Author Topic: New kid on the block: AFS 200-500 mm f/5.6 Nikkor E  (Read 39309 times)

elsa hoffmann

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Re: New kid on the block: AFS 200-500 mm f/5.6 Nikkor E
« Reply #75 on: November 15, 2015, 04:59:21 »
I forgot about the vest thing - thank you for reminding me. That really is an excellent idea!!!

I have a Canon vest  ;D ;D ;D but that thing is so big for me now - I need to invest in a new one -
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Jan Anne

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Re: New kid on the block: AFS 200-500 mm f/5.6 Nikkor E
« Reply #76 on: November 15, 2015, 10:09:35 »
JA - yes that's why I have a Think Tank :)

Thing is - my bag can fit a 200-400 too - but what about my other lenses?
Back in the day of the 2009 NG safari my Gura Gear Kiboko fitted a MacBook Air, a D700 & D300 (both with grips) and the 14-24/2.8, 24-70/2.8, 70-200/2.8VR and the 200-400/4VR plus an assortment of accessories like a SB-800, batteries, flashlights, cards, etc.

Though in this case overweight this bag was allowed as a carry-on and fitted in the overhead compartment on every flight I made so far, including little prop plains to get to remote places. The overweight problem was tackled by stuffing heavy stuff in my pockets and sling the 200-400/4VR with camera over my shoulder before checking in and putting everything back into the bag just before boarding.

A general tip is to change the bags configuration to get all your gear on site and change it back to a shooting mode once on site for easier access of the gear. Second tip is not to bring everything you got as you will always fall back to your favourites lenses regardless of that setting one is in, or buy smaller gear ;D

Not sure what Think Tank model you have but those are usually also designed to hold a lot of gear including big lenses.
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Jan Anne Offereins

tommiejeep

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Re: New kid on the block: AFS 200-500 mm f/5.6 Nikkor E
« Reply #77 on: November 15, 2015, 11:32:06 »
I forgot about the vest thing - thank you for reminding me. That really is an excellent idea!!!

I have a Canon vest  ;D ;D ;D but that thing is so big for me now - I need to invest in a new one -

Elsa, I have a custom, John Storrie Vest that will carry the proverbial kitchen sink.  Bought when I was younger , healthier and fitter  :).   If I loaded it up with the gear I carried in Mexico for three months in 2007,  I would not make it up the stairs to my bedroom to have a lie down  ;) .   I might travel with the 80-400 afs by air but not the 500vr and 300 2.8 these days  :( .

Getting old is such a bore!
Tom
Edit: I do use the John Sanford custom backpack for the 500vr but I am actively trying to get a Multi Trolley than Andreas put me on to.  Maybe when Janette goes to UK in January  :)
Tom Hardin, Goa, India

elsa hoffmann

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Re: New kid on the block: AFS 200-500 mm f/5.6 Nikkor E
« Reply #78 on: November 15, 2015, 13:28:12 »
I suppose I will have to leave my 300 at hom in future, have to get my head around it still - although I like to keep that on my one body at all times

My bag fits my
2 bodies,
70-200
300
24-70
14-24
flashes
135
50
2xTC
batteries cards etc

I have a rather big Think tank - but as said - you do loose some if your bag has wheels. I hate unpacking so I like to have all my gear with me - and since I wheel it - no need to worry too much about weight. Just space.
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Ilkka Nissilä

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Re: New kid on the block: AFS 200-500 mm f/5.6 Nikkor E
« Reply #79 on: November 21, 2015, 21:00:38 »
A small island or islet "Luoto" in Helsinki, distance from camera is about 1 km. This is hand held at f/8, 1/160s, ISO 800, 500mm focal length. I captured three shots at the same settings, their composition varied wildly, and one was sharper than the other two.

The lens managed the 1km distance quite well and I was happy with the quality of the sharp shot. I do find that hand holding this lens is a bit of a gamble. I would be too embarrassed to post the other two attempts of this composition because the position of the building in the frame varies by about 1/4 of the frame dimensions. I did try to hold the lens steady, I just wasn't very successful in maintaining the composition.  ;)

In the future, when possible, I would use a tripod for these kinds of shots but even hand held it is possible to get good results (taking enough shots to capture an acceptable composition and sharpness). Taking advantage of a tripod, I would have been able to use a lower ISO and very probably obtained a slightly sharper result but I was satisfied with the result. I am looking forward to finding out how the tripod based results are affected by the possible slight gusts of wind on the coast.  I am still waiting for the Kirk NC-200-500 and LS-2 which should arrive in another week.


