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Thread: Nikkor AF 80-400 VR f4.5-5.6

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    Ausphotography Veteran rwg717's Avatar
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    Nikkor AF 80-400 VR f4.5-5.6

    I have a friend wishing to buy a Nikon 80-400 VR as a general purpose lens for telephoto work, I thought it a bit slow but has the range she wants, and most shots are in broad daylight. As I don't have much experience with Nikon gear and have never heard of this offering I was wondering if any Nikon users on AP have this lens and what they think of its performance????
    Richard
    Last edited by rwg717; 01-03-2011 at 10:21pm.
    I've been wrong before!! Happy to have constructive criticism though.Gear used Canon 50D, 7D & 5DMkII plus expensive things hanging off their fronts and of course a "nifty fifty".

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    Decided to give this thread "the punt"....a heap of views and no one seems to have heard of this lens either. I have read a few reviews on the 80-400 VR and although the optics appear to be not too bad, the build quality is close to poor (lots of plastic etc) and the unit is pretty slow for the money.
    Looking closer at the 80-200 f2.8 or the expensive 70-200 f2.8 VR, although these don't really fit the original intention on APSC for 300+mm.
    Thanks for looking
    Richard

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    I know people that swear by it, and some that swear at it

    This review by Thom reinforces what Ive heard

    http://www.bythom.com/80400VRlens.htm
    Darren
    Gear : Nikon Goodness
    Website : http://www.peakactionimages.com
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    Constructive Critique of my images always appreciated

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Another stupid thing I never did.

    Went into Michaels(Melb, city) with the thought to get this lens, they had it for just over $1800 back then... maybe old stock or whatever.
    Took a few snaps, but was more interested in focus speed(on D300) and maybe I'm less fussy, but the 0.75s difference between it and Nikon's uber 70-200/2.8VR felt too insignificant to call it a slow focusing lens.
    But stupid me(well at the time it felt like a good idea) but I went with the Tamron 70-200/2.8( I wanted faster aperture at the time)... but now I yearn for more focal length(but with flexibility).

    I never thought that I would be the type of person to use variable aperture lenses(of this type)... but I'm becoming soft in my older age

    Really.. unless this friend is really fussy, I think she'll like the IQ I only took two test shots of the corner of a street sign and then deleted them(did I mention that I can do stupid things! ) and mainly for confirmation of VR ability(quite good) I vaguely remember 1/200, maybe 1/160s... at 400mm at the time, and images looked sharp enough on the review screen.
    A few moments late tho, I ended up at a store a few doors down the street and came out with the Tammy 70-200mm.

    As for build quality.. it;s very high to brilliant(as I remember) felt as good as any 70-200VR I've ever picked up and held.

    Didn't even notice the use of plastic(felt metalish to me)... heavy!! Felt heavier than the 70-200VR.. although I did handle the respective lenses at different times, but the 80-400 definitely felt heavier, or maybe more front heavy .
    I reckon I'd have endurance problems hand holding this lens for too long. Anyhow, there is this idea that it's made of plastic and may not be very well made. The notion of plastic in it's use is not the same as say for a wonky wobbly gooey creaky kit lens!! Far different from that. The Tammy is also plastic and high quality at that, and it's never an issue in terms of handling(the lens). Never dropped it, don't intend too, nor bang it or use it as a hammer when I find I need one whilst out shooting .. but of course you woudl assume that a plastic lens is not going to take the weight of a car running over it as well as a full metal jacket lens would.

    (but then again, we are now told that physicists are being surprised by recent revelations in quantum physics and assumptions and theory of what we once knew about physics no longer have their place in society)
    Nikon D800E, D300, D70s
    {Nikon} -> 50/1.2 : 500/8(CPU'd) : 105/2.8VR Micro : 180/2.8ais : 105mm f/1.8ais : 24mm/2ais
    {Sigma}; ->10-20/4-5.6 : 50/1.4 : 12-24/4.5-5.6II : 150-600mm|S
    {Tamron}; -> 17-50/2.8 : 28-75/2.8 : 70-200/2.8 : 300/2.8 SP MF : 24-70/2.8VC


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    Account Closed Wayne's Avatar
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    It is generally considered quite a sharp lens, but in anything but good light, focus speed when at the long end is really slow and sometimes not even possible. If ever there were a Nikon lens crying out for an AF-S update, this is it. Rumors always abound that it is one of the lenses in line for an update anytime now...

    Can be had from the USA used mint for sub $AUD1K.

    I considered it some time back, but knew it would just annoy me when it was slow so never bothered. There are always plenty for sale used, so I guess people buy it and look for something else quite often.

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    Thanks all, sort of what I had expected, I was however, quite surprised when I didn't get a response on AP because any other question I have asked since joining the forum, someone has come out with.... yes I have one and really good....or sold mine years ago....terrible. And yes Arthur, I am worse than you because I have actually sold good lenses I owned and didn't like, then used the money to buy something worse and then kicked myself all the way to the visa card to change for something else
    Anyway, the final decision looks like either the 70-200VR or the 80-200 2.8, cheers all and thanks again.
    Richard
    Last edited by rwg717; 05-03-2011 at 10:29pm.

