AF-S NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8E FL ED VR
This is my third 400mm 2.8 lens so, I have a history of being completely satisfied with the 400mm line of Nikkor lens. As technology moves forward better optics, features and cameras push the performance.
I own and have the pleasure of using the latest 400mm instrument from Nikon. If you need all the technical features visit the Tech Specs section for this lens on the Nikon site. I am not here to count pixels or measure each nuance, after owning three you simply know what you have in your hands.
I mounted my new 400mm 2.8E VR ED FL on my also new Nikon D810 – this combination is perfect for nature and wildlife work, and sports shooting that I plan on doing later this fall.
Focus snaps to attention, the VR works without knowing it is even on, very little noise. Sharpness and Clarity of the images produced are superb with detail well preserved in the NEF images. Most of the images I uploaded below are from very long distances using a TC extender, and you can see the details are still very sharp. Everything just worked. The insects were from closer shooting distance and I was around 30 feet, with fine details very visible. I took no special measure on taking these shots, just stop and shoot. Although you can not see the fine details in the small thumbs - the dogs were quite impressive considering the distance.
Hauling this new lens around took some getting used to since the lens foot is now at the rear of the lens and I have been used to the balance of the older lens, it seem harder to balance on my shoulder. I honestly can’t say that after 5 hours of walking with the lens and camera the weight was not noticeable – it was, but I do know for short handheld shots off the tripod was much more comfortable as I did notice the lighter lens overall, not as taxing.
This lens works perfect out doors in the weather especially with the fluorite coatings which should offer a long life and many years of professional use – even non-pro use for that matter. A great all weather lens, the overall build is solid and sure with Nikon quality throughout.
The wide aperture offered on this lens makes the background simply disappears and not to mention this lens works well with all the Teleconverters Nikon offers making it a very versatile lens. The reason I own a 400 2.8.
There is not too much more to say, this lens is a super versatile, sharp, and responsive lens with exceptional performance that should provide anyone with images they will be proud of.
This version is the best of my 400mm owned thus far, shipped in an elegant custom case.
September 20, 2014
Today I picked up my new 400 2.8 FL. It came earlier than I expected so I was pleasantly surprised. Once I got it home and took it out of the cool case and held it, wow, that's when it hit me: It is noticeably lighter! Call me crazy to be happy about this, but if you've ever lugged it's predecessors around all day and felt the pull on your shoulder after a few hours, you would understand me. Now, I'm not going to review the particulars of this lens because lets face it, all the 400mm 2.8s before this guy were great, and still are great, so how much better can you get from great? Incredible? Maybe, but only because all of its predecessors are much heavier. This will basically do the same job as the others and as a benefit go easier on my shoulder! So to me that is worth the price. I like this lens and I'd like to carry it around all day without paying for it the next day. What's more, I like the flexibility of adding on the 14E and the 20E to turn it into a 600mm f4 and 800mm f5.6. Easy to carry around, and now I have three super telephoto lenses for the price of one. Finally, and now that I am older (50+), of all the improvements that have been made over the past 20+ years for this lens (and I have seen them all); there were only 2 things that have improved that have mattered to me, being able to focus closer on my subject and being able to carry this lens on my shoulder all day. Seems to me that these are the real improvements. Slowly but surely we are getting closer to focusing on our subject ( I think something like a foot per upgrade) and with a lighter lens, as I get older I feel like I am getting stronger. It is very easy to hold, well balanced and I will be hand holding this set-up until my friends at RRS make a well balanced foot. : ) So in closing, this may be my last 400 2.8 so I am very happy walking off into the sunset of my life carrying a lighter lens. I am thrilled about about being able to manage my older age and love of photography with lighter lenses so I can keep on clicking away!
September 10, 2014