Valeria Lages

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Re: New kid on the block: AFS 200-500 mm f/5.6 Nikkor E
« Reply #80 on: November 22, 2015, 03:20:01 »
Hi people, first of all, let me apologize for the delay answering you. I had to travel in a hurry and have been very busy lately. Secondly, thank you very much for all feedbacks! Some replies:

The 70-200/4 is excellent and would travel with the 300/4 PF nicely taking a moderate amount of bag space. I think this pair is a better quality option than the 80-400 AF-S. If you need additional focal length, then the 80-400 gives 400mm and 200-500 gives 500mm which is more substantially different from the 300mm you already have.

Yep, from what I've been learned, I already know that the 70-200/4 is very good and that's why I was thinking about this lens as a replacement for my 70-200/2.8 VRI, but I still think that this added to my 300/4E is not long enough. Then I thought about the 200-500 to complete the tele set up and ended up realizing that could be overkill traveling with these three lenses plus the others that I always travel with. At that such moment I remembered the 80-400, thought that it could be an option too, hence the mess has started :)

And to complicate a little bit more there's always the fear of missing the versatility of a zoom lens while shooting wild animals, so I'm not sure if only the 300/4 PF (with or without TC) at the longest end will be a good option while in field. I've not yet traveled for any job since I got this lens.

It is a larger and heavier lens than the others. I would think that you need to test it in person to see whether you find its handling and portability acceptable.

Unfortunately where I live there are not local stores where I could try its handling and portability. I'd have to order it online totally blindly, with no previous contact.

Being a wildlifer for long, thought, I never relly on TCs on other lenses other than the 2.8...

So far I've used TCs only with the 70-200/2.8 VRI and for me the results with 14EII are acceptable, but too much soft with the 20EIII, which I tried but then gave up to pair with this lens. When I bought the 300/4E PF I ordered also the 14EIII because from what I've known the latter performs much better with E lenses than its predecessor. And the 300 being a prime I thought it could accept that well. Didn't have the opportunity to test it in field yet.

That said 300 is "always" short.

Exactly! That's why I decided to give the 300/4 PF + 14EIII a try and was OK for now because I don't have the money to go for the longer lens. But the 200-500 showed up in a very affordable price and I started to research. And when I saw I was with a big "?" on my mind among 70-200/4, 80-400, 200-500 precisely because I own the 300/4 PF and the TCs yet…

One thing that I don't see much people refer is the need of wide lenses on a wildlifer kit. Wildlife is not always just portraits, showing the subject on its habitat is very important, and you can make dramatic photos as well.

You're totally right and that's why I wonder whether a versatile zoom wouldn't give me more flexibility for both showing the subject on its habitat and the animal itself. However, for other purposes than telephotos, I always go wild also with the 16-35/4 VR, 24-70/2.8 and macro 105/2.8 VR, plus the fish-eye 16/2.8 when there is underwater environments and dive possibilities.

My option, if weight and budget constraints are present, would be 24-120 and 200-500, and don't forget a speedlight!

I don't like the 24-120 for nature, only use it for cityscapes and others subjects. And yep, my SB-900 is often with me!

Both 80-400 or 200-500 are pretty big lenses and you really need good support for them in order to eke out the maximum performance of each optic. ...  The universal truth is that tripod support always increase the chance of getting a sharper shot and frequently also one with a better composition.

