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Author Topic: VR/IS on a 500mm f4  (Read 1017 times)
dwnelson
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« on: September 22, 2013, 06:57:03 PM »
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I am thinking of getting a Nikon 500mm f4 AF-S II for $5000, the last version before VR. Should I spend about $2500 more and get a lightly used VR?

I have rented VR and non-VR lenses, and I use a solid tripod and gimbal head. I usually don't need the VR as I like high shutter speeds and freezing action (birds and wildlife). When the light is low and my subjects stationary I can also get sharp pictures down to about 1/60th with good long lens technique. I can't really see myself hand holding the 500/4 very much for birds in flight. I do have a monopod, but I rarely use it.

This is a big investment, so speak now or forever hold your peace. Smiley
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PhotoEcosse
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« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2013, 10:33:13 AM »
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Faced with the same dilemma, I went one stage farther back and bought a Nikkor 600mm f/4 AI-S for a -few hundred (less than 10% the cost of the latest model) on ebay.

I certainly don't miss the VR as I do, indeed, almost always use it on a gimbal head with fast shutter speeds. I also rarely miss the auto-focus as, for 80% of my photographic "career" no such thing existed and we all focussed manually all of the time anyway.
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ltphoto
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« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2013, 06:24:09 PM »
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I made the big jump to VR a couple of months ago. For shooting in adequate light, it does not make a difference. For me, at least, it makes a huge difference shooting in the early morning when I typically am using my 500. I use a Wimberley on a sturdy Gitzo tripod, but find at shutter speeds below about 1/250 I am getting better results with the VR. I sold my old lens for $5400, so the difference was large, but not quite the same as starting from scratch.
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stever
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« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2013, 11:09:27 PM »
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I've tried over time to use tripods and avoid them whenever possible.  Just downloaded Flight Plan from Art Morris' Birds as Art.  a bit over priced, but hand-held technique tips are worth it and the stunning in-flight shots show what is possible.  I've used stabilized and non-stabilized lenses and think a non-stabilized lens ties one hand behind your back.
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NancyP
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« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2013, 04:27:58 PM »
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Well, I have been shooting with one hand tied behind my back  Wink  , and I haven't minded too much - but my ISO settings are higher than desired. I have a low weight, (relatively) low-cost autofocus Canon 400mm f/5.6L. I consider it an apprenticeship in learning long lens technique. No doubt I sacrifice some early morning shots on the altar of ISO 6400. I don't know how much better image quality I can get without spending serious money, with or without IS. I have toyed with adapting (Ed Mika) one of the old FD Canon Big Whites, but without the autofocus, there is much less utility as a bird-in-flight lens. The EF 500mm f/4.5 no-IS with autofocus is another possibility, but it is still selling in the over-$3,000.00 range, so not enough of an inducement given I don't have an autofocus-at-f/8 camera that would allow use of a 1.4x teleconverter while maintaining AF. At some point, youbetcha I am going to get IS in a 500mm or 600mm lens.
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