Editor's opinion: Nikon's new AF-S Nikkor 80-400mm F4.5-5.6 G ED VR

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The new AF-S Nikkor 80-400mm F4.5-5.6 G ED VR, announced today, will come as very welcome news for a lot of Nikon DSLR owners. The original 80-400mm was released more than a decade ago, and frequently comes near the top of Nikon-users wish lists for lenses they'd like to see updated. 

The new version of this venerable optic offers some significant specification improvements compared to its predecessor - an all-new optical design, for a start. The 20 element, 12-group design features four ED (extra low-dispersion) elements, one 'super ED' element and Nikon's Nano-crystal coating, designed to improve flare-resistance. It also features a built-in SWM ultrasonic-type focus motor, and a revamped VR system capable of a claimed four stops of vibration reduction.

The original 80-400mm was Nikon's first lens to feature Vibration Reduction. It did not offer a built-in AF motor, instead using the older screw-drive AF-D technology, which relies on the camera's built-in AF motor. Specifically, this means that owners of entry-level Nikon DSLRs like the D3000 and D5000-series that lack in-body AF motors can only use AF-D lenses in manual focus mode.

Like the original version, the new 80-400mm comes supplied with a tripod collar (seen here on the left). The older model was redesigned after complaints that it wasn't stable enough. Here's hoping that the collar which comes with the redesigned lens has been improved along with the glass it will be wrapped around. 

Even when paired with cameras that have built-in AF motors, the original 80-400mm is known for relatively slow AF, and was prone to hunting at the long end of its focal length span. Twelve years after its release, the first-generation VR system in the original 80-400mm looks decidedly long in the tooth as well, compared to the systems in newer Nikkor lenses.

The tripod collar originally supplied with the first version of the 80-400mm was notoriously unstable - something that we hope has been addressed with this new release. Regardless of image stabilization, a stable mount is essential when shooting at the long end of a zoom at marginal shutter speeds. 

All in all, the new 80-400mm looks like it should be a very nice lens. Optically, its predecessor gave decent, but not outstanding performance, and if Nikon has been able to make real improvements in that area, then this – plus the additional of a built-in AF-S motor and 4-stop vibration reduction – should make it popular with enthusiast photographers using Nikon's DX and FX-format DSLRs. 

 
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Nikon AF-S Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR

Comments

Total comments: 117
Nick49
By Nick49 (Mar 14, 2013)

It is an opinion on a lens spec. Not an actual lens that actually landed in the office. Rather deflated.

3 upvotes
Paul Belanger
By Paul Belanger (Mar 7, 2013)

Well I can speak from some experience as I use the original 80-400 almost daily. do about 60% of my shooting with it on an old D300. Shoot scenery, closeups, BIF, people, etc. I find this lens to be extremely versatile. I really like is the bokeh on long shots for detailed isolation.
This lens has a personality of sorts that takes a bit of practice to master, tricks to overcome the slower focusing and some time to get used to wide zoom range, But I found it worth the effort.The 300 is only a 12Mp so the the 80-400 easily handles that. last year I tested it out at the local photo shop on a d7000 with 70-200 2.8 I also own and the 80-400 gave better long shot results because it can get in closer. and thus preserves more detail, even though the 200 has better specs. Perhaps a D7100 will test the limits.
For me the original version removes all doubt, this format was a winner and I anticipate this iteration wil continue the tradition. But then I'm just an amature.

1 upvote
raoulsam
By raoulsam (Mar 7, 2013)

A bit wishy washy this editor's opinion...

4 upvotes
foto2021
By foto2021 (Mar 14, 2013)

A bit? Only a bit?

0 upvotes
Alf Rider
By Alf Rider (Mar 6, 2013)

Hello Friends.
My 'thing' is Bird watching and Bugs.
I have the Sigma 50-500mm. Mk2 on a D3200 and also the Sigma 300-800mm.on a D300S.
Also the Nikon 24-120mm.zoom which is new to me on a D3200.
They all do creditable work for me.
The other lenses are the Nikon 105mm. Macro, and a Sigma 10-20mm. zoom as well as a Nikon 50mm. F1.4.

All of these lenses give me very good results.

Best Wishes.

Alf.

Canada.

1 upvote
Nick Wong
By Nick Wong (Mar 6, 2013)

The top pic ( http://2.static.img-dpreview.com/files/articles/7205672840/new80-400mm.jpg?v=1978&v=1978&v=1979 ) of the lens has no tripod collar. This triggers me to think if Nikon is selling the tripod collar seperately, just like the 70-200/4VR...

Hoping I'm wrong on this. Otherwise, a $2k+ lens without the tripod collar (or lens hood) is sooooo unacceptable!

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Mar 6, 2013)

It comes with the lens (mentioned in the picture caption).

1 upvote
GlobalGuyUSA
By GlobalGuyUSA (Mar 13, 2013)

$2k+?? More like $2.5K+!! It should have its damn tripod foot.

0 upvotes
NorCalAl
By NorCalAl (Mar 6, 2013)

Hey arpikusz - buy Sigma's 150-500 OS then. Decent quality glass with a great body for - $1200! And most "hobby" photographers are better served by zooms than primes as most don't want to (as you allude to) spend huge amounts on their hobby. I agree there! That said, I'd rather have this new 80-400 (provided it turns out nice) as an option than another prime. After all, this IS a 400/5.6! If you were saying a 400/4, I could understand a bit more, even tho in this day of terrific AF units and sensors, the difference is small - especially given the subjects of most 400mm lenses.

