Nikon 80-400 Update

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Image above from trip to Ireland.

So I have been using my Nikon VRII f4.5-5.6 80-400 quite a bit since it arrived (70-200 is crying from neglect on my shelf while I explore my new lens). It has travelled around the Southern Appalachians, the Cumberland Plateau, Death Valley and Ireland. I love having the ability to reach out to 400 mm without carrying my 200-400 or putting a 2x converter on my 70-200. The VR function works well. The size is about the same as my 70-200 (at least length and weight, it is a bit fatter around the middle). It takes 77mm filters. The focus appears to be accurate and also quick ( SLOW focus is the reason I owned the first version of this lens for 2 weeks before getting rid of it).

With everything it has going for it to be a first class lens, why in the world did Nikon put a piece of crap tripod collar on it. It’s like they had their top engineers work on the lens and sourced out the support to a new engineering intern ( not to knock engineering interns because I have 2 sons doing that right now). But there is a lot to be said for experience. The collar is so dysfunctional, that I haven’t been able to do some of my creative shots where I move the lens by rotation and use multiple exposure. Sure, you could do it, but the collar made it so difficult and imprecise, it was a exercise in futility. The support was also not up to holding accurate placement of the lens. If you were adjusting the composition by holding on to the barrel of the lens and then let go, there is enough flex in the support for the lens to drift downwards and really mess with your precise composition.. Really Nikon?! This was the best your could do? Well, if it wasn’t for problems like this Really Right Stuff ( and Kirk Enterprises) probably wouldn’t have the robust businesses they have. I knew it wouldn’t be long before Joe Johnson at Really Right Stuff would have a solution. I’m just disappointed that my new collar came in the week after I returned from Ireland. The RRS tripod collar for the new Nikon 80-400 makes it a dream lens to use. Collar is to replace and smooth in use and holds my lens steady and firmly..

Here is a picture of the RRS vs Nikon Collars.BMC_20130612DSCN1284

You can see that the RRS collar on the left is more substantial..

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The rotation release knob is per usual standards of RRS, kinda like what you would expect from Mercedes!

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It also comes with a removable foot with a Arca Swiss dovetail built in.

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And small set/stop screws so your lens won’t inadvertently slip out of tripod grip.

And this is what I can do with a properly working tripod collar, creatively.

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I will be posting more images from Ireland and stayed tuned for details on Tours to Ireland for 2014!

 

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