AF VR Zoom-Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED
Great Lens, Poor Execution
shooting kids action sports requires a lens that is capable of a wide range of zoom lengths with good optics. The Nikkor 80-400mm looked like the perfect lens. Granted the f/stop range was rather limited and it does not lend itself to low light photography but with most of the sports I shoot being during the day I accepted that limitation. When the lens arrived I was excited to try it out. Almost from the very moment I pressed the shutter I was disappointed. The auto-focus motor on this lens is *EXTREMELY* slow. It requires the photographer to anticipate the action and even then you will end up with as many out of focus shots as in focus if the action is fast. With each new announcement by Nikon I keep my fingers crossed that a replacement for this lens will be announced that overcome the weaknesses of this lens but so far Nikon has shown no inclination to upgrade this lens which is now over a decade old. When in focus the photos from this lens are great, you just need to accept that the auto-focus may not be able to keep up with your shooting needs.
April 14, 2011
Decent lens, but can be a little too soft in certain situations.
April 14, 2011
The first one of these I recieved locked up and would not work. After some research and persisitence I returned it and it was quickly replaced with a new one. Excellent support and responce. I was very happy. The one I got and have kept works well--- except if you are zoomed all the way in to 400mm it will not auto focus. If you back out just a touch say 398mm it works fine. Why??? I don't know. I did not not want to go through returning it a second time . I have learned to just deal with it.
July 31, 2010
Good Optically, Slow focusing and stiff zoom
I've used this lens for a couple of years now and while I've been happy with the optical performance the slow screwdriver autofocus is out dated makes this lens unsuitable for photographing most moving targets. Other negatives - the zoom control is extremely stiff and after a day at an airshow your wrist will ache!
The zoom range of 80-400 is superb for aircraft photography!
I've been waiting patiently for Nikon to upgrade this lens to an AF-S configuration with high speed focusing but unfortunately I'm going to have to look at changing brands and buy the lens and camera most used by keen aircraft photographers - the Canon 100-400 F4.5/5.6 IS offers the high speed focusing, newer VR all at a price comparable to the 80-400.
July 30, 2010
Good, but not perfect
Overall, I like the lens, but there are definitely things about it that I don't like:
* It's not crisp when focusing at infinity. The shots I take at its highest focal length (near 400mm) are marginal, but usable.
* The helpfulness of the vibration reduction is debatable. When I'm shooting indoors in a quiet room (say, in the back of an auditorium during a speech), often times, the VR is too noisy and distracting to the other people around me, and I have to switch it off. The camera feels slower when I'm using the VR, too, as if it has too many calculations to perform. When I need to rapid fire in order to capture a moment, most often, it's best to turn off the VR. Moreover, when using the VR, I can't really see any improvement in picture quality.
* The rubber zoom ring has come completely loose on my lens. I've had the lens for over four years, though, so it's understandable that this could happen.
* The belt loop of the pouch that came with the lens tore after a few months of use. I've been using another company's belt pouch ever since with no problems, so I've never gotten the original one repaired.
I should also mention that I originally purchased another company's version of this same lens, but didn't like it at all, and traded it in for the Nikon. I'm glad I did; Nikon's version of this lens is definitely more solidly constructed than its competitor's.
Despite its shortcomings, I'd still recommend this lens. It has a good range of focal lengths for a relatively reasonable price. I've found that it is sufficient for covering just about any sporting event as the action moves closer to and farther from me.
July 30, 2010
Relatively affordable sharp lens
The lens is sharp, but heavy and very slow focusing. The Manual/Autofocus switch is sometimes difficult to operate since it sticks and does not turn smoothly. Nicely made and comes with a good case.
July 30, 2010
Slow to focus and it hunts a lot, but a sound lens
The first one I had did not focus well at all. After two trips to the Nikon repair station and a letter to the president of Nikon USA, Nikon replaced the lens. The replacement has produced several fine images. That said, I have found that it is slow to focus and intermittently, it hunts when it focuses.
If you have patience, you can do very good work with it. I find it to be less predictable than other Nikon lenses I have.
July 30, 2010
Well, the 80-400mm isn´t a lens for wildlife photos, because it isn´t sharp and the focus is too slow. I think that the Nikon should do a new one, further if the Nikon make a new one better than the oldest they will increase the number of new photograph with Nikon cameras. Why a think that? Here in Brazil, I heard many peolple say that went to Canon because of the 100-400mm.
