Author Topic: Nikon AF-S 180-400mm f/4 announced  (Read 12712 times)

Ilkka Nissilä

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Re: Nikon AF-S 180-400mm f/4 announced
« Reply #15 on: January 09, 2018, 13:51:37 »
The first time a comparable supertele of Canon is even more expensive than it's Nikon counterpart.

I thought when Canon came out with the IS II generation long primes they were all more expensive than previously seen equivalents from either manufacturer. But they have come down in price a bit, and Nikon's FL generation is again more expensive but it too will probably come down in price over time.

In the case of the zoom, Canon added a new feature that seems to be very expensive to make, and Nikon felt obligated to follow with a similar product.

I think one can have mixed feelings about the built in TC; surely if the quality is good it is a practical thing to have but some users might prefer to have just the 200-400/4 range and a lighter and less expensive lens (but with the other improvements in the optics, focusing etc.). However, I realize at the high end there is a fierce competition to make the best product possible for the target user which is expected to be less price sensitive than many of us are.

On the other hand when something is so clearly outside of one's budget it can be a relief as one doesn't have to try to reach for it.

Akira

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Re: Nikon AF-S 180-400mm f/4 announced
« Reply #16 on: January 09, 2018, 14:02:56 »
I think one can have mixed feelings about the built in TC; surely if the quality is good it is a practical thing to have but some users might prefer to have just the 200-400/4 range and a lighter and much less expensive lens.

I would say that the built-in teleconverter wouldn't add too much weight to such an already heavy lens.  Also, I don't think anyone would feel comfortable to have to unmount the lens, add or remove the separate TC and mount the lens again onto the body in the dusty environment like in Safari.  In addition, this new zoom is designed so that you can flip the TC in and out with the right hand fingers by holding the camera grip.  So you can respond to the shutter chance far quicker than with a separate TC.
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Ilkka Nissilä

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Re: Nikon AF-S 180-400mm f/4 announced
« Reply #17 on: January 09, 2018, 14:23:31 »
By using FL elements Nikon was able to reduce the weight of the 70-200/2.8 by about 8%. In this case there is a 4% weight increase compared to the 200-400/4 II. I believe the reason they weren't able to reduce the weight is because of the TC, the mechanism that is used to move it precisely and the bulge in the housing.

Akira

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Re: Nikon AF-S 180-400mm f/4 announced
« Reply #18 on: January 09, 2018, 15:04:23 »
By using FL elements Nikon was able to reduce the weight of the 70-200/2.8 by about 8%. In this case there is a 4% weight increase compared to the 200-400/4 II. I believe the reason they weren't able to reduce the weight is because of the TC, the mechanism that is used to move it precisely and the bulge in the housing.

Using FL elements for the largest front elements can not only contribute to reduce the total weight but also improve the otherwise front-heavy weight balance.  The current 200-400 zoom uses four large (one concave and three convex ED) elements on the front, whereas the new 180-400 uses only three elements on the front.  The first and the largest element is the lighter FL, and the second and the third elements are a bit smaller.

The overall weight is only 140g heavier, so it should be safe to say that the additional weight of TC was partially cancelled out.  And the front-heavy weight balance is also improved by the addition of the integrated TC.

The improved weight balance would make the handhold more comfortable and stable.
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elsa hoffmann

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Re: Nikon AF-S 180-400mm f/4 announced
« Reply #19 on: January 09, 2018, 15:47:06 »
I would say that the built-in teleconverter wouldn't add too much weight to such an already heavy lens.  Also, I don't think anyone would feel comfortable to have to unmount the lens, add or remove the separate TC and mount the lens again onto the body in the dusty environment like in Safari.  In addition, this new zoom is designed so that you can flip the TC in and out with the right hand fingers by holding the camera grip.  So you can respond to the shutter chance far quicker than with a separate TC.

probably you would add a tc like with other long lenses - and just leave it - not change on and off on safari? Just guessing.

Akira - I am interested to know why you are not in favour of plenty elements - cost? or do you think it unnecessarily complicates the design?
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JKoerner007

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Re: Nikon AF-S 180-400mm f/4 announced
« Reply #20 on: January 09, 2018, 16:09:31 »
I'd rather have a lens like this with a matched TC of the conventional type. I might be wrong but it seems like the built in TC adds a failure point I'd rather not have built in.