MOST hobbyists are, like I said, better served by zooms and it's nice to have another entry into the long-lens category, even at this price point. That is called choices! (I gotta admit - two of my favorite lenses when I shot Canon were the 24-105/4, which Nikon has finally given us in the 24-120/4 and the 100-400. Looks like Nikon has given me that, too! So my opinion might have some bias!)

0 upvotes
Tonio Loewald
By Tonio Loewald (Mar 6, 2013)

At least as currently priced it's barely cheaper than a 70-200 f2.8 and 2x teleconverter.

1 upvote
gonzalu
By gonzalu (Mar 6, 2013)

Read my lips: The Price Will Come Down!

3 upvotes
arpikusz
By arpikusz (Mar 6, 2013)

I think we (hobby photographers) are in need of something like a Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L for $1200, much more then a $2700 zoom lens. :(

7 upvotes
GlobalGuyUSA
By GlobalGuyUSA (Mar 13, 2013)

Or why not a 300-500mm/4? Why does Nikon constantly believe we need 70-XXX lenses?? We have more than enough lenses that get to 300mm. When do we get a 300-500mm/5.6 or 400-600/4? A 300-500/5.6 (1.7 x length) would be less optically complicated than the 200-400 (2 x length), not to mention darker. How many ways do we have to get to 300mm these days - but we are always stuck there.

2 upvotes
Teila Day
By Teila Day (9 months ago)

I couldn't agree with GlobalGuy more. There's 101 ways to get to 300mm and 300mm is generally still too short; leaving people longing for more reach, reaching for a teleconverter or both.

I think if Nikon had invested serious time into making a stellar 300-500mm f4 (for pros) and a stellar 400mm f4 or f5.6 (for everyone), I think such would've done far more for Nikon shooters as opposed to a new pricey 80-400 and a relatively short reaching 200-400 f/4 that isn't anything to write home about over the version that it replaced.

1 upvote
EcoPix
By EcoPix (8 months ago)

Wholeheartedly agree. And Nikon have the design for a 400mm f3.5 that's relatively light, compact, and so sharp it's still prime quality with a 1.4x at 560 f4.5. All they need to do is give it AF-s and VR II and a bit more ED glass to remove minor colour fringing.

2 upvotes
HENNIGArts
By HENNIGArts (Mar 6, 2013)

I expected this update since 2008. What took Nikon so long? Anyway, nice to hear they finally made it.

2 upvotes
GlobalGuyUSA
By GlobalGuyUSA (Mar 13, 2013)

Maybe they waited for the Mortgage Crisis/Recession to end? The 70-200/2.8VRII was the only other really expensive consumer-level lens to be released (I mean, non-exotic lens) that significantly pushed price before the end of the Mortgage Crisis... and that might have had to do with competitor pressure.

At the end of Recession, it was quickly followed by some ridiculously priced primes (if Sigma pricing is any indication, Nikon is taking 2-3 x marketable profit on Nikon primes). Now that consumers at the top-end of the middle class have money again, they are probably trying to rake in as much as possible. But I think Nikon's pricing/operations might be inefficient. They leave a lot of customers on the table & third-party competitors are catching up and in some cases exceeding (Sigma 35/1.4 e.g.).

Comment edited 55 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
RichRMA
By RichRMA (Mar 6, 2013)

The only thing is, not enough new customers, so go after your current customers with numerous lens upgrades that feature huge price increases over the old lenses. 85mm f/1.4, 70-200mm f/2.8 and now the 80-400mm comes in at over $800.00 more than the old one. I'm sure it's better than the old one, but camera bodies seem to keep improving without the huge price increases over the previous models.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
GlobalGuyUSA
By GlobalGuyUSA (Mar 13, 2013)

Nikon is milking its upper-middle class consumers that's for sure, but they are not delivering the same ratio of improvement. Its precarious and a bad investment. All of the newer Nikon lenses will decrease in value. Meanwhile, consider the 14-24 and others of that generation, which have held value. I think only the weakly made 50/1.4 lost significant value. But these new primes, and many of the zooms will lose value, due to Nikon not being competitive (they are raising sharpness & bokeh quality, but they are not doing it in line with market forces - competitors are quickly catching up and even exceeding sometimes). So this generation of purchases are relatively a bad-buy. Any of the D-lenses are a far better value, as are the third-party lenses. If a bag comprised of those, you'd be able to buy 75% MORE lenses than if just purchasing Nikon's most current lineup. This isn't good for Nikon in the long-run.

1 upvote
foto2021
By foto2021 (Mar 14, 2013)

The reasons for the much higher prices are several: the new lenses need to be much better because they are being used on 24MP to 36MP DSLR bodies rather than 12 MP; the anti-reflection coatings need to be better; finally, the Japanese yen has gained hugely in value compared to the US dollar, Euro and Pound Sterling. The initially very high prices of the new lenses will drop as the upfront R&D costs are paid off. Early adopters always pay more.

