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Author Topic: Nikkor Prime FL ED VR Lens Excellence  (Read 11221 times)

Petrus

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Re: Nikkor Prime FL ED VR Lens Excellence
« Reply #20 on: June 23, 2016, 10:18:33 am »

Long lenses dominate the quality lists because it actually is easier to make a long telephoto which gets good scores: no vignetting and no resolution degradation in the corners. The wider the lens gets, the more problems in those areas.
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John Koerner

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Re: Nikkor Prime FL ED VR Lens Excellence
« Reply #21 on: June 23, 2016, 12:52:20 pm »

Long lenses dominate the quality lists because it actually is easier to make a long telephoto which gets good scores: no vignetting and no resolution degradation in the corners. The wider the lens gets, the more problems in those areas.

I am not a lens manufacturer, so I don't know.

But it is impossible to imagine a serious, high-end telephoto lens being "easier" to create to perfection, to get those kinds of stats (including VR and IS) than a simple, all-manual Otus or Leica.
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Petrus

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Re: Nikkor Prime FL ED VR Lens Excellence
« Reply #22 on: June 23, 2016, 02:54:55 pm »

It does not require much optical imagination to understand why wide angles have problems in the corners but long telephotos do not. Quality rating lists just reflect this simple fact. Where is the best 35 or 20 mm Zeiss or Sigma art on those lists?
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Nikkor Prime FL ED VR Lens Excellence
« Reply #23 on: June 23, 2016, 05:07:10 pm »

It does not require much optical imagination to understand why wide angles have problems in the corners but long telephotos do not. Quality rating lists just reflect this simple fact. Where is the best 35 or 20 mm Zeiss or Sigma art on those lists?

Very true. When you see the size of the Otus 28mm f1.4 (I used mine on the D5 last night, my elbow still hurts! :)), you understand the challenge of building a great wide lens.

Besides, another reason why those super tele lenses are so good is that the manufacturers have freed themselves from cost constraints. They basically design the best possible lens and people pay for them because they can see the size and feel the weight and that justifes spending as much as a small car.

Cheers,
Bernard

Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Nikkor Prime FL ED VR Lens Excellence
« Reply #24 on: June 23, 2016, 05:17:55 pm »

... the manufacturers have freed themselves from cost constraints. They basically design the best possible lens and people pay for them...

Sport-covering news organizations are paying for them.

John Koerner

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Re: Nikkor Prime FL ED VR Lens Excellence
« Reply #25 on: June 23, 2016, 06:36:10 pm »

Very true. When you see the size of the Otus 28mm f1.4 (I used mine on the D5 last night, my elbow still hurts! :) ), you understand the challenge of building a great wide lens.

Yeah, but what about the challenges of building a great 300mm to 800mm lens, with zero faults, with VR and AF?



Besides, another reason why those super tele lenses are so good is that the manufacturers have freed themselves from cost constraints. They basically design the best possible lens and people pay for them because they can see the size and feel the weight and that justifes spending as much as a small car.

Exactly.

The cost to buy an Otus is pocket change compared to the cost to buy a super-tele. Why is that I wonder?

Could it be there is not as much to making an Otus as there is to make a 600mm, with nearly the same specs, 7x the reach, plus VR and AF, not to mention programmable, with weather sealing?

Let's also remind the viewer that only 2 Zeiss' very best comprise the top 10, while 4 Nikkor super-telephotos do.

If super telephotos were truly "easier" to make, and yet cost 3x as much, why don't either Zeiss or Leica dare enter this race? :o ;) ;D

Jack
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Nikkor Prime FL ED VR Lens Excellence
« Reply #26 on: June 23, 2016, 06:43:52 pm »

The cost to buy an Otus is pocket change compared to the cost to buy a super-tele. Why is that I wonder?

Could it be there is not as much to making an Otus as there is to make a 600mm, with nearly the same specs, 7x the reach, plus VR and AF, not to mention programmable, with weather sealing?