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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rwg717 View Post
    Thanks all, sort of what I had expected, I was however, quite surprised when I didn't get a response on AP because any other question I have asked since joining the forum, someone has come out with....


    Quote Originally Posted by rwg717 View Post
    I was wondering if any Nikon users on AP have this lens and what they think of its performance????
    Richard
    Probably the main reason is that many people ( like me ) don't offer comments when they don't actually own or have used the lens in question Richard and you did ask for user / owner opinions.

    I only personally know one AP member that owns that lens and some of the bird shots taken with it are very good, the rather slow autofocus seems to be the Achilles heel of the lens and as Wayne pointed out it really is screaming out for an update to AFS as it has been around for quite a long time now.

    For what it is worth, when we were looking for some extra reach, we passed this lens over in favour of the 100-300 F/4 Sigma and a 1.4x TC as it offered the option then of 300mm and F/4 or 420mm and F/5.6 with pretty fast HSM focussing, very good build quality and no extension of the lens body.
    Andrew
    Nikon, Fuji, Nikkor, Sigma, Tamron, Tokina and too many other bits and pieces to list.



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    Thanks Andrew, yes I did word the question the wrong way around to some degree, but I don't own much Nikon gear and I notice Canon are now introducing (at the long end) a 200-400 so I naturally thought this might have been in response to the Nikon 80-400 and suggested this to the potential buyer, expecting heaps of responses as this lens seems to have been around for some time. When I got nothing much I thought "right... this is a lemon.....don't touch it" but it seems a few of the hardy followers of Nikon know about it without actually owning one. Well anyway, I pretty much got the picture about it and as its not my money I advised against it in favour of something shorter and lighter.
    You might be able to help here....are the Nikon TC's as bad as the Canon ones for destroying the IQ of their lenses? I have a Canon 2X and although it does a reasonable job I really don't use it that much.
    Richard

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    If I could only have one lens for my D3 is would be the 80-400.
    I actually have two and one is dedicated to a D3 body.
    I have also had really good luck with my D7000, even in low light
    It really depends on the body because the 80-400 does not have a focus motor.
    Also the camera setup is very important and the VR can really slow down this lens.

    If/when Nikon comes out with an AF-S version there will be a lot sold and a flood of used ones on the market.

    The newest Pro300 Kenko seems to be better than all other 2X converters except the newer Nikkor TC2.0 VRIII.
    Last edited by RRRoger; 17-03-2011 at 11:59am.

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    I have the 80-400 and if you learn to use it and work with it it sis a great lens.

    I have had it for some time. Using it on a D200.D300 and a D700. with each body variation it gets better. It is slow to focus from end to end, but if you can pre focus or use the focus limit button it is not to bad.

    It is compact fairly light and on the D700/D3 where you can crank up the ISO the 5.6 end is not so bad.

    I have have to agree an AF-S version will be great , but at what $$$$ ..

    Another option I have considered is a 1.7 TC for my 70-200 but is only an economical solution if you already owned a 70-200 2.8

    MATT

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    Good on you everyone, these were the sorts of responses I was looking for.....many thanks again
    Richard

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    just to throw a problem in with your selection.
    im a nikon owner and was also looking at this lens....i was suggested the sigma 150-500mm...you will have no problems at all finding owners of this lens on AP same same with great reviews of the lens....its cheaper, has longer length and similar performance.

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    I wish I had bought the 80-400 rather than the 150-500 Sigma. Os is great but it's a very soft lens unless I use it as a F8-F11 minimum.
    That way I can get quite clear photos.

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    They are both good lenses, the Nikon is a pain to focus at times! I picked up both SH on Ebay. I use a Nikon D80 and pleased with results from both.

    Flickr john.dart or flickeflu john.dart

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    Another question on lenses, I saw this one on ebay - I want to upgrade my kit lenses and wonder if this is a good choice (?sharp) Nikon AF-S 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G IF-ED
    Thanks

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artylady View Post
    ... I want to upgrade my kit lenses and wonder if this is a good choice (?sharp) Nikon AF-S 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G IF-ED
    Thanks
    If you accidentally missed out the VR nomenclature in that lens model, then all is good a good lens and worth having.

    If on the other hand you're referring to the 70-300mm f/4-5.6 G lens, which is both a litle bit faster in aperture(being f/4 @ 70mm, instead of f/4.5) but doesn't have the VR feature, then no! .. That lens works OK, but there are many better available.

    The 70-300VR can sell for anywhere between $500-700 depending on which source.(the lesser, cheaper non VR version sells for about $200, or less now)

    The 70-300VR lens is

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    Sorry, yes I did leave the VR off - the lens retails around $570 on ebay so I guess we are talking about the same one. Thanks for responding to my question; much appreciated.

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