In the case of the 80-400mm Nikkor, a new design was needed as soon as the old one was introduced. It was unsharp at all focal lengths, apertures and subject distances. The autofocus was slow and hesitant. There was nothing to like about it apart from its useful focal length range. The new one is being made for Nikon by a different contractor and, with more ED elements, the silent wave motor (AF-S) and Nano coating, should be better in every department. It needs to be.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
quadraticadder
By quadraticadder (Mar 6, 2013)

Not to put too fine a point to it, but the 80-400 wasn't Nikon's first VR lens. There was a Nikon compact camera with a VR zoom lens out before it.
In fact, I think that point and shoot came out even before Canon's first lens with IS. A bit of irrelevant info from the past for you all.
Best
Steve

0 upvotes
pixelless
By pixelless (Mar 6, 2013)

I for one was waiting for this lens, but was afraid of the price tag! But there´s an upside to the price: the great 70-200vrII now seems like a bargain!
As for the "editor´s opinion", I guess I missed that on the text. No disrespect intended but I really can´t find his opinion about the new lens....

2 upvotes
Burbclaver
By Burbclaver (Mar 6, 2013)

Who is the target market for this lens? What do they shoot with it? This isn't a sarcastic remark, I am just interested.

2 upvotes
mimot13
By mimot13 (Mar 6, 2013)

Same for me.. I don't know, except new users who doesn't have any 85, 70-200, 300mm aso.., who will buy this lens ? At this huge price ?! But it must be of course related to the "supposed" lens quality..? A comparison with 70-200 VRII + 2x III (or 1.7) teleconverter will be a good indication.

Comment edited 15 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
gonzalu
By gonzalu (Mar 6, 2013)

A lot of photographers who wished they could afford a 400mm f/2.8 but can only get 400mm in this price. Also aviation photographers and dad's who have kids in a school where the bleachers are just a bit too far for the 70-300mm :P

2 upvotes
Tonio Loewald
By Tonio Loewald (Mar 6, 2013)

The big deal is the new lens's MTF chart — it looks wicked sharp. It seems a bit pricey for shooting high school sports.

2 upvotes
Marty4650
By Marty4650 (Mar 5, 2013)

Those folks complaining about the price aren't the target market for this lens.

They will probably just use a 55-200mm kit lens, and crop a lot anyway...

6 upvotes
jquagga
By jquagga (Mar 5, 2013)

Or we'll buy a sensibly priced lens from a 3rd party vendor.

1 upvote
88SAL
By 88SAL (Mar 6, 2013)

Yes, but you will only be justified in doing that if the 3rd party lens is every bit as good, or the "will eat my shoes" bit better for the money. Otherwise its a moot point to say that as it is a rare happening for the 3rd party to offer *better* as opposed to *budget* or simply *different*

3 upvotes
MarkInSF
By MarkInSF (Mar 6, 2013)

They'll be justified if the alternative gives good enough performance for the money - it doesn't have to be better in every way. Just good enough for his needs, whatever those are.

1 upvote
gonzalu
By gonzalu (Mar 6, 2013)

@ jquagga, what sensibly priced alternative exists? There is NOT ONE 80-400mm from anyone other than Nikon that is worth shooting with. Sony has a nice 70-400mm and Canon's is 100-400mm. The Tokina and Sigma versions SUCK by comparison to even the original Nikon 80-400mm. Trust me, I owned all them at one point :(

3 upvotes
MikeSE25
By MikeSE25 (Mar 7, 2013)

if its good @ 400mm its great - and worth the asking price!

3 upvotes
Big45acp
By Big45acp (Mar 21, 2013)

I shot this lens today on my D7100. It is SHARP at all focal lengths. At 400 it is noticeably sharper than the 70-200 2.8 with the 2x TC. The focus is very fast, and as best I could tell tracks quite well. I threw on the 1.4 TC and it is still quite sharp. Just for giggles we put the 1.7TC on. Clearly not as sharp, but AF still able to capture focus.

0 upvotes
DrWhom
By DrWhom (Mar 5, 2013)

Am I crazy, or is this variable aperture lens solving a problem that doesn't really exist (in the 70-300 VR)? Is 100mm on the long end plus (maybe) faster focusing warrant an extra $2200 and 730g?

1 upvote
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Mar 6, 2013)

I think Nikon might be just worried about Sony (which has excellent 70-400/4-5.6). Or Canons 100-400 which is pretty good too.

Or you can buy Sigma, they have quite a bit of lens covering really large range (including extreme 50-500 or less extreme but very good 120-300/2.8 OS).

So I would say that Nikon simply wants to be here as competition. Unfortunately with quite high price.

1 upvote
Ignat Solovey
By Ignat Solovey (Mar 6, 2013)

Sigma also has 80-400/4.5-5.6 OS (not HSM). It's much less widespread than 120-400 or even 50-500, and now discontinued, but it exists and is pretty decent picturewise, lacking high-speed ring motor though (which is not that essential on D3/3s/4 bodies, given you don't have enough money for original lens, but do need this exact focal distances range). Right now it goes around US$800-900 on ebay.

