Nikon 200-500mm/f5.6 E AF-S VR Lens Early Impressions

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by shuncheung, Sep 22, 2015.

  1. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    As a lot you are aware, Nikon has started shipping the new 200-500mm/f5.6 E lens in Europe and North America, although shipment in Asia was about a week and half earlier: Nikon 200-500mm/f5.6 E Shipping in Taiwan
    I would like to thank Chris H and Mary Doo for their comments on the earlier thread. As people are receiving this new lens, I encourage everybody to contribute their impressions and comments to this new lens.
    Personally, I have used it for about an hour, mostly on a D7200 and also a bit on a D750. Therefore, obviously my experience with it is quite limited and will evolve. So far everything looks great. Before this lens was officially announced, photo.net had a conference call with Nikon about new lenses. When they told me that (at the time) while the price for the new 200-500mm wasn't finalized, it would definitely be below $1500. My first reaction was that "do you mean $15,000?" Clearly Nikon wants to compete against the Tamron and Sigma 150-600mm/f6.3 lenses and prices this lens low. However, IMO they could have easily sold it at $3000 with plenty of takers. Another side effect is that the new 200-500mm would put price pressure on the excellent but expensive 80-400mm AF-S VR as well as various used 200-400mm/f4 and 500mm/f4 lenses and of course those Sigma and Tamron lenses.
    There is little doubt that the 200-500mm/f5.6 is a hot lens, at least for those who are into wildlife and bird photography, probably less so for sports. It is probably too long for general use. And keep in mind that any f5.6 lens is going to be mainly an outdoor lens when there is plenty of light. At maximum f5.6, AF speed and accuracy will suffer under heavy overcast or dawn/dusk situations. Those 500mm/f4 and 600mm/f4 lenses, while heavy and super expensive, still have their advantages.
    As far as I can tell, those large mail-order stores have received a large initial shipment so that the early orders are fulfilled. There maybe some short waits, but on going supply shouldn't be too tight.
    [​IMG]
    Nikon provides a large 95mm lens cap and a huge lens hood for the new lens. A lot of us are familiar with the 77mm lens cap. See how much larger the 95mm cap is.
    [​IMG]
    A side-by-side size comparison against the 80-400mm/f4.5-5.6 AF-S VR, which uses a 77mm lens cap.
     
  2. Shun, thank you for this early peek at this interesting lens. Have you formed an opinion as to the supplied tripod collar? This has been a problem with many Nikon lenses. At present, neither Kirk Enterprise Solutions nor Really Right Stuff have listed replacement collars.
     
  3. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Yes, I think this is the first time Nikon provides a good removable tripod collar. Nikon is notorious for their terrible
    removable collars. The ones on the 80-200mm/f2.8 AF-S and 300mm/f4 AF-S are probably worst as the rotation is rough.
    Later on the two 70-200mm/f2.8 have fixed collars while only the foot is removable. The time, Nikon finally does a good
    job with fairly smooth rotation. The thumb screw for loosening the collar is well designed so that it doesn't come all the
    way off. It is retained on the collar so that you won't lose it.

    However, I haven't used the lens on a tripod yet.
     
  4. I'm less concerned with rough rotation (although I would probably be complaining about it if I hadn't replaced the original Nikon collar on my 300mm f/4) than with resistance to vibration. Once you have a chance to try the lens at 500mm on a tripod, please let us know how stable the collar is.
     
  5. I find the RT-1 collar for the 70-200/4G and 300/4E PF to be of good quality and it has an excellent locking mechanism (and velvet-like lining inside the collar). It doesn't flex like the poor collars for the 300/4D AF-S and both 80-400's. It's an accessory and in my opinion mainly useful for use with TCs but it's nice to have as an option. I also have the RRS collar for these lenses and consider it not as well designed since it has metal on the inside of the collar and you have to open the locking screw quite a bit to get easy rotation and it can then be an issue that the collar segments can separate (whereas the RT-1 has distinct open and locked positions and to remove the collar you use a separate action where you pull from the locking knob). Both collars work with both lenses and can be used in forward or reverse orientation, the latter of which helps with balance when using the 2x TC.
    It is nice to hear that the collar supplied with the 200-500/5.6 is well designed. This should help avoid extra costs for the majority of users (unless they want a foot with specific QR plate built in, such as the Arca Swiss style dovetail). I'm sure that Kirk and other manufacturers will work on their versions but they can't start working on the design before they get the lens in their hands to take measurements. I would guess that some third party collars are likely to become available in a couple of months.
    The tripod and head obviously affect the stability as well as the collar. I find that quite a lot of people use undersized tripods for long lens photography, but I suppose many users they will still have their hands touching the lens and camera to follow the subject while shooting and in this case it may be sufficient that the tripod holds the weight of the lens safely and provides some degree of stability. On the other hand for those of us interested in long lens use for landscape photography, it is often necessary to obtain stability at slow speeds (1/4s to 1/100s I find the most commonly needed range if the lens is stopped down to f/8, e.g. for shots in the moody light before sunrise). This is a bit more difficult to achieve.
     
  6. Chuck Fan asked (from the prior thread): If you have the 80-400 VR II as well, could you give an evaluation of how this lens stack up against the 80-400 in terms of of the range where they overlap?​
    Chuck, I think you meant the 80-400 AFS vs the 200-500 at similar focal lengths?
    As I mentioned before, I have only tried it at 500mm, where I am most concerned about. And it appeared to be very good. Chris H. also thinks it's great at 500mm. For most long zooms, the long end is where people worry about. I am sure Shun will follow up with thorough information on various aspects.
     
  7. I'm very interested to hear how people get on with this lens - thank you to those who have shared so far. I once had a 150-500 Sigma, and greatly valued the hand-holdability, the OS (VR), and - especially - the ability to zoom out to find a subject before zooming in. Unfortunately, that lens - despite initial glowing reviews - is what I'd describe as "a bit pants" at the 500mm end, at least on my sample. My 500 f/4 AI-P is much better, but doesn't get much use because of the bulk, the front-heaviness making it almost impossible to hand-hold (especially with a hand on the focus ring), and the lack of autofocus. And I've lost birds that I've been trying to track because the crop is so tight - especially with a TC-16A on it.

    I'm a little worried by some of the bokeh I've seen so far, but that may be the result of sharpening (sharpening hurts bokeh). I'm not offended by the sharpness, though, and it promises to be way more practical than my current options. I'll have to consider ditching my 300 f/4 AF-S. To an extent, shame the 200-500 is an E lens - my TC-14E is the mk2, so I'm in danger of needing two TC14s. (It's also had its tab filed for my 500 f/4's benefit, so I'm not sure about resale.)

