Z 400 f/4.5 - Purpose?

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JoelKlein

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Here is one of the test shots.
Look at that Bokeh!
I don’t think the 50/1.2 can achieve this effect. I’m literally popping out while my entire head and hair is in DOF.

The close up is at MFD. Sharpening dialed down.
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Roy

Well-known member
Good midnight everyone…

Sunday Funday, weather was nice, no wind, cloudy and a giant softboxed sun. Perfect for the 400/4.5 outdoor portrait session testing. Me and my wife took chances experimenting. We immediately got stunned from the quick and snappy auto focus. Z9 was set to AF-C (with focus priority) and Auto-Area people.

This lens is EXTREMELY sharp. Actually, its too sharp! The Bokeh is a dream!! Oh my is that nice! Just put whatever you want behind the subject and the bokeh is gorgeous. The Hudson River, a long trail, empty landscape.

Another great thing about this lens is the VR. We were shooting with it like we would shoot the 70-200 literally. Wide open f/4.5 ISO 64 while the shutter speed was the same as we use it in studio, 1/160 for tack ultra sharp results. I can’t say the same for the 500pf which needed a shutter of 1/500 to get tack sharp images.

We reviewed the images later in our editing room, we were disappointed of the sharpness… too sharp… even more so from the 105 MC. We had to dial down the contrast, dial back the sharpness to get the skin looking pleasing, then it looked too unnatural, we had a hard time dialing it in. It captures the skin with microscopic detail. Not literally microscopic, but you get the point.

Which brought me to question the purpose Nikon had when designing this lens. Certainly not for human faces. Sports? That also includes human faces. Wild life? Birds? What was the purpose of this lens? To use it with a TC to soften it?
I brought along the 1.4 TC just didn’t get to test portraits with it. Besides 560mm is too much backing up to frame a human subject.

We were looking forward using this lens for outdoor portraiture, because customers liked the bokeh of the 500pf. but this is way sharper. its too sharp. Too much tiny skin details, like macro shooting a face… the 500pf didn’t resolve that much details.

I’m not returning it… I need it for water fowl, birds, etc. which I didn’t get a chance to try yet. But I would like to know what was Nikons intention when designing it.

Thank you 😊 🙏
All Nikons' 400mm lenses have been really sharp.
My 400mm f2.8 is even sharper.
400mm is good for wildlife but 400mm is mainly a sports lens, although f4.5 if a little slow.
I'm happy to grab the 400 f4.5 first because its light and hand holdable - even for video... 🦘
 

O

Well-known member
Good midnight everyone…

Sunday Funday, weather was nice, no wind, cloudy and a giant softboxed sun. Perfect for the 400/4.5 outdoor portrait session testing. Me and my wife took chances experimenting. We immediately got stunned from the quick and snappy auto focus. Z9 was set to AF-C (with focus priority) and Auto-Area people.

This lens is EXTREMELY sharp. Actually, its too sharp! The Bokeh is a dream!! Oh my is that nice! Just put whatever you want behind the subject and the bokeh is gorgeous. The Hudson River, a long trail, empty landscape.

Another great thing about this lens is the VR. We were shooting with it like we would shoot the 70-200 literally. Wide open f/4.5 ISO 64 while the shutter speed was the same as we use it in studio, 1/160 for tack ultra sharp results. I can’t say the same for the 500pf which needed a shutter of 1/500 to get tack sharp images.

We reviewed the images later in our editing room, we were disappointed of the sharpness… too sharp… even more so from the 105 MC. We had to dial down the contrast, dial back the sharpness to get the skin looking pleasing, then it looked too unnatural, we had a hard time dialing it in. It captures the skin with microscopic detail. Not literally microscopic, but you get the point.

Which brought me to question the purpose Nikon had when designing this lens. Certainly not for human faces. Sports? That also includes human faces. Wild life? Birds? What was the purpose of this lens? To use it with a TC to soften it?
I brought along the 1.4 TC just didn’t get to test portraits with it. Besides 560mm is too much backing up to frame a human subject.

We were looking forward using this lens for outdoor portraiture, because customers liked the bokeh of the 500pf. but this is way sharper. its too sharp. Too much tiny skin details, like macro shooting a face… the 500pf didn’t resolve that much details.

I’m not returning it… I need it for water fowl, birds, etc. which I didn’t get a chance to try yet. But I would like to know what was Nikons intention when designing it.

Thank you 😊 🙏

Its sounds a fantastic lens and i know what you mean about being blown away with its sharpness, and that's a really good thing.

Being that sharp many people would possibly be jumping on to using TC's.

So the 400 4.5 with a 1.4 Tc is an option for the budget shooter while the 400 F2.8 with built in TC is tax deductible for the pro at $23,000............. the pending 200-600 will fit the budget minded zoom lovers but at a high price.

I feel the 400-4.5 is a improved Refined Z version of the enormously popular 300 PF DSLR lens that many people found they often had to add a 1.4 Tc.

The 400 f4.5 is a stunningly small light and yet in my view still a very expensive lens, i think the design of this type of lens and or product is primarily intended/suited more for video performance, short light sharp edge to edge performance needed for video ??

I feel tools all perform brilliantly when used for their optimum designed purpose.

