AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR
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
Fantastic lens - a must have
Just love this lens. Easy to use, sharp and crisp. You can spend the money for big glass but why?
July 22, 2014
Very well constructed sharp at close to 400 mm. I consider this a must have lens for wildlife and day light sports. It focuses fairly quickly on my D 700 and I don't consider it a soft focus. At 46 oz it requires a monopod or a tripod to keep it steady. When possible I shoot at higher shutter speeds 500 and above. If your wondering should I buy this lens or should I spend the really big money for the F2.8 200-400 if you have 6000.00 by all means get the F 2.8. But this lens does a great job I feel like with a little care it should hold up just fine.
May 1, 2014
Have had this lens for several months and am very impressed with its sharpness, focus abilty and structure. Have shot birds, animals and stll life with much success. Also, works well with a 1.4 TC.
February 26, 2014
My wife surprised me with this lens for Xmas. Shooting the first day after was a pleasure. This lens is amazing re speed and sharpness, and with terrific VR.
December 29, 2013
Love this Lens
I already owned the 70-200mm and bought the 20E III to give me a reach of 400mm. Pictures came out soft and not what I wanted. So I bit the bullet and bought the 80-400mm. And am I glad I did. Clear concise shots with a great VR. A little slow on moving objects but that is to be expected. I still get fantastic pictures, you just have to be precise and work your shot. Its heavy but so is the 70-200mm or any other long lense with Nikkor's better glass.
December 26, 2013
A Very Special Lens.
I've had several of the low cost Nikon kit lens long zooms, and got excellent results for what I had invested in them. This new 80-400 mm FX format zoom lens; is a quite different animal; and for me it is a lens to die for.
For starters, I am a strictly DX format shooter; with no plans to go to FX, so for me, this is a 120-600 mm f/4.5-5.6 zoom. It's even better than that; because my three Nikon bodies, are the D3200, D7000, and now the D7100. So in the D7100 crop mode, I have a 160-800 mm f/4.5-5.6 lens.
As good as this lens is wide open in the FX format, it is quite fantastic, in the DX and DX crop modes of the D7100 body. The expected performance from the published MTF curves, is fully realized, with the D7100 in crop mode, using the central sweet area of the lens field of view. I know how to take fuzzy pictures; this lens lets me take razor sharp pictures, and I don't hesitate to hand hold it for those bird shots. I also have the 1.4x telextender lens, for when I really want to get out there.
It's a little heavy; that comes from being full of fancy optical glasses. I recently packed it plus two bodies, and three other lenses, on a four mile round trip hike to photograph the juvenile elephant seals at Anno Nuevo Preserve, in California. That also included toting a robust tripod as well. By the end of the hike, I had figured out how to carry it all. The total weight was not a problem, and I have already burned up more than my allotted time , on this planet. Cost wise, this lens was a stretch for me; but actually it is about the most Top Tier Nikon Optics you can buy for this amount of money. You pay double to get a better, but less versatile lens.
I'm still learning some of the tricks of using this lens, but it has far exceeded my expectations, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this lens to any Nikon enthusiast, and especially to DX afficianados.
October 15, 2013
Great product in extreme situations.
Great product in extreme situations, including in nature with very moist and warm climate. Lightweight and fast lens. Precision and excellent sharpness.
August 27, 2013
Worth the wait
It feels like I waited ten years for this lens to be released. It was worth the wait! Photos have been extremely sharp and even though the lens is a bit heavy, with the VR it can be hand held with good results. Used the 28-300 prior to this lens and while it was "good enough" at the time, it's no contest now. Tested both just prior to a trip to Hawaii and there was no question which one was making the trip. Took one hand held shot from a lookout high above a rocky beach and you could see the grains of sand and extremely clear and sharp gradations in the rocks surrounding the swimming area. This lens completes the set of lenses I need for almost any situation. Worth every dollar.
August 9, 2013
I love this lens!!!!
I have had one of the original 80-400mm lenses almost since it was introduced, and it has been my mainstay lens for hiking and finding wildlife. It performed quite well, and while it had its issues, the versatility and weight more than made up for them.
This lens takes that concept and upgrades it to amazing levels. There are very few things to be snarky about on this lens.
* Takes teleconverters. And still has great AF and sharpness with the 1.4x TC. The old lens doesn't work with TCs.
* Much sharper and better contrast. Wow. There is a quite noticeable improvement in optical quality even at normal viewing. The old lens took great photos but was a little mushy. My 600mm prime is sharper, but this is pretty darn good, and I would probably not see the difference except that I was looking at similar bird shots with the 600mm and this lens with the 1.4xTC right next to each other. Without the TC, it's sharp enough that it would be very difficult to see anything to complain about except under lab conditions.
* Autofocus is faster. Honestly it's not so much faster than the original 80-400 that you would get many, if any more shots because of it. Continuous tracking autofocus is noisy but is better than the original. For birds, it's pretty good. You lose focus sites with a teleconverter attached because of the minimum f/stop, but it's still pretty darn good. It locked and tracked the airplane for my daughter's first solo flight perfectly. This is a superb airplane/airshow lens.
