Lack of VR in Nikon 300mm f4 - big deal or not?

Started Apr 22, 2013 | Discussions
Lin Evans
Lin Evans Forum Pro • Posts: 17,479
Beta test of Sigma 50-500 OS

hwg wrote:

just to be clear are we talking about the

Nikon 300mm f4 D AF-S IF ED Lens?

e.g.

http://www.wexphotographic.com/buy-nikon-300mm-f4-d-af-s-if-ed-lens/p12882

i was considering the bigma 50-500 but as it appears it is not too sharp at teh 500 mm end then i don't see the point.

it sounds like the nikon 300mm + 1.4x or 1.7x converter would give the better IQ but obviusly not at convieient as a zoom.

but if the IQ is not there in the bigma then there is no point.

Am i correcting in saying the 300mm f4 has better IQ than the Nikon 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 VR II ?

Hi Harry,

The Sigma 50-500 OS is very sharp even at 500mm. I'm not certain if the OP used OS or not, but if you are shooting from a tripod, you must turn OS off or you will not get good results. OS in the Sigma (and most stabilized lenses) is for hand holding.

Proper technique and proper shutter speeds are very important. I beta tested the 50-500 OS before it was released and found it to be excellent throughout the range. Here's a link to my results for anyone interested.

Click on the thumbnails for larger image and on the larger image for full resolution - these made with Sigma SD10 dSLR... All shots are hand-held.

Link to beta test of Sigma 50-500 OS

Best regards,

Lin

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learntomakeslidshows.net

nunatak Senior Member • Posts: 2,739
no

i shoot birds in flight (BIF) all the time w/o VR. my greater concern is subject movement. for BIF i personally prefer shutter speeds of 1/2000 sec and above. if you're concerned about hand movement, or require a lower ISO because your camera (which you didn't specify) produces too much noise, try a monopod. it shouldl give you an extra stop. a monopod is especially important with a TC.

if you get the 300mm f4. practice with it before your shoot. review your shots. most likely you'll be fine. 300mm is not an extremely long focal length for BIF, so another option, if you can afford it, is the new 80-400mm G VR. with this lens, and especially a TC14E attached, VR will make a noticeable difference with lower shutter speeds, but may blur your subject with speeds faster than 1/1000 sec. three weeks with this lens and i'm still trying to figure this out.

IMO, the 300mm f4 w/o VR + TC14E is the best value going for the highest image quality (IQ). not every shot lend itself to that focal length, and with experience you'll find a zoom offers much greater flexibility. especially one that you can add a TC to. good luck.

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design guy

Island Golfer
Island Golfer Veteran Member • Posts: 3,533
Re: Lack of VR in Nikon 300mm f4 - big deal or not?

This happens all too frequently when posting. It must be some glich in the dpreview system. Usually, the images will eventually show up as posted. The problem is that you don't really know if you actually did something wrong when you end up with 3 red "x", instaead of posted images.

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truview

 Island Golfer's gear list:Island Golfer's gear list
Sony RX100 Nikon D810 Sony a6300 Sigma 24-105mm F4 DG OS HSM Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III +15 more
OP familypast Junior Member • Posts: 25
Thanks Everyone1

No text.

 familypast's gear list:familypast's gear list
Nikon D90 Nikon D7100 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4D ED-IF Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E II +5 more
OP familypast Junior Member • Posts: 25
Re: Thanks Everyone!

Shoot, I inadvertently hit send before writing anything.

I just want to thank everyone for the great advice...and the beautiful photos.  I'm SOLD on the 300mm f4!

 familypast's gear list:familypast's gear list
Nikon D90 Nikon D7100 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4D ED-IF Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E II +5 more
PHXAZCRAIG
PHXAZCRAIG Forum Pro • Posts: 15,241
Re: no

I'm also working on understanding VR.    With a D800, I see pretty small differences in sharpness, and so far most of the time I've used VR I've seen a degradation in sharpness.   At all shutter speeds.   Not all, but most shots.

