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Nikon long zoom comparison

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by Pa, Jul 13, 2018.

  1. Some of you might be interested in Thom Hogan's new rankings of the currently available longer zoom lenses from Nikon.

    I think most of you will agree with him.
  2. Butlerkid

    Butlerkid Cafe Ambassador Moderator

    Apr 8, 2008
    Rutledge, Tennessee
    Thanks, Jim. I still find my 80-400 great for a walk around lens. I'm afraid the large diameter and weight of the 200-500 takes it out of consideration for me. It's great for those that can use it. But even most say they have difficulty zooming while trying to shoot it.

    HOWEVER, I don't need more temptations! LOL!
  3. I'm impressed with this new AF-P 70-300, which of course is 105-450 full-frame equivalent on my D7200. Much lighter and smaller than the 80-400, great optically, and focuses silently and instantly.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2018
  4. I tried one of the 70-300 variants a few years ago, didn’t like it. I do like my 200-500, the one I have is very sharp.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. Don't judge the new AF-P 70-300 by the old ones. Different animal entirely.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. william hortis

    william hortis

    Nov 30, 2013
    The majority of users have done little but sing the praises of the AFS 80-400 and then along comes Thom, I guess he must be running short of $$$ to keep coming up with these reviews particularly of a lens he hasn't done a full review on, who led me into reading his rubbish again?:( 
  7. Au contraire. His 80-400 review is here.

    200-500 review is here.
  8. William - As Jim points out, Thom did a full review of he 80-400 AFS in 2016 and at the time gave it a pretty positive review. He did ding the tripod collar and I've got the 80-400 AFS and Thom is right about the flex in the collar. As I recall, he ran into some sample variations when he was conducting a photo seminar and I think, but don't recall specifically, that he might have also gotten some mixed feedback from his readers. After that, combined with the release of the 200-500, he became more critical of the lens. I think he is a little hard on it but as I recall he was pretty shocked by the sample variations he encountered. I agree with you though; most of the feedback I've seen on the 80-400 is pretty positive. I didn't take the criticism personally but I did double check the results I was getting to make sure I had a good copy.

    I've found my 80-400 AFS to have reasonable sharpness at 400 mm; particularly if I'm stopped down to 6.3 or higher but I wouldn't be surprised if the 200-500 is sharper at 400 mm since that is not its maximum extension. Another factor to consider is that the 80-400 is substantially more expensive than the 200-500. The trade-offs, at least for me, are that the 80-400 AFS is reasonably maneuverable and easy to zoom when I'm looking for something in the view finder. I've considered adding the 200-500 but I've got small hands and it probably wouldn't work very well for me.

    Anyway, I thought you might be interested in some of the background regarding his criticism of the 80-400 AFS.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2018
  9. william hortis

    william hortis

    Nov 30, 2013
    Thank you for taking the time for your extensive reply
    What really wound me up(I must listen to my wife and learn to stay calm) was the review of a lens he had never personally used and relied on heresay, these reviewers are read by many of us and are extremely well rewarded financially for their time. I have owned 3 80-400 afs one stolen, one dropped and now my present one they have all been stellar copies particularly on my D850, the cost for this lens is now 50% of it's release price, but that was secondary to the reason for my rant had a whiskey since then so now much calmer lol.
  10. william hortis

    william hortis

    Nov 30, 2013
    It was the 180-400 comment that got me going, a man in his position to give any kind of guidance to us mere mortals should at least have had one in his possession for a period of time using it under variable conditions.
    Unfortunately I am getting very irritated with these reviewers last week I read a review from one of the popular? reviewers who said I have never owned or used one of these but from ' heresay, I can recommend it, Instead of working my butt off all of these years travelling the western world I should have become a reviewer and worked from home on the phone. sorry for the rant but maybe it's their past record of recommendations that are now working against them.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. I'm not here to defend Thom Hogan as I don't always agree with all he says. But in this case I think he qualified his remarks adequately:

    Price is no object: I'm still waiting to be able to fully test the 180-400mm f/4E, but some early shooting with it and looking at what other pros are capturing with it, seems to indicate that it is the best zoom you're going to get through that range. With a flick of a switch, it'll become a 252-560mm f/5.6 that's quite good. It doesn't seem as infinity averse as the 200-400mm f/4G it replaces, but it's a really sharp lens for the distances you'd likely use it at. (But to be clear, this is an initial non-review assessment.)

    (I added the color highlights.)
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. Ok, here is Georgie Beagles full review of the Nikkor 180-400mm F4E:

    "Nikon let me hold it and look through it. it is awesome.... now Nikon can I have those doggie treats you are holding?"

    For me it is a really good zoom, but the best lens is the one you have when the great opportunity presents itself.

    alexis and Georgie Beagle

    "we live in a post truth world where anyone can post a youtube review without actually knowing about what they speak. Ok, before you flame me Thom does know what he is talking about..." - Georgie Beagle
  13. William - No problem; like I said, I've used mine for a while and I think that it is pretty sharp. Here is a shot I took of a pileated woodpecker that is cropped a bit. The aperture was 7.1. and I think that the detail is pretty decent. I had considered getting a 200-500 for more reach but I think that the circumference would be too big for me to effectively hand hold it. After I get back from vacation I'll have to consider some other alternatives. Even if you think that Thom missed the boat on the 80-400 AFS, I walked away after reading about the experience he had at one of his photo seminars thinking that it's really a good idea to thoroughly test any new lenses, or equipment in general, that you purchase to ensure that potential production variations don't adversely affect its performance. Regardless, if you are sipping a nice Macallan, Oban, Balvenie, or Glenmorangie then you are likely to be a lot calmer, unless you run out of course! Cheers.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    • Like Like x 1
  14. That’s KRs approach to reviews, why buy the gear

    All this talk about sample variation makes you wonder why we never get bad copies
  15. The 200-500 is a fat lens that’s difficult to zoom while shooting
    I tried the new Tamron 150-600 and the difference was noticeable
  16. I stopped reading Thom Hogan's rants a while ago. He writes essentially the same angry essay again and again (and again), regarding what he believes Nikon should do. Different words (slightly), same message for years now. I also have little faith in his reviews. I think he is way off on both the 80-400 AFS and the 200-400vr. In fact I often get irritated by the things he quibbles about on bodies as well.

    If you read enough Thom, you would have to believe that every other lens produced by Nikon suffers from horrible production variations, most of which us mere mortals simply can't see as well as he does.

    I have far more faith in the opinions of shooters here at the Cafe than I do in anything Thom writes.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  17. His ‘sample variation’ song is so old and ridiculous.
  18. william hortis

    william hortis

    Nov 30, 2013
    We don't get extensive opportunity to test gear in the UK as seems to be ubiquitous in the US, it's a case of read the reviews on the net and pay your money and take your chance's making reviews by the so called experts quite important, fortunately we live and learn in this world. I now rely on user reviews that can be found easily with some little effort.I would like to add that after many years of spending far too much on Nikon gear I have never had reason to return or complain about any equipment.
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