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

Started Aug 17, 2019 | Discussions
olindacat
olindacat Regular Member • Posts: 456
200-500 and 200-400 moving forward, e.g., Z.

I've been lurking, asking, for months about cheap reach, as I need length for golf action and some landscapes. Many good suggestions offered, and a lot of wisdom here from owners of the above two lenses. My takeaway is the 200-500 has a slower SWM but works and there are news shooters using it all day long for sideline action, and it if its good enough for them.....

Now, focus hunting is a scary thing if you are shooting a golfer. Sometimes you may not have that second chance. (I guess we all feel that way.) The SWM in the 200-400 I hear is faster, but inevitably will die and need replacing, for about $500-600.

The VR vs VRII on that lens is similar, and not substantially better, some say.

Does the newer 200-500 have better coating than the VR1 200-400? Is there anything else internally or mechanically or electronically that might not play better with the adapter on a mirrorless if the 200-400 option is used, vs the 200-500?

The 200-400 is buyable used for maybe 500-700 more than the 200-500, I hear it is better built, but it is old. I want the glass to last me 15+ years, so appreciate any thoughts from owners who are wondering about the future. I posted something about that future in a the body section as well, but see an copy of the 200-400 on eBay going pretty cheap, and it ends soon, so thought I'd give this question a whirl and see if anyone has any preferences between the two and why, for future use, 10-15 years from now.

owlseye Regular Member • Posts: 241
Re: 200-500 and 200-400 moving forward, e.g., Z.
3

I own them both, and I think that you have drawn a few incorrect conclusions. For background, I am a wildlife and nature photographer. Much of the wildlife work in my website portfolio and blog were made with the 200-400 VR1 ( http://btleventhal.com )

Accurate Points...

The image quality of the 200-500VR is very good to excellent. Excellence occurs in great light and focal lengths below the 500mm (say 400mm). The AF is very good but not great. The coatings are not Nikon's newest "nano" but they are accurate. The lens his hefty, but it is not robust, nor is it a pro-build lens.

Some misconceptions/inaccuracies...

The 200-400VR is definitely a sharper and more contrasty 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. This flaw is reduced significantly when I use my lens with a Z6. The 200-400VR is way more robust, has better weather sealing, and a much faster AF motor than the 200-500. Were I to guess which one would last 15 years, I'd pick the 200-400. This is a pro-grade Nikon lens designed for the rigors & bumps that sports photographers experience. While there are sharper lenses on the market (primes in the same range), few are as flexible as the 200-400.

When photographing subjects within 25 meters or so, the lens is prime sharp by f4.5 to f5

Limitations... the 200-400 is long, heavy and front weighted. It is hard to handhold for long periods of time. The 200-500 does not have an internal zoom, so the balance shifts dramatically when zooming. In addition, it takes 360 degrees (plus) to go from 200-500, the 200-400 has a shorter rotation to zoom between extremes. With respect to VR, the 200-500VR is one of the best VR lenses I have used... Excellent, the 200-400mm F/4 you are looking at has VR 1... good for 2 stops on an FX camera and 1 stop on a DX camera. I rarely shoot mine handheld.

Finally, I also have the 500PFE... the 200-500 does not come close to the output I get from my prime @ 500mm... however, it is very useable.

Attached are similar images shot at the same time w/ each lens.

-- hide signature --

regards,
bruce

 owlseye's gear list:owlseye's gear list
Nikon D500 Nikon 500mm F5.6E PF Nikon Z6 Nikon Z6 II Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III +6 more
Paul P K
Paul P K Contributing Member • Posts: 661
Re: 200-500 and 200-400 moving forward, e.g., Z.
1

olindacat wrote:

thought I'd give this question a whirl and see if anyone has any preferences between the two and why, for future use, 10-15 years from now.