Dave Hartman

Yes, you're wrong. Nikon's own words as to "why?":

"Since it's integrated into the lens, the teleconverter maximizes light transmission to the sensor with very little falloff for tack-sharp images."

JKoerner007

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Re: Nikon AF-S 180-400mm f/4 announced
« Reply #21 on: January 09, 2018, 16:12:34 »
probably you would add a tc like with other long lenses - and just leave it - not change on and off on safari? Just guessing.

That sounds reasonable.

The question of, "To add, or not to add, the TC," becomes moot with the TC built-in with an on/off lever right on the lens.

This configuration makes the combo much-much more convenient to implement, where your eye still remains on the target as you simply flip a lever/switch ... than the conventional way, where you must take the camera away from your face, remove the lens, rummage for the TC, add (or remove) it, and then attempt to re-orient.

The savings in critical time, moments-captured this way, versus moments lost via the conventional add-on, would make the new lens invaluable to sports shooters and safari shooters also.

Ilkka Nissilä

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Re: Nikon AF-S 180-400mm f/4 announced
« Reply #22 on: January 09, 2018, 16:28:31 »
It is certainly possible that a larger number of elements would lead to some increase in flare and reduction in contrast. But there you have it, the trade-off of a prime supertelephoto with a smaller number of elements and a 180-400/4 +1.4X TC type lens. I think the value of the zoom is in the flexibility - you cannot just move to change framing with long-distance shots (you would have to do a lot of walking to change framing significantly)  and when photographing certain situations it is a benefit to be able to access such a range of focal lengths because the subject may appear at different distances, e.g., in sports photography where you are tied to a fixed position. However, the 70-200/2.8 FL has very high contrast actually and it is a 22/18 design; the 180-400 is 27/19 so the number of groups is almost the same.  With the TC in use, there are 35 elements in 24 groups.

High-resolution cameras (such as the D850) may give you some of that flexibility in framing but the zoom can be combined with such a camera to get even more flexibility (and a larger subject in the viewfinder, and more precise / selective AF). If you look at e.g. the Olympics there are many photographers that appear to be jam-packed into a very small space where you might not have enough space to store and change between large lenses. So in such a situation a zoom lens might be the best option, not that I would ever be in such a situation.  ;)

The high cost certainly is going to create some grumbling online.

JKoerner007

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Re: Nikon AF-S 180-400mm f/4 announced
« Reply #23 on: January 09, 2018, 18:20:49 »
It is certainly possible that a larger number of elements would lead to some increase in flare and reduction in contrast. But there you have it, the trade-off of a prime supertelephoto with a smaller number of elements and a 180-400/4 +1.4X TC type lens. I think the value of the zoom is in the flexibility - you cannot just move to change framing with long-distance shots (you would have to do a lot of walking to change framing significantly)  and when photographing certain situations it is a benefit to be able to access such a range of focal lengths because the subject may appear at different distances, e.g., in sports photography where you are tied to a fixed position. However, the 70-200/2.8 FL has very high contrast actually and it is a 22/18 design; the 180-400 is 27/19 so the number of groups is almost the same.  With the TC in use, there are 35 elements in 24 groups.

High-resolution cameras (such as the D850) may give you some of that flexibility in framing but the zoom can be combined with such a camera to get even more flexibility (and a larger subject in the viewfinder, and more precise / selective AF). If you look at e.g. the Olympics there are many photographers that appear to be jam-packed into a very small space where you might not have enough space to store and change between large lenses. So in such a situation a zoom lens might be the best option, not that I would ever be in such a situation.  ;)

The high cost certainly is going to create some grumbling online.

It seems unanimous that the highly-complex 70-200E FL is a superb lens, besting everything in its class, which is priced at only $2,800.

I think it is a fair bet to believe the highly-complex 180-400E FL TC, priced at $12,300, will be simply spectacular.

It will have its greatest usefulness on the D500, IMO, where its range will be an effective 270mm (TC off, at its widest) to 840mm (TC on, zoomed all the way in).

That is a ~300-900mm professional focal range, without having to carry an extra camera ... an extra lens ... nor even an extra TC.
(It is important to realize this range is on a legitimate pro lens, with Nikon's 'best of everything' on it, not a pro-sumer or budget/entry lens.)

