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BIRDS AS ART ON-LINE BULLETIN #35, NOVEMBER 7, 2000

JOE McDONALD'S COMMENTS ON HIS SWITCH FROM NIKON TO CANON
&
MOOSE PETERSON'S MOOSE NEWS ON THE NIKON 80-400 VR LENS

The following details Joe McDonald's reasons for switching from Nikon to Canon.  His comments are presented here in full and without comment. 
 
"There were several compelling reasons for our switching from Nikon to Canon.
> They may be compelling to you, as well, but before you panic and consider
> the switch for yourself, let me stress that both systems are excellent.
> Although years ago I started shooting with Canon, I switched to Nikon when
> Mary and I got together, since I had earlier convinced her to go Nikon! At
> that time, Canon's EOS system was still in its infancy, and they were
> basically coming out with an upgraded camera body every few months. None of
> those bodies were especially good, and a photographer could have gone broke
> upgrading to the latest each time. Once the EOS 1N and 1N RS came out,
> things stabilized, and the EOS system came into its own.
>
> Over the last several years I became an advocate of EOS, recommending this
> system to our photo course participants even though I was still shooting
> Nikon. People were amused by this contradiction, but I explained that if you
> were a Minolta or Pentax shooter and thinking of switching, Canon's EOS
> offered far more than did Nikon. For reasons I'll soon explain. Last year,
> after a final straw broke my camera's back, and with the availability of
> ebay for selling my old gear, we decided it was time to practice what we
> were preaching, and we too made the switch.
>
> Our reasons for advocating EOS are multiple. Technology-wise, I think EOS
> has been, and will continue to be, ahead of the game. Canon is an enormous
> company, and has the working capital to invest and experiment, and to come
> up with neat, new gadgets. Nikon is a much smaller company and, for the most
> part, plays catch-up. However, I did love the NIKON F5, and I wouldn't be
> surprised if true side-by-side tests may show that the predictive autofocus
> on the F5 is more accurate than any offered by EOS. That's a great thing,
> but not enough to keep me from switching.
>
> On a personal level, I already had a mini-EOS system. We own three EOS 1N
> RSs, which I use for high-speed flash and shutterbeam work. The RS has the
> FASTEST RESPONSE TIME, the shortest lag time, of any 35mm camera. When a
> camera tripper, like a Shutterbeam or PhotoTrap is triggered, the RS
> responds in 6ms, or about 1/180th sec. That's fast enough that a flying bird
> will only travel an inch or two before the camera fires, so if a composition
> is designed so that there's a bird's body length's space, you'll catch it in
> the frame. Nikon's lag time is somewhere between 1/10th and 1/30th of a
> second, which translates into quite a distance before the shutter fires. To
> go along with our RSs we had a 35-350mm zoom, a 70-200 2.8 zoom, and 12,
> 25mm extension tubes and 1.4X and 2X tele-converters. Almost a core system!
>
> We also shoot with a Canon XL-1 dv video camera, and it takes the Canon EOS
> lenses. It made sense for us to consider having a larger variety of EOS
> lenses to use with the video camera, as well as with our 35mm camera. So, we
> had another reason.
>
> But that probably would not have been enough, NOR would those reasons be of
> any real interest to you or anyone else. Here's the other reasons, and why
> these might be of interest to you. 1. The EOS lens mount and electronic
> aperture. 2. Lens variety. 3. Excellent tele-converters. 4. Electronic
> Mirror lockup. 5. IS, image-stabilization, technology. 6. Intelligent
> Multiple-exposure options. 7. Depth of field preview. 8. 45 focusing points
> and eye-control. 9. NPS vs CPS service.
>
> Our reasons for switching were based upon the pro models offered by both
> systems (Nikon F5 and N90, and now the F100, and Canons 1N RS and EOS 3). We
> weren't, and are not, concerned about other models, like Nikons 6006 or EOSs
> 10s or Elan, so our evaluation was based upon cameras wed own, not
> advertising hype or promo. In other words, were not trying to sell you on a
> basic camera line, but we have great thoughts about the EOS 3.
>
> 1. The EOS lens mount and electronic aperture. Canon lost me as a FD mount
> user (that's when I switched to Nikon) when they introduced this system.
> However, time has proven them right, me wrong, and I'm back with Canon. The
> electronic aperture is more reliable than Nikons mechanical aperture, where