0 upvotes
NorCalAl
By NorCalAl (Mar 6, 2013)

Depends on whether this gives us more usable mm's. The 70-300 isn't really great at 300. So if the 80-400 gives us great 300 and beyond, then heck yeah. The other point I might make is not every one of us (and I'm not saying I'm not included) is going to worry about the $2200 part. Some would want the option of better glass for more money. I'm not rushing out to spend the cash - I don't have it either. But I do appreciate the option to do that.

I do wish they'd kept it part of the trend of providing a f4 constant aperture lens line tho. I know, I know - then it would be $4000 and 1kg more. I'm just saying...

1 upvote
Small Smile
By Small Smile (Mar 5, 2013)

My aged D300, plus 70-200/2.8 VRI and 1.7x Nikkor...
Isn't for my

0 upvotes
Boris
By Boris (Mar 5, 2013)

$2700us for a f4.5-5.6 lens....no thanks.

3 upvotes
Ignat Solovey
By Ignat Solovey (Mar 6, 2013)

In other realms people pay much more for even slower lenses. Look at the large format lenses prices, especially of that intended for 8x10" and even larger formats, where 5.6 is considered fast. Well, it is not when it comes to exposure itself, but with faster lenses on this format you'll need dedicated slaves to move them around and will have too shallow depth of field.

Also, different tasks have different requirements. Sure enough you'll refuse to carry around this lens be it /2.8, as it will be huge and heavy, unless you're paid half of it's price for a day of taxiing it (check the tag of Sigma 120-300/2.8 OS HSM, for instance, and it's no 80-400, just 120-300). Also, any kind of misfocus will be fatal with such combinations of focal distance and aperture (heck, it is even with 400/5.6). So 80-400 be it: compact, lightweight, good motor, good stabilizer, good reach. I wish Canon offer a replacement for 100-400 soon, as their extenders (teleconverters) are just crap with any 70-200.

2 upvotes
bobbarber
By bobbarber (Mar 5, 2013)

On m43 I use the Nikon 180 2.8. That's 360mm 2.8 equivalent, or 360mm 5.6 equivalent, if you're lurking in the weeds waiting to post equivalency nonsense.

Sharpness = unbeatable

Price on ebay = $200-ish

No AF, but I wonder how fast this lens will focus? If it is heavy, then not too fast. To all the people who are denigrating plastic in modern lenses: It's there for a reason. It's light. Spaceships are also heavily built of plastic components. It is tough to move around a lot of heavy metal with a focusing motor.

0 upvotes
ppastoris
By ppastoris (Mar 5, 2013)

.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
ppastoris
By ppastoris (Mar 5, 2013)

At a given shutter speed 180mm f/2.8 on m4/3 will produce a very similar image to 360mm f/5.6 on the same generation FF sensor in terms of AoV, DoF, (roughly) image noise, and diffraction. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image_sensor_format

1 upvote
bobbarber
By bobbarber (Mar 5, 2013)

ppastoris

And you get that same image at a savings of $2,500 over this lens.

0 upvotes
ppastoris
By ppastoris (Mar 6, 2013)

That's only if you always shoot at f/5.6 on the FF system. Even then, on a FF system you have an option of using the lowest ISO100, that will give you less noise and probably better DR than the minimal ISO100 on m43 (which will be roughly equivalent to ISO400 of a FF camera of the same generation).

p.s. A new Nikon 180 f/2.8 seems to cost about $900-1000 at Adorama, cheaper but similar to roughly equivalent FF Canon 400 f/5.6.

0 upvotes
Wilmark
By Wilmark (Mar 5, 2013)

@ barney - what are you a volunteer? Why cant you take criticism in good stride (see elsewhere) ? Many of the posters here including myself was expecting something meaty about this article of a real opinion. A lot of DPReviews indepth reviews are truly questionable take the recent D600 review - where it a camera with a serious design defect was given the Gold Award!! The only reason I come to this site is to get photography news. Now they are padding the news items with garbage like this post. Where is the opinion? I was seriously looking for a second or third page. What is this opinion based on Specs - have you handled the lens?

Comment edited 7 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
lsdec
By lsdec (Mar 7, 2013)

I wish my wife had opinion like Barney. :)

Seriously, I agree this editors opinion is just silly.

0 upvotes
Wilmark
By Wilmark (Mar 5, 2013)

Tell me why this is a better option than buying the best 70-200 F2.8 VR + 2X tele for about less money? They have to be kidding.

3 upvotes
Pete Holzmann
By Pete Holzmann (Mar 6, 2013)

1) Most likely the image quality will be way better than 70-200 + TC
2) Imagine adding TC on top of this to get 160-800

If you're a nature photographer (birds, etc), particularly when flying around the world, this could be great.

0 upvotes
Big45acp
By Big45acp (Mar 21, 2013)

Shot this today and it is way, way, sharper than the 70-200 with a TC.

0 upvotes
Kissel
By Kissel (Mar 5, 2013)

The price tag is really absurd. If I was looking for the bird-hunting lens, for about as much (even less, in fact) I would rather get a 100-400L + 1d mark III (used, mint), while keeping my D3 and shorter lenses for wedding and studio photography. Nikon, IMO. should reconsider their price strategy. Unless this new version of 80-400 is as good as some of their long tele fixes.

Comment edited 7 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Mar 6, 2013)

It might be really good, but its still 4+ something zoom, which is hard to make when its supposed to be really good.

