
    Nikon and Pentax user



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    Yay, thank you sooo much for taking the time to comment Sar and Mongo.

    I am really looking forward to getting it. It is coming from a friend in Alaska who I bought it off who is a Wildlife photographer.

    I have used it while I was over there and the opportunity came through for me to buy it from him. So you both found the focusing fairly fast?

    I will be shooting with the D800 and D3s so I hope that these cameras really assist in its performance.

    How did you go with the size of the lens? Did it become too hard to hold after a while? Or do you mostly use a Gimble Head system.

    Sorry but can I also ask what is the lens like tracking birds in flight? That was one thing I never had the opportunity to do when I used it briefly.

    Once again thank you both for taking the time to answer my question.

    Warm regards,

    Lanny

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    It's interesting but based on what you'd think there are very few pro sport togs using it

    Prob more to do with f/4 than anything else
    Darren
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi View Post
    It's interesting but based on what you'd think there are very few pro sport togs using it

    Prob more to do with f/4 than anything else
    Do you think that some of it could be because there is an element of risk that you might not get that one shot?

    I honestly thought that the lens would have been great for sport?

    Allowing you to reach all cover of the ground? Im not saying that this would be ideal but for some flexibility I thought it might be good. At least during the day?

    Oh well I will just stick to my wildlife and if for some reason the wildlife i am shooting breakout into a game of football then I shall have the pleasure of shooting both

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    On fx 400mm only still adequately covers 1/3 of a field, if that. So, I would very rarely be at anything less. It wold be handy for daytime kids where there are smaller fields.

    I used to have a 120-300 on DX, so similar to a 200-400 on DX and I still found almost all shots were at 300


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    Quote Originally Posted by Lanny View Post
    So you both found the focusing fairly fast?

    I will be shooting with the D800 and D3s so I hope that these cameras really assist in its performance.

    How did you go with the size of the lens? Did it become too hard to hold after a while? Or do you mostly use a Gimble Head system.

    Sorry but can I also ask what is the lens like tracking birds in flight? That was one thing I never had the opportunity to do when I used it briefly.
    This is a very high torqued zoom lens (unique in Nikon telelenses), considering the heavy mecanical blocs to move inside. So, the focusing will be extremely fast (initial acquisition focus point in particular) on your D800 and D3s.
    Despite its massive size and length, I use it handheld 99.99% of the time (I use monopod when I shoot surfing). Unfortunately, you cannot handhold it for hours.
    For me, this is the best lens for bird in flight. You may find the 300/2.8 or 200/2 a little faster for tracking and easier for handholding, but the 200-400 gives you more opportunities to get more shots as you can zoom in and out while shooting your subject in action.

    Last Sunday under a wild weather (strong wind and rain), I saw this Nankeen Kestrel fying toward me. I took the 200-400+D800, pointed to the bird, zoomed out to 200mm and fired a burst of 4 images : they were all spot on !
    If I had a 300/2.8, 400/2.8, 500/4 or 600/4, I would miss the opportunity for decent shots.

    D800, 200-400 VRI, 1/320", f/5.6, @200mm, 3200 ISO, handheld. Full frame.




    Another kestrel from last Monday when outing with Mongo and Lance B :

    D800+200-400, handheld, with sunset light.




    With an old D2Hs :







    Once again, I had the possibility to zoom out during the burst as the bird was flying closer :

    D7000+200-400




    Even with a 2x TC, shooting BIF is still possible with the D800 :

    D800, 200-400 VRI+TC-20EIII, handheld.
    Last edited by Sar NOP; 16-08-2012 at 7:51am.

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    A. P's Culinary Indiscriminant mongo's Avatar
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    Wow, all Mongo can say is that the fullness of the answers you are after all appear to be in the comprehensive images and advice given by Sar who has had far far more experience with this lens than most others.

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    I think SAR could get a great image from a lens made of cellophane stretched over a toilet roll.

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    Who let the rabble in? Lance B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolffman View Post
    I think SAR could get a great image from a lens made of cellophane stretched over a toilet roll.
    I agree.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wolffman View Post
    I think SAR could get a great image from a lens made of cellophane stretched over a toilet roll.

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    Those are amazing images Sar! It's encouraging to know that I have made a good choice of lens for bird images and wildlife in general. Really appreciate the effort and sharing the images to show the potential of the lens.

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    Is Sar the Chuck Norris of AP ?


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi View Post
    Is Sar the Chuck Norris of AP ?
    No, Jet Li.

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