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-   -   Not Sure About This Lens :( (http://www.railpictures.net/forums/showthread.php?t=18035)

Noct Foamer 11-06-2017 11:02 PM

Not Sure About This Lens :(
 
I've been using a Nikon 80-400mm AFS as my long lens for the past several years. It's sharp enough--no complaints, and almost always long enough. I use it as a "general purpose" lens and that includes wildlife, choo-choos, sports, and whatever. However, it is somewhat heavy and bulky. I notice this most when doing all day hikes, especially in mountains over 10,000 ft. I just bought a Nikon 300mm f4 PF VR from ebay. (Was sweating it because I pulled the trigger before reading seller's feedback: 50% negative and only 4 sales!) Anyway, lens is very compact and light--even with a 1.4x TC it weighs about half the 80-400mm and is about a third the size. So far, so good. Reviews report that it doesn't do well with strong light shining directly into it, so I had to check that out right away. I took it out last night at dusk and shot some engines heading directly towards me at close range with their headlights on full power. Hmmm. No weird flare or ghosting, but the headlights turned into mega blobs! I do take a fair number of these kinds of shots. So, I'm sort of on the fence here. OTOH, I'm thinking the lens isn't going to work for these kinds of shots, but OTOH for the other 75% of shots I like to take it will be great. Below are two shots I did last night with 300mm PF, and one shot I did with the 80-400mm. Any thoughts? Would you be happy or unhappy with the 300mm PF? And no, I can't keep both. They are about $1,400 for 80-400mm and $1,700 for 300mm + TC 1.4x.


Kent in SD

https://www.flickr.com/photos/968260...posted-public/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/968260...posted-public/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/968260...posted-public/

miningcamper1 11-07-2017 05:28 AM

The headlight blobs would definitely annoy me a lot. Does stopping down more help?
Would a non-Nikon lens fit your requirements?

bigbassloyd 11-07-2017 12:06 PM

Tamron 150-600 I own isn't perfect with a straight on headlights, but nowhere near that bad.

[photoid=601548]
[photoid=522800]

These are the only two I have access to here at work, and both were taken at 600mm.

Loyd L.

RobJor 11-07-2017 12:39 PM

Don't shoot a lot like that lately but I remember a reviewer commenting on online photos of a cameras defects, something like - if you try hard enough you can duplicate a defect. At some point in the day that effect in inevitable?? if it is dark enough and you catch the focus of the lights at the wrong angle.

My closest example online. 240 mm with a basic 70-300 Nikon zoom($600)
[photoid=567555]

My "mistake" was to take an exposure reading on the scene before the train. If I had let the lights trick the camera I might have avoided some of the pixel bloom but not all bad as it added a little warm light.

Bob

Noct Foamer 11-07-2017 01:00 PM

The Nikon 300mm PF is a different sort of lens. Instead of standard glass elements, it has one Fresnel element.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fresnel_lens

This makes the lens very (!) light and compact, but as with everything in photography there is a trade off. The trade off is it doesn't handle strong points of light very well. Stopping down doesn't seem to change it much since the blobs are because of the basic lens design. The only reason I bought the lens is because it's so light & compact; there's really nothing else out there like it. I briefly considered also buying the older Nikon 300mm f4 AFS (no VR) since they are so cheap right now, and using it for trains and the new 300mm PF for everything else, but really don't want two 300mm lenses. So, I think what I'm going to do is sell the 300mm PF (I will actually make money!), keep the Nikon 80-400mm AFS (a very good lens all in all), and buy a small Nikon 70-300mm AFP lens for a couple hundred bucks to use with D5300 as my hiking/travel lens. Those straight on shots are some of my favorite to make, and I just don't think I can live with blobby headlights.

Rob--I think in the photo you showed the "blob" is a result of snow/mist in the air, not the lens. There is a scientific name for that effect--the Tyndall Effect. It's the test for colloids. https://www.thoughtco.com/definition...-effect-605756

Will take the lens out shooting a couple of more times, but I think it's probably not going to work out.