What I'm wondering (on the AF-S 80-400 specifically) is if the VR is doing it's job, but when the VR element is moved off center there is just a loss of sharpness.   Or it could be that I'm just moving the lens too much for VR to completely compensate.

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Craig
www.cjcphoto.net

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ABA DABA Veteran Member • Posts: 3,088
Re: no doubt a Nikon fan club forum

Holy Cow, this started out talking about Sigma and Nikon lenses. Then this fellow KrisCT posted some Osprey shots that outshine some other forum posters that brag about using a Nikon 300f4. Another surprising thing is there is only one positive comment about the Osprey shots. And to think the shots were taken with a Tamron 200-500 f5.6-6.3 w//o VR. Give credit where credit is due,  proof of how cliquish and rude you people are. A shamefull display on your part. I'm sure the Nikon 300f4 is a good lens for its use but to ignore the results of other lenses and manufacturer is disgraceful.  OH yes I am a Nikon owner cameras and lenses etc.

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ABA DABA

moony16 Regular Member • Posts: 470
Re: It shouldn't be

Rutgerbus wrote:

300 f/4 AF-s is a wonderfull lens, as most people already mentioned in this threat.

Something what has not been mentioned yet is that is also a very nice close-up lens since the close focus distance is less then 1m. This makes it a very useable macro-lens as well. So you will buy two lenses in one buy actually.

two thumbs up for the Nikkor.

Nice shots Rutger.  And I agree with you assessment of this lens.  However, while the lens does do excellent close-focus, it does not CF in less than a meter.  It will CF down to about 1.5 meters though--very impressive.  Best!

JT

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Who looks outside,
dreams; who looks
inside, awakens
Carl Jung (1875-1961)

nunatak Senior Member • Posts: 2,739
Re: no

PHXAZCRAIG wrote:

I'm also working on understanding VR.    With a D800, I see pretty small differences in sharpness, and so far most of the time I've used VR I've seen a degradation in sharpness.   At all shutter speeds.   Not all, but most shots.

What I'm wondering (on the AF-S 80-400 specifically) is if the VR is doing it's job, but when the VR element is moved off center there is just a loss of sharpness.   Or it could be that I'm just moving the lens too much for VR to completely compensate.

i know we're off topic, but i haven't found a common denominator yet. sometimes it works beautifully, at other times i get better results with it left off. more experimentation is required to isolate this issue. i'll share whatever i find out. good luck.

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design guy

nikhilpednekar New Member • Posts: 1
Re: Lack of VR in Nikon 300mm f4 - big deal or not?

I have the 300mm f4 and a 1.4 TC. Use it for birding.

I get reasonable sharp pix if the subject is really close, say less than 20ft. However, as the distance increases, the sharpness falls off dramatically.

The 1.4 TC also takes a huge toll.

Bottomline, the lens is not very easy to use. As sad as I am to state this, great pix will not be predictably achievable when shooting handheld, even if you force the shutter speed to be faster than 1/500th. Using a monopod or tripod is not convenient, and in anycase shouldn't cloud assessment of whether the lack of VR makes a difference.

Since your stated interest is birding, I'd think you should rent the lens first before spending on it.

To see the effect of image stabilization, try the canon with the IS switched on and off. The difference should be alarming.

turbsy
turbsy Contributing Member • Posts: 909
Re: Beta test of Sigma 50-500 OS

Lin Evans wrote:

hwg wrote:

just to be clear are we talking about the

Nikon 300mm f4 D AF-S IF ED Lens?

e.g.

http://www.wexphotographic.com/buy-nikon-300mm-f4-d-af-s-if-ed-lens/p12882

i was considering the bigma 50-500 but as it appears it is not too sharp at teh 500 mm end then i don't see the point.

it sounds like the nikon 300mm + 1.4x or 1.7x converter would give the better IQ but obviusly not at convieient as a zoom.

but if the IQ is not there in the bigma then there is no point.

