Nikon AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR : better, tougher, heavier

Nikkor 80-400mm F4.5-5.6 G ED VR

Alongside the announcement of these interesting large sensor compact cameras Coolpix P330 and Coolpix A, Nikon unveils a new version of its highly anticipated 80-400mm telephoto lens, which was the first to benefit from Nikon VR optical image stabilization. It comes back quite refresh with a more ambitious optical built, added weight and larger dimensions as well as a higher selling price. This new upscale 80-400mm lens is headed towards pro and prosumer photographers.

This generous update of the Nikon AF 80-400mm lens benefits from a more advanced optical construction more tailored to meet the requirements of current DSLRs (D800 asks to feed 36 million photodiodes !) and a version more likely to infer pros and semi-pros photographers in sports photography, wild life, portrait… attracted by the max focal length which reaches 400mm compared to a 70-200mm. The sacrifice will be on the fixed fast f/2.8 aperture of the 70-200mm that you will have to give up for an average f/4.5-5.6.

The new AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR now mobilizes 20 elements gathered in 12 lens groups (that is 5 lenses more than its predecessor), not less than 4 lenses are made of ED glass and one is made out of Super ED glass to maximize contrast and sharpness by reducing aberrations. This lens gets Nikon’s Nano Crystal treatment that eliminates glare and ghosting.

The Nikon AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR system has the latest optical image stabilization Nikon VR embedded. It is said to allow photographers to lower the shutter speed up to 4 stops. This telephoto lens is compatible with the optical teleconverter TC 1.4x when used with the latest DSLR (sensitive to f/8) like the Nikon D600, D700, D800 or D4. For APS-C DSLRs, it will be used in conjunction with the tele-converter 1.4x only with the Nikon D7100. Without additional adapter, lens alone, this Nikon 80-400 generation II already offers a nice telephoto lens, which will be even more generous if you use an APS-C DSLR or the DX image crop function of NIkon’s full frame digital SLRs. It will then offer a powerful equivalent to 600mm f/5.6.

The autofocus is powered by the Wave Motorization, silent and fast, and the focus is done internally (IF) which facilitates the use of filters.

Price and availability of the Nikon 80-400mm telephoto f/4.5-5.6G ED VR

The AF-S Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR will be available this month at a suggested retail price of $2,699 / € 2,649. This is nowhere near cheap but Nikon has positioned this lens at the same price level as the 70-200mm f2.8G ED VR. It will be supplied with a tripod collar.

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 80-400mm F4.5-5.6 G ED VR
Nikon’s AF-S Nikkor 80-400mm F4.5-5.6 G ED VR succeeds to the first lens in Nikkor’s range to have Nikon VR optical image stabilization system.


Technical specifications of the AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR


  •     Focal length: 80-400mm
  •     Maximum apertures: f/4.5-5.6
  •     Minimum apertures: f/32-40
  •     Lens construction: 20 elements in 12 groups
  •     4 ED glass elements
  •     One Super ED glass lens
  •     Nano Crystal Coating
  •     Focusing System: Internal Focusing (IF)
  •     Autofocus motorization: Wave Motor
  •     Minimum focusing distance: 1.75 m from the focal plane for all focal length in AF (1.5 m in manual focus)
  •     Maximum magnifying ratio : 1.5x
  •     Number of aperture blades: 9 (rounded diaphragm)
  •     Filter attachment size: 77mm (P = 0.75mm)
  •     Diameter: 95.5 mm
  •     Length: 203 mm
  •     Weight 1570 g, tripod collar included / 1480 g without the collar
  •     Accessories included:
    •         77 mm lens front cap LC-77
    •         rear lens cap LF-4
    •         lens hood HB-65
    •         case CL-M2
    •         tripod collar

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