Digital Outback Photo
- Photography using Digital SLRs


"Kruger National Park"

<c>Andreas Ebert

At the end of last October I had planned to make a short trip with my family to South Africa. While my wife made it clear that priority one was on vacation, I was finally able to show her the need for some new equipment to relax fully. My local dealer contacted Nikon directly to provide me on departure day ( October 27th) one of those brand new 80-400 VR's and a 300/4 AF-S. Victory! So I went into vacation with my D1 darling, some Microdrives (2x 1GB, 2 x 340MB), and for the wide end a AF 14/2.8, a AF-S 17-35/2.8 and left the AF-S 80-200/2.8 at home. Most of the pictures were taken around Kruger National Park during rainy season, which means seldom rain, but more often cloudy skies. The wildlife is incredible.

One is for sure, I'll come back.


Technical Details

Some notes on my experience with both new lenses:

AF VR 80-400 / 4.5-5.6

1) The long range of the VR is very helpful with animals. I wished I could have an extender which keeps up the VR operation. Not available today.

2) I was pleased by the optical quality of the lens

3) VR is a good technology for long focal ranges. It doesn't help with moving objects like animals at dawn. A higher speed lens, like the 80-200/2.8 should provide better pictures.

4) I fell in love with the speed of the autofocus on the AF-S series. This is clearly a step back with the VR, having no AF-S capabilities.

5) Filter size is 77mm. Great, if you have the whole series of AF-S (17-35,28-80,80-200)

6) Weight is about the same as the AF-S 80-200/2.8, but is better distributed. I think it is due to the shorter barrel.

7)Handling scores goes to the AF-S 80-200

AF-S 300/4

1) I didn't miss the speed and the weight of the AF-S 300/2.8 I carried for such a long time.

2) It uses the same converter like the AFS 80-200. TC14E and TC20-E. Interestingly I was able to use autofocus with the TC-20E (f-stop = 8.0) during daylight all the time.

3) Close-up distance is a mere 1,5m. Very helpful.

4) Subjective picture quality is excellent.

5) Filter size is also 77mm


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