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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2007 8:38 pm 
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I'm currently investigating what the best long tele-lenses could be for my D80. The goal is to get at least to 400mm, better even to 500mm.
Why am I thinking about this, when I've got the Tamron 500mm mirror? Well, you know, this is a lens for the "manual"-fans out there: Manual focus, manual exposure. I'm more of a point-and-shoot-guy: My attention span is not long enough to focus properly... (yeah, then I should have bought a P&S :? )
So here's my preselection (all zooms in the end!), figures in brackets denote weight, length, price in EUR!
Up to 400mm:
1. Nikon AF VR 80-400mm 4.5-5.6D ED (1340g,171mm,1450€)
2. Tokina AT-XD 80-400mm 4.5-5.6 (1020g,137mm,550€)
3. Sigma AF 80-400mm 4.5-5.6 EX DG APO RF OS (1750g,190mm, 1100€)
4. Sigma AF 135-400mm 4.5-5.6 Asp APO RF (1210g,181mm,520€)
5. Nikon AF-S VR 200-400mm 4G IF-ED (3275g,358mm,5800€)
Up to 500mm:
6. Sigma AF 50-500mm 4.0-6.3 EX DG APO HSM RF (1842g,219mm,1050€)
7. Sigma AF 170-500mm 5.0-6.3 DG Asp APO RF (1315g,230mm,680€)
8. Tamron SP AF 200-500mm 5-6.3 Di LD IF (1237g,227mm,770€)

Ok, forget about (5): too heavy, too long, too expensive but super IQ, a real dream-lens :roll:
Unfortunately only 2 (affordable) lenses have IS: (1) and (3) and both are met with mixed reviews: PhotoZone favors (1), ePhotoZine says bad things about it, (3) is not bad, but got some remarks on its OS.
(2) and (4) do not hold up in the IQ-department
(6) and (7) also found mixed reviews, (7) also being quite heavy and (6) deteriorating at 500mm
That leaves only (8 ), the Tamron 200-500 which looks quite good at PZ and ePZ, with pictures nearly matching (5) :shock:
It also focusses to 2.5m giving a 5:1 magnification!

So either this (without IS) or wait for the successor of (1) with improved VR and hopefully more stable IQ-reviews...
I'm not happy :?

An alternative could be the
9. Nikon AF-S VR 70-200mm 2.8G IF-ED (1470g,215mm,1800€) plus Nikon AF-S TC-20E II tele-converter 2x (355g,55mm,370€)
But this combination has 1825g, 270mm, 2170€ and I found no test how the lens performs with the converter...

And I didn't mention the Sigma AF 300-800mm 5.6 EX DG APO HSM IF because it's 5880g, 544mm, 6000€ and has no IS :shock:

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Last edited by Thomas on Thu Aug 09, 2007 8:02 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Another review
PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2007 9:48 pm 
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Hi Tom,

I'm sat in front of the PC this evening watching NASA TV so I am also spending more time than usual on the forum.

Regarding the 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED AF VR, have you had a look at the SLR Gear review?

Additionally, in the user reviews section below the main review one of the users states:

For a lens covering a 5X range the 80-400 VR is an extremely versatile compact and a good lens delivering the best bang for the buck. IMO the 70-200 with a 1.4X converter will produce better IQ. With the 1.7X IQ still remains good with many preferring this option to the 80-400 VR. The reach is 340mm, so it’s still lagging and if reach is important then 80-400 VR is the way to go. But things start to deteriorate rapidly with a 2X converter on the 70-200 VR. Several users and even pros have echoed this.

Not sure how useful this info is but I hope it helps.

Bob.

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OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2007 9:53 pm 
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Thanks for the heads-up on that review!
See the review of the Nikon VR 80-400mm here and look at the example shots.
You'd never buy this lens...

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Thomas (beware: Nikon-fanboy and moderator!) My Lens Reviews, My Pictures, My Photography Blog
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2007 10:05 pm 
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tombomba2 wrote:
You'd never buy this lens...

I see what you mean. If I was spending that sort of money I would hope for better. Good luck with your search.

Bob.

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OM-D E-M1 + ED 12-40mm f/2.8, H-F007014E, M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 45mm 1:1.8, M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 75mm 1:1.8, L-RS014150E.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2007 3:08 pm 
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Here are some results from the August 10th issue of ColorFoto (Germany) for longer tele-zooms tested on a Nikon D200. The evalutation gives points for 3 focal lengths based mainly on resolution/contrast (the higher, the better; max=150pts). The last figure is the grand total.
Sigma 80-400mm OS: 80mm/70, 190mm/69, 400mm/59.5, total=66
This test-lens was 15% decentred
Nikkor 80-400mm VR: 80mm/76.5, 180mm/77, 400mm/55.5, total=69.5
This lens was 20% decentred at the short end and 13% decentred at the long end. These figures show that the Nikkor is clearly better at shorter focal lenghts but falls down at 400mm much worse than the Sigma.
Nikkor 200-400mm VR: 200mm/72, 280mm/70.5, 400mm/62.5, total=68.5
This lens was 6% decentred, which is not bad. But still the results don't look too stunning for a lens of almost 6000€ :?
Nikkor 70-300mm VR: 70mm/78, 145mm/75.5, 300mm/72, total=75
This lens was 11% decentred. These results are quite astonishing at the long end refelcting the remarks of other people here in the forum. But unfortunately for me 300mm is to little. But this certainly makes the lens a top-contender when thinking about adding a tele-zoom to a kit lens.
Sigma 100-300mm: 100mm/76.5, 170mm/77.5, 300mm/75.5, total=76.5
This lens was 7% decentred. Unfortunately this lens has no IS. So if 300mm is enough for you, I'd certainly suggest to go for the Nikkor 70-300mm VR. It's only half as expensive as the Sigma and has only one stop less aperture but more than compensates for this by including stabilization.

As an asside for this Nikon section, but nonetheless interesting: In combination with a Canon 20D the results of the Sigma were:
Sigma 80-400mm OS: 80mm/69, 180mm/72, 400mm/66.5, total=69
this test-lens was only 5% decentred at the long end (11% at the short end) and thus now much better at the long end. This copy really outclasses the respective Nikkor at 400mm!

That means:
Although the second Sigma was mounted to a body with lower resolution capabilities the results came out better! This should be attributed to the lower decentering, as everything else should be more or less equal.
So again the ugly quality control issue raises it's head: not only with Sigma (again) but also with Canon (max decentering 16% in a fixed focus lens) and Nikon (max decentering 19%!).

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