Rated 4.6 out of 5 by 33
Rated 5 out of 5 by BLNature An outstanding lens for Nature Photographers
I've owned the 80-400 mm F:4.5-5.6 VR Nikkor telephoto zoom lens for well over a year. And all I can say about it is that it is a fantastic product. As anyone who takes wildlife photos knows, it's wonderful to be able to shoot handheld. Also, with a rapidly moving subject far away from the camera, it's great to be able to find the subject and zoom in on it, and then follow it. This is especially true of birds in flight. It's also nice to be able to shoot wider images without having to change lenses in a dusty or rainy environment.
This lens does all that without difficulty. It is exceedingly sharp, with brilliant color and good contrast resolution. It's fast enough and long enough so that with the D800 it gives sharp, low-noise images of distant subjects, while allowing a shutter speed that avoids motion blur. Although it is a wonderful wildlife telphoto, it can also be used a a distance of a few feet as almost a macro lens. And at the wide end, it's sharp and decent for architecture and some landscape work too. This lens is very lightweight for the quality of the build and the optics. Although there are plastic elements, I am able to take it everywhere, and there has never been a problem with dusty, wet, hot, or cold environments. I often go to wildlife refuges where there are other photographers using longer prime lenses. The images I get from this lens and the D800 are at least as good as those obtained with much more expensive (and much heavier) gear. Without a doubt, this is a pricey lens, but it's well worth the cost, and has optical quality and reach you could easily pay twice as much for. You won't regret owning one!
August 21, 2015
Rated 5 out of 5 by SATXPhoto Great lens. Significant improvement.
This is great improvement to the older 80-400. Focus is almost instantaneous and tack sharp. Great results right out of the box. Recommend without reservation. Attached photos are from first use.
July 27, 2015
Rated 5 out of 5 by ProGeek Excellent Image Quality
I have put off buying this lens, because I did not see any compelling online photos which convinced me of the quality of the image. I am planning a trip soon where I would like to have a single "does it all" zoom to simplify packing equipment for my carry on. To shoot up to 400mm, I have been using the Nikon 70-200 ED VR-II with the Nikon TC-20E III 2x teleconverter, which has given me some great shots. I was looking to reduce having to carry 3 pieces (camera + TC + Lens). I have also been concerned from time to time about having to connect a lens to a converter to the camera, although I like using the converter as a way of keeping dust out of the inside of the camera body. That's a whole different discussion. Back to this review.
After researching as many opinions as I could, I decided to take the chance, since I could pay a re-stocking fee and return it if I really didn't like it. The only negative experience I had, was when the lens first arrived, the rear lens cap seemed to be glued or totally stuck by vacuum to the back of the lens. I used a rag, and with a little persistent effort, the cap came off. I can't say what was holding it so firmly, but would suggest that the folks at Nikon take a look at that as I have seen one or two other complaints online citing the same issue.
Overall, the lens is about the same length as the 70-200, and weighs a few ounces more. The diameter of the lens is large, but it is easy to handle and hold. The zoom is barrel rotation, and tight. Auto-focus allowed me to shoot handheld in certain conditions and subjects at 400mm at f/5.6 all the way down to 1/40s, albeit results were mixed. I had no difficulty handheld at 400mm f/5.6 at 1/160s. I did not require a tripod unless trying to shoot the moon surface at night.
So to the real point of taking the time to say a few words. You can find all kinds of reviews online. I don't need to re-iterate any of those, except to speak to two of the negative comments I kept reading, which kept me from buying.
One - Yes, the lens has more plastic than some of the other lenses. I have to say, this was not noticeable to me, and contributes to keeping this lens light weight for this kind of capability.
Two - there seemed to be a LOT of negativity about the tri-pod mounting ring. The only thing I found difficult with it is that I tend to use the mount to hold onto the lens, and this one is a little shallow for me to fit my fingers between the mount and the body of the lens. If you don't like it, it is trivial to remove.
I decided to post some of my experimental shots which I captured the day after the lens arrived. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.In all cases, these images were captured on a Nikon D800 and were minimally adjusted in Camera Raw for lighting and contrast, and then processed using Photoshop, where the only change to the photo was mild sharpening using the high pass filter at about 1.3 px setting. I thought about posting the unsharpened images, but I think it is more compelling to demonstrate what a final, finished product can look like when captured by this lens.
I am very pleased with the lens, and plan to use it as a primary lens for travel and scenic shots.
July 5, 2015
Rated 5 out of 5 by PeterSaiGon2020 Excellent
Very fast autofocus, the AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR delivers outstanding results every time, and brings an exciting new frontier to portrait photography. Very well built, and can easily be hand held for portrait work. Combined with an AF-S Teleconverter TC-20E III, I have an excellent 160-800mm VR lens.
Be prepared to manual focus when using the TC-20E III.
June 14, 2015
Rated 5 out of 5 Excellent Execution
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