If super telephotos were truly "easier" to make, and yet cost 3x as much, why don't either Zeiss or Leica dare enter this race? :o ;) ;D

You have money than I do, spending nearly 5,000 US$ on the 28mm f1.4 didn't exactly feel like pocket change. ;)

But on your question, yes those lenses are complex to design and manufacture and Nikon/Canon have developped a unique expertize throughtout the years.

The other guys don't seem to be able to do as well as Zeiss on shorter focal lengths though. My excellent Sigma 35mm f1.4 feels very rough around the edges compared to the Otus.

Cheers,
Bernard

John Koerner

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Re: Nikkor Prime FL ED VR Lens Excellence
« Reply #27 on: June 23, 2016, 07:22:36 pm »

You have money than I do, spending nearly 5,000 US$ on the 28mm f1.4 didn't exactly feel like pocket change. ;)

Ahh, I didn't say was pocket change, per se, but compared to a super-tele ;)

It was no fun spending $5,600 on the 300 mm VR II, and it would take me half a year of saving (over and above my bills, expenses, etc.) to afford a 600 mm at $13,000.


But on your question, yes those lenses are complex to design and manufacture and Nikon/Canon have developped a unique expertize throughtout the years.

It's where they shine; it's what separates NikCanon from the  rest.

Everybody makes 24mm, 50mm, and 85mm lenses ... everybody.

CanNikon makes fine lenses here too ... but they pool their resources in the very crème de la crème ... which is the super-telephoto niche.

Nobody can touch them here.

Only Sony and Sigma have dared try ... and they can't match them.



The other guys don't seem to be able to do as well as Zeiss on shorter focal lengths though. My excellent Sigma 35mm f1.4 feels very rough around the edges compared to the Otus.
Cheers,
Bernard

I don't think they try.

24, 35, 50, and 85mm are "every man's" lenses.

Anyone can make them; in fact, everyone does make them.

But not everyone can make super-telephoto lenses.

Again, if Zeiss could make a 600mm "cheaper" than an Otus, and make 3x as much money, they would.

But they can't and so don't even try.

Zeiss and Leica are good at lens quality, so long as it's kept simple, manual, and within the "every man's" focal lengths.

And they still only split 2 apiece in the top 10 ...

Nikkor lenses comprise 4 of the top 10 in a much more difficult segment ...
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shadowblade

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Re: Nikkor Prime FL ED VR Lens Excellence
« Reply #28 on: June 24, 2016, 04:08:48 am »

Canon 200-400. That's really all there is to it.

Yes, the new Nikon 500/600 are marginally ahead of the slightly less new Canon equivalents. In actual use, you can't tell their output apart, even on the most high-resolution bodies. But the Canon 200-400 is so far ahead of the Nikon 200-400 - doubly so with the inbuilt teleconverter effectively turning it into a 200-560mm lens - and the zoom is so useful and versatile that it swings the whole balance strongly in Canon's favour.

Sure, if you shoot birds, and birds alone, get a Nikon 800 and D500. If you shoot everything from elephants to hyenas, from close range and at a distance, you can't go wrong with a 1Dx2 and 200-400L combination. Throw in a 600 or 800mm lens for those longer shots, but the zoom will give you much more versatility.

If Nikon updated their 200-400, that would change everything. But they haven't done so, and don't show any sign of doing so.

And, if you can't take a sharp action photo with either the D5, 1Dx2, 1Dx, D4, or even 1D3 or D700, the problem isn't with the camera or lens.
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Nikkor Prime FL ED VR Lens Excellence
« Reply #29 on: June 24, 2016, 07:23:57 am »

If Nikon updated their 200-400, that would change everything. But they haven't done so, and don't show any sign of doing so.

Agreed, but that lens is pretty old, it is due for a replacement pretty soon.

If I were Nikon I would come up with a 200-600 f4-5.6 (staying close to f4 till 400mm) that would probably be an even superior piece of kit.

