Nikon 200-400mm f/4

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For those who have this lens, would you please post your experiences with it?

Obviously, since it is VR, is it really practical to hand hold a 7.2 pound lens?

In what application are you using this lens?

If you're mounting it to a tripod, why not go with a 70-200VR w/ teleconverter and/or crop mode (if you have a D2x) or a 500mm f/4?

I sold my 80-400VR a while ago and have a gap beween my 70-200VR and my 500mm f/4. I'm just trying to figure out if the 200-400 is a reasonable solution and whether or not you can really carry it and take advantage of the VR.
 
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bravocharlie said:
For those who have this lens, would you please post your experiences with it?

Obviously, since it is VR, is it really practical to hand hold a 7.2 pound lens?

In what application are you using this lens?

If you're mounting it to a tripod, why not go with a 70-200VR w/ teleconverter and/or crop mode (if you have a D2x) or a 500mm f/4?

I sold my 80-400VR a while ago and have a gap beween my 70-200VR and my 500mm f/4. I'm just trying to figure out if the 200-400 is a reasonable solution and whether or not you can really carry it and take advantage of the VR.
Some answers to each question...

I shoot the 200-400mm AFS/VR (hereafter the 200-400 for brevity) hand-held. I can do this for about fifteen minutes, maybe twenty, and then it's heavy. I also use a monopod for speedy movement, and a tripod for low light conditions. Here's a shot of me using it handheld http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1021&message=11538799 We shot in that case for about fifteen minutes. My result is at the top of that thread.

I shoot mostly wildlife with the 200-400.

The 70-200mm AFS/VR just doesn't have the reach of the 200-400 at the long end. The 500mm is too heavy and cumbersome for handheld (and isn't VR), and I like to shoot handheld.

If you want to fill that "gap", almost all alternatives are rather heavy, excepting the lens you got rid of. Janet Zinn does amazing photography with that lens, so I wouldn't dismiss it out of hand. However, if you want to lug around heavy glass easily, you'll need to do what I do - lift weights.



John P.
 
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Here I am handholding the 200-400 VR. It is my lens of choice for birds.
I can handhold it for a period of time but I try to get down, as in this picture, to have my body help hold it. I have taken many handheld but can't find them now. This one is one I found so will share it of the Anhinga.
I use a tripod and Wimberley or monopod with Frank's strap combination setup to make the monopod more secure.

It's a great leans. I also use it with the 1.4TC .

Gaye

and don't forget to lift those weights :lol:



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Bainbridge Island, Washington
This is my dream lens... but

I love the idea of having and using the 200-400 VR lens. My question is, how do you (if you do) travel with this lens. I have a D1x/D70 and when I travel I take the following lens and accessories.
60mm macro
10.5mm
12-24mm
28-70mm
70-20mm
TC 1.4 and 2.0 Canon 500 close up filter
SB80 flash
Arca Swiss B1 head and a tripod or monopod
2 60 watt Digital Camera Batteries
2 D1x batteries
a Mindstor digital wallet
RRS pano attachment for B1 head.
misc filters, chargers, cords etc.

Leaving any of these behind is like leaving one of my children behind. I can not imagine putting any of the lenses or bodies in the cargo hold of an airplane and can barely fit everything into a carry on wheely bag. This kit is about 40 lbs but feels like a hundred by the end of a day walking around being a tourist.

So my question is, if you travel with the 200-400, what other lenses do you carry? What do you use to carry your equipment when you are walking about?
 
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Hi Scott,
That's a tough question because you're carrying so many other lenses. I hope that Ron Reznick answers your question because he travels all over with his 500mm lens and I think uses the Lowepro 600AW backpack.

I also have that for that lens and I can keep my camera on the lens when I'm using the pack...but I have not taken it on a plane as you're writing about.

Perhaps Ron will have some sugggestions. If I were to take my
200-400VR lens I'd carry only one or two other small lenses in my carryon bag..

Good luck and hope you post how you work it out,

Gaye
 
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Gaye,
Thanks for responding. I would be interested in hearing ideas from forum members.

