Just how good is the new AF-S 80-400 VR?

Started Mar 19, 2013 | Discussions thread
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inasir1971
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Just how good is the new AF-S 80-400 VR?
Mar 19, 2013

This is not a bash Nikon or bash the new lens thread but just an attempt to try to find out how good this is and consider some other options.

First, we need to look at how good this lens is in relation to obvious Nikon mount options. The obvious ones including the AF 80-400 VR, 70-200 VRII + 2xTCEIII, 200/2 VRII + 2xTCEIII, etc.

It has been extremely difficult to find good images (focused with liveview, tripod) from the new lens. Some have appeared on Nikonrumors.com but they too could be better.

I have used the 70-200 VRII with a 2x TC before (which I no longer have) and don't know if the new 80-400 is noticeably better. The 70-200 VRII combo does show PF when I used it...

With a 1.4x TC, I think the 70-200 VRII combo comes out on top. The 200/2 VRII with 1.4x TC looks better, certainly stopped down to the same aperture.

From the images I have been able to find of the older AF 80-400, the new one does seem better, but the older one really wasn't very good (on higher resolution sensors) to begin with - the images I was able to find from a D3X aren't that impressive. Of course the AF and VR in the new one should be better as early users have reported.

The only lens in this class that I have used before is the Canon EF100-400 which I recall being quite good. I don't recall any unpleasant bokeh with the Canon. I don't have any of my images from years ago with that lens but I have found some images online shot with that. When I downsized the new AF-S 80-400 VR images to the same size as the Canon 100-400 images, the 10 year old Canon seems better. (btw, the Canon has an old 2 stop IS) This is surprising, especially given the age of the Canon and the price difference ($1500 vs $2700).

Why am I raising the performance of a Canon lens?

The $2700 80-400 costs almost as much as a 5D3, or for only $600 more one could buy a 6D plus an EF100-400 lens.

Is the new lens worth it?

Please chime in with opinions, images, experiences.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III Canon EOS 6D Nikon D3X
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