Might be reason for pricing, cause glass needed for top notch zoom lens like this is really expensive.

0 upvotes
Telefoto
By Telefoto (Mar 5, 2013)

Personally, I can't understand why anyone would pay that much money and that size weight penalty to achieve a crappy f/5.6 @ 400 mm with questionable optical quality when you have the 300/4 available with TC at lower weight and cost and likely considerably higher IQ.

1 upvote
shutterdragon
By shutterdragon (Mar 5, 2013)

Better optics and AF - after 12 years and twice as expensive these are nothing to brag about. But the biggest issue I have with this lens is that the zoom ring is actually farther away from the mount than the focus ring, which is inconsistent with other Nikkor lenses that I own. This will mess me up. When I'm shooting, I want my gears to be invisible. Having to remember to grab the right ring is distracting. Consistent UI is important!

0 upvotes
falconeyes
By falconeyes (Mar 5, 2013)

The lens I am really looking for is a
AF-S Nikkor 500mm F5.6 G ED VR

3 upvotes
davidxyz
By davidxyz (Mar 5, 2013)

That would nice!

0 upvotes
harveysteeves
By harveysteeves (Mar 5, 2013)

has anybody ever made a 500/5.6?

0 upvotes
audiobomber
By audiobomber (Mar 5, 2013)

Pentax has a 560mm f/5.6. It's $7000 and APS-C only.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Mar 6, 2013)

Sony makes ultra good 500/4, unfortunately its really expensive. And they used to make 500/8 with AF (mirror lens). Actually not bad, if you can eat donuts.

0 upvotes
Ignat Solovey
By Ignat Solovey (Mar 6, 2013)

It is SO expensive that for a price of one Sony's 500/4 alone you can easily get EOS 1DX and EF 500/4L IS USM, both brand new and sealed (and change will buy you couple of other lenses and accessories to make your new 1DX more useful). Not to mention that Sony's A99 is not that what can be called a camera for a shoots which require 500/4 and for a guys who are willing to pay that with certain purpose in mind (eccentric brand-addicted millionaires, one step forward please)

0 upvotes
falconeyes
By falconeyes (Mar 5, 2013)

I hoped the "editor's opinion" was based on first hand experience but it was not: based on specs only :(

The specs look ok, even for the price. BUT ... the decisive question will be center resolution at the long end, esp. when paired with a TC or used on a D7100. Why did Nikon show 800px web samples for this lens when, at the same time, they showed full size 24MP samples for the new D7100 with a 500/4G? Makes me suspicious ...

The MTF figures offered by Nikon are not detailed enough to judge this. It is certainly an impressive improvement over the older version but that wasn't very useful at the long end anymore.

So, we need a real lens test and full size sample images.

3 upvotes
Mescalamba
By Mescalamba (Mar 6, 2013)

Im pretty sure its sorta "ad" article based on specs. You know, like Ken Rockwell. :)

0 upvotes
G Davidson
By G Davidson (Mar 7, 2013)

I think this is all because there is so much interest in this lens from Nikon users. The 70-300VR is okay, but soft at the longer end and not offering superlative reach. The original is still on sale after so many years, the only 'affordable' Nikkor reaching up to 400mm. It's interesting (to me) to see all the advances that come with the intervening years... VR2, AF-S, much better optics. It's true we'll only know for sure when more samples come in, but after seeing the design success of the 70-200mm f/4, I am pretty confident the IQ will be high.

It's true though that there isn't much opinion here, but it's early days yet. The opinion is more a commentary on how technologies have evolved, a kind of reflection on the state of digital imaging that there generally isn't time for in the usual news articles.

0 upvotes
Peter K Burian
By Peter K Burian (Mar 5, 2013)

Both Canon and Nikon were VERY slow to introduce new versions of their long zoom lens. It is a niche lens (for wildlife and sports) so they do not sell many, I suppose, but still surprising how many years it took to get an improved version.

Nikon has done a fabulous job with the current 70-200mm f/2.8 and if this 80-400mm lens is as impressive, I will want one.

2 upvotes
BelePhotography
By BelePhotography (Mar 5, 2013)

Long awaited as stated, now let's hope it performs to the standard the latest Nikkors have and we might have winner for many.

1 upvote
RubberDials
By RubberDials (Mar 5, 2013)

Be interesting to see a comparison test with the just updated and slightly faster 70-400G 4-5.6 from Sony.

1 upvote
lorenzo de medici
By lorenzo de medici (Mar 5, 2013)

I just purchased the Sigma 150-500mm f/5-6.3 zoom for about $1000. I chose the Sigma after ruling out the ancient Nikon 80-400. The Sigma, contrary to what you hear based on their older products, is an extremely well made lens, very precise, and the images are very sharp throughout the zoom range. It works perfectly with my Nikon D600 and D7000. The build quality and image quality are equal to or better than most of my Nikkor lenses. Read the 162 customer reviews on A*****.com. It has Sigma's version of VR, AF-S, and ED glass. With the VR on, you can use it handheld all the way to 500mm, but it does get heavy after a while. Sigma US extends the warranty to four years. Every other lens I have is a Nikkor. But in this case, I'm thrilled with the Sigma and the money I saved will pay for a new D7100.
Regarding APS-C vs full frame, there's no free lunch with sensors. The biggest sensors produce the best images. That means you have to pay for bigger, more expensive glass.