Am i correcting in saying the 300mm f4 has better IQ than the Nikon 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 VR II ?

Hi Harry,

The Sigma 50-500 OS is very sharp even at 500mm. I'm not certain if the OP used OS or not, but if you are shooting from a tripod, you must turn OS off or you will not get good results. OS in the Sigma (and most stabilized lenses) is for hand holding.

Proper technique and proper shutter speeds are very important. I beta tested the 50-500 OS before it was released and found it to be excellent throughout the range. Here's a link to my results for anyone interested.

Click on the thumbnails for larger image and on the larger image for full resolution - these made with Sigma SD10 dSLR... All shots are hand-held.

Link to beta test of Sigma 50-500 OS

Best regards,

Lin

I tried the 50-500mm os after i sold my Sigma 120-400mm os and I found it no better then the 120-400mm. I was disappointed because i had seen a lot of great photos taken with it and had extensively used the non os bigma for a summer with my D50 which i found to be great at the time.      I decided on the 300mm f4 af-s with 1.4tc and am happy i did it was great on my D300 and i find it equally as good on my D800.

 turbsy's gear list:turbsy's gear list
Olympus XZ-1 Nikon D50 Nikon D300 Nikon D800 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4D ED-IF +11 more
slimandy Forum Pro • Posts: 17,157
Re: no doubt a Nikon fan club forum

ABA DABA wrote:

Holy Cow, this started out talking about Sigma and Nikon lenses. Then this fellow KrisCT posted some Osprey shots that outshine some other forum posters that brag about using a Nikon 300f4. Another surprising thing is there is only one positive comment about the Osprey shots. And to think the shots were taken with a Tamron 200-500 f5.6-6.3 w//o VR. Give credit where credit is due,  proof of how cliquish and rude you people are. A shamefull display on your part. I'm sure the Nikon 300f4 is a good lens for its use but to ignore the results of other lenses and manufacturer is disgraceful.  OH yes I am a Nikon owner cameras and lenses etc.

Sorry but I thought the thread was about the 300mm f4 and whether it lacked Vr or not. Not sure where I got that impresssion? The title maybe.....?!

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 slimandy's gear list:slimandy's gear list
Sony RX100 II Nikon D200 Nikon D700 Fujifilm X-E1 Fujifilm X-T1
John M Roberts Senior Member • Posts: 2,631
Re: VR info link

PHXAZCRAIG wrote:

I'm also working on understanding VR.    With a D800, I see pretty small differences in sharpness, and so far most of the time I've used VR I've seen a degradation in sharpness.   At all shutter speeds.   Not all, but most shots.

What I'm wondering (on the AF-S 80-400 specifically) is if the VR is doing it's job, but when the VR element is moved off center there is just a loss of sharpness.   Or it could be that I'm just moving the lens too much for VR to completely compensate.

This may be useful reading. http://www.bythom.com/nikon-vr.htm

turbsy
turbsy Contributing Member • Posts: 909
Re: Lack of VR in Nikon 300mm f4 - big deal or not?

nikhilpednekar wrote:

I have the 300mm f4 and a 1.4 TC. Use it for birding.

I get reasonable sharp pix if the subject is really close, say less than 20ft. However, as the distance increases, the sharpness falls off dramatically.

The 1.4 TC also takes a huge toll.

Bottomline, the lens is not very easy to use. As sad as I am to state this, great pix will not be predictably achievable when shooting handheld, even if you force the shutter speed to be faster than 1/500th. Using a monopod or tripod is not convenient, and in anycase shouldn't cloud assessment of whether the lack of VR makes a difference.

Since your stated interest is birding, I'd think you should rent the lens first before spending on it.

To see the effect of image stabilization, try the canon with the IS switched on and off. The difference should be alarming.

