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400vr 2.8 Nikon Quality?

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by mongoose777, Oct 5, 2008.

  1. I have the 400VR 2.8 lens which has caused me nothing but trouble.
    I bought this lens new for $8200 at Competitive Camera about 3-months ago.
    I was at a paying gig on its first outing and apparently I didn't connect my D3 to the lens correctly which caused the lens mount to strip. I had the mount repaired back then. Now, another paying gig later (today) my lens started to flutter in and out, trying to hunt for focus in a rapid pace. I've never experienced anything like it before. First of all, IMO I believe that Nikon lens mount is not of the same quality as canon. Looking at Nikon, it has too many potential moving parts that can potentially go wrong or get damaged when compared to canon. The nikon mount is very cheezly made, the contact spring loaded pins can stick, which is what has happened. I believe canon is solid in comparision. I know I have a 5-year warranty for the lens, but thats not the problem, I bought this lens because I need it for shooting several times a week for several paying gigs. I now have a very tough decision to make about paying someone locally to fix it in a few days or send it Nikon for repairs and wait several weeks, which means I will loose more money by not working. The worst part or humilitation of it was I was hired to shot a soccer gig locally and had to use the vendors mk III & 300 IS to shoot the gig while my 400 sat in my truck. If I continue to have problems, I will simply sell off all my Nikon gear and switch back to canon, since I have never had a problem with canon, other than the mk III not being in the same class as the D3, but it means nothing if the gear is not functional.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 5, 2008
  2. mattsteg


    Aug 10, 2007
    How on earth did you manage this?
  3. Was used to mounting canon to the right and since it didn't mount, I apparently applied too much force the sensative nikon mount. Regardless, canon's mount is keyed to go in one way or NOT, while nikon IMO leaves room for error because of the many protruding moving parts.
  4. mattsteg


    Aug 10, 2007
    Please tell my you didn't warranty it after that bonehead move...
  5. Sounds like your own error. I've never had any issues, maybe you should go back to Canon.
  6. srsuser


    Oct 4, 2008
    Man that sucks. Hope everything works out for you.
  7. That's a lot of force, I mean really.:confused: 

    Sounds like you need to go back to Canon since you're partial to them anyway.
  8. Yes, I paid for it myself to have it fixed and no I didn't use alot of force. C'mon I have shot professionally for 14-yrs. and I'm not stupid. Its not yet proven that the new problem is associated with the older one, but it could be. Like I said, I had it fixed about 3-months ago. As for the sarcasim about being partial to canon, get a life!
    I'm partial to a product that serves me and helps me make money, whats your angle.
    I make good money at what I do and don't need continuing problems with nikon, just because it offends you because its nikon should not be a reason why I should except the problems as they keep coming, espically since I shelled out $8K plus. If your shooting for $40 plus per/hr. and have an issue unexpected as what I've had, you too would be concerned.

    It really was not a lot of force, its just that apparently the camera was not seated in all the why and cause a couple of contact pins to strip. For those who don't know or get it, canon is keyed in such a way that either it goes in or it doesn't go in at all, with nikon, it allowed it to go in partially because of the design and user error. I still believe canons mount is dummy proof.
  9. I can't imagine Nikon would make the newer versions less robust than the previous super-teles; my 400 2.8 has enough marks and scuffs that you'd think it was out of commission, but it's sharp as a tack and fast.

    Maybe you should check in/join NPS and see about expedited repairs or get a replacement lens?

  10. Sean,

    Thats another option I will explore tomorrow. I work for several photog companies, and one of them is with NPS, I already contacted him to see about doing just that. I agree with you in that it would be the fastest way.
  11. Sorry to hear about your gear, that always sucks when stuff happens like that, especially when you get paid to shoot.

    To get a bit off topic if you may, but i don't think jonathan and plphoto were really being sarcastic. You obviously have problems with your nikon gear, which you stated, and you seem to have no problems with your canon gear, which you also stated. It doesn't seem like there are any questions you are asking in this post, so people are just going to give you feedback based on what problems you are venting. Without any sarcasm, if you started this thread for the purpose of seeking advice, mine would be to consider switching back to canon if it will benefit your work. Don't get held down by gear, regardless of the brand. Good luck!
  12. My 400 will flutter focus as you mentioned if I am trying to focus through a window or such. Say I point it out my house window at a subject, it refuses to lock in focus. Any chance this was your situation? Otherwise mine snaps into focus instantly and hold solid as a rock.
    Regarding the lens mount, it has to be user error. Nikon's is as solid as the Canon, you need to get used to it.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 5, 2008
  13. i think you should go back to canon since the mount is so much better for you
    I have a 400vr and a 300vr and alot of other nikon glass and have never had a problem with the mount or anything else....
    I also had some canon gear last year (70-200 2.8, 135/2, etc) and the mounts were no different than nikon for me (except they mounted backwards)
  14. SMH77


    Feb 11, 2006
    I've never had a problem with mounting lenses on any of the Nikon bodies I've owned and I've never heard anyone state the problems that you have regarding the Nikon mount--Nikon natives or Canon converts. I guess the only thing I can suggest is to be careful to make sure the lens is properly seated on the body (all the way around the mount) before applying (very little) force to fully engage the mount to lens. Go easy until the Nikon rotation direction becomes second nature.

