Telephoto lens for use in Kenya

Started Apr 12, 2013 | Discussions thread
PHXAZCRAIG Forum Pro • Posts: 14,037
Re: Telephoto lens for use in Kenya

mfouks wrote:

I'm really wondering how the new 80-400 lens would compare to the 300 f2.8 plus 1.4 teleconverter.  The 80-400 is much lighter and less expensive as well.

I should find out the answer to that next Wed.   A friend is coming over to shoot some birds with me, and he has a 300F2.8 with Nikon 1.4 TC.   I have the new 80-400 (and the old 80-400 and a 300F4 with 1.4 TC).   He needs to calibrate his 300F2.8 and TC for autofocus, so we're going to play in the back yard with a Lensalign and then go out birding again.

Here is how I rate the IQ (sharpness + contrast, central area) of several popular lens options.

From worst to best, at maximum focal length:

4. 70-200vr II (or I) with 2.0 TC

3. AF 80-400vr (stopped down a bit - F5.6 at 400 is nearly unusable)

2. 300F4 + 1.4 TC (Nikon or Kenko Pro, both seem good)

1. AF-S 80-400

I'm guessing that the 300F2.8 with 1.4TC will be slightly better than the AF-S 80-400.

I'm also guessing that a Sigma 50-500 (at 400mm) slots in around the 300F4 with 1.4TC, based on samples I've been seeing posted for years.

I'm judging the 70-200 with 2.0TC on Imatest testing and comments made by Lensrentals recently.

The others I have personal experience with.   The new 80-400 is really quite good.   The weakest point on it is the tripod collar.  VR could be better, but it's vastly better than the old 80-400.

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