Cheers,
Bernard
« Last Edit: June 24, 2016, 09:10:18 am by BernardLanguillier »
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shadowblade

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Re: Nikkor Prime FL ED VR Lens Excellence
« Reply #30 on: June 24, 2016, 07:55:10 am »

Agreed, but that lens is pretty hold, it is due for a replacement pretty soon.

If I were Nikon I would come up with a 200-600 f4-5.6 (staying close to f4 till 400mm) that would probably be an even superior piece of kit.

Cheers,
Bernard

I suspect that would be technically more difficult than having a teleconverter (or even a few teleconverters - 1.4x and 1.7x or 1.4x and 2x) that can be rotated into position like the chambers in a revolver.

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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Nikkor Prime FL ED VR Lens Excellence
« Reply #31 on: June 24, 2016, 09:11:45 am »

I suspect that would be technically more difficult than having a teleconverter (or even a few teleconverters - 1.4x and 1.7x or 1.4x and 2x) that can be rotated into position like the chambers in a revolver.

True, but I don't see Nikon simply copying Canon, they are too proud for that. ;)

Cheers,
Bernard

shadowblade

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Re: Nikkor Prime FL ED VR Lens Excellence
« Reply #32 on: June 24, 2016, 09:32:32 am »

True, but I don't see Nikon simply copying Canon, they are too proud for that. ;)

Cheers,
Bernard

Fine - make it a 1.5x TC then! Either way, updating the 200-400 - or introducing a different, high-performance supertele zoom (300-800mm would be good) is the only way Nikon can match Canon in the overall, not just birds-only, sports/wildlife supertele stakes, regardless of what it does with primes and AF systems. The utility of a zoom is far too great outside of a controlled shooting environment (e.g. sports field of known size from a fixed shooting location, or when focal length limited where you're always using the longest possible lens anyway).

Anyway, lenses with inbuilt teleconverters were around long before Canon's 200-400.
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Paulo Bizarro

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Re: Nikkor Prime FL ED VR Lens Excellence
« Reply #33 on: June 24, 2016, 09:49:51 am »

True, but I don't see Nikon simply copying Canon, they are too proud for that. ;)

Cheers,
Bernard

They have copied USM and IS for the lenses, and FF for DSLRs, I think pride is out of the equation :) And it is only a matter of time until Canon releases a 24-70 L f2.8 with IS:)

These two have been copying one another for ages now.

BernardLanguillier

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Re: Nikkor Prime FL ED VR Lens Excellence
« Reply #34 on: June 24, 2016, 10:02:33 am »

They have copied USM and IS for the lenses, and FF for DSLRs, I think pride is out of the equation :) And it is only a matter of time until Canon releases a 24-70 L f2.8 with IS:)

VR is a Nikon invention if fact, FF is just a sensor size. USM yes, you are right, but this is a technology, not a product.

Anyway, pure speculation.

Cheers,
Bernard

John Koerner

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Re: Nikkor Prime FL ED VR Lens Excellence
« Reply #35 on: June 24, 2016, 10:16:08 am »

Canon 200-400. That's really all there is to it.

I agree that the Canon 200-400 is the one of the most exciting technologically-advanced lens to come out.

However, it's not as useful as what you're making it out to be.



Yes, the new Nikon 500/600 are marginally ahead of the slightly less new Canon equivalents. In actual use, you can't tell their output apart, even on the most high-resolution bodies. But the Canon 200-400 is so far ahead of the Nikon 200-400 - doubly so with the inbuilt teleconverter effectively turning it into a 200-560mm lens - and the zoom is so useful and versatile that it swings the whole balance strongly in Canon's favour.

Again, I disagree that the range is a catch-all, as 400mm is still pretty short.