Given the lenses and accessories I have, what would you carry if you were going on an airplane to another country which you have never been to before and don't know what to expect when you get there. You will visit urban, suburban and country side areas over a 10 day period and traveling with your wife, no kids. You will be staying in high end hotels every night and traveling from place to place by train through the country at your own pace.

What from the following would you take and what would you leave behind.

D1x/D70.
60mm macro
10.5mm
12-24mm
28-70mm
70-20mm
200-400mm
TC 1.4 and 2.0 Canon 500 close up filter
SB80 flash
Arca Swiss B1 head and a tripod or monopod
2 60 watt Digital Camera Batteries
2 D1x batteries
a Mindstor digital wallet
RRS pano attachment for B1 head.
misc filters, chargers, cords etc.
 
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4,084
Re: This is my dream lens... but

Scott Sherman said:
I love the idea of having and using the 200-400 VR lens. My question is, how do you (if you do) travel with this lens. I have a D1x/D70 and when I travel I take the following lens and accessories.
60mm macro
10.5mm
12-24mm
28-70mm
70-20mm
TC 1.4 and 2.0 Canon 500 close up filter
SB80 flash
Arca Swiss B1 head and a tripod or monopod
2 60 watt Digital Camera Batteries
2 D1x batteries
a Mindstor digital wallet
RRS pano attachment for B1 head.
misc filters, chargers, cords etc.

Leaving any of these behind is like leaving one of my children behind. I can not imagine putting any of the lenses or bodies in the cargo hold of an airplane and can barely fit everything into a carry on wheely bag. This kit is about 40 lbs but feels like a hundred by the end of a day walking around being a tourist.

So my question is, if you travel with the 200-400, what other lenses do you carry? What do you use to carry your equipment when you are walking about?
Scott :


You're running right against the baggage limits for carry-on for size and, more to the point, weight. Some airlines will weigh carry-on for international travel, and the limit is usually in the range of 15 lbs.

I use a LowePro PhotoTrekker II for travel, but it's a calculated risk that the airline will decide it's unacceptable. I carry a similar kit to yours, although I don't typically bring the macro with me, instead substituting the 28mm f/1.4 and 85mm f/1.4.

And yes, my kit weighs in pretty heavily. At the end of five miles on my back, it's getting more than a little heavy. So, I lift weights when I'm not shooting (seriously).

The 200-400mm fits un the centre of my pack compartment, with the 70-200mm on one side, and the other lenses distributed as neatly as possible around those two.

With respect to transport, I made some cogent comments about the airlines' responsibilities in https://www.nikoncafe.com//forums/viewtopic.php?t=1398&highlight=



John P.
 
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N

nfoto

Guest
We tend to take way too much gear with us, which is OK when you travel by car :) but not on an airline.

From your list, I'd select the following:

D70
12-24
70-200
TC1.4x, close-up filter (for the 70-200)

the Mindstor wallet
charger for D70 battery + a spare battery

plenty of CF cards


That should be fairly versatile and leave your attention on the photography, not which items to select in a given situation.
 
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I appreciate the feedback. I love having the lenses and other accessories but it can actually get in the way sometimes instead of helping. I like the minimalist list of just the D70 or D1x, the 12-24, and the 70-200. To get to the middle ground I could just crop out a bit of the 24mm angle of view and still have at least as much as the D2h would have given me.

By the way. I am trying to post an image and I can not seem to get it to show up. Can someone tell me what I am doing wrong here?

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Scott Sherman said:
By the way. I am trying to post an image and I can not seem to get it to show up. Can someone tell me what I am doing wrong here?

