Has anyone been disappointed with the new 80-400?

Started Mar 18, 2014 | Discussions thread
Dr Bob
Dr Bob Senior Member • Posts: 1,319
Re: Has anyone been disappointed with the new 80-400?

NikonManSoCal wrote:

My initial reaction to this lens on release was negative (based solely on what I consider insane MSRP pricing for a relatively slow variable aperture lens) - I am now considering picking one up during the rebate period (even with the rebate the lens is the same cost as the 70-200 VRII). Most reviews here and on professional photo sites (e.g. non KR) are mainly positive. I don't have a huge need for an extreme tele-zoom, but am thinking it would be convenient to have for occasions where the range would be beneficial (similar to how I use the 24-120). Anyways I'm curious if anyone pulled the trigger and was subsequently disappointed for whatever reason.

I did have one short experience with my 80-400G that questioned it's performance. A number of shots came out with a 'mushy' focus over a few days. I narrowed this down to using VR at high shutter speeds (perhaps Craig/Az's VR smearing) and/or low battery voltage. My solution – turn off VR over 1/1000 and keep batteries charged (Ok for 1000 shots!). I have now got 20K shots on this lens. It is a great lens and well worth the money for me. I have not had a “mushy” shot since.

Over the past 12 months, a number of people have come on here complaining about focus problems and a lot have been down to shooting birds at too low a shutter speeds. Birds twitch and using 1/500 on a small bird is asking for problems. There have also been a number of complainants who have insisted on using VR on with high shutter speeds. Now, there is no doubt that the majority of owners can shoot the 80-400G with VR on at high speed and get constantly great shots (and dont suffer the VR smearing) – but the fact is, I can't. This majority have convinced many of the complainants to leave VR on at high speed (as it is ok for them)..... and then the complainants come back saying they have a problem. If you have a problem of softness at high shutter speeds – turn VR off. If you don't, then leave it on. Simple!

I don't think the VR is a problem. I dont use it over 1/1000 as it uses battery, potentially slows down AF (particularly if battery voltage is low) and I prefer to see how well I am handholding the combo. VR works great at slower speeds and I always use it at below 1/640 when I am forced down to that speed.

This is a great walkabout lens and delivers great shots.



 Dr Bob's gear list:Dr Bob's gear list
Nikon D800E Nikon D600 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/4G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm f/4G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 28mm f/1.8G +1 more
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