Nikkor 400mm F5.6 AIS

Started Dec 24, 2010 | Discussions
JLR9
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Nikkor 400mm F5.6 AIS
Dec 24, 2010

Hi all,

I can't afford expensive glass for photographing birds so bought a 400mm f5.6 for £350 off Eekbay. I am pleased with the results and wonder if there are any more gems out there for relatively little money, please post your images with details of the lens used.

All shots through a window at my feeding station, ISO640 on a D200 ran through Neat Image and cropped. Distance approx 10/12 feet. I am a rank amateur at bird photography so would appreciate help here. I was inspired by Ronnie Gaubert's shots using a 300mm f4 Nikkor but have never got close to his quality.
Regards,
John

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gnet158
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Re: Nikkor 400mm F5.6 AIS
In reply to JLR9, Dec 24, 2010

I too am getting into bird photography. Do you find it difficult focusing and holding your lens steady? I just picked up a Sigma 400mm f5.6 APO (non macro) and find it next to impossible to hold it steady. I'm looking for a mono pod next. Here's one of my favorites.

D200 ISO 500 - hand held

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I got to get out and shoot more.

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mozarkid
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Re: Nikkor 400mm F5.6 AIS
In reply to JLR9, Dec 25, 2010

Other lenses?
Dude, it doesn't sound like you appreciate what's already in your hands.

That 400mm f/5.6 AI-S is quite a fine lens - I have one - and it's big brothers, too. It's far easier to carry & hand hold - plus it has excellent image quality and bokeh. And filters... whatever you want; in a common size.

Buy her a TC-14B and nice extention tube... say PK-11A (for shorter minimum focus).
It's a "bit-chen" lens, live with her for a while.

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JLR9
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Re: Nikkor 400mm F5.6 AIS
In reply to gnet158, Dec 25, 2010

Hi gnet158,

no, I am hopeless at holding this lens so have to use a tripod. Focusing is critical wide open with very little room for getting it wrong. It seems mozarkid knows how to handle his so wait to see his samples and tips on how to improve.

I am fully aware of Nikkor optics having used them for over 30 years, my point was that there are lenses out there that perform for little money and would like people to share their gems.
Dude John, whatever that means!

Merry Christmas all.

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Rick Moran
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Re: Nikkor 400mm F5.6 AIS
In reply to JLR9, Dec 25, 2010

Very good lens for the price. Another is the 200/4 AI or AIS. I was using that one when my 70-200 was in the shop. Works well with the kenko teleplus pro also.
A few samples.

http://slopoki1.smugmug.com/

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jhinkey
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Re: Nikkor 400mm F5.6 AIS
In reply to JLR9, Dec 25, 2010

Well, here's a list of my AI/AIS glass that i can recommend that are gems:

On DX:
16/3.5 AI
28/2 AIS
40/2 CV SL-II AI-P
50/1.2 AIS
105/2.5 AIS
200/4 AIS
400/5.6 ED-IF AIS

On FX:
16/3.5 AI (better than the 16/2.8 AIS or AF-D)
50/1.2 AIS (pretty darned good even wide open)
105/2.5 AIS (only from other reviews/testimonials)

Ones I have not yest tried on FX are:
40/2 CV SL-II AI-P
200/4 AIS (?? on FX)
135/2 AIS (it's pretty good on DX, but I wonder on FX)
400/5.6 ED-IF AIS (wonder how those corners will be on FX near wide open)

300/4.5 ED-IF AIS (just OK on D300, equal to my 70-300VR, but I wonder how those corners will fare on FX)

Over at FredMiranda.com there is a very long thread on MF Nikon glass that you should read:
http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/929565

John

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JLR9
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Re: Nikkor 400mm F5.6 AIS
In reply to Rick Moran, Dec 25, 2010

Hi Rick,
terrific quality woodpecker images. Bitingly sharp.
I have never thought about the 200 f4 so will keep an eye out for one.
John
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JLR9
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Re: Nikkor 400mm F5.6 AIS
In reply to jhinkey, Dec 25, 2010

Many thanks for this list John, I see the 200 f4 rears its head again so Eekbay here I come!
John
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Ordell
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Re: Nikkor 400mm F5.6 AIS
In reply to jhinkey, Dec 29, 2010

I can fill in some results on ais lenses with a D700.
Erik

jhinkey wrote:

Well, here's a list of my AI/AIS glass that i can recommend that are gems:

On DX:
16/3.5 AI
28/2 AIS
40/2 CV SL-II AI-P
50/1.2 AIS
105/2.5 AIS
200/4 AIS
400/5.6 ED-IF AIS

On FX:
16/3.5 AI (better than the 16/2.8 AIS or AF-D)
50/1.2 AIS (pretty darned good even wide open)
105/2.5 AIS (only from other reviews/testimonials)

Ones I have not yest tried on FX are:
40/2 CV SL-II AI-P

Very nice on all apertures.

