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Thread: Nikon AF-S 500 mm F4G ED VR

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    Default Nikon AF-S 500 mm F4G ED VR

    Looking at upgrading my gear. Currently shooting with a Nikon f4 300mm with TC14 but considering going for a larger lens. I just hope I don't find it too big and bulky to move around. I have read good reports of the 500mm f4 glass form Nikon. Has anybody used with a TC14? Works well? I believe that the VR system is the VRII even if the name of the product is VR... correct? I am considering buying it online... Any retailer on line you recommend? I have seen that topbuy.com.au has competitive prices. Has anybody used this web? Any web you can recommend? Any suggestions about what tripod and ball head to use? Many thanks, Xavier
    Xavier Montaner

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    I am not a Nikon shooter, so I don't even know if they have a VRII at all. All I know is that people who use the VR version of the above lens, which is the first VR in a Nikon Super Telephoto lens regularly get excellent results. The lens is easy to hand hold as well for long periods (for me anyway as I use the Canon equivalent 500/4L IS USM).

    I have personally dealt with Dirtcheapcameras.com.au in Sydney before and found them very helpful and cannot recommend any other online seller. I don't think DirtCheap are a grey importer either. They have this listed at nearly 10K!
    http://www.dirtcheapcameras.com.au/S...Telephoto-Lens
    Man that is expensive for a new 500/4VR in general, but you get what you pay for.

    This is where Canon have the edge so far, with the current 500/4 IS USM at $8,300 so around 1600 bucks less and as good as the Nikon and used you pay 6-7k for a Canon, but that's not your brand, just an observation in general.

    Regarding converter use, I am sure you can get excellent to very good results with a 1.4x (wide open), 2x (wide open) and even stacked (stopped down 1/2 to one stop) if you use the right long lens technique and using the Nikon converters. My friend shoots with a Nikon 600/4VR and will NOT hesitate to put his new Nikon 2x on! I can manage all combos hand held in good light, but the more TCs I have on I would prefer to use a tripod when using slower shutter speeds under 1/250th or so.

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    Nikon Australia won't honour warranties on any lens they don't import you will be relying on the place you buy it off for warranty service as they are the importer if it's a grey market item. You will want the latest 2x, there are a lot of complaints about the poor quality on the nikon 2x compared to the 1.4x on forums, the latest model is better apparently but not as good as Canon, the Canon ones there is never any mention of issues. If it says VR it will be VR, VR-IIs would be labelled as such.

    The nikon's are a lot dearer, there is no doubt. Camera pro in Brisbane has an Australian stock 500mm f4 for $9930, incl 3 yrs bonus warranty. not dealt with them so can't comment on how good they are but they have a storefront in Brisbane.

    Regarding topbuy, it is likely cheaper for a reason, read the fine print and do some googling, for instance:

    http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/1138513

    I had a poke around the site and they are not very clear on where the stock is coming from, if you read the post above they talk about stuff being shipped from Hong Kong, in which case you'll be stung for GST and import duty on top for this item as it's over $1000 value. Probably end up being near $9K once you get stung for GST (on item plus postage) plus customs charges plus Fedex's gouging to clear it for you.

    This is from the warranty returns section:
    "For defective or faulty products you have the options of contacting the Manufacturer's service centres directly or contact TopBuy so we can get the item back from you and forward to the service centre. If you are unsure about availability of manufacturer service network, please contact us and we will advise you."

    They're first approach for a warranty issue is likely to be take it to Nikon and act all surprised when Nikon won't touch it. No Thanks if you ask me.
    Last edited by ChrisRoss; 20-08-2011 at 06:10 PM.
    Chris Ross
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    Regarding selecting a place to buy from you really need to read the fine print, for instance buried deep in the terms and conditions on one parallel importer's site is this:

    "The price for the goods shall, unless otherwise agreed, be the price set out on the dispatch confirmation. The price for the goods quoted on the website shall be exclusive of all costs of carriage and insurance and applicable import Tax/GST and duty which the buyer shall pay in addition for further information regarding this please see the Australian Customs Web Site. Shipping and insurance costs are calculated at checkout."

    So the Nikon 500mm f4 they have priced at $8386 plus shipping becomes $9224 before you even add the clearance charges and shipping/insurance ($274) from Hong Kong plus the GST on top of that. So the delivered price is about $9674. It'll be sent Fedex and you are stuck with their clearance charges ($50 -$100) on top of customs charges . So that bargain doesn't save you nearly as much as you were thinking.
    Chris Ross
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    Hi Xavier,
    www.camerasdirect.com.au is a very good online store! I had some issues with a memory card and they promptly replaced it (they may sing a different tune if it's an expensive lens)! They are located on the Gold Coast and also has a shop front! You will get the stuff you order the next day! Not sure if they're a grey importer!

    I was also upgrading my gear a few months ago and was deciding between the 500 f4 vr and the 200-400 f4, I ended bying the latter as it is a bit more flexable, especially for the larger mammals! It works really well with the 1.4xTC and I barely notice a loss in image quality the 500 would have better image quality IMO. Gerard Sutherly a forum member (hope the spelling is correct) is using the lens you're looking at, maybe pm him...
    Aus list 632 (Powerful Owl, Callala Bay, NSW, 01-05-2014, finally thanks Matt!)
    Year list 159 (Powerful Owl, Callala Bay, NSW, 01-05-2014)

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    Heyn, Xavier, Cameras direct is a direct importer, their warranty policy:

    "All products sold by CamerasDirect are covered by an Australian Warranty. This can be either the Manufacturers warranty or a CamerasDirect Warranty depending on the products origin."

