Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D VR

Started Jan 9, 2013 | Questions thread
JHWJR Forum Member • Posts: 97
Re: Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D VR

Do NOT wait. Get on Craigslist. Pick up a used one for about $1,000. And use it well. If something EVER comes out that you like more, get on Craigslist, sell this lens for about $1,000.

I just picked one up. I've held off for maybe 2 years because this is a much abused lens in the forums. Also, I have the 70-200mm, f/2.0 VRII, and the 2.0 extender, but it has been on the soft side. I like the AFS focus speed. I like how the controls work. But at ANY focal length -- don't kid yourself -- it's not in the league of the 70-200 f/2.8 alone.

I also have a 70-300mm VR. It's got a longer reach. It's really sharp just about to the end of it's 300mm. But it doesn't quite have the reach I was looking for.

As I say, I've just recently picked up a used 80-400mm, and I LIKE it a lot. The color is great. The reach is very satisfying. I really believe that most of the criticism of its sharpness at 400mm is because it is very hard to handhold a 400mm lens steady enough. But on a tripod, mirror up, cable release, VR off, it is sharp at the center at every focal length, every f-stop. And it is solid far slower than 1/400th of a second with VR on, just like VR is supposed to do.

The much-criticized tripod shoe is not flimsy plastic or even really good plastic. It's metal. It's rather solid. Except out beyond 350mm, I think it does a really good job. Again, at the long end, it does seem to tremble just a bit on my Manfrotto carbon fiber tripod and head.

It's not a speedster focusing, but on my D800 it's not bad at all, and I have 4 AFS lenses. On a lesser or older body, it might focus slower.

It's also not an f/2.8 lens. So dimmer light will be more of a challenge. But on my D800 cranked up to 6400 ISO, I got very useable action shots on an indoor deck hockey game today.

If I have a criticism of this lens, it's one I've never heard anyone else make. The ring that changes the lens from manual focus to automatic focus is rather kludgy and unsmooth. I can live with that.

It is exactly what Nikon says it is. With my sample size of 1, I conclude that this is an excellent lens.

Good luck with your decision.

 JHWJR's gear list:JHWJR's gear list
Nikon D200 Nikon D700 Nikon D800 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED +10 more
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