I am certain the 400 F4.5 would deliver great sharp detail in the feathers of a bird or detail of wild life subjects........a desired effect, as apposed to revealing the foundation cream smears masking facial achene of a model, or revealing a portraiture subjects age in an unfaltering way requiring far to much post processing work LOL.

I remember the head editor of Vogue magazine once screaming out when reviewing full center page spread submissions........"isn't their some one in this god dam city of New York who can deliver a photo that isn't so bleeding sharp for once" she was angry as every image submission was so detailed and sharp and so perfect, she felt they were clinical.

The now old 300 2.8 VR II is and has been for years extremely popular with professional model and portraiture photographers especially in out door shoots, swim ware, fashion, beaches etc, why, incredible back grounds/bokah, F 2.8, above all having a very natural organic look with a balance of sharpness clarity, as well as being engaging and really life like yet not clinical, it has just the right balance of colour contrast micro detail, micro contrast that is pleasing believable, engaging, and requires little if any processing at all, when shot properly.

Haven't things come a long way WOW

I have the 400 F4.5 on my radar in observation mode only, i am waiting for the 200-600 to land and settle in at the coal face for a while, i always rent before i buy.

Love the size and weight of this 400 F4.5 lens, just cant stop being annoyed about prices of Z Tcs.


Only an opinion.
 
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O

Well-known member
All Nikons' 400mm lenses have been really sharp.
My 400mm f2.8 is even sharper.
400mm is good for wildlife but 400mm is mainly a sports lens, although f4.5 if a little slow.
I'm happy to grab the 400 f4.5 first because its light and hand holdable - even for video... 🦘
AHaaa, for Video Bazinga LOL.

I find long lenses doing video is OPPs a tough gig unless the subject is a long long way away........

Short and stout works best for me, the little i do anyway.

Like you with your 400 F2.8, i just love my 300 2.8 VRII it just is stunning and natural, i use it 99% of the time at F2.8 max F4 or nothing.

I do believe the 400 F4.5 is a Z version update of the 300 F4 PF just with extra legs.

Its hard to give up F2.8 easily.

My 300 F2.8 kills the excellent 300 PF in every way, i don't see the 400 F4.5 killing or matching my 300 F2.8 VR II optically.

Only an opinion
 

Roy

Well-known member
AHaaa, for Video Bazinga LOL.

I find long lenses doing video is OPPs a tough gig unless the subject is a long long way away........

Short and stout works best for me, the little i do anyway.

Like you with your 400 F2.8, i just love my 300 2.8 VRII it just is stunning and natural, i use it 99% of the time at F2.8 max F4 or nothing.

I do believe the 400 F4.5 is a Z version update of the 300 F4 PF just with extra legs.

Its hard to give up F2.8 easily.

My 300 F2.8 kills the excellent 300 PF in every way, i don't see the 400 F4.5 killing or matching my 300 F2.8 VR II optically.

Only an opinion
I have the 300mm f4 and 2.8 AFS lenses too but for me they lack reach.
Agreed the 400 f4.5 images have a similar look to the 300mm f4.
I love fast glass too but some of my big lenses are a bit too big and I find the 400mm f4.5 small/light enough to add to my bag... 🦘
 

O

Well-known member
I have the 300mm f4 and 2.8 AFS lenses too but for me they lack reach.
Agreed the 400 f4.5 images have a similar look to the 300mm f4.
I love fast glass too but some of my big lenses are a bit too big and I find the 400mm f4.5 small/light enough to add to my bag... 🦘
Thanks for that its good feed back.
I sold my 600 F4 G over 18months ago because of the weight/size and lack of regular use. Rent as needed now.
I found while still a little heavy at 2.9kgs i kept the 300 2.8 VRII, i can still use it hand held or with a rifle stock mini mono pod and because its F2.8, it handles the 1.4 Tc III well, but at 300 2.8 for me its just a first class photographers lens.


Only an opinion
 

Nimi

Well-known member
Supporting Member
Marketplace
AHaaa, for Video Bazinga LOL.

I find long lenses doing video is OPPs a tough gig unless the subject is a long long way away........

Short and stout works best for me, the little i do anyway.

Like you with your 400 F2.8, i just love my 300 2.8 VRII it just is stunning and natural, i use it 99% of the time at F2.8 max F4 or nothing.

I do believe the 400 F4.5 is a Z version update of the 300 F4 PF just with extra legs.

Its hard to give up F2.8 easily.

My 300 F2.8 kills the excellent 300 PF in every way, i don't see the 400 F4.5 killing or matching my 300 F2.8 VR II optically.

Only an opinion

The 400 is NOT made for video with its very significant breathing. That's a sure way to tell, btw, how the breathing is controlled. The 100-400 on the other hand has excellent/minimal breathing.

The only video lenses on the market with super-telephoto capabilities are box-type broadcast lenses with 20x zooming (think football games) from companies like Fuji.
 

O

Well-known member
The 400 is NOT made for video with its very significant breathing. That's a sure way to tell, btw, how the breathing is controlled. The 100-400 on the other hand has excellent/minimal breathing.

The only video lenses on the market with super-telephoto capabilities are box-type broadcast lenses with 20x zooming (think football games) from companies like Fuji.
Thank you very much for that clarity i really appreciate it
 
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