    More fuel for my NAS. And when the Samyang 135 f/2 is calling me, too.
     
  8. Andrew, the TC-14E II should work fine with the 200-500/5.6E and other E lenses (with AF limited to f/8 compatible AF points), at least regarding technical compatibility. Image quality is a separate matter.
     
  9. I hope to see some links to images taken with this new lens. At its price point, it is very attractive to me as a travel/safari
    .lens given all of the international travel restrictions on weight and baggage sizes.

    Joe smith
     
  10. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Mary Doo has posted a few images on the previous thread: http://www.photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00dTiB
    I would imagine that whoever already has this lens only has a small number of images at this point. I would rather wait a bit to have something of higher quality and more representative. Concerning sharpness, I don't think that is a concern at all. I have compared the 80-400mm AF-S VR side by side with a 600mm/f4 AF-S VR (the earlier non-E version), and the 80-400 is right up there with the best Nikon super teles. As far as I can tell, this 200-500mm/f5.6 E is in that same class. What differs these 80-400 and 200-500 from those lenses that cost around $10K is that they are f5.6. For one thing they don't isolate the subjects as well, and their AF is going to be slow and inaccurate under dim light. If you read the follow up comments to my 80-400mm VR review, check out the comment posted on 3rd March 2014 @ 6:21pm.
    I captured the attached pixel-level crop at 500mm, wide open at f5.6, 1/1250 sec and ISO 360 on a 24MP DX-format D7200. (See the propeller is "frozen" at 1/1250 sec. That is probably not a desirable effect.)
    Concerning teleconverters, E long teles will work with all TC-nnE teleconverters, although I wouldn't hold my breath for a slow f5.6 zoom with even a 1.4x TC. With a 2x TC, you end up with a 1000mm/f11 lens, and I wish you luck.
    So far, the main limitation is that the TC-14E III can only work with G and E lenses. I.e. the TC-14E III cannot work with any (early) AF-S lens with an aperture ring.
    00dVGT-558554384.jpg
     
  11. Certainly not bad, Shun. :) I belatedly realised that my TC-14 should work, although I guess I'll be interested to know how well - it doesn't play all that nicely with my 200 f/2. Your maximum aperture assessment certainly encourages me to think of the 400 f/2.8 rather than my 500 f/4 to go with it, if I could just win a lottery... (The same argument has discouraged me from the 200-400 f/4 in the past. It's a better argument with wide open actually being acceptable on this, unlike my 150-500.)
     
  12. I have seen some compare this lens to the Tamron 150-500mm and obviously the Nikon 80-400mm but does anyone here own the Sigma 150-600mm Sport that also purchased this lens? I would be curious to see a comparison between those.
    Though in general it has been very difficult for me to find any concrete reviews on the Sigma 150-600mm Sport from a source that I recognize.
     
  13. Andrew, wide open the VR 200/2 original version and the TC-14E II produce a halo (presumably due to internal flare) around high contrast edges which bothered me as well. This problem is reduced in the nano-coated second version of the 200mm lens, and the TC-14E III further improve the colour and contrast a bit, in my perception. So there is some progress but I would still stop down at least 2/3 stops with the 200/2 II and TC-14E III, and usually I shoot this combination at f/4. The best image quality is actually obtained at f/8, where the image is close to perfect. It is clearly sharper at equal apertures than the TC-20E III with the same lens (where there is significant LoCA at f/4 and f/5.6, with good image quality obtained at f/8, but not as good as with the TC-14E III). The VR 200/2 II + TC-20 E III further suffers from inconsistent AF at mid to long distances, whereas the VR 200/2 II + TC-14E III autofocuses excellently at all distances.
    I have obtained good results with the 300/4 PF + TC-20E III, stopping down only 1/3 to 2/3 stops (with the lens firmly on a tripod, and using EFCS), though this test was at a fairly short distance of approximately 10m. I would guess the PF element is very effective in reducing CA and this seems to extend to the case where the TC is attached. I will need to do some further shooting to decide if this combination is something I'd use regularly. I am looking forward to using this combination for some landscape shots with the moon included (on Monday morning hopefully the skies will be clear). It would be interesting to find out how the 200-500/5.6 compares to the 300 PF for landscapes. Less portable, but more flexible certainly, and I would expect any good telephoto to be better at its native focal length than a TC combined with a shorter focal length lens, particularly wide open.
    Kyle, I found this comparison between the 200-500 mm Nikkor and Sigma Sports 150-600
    http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/56517630
    but I can't really know how representative those results are. I would wait for more user comments as well as formal test results. Many people are eager to see test results immediately after a lens has become available (to help with the purchase decision obviously), but it is good to remember that mature understanding of a lens's performance can take months or even longer to form.
     
  14. This lens seems really promising! I look forward to more in-depth reviews since most early impressions seem so positive.
    Since F 5.6 usually means slower AF than F 2.8 I would like to highlight that Swedish camera dealer Cyberphoto noted that this F 5.6 lens on several occasions focused faster than the Nikon 70-200/2,8G IF ED VR II and 300/4 PF ED VR on the D810 which they tested it.
    Perhaps it features a new AF motor, a faster one with higher resolution? Most tend to agree that it is more quiet, so something should be different about it.
     
  15. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    In the following review, it discusses that the Tamron and Sigma 150-600mm lenses drop to f6.3 somewhere around 300 to 400mm. They are definitely all f6.3 by 500mm. Personally, I simply don't like f6.3 lenses as AF performance on Nikon bodies is very suspect. In fact, I don't particularly like max f5.6 either, but sometimes I just have to compromise.

    http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Sigma-150-600mm-f-5-6.3-DG-OS-HSM-Contemporary-Lens.aspx
    And I believe E lenses are the future. Therefore, I don't think I'll bother to check those third-party alternatives now, although some time last year they did look a bit attractive to me.
    But those third-party lenses do reach 600mm and the Nikkor is only 500mm.
    Below is another casual image I captured this morning. I zoomed back to 410mm or so to include the entire car. This time the camera is an FX D750. Clearly sharpness is very good. Check the car door handle; there is barely a hint of chromatic aberration in the dark-to-light transition area.
    The pixel-level crop is 1000x1000. You need to click on the link below the image to see the full, 1000x1000 image.
    [​IMG]
    00dVOM-558570284.jpg
     
  16. I haven't been able to get out with the new lens much but here is a pic i took just after picking it up last week. The picture was shot at 200 feet or so and the eagle was in full flight.
    This is where the rubber meets the road for me as these are the real world shots I'll be taking and I'm pretty pleased so far.
    1/1500 sec f5.6 @ 500mm

    edit: sorry but i just cant seem to post it. Can anyone point me to the forum instructions for posting pictures? Thanks!
     
