Range overlap 70-200/4.0 and new 80-400

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by albin''s images, Jul 19, 2013.

  1. As a long time regular visitor and after a quick search, I could not find the answer to the following question. So please help me out:
    Has anyone reported and/or has experience with the comparison between the new 80-400 and new 70-200/4.0 lenses? In terms of quality within their overlapping ranges (aperture, focal length)?
    The idea behind it being that the arrival of the new 80-400 brings us the ultimate general purpose long zoomlens that performs almost the same as the (very good) 70-200. With the appropriate price tag, obviously.
  2. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I never had both the 70-200mm/f4 AF-S VR and 80-400/f4.5-5.6 AF-S VR simultaneously, but both are excellent optically. Your choice should depend on whether you need 300mm to 400mm, as most people who get the 80-400 will mainly use it on the 400mm end.
    If you don't really need beyond 200mm much, the 70-200mm/f4 AF-S VR is considerably smaller and a lot easier to hold and carry. Of course it is a lot cheaper at almost half the cost. Both lenses have excellent VR so that technically, you can hand hold them at very slow shutter speeds such as 1/30 sec, but the real limitation is subject motion. Just to point out the obvious, no sturdy tripod or VR will counter subject motion, which is the real limit for your shutter speed.
    Once you have the 80-400, to me, there is no point to get the 70-200mm/f4 AF-S VR also unless you must have a smaller lens that is easier to carry around. The latter is also a bit faster at constant f4 throughout the range.
    See the two images below. It is the same 70-200mm/f2.8 AF-S VR II on the right. The 70-200mm/f4 is a lot smaller. However, while the 80-400 AF-S VR is similar in length as the 70-200mm/f2.8, its barrel is quite a bit "fatter" with a wider diameter; therefore, it is less comfortable to hand hold.

  3. If you only need the 200-400 range occasionally, consider using a Nikon 1.4X converter with the 70-200.
  4. What do you shoot and under what kind of lighting conditions?

    The 70-200 4.0 is already one stop slower than a standard 70-200 2.8. And the 80-400, depending on where it makes the transition down to 5.6, could leave you with a 200mm that is two stops slower than normal. If you shoot mostly outside in good light, that's not necessarily a problem. But if you shoot under low light, especially indoors or anything with fast action, it could be frustrating.

    If the 4.5-5.6 maximum aperture is adquate for what you shoot, then Shun is correct that there's no point to having both.
  5. If you shoot a lot of wildlife and some birds, then the 80-400mm is the way to go. If it's only occasional, then using a TC on the 70-200mm is the way to go. There's not much real need to own both, but, if you can afford it, then you might use the 70-200mm for portraits, landscapes and such and reserve the 80-400mm for wildlife.
    If you can handle the weight all the time, then the 70-200/f2.8, plus TCs may be the way to go.
  6. I would endorse David's view. I purchased the 70-200 mm f/4 primarily for landscape use with an emphasis on its light weight compared to to f/2.8 version. I have used it with the 1.7 TC on a Nikon D800 under good lighting conditions for a couple of sporting events and was very happy with the results.
  7. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I wouldn't hesitate to put a TC-14E on the 70-200mm/f2.8 AF-S VR II, less so on the 70-200mm/f4 AF-S VR because it'll be an f5.6 lens. f5.6 is borderline for Nikon AF to work well, even on the newer DSLRs that can work with f8.
    On this recent thread I discussed various options to get to 400mm: http://www.photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00bnh5
    If you need 400mm, the best way is still to get a true 400mm lens, e.g. in the form of the 80-400 AF-S VR or 200-400mm/f4 AF-S VR and, of course, the 400mm/f2.8 AF-S VR, which is in a totally different price category. At least I wouldn't stick a 2x TC on any 70-200mm zoom unless you have very basic quality requirements. Nikon's current 70-200mm zooms are excellent on their own; a 2x TC will really degrade those lenses.
  8. We don't know which body the OP has, but generally he's not going to have any real problems with AF at f/5.6. AF speed will slow, but not so much to cause problems except with things like birds in flight or other fast moving subjects.
  9. Thank you for your responses so far.
    I am indeed looking for a sort of 'ultimate solution' in order not to have to buy two long(er) lenses.. I need a lens in the 70-200 range for unspecific event photography (from inaugurations to weddings). ..And I need a good lens to replace my 400/3.5 for nature photography.

    The images of Shun were somewhat of an eye-opener: the 80-400 is big.
    That, and the fact (as mentioned) that for indoors use you already start being almost two stops behind.. ..requires some additional saving, I am afraid.
  10. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    For event photography, you are much better off with the f2.8 version of the 70-200mm AF-S VR, preferably the second version, VR 2, as shown above.
    The 80-400 AF-S VR would be a good wildlife lens, especially a birds in flight lens. However, at least to me, it is not an indoor lens. On the other thread I have an image showing it extended: http://static.photo.net/attachments/bboard/00b/00bnh5-541171184.jpg
    Of course that is still dwarfed by the 200-400mm/f4 AF-S VR.
  11. Indeed I am beginning to fear that the answer to my question is already in above posts..
    The 80-400 is not for dedicated indoor event photography and neither the 2.8 nor 4.0 70-200 zooms is the ultimate (long) nature photography lense..
  12. I have both Nikons 70-200mm f2.8 VR and 80-400mm VR (first version.) While these aren't exactly what you are looking at, they are very close and the thinking is the same. I see these as two entirely different lenses. I use the 70-200mm f2.8 for weddings (I would NOT be happy with f4) and night photography. I.e., I bring this lens when I need f2.8 speed. I use the 80-400mm as a general purpose outdoor lens, such as for widlife and distant landscape details. I.e., I bring this lens when I need 400mm length. I leave the 80-400mm home when doing weddings or night shots. I leave the 70-200mm f2.8 home when I'm taking a trip somewhere and take the 80-400mm. I don't see them as interchangeable I am waiting for the price to drop on the new 80-400mm VR, and will likely get one. Lenses are used on a D7100, mostly.
    Kent in SD
  13. [​IMG]To add to the confusion.....I have a 28-200VRII and use a 1.7 Nikon TCII. Below is a crop from a raw photo, taken with a Nikon D7000. I really think Nikon is way off base pricewise for a plastic lens, when we can have this. Just imagine the photo in hi res.
    Im keeping my 70-200. Just dont see the 2800$ value.
  14. To make things simpler.. ;-) ..I do have the 70-200/4.0 now.
    Which proves to be a wonderful asset. I haven't tried it
    woth TC's though. The only modern one I have is the 2x
    converter. Thanks for reminding me to try this!
  15. Albin, have you told us what body you use yet? It'll make a difference in whether or not you can use a 2.0x with your f/4 zoom.
  16. Really David? In the 'digital realm' I have D200/300/800.
    Would those be different, apart from the obvious sensor
  17. Yes, really. Your D800 will AF with maximum aperture of f/8. In case you haven't noticed, the older bodies will not.
    Given your ability to AF at an f/8 maximum aperture, the 70-200mm will be useful with your 2x TC, used as a general purpose lens.
  18. Thanks David. Now I wonder whether to get a 1.4 or 1.7 in
    addition.. (But first now, work. And some play with the 2x
    later today).

Share This Page