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Hi Scott!

you have to add .jpg after "original"
 
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Scott Sherman said:
I appreciate the feedback. I love having the lenses and other accessories but it can actually get in the way sometimes instead of helping. I like the minimalist list of just the D70 or D1x, the 12-24, and the 70-200. To get to the middle ground I could just crop out a bit of the 24mm angle of view and still have at least as much as the D2h would have given me.
I made an experiment last year when I went to Burma and this is what I took with me:
D1X
12-24DX
MF 35/1.4 Ai
45/2.8 P
60 Micro
85/1.4D
70-200VR
plus a few smaller items and a very light weight tripod.
I left back the AFS 28-70 and would have needed it on the last day or at least I thought so. In the end I figured out that I could have done with a bit less.
Best thing is to consider what you are expecting to shoot. This is an easy decision when you set out from home for daily or shorter trips. But, like was the case on my Burma trip, I knew I would have to do some macros and also some indoor shots without flash.
I am afraid on my next trip to Burma, my armoury will look pretty much the same except that the 35/1.4 will be replaced by the 28/1.4. Maybe I should forget about the entire midrange and buy the 18-70 instead :)

I agree with Bjorn's suggestion but would probably add something like the 45P to fill the gap. Having less lenses with you forces you to concentrate on the subject, and a little foot-framing is good for your health :wink:
Cheers
 
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Scott Sherman said:
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Okay, now what did I do wrong? I ended the URL address with .jpg and closed it in
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
. I get this message
Hm, that's strange. Are you a Pbase supporter? As far as I remember that's obligatory to be allowed direct linking.
 
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Probably a dumb question but I figured that this thread would draw people with an interest in 200-400.

If anyone knows of a used one for sale at a reasonable price, please let me know. I really want one but I am having trouble justifying the $5000 price tag at the moment.

Thanks
 
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Scott Sherman said:
http://www.pbase.com/interactivephotos/image/41212685/original

I enrolled and was allowed to have a 30 day trial period. IF I enter the url into the url address bar and enter it takes me to the photo, so I know the link is accurate and active.

Where can I go to ask for additional assistance. I didn't find anything on PBASE
Scott, that's it.
Look here
http://www.pbase.com/help/linking
It says that to utilize the direct linking option you have to pay.
cheers
 
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Scott,
I am so close to purchasing the 200-400 it scares me. but i have the 80-400 vr and I keep looking at the 500 afs vs 200-400. the 80-400 does not accept tc's and is a bit slow in the max aperature department, BUT takes beatiful images. I am anxious to hear what you and others ultimatly decide to do.
Dave
 
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Dave,
I so know your pain....!!! I bought the 80-400 when it first came out. I lost patience with it for all the reasons you mentioned. When the 70-200 came out, I immediately sold the 80-400 and replaced it with that. I have been shooting with the tc14 and tc20 on the 70-200 and love the reach, especially at 400 (witht the tc20). Now I am frustrated witht the softer image and loss of speed with that combinationl and really want the 200-400. Especially since I already have the TC's and would be effectively buying a 400-800 (and then there is the 1.5 crop factor)

The key here is that I want it, not need it. Can I afford it, well... sort of but it would be credit purchase. I am wrestling because the interest and payments are so low and we will be selling our house in a few years at which time the equity would pay for the lens.

I have been trying to suppress my inner child but he is soooooo strong. Oh yeah, then there is my wife. She is much better at suppressing the inner child in me. However, she is very understanding and would probably let me do it I wanted to.

I have decided not to buy the D2x since my D1x is still very very nice and does all that I need it to. This is how I am trying to justify the $5000 expense for the lense. On the other hand, I wasn't going to buy the
D2x anyway so it's not like I am really saving anything by buying the lens instead of the camera.

Life is not fair!!!!!! But it sure is nice to have choices and it is fun to dream of what could be. :lol: :(
 
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Hi Scott,

I just mentioned to my husband today that of all my lenses my 200-400 VR is my favorite. I used it yesterday at the rookery and took all the pictures with it plus the 1.4TC attached.

You can see them in BIRDS under the subject 'Win some lose some' in this forum.

It really depends what your use will be with that lens. I use mine for the birds when I go the the sanctuaries and to the rookery. I wouldn't want to lug it around while hiking or anything like that. I have it close to my car and it works perfectly for me.

It's my favorite lens and is the only lens I take for the birds.

Best to you,
Gaye
 
Joined
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Gaye's post has done it. i am going to put my 80-400 on ebay and order the 200-400. my wife does not understand, but i will find a way to justify it.
Dave
 

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