Looking to go Long (nikon 80-400, sigma 100-300, tamron 70-300)

Started Feb 28, 2013 | Discussions thread
PHXAZCRAIG Forum Pro • Posts: 13,546
Re: Looking to go Long (nikon 80-400, sigma 100-300, tamron 70-300)

Thoughts on the 80-400vr and 300F4 (+ 1.4TC), both of which I have.

The 80-400vr is really a nice lens, and very light for it's range, and packs very small (again, for it's range).   It has some bad points, of course, and if we only knew when Nikon would replace it, a lot of people would either buy immediately or wait and not agonize over it.

Down points are - 1st generation VR, soft wide open at 400mm (best at F9), and screwdriver focus, if that means much to you.   Essentially the VR is most effective at stabilizing the viewfinder (and focus point), but it doesn't remove enough movement to really make a handheld shot very very sharp.  Instead, rely on faster shutter speeds, keep it at F9 (at 400mm), and it does fine.

The 300F4 is a brilliant lens by itself, and coupled with the 1.4tc is a bit better optically than the 80-400vr at its best.  It's also better at wider apertures, so you can use higher shutters and/or lower ISO than the 80-400vr.

While the 80-400 can be used over a range (zoom!), the 300f4 is pretty focused on wildlife-type shooting.   It's a heavier lens than the 80-400 and it's a good deal longer when packed.   If you want to tease the most out of it, you'll be shooting it from a tripod or at quite high shutter speeds with the 1.4tc.

So yes, you'd have a gap if you got the prime, but you'd not be able to complain about IQ on the long end.   With the 80-400vr, you're looking a bit more at a compromise when you get to the long end.

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