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Author Topic: Nikkor 80-400 f4.5-5.6 VR AF-S  (Read 4092 times)
BernardLanguillier
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« on: March 05, 2013, 01:01:16 AM »
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http://www.dpreview.com/news/2013/03/05/Nikon-launches-AF-S-Nikkor-80-400mm-4p5-5p6G-ED-VR-telezoom

MTF charts seems extremely good on the long end... but the price seems very steep also.

http://www.nikon-image.com/products/lens/af/fx/zoom/af-s_80-400mmf45-56g_ed_vr.htm

Cheers,
Bernard
« Last Edit: March 05, 2013, 01:51:34 AM by BernardLanguillier » Logged

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Ray
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« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2013, 01:41:41 AM »
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That's really terrific news, Bernard. An upgrade to the old 80-400 is long overdue. This lens will go nicely with my D7100. I might even buy a 1.4x converter. With D7100 in crop mode, that should provide a 15mp image at an 1100mm focal length equivalent, and without loss of autofocussing because the D7100 can autofocus at F8. Now that's what I call progress.  Grin
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bill t.
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« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2013, 12:09:57 PM »
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Here are some comparisons to the old version, and to a few other similar lenses like the 70-200.  Caution...MTF graphs ahead!

http://nikonrumors.com/2013/03/05/nikkor-af-80-400mm-f4-5-5-6d-vs-af-s-80-400mm-f4-5-5-6g-specifications-comparison.aspx/

This is a link to a .asp page, so if it doesn't work it's on nikonrumors.com.
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Ellis Vener
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« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2013, 01:38:11 PM »
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USa webpage link: http://www.nikonusa.com/en/Nikon-Products/Product/Camera-Lenses/2208/AF-S-NIKKOR-80-400mm-f%252F4.5-5.6G-ED-VR.html
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Ellis Vener
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Creating photographs for advertising, corporate and industrial clients since 1984.
Ray
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« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2013, 05:52:23 PM »
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Those MTF charts are certainly impressive. If this lens is sharpest at full aperture, at 400mm, the price will be justified. These results even look better than those for the 70-200/F2.8 VRII at 200mm. But the outstanding performer appears to be the new 70-200/F4 VR, at 200mm. Its MTF at 30 lp/mm is amazingly flat all the way out to 15mm from the centre of the frame. Wow!

I'll be eager to compare this new Nikkor 80-400 VR zoom with my 10-year-old Canon 100-400 IS. The big question will be, is it good enough to make the use of a 1.4x extender worthwhile. I haven't used my Canon 1.4x extender with the Canon 100-400 zoom for many years because I lost autofocussing at F8, and the improvement in image quality and detail using the extender was so marginal it didn't seem worth the trouble.

There are lots of folks on these internet forums wondering if an extender attached to a 70-200/F2.8 VRII, or 70-200/F4 VR, or better still, 300mm prime, would produce results equal to the new 80-400 at 400mm.

We really need MTF charts of popular lens with various extenders attached so people can really see, in no uncertain terms, how much the MTF is degraded by attaching an extender to a lens. Even though the MTF for the 70-200/F4 VR appears superb at 200mm, with a 2x extender I suspect the results would be no better, and possibly worse than the old Nikkor 80-400.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2013, 05:56:11 PM »
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Here are some comparisons to the old version, and to a few other similar lenses like the 70-200.  Caution...MTF graphs ahead!

http://nikonrumors.com/2013/03/05/nikkor-af-80-400mm-f4-5-5-6d-vs-af-s-80-400mm-f4-5-5-6g-specifications-comparison.aspx/

It also looks like the gap in MTF between the new 80-400 and the Canon 400 f5.6 prime lens is in fact also pretty small to the extend that they may be hard to distinguish in real world applications. Only comparative tests on real images will tell of course.

My current inclination is more to save that kind of cash for the Zeiss 55mm f1.4 though. Even though the Zeiss is a totally different beast, it is likely to deliver more benefits for a majority of my images.  Cheesy

Cheers,
Bernard
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2013, 06:28:38 PM »
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I had the chance to play with the new 80-400 on a D7100 during a visit to the Nikon salon yesterday.

I only could try the combo on static subjects in normally lit room, but was very impressed by the level of snappiness of the AF. I believe that the only lens I own focussing this fast is the 300 f2.8 VR. It would have to be checked on moving subjects too. The AF of the D7100 is the module used in the D4, so no surprise there, but the new lens is in a totally different league compared to the old one.

VR seemed very efficient as expected.

The lens is large, a bit too large for the D7100 I felt, with a sturdy pro feel to it.

I don't really need one but putting my hans on one made me consider it.

Cheers,
Bernard
« Last Edit: March 17, 2013, 07:42:11 AM by BernardLanguillier » Logged

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Ray
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« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2013, 07:22:48 AM »
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Sounds like a great combination, Bernard, the D7100 and the new AF-S 80-400.

With the D7100 in 1.3x crop mode, one should get an equivalent 800mm focal length and, hopefully, a sharp 15mp image sufficient for a reasonably large print.

Cheers!
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jwstl
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« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2014, 11:03:20 AM »
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Now that this lens has been out awhile I'm curious how those that have it feel about it. There's a $400 rebate until the end of this month and I'm trying to decide if it's worth $2300. I like the idea of having a lens in this range for travel. It would reduce the number of lenses in my bag. Thanks.
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Lightsmith
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« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2014, 06:28:45 PM »
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I had the original lens and it was very slow to focus and the VR was mediocre being the first generation version. I sold it and switched to using 80-200 and 70-200 telephotos with teleconverters. I was extremely surprised that Nikon waited more than a decade to upgrade this lens that was released in 2000, in particular with the outstanding Canon 100-400mm IS lens as an alternative.

