200-400 VR does not equal prime lens sharpness?

Started Nov 2, 2006 | Discussions thread
Toermalijn Forum Pro • Posts: 16,746
Re: Close use versus far use

Bill Hollinger wrote:

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.

Regardless of the lens used, great shots!

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