I bought a mint version of this lens on eBay from Japan for $1000 and have never regretted it. This lens is a bit heavy but the build quality is superb and it delivers sharp, beautiful images. I added a Lux focus gear for video and have found it helps significantly when manually focussing for stills, the larger size and accessibility of having a focus grip that is much more tangible helps enormously and is far more accurate. The focus ring is as smooth as silk, the barrel just rolls beautifully with the right amount of dampening and the lens works seamlessly with my D500 and D850. You probably wouldn’t use this for fast moving wildlife or action but if you mount this on a good gimbal or fluid head you can shoot most situations easily with a little focus practise. I’m currently using the Wimberley Arca Sidekick Ball to Gimbal Head Adapter with an Acratech Ultimate GP Ballhead with Lever Clamp and this has given very good results. Using Nikons manual focus meter in the viewfinder of most of their higher end DSLR’s makes it easy get focusing spot on and if you have the lens chipped you also have in-camera aperture control.
Using this lens on an DX sensor makes it a fast 600mm without the need for an extender. Image quality is the bottom line with lenses and this just delivers beautiful sharp images with nice contrast. I was a bit concerned about how this lens would resolve files on my D850 with such high resolutions but have not been disappointed so far. The detail and beautiful organic colour this lens produces is superb for a lens of this age and is highly recommended for anyone looking for a high quality telephoto at a fraction of the price of a modern Nikon telephoto lens.
An ancient glacial valley in the Kokh Serkh Special Protected Area, Altai mountains western Mongolia. Taken with Nikon D810 and the Nikkor 400 3.5 AIS ED lens from a distance of about 10 kilometres. The sharpness and colour rendition of this lens is excellent. Copyright © Adam Oswell 2018
KHUKH SERKH SPECIAL PROTECTED AREA, ALTAI MOUNTAINS, WESTERN MONGOLIA: A magnificent mature argali ram stops to observe the landscape at dawn while moving to higher altitude. The argali (ovis ammon) is the largest wild sheep species in the world, and no other sheep has such impressive horns as a mature argali ram. Argali are one of the main prey species of the snow leopard but are being marginalised as livestock encroachment into protected areas continues and competition for viable grazing areas increases. Nikkor 400 F/3.5 IF ED AIS