The new lens other than being very late to arrive is a stellar lens in every respect. It focuses quickly and the VR is very effective even with a 1.4x teleconverter attached. I used this lens during a snow storm in Yellowstone in February with both a D800e and D7100 camera and there was no problem with autofocus even with the teleconverter. It helps that these are both cameras with the f8 AF sensors as with a 1.4x teleconverter it becomes a f8 zoom.

I was not expecting it but the D7100 focused markedly better than the D800e (which cost 3x as much) with this lens as it does with my 500mm f4 lens. I expect that it is from having the greater coverage area of the cross type AF sensors with the crop size sensor. I found a similar decrease in AF performance when I went from the D2x to the D3 camera.

With the $400 rebate it is a no brainer. I bought it before the rebate but the cost was still comparable to that of the 70-200mm f2.8 VR II lens and I think the 80-400mm is a better value.

Now I have to decide whether or not to keep the 70-200mm f2.8 VR II lens as it gets used a great deal less since I acquired the new 80-400mm lens.

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Hans Kruse
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« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2014, 06:49:49 PM »
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Those MTF charts are certainly impressive. If this lens is sharpest at full aperture, at 400mm, the price will be justified. These results even look better than those for the 70-200/F2.8 VRII at 200mm. But the outstanding performer appears to be the new 70-200/F4 VR, at 200mm. Its MTF at 30 lp/mm is amazingly flat all the way out to 15mm from the centre of the frame. Wow!

I'll be eager to compare this new Nikkor 80-400 VR zoom with my 10-year-old Canon 100-400 IS. The big question will be, is it good enough to make the use of a 1.4x extender worthwhile. I haven't used my Canon 1.4x extender with the Canon 100-400 zoom for many years because I lost autofocussing at F8, and the improvement in image quality and detail using the extender was so marginal it didn't seem worth the trouble.

There are lots of folks on these internet forums wondering if an extender attached to a 70-200/F2.8 VRII, or 70-200/F4 VR, or better still, 300mm prime, would produce results equal to the new 80-400 at 400mm.

We really need MTF charts of popular lens with various extenders attached so people can really see, in no uncertain terms, how much the MTF is degraded by attaching an extender to a lens. Even though the MTF for the 70-200/F4 VR appears superb at 200mm, with a 2x extender I suspect the results would be no better, and possibly worse than the old Nikkor 80-400.

The Canon 100-400 is not the sharpest. The new Canon zoom lenses like the Canon 70-200 f/2.8L IS II are in a totally different league. Unfortunately Canon has not made a replacement for the 100-400 except the very expensive 200-400. On Nikon I'm not too impressed with thte 70-200 f/2.8 VRII and cannot imagine that a 2x extender will make you happy. Remember also there is a loss of two stops, of course. If you look at critical sharpness I always find that extenders are a compromise that can be accepted but with a cost in details. I have a Canon 500 f/4L IS which although it is not a mkII is still pretty sharp at f/4. With an 1.4x mkIII extender it's still good, but a 2x extender it is not worth using. The bokeh suffers tremendously. I have not used similar Nikon lenses but would be very surprised if it is not very similar. Zoom lenses are usually worse. So I would not speculate on using extenders and go for the new 80-400 if this is the need.
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Ray
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« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2014, 10:55:25 PM »
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The Canon 100-400 is not the sharpest. The new Canon zoom lenses like the Canon 70-200 f/2.8L IS II are in a totally different league. Unfortunately Canon has not made a replacement for the 100-400 except the very expensive 200-400. On Nikon I'm not too impressed with thte 70-200 f/2.8 VRII and cannot imagine that a 2x extender will make you happy. Remember also there is a loss of two stops, of course. If you look at critical sharpness I always find that extenders are a compromise that can be accepted but with a cost in details. I have a Canon 500 f/4L IS which although it is not a mkII is still pretty sharp at f/4. With an 1.4x mkIII extender it's still good, but a 2x extender it is not worth using. The bokeh suffers tremendously. I have not used similar Nikon lenses but would be very surprised if it is not very similar. Zoom lenses are usually worse. So I would not speculate on using extenders and go for the new 80-400 if this is the need.

Hans,
Thanks for the advice. I bought my Nikkor 80-400 some time ago, mainly for use with my D7100. I also bought a Nikon 1.4x extender, just in case it was able to offer a worthwhile improvement in detail.

I recall doing some rigorous comparisons of static targets to confirm that the extender really was capable of producing slightly better detail when compared with the the same scene without converter, after cropping to the same FoV.

Then I got involved in the complexities and variability of AF Fine Tuning, and how its accuracy might vary with focal length and distance to subject, and so on. I guess I got so exasperated with that process, I've put the extender issue to one side and haven't used the extender for a while.

I suspect there are unavoidable trade-offs when shooting moving subjects, using an extender, which might completely negate any benefits. For example, I understand that the DoF of a 400mm lens at F5.6 should be the same as that of a 560mm lens at F8 (400x1.4=560). That's fine. However, if shutter speed is important, one has to increase ISO when stopping down, or underexpose, thus increasing noise.

Furthermore, in order to get more detail in a moving target when using a longer lens, one should ideally be increasing shutter speed, not merely maintaining it.

The following cropped shot taken recently on a trip to the seaside was at F8. ISO 200, and 1/1250th, using the Nikkor 80-400 at 400mm. Would any purpose have been served adding the 1.4x extender and using the same settings, apart from the possible effect of a shallower DoF?

In order to ensure the same DoF, I would have needed to use F11, ISO 400 and 1/1250th. In order to retrieve the slightly greater detail that a 1.4x extender can provide, I would perhaps have needed to also increase shutter speed and further increase ISO, thus introducing more noise.

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