200-500 and 200-400 moving forward, e.g., Z.

Started Aug 17, 2019 | Discussions thread
owlseye Regular Member • Posts: 234
Re: 200-500 and 200-400 moving forward, e.g., Z.

olindacat wrote:

owlseye wrote:

y lens than the 200-400VR when comparing equal focal lengths at equal apertures. The 200-400's focus acuity diminishes when photographing very distant (50 meters +) subjects.

You mentioned AF fine-tuning the 200-400, and I think this is part of the long distance issue. I have mine fine-tuned at 400mm and about 25 meters, as that is my typical distance to larger wildlife subjects. When things go towards 100 meters, I tend to stop down to compensate for a bit of resolution. I actually think that the lens does well at a distance when there is not a lot of moisture in the air or heat shimmers. I think the long distance weakness relates more to these type of atmospheric conditions than anything else.

I read these remarks elsewhere on this site, as well as on Fred Miranda's forum. Some said they could never spot tune the 200-400 and gave up, others didn't have that problem, or were able to fix it. I guess these long zooms are all hit or miss to a degree. I have owned the VR1 70-200 f/2.8 so know the build, and value it. Once fell off a golf cart roof and tore the mount right out of my D800E! Lens lived!

That is very helpful to know. Do you value the added reach of the 200-500? I've read some use the TCs with success with the 200-400, or simply attach it to a D500 and are happy.

I have owned a few 300mm f/2.8's (AFS I and AFS II) and never loved the 1.4x (TCI or TCII) with these lenses. While the converters maintained the sharpness of the lens, the background bokeh seemed to exhibit a pattern/character that I never liked.

When I added a 1.4x to the 200-400, I saw the same thing. Of course this is related to added depth of field, but I also think it is an optical bi-product of the added glass. I know that some people will readily use a converter w/ their 200-400, but that's something that I just won't do.

Recall, I also own the 500PFE, so if I need to go long, I will use my 500mm lens on a D500. If you see yourself needing the full range of 200-500, then rest assured, the 500mm side of things will give you a nice image... just not as nice throughout the range as the 200-400mm lens.

Finally, so you know, i would not hesitate to use any of my 3 telephoto lenses in a "critical" situation. I was photographing bears in British Columbia this summer, had the 500PFE on my Z6 and my wife was shooting w/ her D500 and 200-500VR. A wolverine appeared out of nowhere... clearly, I was thinking Holy $h!T!... since she was on the far side, I asked to use her lens, zoomed to 500mm and shot it at 500mm (750mm equivalent) @ f/5.6... it did great and was the right lens at the right time.

Thanks for the help!

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 owlseye's gear list:owlseye's gear list
Nikon D500 Nikon 500mm F5.6E PF Nikon Z7 Nikon Z6 Nikon Z6 II +5 more
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