The amount of money you would have to spend on Nikon's best, pro-grade, fixed lenses to duplicate this range would be $5,700 (for a 200mm), $5,500 (for a 300mm) and $11,200 (for 400mm), plus an additional $500 (1.4x TC) to get the 840mm total effective reach at the long-end. That is a total cost of $22,800, plus a total weight of 21.6 lb (9.83 kg), not to mention the hassle of swapping lenses/TC, just to get the same ~300 to ~900 effective range using Nikon's best prime lenses + TC.

Viewed in this light, the $12,300 price for the 180-400 +1.4 TC lens seems to be a bargain, and its 7.7 lb (3.5 kg) in weight seems to be a relief—all the while its everything-built-into-one configuration remains utterly hassle-free by comparison.

That's my vote :D

elsa hoffmann

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Re: Nikon AF-S 180-400mm f/4 announced
« Reply #24 on: January 09, 2018, 18:36:10 »
Viewed in this light, the $12,300 price for the 180-400 +1.4 TC lens seems to be a bargain, and its 7.7 lb (3.5 kg) in weight seems to be a relief—all the while its everything-built-into-one configuration remains utterly hassle-free by comparison.

That's my vote :D

you got my vote too  ;D
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Ilkka Nissilä

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Re: Nikon AF-S 180-400mm f/4 announced
« Reply #25 on: January 09, 2018, 19:39:32 »
Surely you are not comparing the prices of 1 or 2 stops faster primes with this f/4 (f/5.6) zoom.

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Re: Nikon AF-S 180-400mm f/4 announced
« Reply #26 on: January 09, 2018, 19:51:37 »
Of interest is the Firmware update Nikon promises wrt AF using the D5, D500 and D850 - due in March 2018

https://www.nikonusa.com/en/nikon-products/product/camera-lenses/af-s-nikkor-180-400mm-f%252f4e-tc1.4-fl-ed-vr.html?icid=img_en_us:hp:banner:2:lens:180-400:010818:wwa

The AF-S NIKKOR 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR draws peak performance from the 153-point AF system in recent Nikon DSLRs like the D5, D850 and D500. The sensors at the outer areas of the frame can be used as cross-type sensors*, drastically improving acquisition speed when a subject enters the frame. Enhanced servo drive control and higher-speed inversion of the Silent Wave Motor (SWM) improves tracking, even with subjects that radically change speed or direction.

*This feature will be available with a firmware upgrade for the D5, D850 and D500 as of March, 2018.
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JKoerner007

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Re: Nikon AF-S 180-400mm f/4 announced
« Reply #27 on: January 09, 2018, 19:57:29 »
Surely you are not comparing the prices of 1 or 2 stops faster primes with this f/4 (f/5.6) zoom.

Surely you're not comparing the negligible benefit of "a 1-2 stop advantage" to a $10,000+ combined savings, a 14-lb reduction in combined weight, plus an enormous convenience benefit, all the while while using equal-quality glass :o

Most long glass shooters shoot between f/4 - f/8, so having f/2.8, or wider, provides almost zero benefit in the field.

The fact that the 180-400 is a constant f/4 reduces its weight considerably. Almost everyone I know wishes Nikon's 400mm f/2.8 came in a PF f/4 version, precisely because all the f/2.8 aperture does is add extra weight (it is 8.3 lb!). The fact is, the new 180-400 is more than a pound lighter than the 400mm, it is many-times more versatile and convenient, all the while losing nothing qualitatively.

Only human portrait shooters care about super-wide apertures.

MILLIREHM

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Re: Nikon AF-S 180-400mm f/4 announced
« Reply #28 on: January 09, 2018, 20:47:40 »
I will wait and see how it proves to be
my 2 cents:

It copies the Canon path with TC which is ambiguous.
The TC will be dedicated (Like The external TC 800 so I expect little quality loss compared to conventional TC) - but adding size and weight
Will have to be proved how robust the switchin/out mechanism is

The selective quality flaws of the old 200-400 for long distance will be improved
Wonder how the close up distance has changed in comparison to its precedessors
the old 200-400 was not too well balanced - one can expect that to be improved
I hardly believe it will be as good as the 2,8/400 FL - but lets see

just had my 200-400/4 serviced - hm (no its too early for NAS)

Given the experience of the D850 it will also have to turn out when it will be truly available in numbers
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Re: Nikon AF-S 180-400mm f/4 announced
« Reply #29 on: January 09, 2018, 21:42:12 »
Nikon specs say the near limit is 2 m at all focal settings.