200-500 or 200-400?

200-500 or 200-400 vr I ?

  • 200-500

    Votes: 10 71.4%
  • 200-400

    Votes: 4 28.6%

  • Total voters
    14
Joined
Feb 11, 2006
Messages
6,598
Location
Riverside, CA
The boss has greenlighted a large purchase. The longest lens I have right now is the 70-300 af-p. Which I find sharp and useful.

I want a longer lens, and I have always lusted after the 200-400 f/4. I’m looking at used VR I versions in very good to excellent condition for around $400-500 more than a new 200-500. Both are within the budget.

I have read that the 200 to 500 is very sharp, I wonder if that one stop of light, in the f/4, is worth $400, and the extra weight. I would most likely use it at the zoo, wild animal park, future trips to national parks like Yellowstone, etc. possibly sports if my daughter gives up dance 😳

Opinions?
 
Last edited:
Joined
Dec 3, 2012
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6,530
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N Idaho
From what I’ve seen in the marketplace, the 200-500 crashed the 200-400 value pretty bad. Prices on the 200-400 are very low, I think when it was introduced it was a $7000 lens. There are quite a few pages and discussions comparing the two, Google “nikon 200-400 vs 200-500” and you’ll have a lot of reading to do.
Thom has a good write up on the 200-400 https://www.dslrbodies.com/lenses/n...om-lens-reviews/nikon-200-400mm-f4g-af-s.html.
Good luck, if you get the 200-400 let us know how you like it. i’ve got the 200-500 and it works for me.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jun 1, 2010
Messages
94
Location
UK
did quite a bit of research for a longer lens as i need to shoot some surf sports & don't want to get my feet wet & the lens i'm 99% decided on is the Sigma 60-600mm Sports.
this is quite a big step for me as i have been very disappointed with offbrand lenses in the past but i've heard enough good to want to give it a go :confused:
 
Joined
Jun 9, 2008
Messages
318
Location
Washington State
I'm very pleased with the 200-500 especially on my DX Bodies ( D300 & D500 ). The VR does well with hand holding shots, down side it's a little on the heavy side for extended walks.
 
Joined
May 18, 2005
Messages
10,324
Location
Western Slope of Colorado
Rodney - I had an early version of the 200-400 and loved it. But: I sold it in order to acquire the 200-500 and, for my type of shooting these days (mostly, but not exclusively, birds), I've been very glad to have made that trade. The lighter weight is a plus I think and, given our ability to crank up the ISO as needed, I haven't missed the extra stop. The bokeh is comparable, especially for distant subjects. Doubt that you can go wrong, given that the CFO has approved a purchase.;)
 

Butlerkid

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Really depends on what you want to shoot. How do you intent to use another lens? Under what lighting conditions? Full frame or crop body? Without understanding these things, we can't possibly make a recommendation. For birding....I went from a 300/2.8 to a 500/f4+1.4 tele to a 600/f4+ 1.4 tele! And I often times STILL need to crop using full frame bodies. For bigger animals, my 600mm works just fine. It would be a different answer for various sports, race cars, etc.
 
Joined
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  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #10
Really depends on what you want to shoot. How do you intent to use another lens? Under what lighting conditions? Full frame or crop body? Without understanding these things, we can't possibly make a recommendation. For birding....I went from a 300/2.8 to a 500/f4+1.4 tele to a 600/f4+ 1.4 tele! And I often times STILL need to crop using full frame bodies. For bigger animals, my 600mm works just fine. It would be a different answer for various sports, race cars, etc.
Some answers aren’t easy.

I’ve got one crop body and two full frame. I’ll most likely use my full frame because they’re better quality (newer).

Lighting conditions almost doesn’t matter with my Z6.

As far as what I’ll shoot, there’s no telling at this point in my life. I used to have the old 80-400 and in some ways, now that I can afford it, I just want another long reaching lens. I’ll shoot anything I can put in my viewfinder that’s far away,
 

Butlerkid

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FWIW.....I find my newest 80-400 AF-S lens a solid backup to either my previous 500mm or 600mm. Of course, I tended to shoot it at 400mm....it's weakest focal length. But I had the 500mm andnow the 600mm to use. With the D850 or D5 the 80-400 AF-S is excellent. But it doesn't take a tele well, IMHO.


Try to find or rent a 200-500. It isn't for me because of the ergonomics, but most guys seem to like it a LOT! I owned the 200-400 and sold it - after a long, long time of trying to sell it. And mine was pristine! I still regret selling it! And values have plummeted even more after the release of the 200-500. If I were in your shoes, I'd give the 200-500 a try.
 
Joined
May 11, 2008
Messages
745
Location
North Carolina
I'm not anywhere in any position to buy but have been trying to figure out what I would buy given the chance. I have also looked at the 200-400 and the 200-500. I did also look at the sigma 150-600 and similar lenses. The one thing that keeps bringing me back to the 200-400 is the fact that the zoom is all internal; the barrel doesn't extend on it as it does all of the others. From what I understand, this would result in better weather sealing and less likelyhood of dust getting inside.
I'm sure there are others here with much more experience on this; I, too would like to hear the opinions!
 
Joined
Feb 11, 2006
Messages
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Location
Riverside, CA
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #14
I’m trying to figure this out. Everything I read says my d300 and d800 aren’t compatible with the 200-500 because of the “E.”

If that’s true, I’m not sure it’s wise to buy it only to use with my z6. I just don’t know...

EDIT: I have confused myself, it is the AF-p which is supposedly not compatible with my D 800 but my 70-300 totally works.
 
Joined
Jan 2, 2009
Messages
5,455
Location
Alaska
I had the 200-400 for several years. Sold it and got a 500 f4. I've had the 200-500 since shortly after it came out. So I've shot tens of thousands of frames with each on various bodies including the D300 and D800E. Optically there's not enough difference IMO to justify the added weight and shorter focal length of the 200-400. Also it's pretty well documented that wide open the actual light transmission (T-stop) is more like f5. So the only real advantages that is has are less rotation required for full zoom range and somewhat snappier AF. Arguably it also produces more pleasing bokeh. I captured a lot of awesome images with the 200-400 but times have changed. Personally I can't feature that I'd give up the 200-500 and go back to the 200-400 at any price. Just one man's opinion.
 

JLH

Joined
Jan 28, 2019
Messages
83
I couldn't wait to get a 200-500 to use on my D500 and D750. If I could turn back the clock I would go a different direction. I have seen many great shots taken with the 200-500 and had high hopes for it. To be honest, I struggle with mine. I have a new Tamron 100-400 that gives me better shots. I finally broke down and found a very clean slightly used Canon for a great price just so I could use their lovely 100-400 L series lens. That has worked out great. If only I could make that lens work on my Nikon's. :)
Many love their 200-500's and get wonderful results,but I am sadly not in that club. I keep working with mine to figure out if it is me or the lens but my old Tamron 150-600 is at least its equal and some days seems to shoot even better. (and its the G1). The Canon set up shames it. Truth is my old Nikon 70-300 VR on my crop frame cameras does better than the 200-500 on my D750.
I have read a lot about sample variations and I guess I got a bad one. I didn't use it much at first and by the time I figured out it was the lens it was too late to return it. I keep trying, thinking maybe the focus needs fine tuned. But, I have used it on all five of my bodies and its always the same lack of sharpness. Not terrible, but just not as sharp as I see elsewhere. I certainly never crop the photos or it really falls off.
 

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