  17. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Sorry Chris, please see my 2nd post on this link on how to attach JPEG images. photo.net's user interface is quite old: http://www.photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00W7km
     
  18. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Saw a link to Brad Hill's blog on his early impressions on the 200-500mm/f5.6 E: http://www.naturalart.ca/voice/blog.html#200-500FIRST
    Of course nobody has had this lens (production version) for more than a few days, but clearly Brad Hill has used it a lot more than I have.
     
  19. Out of sheer curiosity, I wonder how this lens performs against Pentax FA 250-600 f/5.6. That was a $7000 lens from
    1990s, in 1990s $. Difficult to test for the moment, I know.
     
  20. Hmm. I have Nikons 70-200mm f2.8 VR and 80-400mm AFS. I don't like having two similar lenses but there are jobs I do where I must have the f2.8, and I sometimes shoot wildlife and 200mm isn't anywhere near enough. I have to keep the 70-200mm although I never travel with it. The 80-400mm is GREAT for travel (relatively compact and long enough for most wildlife.) I've been happy with it. However, OTOH, I could sell it and buy the 200-500mm and have a bit more length for wildlife and maybe a bit more sharpness at the long end? AND, pocket about $600 net. Dang, this is tough. I wouldn't make any changes until February, when there might be some used copies of the 200-500 lens floating around and prices on used gear are at low ebb. In the mean time, I'm not really unhappy with what I have.
    Kent in SD
     
  21. Shun, thanks for the Brad Hill link. Quite interesting. He uses a D4 - and I wonder whether that accounts for the fast focus speed that he noticed. I also find it interesting that he wrote "This is an absolutely incredible lens for the price." - That he needed to add "for the price".No doubt this lens is a good value.
    I haven't used mine since my previous comments about shooting a few at 500mm. My initial impression was that it did not seem to focus as fast as my 80-400mm. Now his review makes me wonder if my D800 was the variable, as it recently had a focus issue - although it was supposed to have been fixed by Nikon. I have not re-tested the camera with the 80-400 since. Nor have I tested the 200-500 with another camera. More testing needed! :)
     
  22. My 80-400mm AFS is superb on my D800E as far as focus speed, but still the D7100 seems to edge out the D800E just a bit.
    Kent in SD
     
  23. Nikon ambassador Nick Didlick shot indoor sports with the 200-500. His comments and samples are here:
    http://nickdidlick.com/nikkor-200-500mm/#prettyPhoto
    Also, in some earlier comment in this thread I saw that Shun compared the focal length of the third party 150-600 lenses to the Nikkor. According to some sources the third party lenses exhibit quite a lot of focus breathing and at closer distances they are not even near 600 mm. Can anyone with a third party lens verify this?
     
  24. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Peter, thanks for the link. I know who Nick Didlick is. When I took Nikon School back in 2007, he was one of the instructors. Needless to say, he has close tied with Nikon.
    I, for one, would not shoot indoor sports with an f5.6 lens. For one thing AF speed and accuracy is suspect, and if you take a look at Didlick's sample images, he was in a well-lit professional arena, but he was using 1/500 sec @ f5.6 and ISO 3200. IMO that shutter speed is too slow for sports in general and there is too much depth of field in his images. For serious indoor sports photography, a 300mm/f2.8 or 400mm/f2.8 would be a much better choice, of course at a much higher cost.
     
  25. Thanks for sharing the link, Peter. The background blur on those shots stood out to me. Maybe this is a function of lens speed. As Shun alluded, it will be harder to limit DOF on this lens versus a 2.8. But the bokeh just looks a little nervous to me nonetheless. I am not a certified bokeh expert.
     
  26. Hmm. Well, at such time as I have some disposable income, I'm on the horns of a dilemma again. I agree with Chip that there seems to be some highlighting on the bokeh in Nick's shots (maybe some sharpening was going on?) - but Brad seemed to be quite effusive about the bokeh being good. That, if anything, would tilt me towards the 200-500 rather than the sports Sigma (which is only slightly heavier and more expensive, in percentage terms - and less unwieldy than the 200 f/2 I'm happy carrying). What might also convince me is using a TC14 on the 200-500 to get a 700mm lens, albeit at f/8 and the limit of autofocus. Still, I can see that birding with an f/6.3 lens is a step down from an f/5.6 one, if only in terms of number of supported autofocus points.

    I still have vague designs on a 400mm f/2.8 in the distant future, which makes me think that a 600mm zoom is a better complement - but maybe not if 700mm is viable with the teleconverter. Choices choices. More information needed!
     
  27. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    After reading Brad Hill's blog, this morning I took some f4 teles with the 200-500mm for some comparison. Around 8 am, I set auto ISO with a minimum shutter speed of 1/1250 sec. With f4 lenses, I was getting ISO 150 to 200. With f5.6, it becomes ISO 400 or so. There is definitely a bit more noise when I look closely, although the D7200 has very good higher-ISO results.
    I also tried the TC-14E III with the 200-500mm, wide open. While zooms generally don't work well with TCs, the result is definitely better than what I had expected.
    00dVTt-558586284.jpg
     
  28. Hmm. Thank you, Shun. A little glowy, I think, but certainly not bad - and your D7200 is a bit more demanding than my D810 for per-pixel detail. Still a dilemma. (Not that this information likely helps anyone else, except to share sympathy.)
     
  29. Hmmm, a little soft with the TC, but I can live with that degree. Add one TC-14EIII to the budget.
     
  30. Can't contribute much to this thread, but I currently have the Tamron 150-600 and the Sigma 150-600 C for testing and I'm told the 150-600 S should be here next week. Hopefully I'll have a comparative review written up and posted here in a few weeks. All of them are in a Canon EOS mount though, since that's what I shoot, so I won't be doing a side by side comparison with the Nikon 200-500!
    I haven't shot a great deal with them because I'm waiting to get all three together so I can shoot them side by side, but I'm quite impressed with the image quality from the Tamron and Sigma C so far. They seem very close in terms of sharpness all the way out to 600mm based on the shots I've taken. Images look better then I've seen from previous generations of 3rd party telephoto zooms.
    BTW they both seem to drop from f5.6 to f6.3 (indicated) somewhere around 400mm. There will obviously be a gradual change with focal length, aperture doesn't really change in 1/3 stop steps, but that's the resolution of the camera readout. They do focus breath, but I have not quantified that yet. I presume the Nikon 200-500 will also be subject to focus breathing.
    Back of the envelope calculations based on Minimum focus distance and magnification suggest that at closest focus the 600mm drops to something in the 350-400mm region. The Nikon 200-500 doesn't look too different with 0.22x at 2.2m. The 500 maybe drops to 350mm or so. It's hard to do exact calculations unless you know where the nodal points of the lens are.
    At least with Canon (so far) we don't have the complication of a direct Canon lens competitor unless you count the 100-400L.
     