I bought my 4/200-400 VRI in 2005

Despite admittedly ( and in hindsight ashamed for it) abusing it shooting shore to see wave and windsurf, with a lot of salt water spray and during rain and sleet (I'm based in the Netherlands, for most part of the year no Hawaii or California sunshine over here ) without any kind of raincover, it kept working

Texel Roadtrip 20091016 D3 4/200-400 VRI at 400mm 1/1250s f/7.1 iso320

After a few years of shooting in the above conditions I thought the salt water had finally seeped into the lens and corroded the contacts of the VR engine

But when I had the lens checked at the local NPS service point, during which they had to disassemble the lens, apparently the contacts inadvertently got cleaned in the process

So no need for an expensive repair of well over Eur 600 (ex taxes), only had to pay about Eur 60 , the cost for the inspection

Nowadays use it for catwalk in larger venues too long for my catwalk standard workhorse 2.8/70-200

AMFI Amsterdam 20110629 D3 4/200-400mm VRI at 280.0mm 1/320s f/4.5 iso1100

Haven't used it on a Z6 yet, but my 2/200 VRI I bought in 2004 works fine on it, both for static, and (fast) moving subjects shooting as eg catwalk

MAFB Tropenmuseum 20181209 Z6 2/200mm VRI f 3.2 1/320th ISO 3200

So I think that based on personal experience I can say it's not beyond expectations to expect the 4/200-400mm VRI (or VRII) will last at least for 14 years

-- hide signature --

all in a day's work
http://www.pbase.com/paul_k/

 Paul P K's gear list:Paul P K's gear list
Nikon D1H Nikon D800 Nikon D4S Nikon Z6 Nikon Z7 II +31 more
owlseye Regular Member • Posts: 241
Re: 200-500 and 200-400 moving forward, e.g., Z.
1

owlseye wrote:

I own them both, and I think that you have drawn a few incorrect conclusions. For background, I am a wildlife and nature photographer. Much of the wildlife work in my website portfolio and blog were made with the 200-400 VR1 ( http://btleventhal.com )

Accurate Points...

The image quality of the 200-500VR is very good to excellent. Excellence occurs in great light and focal lengths below the 500mm (say 400mm). The AF is very good but not great. The coatings are not Nikon's newest "nano" but they are accurate. The lens his hefty, but it is not robust, nor is it a pro-build lens.

Some misconceptions/inaccuracies...

The 200-400VR is definitely a sharper and more contrasty 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. This flaw is reduced significantly when I use my lens with a Z6. The 200-400VR is way more robust, has better weather sealing, and a much faster AF motor than the 200-500. Were I to guess which one would last 15 years, I'd pick the 200-400. This is a pro-grade Nikon lens designed for the rigors & bumps that sports photographers experience. While there are sharper lenses on the market (primes in the same range), few are as flexible as the 200-400.

When photographing subjects within 25 meters or so, the lens is prime sharp by f4.5 to f5

Limitations... the 200-400 is long, heavy and front weighted. It is hard to handhold for long periods of time. The 200-500 does not have an internal zoom, so the balance shifts dramatically when zooming. In addition, it takes 360 degrees (plus) to go from 200-500, the 200-400 has a shorter rotation to zoom between extremes. With respect to VR, the 200-500VR is one of the best VR lenses I have used... Excellent, the 200-400mm F/4 you are looking at has VR 1... good for 2 stops on an FX camera and 1 stop on a DX camera. I rarely shoot mine handheld.

Finally, I also have the 500PFE... the 200-500 does not come close to the output I get from my prime @ 500mm... however, it is very useable.

Attached are similar images shot at the same time w/ each lens.

I had a typo in my response "The 200-400VR is definitely a sharper and more contrasty lens than the 200-400VR when comparing equal focal lengths at equal apertures."

I wanted to say that the 200-400VR is sharper and more contrasty than the 200-500VR... this is an important point! Also, if it was not clear... if I had to choose one... (especially if I did not have the 500PFE), I'd choose the 200-400. The only time I choose the 200-500 over the 200-400 is when weight is the limiting factor. When shooting from a kayak handheld, I use the 200-500, when shooting from land, from the car, and from a tripod, I'll choose the 200-400VR.

cheers,

bruce

-- hide signature --

regards,
bruce

 owlseye's gear list:owlseye's gear list
Nikon D500 Nikon 500mm F5.6E PF Nikon Z6 Nikon Z6 II Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III +6 more
olindacat
OP olindacat Regular Member • Posts: 456
Re: 200-500 and 200-400 moving forward, e.g., Z.