I wouldn´t recommend the 80-400mm for wildlife. With you want a good lens for a standard wildlife photography, the 70-300mm is better than a 80-400mm (I have both).
May 29, 2012
Good - Only in the right situations
I owned this lens a couple of years ago...and it was too slow for wildlife photography. The lens isn't made for low-light shooting...which is when much of the wildlife world is up and moving, morning and evening. So...read the specs and reviews and don't expect it to do things it naturally can't with it's f-stop range. It should be obvious that it won't perform well without sufficient light!
Other than that...it was good for soccer and family photos, etc during the day.
I now own the 200 - 400 f/4 zoom...WOW...what a lens!! so Dave...don't talk about the other guy's 100 - 400 until you've strapped on a 200 - 400!
April 26, 2011
Very Disappointing Lens
I own many Nikkor Lenses and this is the only one with which I am disappointed. I have three major problems with the lens. First, the autofocus being outdated is very slow. Second, images exposed at 400mm and f/5.6 are extremely soft. I recently used the lens on my D90 to take many pictures of Big Horn Sheep and I could not believe how soft the images were. Third, the cost of the lens is much too high for the image quality produced. I have really tried to get to like this lens, but every time that I give it another chance, it continues to disappoint. I regret having purchased the lens and don't expect that it will see much use, if any, in the future.
April 17, 2011
Sorry, just not a great lens
I have a love/hate relationship with this lens. When used right, it is a good, albeit not great lens, but it focuses too slowly even on my D2X, it is less sharp than I would like, and poorly balanced. Not a lens I can recommend to friends or acquaintances. Perhaps if AF-S and/or a constant f/4 lens it might be better.
January 3, 2011
Not sharp near infinity
I have owned this lens for over a year and up until recently have not recorded many images at/near infinity focus. Of late I have had the need to shoot 400mm at infinity and found the lens to be very soft. I returned the lens to Nikon for repairs. The list of things done to it by Nikon was extensive, and fortunately under warranty. Immediately upon receiving it back from repair, I placed it on a rock-solid tripod and head, to do a test shoot. Using mirror lock-up, an electronic shutter release, and 1/500 sec. I am not seeing the sharpness I am accustomed to in Nikon products. Dissappointed at the least.
December 17, 2010
i purchased the 80-400mm lens and the rear lens cap is welded on. I tried to remove it with huge plummer pliers along with other methods. I have over 12 lenses and never had this problem. I am not impressed with the quality of this Nikon lens. And it is made in Japan!!!
February 26, 2015
Very disappointed in this lens - extremely slow to focus - returned it and bought the 200-400 VR f/4ED which is a GREAT LENS!
May 31, 2013
Unuseable for Sports
Doesn't matter how hard I tried, could not focus sharply at all on subject when zoomed between 3 and 400mm. This lens is essentially unuseable.
October 3, 2011
Please upgrade this lens
In it's day, a good lens. For birding it's light and mobile. But the speed of AF is archaic. Five years ago I knew five bird photographers who used this lens as a quickie point and shoot. Today I'm the only one left. All the others are now Canon users -- mostly because of their 100-400. I've been waiting for an upgrade. Please, or I too will go to the dark side.
April 18, 2011
The lens is mechanically sound, but optically poor
This lens has been a major disappointment. Images throughout the zoom range just are not sharp. A friend who has the 70-300 that costs a third of this lens get tack sharp images. We often shoot wildlife photos together, and there is no comparison.
I don't know if this is a problem with this individual lens, or this model generally. Hopefully, it is a problem with this lens and not the design. I am looking to replace it at this time.
April 14, 2011
Product has many great features such as lightness,
This product needs to be refreshed. Like it because it is light and easy to carry. The auto focus gets clogged with dust and dirt, then it stops working. Nikon charges 400 dollars to clean. Auto focus is slow and there is no great teleconverter for it. Many have called this lens the worst in the Nikon line. I have a love-hate relationship with It. Sometimes the limits are jumped when it attempts to auto focus on other occasions the auto focus gets stuck at minimum distance. This is a problematic lens.
August 2, 2010