200-400 VR does not equal prime lens sharpness?

Started Nov 2, 2006 | Discussions thread
TonyCT Junior Member • Posts: 26
Re: Test picts

Hi Johnathon,

I own a 500mmF4, a 200mm-400mmF4 and I owned a 300 mm F2.8 AFS which I sold to get the 200mm-400mm. The zoom has given me good results at close distances but pretty crappy results greater distances when compared to the 500 mm F4 AFS2 . I regret selling my 300mmF2.8. The funny thing is that the 300mmF2.8 was once sent to Japan for repairs (a dented barrel) and it came back giving better results than ever. I guess that the repair technicians in the factory are most probably even better than the technicians on the assembly line.

I am hoping that the 200-400mm's problems will soon be sorted following a surprise happening. I was recently in the Kalahari and took the lens out of it's casing only to find that an inner element had come loose inside and was floating about. It damaged the front element and the net result is that I am left with costly repairs as the front element has to be replaced. The technician I spoke to at Nikon confirmed that the problem had not occurred as a result of the lens being mishandled or dropped but due to 3 lock-nuts having come loose inside. In my view this is an assembly fault but Nikon say that as the lens was out of guarantee I will need to cover the costs although a discount has been given. My anger with the situation is that I sent the lens back to them on a previous occasion when I was not happy with the results and they assured me that the lens was okay and this was in the guarantee period. The lens has not been used that often and my 70-200mm lens has been used 100 times more yet I have had no problems. Similarly, I have used my 500mm F4 twice as much and no problems on this front. Hopefully the repaired lens will deliver as I did not want to sell it to some unsuspecting buyer and yet I do not want to keep it either. If it is repaired I think that I will let it go and get a 300mm F2.8 VR. I loved my 300mm F2.8 but was tempted by the 200-400mm (which sounds like a great concept) in my twilight days of shooting film. With the D300 and D3 I think that a 300mmF2.8 and TC 1.4 will better suit my needs as a traveling lens when flying to destinations to photograph primates, which I do on foot. When photographing from a vehicle in Southern Africa, where I live, I will use the 500mm F4. I agree with your finding 100%.
Regards,
Tony

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