500mm VR Going Back to Nikon

Joined
Jan 2, 2009
Messages
6,976
Location
Alaska
Real Name
Dan
Well I finally pulled the trigger on getting a big prime lens this spring. I've been having mixed success with it and assumed it was technique related and the natural learning curve. But about a month ago I took a bunch of static subjects across a field of grass stuble. My ratio of sharp shots was less than 50 percent. As I studied them I noticed that on all of the OOF shots the target was just beyond the DOF (clearly seen in the grass stuble). The shots that were acceptably sharp were just barely in the back end of the DOF. The problem was worse the farther away the subject.

These were all shot with my D800E. With all the noise about focus issues on the D800 I hoped no big deal, just need to tune the AF. I've got the FocusTune software and had mixed success with it. So I ordered Lensalign. Sure enough when I checked it out it needed a +8 adjustment. Problem solved. Went out for a shoot and every shot was tack sharp. So I decided to check out my D4 and D7100 bodies on the 500 and they needed +6 and +4 respectively. OK.

Went out for another shoot and put the 1.4x on the 500. Literally EVERY shot was a cull. Ok, back to the tuning with the extender this time. On all three bodies +20 is not enough to correct the problem.

So now that my interest was piqued/confidence was shaken, I decided to do some more testing. Tested all three bodies on 200-400VR and 300 f4. None of the three bodies needed any adjustment on either lens. OK, maybe the TC is bad (even though I've used it with good results for years). Tested the 7100 with 300f4/1.4x. Dead nuts.

So the only conclusion I can reach is that the 500VR needs work. I'm borrowing another 1.4x to test again but based on what I've already seen it looks to be a slim hope/waste of time.

Finding out in the middle of prime photography season in AK sucks. Since it's OK w/out the TC on it, I'll use it through the season and send it to Nikon come September. For $8500 I guess I expected a little more :mad:

Oh, well. On the bright side, I've focus tested almost my whole inventory now...
 
Joined
May 11, 2006
Messages
1,002
Location
CHARLOTTE
Real Name
Randy
the worst part will be missing the lens but in the end it will probably be better, I sent a 70-200v1 in once and it came back better
 
Joined
Apr 18, 2008
Messages
2,030
Location
Fairfax, Virginia
After losing a major portion of last summer to multiple focus calibrations on my D800, I feel for you, particularly given the cost of the lens. Hopefully Nikon will fix the problem even if it takes a couple of trips back.
 
Joined
Jan 2, 2009
Messages
6,976
Location
Alaska
Real Name
Dan
.... I recently returned my D7100 due to the focus issues with the 500mm and the TC1.4.
Ironically of the three bodies that I have, the 7100 requires the least correction on the base lens and with the 1.4x is the only one that the +20 correction just barely brings the focus point within the extreme far end of the DOF. The D4 and D800 aren't even close.
the worst part will be missing the lens but in the end it will probably be better...
Yeah, Randy, that's why I'm holding on to it until the end of summer. Now that I've tuned the base lens the results are stunning. It's a bummer because one of my reasons for getting a prime was to get decent results using a TC. At least I can stretch the range a bit with the 7100. Most stuff I shoot that far out doesn't need the fps or buffer capacity so I should be able to make due.
After losing a major portion of last summer to multiple focus calibrations on my D800, I feel for you, particularly given the cost of the lens. Hopefully Nikon will fix the problem even if it takes a couple of trips back.
I'm sure they will do right by the lens fix. If I was an NPS member I could probably get a loaner but no such luck :frown:
 
Joined
May 11, 2006
Messages
1,002
Location
CHARLOTTE
Real Name
Randy
Ironically of the three bodies that I have, the 7100 requires the least correction on the base lens and with the 1.4x is the only one that the +20 correction just barely brings the focus point within the extreme far end of the DOF. The D4 and D800 aren't even close.

Yeah, Randy, that's why I'm holding on to it until the end of summer. Now that I've tuned the base lens the results are stunning. It's a bummer because one of my reasons for getting a prime was to get decent results using a TC. At least I can stretch the range a bit with the 7100. Most stuff I shoot that far out doesn't need the fps or buffer capacity so I should be able to make due.

I'm sure they will do right by the lens fix. If I was an NPS member I could probably get a loaner but no such luck :frown:

I had just gotten used to 700fx so 600dx is not a problem at all, for large birds anyway and leaving the tripod and Wimberley at home is fine with me
 
Joined
Oct 15, 2008
Messages
2,553
Location
GA
For as much as people hate on 3rd party lenses, this is just another example of how even "branded" lenses aren't always perfect.

Hopefully you can get the lens in and back quick enough to enjoy it. What kind of turnaround do they have on something like this and would they require you to send a body and/or TC in with it?
 
Joined
Mar 10, 2008
Messages
1,116
Location
New York
Is it Nikon TC? Have you tried Nikon TC-14E II 1.4x with the lens?
One would think they check focus accuracy on $8500 lens before letting it out!
 
Joined
May 11, 2006
Messages
1,002
Location
CHARLOTTE
Real Name
Randy
So I read this as the real solution to my dilema it an 80-400VR to go with the 7100 ? :smile:

it would sure be a nice replacement while the 500 was off at Nikon:smile:

if I stop shooting sports I'll sell my 300 and 400vr but I won't sell the 500. For small birds you just gotta have that reach.
 