> the lens closes down via a lever on the camera body that activates a lever
> in the lens that closes the aperture. With Nikon, when you fire, or when you
> use the depth of field preview button (if that Nikon camera has one!), the
> camera body lever pushes the lens aperture lever and the aperture closes.
> Unless you use the depth of field preview button you wont see this happen,
> so WHETHER OR NOT the pin is working is a matter of faith.
>
> Sometimes it does not! Over the years I have lost parts of several shoots
> when these levers did not couple correctly. According to the camera, with
> full aperture metering, everything looked OK and seemed to be OK, but in
> fact, the aperture wasn't closing down. Consequently, if I wasn't shooting
> wide-open, I was overexposed by whatever f-stop number I was down from
> maximum aperture! So, for example, if I was shooting at f8 and I was using a
> F2.8 lens, I'd be overexposed by three stops!
>
> Last March I was filming eagles in Alaska in a perhaps once-in-a-lifetime
> opportunity. Luckily, I periodically check my aperture and my depth of field
> preview button, and as I did so three days into the trip I discovered that
> my 300mm F2.8 lens was not closing down! When Id mount the lens on the
> camera for the first time, everything seemed to work, and checking the DofF
> button confirmed this. However, if I checked it again, I found it did not.
> Instead, once the aperture closed down, the aperture stuck! The camera
> didn't sense this and indicated all was well.
>
> Now, three days into the trip, I had to wonder, when did this happen? Had I
> ruined my first three days of shooting, in the best light? I didn't know,
> and would not, until I got home. Luckily, little film was ruined. I caught
> it in time.
>
> To fix it, I had to wedge a piece of wood into the aperture pin gap to keep
> the pin from going too far and jamming. When I got home, I had the lens
> repaired.
>
> This problem cannot happen with the EOS electronic aperture.
>
> 2. Lens variety. Canon has 3 tilt-and-shift lenses; Nikon now has one.
> Canons offer all standard features, except autofocus; while Nikons 85mm TS
> lens has an antiquated preset aperture. Absurd. EOS offers a unique 65mm 5:1
> macro lens, which I have mixed feelings about, but still represents a
> wonderful option. The new IS technology is spectacular, and will be covered
> later.
>
> More importantly, perhaps, are the zoom options available.  Our systems
> include a lot of zooms. My kit is this: 17-35mm, 35-350mm, and the 400 2.8
> with converters. Mary's kit is: 20-35, 28-135, and 100 to 400, plus a 500mm
> f4.5 and converters. She is fine-tuning her system, and will be using a
> 300mm 2.8 IS lens with a 1.4X and 2X tele-converter for trips, to shave weight.
>
> Mary chose the older 500 F4.5 over the new IS 500 F4 because the new lens
> weighs 2-3 pounds more, and weight was a real concern. The 4.5 is much
> lighter and easier for her to handle, and I suspect well probably sell that
> lens, eventually, as she shoots more and more with the 300 IS and the
> converters. We have A LOT of faith in the converters, as you'll see below.
>
> 3. Excellent tele-converters. Although I used a 1.4X frequently, and with
> complete confidence, on my Nikon lenses, I was never confident with the 2X
> converter. Photo friends of mine swear by the 2X when coupled with a 300mm
> 2.8 lens, and I've used that combo, but I never felt that my louped slides
> were truly RAZOR sharp. They lacked something, and I think that was the
> definitive sense of sharpness.
>
> Also, I've been annoyed that Nikons converters don't work with all lenses.
> Lenses shorter than 200mm required one converter (which I never bought),
> lenses above that required another. Then, autofocus lenses required still
> another converter, which wouldn't work with non AF lenses! I was annoyed at
> this constant nickel-and-diming.
>
> I gambled when I purchased my EOS system, relying on the sworn words of
> discerning friends who claimed that the 2X converter was razor sharp with
> certain lenses. I can attest to that my 2X, when coupled with my 400mm F2.8,
> is absolutely RAZOR SHARP. It is at least as sharp (to a Schneider 8X loupe)
> as my Nikon prime lenses. The combo is wonderful.
>
> This leads to another question many folks have had why did I choose the
> 400mm F2.8 over other EOS lenses.
>
> Again the reason for this was multi-faceted. Because of our frequent air
> travels, we were beginning to worry about airline carry-on luggage
> regulations and weight limitations. For our trips to Alaska or to Africa,
> for example, I packed both a 300mm F2.8 and a 600mm F4. With my 1.4X Nikon
