AF VR Zoom-Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED
Great lens, excellent value
I've been using this lens for the last 4 years, obtaining fantastic pictures in all areas (travel, sports, safaris, bird watching.. etc). The price is OK for the quality of the product. It is very well built,
July 15, 2010
I bought this lens for wildlife photography,and I think this is good lens except for some problems.
This lens is good for its price.The problems were that the focusing was slow so couldn't capture birds inflight easily and the other was the sharpness and the quality was somewhat poor.Upgrading to the new lens now but this lens helped me a lot in my wildlife trips.
April 29, 2013
Great lens for a smaller budget!!
So, after reading and listening to the various pro's and con's regarding this lens I decided to buy this lens myself and test it. A big plus which comes in handy once in a while is the reliable VR. It really works great and one of my fist images that were taken in the zoo, were tack sharp.
At the end it comes all down to one thing: The photographer!! Use the lens for what it was designed for. Don't compare it with the latest VRII - generation of lenses. If you use the equipment by hart, it will work great for you.
Tech stuff: The first shots were taken with the D200. The focus of the D2x works even better due to the stronger built in motor inside the camera. Another advantage is a perfect "weight - and - balance" between the lens and camera.
January 10, 2013
A good lens but not the best in this range
Not all lenses can be top notch winners and I must admit this is one of them, don't get me wrong when it was introduced it was a decent lens but it has it's short comings to todays VR2 companions.
Lets cover the positives in that this lens for it's focal length is very compact and light when used at the 80mm length and the lens collar and shoe works great to rotate the lens mounted to a tripod and still to get a portrait style view all you do is loosen the lens collar knob and rotate the lens with body mounted on the lens axis.
The Lens is very sharp in most of it's range but you need a good steady hand or tripod that is robust to keep vibration to a bare minimum, and in manual focus can create Tack Sharp images.
The 9 radial shaped aperture leaves create a decent Bokeh when shooting at more wide open aperture settings and also eliminate those harsh spiked light bursts when shooting in the city at night.
Overall I think it has good operation qualities that keeps it in my arsenal of lenses but my concerns in todays Nikkor Line up is that a VR2 version of this would be great as well as on board auto focus instead of using the camera body to focus it would speed up it's reaction to fast action sport shooting, then take the mechanical Auto Focus cut out ring to place the lens into manual focus is cumbersome and slow to activate compared to the micro slide switches on more up to date lens barrels.
I have replaced the stock Lens collar shoe mount with an after market one from Really Right Stuff and this has also made the lens more ridged on a tripod but this is a minor fix to a good lens.
I would like to see this lens equipped with there Nano Crystal coated lens to cut flare down in brightly lit arenas.
All in all it is still a good lens but improvements would turn this into a great lens and I would rather see this in an f/4 across the focal length and it takes a little practice with this lens but it is a good cary lens for sports, nature and some landscape photography, if you have a source locally that rent's lenses I would recommend you trying this out for a weekend to see what it will produce, it has a great focal length span that will cover a vast array of needs for the price, and team this up with a 24-70mm and you can have bare minimum equipment that you will need to traverse a days shooting experience without lugging around extra equipment.
February 4, 2012
The 80-400 is no spring chicken. My 18-200 runs circles around it 9 times out of 10. Most snaps with the 80-400 are not too good, but 1 in 10 is sharper than sharp. Stopped down to f/8 i don't think you can get much better for color and contrast, at least on my D7000.
That one of ten is good for a lot of mega pixels, probably a lot more than the 16 mp of the 7000 DX.
January 18, 2012
A good lens but a bit overpriced.
After reading all the reviews,pro & con,I decided to give it a try. At first I was dissapointed & almost sent it back. It is slow focusing & at first I had trouble with sharpness, but I kept at it.
Handheld,you need a fast shutter speed, at least
1/400 @ 400mm,preferably faster.
Turn off the VR on a tripod period ! get used to the "Auto-Manual focus ring" I don't like it. Use the focus limiter & in dificult situations,use manual focus.
Its a good lens, not great. It has it quirks. I will keep mine.
