This lens may be old news to all of you pros, but I haven't seen it mentioned yet. I was fortunate enough to get to examine Nikon's prototype 70-400 lens with a type of image stabilization function. I cannot remember what they called the system (vibration dampening?), but it was very interesting. After focusing on an object, even hand-held out to 400mm, you push the stabilization button and the image noticeably steadies. The lens was small and compact for it's focal length range. I do not know when it is due out, but I think the price is going to be in the $1400. to $1500. range (U.S.).
They referr to it as "vibration reduction" or VR for short. But I'm sure it's an 80-400 and not a 70-400... Did the image improve as well as they claimed? how much shutter-increase did you get with it? (the three stops that they promissed)
The problem with this lens is that it only fits the newest range of Nikons, being the F80, F100, F5, and the D1
"The world will not be quantified on celluloid... But I'll be damned if I don't try!"
It's a nice lens. A proto was demonstrated up here and I got to hold it. It may be older than what you tried because when I tried it they hadn't worked out all the bugs yet - if you mouted it on a tripod, the lens would get confused and begin to pitch and yaw on its own (kinda funny - looked like really bad home-movies)...
Anyway, 1500$, Nikon is out of their tree, and will overlook some of the lower end of the market who might want one - I certainly wont be shelling out close to 2000$ canadian for a first generation optic like that..
It very well could be 80-400. It was being grabbed quickly and I was only able to examine it for a minute on an F5. interesting lens. The stabilization was noticeable. Not having been able to shoot w/it, I cannot speculate on how well it performs.
It's 80~400mm (I bought one a few weeks ago). Naturally, I played with it a lot. I took some photos using Kodak's Technical Pan on "shutter" priority so I'd have an idea "just how slow can I go". At 1/60th, I could read a license plate on a car parked over 200 yards away (on the negative using a 40x microscope). I also discovered that it "likes" batteries. The lens has two "modes" of "vibration reduction" (VR): one is continuous, the other only when exposure is being made. Oh yea, there's a 3rd "mode" : off. Probably would be prudent to turn it off when using a tripod as someone earlier mentioned. Unless you're really bored and want some amusement, of course.
Do you know of any objective comparisons for performance with similar (I don't think there is an exact duplicate)Canon focal length IS lenses? Most publications don't write up such comparisons, to avoid offending the loser (ad revenue!)but there may be something on the Internet. Artie Morris,bird photographer and Canon contract photographer,doesn't feel the Nikon VR matches Canon IS performance, but I have yet to see any objective data. The few VR images I have seen are spectacular. Stan