  31. Thanks, Bob. Brad suggests focus breathing is quite well-controlled, but perhaps not at minmum distance, and also suggests that the Sigma sport is appreciably ahead of the other two third-party options optically. I'll be interested to know your take. It sounds like they're all a significant bump up from the 150-500 Sigma, which was such a disappointment to me. If you're able to comment relative to Canon's 200-400 f/4 (with its teleconverter on), I'd be interested (academically).
     
  32. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I evaluate the 200-500mm/f5.6 from a very different angle. Except for the price and that it is an E lens, its pros and cons are very similar to those for the 80-400mm/f4.5-5.6 AF-S VR. (IMO the 80-400 is overpriced while the 200-500 is under. It might make more sense if Nikon swaps their prices.)
    Both their advantage and disadvantage are that they are f5.6 lenses, which has a lot of implications on lens size, weight, lens price, AF speed and accuracy, exposure, subject isolation .... Yesterday at 8:30am with plenty of light (but not quite noon, sunny 16 type strong sunlight), f5.6 and 1/1250 sec to stop motion of birds forced me to ISO 300 to 500. On the D7200, the additional noise @ ISO 400 is obvious, less so on the FX-format D750. With an f4 lens, I am very close to the base ISO 100.
    In my mind, there is no more concern about the sharpness of the 200-500mm. I compared it side-by-side with a 600mm/f4 AF-S VR. If they are not equal, it is close enough. The other factors such as AF speed and accuracy far outweight any sharpness difference.
    While the 200-500mm is small for a non-mirror type 500mm, it is still a pretty big lens. If you specialize in wildelife and bird photography, of course we frequently carry much bigger lenses, but most people wouldn't consider the 200-500mm (roughly 5 lbs) a travel lens. Below is an image with it side by side with a 70-200mm/f2.8 AF-S VR version 2 and the 80-400mm AF-S VR.
    [​IMG]
     
  33. Hmmm. Looks like the 80-400mm AFS is obviously a better lens to travel with. I've actually been quite happy with it. I suspect the nano coating might give it more flare resistance than the 200-500mm has too (although I've seen no testing.) Flare resistance is important to me. I might try a TC-14E on the 80-400mm and see what I think. For wildlife, more reach is generally appreciated. OTOH, f8 is starting to get very dim. Sigh.
    Kent in SD
     
  34. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Another "early impression" type article from a Norwaygan photographer Roy Mangersnes, who is also a Nikon ambassador. (I.e. expect him to have good things to say about Nikon products.) Similar to Nick Didlick, Mangersnes uses a Nikon D4S, which has very good AF and high-ISO performance to compensate for a relatively slow lens.
    http://roymangersnes.wordpress.com/2015/09/25/field-test-nikkor-200-500mm-f56e-ed/
    Mangersnes took the 200-500mm to Svalbard in the Arctic. (I have been there once many years ago, but much earlier in the summer, early July.)
     
  35. Today I stopped back at the local camera store where i purchased the 200-500 and we hooked it up to a TC-1.4 III just for fun. using it hand held, the results were pretty impressive and the auto focus only balked once on a shadowy subject (D7200 body). I had previously tried a couple of shots with my TC-20 III and I really wasn't all that happy with the results....I plan on trying it again, though.
    Here's the pic I tried post the other day. One of my initial shots with the 200-500
    00dVb2-558600284.jpg
     
  36. jti

    jti

    For me there is not much more to hope for: http://jti.kuvat.fi/kuvat/AF-S+NIKKOR+200-500mm+f5.6E+ED+VR/_DSC4577.jpg
    Sorry, I did not find the way to attache the photo straight to my response.
    [​IMG]
     
  37. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Jukka, I managed to link your image into the thread. However, to see the original larger version, we still need to click on the link in the post.
    And Chris' eagle looks very good as well.
    Thank you both, and I hope more people already with this lens can provide more personal experience and images.
     
  38. Thanks for the heads up pre-review Shun!
    This looks like an incredible lens (especially for the price) and may finally be the VR zoom answer
    for my travel needs. I'm getting older and travelling to far off places with a 500 f/4 + tripod is
    getting to be a bit much. :) -g-
     
  39. I received my lens last Wednesday and only finally got a chance to use it this evening. Handheld with my D800E.
    Out of camera JPEG (PS Auto Level only) @500mm, f5.6, 1/320, Auto ISO, Subject dist 20m.
    [​IMG]
    Here's a 100% crop.

    [​IMG]
     
  40. Interestingly Brad Hill's continuing comparison of the 200-500mm 5.6 to similar zooms finds that the Nikon 80-400mm zoom goes soft after 380mm relative to all of the competing zooms. His original analysis of the 80-400mm about a year ago was much more glowing. Most of look for sharpness at the longest end of zooms in this category as we tend to already have pretty capable mid range zooms at more modest cost. If the long end is not sharp, why buy it? That was the complaint heard from many about the earlier Sigma zooms, soft at the long end. Those of us who want the long end for wildlife may have to re-think the 80-400mm as it appears not to compete well at 400mm with the Sigma sport or the primes.
    See, his notes at http://www.naturalart.ca/voice/blog.html, at paragraph "3. Optical Quality - Preliminary Findings and Thoughts...", under the heading, "23 September 2015: Nikkor 200-500mm f5.6E VR - A Cautionary Green Light?"
     
  41. My experience with the 80-400mm is different from Brad Hill's. I find it to be quite sharp at 400mm (in my judgment, anyway). With a 400mm f/2.8 being out of reach, it remains my standard of sharpness as I consider something longer, in the event that I should need that. I'm following this conversation with interest and thank everyone for posting their experience.
    (Nikon D7100, ISO 400, 80-400mm @400mm, f/7.1, 1/1000 sec)
    00dVkQ-558623384.jpg
     
  42. That is sufficiently sharp in my opinion, Noreen!
    I only have old (1980 [400/3.5] ..and 1988 [300/4.0]) lenses in comparison.
    How how does the 200-500 compare to this, is the question!
     