> tele-converter, I then had 300 2.8, 420mm f4, 600mm f4, and 840mm f5.6
> combos, but lugging two rather substantial lenses.
>
> With a 400mm F2.8 I was able to bridge the gap between a 300mm 2.8 and a 600
> F4 with just one lens. If I needed lens speed, and I often do, I had it at
> 2.8 with the straight 400. Granted, I was losing a 300 by now only having a
> 400 for my minimum focal length, but I could get around that by either
> adding a 1.4X to my 70-200 F2.8 (to make a 280mm F4 lens), or by using my
> 35-350 or 100-400 zooms. So, the loss of the 300 was inconsequential to me.
>
> More importantly, when I added converters to the 400, I had amazing options.
> With a 1.4X I had a 560mm F4 lens, just 40mm short of my Nikon 600mm F4
> lens. I could live with the loss of 40mm to eliminate the weight of another
> big lens. And, with the 2X, I had an 800mm F5.6 lens, just 40mm shy of the
> 840mm F5.6 lens I had using the 600mm F4 with a 1.4X.
>
> Of course, I didn't have 1,200mm (600mm and 2X), but I rarely used this, and
> did so almost exclusively for sunset shots where distant trees and huge suns
> were combined. I did not use the 2X with my 600 for quality portraiture, it
> didn't measure up. In my work, 840mm was my usual maximum, and I now had
> this again with the 400mm and 2X tele-converter.
>
> The one disadvantage to the 400mm F2.8 lens is the weight, which is about
> equal to that of their 600mm F4. EOS has shaved nearly three pounds off
> each, which helps, and is a real advantage over Nikons line, but the lens is
> still heavy. Some photographers weigh the weight option and choose the 600mm
> over the 400, opting for maximum reach potential. However, doing so
> eliminates the possibility of tapping into speed (the 400s 2.8) when speed
> is needed.
>
> Further, and perhaps most important, the 400 has a minimum focusing distance
> of 3 meters (from the film plane), which translates into about 8 feet from
> the front of the lens! The 600, in contrast, is 17 feet. So, add a 2X to the
> 400mm and you have an 800mm lens that focuses to 8 feet, while adding a 1.4X
> to the 600 you have a 840mm lens that focuses to 17 feet, or less if you use
> extension tubes. I don't need the tubes!
>
> To point out the glory of this arrangement, in Arizona recently I had a
> tarantula hawk wasp (about 2.5 inches long) drinking at our bird waterhole.
> I got half-size imagery, a composition I would have chosen with any lens
> combo available to me, by simply moving to minimum focus and shooting with
> the 800mm. I could not have done so with a 600mm and a 1.4X without adding
> extension tubes as well.
>
> My 400mm is a super zoom, a 400, a 560, and an 800, and I juggle converters
> for the image size I need. And, believe me, the 2X is sharp. Mary's super
> zoom will be the 300 2.8, 420mm F4, and 600mm F5.6, so shell be compromised
> only by losing the 700mm she had when she added a 1.4X to her 500mm, but now
> shell have eye-control AF at all focal lengths.
>
> The tele-converters work with all lenses, so I can use the 1.4X or the 2X
> with my 90mm TS lens to have a 180mm TS macro lens, and they work
> excellently with the 70-200 2.8, too. I won't use converters with the
> 35-350, and Id think twice about using the 1.4X with the 100-400 and WOULD
> NOT use a 2X with that lens. But, the converters are excellent, and only one
> set is needed for any or all lenses.
>
> 4. Electronic Mirror Lockup. Different EOS bodies have different ways to
> accomplish this, but with the EOS 3 we simply activate custom function 12-1
> and the mirror locks up at the first trigger, whether that's by depressing
> the shutter button or pressing a remote switch the first time. The second
> time the trigger is activated the shutter fires and the mirror returns. With
> the RS, there is no mirror issue; it's a pellicle mirror (a two-way mirror).
> I use it when I want to see what my flash is doing, for example, when
> shooting hummingbirds where I can see where the wings are at the moment of
> the exposure (if the light is dim enough).
>
> The big thing about the electronic mirror lockup is this: I do not have to
> touch the camera body and possibly move the camera when locking up the
> mirror. Only Nikons top pro cameras have mirror lockup, and it is activated
> by depressing the DofF button and flipping a not-too-easy to reach lever to
> lock up the mirror, and to bring it back down, later. That's not much of a
> problem if a camera is tripod mounted, but it sure is if you're balancing a
> big lens on a bean bag where the effort involved in flipping the mirror