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.

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!

This flaw is reduced significantly when I use my lens with a Z6.

I have been asking F shooters about future proofing in an effort to allude to the Z series, inadvertently. I get these sense they are on the fence about the Zs. Ive taken hits with being an early adopter but so see those lower prices. Seems new tech, read the Z7 is a lot like a D850, but not quite. I am glad the Z6 bumps up the usability of the lens. I am right about to pull the trigger on one. Maybe tonight!

When photographing subjects within 25 meters or so, the lens is prime sharp by f4.5 to f5

Wow. That's nice to know. I used the 300 f/2.8 for years. Also shot both 400 and 500s.

he 200-400mm F/4 you are looking at has VR 1... good for 2 stops on an FX camera and 1 stop on a DX camera. I rarely shoot mine handheld.

I had the VR1 on the 70-200 and didn't think much of it. I rented the F FL copy and also didn't get the benefit of the VR, but that was my shooting priorities and not th lens. I'm sure that isa fine lens. I don't need VR, so that's okay.

Attached are similar images shot at the same time w/ each lens.

I had a typo in my response "The 200-400VR is definitely a sharper and more contrasty lens than the 200-400VR when comparing equal focal lengths at equal apertures."

I wanted to say that the 200-400VR is sharper and more contrasty than the 200-500VR... this is an important point! Also, if it was not clear... if I had to choose one... (especially if I did not have the 500PFE), I'd choose the 200-400.

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.

Thanks for the help!

olindacat
OP olindacat Regular Member • Posts: 456
Re: 200-500 and 200-400 moving forward, e.g., Z.

Paul! Very helpful thanks. I love the rendering of the 200! Do you like the Z6? Seems many are using that in tandem with the FX F mounts, e.g., 850.

olindacat
OP olindacat Regular Member • Posts: 456
Re: 200-500 and 200-400 moving forward, e.g., Z.

Paul P K wrote:

olindacat wrote:

thought I'd give this question a whirl and see if anyone has any preferences between the two and why, for future use, 10-15 years from now.

I bought my 4/200-400 VRI in 2005

no Hawaii

Texel Roadtrip 20091016 D3 4/200-400 VRI at 400mm 1/1250s f/7.1 iso320

Pretty good. Was this from the shore? I used to live in Olinda, above Makawao, on Maui

Leonard Shepherd
Leonard Shepherd Forum Pro • Posts: 21,794
Re: 200-500 and 200-400 moving forward, e.g., Z.

olindacat wrote:

This flaw is reduced significantly when I use my lens with a Z6.

I have been asking F shooters about future proofing in an effort to allude to the Z series, inadvertently

This implies the 200-400 AF is good at longer distances  which is true of my first version 200-400.

Resolving power at longer focus distances does not change when you switch bodies.

I find Z AF often works better than F AF - except Z has no cross type AF points intended to read detail parallel to the long dimension of the frame.

The first 200-400 is a zoom, has more elements than any other Nikon lens and predates nano coating. In consequence the lens delivers relatively low contrast compared to the long fast primes.

If you take this into account and accept sometimes you need more contrast or better detail in an AF subject than with some other lenses, I find focus on distant subjects (where subject contrast can be low) to be excellent.

-- hide signature --

Leonard Shepherd
In lots of ways good photography is much more about how equipment is used rather than the equipment being used.

 Leonard Shepherd's gear list:Leonard Shepherd's gear list
Nikon D500 Nikon D850 Nikon Z7 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Micro-Nikkor 60mm F2.8G ED +27 more
owlseye Regular Member • Posts: 241
Re: 200-500 and 200-400 moving forward, e.g., Z.
3

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!