* Close-focus. Still darn good and fast. Good for critters you can get close to. Great for birds at a feeder.
* Improved VR. VR will help dramatically for some subjects when handholding, but is pretty useless for fast-moving subjects. VR can help with some nice bird effects, allowing for wingtip motion blur while holding the scene solid. You'll still probably find yourself bumping up the ISO unless you're in full sun with this lens, especially if you are using a TC.
* Really expensive.
* Tripod collar is even more lame than the original 80-400mm. You can not release the foot from the tripod collar, which is annoying for handheld use. I've already replaced mine with a third-party unit.
This is is still a heavy lens, and you will get tired handholding it unless you're in reasonably good shape. If you're going to use it a lot, get some exercise! Taking pictures is a good method :) If you have the luxury of being able to use a tripod, then do so. It will help. Get a gimbal head if you can.. Ball heads are lousy for tracking subjects but are quick and easy to set up, smaller and lighter. This lens is heavy enough that a ball head will want to flop over or creep.
This lens + the 1.4X teleconverter is an amazing kit for nature/wildlife/airshows/car racing/motorcycle racing etc. I don't have a 1.7X, but the 2.0X is too much of a compromise on finder brightness, f/stop and focus capability for me. This combo is easily transportable and easily handled. Much of the time the 80-400 is enough, and when it isn't, the TC works great. If you can justify the expense, this kit will make you very happy.
August 8, 2013
Worth Upgrading from the First Version
I purchased the first version of this lens second hand and was pleased with the results. The down side was the speed of focus, so I took the plunge, paid the extra money and purchased this lens. Buyers remorse has yet to kick in, which I take as a good sign.
While this lens may be heavier and larger than the original it feels more balanced in my hands, reducing the need for a mono/tripod. I should point out I have large hands, so others may not agree with me.
The speed and precision of the auto-focus is in a different league to the old lens. No more hunting around trying to focus. This alone is a great reason to upgrade. I have yet to use the lens with fast moving subjects, in particular sports events under artificial lights, and the relatively slow F stop may be an issue. That said, the newer cameras and their improved high ISO performance help.
This is a great lens, but it is not for everyone. If you don't need a 400mm lens on a regular basis, your money may be better spent on a 70-200mm 2.8 lens with a tele-converter. If like me, you use long focal lengths on a regular basis, this lens is justified. If you use the old version of this lens, trade it in, pay the extra money and you will be a happy photographer.
July 5, 2013
A solid replacement still in a packable form
I bought the first version of this lens back in 2000, but I had issues with its VR system and the D100. So I went for the 200-400. Unfortunately, that lens is huge. So when I have to hike way back in the field, I again got the original version of this lens. It was too slow to focus on quickly moving wildlife.
Well, when this came out, I pounced on it. It focuses fast, still has a similar compact size. I have found that while it can work well with wildlife, it focuses relatively close, so it works on flowers and small objects, where a narrow field and focus works well to isolate it from the background. The bokeh with a lineated background is pleasing.
So all in all I am very pleased with this lens and am contemplating a little sell off of some of my other lenses this overlays. It is heavier than the original, but not overly so. I look forward to spending a great deal of time in the field with this one.
June 10, 2013
it's nice lens excellent.am using for wildlife and prorate.
May 6, 2013
Having owned the original version of this lens, I can only say that Nikon has hit a home run with this new version of the 80-400. Focus hunting is a thing of the past - this one locks right on to your subject - and the optics are superb considering the focal length range - outstanding at 400 mm even wide open. The VR does it's job and although I have used the lens mostly on a monopod or tripod, I've been able to get tack sharp images hand held when mounted on my D800. If you've been waiting for the original 80-400's replacement, it has definitely arrived.
April 29, 2013
Big Lens, small package
After using the original 80-400 MM for some years now, all I can say is wow with this new model. Quicker, more accurate auto focus, sharper and more vibrant photos. Easily hand held. The VR in this model is spot on. I used my TE 20E III 2X tele converter on my D 200, brought my subject up to 1200MM in DX format. This lens is great for Nature, Wild Life, and Sports.
The only downside is that it is heavy, therefore best results are tripod mounted or, like I do, A monopod. Also NIKON went cheap by using a foldout chart as opposed to a booklet. But hey, it's a great lens. But it's not F2.8 therefore a 2X tele converter will bring your subject up close and personal, but auto focus will not work.
April 22, 2013
Being a prior 11 year owner of the 80-400D, and having bought this lens Mar 14, I have shot over 1K exposures with stunning results. Sharp, sharp, sharp even at 400mm! A major improvement over the D.
AF-S, even in continuous focus @5fps on my D600 and D7000, is superb. Contrast, brightness and color @400mm equals my 300mm prime! CA is gone and mechanicals are excellent. Being a product designer/engineer myself, I can only imagine the effort that went into the design decisions and execution of this product. Nikon, big congratulations for bringing this lens to the world!
