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
Jan 18, 2007
Messages
841
Location
Little Rock, Arkansas
Real Name
Mark
My question for you is what do you shoot most. If it's sports then my nod would be for the 200-400.
I have both as well as the 500 PF. In sports the 200-400 focus' faster than the 200-500 and the zoom on the 200-500 is a rather large turn of the zoom ring. Plus the extra stop helps. If there is enough light (as in during the day) I absolutely love the 500 and that is my first choice. For all other times I use the 200-400.
Now if you are looking for a great all around lens at a great value he 200-500 would get the nod.
 
Joined
May 11, 2006
Messages
43,051
Location
CHARLOTTE
Real Name
Randy
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.
send it to Nikon
 
Joined
May 11, 2006
Messages
43,051
Location
CHARLOTTE
Real Name
Randy
the 200-400 is too short and not wide enough and way too heavy and difficult to HH and zoom, frankly I didn't care how good it was.
The sigma 150-60 is also a heavy pig.

The 200-500 is heavy but lighter than the 200-400 and it has great IQ
 
Joined
Mar 20, 2017
Messages
539
Location
Viera, Florida USA
Real Name
Steve
The first two are the 200-500 on the Z7, the spoonbill might have been shot in crop mode. The two surfing shots are the 200-500 on a Z50. I like it, but wish it were lighter for walkarounds.

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Joined
Mar 20, 2017
Messages
539
Location
Viera, Florida USA
Real Name
Steve
Thanks!
MY biggest choice is Nikon kit with the 200-500 or Fuji kit with the 100-400XF. I love THAT lens too!

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Joined
Feb 11, 2006
Messages
6,598
Location
Riverside, CA
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #28
Beautiful images! Lots of great points have been made, thanks! I think I’ll give the 200-500 the nod. I do like the longer range and one stop isn’t a big enough negative to overcome the positives.
 
Joined
Mar 4, 2005
Messages
15,350
Location
Los Angeles, USA
I'd get the 200-500mm VR. I sold my 200-400mm f/4 VR after getting a 300mm f4 AF-S, which I found sharper. Sold that lens and bought the 300mm f/4 PF VR which is sharper than the non-VR. The newer batch of Nikon lenses perform much better on high megapixel cameras. The 200-500mm VR was most likely produced in large quantities and Nikon was able to offer an optically good lens for a great price.
 
Joined
Dec 3, 2009
Messages
6,309
Location
Meadville, PA
Lots of folks have and seem to like the 200-500. I don't own one so can't talk about it. I do have the 200-400 VRI and love it. No doubt it is a heavy bugger, but it takes wonderful images. If I am shooting largish mammals or sports like baseball or soccer, it is my go to lens. If I am in a blind, then I'll have both my 600f4E and the 200-400 on different bodies. I will say that I don't like TC's on it.

There are lots of articles on both lenses on the net. You'll find a lot of folks who bash the 200-400 for one reason or another. If you read carefully you'll find that most of them never owned or used the lens and are parroting the review given by Thom who wasn't happy with his copy at distance of 300' or longer. I've never noticed this problem, but then again - if I'm shooting that far away I'm using my 600mm, not the 200-400.

Either way you can't go wrong. The 200 - 500 is definitely better at 401mm and up. I believe the 200-400 to be superior in terms of construction, weather sealing, and all the other expectations of a true Nikon super-tele. Without having shot both lenses, I can only attest to the excellent image quality of the 200-400.
 
Joined
Oct 25, 2007
Messages
3,709
Location
Potomac Falls, VA
I picked up the last one today in stock at Ace. So far very maneagable. Had some weather today so nothing great to share. Seems like this is a very sharp copy after 50 or so shots through my window and back door. Dante at Ace said he told the Nikon rep it should retail for $1800+ Lots of happy customers. Cheers!
 
Joined
Oct 25, 2007
Messages
3,709
Location
Potomac Falls, VA
Quick shot out of my front door. Detail is super sharp. Focus on the 850 is quick and accurate. Winner in my book. Can't wait to get out more with th is lens

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about 50% crop
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Joined
Jun 26, 2010
Messages
4,637
Location
Redwood City, CA
One factor I found interesting was the reproduction ratios from what I've seen - the 200-500 is .22x, 200-400 is .28x. I don't know whether that would matter enough, but the only frustration I have with the 200-500 is the close focus - if it focused closer, it would be better for bugs and butterflies.
 
Joined
Feb 7, 2006
Messages
416
Location
On Alaska's Kenai Peninsula
Rodney, I think you made a great choice!

I recently returned from my second trip to Sri Lanka. Last year, I only had a 28-300mm lens as I was primarily there for U/W photography. This year, I took the 200-500mm. The lens is heavy for a walk around lens, but much lighter than the 200-400mm beast, which I've packed up mountains long ago. The focus is a bit frustrating as it's very slow in comparison to many lenses, 200-400mm f/4 (way heavier), and 300 f/4 (way lighter), for instance. Even when cranking up the ISO on the D500 it was often difficult to get The Shot re: slow focusing in the jungle. In my head I still hear the birding guide saying ... "Take it, take it, take it"! It was pretty annoying! He quit after I handed him the camera. It was pretty heavy even for a 20 y.o. young man.

All and all, though! This is a great go to all around lens, It's prolly travel everywhere I go from now on. Time to sell some lenses!

Wandering Bob
 
Joined
Jul 8, 2019
Messages
552
Location
SF Bay Area, California, USA
Late comment.
My feeling is a 200-400 is not significantly longer than a 70-300.
So if you want reach, go for the longer 200-500, to compliment the 70-300.

If you did not have a 70-300, then the decision is harder.
Because then the 80-400 and Tamron 100-400 come into the picture.

If you shoot small subjects (like small birds) or FAR subjects, then magnification is the key, and the 200-500 would get my vote.

Sports depends very much on what sport, and where you are sitting vs. where the subject is.
Example, shooting the batter from the outfield bleachers might require an 800+mm on a FX camera.

If you have to carry any distance, compare the size and weight, as logistics comes into play.
I use an old Nikon 500 mirror, for small size and light weight.
 
Joined
Feb 11, 2006
Messages
6,598
Location
Riverside, CA
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #40
I got the 200-500 in the mail today. The seller took immaculate care of it and I got a really good deal. Here are the first two shots, both handheld. 500mm at 1/80, amazing for handheld. My daughter was a willing subject, sort of.

DSC_6795.jpg
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DSC_6797.jpg
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