Lens reviews update: DxOMark data for 400mm telezooms compared
DxOMark has tested two recently-announced announced long telezooms, the Sony 70-400mm F4-5.6 G SSM II and the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR, as well as the older AF Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED VR. As part of our ongoing collaboration we've added the test data to our lens comparison widget, and to add a little more context we've also included a couple of super-tele primes from Canon. Click the links below to see how these lenses compare, with links to view the results in our lens widget, and for the full data on DxOMark. As always, the lens data can be freely explored using our unique comparison widget.
Old and new Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 lenses compared
As you might hope for a replacement for a lens that's over a decade old, the AF-S Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G ED VR clearly outshines it predecessor. It performs better in practically every respect - it's distinctly sharper, especially wide open at the long end, and has much lower distortion and chromatic aberration. Click on the links below to explore the test data in our data comparison widget, on both DX and FX format cameras (D7000 and D800):
|AF-S Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR vs AF Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED VR on D7000|
On full frame, the improvement in the new lens's distortion characteristics is especially apparent. The old model showed pretty extreme barrel distortion at wideangle and pincushion distortion at telephoto - the new version is far better behaved in this respect.
|AF-S Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR vs AF Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED VR on D800|
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR vs Sony 70-400mm F4-5.6 G SSM II
The comparison between the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR and the Sony 70-400mm F4-5.6 G SSM II is also rather interesting. Despite the Sony being tested on lower resolution bodies (the 14MP A380 vs the 16MP D7000 for APS-C, and the 24MP A900 vs the 36MP D800 for full frame), which in principle should place it at a disadvantage in these system tests, it measures up very well indeed.
On DX/APS-C format, the Sony compares very favourably to the Nikon. The former is a touch sharper wide open at the short end, but the Sony pulls well ahead for sharpness at 400mm F5.6. In other respects the two lenses run pretty well neck-and-neck.
|AF-S Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR vs Sony 70-400mm F4-5.6 G SSM II on APS-C|
The Sony's sharpness at telephoto results in an interesting comparison on full frame. We'd expect the fact that the Nikon is being tested on the 36MP D800 to give higher numbers here (as we're testing the lens in combination with the camera's sensor). But while the Nikon system is again sharper wide open at the short end, at telephoto the Sony system is a very close match indeed.
|AF-S Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR vs Sony 70-400mm F4-5.6 G SSM II on full frame|
Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM and Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM
To give a couple more reference points for comparison, we've also added test data for two of Canon's super-telephoto primes, the EF 300mm f/2.8 L IS II USM and its bigger brother the EF 400mm f/2.8 L IS II USM. The former in particular is considered pretty well state-of-the-art; few lenses perform better.
|Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM vs Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM|
Our lens test data is produced in collaboration with DxOMark. Click the links below to explore the full lens test data on the DxOMark website.
|Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM II Super Telephoto Lens for...|
|Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM II Super Telephoto Lens for...|
|Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED Autofocus VR Zoom Nikkor...|