  43. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Two years ago, we have already established that the 80-400mm/f4.5-5.6 AF-S VR is very sharp at 400mm, wide open @ f5.6.: http://www.photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00bnh5
    For this type of lenses, I mainly evaluate them at the longest focal length and widest aperture. f5.6 is already slow to begin with. This pixel-level crop from the 80-400 was on a 24MP D7100, which was latest technology two years ago: http://static.photo.net/attachments/bboard/00b/00bnxH-541195584.jpg
    Now after using the 200-500mm for close to a week, I find it to be a very sharp zoom. We have posted quite a few sample images. Not sure any more images will prove anything beyond what we have done.
     
  44. I found my copy of the 80-400 AF-S to have a slight halo at 400mm, f/5.6 which cleared at f/8. At f/8 the image quality was very good, provided I used a fast shutter speed and/or tripod (although I wasn't able to obtain sharp results consistently at slowish shutter speeds on tripod, this may have been partly due to my use of a 3-series gitzo instead of something with thicker tubes for more rigidity, and at the time lack of EFCS). I would not however put the lens in the same category of image quality as the current 70-200mm Nikkors or the fast long Nikkor tele primes. I don't mind the difference much - there is a bit more clarity in those better lenses but on the other hand in some circumstances the portability or 5x range of the 80-400 can be very useful if you have enough light to use the lens. I've framed one large print of a sunrise with sea smoke at -17C that I captured with the 80-400mm at 340mm, f/8 and it really has its place in contributing to the atmosphere in my living room. I don't think anyone would pay attention to what difference might have been made by shooting that image with a 300/2.8. Sometimes one has to look at real world factors including portability and getting to the location etc. I sometimes struggle to accept lenses because I'm used to the image quality of the VR 200/2 II but at least I've accepted the 300 PF as part of my kit and carry it around a lot, despite it lacking the contrast and "pop" of some of the bigger lenses, it is very sharp and autofocuses excellently, and with some minor post work the results can be remarkable (especially considering the size and weight of the lens). But although it is a good compromise for me I wouldn't rank it in the same class of optical quality as the 200/2. I can however understand that in subjective judgments of a lens' quality often the practicalities of the lens use play a role even if it is just subconcious. I think there is no point in trying to make everyone agree about these matters. For example I regard the 58/1.4 AF-S to be a better image quality lens than the 300 PF, but the latter gets stellar reviews whereas the former gets routinely trashed by test chart / technical image quality tests. Interestingly enough a lot of the time the 58mm shots get picked up by the people whose events or portraits I used it for, so perhaps I'm not alone in defying what the technical measurements' real world implications are, and what they're not.
    Without personally having used the 200-500/5.6 (caveat), the images posted (here and in reviews elsewhere) illustrate to me that the lens is of high quality although the backlight performance could be a bit better; in some images shot against the light there is flare and also the shadows seem more blue than with nano-coated lenses where the contrast is higher and shadows appear warmer/more neutral compared to highlights (or so is my perception). I think the size, weight, price and image quality balance seems likely to make the lens very popular. I would personally have preferred a lens with nano crystal coating (to make the images in backlight more consistent in "look" and colours with other current high end Nikkors) and fluorine coating (a large front element can accumulate some dust and smudges, and the fluorine coating on the 300 PF makes cleaning the lens remarkably easy and fun). I am very happy to find that all the reports have been complementary of the provided tripod collar, as for landscape use this is very important. In my perception the 200-500 appeals to a number of photographers, 1) those who need a quality long lens but are on a budget, 2) those who use long fast supertele primes but also need a more portable long lens alternative, 3) those who only occasionally need a supertele and cannot thus justify the high cost of the fast options, 4) those who are any combination of 1-3. ;-) I think Nikon's recent line of affordable high quality lenses (20/1.8, in fact the whole series of f/1.8 AF-S primes, the 70-200/4, 300/4 PF, and 200-500/5.6 as examples) have a good chance of defending Nikon's market position and financial well being, and even improving it. Although other manufacturers also have been making impressive products lately.
     
  45. The only personal nit that I have with the lens -- and this is EXTREMELY minor -- is that I would preferred the foot on the tripod collar to be a little bit longer and have two mounting holes instead of just one. I use a Wimberley P-50 QR plate (which has two mounting screws).
     
  46. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I found my copy of the 80-400 AF-S to have a slight halo at 400mm, f/5.6 which cleared at f/8. At f/8 the image quality was very good, provided I used a fast shutter speed and/or tripod​
    I would let Nikon repair take a look at that lens.
    The 80-400mm AF-S VR is one lens that I am very familiar with, as I have used three different samples. The first one was a Nikon test sample which I used to write the review: Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR Lens Review
    Later on I bought a refurbished one since I was able to save $700. That refurbished lens was great except for at 400mm, f5.6. It was wonderful on the short end and if I stopped down to f8, 400mm was great also. See the A/B comparison I had against a brand new copy: Refurbished Nikon 80-400mm AF-S VR from Adorama
    I could have gotten that refurbished lens repaired, but I was concerned that I would get into an argument whether it was "within specs" or not, knowing how good that lens should be/can be. Eventually I bought a new one and returned the refurb to Adorama. That is what I have today; while my lens is excellent, somehow I feel that maybe it is not quite as great as the original test sample I had, but I never had those two lenses at the same time to compare.
    Concerning the 200-500mm/f5.6, mine is simply wonderful for an f5.6 lens. I have checked it side by side with a 600mm/f4 AF-S VR (2007 version). As I mentioned earlier, the big advantage as well as disadvantage for these zooms is the fact that they are f5.6. A 400mm/f2.8 and 500mm/f4 still have their advantages; that is why some people pay a lot of money to carry those huge lenses.
    Now that I have used the 200-500mm on a couple of tripods and different heads (RRS BH-55 and Wimbeley), its tripod collar and foot is indeed a bit of a drawback. Nikon's removable collars are still not as good as their fixed ones. I'll add more details in an eventual review; it is related to Nikon's removable design. I'll probably purchase a RRS or Kirk replacement collar some day.
    Additionally, the 200-500mm/f5.6 is a big lens with a plastic barrel. While it is great as a new lens, how well it holds up after some field use/abuse remains to be seen. I also wish Nikon would add two strap lugs on the barrel so that we can put a strap on it, as Nikon does with all of their expensive big lenses (300mm/f2.8, etc.). I think there maybe too much stress on the lens mount when you have a 5-pound lens hanging off a camera body.
     