Buster on the Oregon coast.
December 1, 2011
Excellent ... but
Excellent range and versatility. Heavy but handholdable. That weight as well as the price would lead you to believe that it contained an auto-focus motor. But no. Thus it won't auto focus when used on the "amateur-tier" cameras, many which have many fine features that should work well with such a versatile lens. An HD movie with an 80-200 on a D5100 would be fantastic, except the lens won't auto focus. Been awaiting an upgrade to AF-S.
June 23, 2011
I hesitantly bought this lens knowing that it (from reading reviews) was slow and needed good light. I like good light no matter what lens I'm using so I decided to give it a try. Well, I have used it for about three weeks now and must say that I am really liking it! Very sharp pictures, especially from a tripod, but even hand held I am happy with the results. I've panned birds a couple of times with good results. It is large but very manageable even hand holding. (I am a female in my early 60s and I can handle it okay.) If you are looking for a lens with more zoom and this is in your price range, I don't think you will be disappointed. I am very excited to get out and use it more and I would definitely recommend it.
May 30, 2011
I just recently purchased this lens and am very excited about it. I have photographed wildlife and a High School track meet all hand held up to 400mm and had great results. I'm sure it will be even better with a tripod or monopod.
April 15, 2011
This product needs to be updated
I believe that this lens is underappreciated because most people do not know how to use it properly. Having said that, it is long overdue for an updating. AFS, nanocoating and VRII would be nice additions. I would really like to see something like a 100-500 focal length lens. It could even be a fixed f5.6.
April 14, 2011
Auto Focus Is Slow
This is a fairly lightweight lens for a 400mm zoom telephoto. I have two issues, however. Autofocus is a bit slow and there is some color distortion at full range. Otherwise it is a good buy and works as a [heavy] hand-held.
April 14, 2011
Great lens for shooting kids sports games. A bit heavy, but the autofocus is very quick - pictures look sharp. Only other drawback is that its not an f-2.8.
April 14, 2011
I've had the 80-400 for several years and use it mostly for surfing shots, mostly in good light. It is used with a D90 and D700 (still waiting for pre-ordered D7000 to replace my DX body). I shoot jpeg at higher ISO and high shutter speeds, hand-held. Results are more than acceptable to me...you can see individual water drops/globs and sunlight refracting them from 150+ yards away.
Surfers move quickly in all planes. I use the limiter and the lens is quick enough to keep focus.
I haven't had any problem with the lens. It is portable, dependable and produces good photos. Yes, you'll get optimal sharpness and speed with the long telephotos, but it comes with a price (and size) multiple times that of the 80-400.
I also own a third-party super zoom, but much rather prefer the slightly more expensive Nikkor.
Considering the alternatives, this lens strikes an acceptable balance between usefulness and cost.
October 22, 2010
A very good platform lens
I have used this lens with my D3 for 2 years now and it has the abilities to turn a nature shot from landscape to a detail shot with ease, I use this for nature from wildlife to landscapes side by side with my 70-200 f2.8 and the results are stunning! The VR mode helps for taking sharp handheld shots but I would recommend a good sturdy mono or tri pod to get that extra stable shot.
The rotating tri pod collar is very well made and tight and has index marks that are very visible for re alignment in low light, VR mode is very easy to engage as well as the manual to auto focus mode selector, and adding a TC-201 teleconverter to this brings this lens into a great operating platform to hike into the wilderness with limited accessories needed to have a great day of photo shooting and you will be amazed at what it will do when taking photos of a full moon.
September 24, 2010
At lot of power
This lens has a lot of punch! Although it can be a little slow on the focus sometimes you can't beat it for the price and sharp picture quality! I recommend this lens for anyone who can't pay $5,900 for a 300mm 2.8 or $9,500 for a 400mm 2.8 telephoto lens. I've used it with both a D700 and D200 with great results on both and I don't need to use it with a mono-pod or tri-pod!
I don't recommend it with a teleconverter as some of the picture quality is lost and it becomes slower on auto-focus. If you need a little more distance and the auto-focus working it works with a Kenko 1.4 teleconverter and you should atleast on a mono-pod.