-- hide signature --

regards,
bruce

 owlseye's gear list:owlseye's gear list
Nikon D500 Nikon 500mm F5.6E PF Nikon Z6 Nikon Z6 II Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III +6 more
olindacat
OP olindacat Regular Member • Posts: 456
Re: 200-500 and 200-400 moving forward, e.g., Z.

Leonard Shepherd wrote:

olindacat wrote:

This flaw is reduced significantly when I use my lens with a Z6.

I have been asking F shooters about future proofing in an effort to allude to the Z series, inadvertently

I find Z AF often works better than F AF - except Z has no cross type AF points intended to read detail parallel to the long dimension of the frame.

I knew you'd expose my fear of geometry Leonard

The first 200-400 is a zoom, has more elements than any other Nikon lens and predates nano coating. In consequence the lens delivers relatively low contrast compared to the long fast primes.

Because light must pass through so many elements?

If you take this into account and accept sometimes you need more contrast or better detail in an AF subject than with some other lenses, I find focus on distant subjects (where subject contrast can be low) to be excellent.

45 years with a camera in my hands and I am still learning the fundamentals of optics.

Thanks, as usual, Leonard.

olindacat
OP olindacat Regular Member • Posts: 456
Re: 200-500 and 200-400 moving forward, e.g., Z.

owlseye wrote:

I think the long distance weakness relates more to these type of atmospheric conditions than anything else.

Inside about 75 yards is best, right?

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.

Never had one myself, as I'm with you: I like the blurry background, as it separates the subject so beautifully.

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.

In your bird examples, the little fish (sardines?) were bigger and more discernible in the 200-500 shot, but the contrast seemed different on the bird's feathers. Were those two shots dehired or anything in post? Or was that to illustrate your point about the contrast in the 200-400 being a little more?

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.

I multitask when I am own the golf course taking photos, as it is a high opportunity cost to be there. Each time I go, I know I want to shoot wildlife, nature, etc. There is a red tailed hawk, a few bunnies, and a fox who appear and disappear as fast as lightning, and I have only gotten soft, crappy shots as I'm not expecting them, and try swapping lenses and seeings as they bolt! Great job with this little guy. Wouldn't want to get on his/her bad side!

Thanks for the help!

olindacat
OP olindacat Regular Member • Posts: 456
Re: 200-500 and 200-400 moving forward, e.g., Z.
1

this is the fox, so cropped for a website format that is horrid

obviously soft, hand held in a hurry.

here is the hawk. I had my iPhone and had to decide: video or still. I opted for video knowing he/she'd fly away and my iPhone 6 is not too fast.

owlseye Regular Member • Posts: 241
Re: 200-500 and 200-400 moving forward, e.g., Z.

olindacat wrote:

owlseye wrote:

I think the long distance weakness relates more to these type of atmospheric conditions than anything else.

Inside about 75 yards is best, right?

Yes... I find that the 200-400's performance is best within the length of a football field. This is not to say that I have not shot and liked images beyond that. When shooting distant landscapes with my 2-4 lens, I need to be sure to use my best technique and smaller apertures to increase depth of field. As I stated before, I find that most of my distance focus issues have been resolved when using my Z6 body.

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.

Never had one myself, as I'm with you: I like the blurry background, as it separates the subject so beautifully.

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.

In your bird examples, the little fish (sardines?) were bigger and more discernible in the 200-500 shot, but the contrast seemed different on the bird's feathers. Were those two shots dehired or anything in post? Or was that to illustrate your point about the contrast in the 200-400 being a little more?

If you look at the EXIF on the pictures, one was shot at 400mm (that was by me) and the other was shot at 500mm (by my wife). I was using the 2 to 4 and she was using the 2 to 5. Both are sharp, but my photo exhibits better micro-contrast. Note, I did the post work on both images and processed them in the same way.

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.

