Nikon 200-500 AF-S VR compared to other lenses

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Nikon 200-500 AF-S VR compared to other lenses

Postby Stany Buyle » Sun 4 Oct 2015 12:21

related topic: :arrow: Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR user review

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When I got my 200-500 AF-S two weeks ago I noticed soon that this lens is amazingly sharp, also wide open...

Image

and a 100% crop:
Image

While I know that enthusiasm can fool human's ability to observe rationally I did (twice (*)) a controlled test where I compared the 200-500 AF-S against the 80-400 AF-S, the sigma 150-600 C and 3 primes: The nikon 300 F4D, the nikon 300F4E FL-VR and the 400mm AF-S VR F2.8.
(*) The repeated test came after the results of the first test seemed too favorable for the 200-500 taking into account the general rule that primes should be (significantly) sharper than a zoom...

I compared them at F5.6 and F7.1.

Test conditions were:

  • Tripod, and special pro tripod for the 400 F2.8
  • AF with LV to avoid possibility of AF fine tuning errors
  • Self timer set at 2 second
  • exposure delay set at 1 sec
  • lighting with softbox
  • Aperture and shutter speed set manually.

Distance to the test target was 5.6 meters.

Image

I cropped each image to the test target outline. You find the full size crops further in this topic.
Size of the target crop depending on the focal, 200, 300, 400 or 500mm...

Image

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Nikon 200-500 AF-S VR vs 80-400 AF-S VR at 400mm and F5.6

Postby Stany Buyle » Sun 4 Oct 2015 12:41

One of the most repeated questions I got after I published my initial Nikon 200-500 AF-S review was how the 200-500 AF-S VR compares to the 80-400 AF-S VR...

Compared two images next to each other in NCNX I got the underneath result. Click on the image to open the full size screenshot.
Image

When I compare 2 100% crops next to each other you get this:

Nikon 200-500 AF-S VR at 400mm and F5.6--------------------------------------------------------------------------- Nikon 80-400 AF-S VR at 400mm and F5.6

Image Image

The image of the 80-400 is a little smaller than the same crop from the 200-500 AF-S VR. This means that the 80-400 at 400mm for images taken at short distance isn't really 400mm. this phenomenon is known as Focus Breathing(**) and also appears with the 70-200 AF-S VR (which is acting more like a 160mm at 200mm...)

To assure you the full exif of both above pictures:

Nikon 200-500 AF-S VR at 400mm and F5.6 - Nikon 80-400 AF-S VR at 400mm and F5.6

Image ........ Image

(**)= What Is Focus Breathing?
Focus breathing is term that is used to describe the change in focal length of a lens that occurs as the focus is going from infinity to minimal focus distance, or the other way.
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Nikon 200-500 AF-S VR vs nikon 300mm F4E-VR-FL at F5.6

Postby Stany Buyle » Sun 4 Oct 2015 13:27

How does the 200-500 AF-S compare to the new nikon 300mm F4E-VR-FL?

Compared two images next to each other in NCNX I got the underneath result. Click on the image to open the full size screenshot.
Image

When I compare 2 heavy 100% crops next to each other you get this:

Nikon 200-500 AF-S VR at 300mm and F5.6
Image

nikon 300mm F4E-VR-FL at F5.6
Image

full exif of both above pictures:

Nikon 200-500 AF-S VR at 300mm and F5.6 - nikon 300mm F4E-VR-FL at F5.6

Image ........ Image
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All files - Nikon 200-500 AF-S VR

Postby Stany Buyle » Sun 4 Oct 2015 13:27

For those people who want to compare more you find here underneath all test images from each lens

Click on each underneath image to open the full size jpeg.

  • Nikon 200-500 AF-S VR at 200mm and F5.6:
    Image
  • Nikon 200-500 AF-S VR at 200mm and F7.1:
    Image
  • Nikon 200-500 AF-S VR at 300mm and F5.6:
    Image
  • Nikon 200-500 AF-S VR at 300mm and F7.1:
    Image
  • Nikon 200-500 AF-S VR at 400mm and F5.6:
    Image
  • Nikon 200-500 AF-S VR at 400mm and F7.1:
    Image
  • Nikon 200-500 AF-S VR at 500mm and F5.6:
    Image
  • Nikon 200-500 AF-S VR at 500mm and F7.1:
    Image

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All files - Nikon 80-400 AF-S VR

Postby Stany Buyle » Sun 4 Oct 2015 14:09

All files - Nikon 80-400 AF-S VR

Click on each underneath image to open the full size jpeg.

