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Thread: 400mm Lens

  1. #1
    Senior Member sdspinelli2's Avatar
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    400mm Lens

    I usually shoot all aviation with my 70-200 f4. This past week I rented the new Nikon 80-400 VRII and was extremely pleased on how well it handled. I'm planning on purchasing a 400mm for my d7000 and I'm caught between the Old 80-400 and the Sigma 150-500. Any thoughts on which one would be best? Is there any other options I should consider? I might just go ahead and get the 80-400 VRII but I'm not willing to spend almost $3000 for it!

  2. #2
    Administrator Landing Lights's Avatar
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    I'm a Canon shooter, so I can't really provide any meaningful feedback on those lenses. However, I can recommend that you strongly consider the used market for a lens. I have purchased a few used lenses and have been very impressed. Stick towards the reputable businesses (Lens Authority, B&H, Adorama) and learn their rating systems. You can save some serious cash that way. Lens Authority has an 80-400 II for about $2100 right now.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Zee71's Avatar
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    Steve,

    I've owned the old version of the Nikon 80-400mm lens. Overall it's a good lens, but when it comes to focusing it's night and day between the new Nikon 80-400mm VRII which I use. I got rid of my old lens to get the new one. Yes, it's an expensive lens.
    I've heard good things about the Sigma 150-500mm as well as the Sigma 50-500mm (which is about half the price of the 80-400mm VR II).

    A benefit of the new Nikon 80-400mm VII lens is that you can add a 1.4x Teleconverter to it, thus giving you a focal length of 112-560mm.
    Mark
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    Quote Originally Posted by mldoc View Post
    I'm a Canon shooter, so I can't really provide any meaningful feedback on those lenses. However, I can recommend that you strongly consider the used market for a lens. I have purchased a few used lenses and have been very impressed. Stick towards the reputable businesses (Lens Authority, B&H, Adorama) and learn their rating systems. You can save some serious cash that way. Lens Authority has an 80-400 II for about $2100 right now.
    I would second Ben's opinion. Just I would check sites/forums like Fredmiranda.com - Buy & Sell Photo-Gear or dpreview.com - For Sale and Wanted

    I've purchased my Sigma 50-500 thru Dpreview "For Sale and Wanted" forum. I did ask if anyone had that lense for sale(since Sigma stopped making 50-500 for my Olympus camera, so, no way I could get a brand new one). I got response within 1-2 days and I got pretty good deal - $700. It came in EX+++ condition and I'm very happy with.

    B&H, Adorama could charge little more for used one vs. you could get directly from a user and in exellent/near mint condition.

    both - dpreview & fredmiranda - have very good reputations.
    [URL="http://www.airport-data.com/photographers/gbmax:5834/"]My Aircraft Photos[/URL]

  5. #5
    Senior Member sdspinelli2's Avatar
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    Thank you guys. Ben, Ill have a look at Lens Authority, If the condition isn't that bad it looks like I found a deal! Mark, How sharp is the old 80-400 compared to the newer one? I'm looking to use this lens mostly for aviation in daylight, is the auto focus
    that bad?

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    I'd stay away from the Sigma 150-500 if I were in your shoes, it's definitely soft when compared to other long zoom models. If you want to stick with Sigma, the 50-500 is quite a bit sharper despite the larger zoom range, though it does cost more (about $1500 new).

    The older 80-400 is supposed to hold its own optically, but as mentioned it's less than a speed demon when it comes to focusing (plus the VR is an older design and is less effective than the newer version). If you were satisfied with the sharpness of the VRII version you rented, I'd consider checking the difference in image quality in reviews/comparisons online to see if the step back in image quality would be acceptable to you.

    Though it's going to be tough to find one right now, the new Tamron 150-600 looks quite promising, and is far cheaper than even the Sigma 50-500 at $1070. It's gotten good reviews so far for the most part (some AF issues on early Canon models that have apparently been corrected). I'm planning on renting or buying one prior to attending airshows this year, but that's still over a month down the road.

  7. #7
    Senior Member megatop412's Avatar
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    All of my photos in the Jones Beach thread were taken with the Sigma. Judge for yourself if you think its too soft. For what it can do its the best bargain out there and would complement the 70-200

  8. #8
    Senior Member RWB's Avatar
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    I usually shoot all aviation with my 70-200 f4.
    With good locations 70-200 works great, I've been using a Tamron 70-200 2.8 for the last couple years, I'm happy
    This past week I rented the new Nikon 80-400 VRII and was extremely pleased on how well it handled. I might just go ahead and get the 80-400 VRII but I'm not willing to spend almost $3000 for it!
    If you could make money with it. It's justifiable, all of us want to take the best shot possible! There have been sometimes when I wanted more reach but not at that price.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RWB View Post
    With good locations 70-200 works great, I've been using a Tamron 70-200 2.8 for the last couple years, I'm happy

    If you could make money with it. It's justifiable, all of us want to take the best shot possible! There have been sometimes when I wanted more reach but not at that price.
    This... Absolutely this... If only we could all afford 200-400s or the exotic primes.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Zee71's Avatar
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    The old 80-400mm optically is excellent but it's the focusing speed that makes this lens a little subpar. It's definitely not a bad lens but you might miss some shots. As mentioned .... Rent the lens to see for yourself before you spend the big bucks
    Mark
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  11. #11
    Senior Member sdspinelli2's Avatar
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    Thanks for your help guys. I think I'm going to see if I can rent the old 80-400.

  12. #12
    Senior Member gonzalu's Avatar
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    I would only save up for the 80-400 VRII if that's what you really want. If you get anything else before it, the one you want will ALWAYS cost you more in the end.

    Once you have it, you will never regret it nor will you need to replace it for years.

    My 200-400mm f/4 is VERY old and I still don't need or want the new version which only offers Nano Coating as a plus. Glass formula is exactly the same.

    I am currently saving up for many things but likely 80-400mm VRII before the D4s.
    Manny Gonzalez
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