sylvaticus's reviews

  • Nikon 600mm f/4G IF-ED AF-S VR Nikkor

    6 out of 10 points and not recommended
    Superb image quality (VR OFF), close focusing
    Woeful tripod foot. VR at best does nothing from a tripod, at worst softens images.

    A hefty lens with a hefty price tag especially in Europe. Outstanding image quality (VR OFF), especially for back-lit subjects. The new nano coating works. Focuses much closer than the MKI or MKII 600 AFS. AF is blindingly fast, but then it is on the MKI & MKII 600 AFS. The MK I was a revalation 11 years ago!

    The tripod mount is awful, far too tall and flimsy, but that can be partly solved with an after market foot.

    The major drawback to this lens though, is it's headline feature - the vibration reduction. Quite simply the VR does not work on a tripod; usually the vibration reduction is counter productive softening images rather than improving sharpness. I have tried this lens with Wimberley II & RRS BH-55 heads on carbon fibre & aluminium tripods. Head loose, locked, VR Normal ,VR Tripod, etc etc. I have set a tripod up so that it was very unsteady to try to get the VR to do something useful, but all to no avail. Occaisionally the VR would give an image as sharp as when it is switched off, but that's the best my copy would do. Mostly images with the VR on are soft. Hand holding is something else; sharp images from vr/normal at 1/125.

    My lens has been back to Nikon and the VR supposedly adjusted to Nikon specs. Happily I have not sold my MKI 600 AFS, so the 600 VR has gone back to the dealer. If I had kept it I would very probably have modified the VR ring with epoxy to make sure that I never engaged the VR accidently. It's that bad.

    reviewed October 17th, 2008 (purchased for $11,000)