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80-400 VR or 300 f4 with 1.4tc? (1 Viewer)

Nelbert

Lincolnshire - Migrants R Us
I've been using my trusty Nikon 80-400 zoom for a year or so and am pleased enough with the results but am getting a bit hacked off with how slow-focussing it is, especially in dull light.

Has anyone had experience of it and a Nikon 300mm f4 prime with a kenko pro 300 1.4tc? Reach should be pretty similar, but is the prime/tc combo faster focussing?

Happy for any opinions on the difference optically too.

Thanks
 
I have no experience with the 80-400 but I do have the 300 f/4 AF-S, and the latter has got to be faster focussing in marginal light because it's a faster lens, especially on the long end.

Optically, the 300 f/4 is outstanding, even wide open or with the TC14eII - I'd be very surprised if any 5:1-ratio zoom could compare.

WRT the Kenko - there was recently a discussion on a photography forum I'm active on and the consensus was that the Kenko was about what you might expect compared to the TC14e II, based on the difference in price.
 
300 2.8 VR or bust! I hear it takes noise-free photos in the dark, and bends light around obstacles for obstruction-free photos! The built-in espresso machine is a nice touch, and handy in the field.
 
I've been using my trusty Nikon 80-400 zoom for a year or so and am pleased enough with the results but am getting a bit hacked off with how slow-focussing it is, especially in dull light.

Has anyone had experience of it and a Nikon 300mm f4 prime with a kenko pro 300 1.4tc? Reach should be pretty similar, but is the prime/tc combo faster focussing?

Happy for any opinions on the difference optically too.

Thanks


I shared the same frustrations, especially as you say, in low light and I did buy the 300f2.8VR. It's certainly noise free in the dark and can bend light around corners but the coffee is not the best
I have since bought both a 1.4 and 1.7 TC and although they both have reasonable focus speed there is image quality loss despite reports to the opposite. I still would like more reach too !!!!
I visited my local camera store today looking for an alternative to my 80-400 and in the process tried it on a D300. I have to admit, AF seemed twice as fast on that than my D200. I'd give that a try
 
I have owned both the D and AF-S versions of the Nikon 300mm F4, used both with a kenko 1.4 tc, and the AFS version is much faster focusing. If you get the nikon 14e II AFS, as I did, the focusing is super fast, and the images made me very happy.

I had the same issue with the 80-400vr, and found that at 400mm the images often turned out soft, so switched to the faster and sharper 300mm afs prime. I did not particularly like the 300mm non-afs F4, heavy, akward for manual focusing, and perhaps just a tad faster focusing than the 80-400, when using a 1.4tc.

BUT, the expense of these lenses had me selling them all and going with the Sigma 400mm APO's, both macro and non-macro versions. These lenses are much cheaper than the nikkors, and produce very sharp images. It seems to me the contrast in color is not quite what the nikkor's are, but I'm in the process of comparing over the next couple days.

If I could have justified the expense, I would have kept the 300mm afs f4 with the 14eII tc, but having used the sigma 400mm primes with similar results, I opted to sell that stuff (around $1300usd used--paid around $900usd by fishing on ebay) and get the sigma 400mm macro apo for around $400usd.

Hope that helps. Oh, and I really liked the 80-400vr overall for image quality, but again, the expense... I'm on the lookout for inexpensive used copies, but they are hard to come by. Same for the 300mm afs.

Oh, and I have used these lense on both my D50 and D200. The d200 was faster of course, but the afsF4 w/tc14II still focused very quickly in the D50.
 
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Hope that helps. Oh, and I really liked the 80-400vr overall for image quality, but again, the expense... I'm on the lookout for inexpensive used copies, but they are hard to come by.

A used VR lens sounds like trouble - the VR system won't last forever, and an 80-400VR could have a number of years off its life already.
 
BUT, the expense of these lenses had me selling them all and going with the Sigma 400mm APO's, both macro and non-macro versions. These lenses are much cheaper than the nikkors, and produce very sharp images. It seems to me the contrast in color is not quite what the nikkor's are, but I'm in the process of comparing over the next couple days.

I have a Sigma 400mm F5.6 APO macro used on a D200 and mine is very sharp, even wide open. I cannot really comment on the AF, but it can track ducks motoring along on a pond, but Red Kites are a struggle. I mainly use mine for insects, and the IQ at close focus is excellent. The colour seems to be a bit warmer than Nikon lenses, more so than I like, and the micro contrast is not as good. What this means in practice is that the images look sharp, but ever so slightly flat compared to images from Nikon lenses that I own (5 micros, and some modest zooms).

I saw one sell on ebay for less than £200, and described as mint.
 
Well I have to say that my Nikkor 300mm f4 with Kenko Pro 1.4x teleconverter mated with my new D300 is a bit of a revelation frankly, though I'm pretty convinced that this is as much about the body upgrade from D200 to D300 as it is about the glass.
 
Well I have to say that my Nikkor 300mm f4 with Kenko Pro 1.4x teleconverter mated with my new D300 is a bit of a revelation frankly, though I'm pretty convinced that this is as much about the body upgrade from D200 to D300 as it is about the glass.

Great to hear you're happy ! what happened to the 80-400 ???
 
