I love my 300mm f2.8 VR for sports etc. and would not think of shooting nighttime sports football without it. just received the above lens, and my initial impressions are high!!! Build +speed+ acuity! What more could you ask!!! Cannot compare Nikons' all time champ w/this lens at 300mm! Check out Nikongear site for additional comments.
It's too soon for me to be demonstrative but I did replace my 300 2.8 on the tripod with a new 80-400 the other day. I did a quick compare and so far my 300 2.8 yields a superior image. I like the look and feel of the 300's shots more and I expect right now I'm going to reach for it first when I can.
I need more time to define what I'll do with the 80-400. It is a keeper .
The quality of this lens is excellent. Replacing a 300 2.8 would not be what this lens is about but under reasonably good lighting conditions I think it could work for you. Here are a couple shots. The still is taken at close range but shows the detail you can get out of this lens. The flight shot is nothing special but I am a birder and wanted to try it out so gulls were what was close at hand. It was an overcast day and lighting was so so but once it captured the lens did well. Click on them for larger versions. Hope this helps
The pics you are posting with this new lens are vastly superior to most of the "samples" posted in various places by others. You have basically convinced me it will be an excellent upgrade of my older 80-400VR. I had been saving up for a 200-400 but always worried that the extra weight of this big monster would be a hindrance.
I found for me that 300mm is just not enough for bird photography. My current lense the older but reliable 80-400VR works nicely and is easy to carry all day. I am planning on retiring it so to speak and buying the updated 80-400VR lense to continue my birding hobby.
Tue 26-Mar-13 01:21 AM | edited Tue 26-Mar-13 01:23 AM by TomCurious
At 300mm, I would look at the options as follows and in this order:
300mm f/2.8 300mm f/4 80-400 at 300mm is f/5.6 70-300 at 300mm is f/5.6 but focuses slower than the 3 lenses above
So if you need an alternative to the 300/2.8, I'd look at the 300/4 first as you'd loose only one stop. The 80-400 is two stops slower and that will give quite different results, not only where the light is important, but also with respect to subject isolation. Not to mention that is costs almost twice the 300/4. Of course the 80-400 has other advantages (it zooms to 80mm and 400mm, and has VR which the 300/4 has not), but as an alternative to the 300/2.8 it would not be my first choice.
>Any opinions on this lens? I am thinking it would be a good >alternative to my 300mmf2.8. It seems light. I am wondering >about the quality and focus ability. Any opinion? Not enough of info so far. My advice is to wait a couple more weeks - real comparison from good sources are coming. I mean 300+TC14 vs 80-400 vs new Sigma 120-300. Some very experienced guys are up to it now. Dimitri.
When it comes to pure sharpness, the 300 f/2.8 is going to be better. And at f/2.8 it does provide some advantages in very low light. But it is a prime lens - and zoom lenses trade off by providing flexibility.
But the 80-400 AFS is quite a big improvement over the earlier versions and is clearly better than comparable alternatives. Tested image quality is very good and you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference with your 300 f/2.8 in the field. AF speed apparently has been addressed and is relatively quick - I don't expect AF speed to be a problem. You are giving up speed at f/4.5-5.6, but for most of the range you are using f/5 and only using f/5.6 at 380-400mm.
Your primary use is for birding. As a birding lens in the field, the 80-400 probably is a bit better. It's about half the weight of the 300 f/2.8, smaller in size, and provides a lot of flexibility for both tight images and environmental shots. If you are on the water, the 80-400 will be a bit easier to handle. As a practical matter, you're going to be using f/4-5.6 on your 300 f/2.8 because you need that much DOF.
The question that begs answering is, can the 80-400 do what the 300 2.8 does at f/5.6 in terms of IQ? The 300 2.8 is one of Nikon's very sharpest lenses and I doubt this new zoom can match it at any aperture. This is not to say I won't buy the 80-400. I am about to pull the trigger on one, and I'll use it for birds, big wading birds, because 400mm and even with a 1.4 TC really isn't very long for "birding" in the broader sense of the word.