  47. I did meet up with someone who had a 200-500mm over the weekend and played around with it and my 80-400mm AFS. Both are nice, but I'm feeling better about keeping what I have. The 80-400mm is noticeably better at resisting flare, something that is important to me and my train shots. It's also somewhat more compact which works great for me and travel. I like the 77mm filter size as that's the only size I carry now (polarizer,) and honestly I'm quite happy with the sharpness of the 80-400mm. There are times that 500mm would be nice, but it's not a deal killer for me. The range of the 200-500mm would be a little less convenient for me since I would have to carry a lens to fill the 85mm to 200mm gap--I do take shots in that range fairly regularly. If I was more into wildlife the 500mm would be more of a benefit for me, but really I'm more of a "general outdoor" and travel guy. I really can't justify having two similar lenses, so the 80-400mm stays.
    Kent in SD
     
  48. Kent, I think you made a good solid decision.
    I received a promotion from KirkPhoto today for free shipping on these pre-orders (link). The third one is puzzling. I'm sure it will help but, really, one more piece to carry?
     
  49. Well, they seem to have made their lens support systems modular so that you can choose whether to install the front
    support. There is a similar thing for the 300mm PF as well.
     
  50. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The problem is that you can easily spend close to $300 ($190 + $90) for a replacement collar, on a lens that costs $1400 itself. I am considering a clear filter also (since the front element of the 200-500 is quite close to the rim, see my first two images above). One can easily spend an additional 30% of the lens cost on a few accessories.
     
  51. The Chinese brand Neewer offers a $19 replacement tripod foot for the 70-200 2.8 VR-2. I have it and I don't think it is
    significantly less well made or serviceable than Kirk's $140 alternative. I hope Neewer will offer a tripod replacement for
    the 200-500 as well. I think there is really almost nothing to the design and manufacturer of a replacement tripod collar or foot. I am guessing real cost of a replacement tripod collar is in the 10-30 dollar range, and some lesser known brand is bound to undercut the seriously inflated prices from the likes of Kirk.
     
  52. I agree with Shun that there seems to be a consensus regarding sharpness, it is a sharp lens.
    Great, but what about AF speed? I have not seen many comments about that other than it beeing an f5.6 lens. How long is the throw from infinity to its minimum focus distance, would you say it hunts a lot or snap into focus?
     
  53. Chuck, it is certainly true that there are many brands of aftermarket collars for lenses, and you can choose which you prefer. Kirk was a pioneer in providing this type of products and they have built a certain reputation, which in turns means they get a lot of orders even at the high prices that their products cost. (I am not in any way affiliated with Kirk obviously.) If you want to save money you can order from some Chinese manufacturer at a fraction of the cost. However, it appears Kirk has already made a set of products for this lens which has been available for a short time. I suspect it will take longer for the cheaper variants to appear on the market.
    I haven't used one of the front supports with rollers yet but I think the concept is a good one as it may allow some pressure to be applied at the point of contact between the rollers and the lens barrel, whereas a sliding surface of contact which Kirk has used before would possibly leave marks if it is pressed against the barrel. I always felt that in the 80-400 AF-S collar the front contact is not fully secure and leaves some possibility of vibration (although it is an improvement over the Nikon collar). Also the distance between front and rear supports was quite short in the 80-400 Kirk collar. RRS has offered a long lens support package which includes adjustable second support with rollers but it takes quite a bit of space (it is designed for long lenses). Kirk's new solution appears quite compact and could be left on the lens at all times (if desired), or taken off for hand-held use. This is why I like it. However, obviously the complexity adds to the cost of the product. For me, if I buy the 200-500, I would want to use it regularly for winter landscape photography and I believe the front support with this kind of a design (with wider span than in previous Kirk solutions and adjustable height of the roller component, allowing the rig to make firm contact) would be very useful. However, I would also need to acquire a more rigid tripod for best results. One drawback is that the cost of the support rig and the fact that it is lens specific (RRS long lens package is adjustable and components can be used on various lenses). Anyway, I cannot judge Kirk on high price because to innovate is expensive and copying is cheap. Most users probably don't get any aftermarket collar (I suspect many will mostly use this lens hand held and when required, use the supplied Nikon collar) and thus the market is limited.
     
  54. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Great, but what about AF speed? I have not seen many comments about that other than it beeing an f5.6 lens.​
    Again, that is similar to the 80-400 AF-S VR, whose AF speed is very good under good light, surprising for an f5.6 lens. However, it is slow under heavy overcast, evening, night, and indoors (unless there is strong stadium light). If you have a static subject under dim light, those cross-type AF points will lock focus ok as long as your subject has decent contrast. Any moving subject under dim light is going to be very problematic.
    So far I am very happy with the AF speed on the 200-500mm, but I have only used it under good light outdoors. The dimmest situation I have used it is around 6:30pm when I captured the following elk image ( http://static.photo.net/attachments/bboard/00d/00dVoF-558634384.jpg ) posted to this week's Monday in Nature Weekly Photo Sept. 28, 2015
    For comparison, two weeks ago we had early dinner at a restaurant by the bay. We were done a little after 7pm and saw a bunch of brown pelicans diving for fish. The light was clearly poor. That was before the 200-500mm was available and I had the 80-400 and a 300mm/f4 with me. Even though a longer focal length would have helped, I immediately put on the 300mm/f4. I like the action but certainly not the light: http://static.photo.net/attachments/bboard/00d/00dURt-558443684.jpg
    Concerning the tripod collar, the one that comes with the 200-500 is not bad. I prefer something smoother but I am not sure I would pay $190 for one just for the improvement. Any Really Right Stuff version is likely going to be even more expensive than Kirk's.
     
  55. Thanks Shun for commenting further about the AF speed!
     
  56. I want one and I don't know why. I mean, I'd use it occasionally. Want.
     
  57. I am still on the fence between the 80-400mm AF-S the sigma 150-600mm sport and this new lens. However I am starting to lean more and more towards the new nikon lens as details and user accounts come out. It is sharp and would be a great addition for me for wildlife photos.
    Thank you everyone for sharing all of your experiences with this lens.
     
  58. These were the photos that caused me to put in an order for the 200-500. I have held out on buying a travel zoom for many years, but the price/performance on this one makes it an easy decision.
    http://www.pbase.com/lance_b/nikon_200_to_500
     
  59. I am still on the fence between the 80-400mm AF-S the sigma 150-600mm sport and this new lens. However I am starting to lean more and more towards the new nikon lens as details and user accounts come out. It is sharp and would be a great addition for me for wildlife photos.​
    My thinking is that for a general purpose/travel lens, the 80-400mm AFS has advantages. For wildlife, the 200-500 has advantages. Since I am more of a "traveler" than a wildlife guy (and flare resistance is a top priority for me,) I'm keeping the former although the latter is quite attractive.
    Kent in SD
     
  60. Kent,
    I totally agree with your assessment. I am less of a traveler since I have a three year old son and more of a wildlife guy living in an area that lends itself to that so the extra reach of the new lens would be nice.
     