No doubts a tripod makes all the difference! I own a Gitzo made of carbon fiber, a serial 5 traveler one, which is light and very sturdy, perfect for my trips. I didn't meant I do not want to use a tripod. Certainly I always use it when I'm on land and have the needed time to set it up. But there are times that it's simply impossible because the animals don't wait for you. When you are walking in a rain forest and see (or hear) some movement in the trees, over its top or among its leaves, you'll want just shoot fasty whit whatever you have on you hand or forget it because before you try to mount your tripod the animals have already gone. Or if you're crossing a river on a very small boat in a wetland, where there are so many animals both aquatics and on its banks, but there's no enough space aboard to the tripod's legs. Same if you're sailing on the sea and wanna shoot whales or even some seabirds in fly, both are impossible to be done from the boat with a tripod… In these cases be able to handhold a lens may mean all the difference between get the pic or not…
 
  My fault, I might not have being much clear when I talked about my worries with too many things to travel with. The problem is that often that I go wild I am going actually to shoot underwater and then I have to carry a lot of stuffs (many dive gear plus underwater photo gear, which means camera housing, strobes, cables etc), so it's necessary to well plan the baggage because every weight counts.

That's in my "light" travel set as well. Put a TC 1.4x III in the bag for the time you want/need more reach and the IQ loss is minimal.
Together with the 18-35G and 24-120/4.0G it gives a nice set and not too much weight.

Sorry, but I didn't get exactly what's your light travel set up? Could you please clarify? And do you really like the 24-120? I own this lens but actually travel with it only when I want to go really light and don't worry much about IQ. It is: only in personal trips when I shoot just for fun. For landscapes works which are supposed to be published I prefer the 24-70/2.8G, which I wonder if someday worth be replaced by the new VR version.

Chris Dees

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Re: New kid on the block: AFS 200-500 mm f/5.6 Nikkor E
« Reply #81 on: November 22, 2015, 11:16:53 »
Hi people, first of all, let me apologize for the delay answering you. I had to travel in a hurry and have been very busy lately. Secondly, thank you very much for all feedbacks! Some replies:

......

Sorry, but I didn't get exactly what's your light travel set up? Could you please clarify? And do you really like the 24-120? I own this lens but actually travel with it only when I want to go really light and don't worry much about IQ. It is: only in personal trips when I shoot just for fun. For landscapes works which are supposed to be published I prefer the 24-70/2.8G, which I wonder if someday worth be replaced by the new VR version.

18-35G, 24-120/4.0G, 70-200/4.0G, 300E + TC1.4
For me it's a perfect trade-off between weight and IQ
I like the 24-120 very much as it has nice reach and good (enough) IQ. Most of the time I'm at 5.6 or 8.0 and then there's no real difference with the 24-70 which I find too short and too heavy for traveling. I had both lenses side by side for 6 month or so and I ended up selling the 24-70.
Chris Dees

Ilkka Nissilä

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Re: New kid on the block: AFS 200-500 mm f/5.6 Nikkor E
« Reply #82 on: November 26, 2015, 12:50:51 »
I just received the Kirk collar NC-200-500 and the LS-2 front support piece with rollers. The collar by itself feels sturdy and doesn't flex. It looks all very well made.

I am planning on repeating my slow shutter speed tests with the Kirk support to see what kind of a difference it makes. Of course the Arca Swiss style dovetail is in the collar so this means an additional quick release plate is not needed and can not slip.  :)

However, today it is raining outdoors so I will wait.

Ilkka Nissilä

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Re: New kid on the block: AFS 200-500 mm f/5.6 Nikkor E
« Reply #83 on: November 26, 2015, 19:21:45 »
While the construction of the Kirk system (both components) is excellent, the effect is still not perfect in that vertical shots are less sharp than horizontal ones. I guess it is possible that the head that I use allows the system to vibrate along the rotational axis around the neck of the ball head (Arca Swiss Z1 sp). Also the vertical shot taken with EFCS ON is slightly less sharp than the corresponding horizontal shot. I can't rule out the effect of focusing in these test shots (but the EFCS on/off pairs were made without refocusing). LV CDAF was used to set the focus. I refocused between changing of orientation since with some lenses the focus can shift slightly when the lens orientation is changed (due to gravity).

All shots at ISO 400, 1/30s, f/5.6, 500mm.

The subject is a photo frame on a desk lit by a halogen spot light; the dust on the frame allows the sharpness to be evaluated in this lighting.

My conclusion is that vertical slow-speed shots with long focal lengths on tripod should be made with EFCS, if the body supports it, even when using the two-point support system by Kirk. I will consider making a set of comparison pictures to see the results using the Nikon mount, if this is seen as something valuable. I think the weakest link in my tripod support is probably the ball head at this point.