I multitask when I am own the golf course taking photos, as it is a high opportunity cost to be there. Each time I go, I know I want to shoot wildlife, nature, etc. There is a red tailed hawk, a few bunnies, and a fox who appear and disappear as fast as lightning, and I have only gotten soft, crappy shots as I'm not expecting them, and try swapping lenses and seeings as they bolt! Great job with this little guy. Wouldn't want to get on his/her bad side!

Thanks for the help!

-- hide signature --

regards,
bruce

 owlseye's gear list:owlseye's gear list
Nikon D500 Nikon 500mm F5.6E PF Nikon Z6 Nikon Z6 II Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III +6 more
KonradE New Member • Posts: 12
Re: 200-500 and 200-400 moving forward, e.g., Z.
1

Thanks for an interesting topic. I have been shooting with the 200-400/4 for some years and this is a supersharp lens. I have found it best at shorter distances such as this eagle owl chick at 400mm focal length. When I got the 200-500/5.6 for a year ago, I was also very pleased, even at longer focal lenghts. Today we can enjoy a sharp zoomlens ( 200-500/5.6) from Nikon at an affordable price. Its also much easier to carry around in nature than the 200-400/4.

olindacat
OP olindacat Regular Member • Posts: 456
Re: 200-500 and 200-400 moving forward, e.g., Z.

owlseye wrote:

If you look at the EXIF on the pictures, one was shot at 400mm (that was by me) and the other was shot at 500mm (by my wife). I was using the 2 to 4 and she was using the 2 to 5. Both are sharp, but my photo exhibits better micro-contrast. Note, I did the post work on both images and processed them in the same way.

I looked at your website and can see you have spent a lot of time trying to evaluable these two lenses, as well as comparing to your 500, Bruce. Very thoughtful and well done!

Does that little owl visit you often? I looks like you have some kind of bone or stick on your fence to get it to come and visit you! Really cool. I love owls, and once saw one in peril on the street, on Maui of all places. It actually let me pick it up! I put in my back seat and brought it straight to a veterinarian. She took it (the owl) in and told me it would be okay. I never followed up, but think it might have hurt it's leg.

In any event, my post is because I have a line on a 200-400 for 1700. It is a goof VR1 (looking in photos, I wouldn't know until I had in my hands and sow what it does), and for what, 1200 used can get the 200-500. Been reading all I can on both and what gets me is why you and your wife aren't both shooting the 200-500?

I have to think you can afford two 200-500s, so the 200-400 must be worth hauling and keeping and using, and micro contrast I must confess is not a term I use often, and will look it up, but imagine (having adjust contrast in PS for 20 years) it has to do with contrast :-), and that is often important... there must be value there.

Thom, in his long review, http://www.dslrbodies.com/lenses/nikon-lens-reviews/nikkor-zoom-lens-reviews/nikon-200-400mm-f4g-af-s.html doesn't sound extremely enthusiastic about this. lens, and it is not dated, so I'm not sure if this 200-500 (in his mind, which I imagine is pretty informed) eclipses the 200-400, or not!

He leads me to believe 30-yards and in are ideal. The focus motor is faster and AF better as it lets in more light.

If you are shooting far away birds, the 200-400 loses umph when it is trying to get farther that 100 yards away things, right?

The 200-500 I read is good 200-300, edges lose acuity at 500, but in focus at 500. Is the 200-500 more versatile and giving you as good quality? It must be if you are using it, or so I imagine.

Really have to think the older 200-400 isn't as new as the 200-500, and weather sealing aside (I read in your site how it has managed to survive the elements), tank build, and micro-contrast, speedy motor, am I going up the vp the valuable 100mm of added reach for a sharper edge?

owlseye Regular Member • Posts: 241
Re: 200-500 and 200-400 moving forward, e.g., Z.

olindacat wrote:

owlseye wrote:

If you look at the EXIF on the pictures, one was shot at 400mm (that was by me) and the other was shot at 500mm (by my wife). I was using the 2 to 4 and she was using the 2 to 5. Both are sharp, but my photo exhibits better micro-contrast. Note, I did the post work on both images and processed them in the same way.