  • Nikon 80-400 AF-SVR at 400mm and F5.6:
    Image
  • Nikon 80-400 AF-S VR at 400mm and F7.1:
    Image

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All files - Nikon 300 F4E VR AF-S

Postby Stany Buyle » Sun 4 Oct 2015 14:21

All files - Nikon 300 F4E VR AF-S

Click on each underneath image to open the full size jpeg.

  • Nikon 300 F4E VR AF-S at F5.6:
    Image
  • Nikon 300 F4E VR AF-S at F7.1:
    Image
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All files - Nikon 400 F2.8 VR AF-S

Postby Stany Buyle » Sun 4 Oct 2015 14:35

All files - Nikon 400 F2.8 VR AF-S

Image

Click on each underneath image to open the full size jpeg.

  • Nikon 400 F2.8 VR AF-S at F5.6:
    Image
  • Nikon 400 F2.8 VR AF-S at F7.1:
    Image


:!: :arrow: One more image: The Nikon 400mm VR f 2.8G ED AF-S used wide open

Image
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Nikon 200-500 AF-S VR vs Sigma 150-600 "C"

Postby Stany Buyle » Sun 4 Oct 2015 15:17

Before I got the nikon 200-500 AF-S VR I had the tamron and sigma 150-600 "c"

Image

Here beneath you find the original files of the sigma at 500mm and F6 (not F5.6 like the Nikon)

click on the image to download the full size jpeg.

Image

and at F7.1:

Image

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More testing with 200-500 vs primes on D810

Postby Stany Buyle » Wed 7 Oct 2015 23:11

More testing with 200-500 vs primes on D810- with refined testing method

Image

I got quite a bit reactions and observations on my "200-500 AF-S VR compared to other lenses" - topic.

  • Someone mentioned that the lack of AA filter and significantly more resolution will show more the advantage primes have against a zoom... :arrow: Did the test again with my D810
  • Someone else told me that the results of the test could not be correct because of too slow shutter speed and image blur as a result of that... :arrow: For the new test I used a remote control, self-timer at 10 sec and 3 sec exposure delay mode
  • Another person believed that touching the shutter button would make the camera/lens combo still vibrate after the 2 seconds self timer + 1 second exposure delay mode... :arrow: For the new test I used a remote control, self-timer at 10 sec and 3 sec exposure delay mode
  • Others were very happy with this comparison... :D

All this finally because people can not believe that a relative inexpensive zoom can be nearly as sharp as a much more expensive prime...

While I appreciate the reactions, I did the test again, with my D810, with remote control, with self timer set at 10 seconds and 3 seconds exposure delay mode...
Image Image

For the nikkor AF-S 400mm F2.8E FL VR was using like during the first test a very steady tripod...
Image

The primes I used to compare are the nikor 300mm F4E VR and the AF-S nikkor 400mm F2.8E FL VR...

Image Image
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Re: More testing with 200-500 vs primes on D810

Postby Stany Buyle » Wed 7 Oct 2015 23:12

The results in some crops...

The 200-500 AF-S VR at 300mm and F5.6 compared to the nikkor 300mm F4E FL VR

Image Image

and the 200-500 AF-S VR at 400mm and F5.6 compared to the nikkor AF-S 400mm F2.8E FL VR

Image Image

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Re: More testing with 200-500 vs primes on D810

Postby Stany Buyle » Wed 7 Oct 2015 23:13

And for those people who want to compare more, the original jpegs.

:idea: The images are cropped to the outline of the focus target. Size of the target crop depending on the focal, 300 or 400mm...
Image


Nikkor AF-S 200-500 VR at 300mm and F5.6

Click on the underneath image to download the original file:
Image

Nikkor AF-S 300mm F4E FL VR at F5.6

Click on the underneath image to download the original file:
Image

Nikkor AF-S 200-500 VR at 400mm and F5.6

Click on the underneath image to download the original file:
Image

Nikkor AF-S 400mm F2.8E FL VR at F5.6

Click on the underneath image to download the original file:
Image
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Re: Nikon 200-500 AF-S VR compared to other lenses

Postby admin » Tue 13 Oct 2015 09:47

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Re: Nikon 200-500 AF-S VR compared to other lenses

Postby Stany Buyle » Sun 27 Mar 2016 08:05

Similar findings as mine, the 200-500 AF-S VR is a spectacular lens and a bargain.
Nikon-200-500mm-f5.6E-zoom-vs.-500mm-f4E-prime-lens-comparison on Nikon rumors
kindest regards,

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I like better one good shot in a day than 10 bad ones in a second...
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