    They want $10,250 for a 500mm, not in stock and back ordered. Camera Pro have one in stock at $9930, digi direct want $10,349, not clear on stock situation. With the earthquake/tsunami in Japan a lot of Nikon product is back ordered as their facility was damaged in the quake so a lot of stuff is currently in short supply.

    Based on the prices above, the suppliers who have Australian warranty stock have dropped prices to near enough match the legitimate grey importers who advertise a price including GST. Which brings you back to the golden rule on the internet, if it seems to good to be true it probably is, for anything significantly undercutting the prices above. It's all a matter of how much an Australian Warranty is worth to you, in this case the price is about 1% of the items purchase price or less.
    Chris Ross
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    Xavier, I took the same path that you are considering. The Nikkor 500mm f/4 VR is a big lens, and I initially chose it over the 600mm out of a concern that the 600mm would be too big. Even though I sometimes yearn for more reach I'm happy with the 500mm for its flexibility. I couldn't handhold a 600mm for flight shots and it would be limiting when I travel overseas..

    The Nikon AF-S 500 mm F4G ED VR does actually employ VR11. Read Thom Hogan's article on VR it is very informative. In my opinion it takes the 1.4 TC., with very little loss in IQ. I have the 1.4 TC., attached 99% of the time.

    If you are going to spend $10,000 + on a lens don't skimp on the tripod and head. I use the Mongoose Gimbal Head and a Gitzo tripod, which offers light weight flexibility without compromising strength.

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    I was considering to not comment on the Mongoose head thinking it's half the price of a Wimberley. From what I found it's the same. Knowing the fact that to use good long lens technique it's important to put pressure over the lens foot area when shooting, I would seriously consider the Wimberley MkII head for the same price as it is not side mounted and at the end of the day it's the best head on the market. I recently bought my first super tele, the Canon 500/4L IS, and never even looked at anything but the Wimberley MkII head. Pressure is all in one direction (down) and not side-on as in the Mongoose. Of course that's not saying the Mongoose is bad, since many overseas wildlife photographers appear to use them, but to me it's the same as buying a very expensive super telephoto lens and slapping an inferior third-party Kenko or other converter on it. I think other than the side-mount issue of the Mongoose, the only other difference I can think of is that it's a little lighter than a Wimberley MkII. Cheers

    PS. You should talk with Chris Martinez (Chris M). I am pretty sure he uses a Wimberley MkII. IF you were in Sydney, I could happily let you try mine.

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    Another vote for the Wimberley II head. The side mount put me off the Mongoose but I believe there is now an adaptor for a base mount on the Mongoose.

    Also customer service from Wimberley is 1st rate.
    Cheers,
    Geoff


    reposts welcome

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    Mongoose vs Wimberley risks becoming a Nikon vs Canon contest. There have been countless discussions on the pros and cons on other photography forums. They are both well designed for the job. I think the Wimberley is probably a bit more robust, however the weight and size of the mongoose head was the deciding factors for me. I'm not sure what the issue is with the side mount on the Mongoose. You can still apply downward pressure on the lens as suggested by goods longs lens technique. One big difference is the Wimberley flash bracket system is superior to the Mongooses flash arm.
    In the ideal world I would own both, use the mongoose when weight and size is an issue and use the Wimberley for all else.

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    I was certainly not trying to create a "this is better than that" contest. For me the 1.4kg weight of the Wimberley MkII is no issue, even though it weighs a lot more than the Mongoose 3.6 (approx 675g or 0.675kg for the Mongoose). I never even knew that Mongoose have flash brackets. The Wimberley flash bracket system is the best out there on the market and most bird shooters will want to use a flash sooner or later so there is already a big advantage in having the MkII head. I make all comments based on my personal experience or preferences. I never liked the idea of the side mounting since I cringe at the thought of it not being able to properly support weight, even though it appears to do just fine from what I see online. I know many people use the Mongoose heads, and that's fine, each to their own. Whatever you buy in the end is yours to use Xavier. Just enjoy it! In parting, I guess the Mongoose is far better than those cheap Wimberley copies you buy from India on E-bay.

    Sorry, missed the tripod bit. I bought a Feisol tripod direct from the USA. It was about 2/3 of the price of a Gitzo of the same specs. I have only heard a couple of complaints about this brand in all honesty, one from a member here. I hardly use the tripod anyway as I prefer hand holding, even with a 2x on. My model is the CT-3372. Also, forget the ball head! Just does not cut it for a super tele.
    Last edited by Ákos Lumnitzer; 23-08-2011 at 02:47 PM.

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    The Nikon lenses have a very high lens foot, which will either make it difficult or impossible to adjust the height of the platform on a Wimberley to place the vertical centre of gravity in line with the altitude pivot point. On a side mount this means that the centre of gravity will not necessarily be cented over the pivot point. In this case it will still balance but won't be as stable as it otherwise could be.

    The solution is a replacement foot which will have a much lower profile and also include a built in Arca Swiss dovetail. Sold by Really right stuff and 4th gen designs among others.
    Chris Ross
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    Many thanks guys. This is very useful info. I have considered the Nikon 200 -400 but I already own a Nikon 300mm f4. So I thought the combination of the 300mm f4 and 500mm f4 would be ideal. Cheers... Xavier
    Xavier Montaner

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    Any users out there of a Nikon 500mm f4? Getting info about this lens and it some webs comes as VR and in other as VRII... Can anybody assist? Thanks, Xavier
    Xavier Montaner

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    I think for you to get the ultimate answer, you need to give Nikon a call and they will tell you. Don't always believe what you see or read on the web.

    However, if I may suggest; in the end the version of VR should not really matter. It has VR so whether it can "help" gain two or three or four stops makes no huge difference. Your ability to be able to use it properly WILL make ALL the difference. VR, VRII or no VR. Look at Paul Randall's shots with a Canon 600mm non-IS lens.

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