This Just In: Internet Experts State That the Nikon 200-500/1.4X TC-14E III/D5 Combo is Not Sharp! « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

This Just In: Internet Experts State That the Nikon 200-500/1.4X TC-14E III/D5 Combo is Not Sharp!


Despite seemingly perfect conditions it was a relatively slow morning for flight at La Jolla on Monday.

After the Canon Gear Fire Sale announcement post I was a busy boy and wound up selling nearly all of my Canon stuff in four hours. Folks may question the low prices but my plan was to unload everything quickly rather than spend weeks trying to squeeze out a few more dollars. My plan worked well.

The Streak

Today makes one hundred seventy-six days in a row with a new educational blog post! This one took about an hour to prepare including the time spent optimizing the image. With all of my upcoming free time (or not …), the plan right now is to break the current record streak of 480 … Good health and good internet connections and my continuing insanity willing.

New Used Gear Listing

Canon 500mm f/4L IS USM Lens (the “old five”)

Mark Casola is offering a Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM lens in excellent plus condition (like new but for a scratch on the lens foot) for the BAA record-low price of $3649.00. The sale includes the rear lens cap, the lens trunk, the original leather front lens cover, and insured ground shipping via major courier to US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact Mark via e-mail

The 500mm f/4 lenses have been the world’s most popular telephoto lenses for birds, nature, wildlife, and sports for many decades. I owned and used and loved my “old five” for many years. If you don’t have the cash for the 500 II and can handle the additional 1 1/2 pounds, then this is your best super-telephoto option. Most everyone can produce sharp images with this lens and a 1.4X TC. Folks with good to excellent sharpness techniques can do the same with a 2X TC. With the new 500 II selling for $8,999 you can save a neat $5299.00 by grabbing Greg’s lens (plus the two TCs!) artie

Price Drop

Canon EOS-1D Mark III Professional Digital Camera Body

Price Reduced $50 on August 2, 2017.
Price Reduced another $50 on January 22, 2018.

David R. Gibson (the original owner) is offering a Canon EOS-1D Mark III in near-mint condition but for a few very faint scratches on the rear LCD for only $499 (was $599). The sale includes the front cap, the Canon LP-E4 Rechargeable Lithium Ion and the charger, the Canon camera body manual & pocket guide, a new Canon Pro Neck Strap 1, a Sandisk 8GB Ultra Compact Flash memory card, and insured ground shipping via UPS to US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears, unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact David via e-mail or by phone at 1-757-816-2825 (Eastern time).

Two EOS-1D Mark IIIs served as my workhorse camera bodies for more than 2 years. I created thousands of consistently sharp, saleable images with them. B&H currently has a used 1D III in excellent condition (8+) for $799.95; that makes David’s body a superb buy. As with my 1D III bodies, David never had any AF problems. artie


Booking.Com came through for me twice again recently with both the DeSoto Fall IPT and next July’s UK Puffins, Gannets, and Bempton Pre-trip room reservations. And all the rates were great. If you’d like to give Booking.Com a shot, click here and you will earn a $25 reward. Thanks to the many who have already tried and used this great service.

This image was created on January 22 at La Jolla, CA with the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens, the Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III (at 350mm), and the blazingly fast professional digital camera body, the Nikon D5 DSLR camera body with dual XQD slots). ISO 400. Matrix metering probably +2/3 stop:: 1/800 sec. at f/11 in Manual mode. AWB at 8:432am on a clear sunny day.

Upper Left Group/Shutter Button AF.

Brown Pelican, Pacific race, tight face detail
This is the full frame original

This Just In: Internet Experts State That the Nikon 200-500/1.4X TC-14E III/D5 Combo is Not Sharp!

Via blog comment by my Nikon mentor, Krishna Prassad Kotti:

I heard from lots of folks on internet that Nikon 200-500 is not sharp. And that it is not sharp with 1.4X TC.

My response is the unsharpened 100% crop below …

This is an unsharpened 100% crop of Brown Pelican, Pacific race, tight face detail

My Response to the Internet Experts

I am confused. The 100% crop above looks pretty sharp to me. What do you think? In any case, I can’t wait to get my hands on the 45-mega pixel Nikon D850 DSLR … Several friends have confirmed that they have not experienced pixel smear as many did with the Canon 5DS R.