1 upvote
Jim F
By Jim F (Mar 5, 2013)

Lorenzo: I agree with what you're saying. I too have the Sigma 150-500. I've had its AF fine tuned and am pleased with its performance. No, it's not as sharp as some of Nikon's expensive big lens. But for a $1000 USD it's a bargain. The Sigma's best lens range is about 200-450mm. As far as comparing it to the new version of the Nikon 80-400, we'll have to wait and see when we get our hands on actual copies of the new Nikon lens.

All I can say is that I think Nikon has overpriced the new 80-400. And I doubt their lens collar and foot will be as good as a Kirk or RRS when they ultimately make a replacement. So, add another $150-$200 for a replacement foot. Bottom line, I have a problem with the notion of spending between $2500 to $3000 for a variable aperture lens. It's going to have to be a stellar performer for me to even consider spending nearly $3K for something that's only f/5.6 at 400mm.

0 upvotes
ScottRH
By ScottRH (Mar 5, 2013)

Looks excellent. Price is ok.
My issue is every time they introduce a lens with a collar/foot, they are different. They should just use the one on the 70-200 II.

1 upvote
Peter K Burian
By Peter K Burian (Mar 5, 2013)

Not sure that collar would be adequately large/sturdy for this much heavier lens.

0 upvotes
mosc
By mosc (Mar 5, 2013)

Why aren't there APS-C versions of lenses like this in the canon and nikon stable? They'd be cheaper and lighter. The lack of long cheap APS-C glass is a real turnoff for me getting into tele photography on their systems. The sony alpha's inherent several long minolta APS-C zooms. I don't want to pay for FF glass when I will never use them with a FF camera.

1 upvote
LSE
By LSE (Mar 5, 2013)

because aps-c is destined to be mirrorless. it wouldn't make much sense for Nikon to release a lens for a system that will soon be in the archives.

0 upvotes
DerpyWebber
By DerpyWebber (Mar 5, 2013)

Not really, APS-C DSLRs fulfill a very demanding niche in sports and wildlife photography, and especially with the latter, reach, size, and AF matter. No mirrorless can provide the C-AF a DSLR can, even the ones with phase detection built-in. Full-frame cameras are significantly larger, and provide much less reach.

0 upvotes
Cane
By Cane (Mar 5, 2013)

Um, APS-C can be used for mirrorless. It's just a sensor size designation. See Pentax k-01, Sony NEX, Fuji X series. So your comment makes zero sense. Thanks for playing, they're will be a door prize on your way out.

0 upvotes
BJL
By BJL (Mar 5, 2013)

At focal lengths this long, there would be no significant reduction in size or cost from a design for a smaller frame size. The basic optical designs for longer-than-normal lenses typically produce an image circle of diameter just a bit less than the focal length: this then gets "cropped" down to the needed frame size by baffles and obstructions in the lens and lens mount, or just by the sensor itself.
That is why all lenses specifically for formats like DX are ones that offer shorter focal lengths; almost all offer some wider-than-normal coverage and AFAIK all go down to 60mm or less.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
1 upvote
joejack951
By joejack951 (Mar 5, 2013)

Buy the DX 55-300. On a crop sensor, it has more reach than this lens on FX even though it's only 300mm.

0 upvotes
snow14
By snow14 (Mar 5, 2013)

Ok

0 upvotes
AllMankind
By AllMankind (Mar 5, 2013)

So a reworded press release is now an editors opinion at DPR.

My how DPR has fallen.

7 upvotes
bobbarber
By bobbarber (Mar 5, 2013)

LOL at all the complaints about price.

How many posters complaining about price have carried on in these forums about the disadvantages of 4/3 sensors, such as pixel-peeping chroma noise at ISO 3200 (horrors!) that doesn't even show up in prints?

You can get a slow, sharp 600mm lens for the stabilized OMD for a couple of hundred bucks.

If you prefer DSLRs, then why did you dance on Olympus's grave?

Be consistent, and pay through the nose for telephoto on your "superior" APS-C sensors. It's what you wanted, folks. You can brag about how much your paid for your equipment, but your pictures won't be any better.

1 upvote
Guidenet
By Guidenet (Mar 5, 2013)

Bob, you sound somewhat bitter. This is for our FX full frame models and it is what we wanted. It's a real 80-400, not a half crop of a 300mm. And, who's dancing on Olympus's grave? Have they died?

You're welcome to the smaller sensored cameras. They make even smaller ones if you choose, and I'm sure you can take good pictures with it.

In the mean time, they aren't in the same league as a big FX Nikon or Canon. Different strokes, but if you're that bitter about it, you too can buy one. The Nikon D600 and Canon 6D are quite reasonable these days.

8 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Mar 5, 2013)

The funny thing is m43 fans think a Panasonic 45-200 or 100-300 on a crop sensor is the same thing as a proper FF telephoto with a damped mechanical MF ring and tripod collar.

As far as price, it costs more to manufacture a FF lens than a crop sensor lens. And if a lens uses a mostly metal barrel, it will be even more expensive. Olympus 75 and Voightlander 25 owners should understand that quality of materials and high workmanship cost money. But 20 years from now I'd but my money on a mostly metal Nikkor being in better shape than the plastic wonders like the 100-300, 45-200 or 45-175.

