AF Performance of nikon 80-400 Vr with D300

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by harendra_bh, Nov 27, 2007.

  1. Has anyone tried the AF performance of nikon 80-400VR with D300.
    At the moment i am using 80-400VR with D80 and the AF is not good,
    especially in low light, otherwise i am quite happy with the lens.
    I read somewhere that the AF of 80-400 gets better with D300. I am
    not worried about fast focusing, i am just concerned about hunting and
    Any responses will be truly appreciated.
  2. The 80-400 VR is notoriously slow, especially in low light conditions because of the slow f/stop and slow auto-focusing speed.

    Moving to a higher-end camera will not improve the performance of the lens, other than perhaps having better quality shots at higher ISOs.
  3. Thanks Len, Ya this lens is bit of pain but its cheap and has good optics. So it doesnt matter if its mounted on D80 or D300.
  4. umd


    Moving to a camera that has a stronger AF motor and faster/better processing will definitely improve the AF performance.
  5. I know this doesn't answer the question directly, but another data point. I have the 80-400 VR, and am quite happy with it. However, the autofocus isn't fast. On my film cameras, it's pretty slow on an n80. On my F100, it's marginally faster, but the difference doesn't blow me away. As for accuracy, for this slow of a lens, it's reasonably good. No different from my 28-200 3.5-5.6, for example. Not nearly as good as my 50 f1.8, but that's to be expected.

    The two issues seem to be lots of turns of the screw required (per the design), and *lack of torque*.
  6. Ya GC I dont expect the AF to be fast as its the mechanical problem. I am more concerned about the accuracy so that there is less hunting. I think it is more of camera's intelligence problem, which can be addressed by using good AF module in the camera. The driving motor of D300 also might be slightly better (provide good torque:)).
  7. Using the limiter switch helps it noticeably. I have the lens and my only real complaint is AF speed. Image quality is pretty good.

    Kent in SD
  8. There have been several people on the Nikon D300 forum that have reported a marked improvement in focusing speed with the 80-400 used on the D300 body. Some of the reports were that the focus hunting has been dramatically reduced. Just passing along what I've read. I own the lens, and expect to have the D300 in the next week or so, and am looking forward to my own experiments.
  9. I have this combination (D300/80-400) and coming from a a D200, the lens is noticeably faster, though still not AF-S fast. I haven't had too much trouble with the lens "hunting" it has been snapping into focus pretty fast in my opinion.

  10. The 80-400 VR is *not* "notoriously slow." This internet myth seems popular amongst folk who've never owned a pro level Nikon like the D2H.

    On a pro body like the D2H or D2X the 80-400 autofocuses surprisingly quickly, easily as well as the 80-200/2.8D AF and almost as well as the 70-200/2.8 VR, which is an AF-S lens with the quicker Silent Wave Motor.

    What *does* make a difference is the slower variable aperture. In dim lighting or against low contrast subjects, any slow, variable aperture zoom will struggle, especially at f/5.6. That includes the 24-120/3.5-5.6 VR, also an AF-S zoom, which can struggle a bit such as when trying to AF quickly on a groom's black tux in typical dim church lighting.

    But outdoors in daylight, where the 80-400 VR is anticipated to be used, it works very well. But don't expect miracles from a D50.

    If the new D300 AF technology meets expectations it should work fine with the 80-400 VR.

    Nevertheless, you might be happier in the long run with something like the 300/4 AF-S Nikkor. An f/4 maximum aperture is the absolute bottom for good AF performance when photographing events such as high school football under stadium lights at night. f/2.8 is better, but you can scrape by with f/4. Forget f/5.6 - tried it, doesn't work reliably enough, even with the D2H.
  11. I have owned the 80-400 since it was first introduced and use it to photograph flying birds hand held. There are 2 issues with autofocus. The first is the speed of the focus mechanism. Yes it is slow but this can be partially compensated for by pre focusing and setting the focus limiter switch.

    The second is the ability of the camera to lock on focus on less than contrasty images such as white herons or dark ducks or in just plain flat lighting in general.

    Last weekend I used my D300 attached to an 80-400 to photograph birds and was literally surprised how the lens would lock onto dark colored birds in lousy flat lighting conditions. Much better than my D2X or D200. I'll have to do more testing in the next couple weeks to verify my initial impression. This puppy is a keeper.
  12. Thanks guys. Looks like 80-400 will get a bit of a boost with D300.
    @Lex ya I am planning to get 300 F4 in the near future, looks like a great glass. Well F2.8 can wait a bit :).

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