AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR
Let me start by saying I own this lens and the fantastic 200-400 f/4 VR. The 80-400 is ideal for travel, and hiking, whereas the 200-400 a bit cumbersome. The 80-400 is nearly half the weight, but similarly impressive in terms of optical performance. Beautiful, color rendition and sharpness at all focal lengths. The build is strong and competent and quite capable of withstanding hash environments.
The collar works, but I would consider it an overall disappointment on an otherwise fine lens. I swapped my collar out for one by RRS, which is much better. The VR is amazing! I have handheld at 400mm and 1/3 sec., on my Df, and produced images that are quite usable.
The price may seem high to some, but I believe it is worth it. I recommend this lens without reservation!
February 14, 2015
Outstanding safari lens
I debated long and hard between the new 80-400 (which had just been released) and the 200-400 for my D800E before leaving for an East African safari. I had the chance to try out the lenses side-by-side at the camera store, then went home and compared at very high resolution on a large monitor. With each lens stopped down one stop, if there was a difference in sharpness, it was beyond my ability to see, even at maximal pixel-peeping resolution. The major advantage of the 80-400 was its being half the weight and size (and, of course, much less expensive). In the field, the lens did not disappoint. I used a bean bag for most shots, but also did some hand-helds and was very impressed. I used it on a D7100 body to gain the extra DX reach, and even used it on both bodies with the TC-14 II teleconverter. The only thing you give up with the 80-400 is being able to shoot at 400 mm at f4. Since the best time for game viewing is often during early morning or near sunset, this was a minor inconvenience. However, with the fantastic high-iso resolution of modern DSLRs, this was easily compensated for. One piece of advice that also helped me decide was to get whichever lens I would feel most comfortable using, not just on safari, where you spend most of your time in a vehicle, but for my other pursuits, e.g. hiking. No question that the not having the extra 4 lbs to carry around made the difference. This is an awesome lens.
January 6, 2015
Bonafide 400mm Super Telephoto Lens
This Nikon 80-400mm second generation lens is a significant improvement over the original lens (Nikon's first VR lens). Not only is the auto focus on this newer lens faster, due to the introduction of the AF-S function, the optics are redesigned as well. The size and weight of this lens allow one to conveniently walk around with a very powerful focal length. Attached is a photo of an unsuspecting sidewalk entertainer in Las Vegas, Nevada, taken on "The Strip" (South Las Vegas Boulevard) near the Bellagio Hotel. The shutter speed is 1/250, the aperture is f/5.6, the ISO is 125, and the focal length is 330mm, taken with a Nikon D800 camera body.
October 7, 2014
Very versatile lens. Sports. Stop Action. Portraits. Great resolving power. Pairs very well with FX body. Love it.
Been using this lens for over 1 year now. Can't say enough about it. It's been fantastic with D7100, D610 and D750. It's become the goto portrait and pet around the house lens, too. Didn't expect that. It started as a 2 kids in soccer lens. We have a 28-300 FX VR lens on the camera all the time. And a quick swap to this lens for games was the plan, and works very well for that. As I said, portraits and pet shots (handheld or tripod from 15 feet) are AWESOME. It was a big purchase but FX glass holds its value much better than camera bodies. I can freeze action and see my sons faces clearly from the other corner of the field in daylight game shots with an FX body. I'd do it again in a second.
October 4, 2014
Very nice lens, handheld or tripod!
Still amazed at its performance on my D800 and D810, I've had it for 7 months.
July 31, 2014