200/4 AIS (?? on FX)
135/2 AIS (it's pretty good on DX, but I wonder on FX)

Works surprisingly well.

400/5.6 ED-IF AIS (wonder how those corners will be on FX near wide open)

The corners are ok IMO.

300/4.5 ED-IF AIS (just OK on D300, equal to my 70-300VR, but I wonder how those corners will fare on FX)

Over at FredMiranda.com there is a very long thread on MF Nikon glass that you should read:
http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/929565

John

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Guru r
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Re: Nikkor 400mm F5.6 AIS
In reply to JLR9, Aug 9, 2011

Has the lens (nikkor 400mm f/5.6) been released??!! if so, is that release all over the world? is that usable with D300s? Please reply

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Kvenna
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Re: Nikkor 400mm F5.6 AIS
In reply to Guru r, Aug 9, 2011

Guru r wrote:

Has the lens (nikkor 400mm f/5.6) been released??!! if so, is that release all over the world? is that usable with D300s? Please reply

It's an old manual focus lens - the slowest of the three options, 2.8 and 3.5 being the others. But yes, if it's an Ai or AiS version, then it will meter on the D300s. Manual focus can be a pain though, especially with things that won't sit still. I regret that my 3.5 sees very little use.

Chris

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Guru r
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Re: Nikkor 400mm F5.6 AIS
In reply to Kvenna, Aug 10, 2011

Thanks Chris,

Does that come within 1800$?; I m comparing with the price of 300mm f/4 plus TC1.4x.Also want to know, Which is better in producing sharp and quality image between 300mmf/4+1.4x and 400mm f/5.6? leaving aside manual focus as I will be using for D300s.

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zoomring
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Re: Nikkor 400mm F5.6 AIS
In reply to Kvenna, Aug 10, 2011

Kvenna wrote:

Manual focus can be a pain though, especially with things that won't sit still. I regret that my 3.5 sees very little use.

Chris

+1 I used to own a beautiful mint copy of the 400mm F/5.6 , but manual focusing was a royal pain, I got sick and tired of coming back with 1/2 my shots out of focus, so I eventually sold it.

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nathantw
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Re: Nikkor 400mm F5.6 AIS
In reply to Guru r, Aug 10, 2011

I use mine all the time. I love it because it's relatively light and pretty good quality, even wide open. I use it with my D700. One of the things I like the best is that it doesn't vignette. If it does I don't see it. One of the drawbacks, of course, is that it doesn't have autofocus and it is discouraging when you get home and find that a bunch of pictures aren't quite in focus. I had that happen on Sunday. However, I still had some other photos that were in focus, so I was happy with those.

I also own a 28-300 and there are times I'd rather use that at 300mm instead of the 400mm mainly because it has autofocus. However, there are times that extra 100mm difference between the two makes a heck of a difference.

Here are a few pictures I took with the 400mm. They're not birds, but it gives an idea of what can be done. The Roy Oswalt picture wasn't processed and was what came out of the camera. However, it was done at f/5.6 whereas the Tim Lincecum photos were f/8. Looking at the results I should have left all the photos at f/5.6.

The shuttle was taken with a TC-301.

http://www.flickr.com/search/?s=rec&ss=2&w=all&q=nathantw+400mm&m=text

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nkarasev
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Re: Nikkor 400mm F5.6 AIS
In reply to Guru r, Aug 10, 2011

Guru r wrote:

Thanks Chris,

Does that come within 1800$?; I m comparing with the price of 300mm f/4 plus TC1.4x.Also want to know, Which is better in producing sharp and quality image between 300mmf/4+1.4x and 400mm f/5.6? leaving aside manual focus as I will be using for D300s.

A decent copy of 400 F/5.6 AIS is going for around $500, may be not easy to find.

I don't know if it is any better than 300 F/4 AF-S + TC 1.4, but knowing that the 300 AF-S is stellar I would expect the combo to be at least as good (for triple the price though) plus it has AF (AF-S actually!) and plus it has stellar 300mm option.

Just a thought.

Nik

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