I've been using my trusty Nikon 80-400 zoom for a year or so and am pleased enough with the results but am getting a bit hacked off with how slow-focussing it is, especially in dull light.

Has anyone had experience of it and a Nikon 300mm f4 prime with a kenko pro 300 1.4tc? Reach should be pretty similar, but is the prime/tc combo faster focussing?

Happy for any opinions on the difference optically too.

Thanks

I used to have focussing problem with 80-400 VR and D200 but was fixed by having the focus module of the D200 (include motor) changed by Nikon dealer. Since then I am very happy with the lens. I do not think prime lenses with TC can be as sharp as a good low power zoom like the 80-400 VR.
80-400 VR also very good for closeup using Canon 500D. My dream is D700 + 80-400VR +Canon 500D closeup filter.
Less is more, I now walking in the rain forest with D200/80-400VR/Canon 500D.
 

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I used to have focusing problem with 80-400 VR and D200 but was fixed by having the focus module of the D200 (include motor) changed by Nikon dealer. Since then I am very happy with the lens. I do not think prime lenses with TC can be as sharp as a good low power zoom like the 80-400 VR.
80-400 VR also very good for closeup using Canon 500D. My dream is D700 + 80-400VR +Canon 500D closeup filter.
Less is more, I now walking in the rain forest with D200/80-400VR/Canon 500D.


D700 full frame and 80-400 wouldn't be ideal for birding I don't think. You would need a 600mm to get the best out of it.
 
D700 full frame and 80-400 wouldn't be ideal for birding I don't think. You would need a 600mm to get the best out of it.

In the film days I use Nikon 400 mm f/4 for birding. Most National Georgraphic photographers at that time also use 400 mm lenses for birds. I am now try to bring back old memories by setting my 80-400 at 270 mm which will be close to using 400 mm lens on FF cameras. So far so good, hand holding is actually better.

Birds like to come out early in the morning and late in the afternoon, sun lights are also nicer when the sun is lower. My problem now is that some time I had to use ISO 1600 whic is about as high as D200 can do. If I could go to ISO 3200 with D700 I shall be very happy. Getting a little bit closer to the birds is not too difficult. I am now shooting at 270 mm and shall be able to decide when the time come. My D200 is now close to 3 years old and had been sent to Nikon for repair twice, so it may need to be replaced soon.

This picture taken with 80-400/D200, set at 280 mm (420 mm FF equivalent), hand holding.
 

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I have owned both the D and AF-S versions of the Nikon 300mm F4, used both with a kenko 1.4 tc, and the AFS version is much faster focusing. If you get the nikon 14e II AFS, as I did, the focusing is super fast, and the images made me very happy.

I had the same issue with the 80-400vr, and found that at 400mm the images often turned out soft, so switched to the faster and sharper 300mm afs prime. I did not particularly like the 300mm non-afs F4, heavy, akward for manual focusing, and perhaps just a tad faster focusing than the 80-400, when using a 1.4tc.

BUT, the expense of these lenses had me selling them all and going with the Sigma 400mm APO's, both macro and non-macro versions. These lenses are much cheaper than the nikkors, and produce very sharp images. It seems to me the contrast in color is not quite what the nikkor's are, but I'm in the process of comparing over the next couple days.

If I could have justified the expense, I would have kept the 300mm afs f4 with the 14eII tc, but having used the sigma 400mm primes with similar results, I opted to sell that stuff (around $1300usd used--paid around $900usd by fishing on ebay) and get the sigma 400mm macro apo for around $400usd.

Hope that helps. Oh, and I really liked the 80-400vr overall for image quality, but again, the expense... I'm on the lookout for inexpensive used copies, but they are hard to come by. Same for the 300mm afs.

Oh, and I have used these lense on both my D50 and D200. The d200 was faster of course, but the afsF4 w/tc14II still focused very quickly in the D50.


Wow, scratch all that. I just found a whole set of pics I took with my D50 and 80-400 vr, and could not believe the difference in optics to my sigma lenses--color, sharpness, contrast, all far superior to my 400mm telemacro sigma. Think I'll go back to it--it's sharper and better color than the 300mm F4 plus 1.4x TC. I think it might be worth the 1200 usd or so.
 
Interesting thread.I am just about to part exchange my 1 year old Sigma 120-300 f2.8 for the Nikon 80-400.I have not been able to get my hands on a 300mm afs to compare.
Living not far from warehouse express i took one of my D100s to try out both lenses,they let you do that there.They only had the 80-400 to try.It felt nicely balanced on my camera,but the lens is definetly noisy in operation.While i was there i did try others,(Sigma 150-500) but i did get the chance to switch the 80-400 onto a D300,and although still noisy the autofocus was noticeably faster.
I have a Sigma 400mm 4.5 which i use on a tripod and walkabout but originally bought the Sig 120-300 as my main walkabout but found it was too heavy after a couple of hours.I took it to Oregon on a holiday to visit my wife's family. I found it cumbersome and missed the simplest of shots.The birds i saw and didn't get! But it did a lot to teach me about technique when you are walking about,trying to keep alert to get that "shot".
So the intention is to get the 80-400 and the D300 shortly afterwoods,as they are very well matched.I will still look at the 300 F4 as this thread has lead me to believe it's a very good lens.But right now the VR tips the balance for me,as i think it is essential for walkabout.
 
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