I looked at your website and can see you have spent a lot of time trying to evaluable these two lenses, as well as comparing to your 500, Bruce. Very thoughtful and well done!

Does that little owl visit you often? I looks like you have some kind of bone or stick on your fence to get it to come and visit you! Really cool. I love owls, and once saw one in peril on the street, on Maui of all places. It actually let me pick it up! I put in my back seat and brought it straight to a veterinarian. She took it (the owl) in and told me it would be okay. I never followed up, but think it might have hurt it's leg.

I am a biology teacher and the owl in the test is a mounted owl for educational purposes (in other words... dead). It is a perfect subject for assessing sharpness.

In any event, my post is because I have a line on a 200-400 for 1700. It is a goof VR1 (looking in photos, I wouldn't know until I had in my hands and sow what it does), and for what, 1200 used can get the 200-500. Been reading all I can on both and what gets me is why you and your wife aren't both shooting the 200-500?

The 200-500 is an excellent lens for the money, but I shoot more than my wife and shoot throughout the winter. She will only shoot winter subjects if I can put her on something unique. As such, build quality impacts me more than her. In addition, the AF on the 200-400 is faster, the 200-400 is f/4 w/ a beautiful bokeh, and it has better contrast (edge sharpness) in the range I typically shoot. Finally, I have the 500 PFE too.

I have to think you can afford two 200-500s, so the 200-400 must be worth hauling and keeping and using, and micro contrast I must confess is not a term I use often, and will look it up, but imagine (having adjust contrast in PS for 20 years) it has to do with contrast :-), and that is often important... there must be value there.

see above... been using the 200-400 since 2014 and like it for tripod-based photography.

Thom, in his long review, http://www.dslrbodies.com/lenses/nikon-lens-reviews/nikkor-zoom-lens-reviews/nikon-200-400mm-f4g-af-s.html doesn't sound extremely enthusiastic about this. lens, and it is not dated, so I'm not sure if this 200-500 (in his mind, which I imagine is pretty informed) eclipses the 200-400, or not!

He leads me to believe 30-yards and in are ideal. The focus motor is faster and AF better as it lets in more light.

I think this is a lens dependent thing. Mine seems to be sharp, especially when using my D500 or Z6

If you are shooting far away birds, the 200-400 loses umph when it is trying to get farther that 100 yards away things, right?

For a shot like this, I'd use my fixed 500mm lens w/ on of my D500's

The 200-500 I read is good 200-300, edges lose acuity at 500, but in focus at 500. Is the 200-500 more versatile and giving you as good quality? It must be if you are using it, or so I imagine.

Really have to think the older 200-400 isn't as new as the 200-500, and weather sealing aside (I read in your site how it has managed to survive the elements), tank build, and micro-contrast, speedy motor, am I going up the vp the valuable 100mm of added reach for a sharper edge?

The 200-500 has the best quality per dollar spent (think value), but it is not as sharp, fast to focus, or weather resistant as the pro-line glass.

Oh... and thanks for all of the nice comments about my site... I did a thorough comparison of the two lenses while in Florida in 2015... here is that blog post: http://btleventhal.com/bruceleventhal/2016/3/23/the-6200-question

-- hide signature --

regards,
bruce

 owlseye's gear list:owlseye's gear list
Nikon D500 Nikon 500mm F5.6E PF Nikon Z6 Nikon Z6 II Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III +6 more
olindacat
OP olindacat Regular Member • Posts: 456
Re: 200-500 and 200-400 moving forward, e.g., Z.

owlseye wrote:

I am a biology teacher and the owl in the test is a mounted owl for educational purposes (in other words... dead). It is a perfect subject for assessing sharpness.

