Nikon 400mm 2.8 VR or 200-400mm f4 Pros & Cons

Joined
Mar 4, 2008
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Amstelveen, the Netherlands
What sort of shooting do you do?

I have the 200-400 and it is a fine lens. Very sharp and good for the wildlife shooting that i do. The zoom adds a lot of flexibility, although mostly I am shooting at the top end.

The 400/2.8 of course works better in lower light, but you lose the flexibility of a zoom
 
Joined
Apr 17, 2006
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1,235
Location
Hong Kong, China
I don't have either of these lenes - I have a 500/4 VR and a 400/2.8 AFS-II, but I have used my friends' 200-400 and 400/2.8VR.

First, for birds 400mm is usually too short. I think I have a TC attached to my 400/2.8 maybe 70% of the times.

For me, the 200-400 is handheldable, the 400/2.8 is not. Not only it is heavier, but because most of the weight is upfront it makes the setup less balanced than, say, the 200-400 or 500/4. My friend can handheld the 400 without problem, but he also bench -presses 250lbs 3 times a week!

I think the 400/2.8 is sharper at f4 than the 200-400 at f4. At F8 I think they are about the same. At f2.8 my 400 is a bit soft.

The 400 works very well wth all my 3 TCs - although it needs to be stopped down for 1.5-2 f-stops to be really sharp. The 200-400 works very well with the 1.4, OK with 1.7 but not very good with the 2.0.

Again, which is better really depends on what your need is. All I can say is that both are excellent.
 
Joined
May 21, 2005
Messages
198
Location
Belgium
I've got the 200-400, already sold.
I've tested the 400 VR.

My first experience with a big tele was the Nikon AF-S 300mm F/2.8 TYPE I (Nikons' sharpest lens). This lens was big, but I could use his easy on a monopod. My pictures were very sharp from F/2.8 even on low shutter speed.

The Nikon AF-S VR 200-400 F/4 was almost the same size, but I didn’t find a good calibration of weight. The images were not as sharp as the 300mm and couldn’t start from F/4. I’m negative about this lens because I don’t like this lens. I hope that other 200-400 users are more positive.

The Nikon AF-S VR 400 F/2.8 was huge! But it is has a good weight calibration and the images are realy sharp, even at F/2.8
If I had to buy a long tele, it would be this lens.

Some pics with D3 + 400 VR + TC1.7:
https://www.nikoncafe.com/vforums/showpost.php?p=1921819&postcount=122

Greetings,
Sven
 
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Joined
May 11, 2006
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41,631
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CHARLOTTE
Real Name
Randy
I don't have either of these lenes - I have a 500/4 VR and a 400/2.8 AFS-II, but I have used my friends' 200-400 and 400/2.8VR.

First, for birds 400mm is usually too short. I think I have a TC attached to my 400/2.8 maybe 70% of the times.

For me, the 200-400 is handheldable, the 400/2.8 is not. Not only it is heavier, but because most of the weight is upfront it makes the setup less balanced than, say, the 200-400 or 500/4. My friend can handheld the 400 without problem, but he also bench -presses 250lbs 3 times a week!

I think the 400/2.8 is sharper at f4 than the 200-400 at f4. At F8 I think they are about the same. At f2.8 my 400 is a bit soft.
The 400 works very well wth all my 3 TCs - although it needs to be stopped down for 1.5-2 f-stops to be really sharp. The 200-400 works very well with the 1.4, OK with 1.7 but not very good with the 2.0.

Again, which is better really depends on what your need is. All I can say is that both are excellent.

that is a big surprise
my 300 2.8 is awesome at 2.8
 
D

digipete

Guest
200-400mm

I just picked up the 200-400mm this past Sunday. Have only taken a couple of images with it, but I love it so far. My wife is on vacation this week and there are many honey-do's so I really haven't had the time to really play with it.
It is hand holdable for a couple of shots but it gets heavy quick.

Pete
 
Joined
Mar 21, 2006
Messages
1,706
Location
New Zealand
400VR pros: a stop faster, sharper at wide stops, better with TCs, has VRII
400VR cons: bigger, heavier, not a zoom, more expensive

200-400 pros: smaller, lighter, is a zoom, as sharp stopped down, cheaper
200-400 cons: a stop slower, not as good with TCs, has VR not VRII
 
Joined
May 10, 2005
Messages
524
Location
Huntington Beach, CA
400VR pros: a stop faster, sharper at wide stops, better with TCs, has VRII
400VR cons: bigger, heavier, not a zoom, more expensive

200-400 pros: smaller, lighter, is a zoom, as sharp stopped down, cheaper
200-400 cons: a stop slower, not as good with TCs, has VR not VRII
Completely agree. They are both great lenses and I believe it comes down to which one you need or can gain the most benefit from. I have the 200-400 and like it very much as the zoom flexibility comes in handy for me. I'm sure the same could be said by the owners of the 400mm....

Ted
 
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