0 upvotes
bobbarber
By bobbarber (Mar 5, 2013)

Actually, you misread my post.

I'm not bitter at all. Just curious.

I don't want to say that I enjoy seeing you guys pay higher prices for your gear than necessary, because I truly don't enjoy it.

As far as not being in the "same league", we have an honest difference of opinion there. In the room where I'm typing I have a large format press film camera, a Mamiya C-22 medium format, camera, and various film cameras and lenses, including a fully function Nikon N-90S. 35mm film and large format are not in the "same league". 35mm and medium format are different, but in the same league for most purposes. But 4/3 sensors and FX sensors? The differences between them are so minor that the results are indistinguishable for most purposes. They are in the same league for certain, by the very definition of the expression. There are no major differences. I mean, what are you trying to say by "not in the same league", if not "close"?

0 upvotes
bobbarber
By bobbarber (Mar 5, 2013)

marike6

But it IS the same thing.

The results are virtually indistinguishable. Yes, there is a difference, but it's tiny. It is not like the difference between medium format film and 35mm film was.

In my opinion, you guys are falling hook, line, and sinker for their marketing strategy, which is lower the price of full-frame cameras to a (cough, cough) "reasonable" level, and hope that you don't notice that the lenses cost ten times as much as they do for other systems.

I'm sort of a m43 fan, but not really. I would have preferred that Olympus kept their consumer DSLR line going. There are definite advantages to DSLRs, but IQ is not one of them.

0 upvotes
harveysteeves
By harveysteeves (Mar 5, 2013)

as someone who actually does shoot both m4/3s and Nikon FX, there is a difference and it is very distinguishable. I would love to be able to carry my Nikons around with me all the time but I purchased the OMD for one specific reason and that was transportability.

2 upvotes
thomas2279f
By thomas2279f (Mar 5, 2013)

Looks like a smashing piece of glass - will wait for 6 months for some ££/$$ to be lobb'd / taken of the price before I plunge in.

0 upvotes
bossa
By bossa (Mar 5, 2013)

So where is this 'opinion'?

4 upvotes
oselimg
By oselimg (Mar 5, 2013)

Marketing/Endorsing is the new opinion

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
5 upvotes
InTheMist
By InTheMist (Mar 5, 2013)

Last paragraph?

2 upvotes
Tharizdun
By Tharizdun (Mar 5, 2013)

Its got super ED glass, which is normally reserved for expensve pro lenses. I guess that is what makes it cost a lot more than the predecessor....

0 upvotes
bossa
By bossa (Mar 5, 2013)

"normally reserved for expensive pro lenses" Well I guess it's now included in very expensive "not so pro" lenses.

2 upvotes
glastoria
By glastoria (Mar 5, 2013)

Only the Nikon 200mm f/2, apart from the new 80-400, has Super ED glass.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Mr Fartleberry
By Mr Fartleberry (Mar 5, 2013)

I'll let you in on a secret: "Super-duper" glass does not have copious quantities of gold in them. Did they put a second gold band on the lense barrel?

1 upvote
Kabe Luna
By Kabe Luna (Mar 5, 2013)

Yikes on the price for this slow optic! IQ had better be beyond reproach across the zoom range for that price.

0 upvotes
LSE
By LSE (Mar 5, 2013)

you're paying for the focal length not the fstop. I guess you didn't learn that in school? what does a 400 f2.8 cost?

0 upvotes
J Mankila
By J Mankila (Mar 5, 2013)

If the price drops below 1500€ and the inevitable 300/4 successor is introduced soon and does the same, it'll be an interesting contender for many hobbyists' hearts.

Optically speaking, the Canon L 100-400 is a good benchmark. I would never bet on the Nikkor, though. :)

0 upvotes
Russell Evans
By Russell Evans (Mar 5, 2013)

Is "Editors Opinion" going to be attached to all like articles in the future? It would be really helpful if it were, so I could easily avoid ever clicking through one of these again.

Thank you
Russell

5 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Mar 5, 2013)

Hmm, how rude.

You can skip my opinions if I can skip yours. Deal?

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
15 upvotes
J Mankila
By J Mankila (Mar 5, 2013)

What purpose does the official announcement serve? You only need to read the title and hopefully ignore all the rest - it is marketing talk, no less.

The editor's opinion is what I actually want to read.

3 upvotes
sunnycal
By sunnycal (Mar 5, 2013)

Only if "Editor's Opinion" adds something. It does not. This opinion is about the previous generation lens, nothing is said about the new lens. If Nikon has not released any additional information about this lens, and there is nothing to say, then don't say it. What is the point of this "filler" article linked on home page.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 48 seconds after posting
9 upvotes
Russell Evans
By Russell Evans (Mar 5, 2013)

Providing an opinion of a spec sheet sounds more like an average forum poster than an "editor". It's your credibility, take the comment as rude and reply in a typical forum manner, or maybe actually think about it a moment or two.