August 4, 2010
Good sharpness for stationary wildlife and objects
The autofocus is way to slow for action photography. Nikon desperately need to update this lense to AF_S.
August 2, 2010
Gives you the close-up you need!
It gives you the close-up you need when it's really not physically possible. I used it on graduations held in a football field where everybody is only allowed to sit on the bleachers. The school have their own contract photographers and they want us to buy their own not-so-good photos shot by rookies. Well I used my trusty old D-70. Yes, you heard me right- a D70! I had the ISO set at 800 because it's getting dark. I had the lens set in active mode VR and fire away from the bleacher. My niece, nephews and brothers are so happy with the way the pictures came out. They're much better than the photos the school is trying to sell us. The 80-400mm may not be a Speedy Gonzales compared to the AFS lenses but with a steady hand they can do the job just as well. Also try not to use the hood attachement if you can, they attract too much attention. This site could have been better if we can post some sample shots taken with the product reviewed
August 1, 2010
two shortcomings, but very good overall
I use this lens frequently. The optics are sharp and result in excellent images. The design is compact. The VR works well and allows for handheld shots in low light. It is not fast to focus, but still works well for sports such as soccer where the range can be predicted.
-The mounting collar is inferior to that used on the 70-200 ED VR S zoom.
-The addition of the silent-wave focusing would be a plus.
August 1, 2010
Great lens, but due for an update
I have been using this lens for several years. It has limitations, but knowing these limitations this lens can capture great images. However, this lens is well overdue for an upgrade to AF-S.
July 31, 2010
Good lens for the price
I have owned this lens for over 2 years and use it quite successfully for nature photography. The weight is acceptable considering the range of the lens. Although specialized for certain things, it provides the quality for the price and is extremely useful for certain uses. I do recommend this lens and have to photography friends.
July 30, 2010
except for slow autifocus, a great lense
image quality and vr are very good. However, the autofocus is painfully slow for action photography. Nikon desperately need to update this lense to AF_S.
July 30, 2010
I like the lens but want more
This lens does a good job for nature photography. Sharp images from 80 to 400. I mostly use it at 400. I wish it had AF/S like my 18-200. I wish it had an over ride focus ring like my 18-200.
It's really out of date. I would replace it with a 100-400 or 100-500 in a second.
July 30, 2010
Reasonably sharp, great range, slow to focus, VR is only good to about 1-2 stops, but for the price is definitely worthwhile to own.
July 30, 2010
As with most Nikkor lenses, this is a very good lens. Just one caution - tripod your shots - they come out MUCH better.
All-in-all... a good piece of glass from Nikon !
July 30, 2010
Wonderful photos with a great zoom!
Pros: Great photos, versatile, great zoom range, VR feature is fantastic, good features.
I combine it with my 17-35mm zoom and my older 35-70mm zoom when I am out shooting.
July 30, 2010
Slow to focus
I have used the 80 - 400 mm lens extensively for over six years and love the zoom range. BUT - it is so slow to focus. This lens is long overdue for an upgrade. If it could be made to focus like the 70-200 f2.8 it would be a world beater.
What do you say Nikon? Add a focusing motor and I'm ready to buy a new lens.
October 23, 2012
This lens is super sharp. Now don't be fooled this is NO action lens, it will blur you consistently. The AF is very slow.
September 24, 2011
Decent Pictures But Slow
As with most Nikon optics this lens produces nice photos that are sharp, well exposed and have great color. The problem is that it such an old version that it has the old AF system which is very slow. I use it for bird and wildlife photography along with a D300 body and it is many times to slow to capture a moving subject, especially in low light. I"m desperately awaiting an upgrade to an AF-S model which is way overdue. I just can't afford the 200-400 at over 6,000 dollars.
April 15, 2011
It is a good lens, sharp but very slow focusing.
It would be an ideal lens for bird in flight shooting but cannot focus fast enough. On occasion the focusing will jam and refuse to focus until you take it off a subject anf aim at other subjects near and far. .
April 15, 2011
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