200-400VR Tests shots

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by Jose Suro, Jul 27, 2007.

  1. Hi All,

    As all of you in the Birds forum know I recently purchased a 200-400VR and noticed that I was getting a lot of OOF shots. I ran some tests via which I concluded that the problem was too small a tripod and poor long lens technique (blush). For those that are curious, I have posted the stand tests below that show the performance of the 200-400VR under test conditions.

    This is a single shot (no second chances) on a locked tripod at F4, 1/160 second, mirror up, single auto focus, VR off. I gave the lens 10-seconds to stabilize from mirror up to shot. I do not use in camera sharpenning in my D200. The first three shots are straight out of Capture NX saved to maximum quality JPEG, zero adjustments. The last 2 shots were done with my normal processing.

    From these tests I've concluded that the lens is fine and me and tripod are to blame :). I tested the same setup with VR on and the results are identical.

    Best,

    Jose


    Some of these are 1/3 megabyte so be patient!




    1) The full frame for reference reduced 75% - the focal plane is at the 5-inch mark on the tape

    [​IMG]


    2) 100% crop of the tape showing the focus at the focal plane

    [​IMG]


    3) 100% crop of the ten dollar Bill

    [​IMG]


    4) My normal processing - full frame

    [​IMG]


    5) 100 % crop of the 10-dollar bill after normal processing

    [​IMG]
     
  2. CAJames

    CAJames

    Sep 6, 2006
    Lompoc, CA
    Hi Jose,

    That is interesting. When I got my 200-400VR this spring I also noticed I was getting more OOF than I was with the 400 AF-I, on a monopod. All the controlled tests I did were tack sharp (just like yours). My beach is closed for the summer so I haven't been able to shoot shore birds for months, but based on other shooting I suspect it might be some interaction with AF-C and the VR, like the VR doesn't settle down if the focus is changing at all. I don't have (or don't notice) this problem with the 70-200. Do you usually use AF-S?
     
  3. Hi James! I thought the same thing at first but VR is not "looking" at focus, I believe it's just measuring lateral acceleration. I shoot birds always in AF-C, I used single for the tests because I wanted to narrow down the variables. AF-C will "chatter" with this lens but only in low contrast situations and when the lens is not stable. I think there is no free lunch with these lenses and everyone I know uses tripods heavier than a 1325 Gitzo, or they go handheld. I've been trying it on my Gitzo 1257 6x and it's not enough - lots of harmonic vibration. VR works incredibly well handheld as I found out already. If it wasn't such a chore to hold onto this lens for hours at a time I would not even consider a tripod :).

    Best,

    Jose
     
  4. I also am a recent 200/400 owner and prior to that the longest thing I had shot was the very forgiving 70/200 2.8. I bought it just as I turned up sick, so have not done much with it other than some yard shooting and some micro, works well with dragons and using tubes, as dragons will return to the same rest.

    My tripod is a bogen 3251, a monster but well worth the effort to tote around. Right away I learned the ball head was not big enough and bought a RRS 55 and a Kimberly side kick, on the advice of another member. sense then my OOF shots have gone way down, but I am still way back on the long learning curve of this lens!!
    I do find the the hand held works very good for me and I am looking forward to doing some mono pod shots with the kimbely. Hope to learn a lot more from this thread, thanks for starting it.
     
  5. CAJames

    CAJames

    Sep 6, 2006
    Lompoc, CA
    I hear you. I get great results headheld too. There was a hummingbird in the backyard this evening so I broke out the tripod (a wooden Berlebach with a Kirk KingCobra head) and got this at 400mm f/4:

    [​IMG]

    All my shots were in focus, AF-C or AF-S, VR on or off. This really is an amazing lens. I'd encourage you to think about some kind of gimble head, a Sidekick would probably work fine.
     
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