  61. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The 200-500mm/f5.6 AF-S VR is a fairly big lens. If you are into wildlife photography, it can be great. Otherwise, I think the 80-400 AF-S VR is generally a more useful lens. The problem is that Nikon's pricing seems reversed. The 80-400 is quite expensive for what it offers while the 200-500mm is abnormally cheap (probably thanks to competition from Tamron and Sigma). That is why the 200-500mm seems attractive. However, IMO it is not a very useful lens for most people.
    Maybe Nikon will be under pressure to lower the price for the 80-400mm. I can't imagine it'll sell very well now with so much competition from outside as well as within Nikon.
    Below is an image showing the 200-500mm attached to a D800E inside a ThinkTank StreetWalker. This the smallest among the three StreetWalker models: http://www.thinktankphoto.com/products/streetwalker-backpack.aspx
    And I can fit the 80-400 on the side along with a TC-14E III.
    P.S. StreetWalker seems to be a strange choice for a product name.
    00dWMx-558702984.jpg
     
  62. Well, the StreetWalker is fairly slim and narrow which means when walking in a crowded street it doesn't stand out and it's less likely that the user hits another pedestrian with the bag when turning or wading trough the crowd. Thus the name. The Airport line by contrast are big and have fairly sharp corners to utilize the space available in the cabin in an optimal way to provide as much space for gear as possible. However at least my Airport Commuter can get in the way of people in crowdy places and it is quite noticeable due to its size.
     
  63. Street walker is also slang for prostitute.
     
  64. I was in a camera store today where they had one of these, and tried it out on a D3200. I was surprised first of all at how relatively small it is, compared to the 500/4 AIP I'm used to. It's really not so terribly big for hand holding. But it is very dense and heavy. It's pretty easy to hand hold for a while, but I'd get pretty tired of lugging it around.
    I just fired off a few shots in the store, not a very good test, but I was impressed with how sharp it was and how well it fared in low light. The VR was impressive. I'm still not sure about how I would do carrying it around, but it's very tempting.
    I did find that hand holding it, I constantly was hitting the rear control and moving the focus point. I do that often anyway, but with that big lens it happened with nearly every shot. It's not very friendly to a small body that does not have a locking control. A minor point, perhaps, but it's one of those things would require some readjustment of how one holds it.
     
  65. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Street walker is also slang for prostitute.​
    Nick picked up what I was referring to. Not sure that is also used in the UK and Australia, but I wouldn't expect an American company to use such a name.
    Concerning the 500mm/f4, it requires a 500/4 = 125mm front element. A 500mm/f5.6 needs to be 89mm, hence we can use 95mm filters. That is a big difference in front element size.
     
  66. Just had the time to try this lens (200-500) on a focus-spree in good light, side by side with the 80-400. It is very good. I apologize if I had created any doubt in anyone's mind for writing in a prior post that I wasn't sure about its focus speed and accuracy, even though this aspect has already been discussed by others in positive light.
     
  67. As a Brit, I'd certainly raise an eyebrow at the name, but frankly I've not forgiven Think Tank for going from Airport Acceleration to Airport Accelerator - because Google can't tell them apart, and neither can half the reviewers. Nice bag, though. Could be worse - half of HTC's phone range sounded like prophylactics at one point. I've worked for companies that have come up with worse than that, too.

    Having tried to buy filters in that kind of size (actually, only the 86mm used by the 150-500), I appreciate the smaller rear drop-in on the 500mm prime - not that the polariser of my 200mm was cheap, because of the need to rotate it. Still, could be the 105mm of the 120-300 f/2.8...
     
  68. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I don't think a polarizer makes a whole lot of sense for a 500mm/f5.6 lens. You lose two stops with the polarizer and it is
    more like f11. There are very few situations that you can tolerate such a slow supertele.
     
  69. That might be a bit harsh, Shun. For fast-moving birds, I certainly agree with you that faster shutter speeds make a big difference (even if I was qualified to disagree - and I have a load of blurry hawks shot recently with a 70-200 to prove that I'm under-qualified). For a relatively static subject - birds sitting on water, say, when a polariser might help - f/11 is still a stop faster than f/16, or ISO 250 at 1/500s. With VR or a tripod, especially when I can drop the shutter speed a little, I'd not call that unreasonable. Of course, it's as well I didn't bother for my 150-500, because then I actually needed to stop down to f/11 before I was getting sharp(ish) results, and the polariser would have taken me to ISO 1000 for 1/500s in direct sunlight. Ew.

    So, for a swan, I'd think of a polariser. Maybe also for sports car racing if I wanted to see through the windscreens. Hummingbirds, not so much. YMMV. :)
     
  70. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Andrew, sunny 16 means noon time, very bright and harsh light. The best time to photograph is more like 7, 8am or 5, 6pm (depending on you exact location on earth and the season). Those are also the hours wildlife is most active. I would say we should be talking about 3 stops below sunny 16, give or take. All of a sudden you have 500mm, f5.6 minus two stops due to the polarizer, ISO 250 and 1/60 sec. That is simply way too slow a shutter speed for my comfort for 500mm even on a big tripod. To use a polarizer, you need to bump the ISO up to maybe 800 or over 1000 and take a non-trivial hit on quality.
    As I have mentioned on this thread earlier, I think 500mm, f5.6 without a polarizer is on the slow side. I by far prefer a 500mm/f4, but obviously we are talking about much higher cost, weight and no zooming.
     
  71. Accepted, Shun - nice light is, sadly, also limited light. Not that we get much of any kind of light in the UK, for the most part. I'm not sure I'd necessarily go down three stops for my "swan on a pond" situation, and 1/60s tends to scare me because of Nikon's history with tripods and shutter slap, but then I'd be metering for the highlights which might gain me a little over the natural exposure, but I'd certainly accept that I'd not be at base ISO much and it'd be for selective conditions. Kind of hard for me to be critical when the drizzle had so much input in my blurry falcons...

    To be fair, modern cameras are damned good at ISO 1000. If this was the Canon forum, we might even be happy; unfortunately, I find my self struggling to stay at ISO 64 when I possibly can in order to have the ability to recover shadows. No argument that f/5.6 isn't ideal in a long lens, but in the absence of Nikon taking on the Canon 400 f/4 DO, there's not so much we can expect to be done about that. There's always the Sigma 200-500, of course!