Although on an APS-C, the range of 320 - 640 sounds good, the unfortunate truth is the 200-400 lens only has its highest marks at 200mm ... by the time you're on the long-end, 400 mm, its rez scores are at their worst, no longer comparable to a legit 400mm prime, and when you engage a 1x4x extender on it to get to 640, your results aren't nearly as good as what a simple prime + extender are.

To me, what "swings the whole balance" is Nikon's AF system being far more accurate, under any conditions, plus their having better primes, plus their having a better sensor to record everything you shoot with the first two advantages.

Literally everything important is in the Nikon shooter's favor now: the ability to capture (AF = hugely better), the better lens to capture (slightly), the better sensor to capture (by all measures).



Sure, if you shoot birds, and birds alone, get a Nikon 800 and D500. If you shoot everything from elephants to hyenas, from close range and at a distance, you can't go wrong with a 1Dx2 and 200-400L combination. Throw in a 600 or 800mm lens for those longer shots, but the zoom will give you much more versatility.

I actually know someone who shoots bears and such, and he has the 200-400L, but mostly what he uses is the 600mm.
(He probably posts 6-8 shots with the 600mm for every 1 shot he posts with the 200-400, so it's really not as big a deal as what you're making it out to be.)

The truth is, 200-400 isn't a focal length you're going realistically to be shooting lions and hyenas with (especially since the quality diminishes at the long-end).

This is why even the Canon shooter still shoots primarily with his 600mm.

Also, as to your "theoretical suggestion" of carrying both, have you ever tried to carry a 200-400mmL (8 lb) + another long piece of glass, like the 600mm (~ 9 lb) around all day?

Do it sometime and report back to me ;)



If Nikon updated their 200-400, that would change everything. But they haven't done so, and don't show any sign of doing so.

I have actually been thinking about all of this myself, for a very long time.

For what I am interested in, I realized having a Nikkor 300mm + 2x extender, and 2 camera bodies, would give me greater flexibility, greater reach, and greater quality than the 200-400 would.

The way lenses actually work in the field is they are the biggest, and heaviest, pain to deal with. And your tripod is actually mounted to your lens, not your camera.

If you're in the same place all day, shooting from a blind, then switching from one huge lens, to another, isn't a big deal.
However, if you're suggesting to do this while hiking, trust me, it is just not something anyone wants to do (to say nothing of carrying the 2 huge lenses around).

It is simply easier to carry 2 camera backs around, plus an extender or two, with your fixed tele lens remaining mounted on a tripod.

It is easier to let go of your tripod (which nicely stands there, carrying the weight of the lens), take the back off, add an extender, and put the back back-on, than it is to remove the massive lens, store it safely, pull-out another massive lens, and put it on you camera. (Try both ways, on a long hike, and you'll quickly see the light :) )

Anyway, if you do the math, a 300mm on a D810 (plus 2x extender) = 300-600mm range. Quality = better than the Canon equivalent.

If you need the reach, with your tripod/lens in place, it is very easy to remove the camera, slap a D500 on, and you now have 450-900mm range, which is much more useful. And quality = better than the 7D II + 200-400.

In every instance, the Nikon shooter has the better optics, and a better sensor, than anything the the 200-400 Canon can put out, on its comparable cameras, as well as better reach.

And (with the D500) better AF as well.



And, if you can't take a sharp action photo with either the D5, 1Dx2, 1Dx, D4, or even 1D3 or D700, the problem isn't with the camera or lens.

There is truth in this.

Both systems can, and do, take great shots every day.

But we are just "splitting hairs" here, "measurebating" and theorizing in a gear section, not "admiring art" in an art section ;D

Jack
« Last Edit: June 24, 2016, 10:20:05 am by John Koerner »
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NancyP

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Re: Nikkor Prime FL ED VR Lens Excellence
« Reply #36 on: June 24, 2016, 10:59:30 am »

The optical components of a Zeiss Otus lens and a CaNikon f/2.8 or f/4 supertelephoto are likely to be of equal difficulty in manufacturing. The CaNikon supertelephotos have the additional complexities of IS/VR and high-performance autofocus. Those are areas of engineering that Zeiss does not want to bother with as much.