Joined
Jan 2, 2009
Messages
6,976
Location
Alaska
Real Name
Dan
...What kind of turnaround do they have on something like this and would they require you to send a body and/or TC in with it?
I haven't contacted them yet. I hope I don't have to send everything. Hopefully I can send them the files I used for tuning and they will accept that it is the lens. Otherwise what, send all three bodies and three TCs (1.4,1.7,2.0)?
..Have you tried Nikon TC-14E II 1.4x with the lens?...
That's what it is. Currently all of my gear is Nikon.
it would sure be a nice replacement while the 500 was off at Nikon:smile:
I'm going to try that argument. Plus I need to get it in time to shoot a bit before we go to Oz this fall :smile:
if I stop shooting sports I'll sell my 300 and 400vr but I won't sell the 500. For small birds you just gotta have that reach.
From what I've seen of it so far, when it's on, it's amazingly sharp. Quite the combo with the 800E.
 
Joined
Jan 2, 2009
Messages
6,976
Location
Alaska
Real Name
Dan
Well, just finished testing the 500 with a borrowed 1.4x with exact same result. It is definately the lens :frown:
 
Joined
Mar 18, 2013
Messages
28
Location
California
I have read some reports from 500 VR owners mentioning having to substantially micro adjust their 500s with the 1.4X. I look forward to seeing how this all works out for you as well. I just bought a used 500VR so we'll see how my 1.4X plays with it. My 1.4 has been fine so far with all of the other lenses I've tried it on.
 
Joined
May 2, 2007
Messages
1,210
Location
London, Ontario, Canada
Hi Dan;

FWIW significant + MF adjustments are normal when adding a TC14EII. When you started with MF adjustments in the 4-8 range with the bare lens, it's not too surprising that adding the TC could put you over 20.

Based on your report, your 500VR needs adjusting -- all your bodies should be within within a few ticks of 0 (which basically means you shouldn't have to worry about it). Adding the TC14EII typically requires an MF adjustment somewhere in the +10 range...but it can vary quite a bit.

Just my experience.
 
Joined
Jan 2, 2009
Messages
6,976
Location
Alaska
Real Name
Dan
Hi Dan;

FWIW significant + MF adjustments are normal when adding a TC14EII. When you started with MF adjustments in the 4-8 range with the bare lens, it's not too surprising that adding the TC could put you over 20.

Based on your report, your 500VR needs adjusting -- all your bodies should be within within a few ticks of 0 (which basically means you shouldn't have to worry about it). Adding the TC14EII typically requires an MF adjustment somewhere in the +10 range...but it can vary quite a bit.

Just my experience.
Thanks, Gary. This all meshes up then. It makes sense the any error is magnified with the TC in the light path. The only other lens I've checked it on is a 300f4 and it was about as near perfect as could be without and with the TC.

I hate to be without the lens while it's getting re-calibrated but not much to do but bite the bullet.
 
Joined
Jan 2, 2009
Messages
6,976
Location
Alaska
Real Name
Dan
Since I've been critical of Nikon's service group associated with this issue I figured I'd provide an update.

The lens was still functional without a TC on it so I held on to it through the shooting season here. I finally got around to sending it to the LA service center in late September. To their credit, Nikon turned it around in a week. Including transit time down and back I was without it for two weeks. I'm out of pocket $120 for the Fedex cost of shipping it down. Of course the repair was covered by warranty and Nikon paid the return shipping.

I didn't have time to do a thorough test with it before I went out on a shoot to a remote location for four days. So I just reset the focus tuning in my D4 to zero and did a cursory check which looked OK. Everything I shot looked good too. Didn't get the opportunity to shoot it with TC so will likely do a "bench test" this weekend. Here's an image from last weekend shot wide open.

p797099909-5.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 
Joined
May 11, 2006
Messages
1,002
Location
CHARLOTTE
Real Name
Randy
Since I've been critical of Nikon's service group associated with this issue I figured I'd provide an update.

The lens was still functional without a TC on it so I held on to it through the shooting season here. I finally got around to sending it to the LA service center in late September. To their credit, Nikon turned it around in a week. Including transit time down and back I was without it for two weeks. I'm out of pocket $120 for the Fedex cost of shipping it down. Of course the repair was covered by warranty and Nikon paid the return shipping.

I didn't have time to do a thorough test with it before I went out on a shoot to a remote location for four days. So I just reset the focus tuning in my D4 to zero and did a cursory check which looked OK. Everything I shot looked good too. Didn't get the opportunity to shoot it with TC so will likely do a "bench test" this weekend. Here's an image from last weekend shot wide open.

http://www.northernfocusphotography.com/img/s10/v99/p797099909-5.jpg

GG is that one killer shot, composition and technicals are near perfect....the 3d effect was rather startling on 1st look
 

Latest threads

Links on this page may be to our affiliates. Sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
Nikon Cafe is a fan site and not associated with Nikon Corporation.
Forum post reactions by Twemoji: https://github.com/twitter/twemoji
Forum GIFs powered by GIPHY: https://giphy.com/
Copyright © Amin Forums, LLC
Top Bottom