Tag Archives: Nikkor

Quick Thoughts: 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 AFS G VRII Nikkor lens

It only took 13 years, but we finally have a new 80-400mm AFS G VRII Nikkor. Is it right for you? (Image courtesy Nikon USA)
It only took 13 years, but we finally have a new 80-400mm AFS G VRII Nikkor. Is it right for you? (Image courtesy Nikon USA)

Yesterday, Nikon announced a long-awaited (overdue?) replacement to its 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR lens. The the original 80–400mm VR has been around since 2000, and for as long as I can remember, enthusiasts have cried out for and AFS replacement. Why? Despite very good optics and excellent zoom range, the AF-D model of the 80-400mm was  slow to focus and as such sub-par for many action and wildlife photographers. Despite its limitations it remained popular lens because it was the least expensive Nikkor with a focal length of 400mm. On a DX-format DSLR body, that translates to an effective field of view of 600mm, making the 80-400 the enthusiast’s choice for wildlife photography. The relatively compact size of this lens made it an ideal option for travel photographers or people wanting to have extra reach on a reasonable budget. Continue reading Quick Thoughts: 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 AFS G VRII Nikkor lens

The Biggest, Baddest AF-Nikkor Lens: 800mm f/5.6 AFS G VRII

The Nikon 800mm f/5.6 FL ED VR lens is big and sharp, with a price tag that requires a bank loan. (Image courtesy of Nikon.com)

Back in July of 2012, Nikon announced they were developing a monster 800mm f/5.6 AFS VR lens. Today, they announced that this lens is being released and is available for pre-order.

The first question that comes to my mind is “why would anyone want this lens, when you can use a 600mm + 1.4x teleconverter and effectively have an 840mm f/5.6 lens?” Well, I suppose there are a couple of things at play here. First of all, Nikon has quietly implied that only FX-format cameras are their top-end. The D300s, the only “pro” Nikon DX camera, was released in 2009, and other than adding video, it’s the same sensor as the D300 which was released in 2007. Nikon is basically saying, “if you want an action camera, you need a D4.” The only cameras in Nikon’s current lineup that can shoot over 6fps are the D300/s (with grip), D700 (with grip) and the D3s/D4 flagships. Which means if you are a wildlife or extreme sports photographer who wants to take advantage of a modern sensor, you need a long lens to pair with your FX format body. Secondly, sometimes a company needs to produce something this impressive just to demonstrate their engineering excellence. This new lens definitely does that. Continue reading The Biggest, Baddest AF-Nikkor Lens: 800mm f/5.6 AFS G VRII

Evaluating the Nikon 200-400mm VR with distant subjects

I’ve had my zoom Nikkor 200-400mm f/4 AFS G VR lens for about five years, and it’s my absolute go-to wildlife lens unless I’m after very small birds (at which point the 600mm is more useful). A common criticism of this lens is that it is sharp on near (less than 100ft) subjects, but soft with distant subjects. Unfortunately, telephoto lens performance on distant subjects can be marred by more variables than one can easily isolate. I recently had a chance to test my lens in the field to see if I could make any definitive conclusions about its performance. Continue reading Evaluating the Nikon 200-400mm VR with distant subjects

New Nikon D3s, 85mm DX Micro announced

Well, it’s official.  The much-rumored Nikon D3s has now been announced, along with a new DX-format macro (micro) lens. 

The big news on the D3s is that the sensor has been tweaked to offer an in-spec ISO range of 200-12,800!  The Hi-range mode now goes to Hi-3, or the equivalent of ISO 102,400!  Of course, keep in mind that the “Hi” range in all Nikon DSLRs should be considered an “emergency” mode– good for low-res or black and white images when ANY shot is better than no shot at all.
Other cool features of the D3s:
  • HD (720p) movie mode
  • Integrated sensor cleaning (sonic)
  • “Quiet mode” release– I agree that the original D3 is pretty loud compared to other Nikon DSLRs
  • Expanded buffer supports 42 NEFs in continuous shooting
  • 1.2 (8MP) crop mode
  • Better battery life (4200 shots)

Also announced today is a new 85mm VR macro lens dedicated to DX shooters. The 85mm focal length is approximately equivalent to a 127mm angle of view on 35mm cameras, so this new lens is not a 105mm replacement for DX shooters. However, the lens has VR II image stabilization. Because it is a DX lens, it will not cover the full-frame FX format unless you use cropped mode on a D3/D700.
Editorial commentary after the jump.

Continue reading New Nikon D3s, 85mm DX Micro announced