This has not been my experience at all.  after a certain shutter speed VR is of very little use.

 turbsy's gear list:turbsy's gear list
Olympus XZ-1 Nikon D50 Nikon D300 Nikon D800 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4D ED-IF +11 more
evan47
evan47 Senior Member • Posts: 1,579
Re: Lack of VR in Nikon 300mm f4 - big deal or not?

turbsy wrote:

nikhilpednekar wrote:

I have the 300mm f4 and a 1.4 TC. Use it for birding.

I get reasonable sharp pix if the subject is really close, say less than 20ft. However, as the distance increases, the sharpness falls off dramatically.

The 1.4 TC also takes a huge toll.

Bottomline, the lens is not very easy to use. As sad as I am to state this, great pix will not be predictably achievable when shooting handheld, even if you force the shutter speed to be faster than 1/500th. Using a monopod or tripod is not convenient, and in anycase shouldn't cloud assessment of whether the lack of VR makes a difference.

Since your stated interest is birding, I'd think you should rent the lens first before spending on it.

To see the effect of image stabilization, try the canon with the IS switched on and off. The difference should be alarming.

This has not been my experience at all.  after a certain shutter speed VR is of very little use.

having a great camera/lens combo is one thing, having the skill to use it is another thing. technique, settings and good shooting conditions will get you great pictures.

the 300 f4 is a great lens you just need to learn how to use it.

vr is just a gimmick, ok it can be handy but far from essential.

 evan47's gear list:evan47's gear list
Sony RX10 IV Nikon D500 Sigma 150mm F2.8 EX DG Macro HSM Nikon 200-500mm F5.6E ED VR +2 more
ABA DABA Veteran Member • Posts: 3,088
Re: Lack of VR in Nikon 300mm f4 - big deal or not?

Gee I can't imagine how all the sports and other photographers managed to get the outstanding shots prior to having VR . I don't remember having a switch on my Canon or Nikon lenses. If you have VR or other styles of vibration reduction TURN IT OFF AND LEARN HOW TO USE YOUR GEAR.

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ABA DABA

John M Roberts Senior Member • Posts: 2,631
Re: VR more than handy!

evan47 wrote:

turbsy wrote:

nikhilpednekar wrote:

I have the 300mm f4 and a 1.4 TC. Use it for birding.

I get reasonable sharp pix if the subject is really close, say less than 20ft. However, as the distance increases, the sharpness falls off dramatically.

The 1.4 TC also takes a huge toll.

Bottomline, the lens is not very easy to use. As sad as I am to state this, great pix will not be predictably achievable when shooting handheld, even if you force the shutter speed to be faster than 1/500th. Using a monopod or tripod is not convenient, and in anycase shouldn't cloud assessment of whether the lack of VR makes a difference.

Since your stated interest is birding, I'd think you should rent the lens first before spending on it.

To see the effect of image stabilization, try the canon with the IS switched on and off. The difference should be alarming.

This has not been my experience at all.  after a certain shutter speed VR is of very little use.

having a great camera/lens combo is one thing, having the skill to use it is another thing. technique, settings and good shooting conditions will get you great pictures.

the 300 f4 is a great lens you just need to learn how to use it.

vr is just a gimmick, ok it can be handy but far from essential.

It can allow you the convenience of capturing images in conditions that are not favorable be it in scenes where tripods are not allowed or possible. It's no gimmick to widen the threshold of capturing unique images of quality. Think museums, interiors, tourist attractions like the DC Monument sites, kayaking or you want to lighten your load for a strenuous hike yet capture as much twilight and avoid pumping up the ISO. Shooting from a bridge with lots of traffic vibration.

It's no gimmick in any focal length.

John M Roberts Senior Member • Posts: 2,631
Re: Utilizing VR is "LEARNING HOW..."

ABA DABA wrote:

Gee I can't imagine how all the sports and other photographers managed to get the outstanding shots prior to having VR .

And they will be able to enhance their abilities as well with the choice of having VR.