    I hope things improve for you, but this really isn't a short-coming on Nikon's end...

  15. jimeast


    Mar 17, 2008
    Metrowest. MA
    Nikon Mount

    I suspect a lot more guys than you all think screw up mounting a lens now & then but are too embarrassed to tell anyone. Different lenses and TC's also give you a much different feel when attaching and removing them. As an example, the TC1.4 I have mounts much differently with respect to turning force and axial pressure than my lenses and it is often a pain to get the lenses aligned properly with the camera mount, especially when your lenses vary a great deal in size and weight

    As the only Canon reference I have, when I put the Sigma 28-200 on my wife's Rebel, I did not notice a more perfect mount interface either.

    My suggestion would be to spend 30 minutes to an hour in a nice controlled environment looking over everything related to the lens-camera interface, come up with a good process and practice. I rented the 4002.8 for a week this summer and putting the lens on the camera was the opposite of my usual process because the lens was so big, ususally I put the lens on the camera, in this case I had to put the camera on the lens, and it was tricky, so I practiced quite a bit on the dinner table until I was comfortable with it. (I'm not a pro, but I have been changing lenses several times a week for 6 years.)

    The 400 2.8 is one of the most stellar pieces of glass in the world, it may be worth it to try and get past these issues and give it another go.
  16. The lens mounts are not my only concern, especially since I'm having the flutter problem. Is that related to the orig problem or is it a new issue? I didn't have that issue the first go round, a couple of the spring loaded pins were not protruding as they were supposed to, which caused the lens to not read properly while hooked to a camera. The lens would read f/0, which is what it did again when I tried to clean the contacts by lightly wiping down and/or testing the tension of the pins by lightly depressing and releasing.


    You shot w/ both canon & nikon, right?
    If you still have both, look at both lens mounts and tell me what you think, especially if you have both the canon 400 IS & nikon 400 VR side by side to see if there is a difference between both mounts. IMO, canon appears to be a better design w/o moving parts and spring loaded contacts, again which IMO appears to be more of a potential accident waiting to happen, just as it did to me. Maybe mine was a fluke accident or maybe its all user error, but why now the flutter of rapid in/out focus now some 90-days later. BTW, I was shooting a soccer tournament outside with nothing in front of me, other than the subject I was shooting. I shot 1.5 soccer games and then bam, it just stopped for no apparent reason. I believe you all would be humiliated as I was, especially since I had to go back to a canon setup, which was what I had before the D3, D300, and numerous nikon glass.
  17. Nikkor AIS

    Nikkor AIS

    Jun 5, 2008
    It's frustrating when gear goes down and you miss shots/money. Iv got a dead D3 right now. Good thing I have a back up D2H/F4s. Pro's have back ups. But it must be hard to stomach shelling out $8000,0 and have a lens that wont auto focus. My Nikkor 400 2.8 ED-IF AIS wont AF either. Good thing they put that focus ring on there:tongue:. Now that's being sarcastic.
    As far as the nikon mount I couldnt disagree more. I own more than twenty nikkor's, many over 25 years old and every single one of them is rock solid. And I change lenses alot. But everyone is human and can make mistakes:wink:.Even monkeys fall out of tree's.
    I think the old canon FD mount was just as good. The old one that didnt click , but man was it solid. Canon changed it so it would click, but thats another story.
    Saying your going to jump systems is a joke right? It's not the camera dude. And where ever you go there you are.

  18. Doug


    Jan 17, 2006
    East TN
    I will only say sorry to hear of your problems. Unfortunately bad sh.. happens to good people and good products sometimes. I hope you resolve the issues in the best possible way for your photographic needs.

    I'd be surely sick to have problems like this with a 8K plus lens, regardless of what brand I shot previously. Are you sure you are not bouncing from focus point to focus point? The Nikon is that sensitive. Well, most lenses are if you change focus point and refocus. My 200-400 does this some, but I know typically it is lens movement due to my not taking time to setup my sidekick, etc... The proper mounting platform for a lens like the 400 is ultra critical to stability and maintaining focus point. True?

  19. i never owned the canon 400 and I sold all my canon stuff last year (which was the 2nd time I bought and sold a bunch of canon gear).
    Go slow when you change a lens. Make sure you have the white dots lined up (this is one area where sigma did a better job...red is easier to see and sigmas dots are on the inside edge)....

    as far as AF not working it could be a coindience but it's probably not...i assume you have done the obvious stuff to make sure it's the lens.....btw I would not let anyone but nikon fix any of my nikon stuff even if they meant renting something

    i wouldn't have been humiliated, i would have been mad as hell though....humiliated is if your pants fall down while you are shooting not when a lens stops focusing
  20. Sure, I will give nikon another go at it because I have more than $25K all ready invested to just quit now, but if I continue to have problems, then I will have no choice and move to a different direction. It just frustrates me because I have to shoot a college football game this saturday and several HS football games as well. If I don't have the lens in time, I guess I will have to buy me a 1.4x and use it for my 200 f/2 VR lens, its better than trying to rent one at this time of the season, so all is not lost.

    Just understand one thing, I simply love the D3 and the 400 lens combo, especially when compared to the MKIII & 400 IS, which is what my business partner still shoots with. I still have no regrets on the move to nikon, other than the problems I'm currently having. I believe it will have you concerned as well since you have shelled out a ton of money on.
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