Sometimes, I really wonder about both Nikon and Canon. Why? Because both of them completely ignore some very simple but important improvements that they could make to their equipment. Improvements that the vast majority of their customers would appreciate and probably not cost them much money at all.
What specifically Nikon AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5~5.6 VR II feature am I talking about? The tripod foot attached to the lens. The manufacturers’ tripod foot is too bulky and lacks the Arca-Swiss milling that almost all advanced amateur and professional photographers use. What would it cost to add an Arca-Swiss type of plate milled into the bottom of the foot? People who do not use this type of tripod mounting could attach their own plate to the bottom of the foot like they currently do, but for millions of photographers who use the Arca-Swiss system, it would mean one less accessory (which neither Canon or Nikon makes) that the photographer would have to purchase.
In addition, in the Nikon AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5~5.6 VR II, I have found that the collar is not strong enough to allow for the lens to be easily pivoted from landscape to portrait orientation. Many years ago, I purchased a Nikon AF-S 300mm f/4 that had a Kirk NC-300 replacement lens collar attached (you can see it here). The collar works great. I will probably replace the one on the 80-400mm with a Kirk collar made for it.
A shout-out to Nikon, people want equipment that works easily so beef-up your collars so that they do!
Today’s photo is as much about mood as it is about the crane. The bird was completely in the shade and the light had a slight blue/green cast to it. I wanted to maintain that look so I set the white balance to cool and I underexposed the photo by about 1½ stops.
Camera settings: Nikon D800 (DX format), 80-400mm f/4.5~5.6 at 600mm (effectively), ISO 2500, f/5.6 at 1/250th of a second on a tripod.
Lightroom 5—applied Nikon Vivid preset during import, set white and black points, added clarity, sharpness and vibrance and did some dodging and burning with an adjustment brush.