> could shift the cameras position. That cannot happen with the EOS cf function.
>
> I also like the fact that the mirror returns down after each shot, since it
> allows me to check to make sure the subject hasn't moved, or grass or other
> obstructions haven't shifted and now block my subject (a common problem when
> doing macro).
>
> There is no reason I can think of why Nikon hasn't incorporated this feature
> into their bodies. It would allow them to offer mirror lockup in other
> bodies, and it would solve many user headaches. Other EOS bodies have mirror
> lockup options via CF functions that may negate default functions, should
> you choose to use it.
>
> 5. IS, image-stabilization, technology. A top pro recently knocked IS
> technology, saying that if you use a tripod you don't need it. Not quite
> true, and for several reasons. One, the latest IS lenses work on a tripod
> (the 300 2.8, 400 2.8, 500 4, and 600 4), and this is a MAGNIFICENT
> advantage, since it allows me to use a big lens on rickety, bouncing
> platforms or walkways (the boardwalk at Corkscrew Swamp, for example), or
> from a boat, and in heavy, buffeting winds, or with a lighter weight,
> formerly insubstantial tripod, that can now handle an IS lens.
>
> I am crazy about this technology and these lenses. I have never been so
> excited about glass. This IS stuff really, really works.
>
> With other IS lenses, the IS will be handy when, indeed, hand-holding or
> bracing is the only option. Never shoot from a tripod? Well, try shooting
> from a whale boat, or a canoe, or at a garden where tripods are not allowed.
> Mary so loves her 100-400 and 28-135 IS that she insists I have my own set
> for our 10 days of whale shooting in Alaska this summer, where shooting off
> a tripod is impossible, and zooms are extremely handy for the unpredictable
> working distances common to whale photography.
>
> 6. Intelligent Multiple-exposure options. The 3 and the RS have ME dials that
> allow you to shoot up to 9 frames on a single frame, or more if you simply
> redial another 9 each time you get to the last frame of a ME sequence. The
> Nikon F5 had two options, either a double exposure, or a continuous ME
> sequence where you can keep shooting the same frame until you clear that CF
> function. I stopped using the CF when I forgot to clear it, and shot nearly
> a roll of roadrunners on the same frame, number 21! I didn't catch it until
> I stupidly pondered why I hadn't needed to change film yet! Duh!
>
> I believe other EOS bodies have ME option, but that's moot. You'd want an
> EOS 3 or RS.
>
> 7. Depth of field preview. On the 3 and RS there's a button for this. Other
> EOS bodies may have CF options. It's nice to know that you can get DofF
> preview on other bodies somehow, if you need it.
>
> I would not own a camera that did not have DofF preview. Period.
>
> 8. 45 focusing points and eye-control. Nikon F5s Cross pattern focusing
> sensors was a major advancement over other cameras, until the 3. Although
> it'd have been great to have an even larger area of the screen covered with
> focusing points, the ones offered pretty much cover all Points of Power.
> Skeptics might wonder why you need so many (well, in fact, we only use 11,
> scattered around the screen, in one of the 3s CFs), but the reality is, if
> they're there, you'll use them, and THEY OFFER A MAJOR ADVANTAGE FOR
> COMPOSING and quick focusing to get the subject in focus where you want it
> to be.
>
> Even EOS 3 users knock eye-control, and admittedly I've had problems with
> mine off and on, especially when I'm holding the camera body in a vertical
> composition. However, when I take the time to recalibrate the 3, and do so
> for several different lenses, I've found eye-control fast and reliable, and
> IT MAKES A BIG DIFFERENCE for speedy focus where you need it to be.
>
> In fact, unless Canon gives me a 1V (not likely), I doubt very much if Ill
> choose to buy one. Id miss the eye-control option of the 3, and for almost
> twice the cash, Id rather have the insurance policy of a second (or fifth)
> EOS 3 body (two 3s for the price of one 1V).
>
> To sum this up, the 45 (or the 11 scattered) focusing points is a real
> asset, we use them often.
>
> When were doing birds in flight or other action subjects, however, we often
> activate all 45 points and let the camera select the focusing point
> (generally the nearest thing to the camera). This acts like a big net to
> catch action, and I've shot fast-moving sequences that I didn't even see,
> and that Id never have captured on manual focus, and may have missed without