Thank you
Russell

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
gkanitz
By gkanitz (Mar 5, 2013)

If you want hard facts wait for the review. That is by far the main reason I come to this site. But I still fail to see sunnycal’s and Russell’s point. If you don’t find value in the editor’s opinion of a press release don’t read it; end of story. The editor’s greatly superior experience and knowledge of the market is what makes his post different to that of the average forum poster. As for his credibility it comes years of building it and is in no way undermined if he stays transparent.

4 upvotes
oselimg
By oselimg (Mar 5, 2013)

This not an opinion by any standards. It just repeats what the lens is. Did they test it, used it on a camera, where are the samples? This is just anaother MARKETING attempt by Dpreview. Once again this is a Nikon/Sony endorsing website.

Comment edited 45 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
BelePhotography
By BelePhotography (Mar 5, 2013)

Noone forced you to read it in the first place. It's the editor's opinion with the facts he has in hand. Seems very reasonable to me and reflects similar opinions from other sources. Sure no groundbreaking news for people already up to speed on the topic, but surely relevant to those who are not.

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Mar 5, 2013)

The opinion here - which I had hoped would be obvious - comes in the form of some insight into the previous version of a groundbreaking lens (Nikon's first stab at VR) and an attempt to highlight the important differences between the new model and the old one, given that this was one of the most often-requested upgrades from Nikon owners.

2 upvotes
Guidenet
By Guidenet (Mar 5, 2013)

Good job, Barney. Let's hope it excels in optical performance and I'm an owner. I hope you get a chance to review it. It won't replace my 300 f/2.8 or my 500 f/4, but it might make a great portable bird watcher, and it's a whole lot less expensive. Thanks.

1 upvote
thx1138
By thx1138 (Mar 5, 2013)

For the absurd price this better hit a home run. Lots of ifs, maybes and shoulds in this article. If IQ is as good as the Canon 100-400L and it has much faster AF combined with it's new gen VR it will be a very nice lens, but I'd wait until it drops to $1999 if that ever happens.

4 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Mar 5, 2013)

The older version was priced at more than 2 grand when it was released. It's just been heavily discounted in the past 10 years.

2 upvotes
LSE
By LSE (Mar 5, 2013)

ah the proverbial "I'll wait" photographer.

0 upvotes
chiumeister
By chiumeister (Mar 5, 2013)

How is it that both Sony and now Nikon has this same lens out at the same time?

1 upvote
Guidenet
By Guidenet (Mar 5, 2013)

Just curious, but what kind of question is that? You think it's a conspiracy?

For starters, it's not the "same" lens other than the sameapproximate focal range. The Sony is f/4-5.6 while the Nikon is f/4.5-5.6. The Sony has 18 elements in 12 groups while the Nikon has 20 elements in 12 groups so they are not that close to the same optical formula. Not close to the same lens.

The Nikon is black and has Nano Crystal Coating and replaces a lens that has been around for 12 years. The Sony is white and is a new focal range for them. What's all the same about this?

It's a Sony Nikon conspiracy to take over. ;-)

4 upvotes
WellyNZ
By WellyNZ (Mar 5, 2013)

Because they both released a similar lens at the same time? What does it matter anyway? It's completely irrelevant - the Sony lens won't work on a Nikon and vice versa. I don't see what the point you're trying to make is.

1 upvote
Edward Sargent
By Edward Sargent (Mar 5, 2013)

Not a new focal range for Sony, replaces the existing 70-400.

0 upvotes
Rooru S
By Rooru S (Mar 5, 2013)

Ermmmm Sony already had the 70-400mm a few years ago. The new one it's just an update to it's coatings and SSM motor maybe. Not in any way similar to the Nikon.

0 upvotes
LSE
By LSE (Mar 5, 2013)

it's the same lens, just rebadged. oh wait, I thought I was in the xfiles forum.

0 upvotes
davidxyz
By davidxyz (Mar 5, 2013)

Nikon has a decade of making up to do for this lens. Slow, poor at the long end, crappy tripod collar. And all the while we had to put up with smug canon owners bosting about their 100-400 version, lol. An 100-500 would have been even better....oh well. Lets hope this raises the bar and pushes Sigma/Tokina/Tamron to improving their long zooms. comeptition is good.

0 upvotes
Sunnyjim
By Sunnyjim (Mar 6, 2013)

I use the old 80-400mm for sports on a DX camera. My biggest problem is that I can't zoom back enough when the action gets close. I think the new AF-S lens will be great for sports on a FX camera. Thank you Nikon!

0 upvotes
IdahoJim
By IdahoJim (Mar 8, 2013)

For my needs I've found the old 80-400 VR to be the about the best 400mm zoom lens available for a Nikon mount. That's excluding the 200-400 F4 of course.

While the new price is higher than I like, there's no doubt it will drop a few hundred dollars or more within a year. Also if I'm being fair to Nikon I actually think this lens has the "potential" to be worth the price increase. Here's why.

This has the look of a much more of a professional grade lens. There's AFS, better VR, ect. But, also the lens does not telescope when zooming. Keeping all that and the focusing internal helps keep out moisture and dust. Lots of nano glass and ED elements. That's all standard on pro grade stuff. It's just slow at 5.6 which I don't think you can get around in a lens of this size and reach.

Assuming the quality at 400mm is there, this lens is exactly what I was hoping for. A quality semi affordable 400mm zoom for those who can't afford a 200-400 F4, or who need a smaller lighter lens.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 117