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Thread: Review : Nikkor AF-S 600mm f/4 G VR

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    Review : Nikkor AF-S 600mm f/4 G VR

    Hi all,
    I bought this lens in December 2008 and after having extensively used it for the last 6 months I will be happy to share my personal opinion on this particular glass.

    I still remember in 1986 when I just finished my high school Nikon announced their very first 600mm f/4 AI-S. For more than two decades, I'd been dreaming about this kind of lens : today my dream comes true !
    Despite the short supply worlwide, I managed to get mine in just 24h from an authorised Nikon Australia !!! The owner of the shop personally came to deliver the special parcel to me !

    Inside the tripple cartons, a lovely metal case :








    It took me more than 5 minutes to unwrap the lens and its hoods !







    I was very surprised by the size of the lens (from left to right : 600 VR, 200-400 VR & 70-200 VR).

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    Before buying this 600 VR, I have tried in the field two Nikkor 600mm f/4 : the AI-S and the AF-I models. So I already had an idea about IQ and weight/size of such glasses.




    Compared to the AF-I 600mm f/4 (on the left), side by side...



    Compared to the AF-S 500mm f/4 VR (on the left), side by side...



    The 600 VR is huge and does look very impressive.

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    Here's my personal opinion :

    What I really like :
    * Fantastique AF speed, as fast as my 70-200 VR. Stunning performance considering its size and weight,
    * Extremely sharp wide open and outstanding contrast and colours rendition,
    * Very useful and efficient VR II,
    * Superb brightness in the viewfinder, brighter than my 200-400 VR, probably from its massive front element,
    * Buttery smooth and exquisite bokeh,
    * Truly fine professional instrument with top class craftmanship.


    What I like less :
    * Size and weight. Top class tripod and head needed to get stelar results,
    * VR ring (I prefer the reliable small switch on the 200-400 or 70-200),
    * Nearly impossible to handhold,
    * Price, price and price.


    I will post some pictures taken with the bare lens and lens+TC(s) later...
    Last edited by Sar NOP; 16-07-2009 at 6:01pm.

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    Excellent write up, not many of us can hope to own such massive rocket launchers

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    D2Hs, 1/160", f/4, 200 ISO, Handheld.



    Crop 100%
    Cheers
    Sar


    D2Hs, D2Hs, D2X, D7000, D800 | AF-S 14-24/2.8 | AF-S 18-300 DX | AF-S 24-70/2.8 | AI-S 50/1.8 | AI-S 105/2.5 | AI-S 105/4 Micro-Nikkor | AF-S 85/1.4 G | AI-S 50-300/4.5 ED | AI-S 180/2.8 ED | AI 80-200/4.5N | AF-S 200-400/4 VR | AF-S 600/4 VR | TC-14EII, TC-17EII, TC-20EIII, Kenko 2x | SB-800+Better Beamer | Tripod Dutch Hill+Dietmar Nill Head


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    I think you can probably afford to update your bodies now too

    Thanks for the write up Sar. That thing is huge. Perhaps if I sell a kidney I might be able to afford one

    Cheers
    Leigh
    Nikon D600, 24-70, 300 VR1 2.8, Tamron 60 f2 macro + Kenko tubes. SB800.



    My Nikonians Gallery

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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    Headspin material.

    Thanks for sharing, I know what I will be dreaming about tonight.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TEITZY View Post
    I think you can probably afford to update your bodies now too
    I put too much money in glasses now can't afford a new FX pro body anymore...but am still waiting for a real pro DX body, maybe a D3H ???

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    untill i saw the last pic on the first post i did not realise how big that thing is! just wow!
    - Andrew
    dont worry i'm a noob i can say these things....

    D40x
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    Way Down Yonder in the Paw Paw Patch jim's Avatar
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    Thanks Sar. To me this is a fascinating look at the (presently) unattainable.

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    Thanks for posting this, really interesting. I did have to laugh when I saw it in comparison to the 70-200, that feels big enough after a couple of hours, I can only imagine lifting that monster.
    Thanks again.
    Cheers, Lani.
    Bodies: Nikon D700, D300 Primes: Nikon 50mm 1.4, 85mm 1.4G, 105mm VR 2.8, 300mm f4. Zooms: Nikon 14-24 2.8, 24-70 2.8, 70-200VR II 2.8, Sigma 10-20mm Processing: Photoshop CS5 extended, LR 3.2.


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    You may have inspired me to do a review of my 400, which in a lot of ways is quite similar to the 600, just maybe, lol

    Great review, my mentor has a 600 and is blown away with it's IQ. Have you tried it with a D3 in DX mode ? The IQ is stellar and I would have thought shooting at noiseless iso1600 would appeal ?
    Darren
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    Constructive Critique of my images always appreciated

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    Another one with TC-14EII :

    D2Hs, 1/400", f/5.6, @840mm, 400 ISO, Monopod.



    Crop 100%

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    Excellent review mate. It looks very similar my Canon 600/4, and it too is an amazing bit of glass. I ahve to agree with your pros and cons, but when you look at it, it is so worth it, the shots are absolutely stunning.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi View Post
    Have you tried it with a D3 in DX mode ? The IQ is stellar and I would have thought shooting at noiseless iso1600 would appeal ?
    A few months ago, I took about 500-1000 photos with the D700 at high ISO, in both FX and DX modes : IQ is much better, straight from the camera, than with my D2Hs.


    D700, 1/200", f/5.6, @600mm, 4000 ISO, Handheld, FX Mode.



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    D700, 1/500", f/8, @1020mm (600+TC-17EII), 2500 ISO, Handheld, DX Mode.


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    Another one with Kenko 2x :


    D2Hs, 1/250", f/11, @1200mm, 400 ISO, Tripod. Manual focus.



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    Extreme set up : 600+TC-17EII+Kenko 2x = 2040mm (3060mm effective !).


    D2Hs, 1/250", f/32, @2040mm, 400 ISO, Bean Bag. Manual focus.



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    That is amazing, no other words to describe that. Wow.

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    Impressive IQ with the Kenko 2x TC (they're actually useable ).

    Cheers
    Leigh

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    Leaves me a bit speechless! Wow!
    Margaret

    Nikon D7100 Manfrotto MF 055XPROB Pro Tripod & gynbal head, Nikon 18-70 mm, Sigma 10-20 mm, Kenko tubes, Nikkor 80-300 mm VR, Sigma 180 mm macro, Sigma 120-400 mm OS lenses, SB600 Speedlight, Photoshop CS5 on a Mac, Caapture One 7, Lightroom 4 Critiques welcomed


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