Nikon 400mm f5.6 EDIF versus modern zoom?

Started Jun 10, 2014 | Questions thread
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Rod McD Veteran Member • Posts: 6,302
Nikon 400mm f5.6 EDIF versus modern zoom?
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Hi,

I've recently bought a mirror-less camera and am considering buying a used 400mm lens or zoom.  (Obviously I'd be accepting that it would require manual focusing even if the lens is AF.)  I wonder if anyone can cast some light on the Nikon 400mm f5.6 for me.

I can't afford very fast long tele lenses and don't want to carry anything that big anyway.  Apart from Canon, most manufacturers seem to have dropped the f5.6 telephoto lenses in favor of 80-400mm type zooms.  I'm wondering if the old AIS 400mm f5.6 EDIF lens (now heading for 30 years old) would compare favorably at f5.6/8 to modern AF zooms with their more recent optical design and digital coatings.  (I'm talking f5.6 zooms, not pro zooms like the ED 200-400mm f4).  The old lens is available used at reasonable prices and gets great reviews, but it lacks the flexibility of a zoom.  OTOH, quite a few of the zooms seem to get good reviews at their shorter FLs, but deteriorate at the long end.

Has anyone owned the AIS 400mm f5.6 EDIF and had the opportunity to compare its IQ with a modern 80-400mm style zoom?  Is it still worth investing in an ED lens from the eighties?

Thanks, Rod

 Rod McD's gear list:Rod McD's gear list
Canon PowerShot G1 X Olympus Tough TG-4 Fujifilm X-T1 Voigtlander 90mm F3.5 APO-Lanthar SL II Fujifilm XF 35mm F1.4 R +10 more
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