Oh. I didn't notice that. It looked like a pleasant, satisfied little creature. Must have died happy

Oh... and thanks for all of the nice comments about my site... I did a thorough comparison of the two lenses while in Florida in 2015... here is that blog post: http://btleventhal.com/bruceleventhal/2016/3/23/the-6200-question

I have to say... Tamy is one heck of a good photographer! (You too

The review is nice, thanks. In it, you mention "to approach the magnification of the less expensive zoom" you deployed TC-1.4E. Was that combo used in the examples Burrowing Owl, and Osprey Nest Building 200-400 shots? (The captions do not say what focal length they images were shot at.)

Also, if you had the TC-1.4E coupled with the 200-400, and she had that 200-500 on the DX body, isn't her focal length 1.5*200-500? Is that the idea behind the TC? Did she keep her focal length in your relative region?

One more: I feel $500 is not much of a premium to pay for the 200-400, over what I can get the 200-500 for. If I shoot the 200-400 in crop mode on my D810, or snag a D7500, will I lose sharpness with this lens in crop mode with the D810, or the natural crop of the 7500?

Thanks for all of your input, Bruce. Most helpful to me. I am still completely lost ha ha.

owlseye Regular Member • Posts: 241
Re: 200-500 and 200-400 moving forward, e.g., Z.

olindacat wrote:

owlseye wrote:

I am a biology teacher and the owl in the test is a mounted owl for educational purposes (in other words... dead). It is a perfect subject for assessing sharpness.

Oh. I didn't notice that. It looked like a pleasant, satisfied little creature. Must have died happy

Oh... and thanks for all of the nice comments about my site... I did a thorough comparison of the two lenses while in Florida in 2015... here is that blog post: http://btleventhal.com/bruceleventhal/2016/3/23/the-6200-question

I have to say... Tamy is one heck of a good photographer! (You too

The review is nice, thanks. In it, you mention "to approach the magnification of the less expensive zoom" you deployed TC-1.4E. Was that combo used in the examples Burrowing Owl, and Osprey Nest Building 200-400 shots? (The captions do not say what focal length they images were shot at.)

I think you misunderstood what I wrote... I did not use the TC14E with the 200-400. I was just making a blanket statement about how the 200-500 offers an additional 100mm. To get this addition 100mm, I'd have to add a converter to the 200-400. While I have not done a test, I am pretty confident that the 200-500 would be better at 500mm and f/5.6 than would the 200-400 be w/ a converter (480mm @ f/5.6). In contrast, the 200-400 will be better than the 200-500 when restricting your use to 200mm through 400mm.

Also, if you had the TC-1.4E coupled with the 200-400, and she had that 200-500 on the DX body, isn't her focal length 1.5*200-500? Is that the idea behind the TC? Did she keep her focal length in your relative region?

Tamy's images are uncrossed (other than for leveling). She was using a D7100 at the time (now uses a D500) and I was using a D4... her camera has more pixels and a crop,... as such,  I had to crop my images to 10MP files or so to get the same perspective as she did.

One more: I feel $500 is not much of a premium to pay for the 200-400, over what I can get the 200-500 for. If I shoot the 200-400 in crop mode on my D810, or snag a D7500, will I lose sharpness with this lens in crop mode with the D810, or the natural crop of the 7500?

Either the D7200 or D7500 would be a nice way to get the most out of either lens. Both bodies are very nice with good AF. As I said previously, we both use D500's for our wildlife work... this camera is a nice match to either lens as well. In some ways, you might enjoy using a D500 w/ the 200-500mm f/5.6 more than the D7500 w/ a 200-400VR... not sure

Thanks for all of your input, Bruce. Most helpful to me. I am still completely lost ha ha.

Sorry about that... I hesitate to say that one is superior to the other because both can produce amazing images... more often than not, the lens has a lot less to do with the quality of an image than does the light and subject.

-- hide signature --

regards,
bruce

 owlseye's gear list:owlseye's gear list
Nikon D500 Nikon 500mm F5.6E PF Nikon Z6 Nikon Z6 II Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III +6 more
olindacat
OP olindacat Regular Member • Posts: 456
Re: 200-500 and 200-400 moving forward, e.g., Z.

owlseye wrote:

Tamy's images are uncrossed (other than for leveling).