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shadowblade

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Re: Nikkor Prime FL ED VR Lens Excellence
« Reply #37 on: June 24, 2016, 11:12:00 am »

I agree that the Canon 200-400 is the one of the most exciting technologically-advanced lens to come out.

However, it's not as useful as what you're making it out to be.

Again, I disagree that the range is a catch-all, as 400mm is still pretty short.

Although on an APS-C, the range of 320 - 640 sounds good, the unfortunate truth is the 200-400 lens only has its highest marks at 200mm ... by the time you're on the long-end, 400 mm, its rez scores are at their worst, no longer comparable to a legit 400mm prime, and when you engage a 1x4x extender on it to get to 640, your results aren't nearly as good as what a simple prime + extender are.

Go and shoot some wildlife in Africa, or some tigers in the national parks of India. It's amazing how close the wildlife gets.

Sure, there are times when even 800mm on a crop sensor isn't enough. But there are other times when even 200mm on full-frame is too long, and you desperately need to reach for a backup camera with a 70-200 mounted. Not everywhere is open savannah, and not all animal spottings occur at long range. There is a lot of scrubland where a lion or leopard could be hiding ten metres away and you wouldn't know it. You can be shooting warthogs or baboons with a long lens from 50m away when a previously-unseen elephant crashes through the bushes not even 20m in front of you - and it happens often. Tracking tigers in India, you'd almost never need more than 560mm, even for close-up shots of the head; quite often, they're close enough that you need 200mm for a body shot.

Quote
To me, what "swings the whole balance" is Nikon's AF system being far more accurate, under any conditions, plus their having better primes, plus their having a better sensor to record everything you shoot with the first two advantages.

Literally everything important is in the Nikon shooter's favor now: the ability to capture (AF = hugely better), the better lens to capture (slightly), the better sensor to capture (by all measures).

The 1Dx2 is only just out and barely even available. Not sure how it performs. Sure, the D5 beats the crap out of the 1Dx in an AF torture-test (tested this the other day by trying to track a drone flying erratically, against a busy background of buildings and trees, dropping 'chaff' to try to confuse the AF - one of the hardest test subjects you'll ever find). But that's a brand-new camera against a four-year-old model. There'd be something wrong if it didn't kick the crap out of it.

But torture tests against elusive targets deliberately trying to confuse the AF are quite different from actual animals just going about their business without actively trying to give photographers a hard time. I've never had any problems tracking wildlife with the 1Dx either - or the D810, 5Ds, D4 or 5D3, for that matter. If you can't track a pouncing lion with any of those cameras, the problem isn't with the camera.

As for the sensor, we're talking about wildlife and action here. In other words, ISO 400-6400 or thereabouts. Performance at base ISO is irrelevant - there's no point taking a high-DR photo of a blur. Performance at ISO 51200 is also irrelevant - you can't shoot something you can't see, unless you routinely shoot wildlife while wearing night vision goggles. Within the relevant ISO range, the SNR measurements are close enough to be indistinguishable.

Besides, the 1Dx2 uses Canon's new on-sensor ADC and should have much better base-ISO performance than the 1Dx (although the test results are still pending) while the D5 has been tested to be significantly worse than the D4s at base ISO. It's also no better than the A7r2's sensor at high ISO. I'd expect the 1Dx2 to have a better sensor when the test results come out. Not that base ISO performance or super-high ISO performance are relevant in wildlife photography.

Quote
I actually know someone who shoots bears and such, and he has the 200-400L, but mostly what he uses is the 600mm.
(He probably posts 6-8 shots with the 600mm for every 1 shot he posts with the 200-400, so it's really not as big a deal as what you're making it out to be.)

