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Nikon 500/f4 AF-S vs Canon 500/4 IS USM?

Charlie Hicks , Oct 14, 2003; 12:00 p.m.

I know this is a Nikon forum and my intention is not to flame a Nikon vs. Canon war. That said...

I have the Nikkor 500/f4P AIS lens now. I've been comparing the Nikkor 500/4 AF-I, AF-S and AF-S II lenses and thought I'd look at the Canon equivalent. I was shocked at the price difference.

New AF-S II (US) is about $7,500 or so. Gray is about $5,800. NY prices.

I just looked up the Canon 500/4 IS USM - it's about $5,500 (US) and gray is about $5,300. And this is image stablized!

Does anyone here know why the significant difference in price? Are they optically similar in quality/resolution/contrast etc?

If any of you have shot both I'd like to hear your impressions on both.

Charlie

Responses

Jemini Joseph , Oct 14, 2003; 12:13 p.m.

I guess if you are planning to buy new lens, canon would be much much better buy. I'm also a Nikon user. You can buy 500/4 lens and 1V camera for the price of a nikon lens alone, unless you are addicted to F5's color matrix metering :)

Ilkka Nissila , Oct 14, 2003; 12:32 p.m.

I think it's simply that Canon sells these in a larger quantity and hence they're able to sell at lower prices. Or it could be that Canon is pushing them to gain user base. I'd just get gray and trust it to an independent repair shop if needed.

Shun Cheung , Oct 14, 2003; 01:18 p.m.

This is probably more like the result of Nikon USA's pricing. There is no reason for such as a huge gap between USA and gray prices, and as far as I know, in other parts of the world, Nikon stuffs is actually cheaper than its competition; at least the difference isn't that big. If I bought in the US, I would certainly get gray in this case.

Douglas Greenberg , Oct 14, 2003; 03:20 p.m.

The sad truth is that there are many of us who, if starting out in serious photography today, would probably get Canon equipment instead of Nikon. As a bird photographer, I certainly would, precisely because Canon's big glass is currently a better buy than Nikon's. But I have years of investment in Nikon gear and I don't find the advantage that Canon has at this time compelling enough to sell everything I have and start over. And in the meantime, it's not that I'm unhappy with my Nikon gear.

As for Nikon U.S.A., I am increasingly frustrated, and I guess I'm not alone. I have paid the extra money for official import gear time after time and I wonder whether it's worth it. Nikon U.S.A. is not always serving its customers well. I recently purchased a used 500mm. f4 P tele on ebay for a very good price, only to discover that there is a pin missing in the lens mount, rendering the cpu functions inoperative. Fortunately, the seller was willing to deduct the repair cost from the purchase price. Unfortunately, however, the cpu for this lens is not stocked in Torrence and has to be sent over from Japan, apparently. It's been three weeks and the local Nikon repair facility here in the East Bay tells me it's likely to be "four to six weeks" before they get the part from Nikon. It must come over on a very slow boat, I guess.

Most of what Nikon U.S.A. does it does fairly poorly, and its treatment of its customers doesn't impress me. Mostly they seem to function as a police force to make sure that we all avoid grey market items.

Am I wrong?

Dayton P. Strickland , Oct 14, 2003; 06:30 p.m.

I've gone back and worth from one brand to the other for various reasons, but if you are thinking about going to Canon and you use autofocus at all, here's something to think about. You've got that big hunk of glass tracking something with your Canon and if something comes in between the subject and the camera the Canon will lose track of your subject. The Nikon will stay focus-locked onto the subject. This is a very important issue if you shoot sports. Having said that, I am amazed at how many sports shooters shoot with Canon. Go figure.

Charlie Hicks , Oct 14, 2003; 07:27 p.m.

Thanks for all the responses. I'll probably go ahead and buy the AF-S version and just wish I had the Canon IS version.

It would be hard to start replacing everything at this point. From a cash flow basis it would be devastating. But everytime I see that IS lens I'll just mutter "aw shucks" and go on....

I've been able to capture a lot of good images with the F4P AIS version to date and look forward to the AF version.

I did find an excellent AF-S (not AF-S II) for a fair price.

One more question - if I buy a used US 500/4 AF-S will Nikon USA work on it ok if I'm not the original owner?

Thanks to all.

Charlie

Douglas Greenberg , Oct 14, 2003; 07:39 p.m.

If it's a "U.S." lens of course they'll work on it. Only the original warranty is supposedly voided through a transfer of ownership, and new owners apparently can work around that by going through a "Nikon authorized service center" where they know you, rather than directly through Nikon. The risk is that they won't work on a grey market lens, so it might be worth finding out whether a used lens was originally a "proper" import.

Cham Saranasuriya , Oct 15, 2003; 04:20 a.m.

Hi Charlie,

Nikkor 500 AFSII is a great lens. I have used this lens before I upgraded to 600mm AFSII. I cannot comment on Canon lenses. I do not like the white colour to start with. If I were a Canon user I might have to reluctantly use Mr Art Wolf's camouflage covers. I can envisage the use of VR, however not available at this stage for telephoto primes. If VR/IS is important to you and still want to be with Nikon another option to consider is their yet to be released Nikkor 200-400mm AFS VR lens which I think has a similar price tag to 500mm AFS. This may be a good alternative if you are a digital user especially. Peolple have mixed opinions on this.

The USA version of 500mm AFSII is significantly higher at B & H as you have posted. This is mainly related to the 5 year US warranty, which can be helpful. The price of this lens in Australia (where I am from) is even higher ~USD 9000.00 and warranty is only for 1 year!!!! The equivalent Canon lenses are slightly cheaper.

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