Which lens for a safari?

Started Jul 9, 2015 | Discussions thread
Tord S Eriksson
Tord S Eriksson Forum Pro • Posts: 15,091
Re: My old Nikkor 80-400 AF-D works well

Osvaldo Cristo wrote:


Lovely shots, Osvaldo!

From my recent experience at Pantanal, Brazil. Most of the pictures were made with my 2002 old Nikkor 80-400 AF-D mounted on my D810, but in previous years I used it on D100, D200 and D300S. I do not use the lens wide open, usually at f/8, sometimes when I really need more light I go to f/6.3.

That 'old' lens on the D810 does work very, very well!

Virtually all pictures were made from a boat, very unstable, hand held, naturally. My standard speed for that application is 1/1,000 second - sometimes slower if I feel it is possible.

I use manual exposure and auto ISO.

The new iteration of Nikkor 80-400 has much better IQ when wide open, but I found the DoF can be insufficient for most of subjects I usually am interested... on the other hand, when working at f/8 the difference between the lenses for IQ is almost unperceptive. The newer version has a clear advantage for AF speed as it is an AF-S lens.

If I was buying a new "affordable" long zoom lens today, I would go to the Nikkor 80-400 AF-S.


I bought the AF-S 80-400 VR II, but compared to my wife's lens (70-300CX, on a V2) it wasn't better, and a kilogram heavier, at least.

It was sharp in its short end, but even at 300mm it was no longer as outstanding as I had (reading early reviews) become to believe. I used it mostly on my V2, with occasionally superb results, in its short end, but never in the 280-400mm part of the focal length.

So I switched to one 70-200/4.0G to be used on the D600, and one 70-300CX, for my V2.

The two lenses are slightly less costly, not that big a difference, but I now have continuous cover, in 35mm terms, from 70 to 810mm, using two cameras and two lenses.

And I like the result a lot!

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Tord_2 (at) photographer (dot) net
Mostly Nikon V1, V2, & D600, user

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