> the big net of a 45 focusing sensor area.
>
> 9. NPS vs CPS service. I'm sure Ill have horror stories eventually about
> Canons Professional Services, but I have dozens about Nikons. The worse:
> When I still shot Nikon, they held an N90 (pre F5 days) and a AF 300 2.8 for
> over two months, and when I called, telling them I needed the equipment in
> two weeks for a month in Kenya, they told me I could get one or the other,
> but not both! Why: Is only one guy working there? Further, NPS would not
> loan equipment to me for longer than two weeks, or let me take it out of the
> country. CPS loaned me an entire system, for the length of my trip, and that
> loan, occurring just before the F5 was released, almost had me switching
> then. When the F5 came out, I only asked that it would be as good as the EOS
> 1 or 1N, it didn't even have to be as fast. I didn't think I could afford to
> switch, so, when the F5 proved to be as good as it was, I stayed with Nikon.
>
> But things change, and suddenly switching became an affordable option: One
> other point, Nikons Pro Services required a lot of documentation, and I know
> some great pros who are published in major mags but did not have the
> credentials for NPS. CPS, in contrast, almost seems too loose, but
> bottom-line, if you need to be a CPS member you can be pretty easily. That's
> a real advantage.
>
> 10. e-bay. E-bay and other on-line auctions (photo.com, etc.) now offered us
> the chance to sell our Nikon equipment at a reasonable price. We had so much
> Nikon gear, as we upgraded as each new advancement occurred, that we had a
> lot of unused inventory. When Mary first bought a Nikon lens Nikon had just
> released their first AF version of the 300 2.8. Ill assume they had a
> strictly MF version of that previously. Later I bought the next generation;
> the AF-1 version I think it was called, and later still the AF S version
> appeared. Their 80-200 2.8 fiasco was even worse, with a MF version, then an
> AF version without a tripod collar, then I believe one with, then a S
> version without, then another with. At $1,500 or so per zoom, one could tie
> up $6,000 in just upgrades! To Canon EOSs credit, they've had one great
> 70-200 2.8 that has a tripod collar and works great with converters. I
> suspect they'll soon be upgrading to an IS version, and that's OK. That IS
> stuff is worth it.
>
> Anyway, because of our huge inventory, we could sell off our doubles and
> triples of some lenses, or of the many camera bodies we evolved through (F3,
> 8008, F4, N90, F5 and at least one each for both of us!), and we could now
> buy (from our sales thru ebay) the newest EOS cameras and lenses without
> barely spending any money that wasn't from our ebay sales! So, in effect,
> our switch cost us nothing.
>
> Speaking of which, I am going to be selling MINT Nikon gear from a Chilean
> friend who is switching to EOS. Great AF lenses, and great condition, if you
> are interested!
>
> I may have missed some other points the good feel of the EOS 3, the sense
> that things were really thought through, and that the controls and features
> where derived after speaking with actual shooters, but the points made above
> where the major ones that compelled us to switch.
>
> I don't think EOS is going to make me a better shooter, but the diversity of
> equipment may allow me to become one as I now have greater options. I get
> tired of hearing people disparage brands  oh, Nikons better! Or, Gag! You
> shoot Nikon!, or EOS, or Minolta, or whatever. We wanted to shave weight for
> travel, which we did via the zooms and our choices of telephotos, with the
> addition of great tele-converters. Other features, like mirror-lockup were
> known, but secondary, but have proved to be real bonuses. While I was
> skeptical about the IS technology, I opted to go for a big, expensive 400
> 2.8 because I figured Id go all the way, top of the line, if Id switch, and
> I'm so glad that I made that decision. Except of its obscene weight, I
> really love that lens.
>
> I was hoping Canon would be interested in offering us some type of
> sponsorship, since they've done so for other pros with far less exposure
> than Mary and I. Too date, we've gotten nowhere with Canon, and I suspect we
> never will. This report, then, is completely without bias, but you can see
> were pretty psyched over our switch.
>
> If you find this report useful, you can really do us a favor and let Canon
> know. Tell them about this report, and how it helped you. Send a note to
> Dave Metz at Canon, USA, One Canon Plaza, Lake Success, NY, 11042 or
>
> Email him at dmetz@cusa.canon.com
 

