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Upgrade from 80-400vr to...?

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by Jewson, Jul 2, 2007.

  1. Hi All, As some of you may know I mainly shoot motorsport with my D200+80-400vr. Well I'm thinking of upgrading to either the 200-400vr or the 400mm f2.8. Whilst I am pleased with the results from the 80-400vr I would now like to take my photography to the next level... I quite like the idea of having the zoom option (200-400) but also the f2.8 is quite appealing. Do any of you have any experience with either lens that you could share with me...?
    Your thoughts and comments are most welcome
  2. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    What specifically is it about the 80-400 that you feel is holding your photography from 'the next level' Jason? And do you think you would miss the VR if you went with the 400 prime?
  3. Do you need the reach or faster apertures more for your motorsport shooting, Jason?
  4. What focal length were most of your photos shot at? Is the bulk of what reamins, longer or shorter focal length?

    A 400 prime would be excellent, but then you must foot-zoom for framing and after 5 hours it gets heavy - REAL HEAVY. It is not hand-holdable unless you have muscles like the TV wrestlers. Works best on HD tripod (I use G5540) and Wimberley II. Works well with all 3 TC's but will hunt using the TC 20 in marginal light.

    200-400 solves the framing issues, but is a full stop slower which can be an issue when shooting early morning, evenings or heavy overcast. may or may not auto-focus iwth TC17 or TC20, depending on light. Has VR, which will help for the hand-held shots, but lens is not a lightweight either, to "good" tripod and head will be in the works too.
  5. i'm surprised you are happy w/ the 80-400 for any sports...af is way to slow IMO on the 80-400...IQ is great tho

    if you can get closer the 70-200 may work out for you
  6. Hope for an 80-400VRII AF-S...
  7. Hi RandyNikonCafe, I love my 80-400vr. I also have the 70-200 f2.8, but 90% of the time it's the 80-400 that gets used...!!! 200mm no where near enough reach. I even use a Kenko pro 300 1.4tc with the 80-400vr....

    Looking back at my original post I could of worded it differently.... Would I gain much in image quality...? With either the 200-400 or 400 f2.8...? On the day these were taken the weather was up and down all day, one minute bright sunshine the other dull and overcast....But that's English weather for you...!

    First 2 pics guys were going in the region of 120-140mph. Third pic about 80-100mph... These pics were also shot through a thick wire fence, about a quarter of the way between me and the riders....

    This is what I've been getting from the 80-400vr handheld...

    Comments are always welcome...

    f9, 1/125sec, iso400, 400mm


    f8, 1/320sec, iso400, 330mm


    f9, 1/640sec, iso160, 400mm

  8. Hi Chris 101, I look at other peoples pics and mine just dont seem so detailed and sharp... I've tried using the Kenko 1.4tc, it works ok but slows down the AF a bit more than I would really like. I had originally thought of the 300 f4 + 1.7tc but from what I have read AF is even slower than the 80-400vr...

    Many thanks for your reply
  9. I have, and regularly use, both the 200-400 and the 400 f2.8. One thing to remember about the zoom is that if most of your shots are at 400mm, the zoom doesn't buy you so much, and one other thing is that at the speeds of your subjects, you may be too busy following the subject and panning to do much zooming. Now, while I think both of these lenses are super, you might also consider the Sigma 120-300 f2.8. The Nikon TC-14 works well will this lens, so you end up with f2.8 up to 300 and f4 up to 420. The cost, if that is a concern, is also far less for a very capable and fast-focusing solution.
  10. Many thanks for the advice..:smile:
  11. snownow


    Jul 13, 2006
    so cal
    No advice on the lens, but WOW, nice shots!
  12. You can get a used copy of the version I of the 400 2.8 for quite a bit less than the version II model. The only differences are lens weight and minimum focusing distance.
  13. Many thanks for the replys... Does anyone have any samples from the Sigma 120-300f2.8 or the link to some...?

    Many thanks
  14. paul rieker

    paul rieker Guest

    I am also looking for lens to photograph motorsports. I have been doing research on the Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 lens. Under "Search" enter
    Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 lens. You will find about 17 pages, not all on this
    lens, but quite a bit of good info and photos. One person from Australia uses
    this lens for motorsports. Good luck!!!
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