D7100 and the new 80-400 mm lens

Started Apr 13, 2013 | Discussions
GSK
GSK
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D7100 and the new 80-400 mm lens
Apr 13, 2013

I am trying this new combo out in hopes of having handheld capability for wildlife photos. In AF-S mode, the focus will lock on and stay at all focal lengths. When I am in AF-C or AF-A, focus locks fine until the focal length of 300 and above. At that point, the lens doesn't hunt but, the range finder in the view finder will become unstable showing the left and right arrows. This also happens at these focal lengths with the new lens on my D800 in AF-c. I do not have a sturdy tripod to do further testing. I am able to get focus to lock when I use the 70-200 VRll with 2x TC with no problems handheld so I don't think my technique is too very bad. Did I just get a defective lens. Any thoughts appreciated.

Nikon D7100 Nikon D800
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Brandon birder
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Re: D7100 and the new 80-400 mm lens
In reply to GSK, Apr 13, 2013

GSK wrote:

I am trying this new combo out in hopes of having handheld capability for wildlife photos. In AF-S mode, the focus will lock on and stay at all focal lengths. When I am in AF-C or AF-A, focus locks fine until the focal length of 300 and above. At that point, the lens doesn't hunt but, the range finder in the view finder will become unstable showing the left and right arrows. This also happens at these focal lengths with the new lens on my D800 in AF-c. I do not have a sturdy tripod to do further testing. I am able to get focus to lock when I use the 70-200 VRll with 2x TC with no problems handheld so I don't think my technique is too very bad. Did I just get a defective lens. Any thoughts appreciated.

Mine doesn't do that with my D7100 and D800. Focus is bang on at 400mm.

I wonder if you have focus tracking with lock on set to zero. Every small movement will then cause refocusing. I assume VR is on and not active and you are testing in good light.

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GSK
GSK
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Re: D7100 and the new 80-400 mm lens
In reply to Brandon birder, Apr 13, 2013

Thanks for the reply.

The lock on is set to normal (3). VR is set to normal and am testing in good light.

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Photo Pete
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Re: D7100 and the new 80-400 mm lens
In reply to GSK, Apr 13, 2013

You're not shooting from inside a house out of an open door or window are you?

I had been testing my 80-400 out by shooting through an open patio door into the garden and the focus indicators kept flickering and focus didn't settle. The strange thing was that as soon as I stepped out of the house the problem stopped.

I finally figured out that at 400mm the focus system was being thrown off by the thermal movement of air from the warm house meeting the cold air outside. This lens / camera combination seems quite susceptible to interference between camera and subject (air movement, glass etc), particularly at 400mm

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GSK
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Re: D7100 and the new 80-400 mm lens
In reply to Photo Pete, Apr 13, 2013

Photo Pete wrote:

You're not shooting from inside a house out of an open door or window are you?

I had been testing my 80-400 out by shooting through an open patio door into the garden and the focus indicators kept flickering and focus didn't settle. The strange thing was that as soon as I stepped out of the house the problem stopped.

I finally figured out that at 400mm the focus system was being thrown off by the thermal movement of air from the warm house meeting the cold air outside. This lens / camera combination seems quite susceptible to interference between camera and subject (air movement, glass etc), particularly at 400mm

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Photo Pete

No. I was shooting in good sunlight.

Some areas had shade but it was not a very dark shade.

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Catallaxy
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Re: D7100 and the new 80-400 mm lens
In reply to GSK, Apr 14, 2013

It might be worth it to play with this setting to see if it changes the behavior any. It might help you isolate the problem.

The lens might be front or back focusing at that focal length. That sometimes happens where an element is slightly our of whack, but it does not show up in other focal lengths. I tried a Sigma 24-70 that was completely messed up at 24mm, but just fine from about 28mm onwards. So you might try dialing in a -10 or +10 AF fine tune and try to see if the situation improves.

Good luck!

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Catallaxy

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Photo Pete
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Re: D7100 and the new 80-400 mm lens
In reply to GSK, Apr 14, 2013

This is worrying. I'm seeing threads with poor image quality and poor AF performance with the 80-400 whilst my copy is absolutely stellar. I was hoping the high price was the sign of a premium lens with careful quality control, but it is beginning to look like Nikon's QC problems are continuing.

The lens can perform superbly in all respects (tripod collar excepted), but if quality control isn't there then Nikon have turned what should have been a stunning success into a failure.

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GSK
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Re: D7100 and the new 80-400 mm lens
In reply to Photo Pete, Apr 14, 2013

I also posted this question on Nikon Cafe and someone gave me this response:

"Both my bodies (D600 and D7100) do that at 400mm with the new 80-400 in AF-C, the dot and arrow flashes back and forth. The images show the focus is spot on (same as using AF-S) so I haven't been too concerned with it."

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