kennekam's reviews

  • Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED VR AF Nikkor

    8 out of 10 points and recommended
    A bit slow, poor tripod mount

    I was constantly looking for a long lens which I could use handheld for bird photography. I love my Sigma 50-500 but unless you have good light, you need a tripod.

    I tried (even bought) Nikon 300 f/4 and 70-200 f/2.8 lenses with 1.4 and 1.7 teleconverters but were not happy with the reach. I initially dismissed the 80-400 as too old, too slow and too expensive.

    I then had the opportunity to exchange a Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 for it. As I was not using the Sigma, I did the swap.

    At first I was very disappointed with the 80-400. All my pics were soft or out of focus. I sent the lens to Nikon SA for a checkup and they confirmed that it was within spec.

    Realising that I had to change my technique, I started to use AF-C instead of AF-S and learned to wait for the VR to stabalised before I gently squeeze the release. I am now getting excellent shots and am using the 80-400 as my walkaround lens when my 200-400 is too heavy.

    You can even use the Kenko Pro 300 1.4 teleconverter with it, but preferably with a monopod as it becomes difficult to hold steady.

    The tripod collar is poor, but works OK when using using a monopod with VR on. If you really need to use a tripod with VR off, get a Kirk collar. I had one on the 300 f/4 and it is a wonderful device. Using a tripod with the 80-400 seems to defeat the point of having it though.....

    Have a look at

    reviewed August 14th, 2006