Kent in SD

RobJor 11-07-2017 01:32 PM

Good catch, could be heavy air. Certainly on a cool dry night it is lot different than a heavy summer night but I don't see any forward light dispersion, will read the link.

Thanks Bob

Joseph Cermak 11-07-2017 02:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bigbassloyd (Post 192665)
Tamron 150-600 I own isn't perfect with a straight on headlights, but nowhere near that bad.

How do you like this lens for train photos? It's one on my list of options for a long lens once I can afford it.

bigbassloyd 11-07-2017 02:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Joseph Cermak (Post 192669)
How do you like this lens for train photos? It's one on my list of options for a long lens once I can afford it.

I absolutely love the lens. I have a ton of railroad photos taken with it (just not on here because I rarely upload anymore), but it's sharp, with good AF, and a great reach on a full frame (and 960mm equivalent on my backup crop body).

I'll try to remember to post some more shots from it here tonight.

Loyd L.

Noct Foamer 11-07-2017 10:30 PM

For Nikon shooters wanting a long lens at moderate price, the Nikon 200-500mm VR is close to being a no-brainer. It's bigger than what I want though. Tamron is coming out with a new 100-400mm f6.3, a very compact lens. No one has tested it yet, and I'm thinking the f6.3 is often going to be too slow to shoot wildlife. Here's a good run down of mid priced telephoto zooms by Roger Ciacala:

https://www.lensrentals.com/blog/201...00mm-shootout/

I'm still thinking of reselling the 300mm f4 I just bought three days ago, adding the inexpensive but very good Nikon 70-300mm AFP VR dx for travel/mountain hiking, and keep the 80-400mm AFS (for now.) I once owned a Nikon 500mm f4 and do miss its sharpness and f4 speed. I'll add that the older Nikon 300mm f4 AFS is going very cheap on ebay--$400! Very sharp lens, but no VR of course. Coupled with a TC-14e II it's 420mm on a full frame camera. The TC-14e II is also going cheap now that the TC-14e III is out. It's the bargain out there at the moment.


Kent in SD

bigbassloyd 11-07-2017 11:36 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Here's one more from the Tamron Joseph...

Coming down Calumet Hill in East Chicago, Indiana @ 600mm

http://forums.railpictures.net/attac...1&d=1510100874

Loyd L.

Joseph Cermak 11-07-2017 11:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bigbassloyd (Post 192672)
Here's one more from the Tamron Joseph...

Coming down Calumet Hill in East Chicago, Indiana @ 600mm

Wow awesome shot, looks like this lens does well. What body do you use? I currently just have a Nikon D3300.

bigbassloyd 11-08-2017 12:09 AM

Canon 6d / Rebel XS for backup

Loyd L.

ATSF666 11-08-2017 04:41 AM

I'm still happy with my 1st generation Nikon 200-400. Some vignette under certain circumstances, no blob at all in low light.

Noct Foamer 11-08-2017 10:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ATSF666 (Post 192677)
I'm still happy with my 1st generation Nikon 200-400. Some vignette under certain circumstances, no blob at all in low light.


I've been thinking that if I buy a Nikon 70-300mm AFP VR to use as light & compact lens for hiking, that means I don't really have to keep the 80-400mm AFS. I mostly was using it because it's relatively light for a telephoto. It was a compromise. I'm now thinking I can sell it as well and buy something else. The Nikon 200-500mm VR is an outstanding value, but is f5.6. I'm also looking into a used Nikon 500mm f4 (had the earlier version in the late 90s,) a used Nikon 300mm f2.8 VR + TC 1.4x, or a Sigma 150-600mm f5.6 (the Sport, not Contemporary.) I don't photo nearly as much wildlife as I did 20 years ago though, making it hard to justify spending much more than $2,000 on a tele lens. I am somewhat "addicted" to f2.8 lenses though!:-)


Kent in SD


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