80-400: Is it really THAT slow?

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I am at the point where I just can't wait for Nikon to release a new version of this lens. I have found a perfect used one for $850 and I am ready to pull the trigger. My main issue is how slow is the AF...really? I use both a D3 and D2x so I have bodies with capable AF. I am not looking for BIF shots, rather I need something in this range for my dog agility/herding shows. It would be used outdoors (of course) and I would be stopping it down to around F6.3-F8.

I also want to add that I have considered the Sigma, but I decided not to get it because of past issues I have had with bad copies of Sigma glass. I simply don't have the time to buy a lens, test it, find it is soft, and then order another. Would love some input from those who shoot (or have tried) to shoot action with the 80-400.

I think that even if Nikon releases a replacement, I should have no problem selling the old version for close to what I paid for it.
 
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yes it is very slow and it will frustrate you with fast dogs, you will miss alot of shots
Even if I prefocus on the obstacle and use the limiter? Can you tell I am desperate? I ALMOST bought a 200-400, but 200mm on the "short" end is way too long :(
 
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Even if I prefocus on the obstacle and use the limiter? Can you tell I am desperate? I ALMOST bought a 200-400, but 200mm on the "short" end is way too long :(
prefocus might work
the lens is better on the d3 but it sux on the d300

as far as IQ i think you know my thoughts.....it compares well to the 400vr, even wide open, so i know you will love the output BUT coming from the 200/2 you're gonna miss shots and kick yourself
 
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prefocus might work
the lens is better on the d3 but it sux on the d300

as far as IQ i think you know my thoughts.....it compares well to the 400vr, even wide open, so i know you will love the output BUT coming from the 200/2 you're gonna miss shots and kick yourself
I usually use my 70-200 VR with a 1.4 TC for outdoor stuff, so I think I will deal with the occasional missed shots to gain the added focal range. Plus, for $850, I don't think I can go wrong.
 
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I used a 80-400 on D1 and D2 bodies for birds and bike races and found it slow, but usable. If you make friends with the focus limiter switch, and practice you can do OK. The lens is much faster on "pro" bodies and you're right, for $850 you can't go too far wrong. FWIW now I use a 70-200 plus a 1.4 or 1.7 TC instead and I get better results. Of course if you really want the full 80 to 400 mm that isn't an option.
 
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I agree with James.
Randy always touts the IQ of the 80-400 but it depends on what you are used to. I personally did not like mine - I was comparing it to the 300 f/4 with 1.4 tc.

No, Randy, I don't think I had a bad copy and it was nowhere near as good as the 400 2.8 I had.
 
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I think paying $850 is too much in this economy. I know! It took me six months to sell my like new copy for $750 and I had to throw in a Hoya filter to get that! A new af/s version will most likely lower the value more. I wouldn't do it. I would wait or get by with a 70-200 and TC. GH
 
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I've seen several go for around $800, so I don't think that price is out of the ordinary. Maybe everyone thinks the replacement is coming shortly.
 
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The 80-400 VR is a great lens optically. Because of the screw drive AF technology it is not as fast as AFS lenses.
I have been successful with it for the type of photography I do and I have been able to get some very nice shots of birds in flight with it using the limited AF feature.
I bet with AFS incorporated the lens will be worth a fortune.

William Rodriguez
Miami, Florida.
 
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I think paying $850 is too much in this economy. I know! It took me six months to sell my like new copy for $750 and I had to throw in a Hoya filter to get that! A new af/s version will most likely lower the value more. I wouldn't do it. I would wait or get by with a 70-200 and TC. GH
i think a new afs version will increase the value of the afd versions
the new one will imo be 2499
 
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I agree with James.
Randy always touts the IQ of the 80-400 but it depends on what you are used to. I personally did not like mine - I was comparing it to the 300 f/4 with 1.4 tc.

No, Randy, I don't think I had a bad copy and it was nowhere near as good as the 400 2.8 I had.
i am used to the 400vr:smile:
 
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Rich,

I have grown increasingly frustrated with mine over the last couple of months, to be honest. It is slow, and I'm really tired of this now.

An alternative for you might be the Sigma 120-300?
 
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Thanks for all of the input guys. I do use my 70-200 +1.4 TC most of the time. However, there are those times where 280mm is just not long enough. I will often break out the 300 2.8 and shoot with that, but after 8 hours of shooting, the combo gets pretty heavy. Of course I can use a monopod, but it really limits my flexibility while following the dogs throughout the course, that's why I mainly use it hand held.

I have been patiently waiting on a replacement for the 80-400 for a couple years now. Instead, Nikon seems to take the easy way out and they upgrade lenses that are already stellar performers ( 300 2.8VR, 200 2 VR, etc ). I am also afraid, that when Nikon eventually offers a new version, it will take MONTHS to get it to where you can actually buy one. I would hope it would not cost much more than the current version as it will still be fairly "slow" glass.

I may just resort to using 2 bodies again for my work. This is a PITA but it may be my only choice. As far as Sigma glass goes, I really don't want to go that route. I have had some issues with Sigma in the past and frankly, I need my gear to deliver. Actually, before I go with Sigma, I would invest in a Canon outfit just for outdoor trials. If it wasn't for the stellar low light performance of my D3, I would have switched to Canon years ago just for their glass offerings.
 
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Thanks for all of the input guys. I do use my 70-200 +1.4 TC most of the time. However, there are those times where 280mm is just not long enough. I will often break out the 300 2.8 and shoot with that, but after 8 hours of shooting, the combo gets pretty heavy. Of course I can use a monopod, but it really limits my flexibility while following the dogs throughout the course, that's why I mainly use it hand held.

I have been patiently waiting on a replacement for the 80-400 for a couple years now. Instead, Nikon seems to take the easy way out and they upgrade lenses that are already stellar performers ( 300 2.8VR, 200 2 VR, etc ). I am also afraid, that when Nikon eventually offers a new version, it will take MONTHS to get it to where you can actually buy one. I would hope it would not cost much more than the current version as it will still be fairly "slow" glass.

I may just resort to using 2 bodies again for my work. This is a PITA but it may be my only choice. As far as Sigma glass goes, I really don't want to go that route. I have had some issues with Sigma in the past and frankly, I need my gear to deliver. Actually, before I go with Sigma, I would invest in a Canon outfit just for outdoor trials. If it wasn't for the stellar low light performance of my D3, I would have switched to Canon years ago just for their glass offerings.
the sigma 120-300 is one of the sigma lens that seems to be safe.
I had one that was great at 2.8 BUT it was a bit disapointing w/ the sigma 1.4tc. It is rather large and heavy though and would not be fun to HH all day
 
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i used the 80-400 before i got my 70-200 with TC for auto racing. You can't really compare the 2 lenses, but i was happy with the results of my 80-400 for the money i paid. when i got more serious and started to get hired by teams, i bit the bullet on the 70-200 vr2 and haven't looked back, but if you can get the lens for 6-700, i dont think its a bad deal at all.
 
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I'm very happy with the optics but focus speed is slow. It'll follow focus just fine if you can stay with you subject. But if you have quick random movements that cause you to loose and have to reacquire focus it's way too slow. I use a 70-200 with a TC1.7 for sports.
 
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Well, it turns out that the lens I was going to buy is no longer for sale :( However, a VERY kind Cafe member is sending me their 80-400 to try out before I buy one. This type of thing is what makes the Cafe a VERY special place. Not to get off topic, but I have met (and shot with ) quite a few Cafer's and each and every one of them has become a friend.
 

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