The Nikon D-850

The Nikon D-850 is one hot ticket. It is pretty much impossible to purchase one right now at any price. If you know of one sitting on a shelf somewhere, please shoot me an e-mail.

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Please Remember to use my Affiliate Links and to Visit the New BAA Online Store 🙂

To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you get in the habit of using my B&H affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your photo and electronics purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod head, Wimberley lens plates, Delkin flash cards and accessories, and LensCoat stuff.

As always, we sell only what I have used, have tested, and can depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And please remember that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

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36 comments to This Just In: Internet Experts State That the Nikon 200-500/1.4X TC-14E III/D5 Combo is Not Sharp!

  • The Nikon 200-500 is remarkably good, and with a constant f/5.6 it has some advantages for Manual exposure and low light focus. Nikon cameras focus wide open based on the lens, so the f/5.6 aperture at 500mm is helpful.

    The 600 f/4 is a fabulous lens. You’ll be amazed at how sharp it is combined with the great AF of the D5 and D850.

    If you have not already signed up, connect with Nikon Professional Services. It’s a free service that provides preference on new gear, discounted repairs, and loaner equipment.

  • Geoff

    I have been using the 200-500/1.4 on D500 and getting great results. I have even done some BIF with it. The 200-500 is a slow focusing lens compared to Canon lenses (and other Nikon ones) but if you have it pre focused close to the intended subject it is actually pretty fast and very accurate.

    I have found that it isn’t great at f/8 wide open but just going to f/9 and especially to f/10 makes it very, very sharp. It probably does better at f/8 on the less demanding pixels of the D5. On the D500 the OOF transition wide open is a bit ugly at f/8 and if focus isn’t perfectly where you want it things look odd….the narrow DOF wide open doesn’t help with this either.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Slightly confused. f/5.6 is wide open. I suspect that you meant to mention the TCE 14.

      with love, artie

  • Jonathan Spool

    Big move! Congrats on being able to sell all your gear so quickly.
    I have to ask……..did you move to Nikon soley due to its better capabilities or are you now contracted by Nikon?

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      At present I have no relationship at all with Nikon.

      with love, artie

      ps; lots more on the switch coming on the blog over the next few days.

  • James Saxon

    Welcome to the Nikon system. Both Canon and Nikon have great systems. I have used both but prefer Nikon as to that is what I am used to using. Getting used to the button location and how things work is a learning curve.

  • Freeman Burgess

    Artie, I only recently was introduced to your videos on Youtube, and I really enjoy them. Will you make similar videos with Nikon gear? Sorry if you were asked that already. I don’t like my results using the 2-5 with 1.4eII TC on moving subjects – stills, fine. I’ve heard better responses from those who use the 1.4eIII TC with it, but I would love to hear from those who shoot BIF with that combo.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Possibly on the videos. All were made either with the help for Canon USA/EoL or B&H. Time will tell. AF with the 2-5/1.4TCE/D5 is certainly slow. I tried some this morning so stay tuned.

      with love, artie

  • Dwight Reed

    I regularly shoot with two photographers who use the D5 & the D500 w/200-500. For sure sharpness is not an issue…. see if you can get your hands on the D500 with the 200-500. I love my 7D ll /w the 600 f/4 ll + 1.4lll; but, i’m so impressed with my friends D500…it could be he’s just a better photographer than I.

  • Glen

    Most internet experts are pretty much oxymorons. Some can’t get a sharp photo with a 50mm Nikkor @1/1000′ f8! I’ve shot Nikon as long as you’ve shot Canon and jumping ship has never entered my mind. That d850 you’ve got your eye on has got to be the best camera on the planet. Was the Explore of light situ or the AF for bif the last straw? I still have my NPS card but have never had need to use it for repair.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Agree 100% on the IXs. The switch had everything to do with the AF for birds in flight. The EoL situation was four years ago so not that.

      with love, artie

  • Hi Arthur, I have a Nikon D500 camera and the Nikon 200-500 with a slightly older 1.4TC-14E II. Mine is good and sharp for wildlife! I tried the 80-400 VR lens and it wasn’t that sharp and with the 1.4TC-14E II on it made it less sharp at a long zoom.

    99% of the time I have my D500 with the 200-500 on a tripod because of weight comfort for me.