 
Here, again in it's entirety, is a recent MooseNews.  This post deals with the new Nikon 80-400mm Vibration Reduction lens.  It surely sounds like a great lens, especially it's small size and light weight.  For bird photographers, the question that remains to be answered is "Will this lens, without AFS autofocus technology, be able to focus quickly and accurately on birds in flight?"   Moose ask me to add that he feels that both the 80-400 VR and the Canon 100-400mm IS are both great lenses for the wildlife photographer.  It should be noted that availability of this lens is extremely limited.  One Bulletin subscriber wrote recently that he had just received the 80-400 VR that he had ordered more than a year ago!  (Some folks were beginning to believe that this lens was only a myth......)
 
Moose-News: #92 80-400VR shipped
Date: Tuesday, October 31, 2000 2:39 PM
 
Howdy!
 
You bet, pass it along. You might want to add that the 80-400VR and Canon
100-400IS in my opinion are both great lenses for the wildlife photographer.
Travel in Good Health!
Moose
 
Mammoth Lakes, CA USA
www.moose395.net
 
"Man can't live without nature, but nature can live without man" Japanese
Proverb.
 
Howdy!

Snow now blankets the landscape as winter starts its grasp on our
Sierra home. I'm looking forward to it as our new office has LOTS of
shooting windows, perfect for the new 80-400VR.

I received my production line model a week ago and it's just as
beautiful as the prototype I played with in Feb.! Store are now
receiving the lens, but in very limited quantity it would appear. If you
have an order at Pro Photo, I'd give them a call fast, it's a great lens.

I won't have a full review of the lens on the website for a few weeks,
so wanted to give you some info now. Here it is.