March 30, 2013
Nikon's AF-S Nikkor 80-400 VR G ED lens is solid, sharp, and silent! Just got mine last week and spend a few hours at a local nature park trying out these new lens. A bit heavier than the older model, but still able to work with it handheld. I have cropped some of the images up to 50 percent and they are still sharp. Will do more testing later and will be interested to see how it works on a tripod with the VR turned off. Hats off to Nikon for a job well done on this one. Great addition to my nature photography toolbox.
March 25, 2013
I pre-ordered this lens with some hesitation because of the limitations of the previous version. Not to worry! This is a great lens. Autofocus is amazingly quick(comparable to the 70-200 2.8) and quite sharp. The VR is so good I can shoot hand held at 1/30 and still have amazingly sharp images even at 100% on a D800.Perhaps low light action might be a limitation with the max aperture being 5.6 at 400mm but with the low light capabilities of most modern DSLR's this is less of a problem than you might expect. Even the tripod collar and foot feel like an upgrade over previous. Great addition to the Nikon arsenal.
March 23, 2013
Great portable option for birding
I bought this lens with a D7100 to replace the older model and a D300. Although the new combination is far superior to the previous one, I realized that it is mainly due to the camera and not to the new lens. On a DX format, I could not find any noticeable difference in image quality between the new and the older model. That does not mean that the new model is bad, just that the older one appears to be as good at the center of the field. Nevertheless, the new model has important advantages : it focuses much faster and the VR is far more efficient at all speeds. As the lens is relatively chunky and heavy and I use it handheld, a nice carrying option is a double shoulder strap connected to the lens and to the bottom of the camera/grip.
February 10, 2014
Great compact lens
I bought this lens for wildlife and landscape photography. Before I had a chance to really test the lens a Coopers Hawk presented itself. The photo is taken THRU a window with a D7000 at a distance of about 30 feet. ISO 1250, f6.3 at 1/320. HANDHELD! I am impressed. The only complaint is the tripod foot.
March 22, 2014
Improved Performance and Functionality
I have owned the previous first generation Nikon 80-400mm VR zoom for about ten years and was pleased to find needed improvements in the areas of focus and tracking speeds, focusing ease and function, camera/lens hand-held balance, and especially better resolution at 400/600mm. My primary use has been in shooting San Francisco's "Fleet Week" with the Blue Angles flight team show, the America's Cup races over the past two years, Maritime subjects, and abstract landscape elements. Due to the weight factor I also use the Nikon 70-300MM VR, and/or the Nikon 70-200mm F4 VR for travel to Japan, Greece, along with Nikon's excellent DX 10-24mm, DX 16-85mm, 50mm 1.8 G with a Nikon D7000 and a D7100 with excellent results. I really enjoy getting the equivalent of a 120-600mm range on the DX bodies. I also use this lens on a Nikon D300's; and a Nikon D600 where I need the full range of 400mm to have high resolution, sharpness, and great contrast for shooting demanding maritime subjects and yacht races. I am really looking forward to many years of quality shooting with this new improved lens. I would have hoped that the new version might have been designed lighter and smaller using high-tech carbon fiber or titanium materials but then its a lot less in cost and weight than an $8,000 Nikon 600mm or the Nikon 200-400mm. I see this as an improved photographic tool for extending my creativity and the end results of a higher percentage of sharp and focused hand-held shots.
March 1, 2014
New 80-400 lens, nice but not perfect
overall great lens, very sharp images once you understand how to work with it. It does have a very distracting feature when using continuous focus, which is my primary mode in shooting sports. As the lens set moves around as it focus on moving objects, either with or without VR on, the movement of the lens groups causes the image you see in the view finder to jump around as well. I've tested this with three camera bodies - D300, D40, and a new D7100, and also tested a second copy of the lens at the store, and it is very evident in all combinations of equipment. If I was ok with using the 70-200/2.8 and a 2x converter, this may have been the better way to go. Working with Nikon support to describe and check out the issue, so we will see if this is just the way the lens works or if I have a problem. Build quality is great, images are great, a blast to shoot with, but the jumping around is annoying for sure.
December 17, 2013
Opps! It's a G lens and did not realize it
As the owner of a great Nikon fx and also a vintage Nikkormat ftn, I really miss the aperture control ring. The less expensive 80-400 has it and I bought this one thinking that it was an upgrade over the previous zoom. Shame on me for not paying attention. I can't use it with my old film camera, the results on my new fx are excellent.
July 13, 2014
I purchased this lens today and the rear lens cap is welded to the lens. I could not get it off even with a huge plummer wrench. I have well over 12 nikon lenses and I am very disappointed with the quality control of this lens. And it is made in Japan, which in the past was not this poor.
February 26, 2015
Nothing different but the cost
Compared with "AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED", which is 500USD/700CND, "Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G AF-S VR Lens" merely gets 100mm more zoom, do I really need it? But the price is 1900USD/2800CND, which is way too expensive.
July 22, 2015