Ilkka Nissilä

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Re: New kid on the block: AFS 200-500 mm f/5.6 Nikkor E
« Reply #84 on: November 26, 2015, 19:44:26 »
I redid the series of shots after first tightening the front support a bit more (you can adjust the tension a bit before tightening the front support roller carriage). The results were similar to the first set above. I repeated all the shots three times and everything was reproducible. This is different from 80-400 where I didn't really find the kind of consistency as I would have preferred.

Moving next to testing the Nikon collar for reference.

Handling the lens, pointing it precisely on the target for a controlled composition and using the CDAF is easier with the Kirk setup because the whole rig stays put where I point it instead of vibrating whereas with the Nikon setup it's a bit like handling a live animal, nothing stays still too much ... ;-)

However, when I tried capturing some exposures at 1/30s and 1/50s I got mixed results, the Nikon collar was ever so slightly better at 1/50s and the Kirk at 1/30s. I repeated the testing several times and got the same results. I think maybe the Kirk setup is preferred for slow speed work (and it does make the lens easier to control) but it would require much more testing to find whether one of the collars really gives an advantage in terms of image quality over the other. I will be using the Kirk collar because it makes the lens easier to control when composing, doesn't require a separate QR piece, even if there are some shutter speeds where the Nikon gives an ever so slightly better result.

I guess what my initial summary could be that I was not able to find a clear universal image quality advantage from using the Kirk system, but there is a definite handling advantage when working with a tripod, especially for a control obsessed person who values precision in composition and is frustrated when the composition changes slightly after locking the head and letting go of the lens. I hope this information is helpful even though it is incomplete as I had only time to try two shutter speeds. Obviously it would be better to go through speds from 1s to 1/200s and register the results and compare them carefully unfortunately it takes some work to swap the two collars and I just don't have the time right now to proceed with such extensive testing.

I will proceed with real world shooting next. There can be such a thing as too much testing.  ;)

elsa hoffmann

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Re: New kid on the block: AFS 200-500 mm f/5.6 Nikkor E
« Reply #85 on: November 27, 2015, 03:58:42 »
thanks for doing updates!
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Valeria Lages

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Re: New kid on the block: AFS 200-500 mm f/5.6 Nikkor E
« Reply #86 on: December 02, 2015, 05:06:37 »
18-35G, 24-120/4.0G, 70-200/4.0G, 300E + TC1.4
For me it's a perfect trade-off between weight and IQ
I like the 24-120 very much as it has nice reach and good (enough) IQ. Most of the time I'm at 5.6 or 8.0 and then there's no real difference with the 24-70 which I find too short and too heavy for traveling. I had both lenses side by side for 6 month or so and I ended up selling the 24-70.

Thank you for your feedback, Chris!

Kim Pilegaard

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Re: New kid on the block: AFS 200-500 mm f/5.6 Nikkor E
« Reply #87 on: December 10, 2015, 08:29:47 »
Bjørn,

Have you completely discarded this lens?

Do you have a final verdict?

Kim
Kim

Bjørn Rørslett

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Re: New kid on the block: AFS 200-500 mm f/5.6 Nikkor E
« Reply #88 on: December 10, 2015, 09:41:39 »
I have returned my review sample but other chores have delayed my conclusion.

The final verdict is that the 200-500 is a viable alternative for those seeking a medium to long focal length zoom lens, and shoot under good light conditions. Sharpness is best at the wider aperture stops, image contrast is adequately high, CA issues are small unless you shoot at the longest end and then the artefacts can be brought under control by processing software. Many will applaud the moderate weight and the VR, both traits to which I'm more lukewarm. The tripod mount is poor and seems to be an afterthought in the overall design. The physical extension of the lens casing as you zoom the lens towards the longest end creates imbalance when the 200-500 is on a tripod and exacerbates the inadequacy of the tripod collar.

I give it a solid '4'.

Kim Pilegaard

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Re: New kid on the block: AFS 200-500 mm f/5.6 Nikkor E
« Reply #89 on: December 10, 2015, 12:38:34 »
Dear Bjørn,

Thank you very much for your clear evaluation of this lens.
Kim