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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 2:01 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 10, 2013 9:25 pm
Posts: 4
Although a recent member of this site, I have not yet seen a user review of this new version of the lens released in late April, so I thought a few comments would be of interest from a users point of view.
I have used it with my D700 both on and off the tripod for about 6 weeks; mainly for birds, nature and capturing my grandchildren. I have never used the previous version so cannot comment on any differences.

Here's what I like: Superb image quality wide open and up to 400mm. I have seen a report that resolution falls off at 300 and returns at 400mm. I cannot confirm this as my images look fine to to me.
I shoot RAW, convert in LR 4 and export them to Photoshop for cropping, minor sharpening and printing on my Epson R3000. I love the colors and contrast this lens produces. Skin colors look very natural too.

AF-S is fast and relatively quiet and VR 11 (I assume it's the second version and not the third version mentioned elsewhere) snaps in pretty quickly with minor noise and rarely hunts in good light.
The zoom ring is mounted towards the front of the lens, is easy to grip and full range from 80-400mm is achieved quickly by a short wrist rotation with the lens barrel extending 2-3/8". When auto focusing, a switch permits selection of full or 6m- to infinity to minimize hunting. (BIF's for example). Zoom creep has not occurred and the lens can be switch-locked at 80mm for shoulder carrying or when moving from location to location.

As expected with expensive Nikon lenses, build quality is very good with minor exceptions related to the tripod mount and lens hood. Rubber weather sealing is installed at the end of the lens and at the metal lens mount.
I did attach my Kenko X1.4 converter briefly, but drew no conclusions as to performance other than doubting it's usefulness on an already slow lens; except perhaps in good light.

Cons: Expensive (but no other Nikon lens with these features and flexibility, range and optical quality is offered. The new Sigma 120-300 f2.8 OS lens is the other lens I considered used with an optional matched x1.4 converter and a faster f4 aperture).
The long lens hood mounts easily and locks into position, but removing it requires depressing a spring-mounted button on the hood while at the same time gripping the hood and turning it anti-clockwise with the other hand. Considerable dexterity is required to perform this function compared to my AF-S 300 hood. The tripod mount is mounted very close to the lens mount and camera body for medium size and large hands to grip. Also, The barrel of the lens does not rotate smoothly within the tripod ring when rotating. Not sure if this is due to the material used or some other reason. The tripod foot is tiny too, but after-market tripod mounts are/will be available.
Conclusion. This is an excellent lens in-spite of the tripod mount and hood issues which are merely annoying, but nevertheless at this price should not be present.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 1:00 am 
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Joined: Sat Sep 12, 2009 2:03 am
Posts: 1460
Location: Gold Coast Australia
Interesting comments niagara78, It would be good if you post some shots taken with the lens and also with the 1.4 converter attached.


Cheers

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Nikon D7000, Nikkor 80 - 400G, Nikkor 18- 200 VR II, f3.5-5.6.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2013 5:34 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 10, 2013 9:25 pm
Posts: 4
[quote="4xxxx"]Interesting comments niagara78, It would be good if you post some shots taken with the lens and also with the 1.4 converter attached.


[i]Thanks for commenting. I will post some images with and without the Kenko x1.4 and post some images in a day or two (have to check how to do that on this forum). Also, I want to test it with my polariser as I shoot waterfowl and wading birds, etc. I did notice that the long length of the lens hood prevented my longest finger from reaching the polariser to adjust it in a brief test when mounted on a tripod. Removing the hood to adjust it is not an option as reported in my mini-review; so I used a pencil with a rubber/eraser to reach in and turn it. Not conclusive by any means, so I will definately need to.


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