Bears are shy creatures who tend to stay away from humans (polar bears in Churchill being the exception) or be a safe, long distance away (bear viewing in Alaska, or polar bears from a boat or Zodiac in Svalbard). You need long lenses to shoot them. If you're not shooting with a 500mm-or-longer lens, you're probably a bit too close for comfort.

Animals in Okavango, Masai Mara or Serengeti - or tigers and gorillas in forests - are a completely different story.

Quote
The truth is, 200-400 isn't a focal length you're going realistically to be shooting lions and hyenas with (especially since the quality diminishes at the long-end).

Lions, yes. They'll keep on doing what they're doing even if you go up right next to them. Hyenas, probably not - they usually run off.

This is why even the Canon shooter still shoots primarily with his 600mm.

Quote
Also, as to your "theoretical suggestion" of carrying both, have you ever tried to carry a 200-400mmL (8 lb) + another long piece of glass, like the 600mm (~ 9 lb) around all day?

Been there, done that. It's also easier if you have a vehicle or an elephant to carry them.

Quote
I have actually been thinking about all of this myself, for a very long time.

For what I am interested in, I realized having a Nikkor 300mm + 2x extender, and 2 camera bodies, would give me greater flexibility, greater reach, and greater quality than the 200-400 would.

That's a lot of lens switching which you don't necessarily have the time for, and probably don't want to be doing in a dusty or rainy environment, or when balancing on a steep, slippery jungle trail.

If they released a 300mm with inbuilt 1.4/1.7/2.0x TCs in a revolver-type device (like a more extreme version of the 200-400's TC) it would be a lot more interesting.

Quote
The way lenses actually work in the field is they are the biggest, and heaviest, pain to deal with.

And that's why you don't want to have to keep switching them if you don't have to. Hence, a zoom.

Quote
And your tripod is actually mounted to your lens, not your camera.

Obviously.

Although, when shooting wildlife, you're probably using a monopod rather than a tripod.

Quote
If you're in the same place all day, shooting from a blind, then switching from one huge lens, to another, isn't a big deal.
However, if you're suggesting to do this while hiking, trust me, it is just not something anyone wants to do (to say nothing of carrying the 2 huge lenses around).

It is simply easier to carry 2 camera backs around, plus an extender or two, with your fixed tele lens remaining mounted on a tripod.

It is easier to let go of your tripod (which nicely stands there, carrying the weight of the lens), take the back off, add an extender, and put the back back-on, than it is to remove the massive lens, store it safely, pull-out another massive lens, and put it on you camera. (Try both ways, on a long hike, and you'll quickly see the light :) )

Or you can do what I do, and use two cameras and two lenses. At the moment, it's a 1Dx with 200-400L attached, and 5Ds (borrowed) with 800L attached on the other (when focal length limited and shooting wildlife at ISO 400-6400, I find that the extra pixel density of the 5Ds outweighs the better low-ISO performance of the D810 and Nikon 600/800 combination). No need to remove and reattach bodies and teleconverters - and, when in a vehicle or a blind, both are within arm's reach and often firmly clamped to a support, being ready to shoot in any direction instantly.

Naturally, I try not to walk more than a few kilometres with it. But, when shooting wildlife, I generally don't have to - that's why we invented vehicles and ride on mounts. Weekslong hiking trips to shoot landscapes are different.
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John Koerner

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Re: Nikkor Prime FL ED VR Lens Excellence
« Reply #38 on: June 24, 2016, 11:27:58 am »

Those are areas of engineering that Zeiss does not want to bother with as much.

Or can't.

You don't see them making MF long lenses either.
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shadowblade

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Re: Nikkor Prime FL ED VR Lens Excellence
« Reply #39 on: June 24, 2016, 12:14:11 pm »

Or can't.

You don't see them making MF long lenses either.

Who wants a 500mm MF lens?

99% of the time, when using a long lens, you're shooting action. Maybe fast, maybe slow, but still moving.

There's not much point making a MF lens for the other 1% of times where the long lens is being used to shoot a landscape.
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