200-400 VR does not equal prime lens sharpness?

Started Nov 2, 2006 | Discussions thread
Bill Hollinger Senior Member • Posts: 1,301
Re: Close use versus far use

As I mentioned, I am new to Nikon (although I used them from the time I was a newspaper photographer in the late 1960s/70s until I bought the Canon 1Ds), so I am not familiar with the characteristics of the Nikon lenses. I do wonder if there is some variability in the contrast and resolution of the 200-400 lenses. I have seen many photos posted from this lens which were lacking in resolution and contrast, and some of you guys seem to be dealing with this issue too. On the other hand, like with the Canon 300 f2.8IS, I never hear anything but superlatives about the Nikon 300 f2.8 lens.

The hummingbird photo was indeed taken from quite close (they are about the size of your thumb and, I understand, weigh less than a penny). This plane was obviously at a distance - the lens arrived about half an hour before I took this shot (it was with the 1.4),

These are crops, again with the 1.4x - I may have been 25 feet away?

I don’t know if they are representative of what you are getting or not, but if not, then it may be worth checking with Nikon to see what the issue is with the lens you are using. It is best to send them test images on a CD (and a print may also accompany the CD). I have never had an issue with a Nikon lens, but I have with lenses for the Leica M. Twice I returned a 75 f1.4 to leica USA to check because it was so bad I would not use it. Both times they said there was no problem with it. Years later I sent it to Germany, to the factory, and they fixed in for a relatively small fee. It produced excellent images when they returned it. I bought an APO 135 f3.4 from Leica, which was also unsharp. I sent it, with images on a CD, and they immediately sent a new one, which again was excellent. I guess the moral of this story is, if you do not get a satisfactory answer from them, insist on talking with someone else.

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