I don't remember having a switch on my Canon or Nikon lenses. If you have VR or other styles of vibration reduction TURN IT OFF AND LEARN HOW TO USE YOUR GEAR.

Yes, turn it off to learn at what point you would like to employ VR.

Accepting advancements in development and using them to their advantage is a part of learning your gear. Why limit yourself? There doesn't seem to be much disregard concerning the obvious advantages provided by digital over film. Consider the wonderful improvement of speedlights from years past when much more was required. VR is part of the wonderful offerings that can let one utilize or not.

PHXAZCRAIG
PHXAZCRAIG Forum Pro • Posts: 15,241
Re: no
3

Well, to be on-topic...

I shoot with 300F4 and AF-S 80-400vr.   Sometimes with 1.4tc.

I know what to expect from the 300F4 - certain amount of shutter speed, especially handheld, and you're done.   Reasonably steady support, lower shutter speed, any ISO - great results more often than not.   Very good support, good technique, you can extend things to even lower shutter speeds.

With the 80-400, same thing applies.   The new one is usable wide open, unlike the old one, which certainly helps with shutter speeds.

Now turn on VR, and it's a crap shoot.   Most of my VR handheld shots are dissapointing compared to basically the same shot from a tripod with mirror up and remote release.  MOST.

I haven't found a single shutter speed yet where I think VR can give me the same results as mirror up and remote release on a tripod.   Like Thom's article suggests, even at shutter speeds above 1/500th, results seem (sometimes?) worse with VR on than off.

Clearly when shooting at low speeds (1/100-1/250th) I get better results handheld with VR than without it.   Almost certainly it helps when panning.    But there always seems to be a little bit of blur when I pixel peep that's not there with tripod use.

I can't say I've noticed that with my 70-200 vr II or my 105vr.  But shooting at 300-400mm is more demanding than shooting at shorter focal lengths.

So overall, I'm not thinking that VR missing on the 300F4 is a problem.  It may very well be to the advantage of the lens.  It's smaller and cheaper without VR.

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Craig
www.cjcphoto.net

 PHXAZCRAIG's gear list:PHXAZCRAIG's gear list
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Island Golfer
Island Golfer Veteran Member • Posts: 3,533
Re: Lack of VR in Nikon 300mm f4 - big deal or not?

I would have to say that there is a bit of truth in all of these statements. The 300mm lens is difficult to use. It does require practice. VR is not useful if all you are doing is shooting at very fast shutter speeds. But, it is handy to have at your disposal. Adding a teleconverter does degrade the end result somewhat. Most of these things become readily apparent when you start using longer lenses. I have owned three versions of the Nikon 300mm lens. Two were the F/2.8 variety. My latest one is the F/4 afs version. I have used both the Nikon teleconverter and the Kenko teleconverter. This time, I chose to go without it. The main reason I have not bothered with the teleconverter this time is because of the camera I now have. With my D800, resolution is good enough to crop a distant image to a percentage that brings the target close enough that I don't feel the necessity of using a teleconverter anymore.  And, while I recognize that a lot of photographers do have the ability and steadiness to get good images when hand holding the camera and lens combination, at 69 years old, I do not. Instead, I have had to rely on a medium duty tripod, a heavy ball head, the Kirk collar, a cable release and shutter speeds above 1/1000 sec. I take a lot of images; and I throw a lot of them out. But, I like the lens and the results just fine. You just need to try the lens for yourself to see what you can do with it; and how you need to use it to achieve the results that best satisfy you. As you can no doubt glean from all of these posts, you may love it. You may hate it. You may be just "satisfied" with it. Or, you may like a different lens better that the Nikon 300mm f/4. But, let's face it, it's that way with any lens.

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truview

 Island Golfer's gear list:Island Golfer's gear list
Sony RX100 Nikon D810 Sony a6300 Sigma 24-105mm F4 DG OS HSM Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III +15 more
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