Bruce, I will probably buy the 200-500. That additional 100mm is very useful, and I haven't read too may complaints about distance being a problem with that ens, versus the 200-400. I had begin my search looking for cheap reach on a thread of that name (I know there is a way to link it, sorry), but had always lusted after that 200-400. In honestly evaluating my ability, needs, budget... it seems to me I would do well to practice with the cheaper glass and if/when I get myself accustomed to such FLs, then I cold always move up to your level. I shoot far less wildlife than you!

Either the D7200 or D7500 would be a nice way to get the most out of either lens. Both bodies are very nice with good AF. As I said previously, we both use D500's for our wildlife work... this camera is a nice match to either lens as well. In some ways, you might enjoy using a D500 w/ the 200-500mm f/5.6 more than the D7500 w/ a 200-400VR... not sure

I rented the 7500 and it was fine. Used to own a 7000. Thought about the 500 but got a used 810 for $1100, and needed MPs for landscapes, etc. The speed of the D500 is really good, right?

Thanks for all of your input, Bruce. Most helpful to me. I am still completely lost ha ha.

Sorry about that... I hesitate to say that one is superior to the other because both can produce amazing images... more often than not, the lens has a lot less to do with the quality of an image than does the light and subject.

And the user. It's the indian not the arrow This indian can never stop learning. Very much appreciate your time on this, Bruce. I had a 1750 opportunity to buy the 200-400, rebuilt, but think I might go with either the 200-500 or the 80-400 depending on a number of things, money being chief among them.

owlseye Regular Member • Posts: 241
Re: 200-500 and 200-400 moving forward, e.g., Z.

olindacat wrote:

owlseye wrote:

Tamy's images are uncrossed (other than for leveling).

Bruce, I will probably buy the 200-500. That additional 100mm is very useful, and I haven't read too may complaints about distance being a problem with that ens, versus the 200-400. I had begin my search looking for cheap reach on a thread of that name (I know there is a way to link it, sorry), but had always lusted after that 200-400. In honestly evaluating my ability, needs, budget... it seems to me I would do well to practice with the cheaper glass and if/when I get myself accustomed to such FLs, then I cold always move up to your level. I shoot far less wildlife than you!

Either the D7200 or D7500 would be a nice way to get the most out of either lens. Both bodies are very nice with good AF. As I said previously, we both use D500's for our wildlife work... this camera is a nice match to either lens as well. In some ways, you might enjoy using a D500 w/ the 200-500mm f/5.6 more than the D7500 w/ a 200-400VR... not sure

I rented the 7500 and it was fine. Used to own a 7000. Thought about the 500 but got a used 810 for $1100, and needed MPs for landscapes, etc. The speed of the D500 is really good, right?

The D7500 is a great value and more than capable of producing professional quality images. If you are constrained by budget, then it is a great option. However, just to be clear, the D500 is a better camera. It has a more robust build, faster frame rate, better AF performance, and some intangibles like matching ergonomics of the D850.

Thanks for all of your input, Bruce. Most helpful to me. I am still completely lost ha ha.

Sorry about that... I hesitate to say that one is superior to the other because both can produce amazing images... more often than not, the lens has a lot less to do with the quality of an image than does the light and subject.

And the user. It's the indian not the arrow This indian can never stop learning. Very much appreciate your time on this, Bruce. I had a 1750 opportunity to buy the 200-400, rebuilt, but think I might go with either the 200-500 or the 80-400 depending on a number of things, money being chief among them.

If your goal is to buy the best "wildlife" lens for the money, then the 200-500 is best in class w/ the Sigma 150-600 Sport being a touch better if weather sealing and 600mm is important. Of course, the Sigma is more expensive than the Nikon. If you want an all around lens for travel and wildlife, then the 80-400 AFSG may be a better choice.

-- hide signature --

regards,
bruce

 owlseye's gear list:owlseye's gear list
Nikon D500 Nikon 500mm F5.6E PF Nikon Z6 Nikon Z6 II Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III +6 more
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads