Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR Lens or recommendation?

Started Jan 17, 2014 | Discussions thread
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keiththom Senior Member • Posts: 1,108
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR Lens or recommendation?

I've been struggling for months to come up with a suitable lens for capturing what I do: taking pics of raptors chasing game in the sport of falconry. I'm struggling to find that perfect lens. Flights may be 20 yards out or 100 yards out. The action is always fast and requires fast focusing. I'm still debating the 70-200 2.8. A 70-300 would be nice as well but I'm leary of 3rd party lenses due to IQ issues which is a BIGGIE to me. I'm even looking at just keep saving my pennies for the Nikon 200-400. But I"ve never had one in my hand and I hear so much about how difficult they are to hand hold. (I'm 59 but in very good shape) F4.5-5.6 really handicaps me but I'm not sure what else to look at.

With the 70-200 2.8 I'd miss all the shots at a distance but the ones I could get might be really nice.

With the 80-400 I'd struggle to get shots in low light (which occurs a lot) I struggle with this now with my 70-300 nikon lens.

nikon 200-400 - My wife might leave me and I'd be homeless and might struggle to hand hold the thing. And it would take a long time to come up with that much cash.

Sigma 120-300 2.8 - I'm afraid I wouldn't like the image quality of this 3rd party lens.

Does anyone here have any thoughts, recommendations, or example pics taken with the 80-400?

I love the IQ of a prime but due to the fact that action occurs close in and far out requires a zoom.

There just doesn't seem to be a perfect lens out there for what I need to do.

(I currently shoot a D7100 with a nikon 70-300 f4.5-5.6)

 keiththom's gear list:keiththom's gear list
Nikon D810 Nikon D500 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 12-24mm f/4G ED-IF Nikon AF-S DX Micro-Nikkor 85mm f/3.5G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED +5 more
Nikon D7100
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