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Oh those conundrums of lenses lenses lenses ..........
Well some time has passed since I received the Nikkor AF-S 600mm F4E FL VR lens in a repaired condition ....... so I just wanted to make some comments about the lens.
Obviously it is heavy at 3.8 Kgs, however, it's not so front heavy and the balance is acceptable .... I'd been having trouble with my left wrist and while the lens was being repaired I left my wrist to rest and took medication, it's better but still not right, nonetheless I can hand hold for birds in flight as long as their flight is stable....... this is not a lens to catch skittish bird in flight shots, too much mass to move.
It's no surprise that the lens itself feels, well ...... wonderful and solid ..... being made in molded magnesium.
The lens-hood is superb, with a proper flange that sits on the lens squarely first time every time (unlike the 500 F4D)..... in carbon fiber with a rubber protection buffer at the hood's end .......... don't ever lose this hood, as Nikon want nearly $600 for a replacement ..ouch!
The tripod foot is just a disappointment, with the D500, first it has no swiss arca slot ........and it needs a swiss arca plate 15 cms long to get balance, which means 3cms in front of the end of the foot, now I know the D3/D4/D5 are heavier cameras but the D500 is a Nikon pro camera .... and it can't balance without a long clunky swiss arca plate? at the price point of the lens this is poor, there have been a few Nikon lenses where the tripod foot has been under engineered.
The 500mm PF has one that drops the lens and camera on the ground when you hold it by the foot ...... complaints about the 200-500mm ...... the 80-400mm .......

What is it about tripod feet that Nikon cannot get their heads around? ......

On the plus side, the top of the foot is round and fits the hand well when carrying/camera and lens by it.

RRS substitute tripod feet are super expensive ($225 and it still isn't long enough) .... RRS have found a nice niche market making practical replacement accessories for poorly designed OEM parts ....... and don't get involved in competing with the cheap Chinese world ........ clever!
The tripod collar on the other hand is ball raced and rotates very nicely (feeling of rolling balls), this is so much better than the earlier systems of just a piece of plastic sheet in between the collar and the barrel, collecting dirt dust and quickly becoming stiff and jerky. (crappy)
The lens is weather sealed which in my view is essential, not necessarily for water ingress but for sand, grit and dust, which is what is here in abundance, the G2 frequently has a line of super fine dust where the zoom seals have swept the dirt forward preventing it from entering the lens, the 500mm F4D hasn't sealing and is full of dust ...... there are too many gaps in that lens .... everywhere.

The carrier's filter does not rotate without removing the carrier and rotating the filter manually, so polarizers would be a fiddle.

The VR now works great and the viewfinder image is nice and stable as long you don't tremble too much, it also can follow panned BIF in normal mode without seemingly blurring the image, when you quickly grab a passing bird. .......... it also does come with an action setting.
Blindingly fast and accurate.
The lens has only one focus limiting setting 10mts- infinity........ or Full.
The lens has a MFD of 4.4 mts which is not that close for small birds .......... the G2's MFD is 2.2 mts and can fill the frame with a small bird APSc.
The lens also comes with a selection of additional memory focus buttons ...... I've had a play with them ...... but came to the conclusion that they were primarily intended for pianists ....... too complicated in the heat of the moment.
That's the second time I've bought a F4 FF tele lens right in the middle of a heat wave (when temperatures are 30-38°) ...... these lenses produce soft images in that sort of heat ..... and I mean very soft images, you are reduced to very early morning shoots at medium distances or birds at less than 8-10 meters, the golden evening hour is still way too hot ..... this means very limited usage.
In these conditions it's easy to think the lens has a problem, but I had the issue before, so it was down to getting as close as possible and/or waiting for the heat to calm down ...... finally it has ..... at the same time as the birds have all but disappeared. Smile
However, when you get stable air, sharpness is excellent as you would expect, from wide open at F4 with all the fine details of birds hairs and stuff that would otherwise be lost or vague with the Tamron.
Basically none.

This is one area where most telephoto lenses trip up, even the expensive ones ..... I've had the Bigma, the Tamron G1/G2, the Sport, the AF-S 500mm F4D and now the F4E FL ........ all of those have "nisen" bokeh ..... (doubling of edges) . At the price I was hoping this lens would be an exception, but the F4E isn't ...... and scrub ground/ bushes produce a "mish mash" fore/background with gritty interference patches looking thoroughly busy and not pretty..... it's best to shoot wide open in those circumstances, framing out those foregrounds by shooting low..... so my habits of passing the PS adjustment brush with sharpness set to minimum to reduce the busyness, still remain!
Subject separation is excellent and backgrounds at more than 20-30mts melt nicely, leaving the subject standing out in shear sharp relief, creating plenty of 3D pop .......
Fringing is at a minimum when the light is "not" coming from too high an angle ..... in fact it only really happens when the sun is high in the sky on a white bird against a dark background, there you can see blue fringing above the birds head and yellow below ....
Generally given good light shinning on the subject, there is no fringing at all, no matter how close you look.
This where the D500's sensor is transformed, the G2 does fairly well, but given my standard settings of Man. 1/1600 sec. at F8, there's limited amount of light hitting the sensor, so ISOs of 400-800 are common in auto ISO. Up till now I have been juggling/struggling with ISO, shutter speed and aperture trying to get a low noise image ...... all of a sudden the D500 becomes a low noise camera, as if you are using standard bright lenses ..... shooting the G2 at F8 is two stops darker, now I'm often shooting at base ISO and the images are super clean ........ for some reason the F4E overexposes by 1/2 a stop.
The flight case:
This replaces those clunky old wooden boxes which really had no use other than storing the lens at home, most ended up in the loft ...... I think Nikon borrowed the idea from scarlet felt lined jewelry boxes ....... it's replaced by a very nice and practical "flight case" something which will serve well in the airplane's hold.

Overall, this lens is a much different proposition to the G2, the G2 is cheap, light, sharp and manageable, but most of all versatile, so when the air is not so good you can shoot at 150-250mm and still get sharp shots ...... or zoom out when the subject get nearer ........
......... with the F4E in those situations, you might as well leave the lens at home and just bring the Tamron.

So, no great images with it yet ....... fingers crossed that the birds will turn up![email protected]/

600mm F4E images are marked ....... FL
Dave's clichés

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RE: Oh those conundrums of lenses lenses lenses .......... - by davidmanze - 10-07-2019, 09:55 AM

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