While I'm not a VR/IS fan, I am a giant fan of this lens which
is tack sharp! It has: a length of 6.9", an aperture range
from f4.5-32, meter coupling, a filter size of 77mm, an
angle of view of 6-30, a weight of 48oz (42.7oz without
tripod collar). Those familiar with lens specs can tell just
from these numbers there is something special about the 80-
400VR!

The first and most eye catching aspect of the 80-400VR is its
physical size, small! This is a small lens only 2/3 the size the
80-200f2.8AFS. This very small package makes this lens
extremely easy to handhold which is a big plus for its
400mm focal length. The lens focuses down to 7.5 feet
which is very impressive and make the lens extremely
versatile! If you want one wildlife lens to do all, this is it!

The 80-400VR has a number of new innovations for Nikon.
The most notable is the inclusion of Vibration Reduction or
VR technology. This technology is said to permit one to
handhold a lens at a shutter speed three times slower and
still capture sharp images. This whole phrase is a little out of
whack so let me explain it. The normal school of thought
(which is bull) is that if you have a 500mm focal length lens,
the slowest shutter speed you should shoot at is 1/500
(which basically means you can only shoot when the full sun
is out which is hogwash!). With the VR technology, you can
now shoot at a shutter speed of 1/60 and capture the came
crisp image as if shooting at 1/500. Of course, if the subject
is moving, this all goes out the window!

The VR technology only works on camera bodies with the
five AF sensors, the D1, F5, F100 and N80. The five sensors
are part of the VR operation which is why it's required. The
lens itself has two "ON" switches. ON with one symbol
(sorry, no other way to describe it) activates the VR only
when the picture is taken. This is for folks who might get
"sea sick" looking through the lens with the VR is active.
This mode also saves on battery power as the lens is powered
via the body's battery. The other VR mode, ON with two
symbols, has the VR on all the time so if you go not have a
steady hand or platform, you can see the VR working. \

There are some caveats in using the VR capabilities. In the
ON with two symbols mode, you should wait one second
after activating the camera/VR before actually taking the
photo. If you're panning, the VR technology will only work
in for the opposite vector. For example if you're panning
horizontally, only vibration in the vertical direction is
reduced. The makes panning smoother because the lens isn't
fighting you. After you take the photo, the image in the
viewfinder might blur, might not. Don't turn the power of
the camera off while the lens is doing its VR thing. Doing so
might cause the lens to talk back at you. It's not hurting the
lens and to stop it, just turn the body back on. Same thing
goes for removing the lens from the body while the lens is
operating. When the lens is mounted to a tripod, turn the VR
off.

Other cool innovations in the 80-400VR are the tripod
collar and A/M switch. The tripod collar rotates a full 360
degrees very smoothly. It is also completely removable in a
entirely new way. There is an arrow on the tripod collar and
when this arrow is lined up on the lens barrel, the tripod
collar comes off. The lens can't be attached to a body at the
time, but it's a really slick system providing great
performance. The A/M autofocus / manual focus switch on
the lens has an added lock feature. You can either lock it
easily into either focusing mode, or leave it so you can
quickly switch between focusing modes. It's really well
thought out.

One other really cool thing about this lens is the lens case,
totally unNikon! This case is hard to describe other then it's
like a long case made by Lowepro but smaller in size and
custom fitted to the 80-400. It's nylon not leather, very
versatile and I'm sure will be a hit in its own right. Only
took, what, forty year to get a good lens case with a lens!

While not a fan of VR/IS I truly am a fan of this lens because
of the lens itself. It zooms quickly, focuses reasonably fast
and if you know to prefocus, quite fast enough. It's light,
small and compact and most importantly to me, sharp
through its range, corner to corner. I knew when I played
with the first prototype I would be buying it, and it would
become a main lens in my camera bag which it has.

Please don't email with more questions, this is all I have to
offer at this time.

Travel in good Health!
Moose

Mammoth Lakes,  CA  USA
http://www.moose395.net


Best and great picture making to all,

Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

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