Now on to some test-reporting!
First the inevitable tree-shot
, a fir similar to the Tamron 200-500mm-test
. Using a tripod to eliminate any shake. I show you the 400mm/f8
shot in toto and then some centre-crops
from that shot and at other apertures and focal lengths at 100%.
The following 100%-crops are at 200mm/f8
and at 400mm
again but at f5.6
, the latter being clearly the softest.
You can easily compare these crops to the Tamron-test and see that the Nikon is clearly superior (remember the Tamron was tested at f11!).
I also did some shots of the famous Siemens-star and another one that is comparable across all the tested tele-lenses.
I'll present here a 400mm/f5.6-shot at close distance (magnification almost 1:10) plus 100% crops from different positions. As I found out afterwards, my position was not perfectly perpendicular to the test-sheet (I was a little to the left). So don't blame the lens for slight differences between left and right!
The crops shows a 9mm grey disk in the middle and in the left upper-corner (second row #1) and a little worse on the lower right corner (second row #2) (at least on my 21" 1600x1200 monitor). These grey disks are comparable across my lens-tests and the diameter is directly proportional to the resolution of the lens. The last 100% crop is a detail from the left middle.
So even at near close-up distance the lens has is a decent performer. B.t.w.: maximum magnification was measured at 1:4.7 @ 2.3m.
And a 400/f8-shot from far away plus 100% crop (near centre).
For your delectation I also tested the VR-quality thoroughly free-standing, whitout leaning on/at anything.
First at 400mm/f16 at 1/60sec
Then 2x with f13 and 1/90sec
. I'll just show you the 100% crop
As you can see, the first 1/90 shot was even worse than the first 1/60 shot, and even the second 1/90 shot was not optimal. So the ancient VR on this lens does it's job, but even at "only" 4x the shutter-speed it does not necessarily give you sharp shots. I would have expected better: My position was secure from wind, and I was not panting from a job at the beach! So I was disappointed. But to make one thing pretty clear: The IQ with this VR is miles ahead of no IS at all (like with the Tamron and the Tokina).
Following are three other shots taken at 400mm/f11 1/90sec
. On the last-one you can also see some of the color-fringing this lens had:
Would I buy this lens? Weeeeell, it's optically the best long tele-zoom I've tested and it has VR
/IS which is absolutely necessary
if you want a decent hit-rate from your hand-held long-range shots.
But for that price, I felt a little let down by the antiquated VR and AF, plus the bulk of this lens is nothing that you easily carry around on a longer trip. So this lens also went back and my Tamron 500mm mirror-lens
will be the ultra-long of choice, until Nikon comes up with a renovated version of this lens.
But certainly you can make sharp, vividly colored shots with this lens free-hand (this time at 400mm/f5.6 1/750sec
Thank you for your patience!