    Meanwhile, Nikon are reporting an issue with the AF on their 200-500 (when zooming), if I understand correctly.
     
  72. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    For whatever it is worth, I captured this image at 8:12am a week ago. The EXIF data show that it is only 1.5 stops below "sunny 16," brighter than what I had expected:
    • 500mm, f5.6, 1/1250 sec @ ISO 400 on the D7200
    I used auto ISO to keep the shutter speed at a minimum of 1/1250, and the D7200 picked ISO 400. While it is not bad, I can see that it is a bit noisy compared to ISO 100.
    00dWbU-558735284.jpg
     
  73. The 200-500mm/f5.6 AF-S VR is a fairly big lens. If you are into wildlife photography, it can be great. Otherwise, I think the 80-400 AF-S VR is generally a more useful lens.​
    Thanks for pointing that out Shun. Speaking from my own (limited) experience with wildlife photography (which is the only reason I am interested in these lenses), I have almost never found myself in a situation where I needed to use a focal length less than 200mm.
    For e.g., I don't remember the last time I used by 70-200 at anything less than 200+1.4x. That immediately reduced the usefulness/practicality of the 80-400 for me. This is also the reason why I never looked into that lens.
    And it is precisely this fact that my eyes lit up the moment I read about the announcement of the 200-500. Finally a lens with just about the perfect zoom range for my purposes. And to read that it is nearing the 600 f4 VR in sharpness (even if it gets close its a bonus for me) is just fantastic.
    In my mind, there is no more concern about the sharpness of the 200-500mm. I compared it side-by-side with a 600mm/f4 AF-S VR. If they are not equal, it is close enough. The other factors such as AF speed and accuracy far outweight any sharpness difference.​
    Regarding weight and form factor: just the fact that it fits into your camera bag with the camera attached is enough for me. I am used to carrying around the Sigma 150-500 and never experienced a big problem with it. It is clear to me that the portability of this lens is going to far far better than my 500 F4, which is extremely important for me.
    Add to that hand-holdability (upto a certain point) and 4 stop VR, it, for me is the holy grail I have been in search of. (that and the Nikon D300 replacement which Nikon refuses to bring out :)).
    Hats off to Nikon.
    Avi
     
  74. Meanwhile, Nikon are reporting an issue with the AF on their 200-500 (when zooming), if I understand correctly.​
    https://nikoneurope-en.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/65374
    Identifying lenses with which the firmware has already been updated
    Firmware in lenses with a serial number of 2008365 or higher have already been updated.​

    Looks like the issue may have already been addressed.
     
  75. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    First of all, I should remind everybody that there is a service advisory for this lens: Nikon Service Advisory for the 200-500mm/f5.6
    Nikon needs to update the firmware to fix an AF issue. Unfortunately, you need to ship the entire lens back to Nikon to update the firmware inside.
    To me, the one surprise about this lens is its sharpness; it is really good even compared to the f4 superteles. Otherwise, it is mostly as expected. At 5 lbs, this is a heavy lens, although it is lighter than the 300mm/f2.8 and the 200-400mm/f4. I can hand hold it for a short period, but after a while, it feels heavy, especially if you extend it all the way to 500mm and you need to extend your left arm out to support it. For birds in flight, I think the 80-400mm AF-S VR is definitely a better choice.
    I captured the image below around 6:30pm so that it was somewhat dark. AF on the 200-500mm has difficulties with birds in flight: 250mm, f5.6, 1/1000 sec and ISO 3200 on the D750. That is about 4.5 stops below sunny 16. What you want is a 300mm/f2.8 or 70-200mm/f2.8 with that kind of light.
    Another interesting aspect I noticed is that while both the 80-400mm AF-S VR and 200-500mm/f5.6 AF-S VR are sharp, somehow the 200-500mm generates slightly warmer images. That is apparent reviewing the images on the LCD on the camera as well as on a computer screen. These two images are not color corrected, although it is not difficult to adjust them to look the same in post processing. I used the D7200 to capture these images. I had changed lenses back and forth, and the color also changed back and forth:
    • 80-400mm version: http://static.photo.net/attachments/bboard/00d/00dWfP-558741684.jpg
    • 200-500mm version: http://static.photo.net/attachments/bboard/00d/00dWfO-558741584.jpg
    00dWvD-558778284.jpg
     
  76. I have to say handholding this lens is no joy.
    In dim light, D810's autofocus has decidedly more trouble with this lens than with F/2.8 zoom. In fact, in dim light, the D810's AF seem to have more trouble finding the focus with this lens then even with 70-300 VR.
    With the 70-300 VR, the D810 would sometimes fall into a sort of focus trap where the camera would find something close to the focus, then shift the focus back and forth in a very rapid series of movements as if it couldn't quite decided between two very close focus ranges. If you lock the focus with focus lock button at that moment, you would find the focus is pretty good even if the camera is still hunting.
    With the 200-500, the camera often simply give up, and flash the focus circle in the view finder.
    Have used it for a few days, I have to say I think the 200-500 is more of a specialty long telephoto lens with reframing capability, not a travel lens like the 80-400AFS. It does make up for its reduced versatility and increased weight and bulk with an outstanding price, and very good image quality.
    I think I made the right decision to buy this lens over the 80-400AFS. I do mostly landscapes, only rarely wildlife. I think for me, a lens like 80-400AFS, in addition to being too expensive and overlap too much with the 70-200AFS to justify its cost, would also encourage sloppy photography by virtue of its great zoom range. The size, weight and range of this lens encourages more forethought, as well as save a good sum that can be used for a good tripod.
     
  77. It terms of AF speed, can anyone comment on how the 200-500 would compare with the 500 F4+TC?
    Any reason to think that it would be faster/better with the latter?
    Avi
     
  78. jti

    jti

    There is couple of my test photos taken with AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR and AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III:
    http://jti.kuvat.fi/kuvat/AF-S+NIKKOR+200-500mm+f5.6E+ED+VR/testi/

    Both photos are taken with hand hold and so... I quess that is the minimum quality with the combo :D
     
  79. Well I finally took the plunge and ordered this lens. I debated for a very long time and decided that the 70-200mm f4 plus this lens would make a nice round kit for me to use. I will be using this lens for wildlife photography.
    It is on back order currently (presumably due to demand and to fix the firmware issue before sending more out into the world) but as soon as I get it I hopefully will post some images here.
     

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