    Nikon zoom lenses zoom opposite of Canon zoom lenses. I have used Nikon for years.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Too bad Nikon zooms the wrong way! I will get used to it. I am fine hand holding the 2-5 for now.

      with love, artie

  • Beverly

    I love the combo of the 200-500 and 1.4x TC. Super sharp.

    I find that for me, the combo is a bit heavy to hand-hold for long periods of time (especially for BIF) … without the TC, no problem.

    So glad you’re enjoying it!

  • David Policansky

    Artie: there must be typo on the price of the Canon 1DIII: “$4,999 was $599.” I’m thinking $4,999 is too much for a 1DIII.

    Your image is sharp. I wonder if the Nikon 2-5 needs micro adjusting and better than average technique to get sharp images with a TC. If so, that might explain the internet experts’ comments.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks for catching my extra 9 🙂 Fixed.

      Lots more on micro-adjusting the D5 and the D-850 when I figger it out.

      with love, artie

  • Craig Wesson

    I guess I missed something somewhere. Why the change to
    Nikon ?
    Maybe a short question for a long answer !

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Short answer: far better for birds in flight. More in tomorrow’s blog post.

      with love, artie

  • Brian Patteson

    I am a lot more interested in how it performs consistently for BIF. The new Canon 1 to 4 is plenty good shooting targets and static subjects- even w/ a TC, but it still does not do as well shot bare as the ancient little 400/5.6 on a 7D2 for BIF, plus it’s really only like 380mm. Reports I’ve read so far about the 200-500 are a mixed bag. Shooting big slow pelicans is one thing. I want to see how it does w/ smaller faster birds flying across the wind.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      You will see and then you can thank the internet experts 🙂

      with love, artie

    • David Policansky

      Brian Patterson: I must take issue with you on the Canon 1-4 II versus the 400/5.6L. At least with respect to my copies on my 7D2, the 1-4II is at least as sharp as the 400 prime and its autofocus is at least as fast and accurate, possibly even better. Yes on the max focal length, but apparently the standard is + or – 5%, which it just barely meets. I can’t tell the difference in image size between the 1-4II at 400 mm and the 400 f/5.6L. The 400 f/5.6L still is cxonsiderably lighter and a lot less expensive than the 1-4II, though.

  • Jim Robellard

    What will be your new workflow without DPP? Lightroom?

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Right now ACR but likely Capture One.

      with love, artie

    • Anthony Ardito

      Yeah, that’s the question I have too. It will be most interesting to see how that evolves over time. Artie is processing them now, so he’s doing something and likes the results. Probably Adobe Camera RAW (ACR) and into Photoshop if he needs it.

  • John Abeggleni

    Artie if the nikon D 850 worked with all your canon lenses would u still be selling all the lenses

  • Sebastian

    I tested Nikon 200-500, it is sharp lens if your subiect is maximum 20-25 meters far away, try take photo on 500 mm and subiect around 50m from you. Is not sharp, i send back to the shop and buyed Sigma Sport 150-600, beautiful lens

  • Not 100% tack to my eye. When you have the chance, try a similar shot with the 1.4x and a 600 and you will see a difference.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Not sure what you are seeing 🙂 But this image is well more than acceptably sharp to my eye. I do look forward to shooting with the Nikon 600 and the TCE 14.

      With love, artie


      • Gary Irwin

        Congrats on a major decision Artie…a big change-up like this can be very refreshing. The D850 & 600mm FL E combo will “knock your socks off”. ;o)

    • Just sayin’ that from the perspective of what I am used to seeing with my D5, 600 and 1.4x, the pelican is “pretty sharp” as you describe 😉 Looking forward to a workshop with a pair of D5’s on hand (yours and mine ;-)) That could be a great learning experience for me.

  • The image quality is really impressive. I agree 200-500 lens with 1.4x TCIII is a good combination. Do you like weight of the lens. Is this going to be your primary zoom lens or will you still look for 80-400mm lens ?

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      I wish that the 200-500 were lighter, but I can handle it. It is the same weight as the 400 DO II. Right now I do not plan to purchase an 80-400 VR lens.

      And I wish that the 2-5 zoomed the right way!

      with love, artie

  • I think it is sharp regarding the use of a 1,4 TC.

    The Problem of many photographers today is the pixelpeeping. They should invest more effort into layout / arrangement and photography technique etc.

    What is the use of pixelpeeping? It is nothing reagrding the final picture…