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

By dpreview staff on Mar 5, 2013 at 04:01 GMT
Buy on GearShop$2,696.95

Nikon has launched the AF-S Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR, a redesigned version of the decade-old 80-400mm VR. The G version features an entirely new optical formulation, ring-type AF-S focus motor and a revamped VR system capable of a claimed four stops of vibration reduction.

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Press Release:

NIKON ZOOMS IN ON ULTRA TELEPHOTO VERSATILITY WITH THE AF-S NIKKOR 80-400MM F/4.5-5.6G ED VR LENS

Newest High-Power NIKKOR Lens Offers Photographers the Long Reach and Exceptional Clarity Needed in the Field and on the Sidelines

MELVILLE, N.Y. (March 4, 2013) – Today, Nikon Inc. introduced the AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR, a versatile FX-format telephoto zoom lens designed to provide top-class performance and a long reach for a variety of shooting scenarios. Sporting a long 5x zoom range, the 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G is capable of capturing vivid colors with exquisite sharpness, whether shooting stills or HD video. Ideal for sports and nature photography, the addition of the AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR reaffirms Nikon’s commitment to providing a stable of lensing options for all types of photographers.

"Nikon’s next generation of the 80-400mm lens gives advanced photographers yet another top-quality NIKKOR lens to help capture every precise moment with intense detail and exceptional clarity," said Bo Kajiwara, Vice President of Marketing, Planning and Customer Experience, Nikon Inc. "It’s a one lens solution that combines a versatile 5x zoom range, long focal length and core Nikon technologies to help create beautiful stills and HD video."

High-Performance, High-Power Zoom Nikon’s newest telephoto zoom lens features a versatile 80-400mm focal length (5x zoom equivalent) that offers photographers a high-power FX-format lensing option to help capture stunning stills and HD video. Whether birding or shooting from the stands, the lens is also compatible with DX-format bodies to extend the maximum reach to 120-600mm (35mm equivalent). Additionally, alongside a 1.4x teleconverter, the lens can be expanded to an f/8 aperture to retain compatibility with the AF system on the most recent Nikon D-SLR cameras.

The AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR is loaded with essential NIKKOR technologies to help ensure top performance for the advanced photographer, including Vibration Reduction (VR) allowing for up to four stops of image stabilization while Auto tripod detection VR allows for effortless stabilization when mounted on a tripod. The lens sports Nikon’s exclusive Nano Crystal Coat to prevent ghost and flare, a Silent Wave Motor (SWM) to ensure fast and quiet AF operation, and two focusing modes including M/A (AF with manual override) and M (manual). A new optical formula features 20 elements in 12 groups and includes one Super ED Glass Element and four ED glass elements for maximum clarity in a wide variety of shooting environments.

Price and Availability

The AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR will be available in early April 2013 for a suggested retail price (SRP) of $2,699.95.*1 For more information on these and other NIKKOR lenses as well as other Nikon products, please visit www.nikonusa.com.

*1 SRP (Suggested Retail Price) listed only as a suggestion. Actual prices are set by dealers and are subject to change at any time.

Nikon AF Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED VR specifications

Principal specifications
Lens typeZoom lens
Max Format size35mm FF
Focal length80–400 mm
Image stabilisationYes (Vibration Reduction up to 4 stops)
Lens mountNikon F (FX)
Aperture
Maximum apertureF4.5 - F5.6
Minimum apertureF32.0 - F40.0
Aperture ringYes
Number of diaphragm blades9
Optics
Elements20
Groups12
Special elements / coatings4 ED glass elements 1 Super ED glass element
Focus
Minimum focus1.75 m (68.9)
Maximum magnification0.2×
AutofocusYes
Motor typeUltrasonic
Full time manualUnknown
Distance scaleYes
DoF scaleYes
Physical
Weight1570 g (3.46 lb)
Diameter96 mm (3.76)
Length203 mm (7.99)
ColourBlack
Zoom methodRotary (extending)
Filter thread77 mm
Hood suppliedYes
Hood product codeHB-65
Tripod collarYes
135
I own it
66
I want it
2
I had it
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Nikon AF-S Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR

Comments

Total comments: 78
peevee1
By peevee1 (Mar 12, 2013)

1570 g... 8-O
$2,699.95... 8-O 8-O 8-O

Pana 45-200... f/4 at wide end, 380g, $200...

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Hauer
By Hauer (Mar 10, 2013)

Seems Nikon's pricing strategy is way off the mark!
Guess, time will tell...

Herman

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
Ubilam
By Ubilam (Mar 8, 2013)

A Sigma Bigma wannabee? My old Bigma non OS pre-DG lens is faster at F4.0! F6.3 at 500mms! It cost $1500 new too. 50 to 500 mms. All metal and heavy. OS/IS is over rated too. Don't buy for the name status.

0 upvotes
Eric Bowden
By Eric Bowden (Mar 8, 2013)

Good grief! Is the extra 100mm really worth the extra $2000 over the 70-300 of the same aperture range? Or more than double the older 80-400? For that price you'd think it would at least be a constant aperture....

EricB

1 upvote
tinzi1
By tinzi1 (Mar 5, 2013)

The Pro/Pro birder are NOT going to buy this, and, the Not-pro shooters are absolutely not going to buy this at this price range. Can anyone explains one logical reason why YOU would want to buy this @ 3grand? -beside the reason that you are with so much $$$$$ and has no where to burn.

5 upvotes
Clueless Wanderer
By Clueless Wanderer (Mar 6, 2013)

Saving money on sensor cleans? ;-)

0 upvotes
GDT36
By GDT36 (11 months ago)

and you get this information from where? I know three pros who have one

0 upvotes
marshim
By marshim (Mar 5, 2013)

Why wouldn't I get the 70-200 F2.8 + the TC 20 for less than 2700???
Who is going to be there target consumer for this lens?
It's not a PRO lens (at least the predecessor wasn't), so would prosumer pay this much....

3 upvotes
JHWJR
By JHWJR (Mar 6, 2013)

I have the 70-200 F2.8 + the TC 2.0 and, together, they are a little soft. I also have the 80-400 VR, and, in my opinion, the 80-400 VR is sharper than the combo. And weather sealed, which I don't believe the TC 2.0 is. If the 80-400G VRII is all that it's listed to be, it's impressive. Dissappointingly expensive, too.

3 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Mar 7, 2013)

should definitely get the 70-200/2.8VR2 first, then decide whether one still needs 80-400VR2, or wait for the price to go down (to that of 100-400LIS).

2 upvotes
mimot13
By mimot13 (Mar 16, 2013)

I too own the 70-200 f2.8 VRII with TC2 III and combination works fine, indeed with some quality loss due to the TC.. but it will be interesting to see if this new 80-400 VRII is as good as one could imagine/hope by reading specs ? Price is very high, question is finally : is it justified regarding the supposed obtained quality (same quality as the 70-200/f2.8 VRII) ? Specially in Europe where price in $ is translated without any conversion in €..!! Oups.

0 upvotes
Mr Fartleberry
By Mr Fartleberry (Mar 5, 2013)

Krockwell reports the lense is made in China. So why is it so damn expensive?

5 upvotes
lockon
By lockon (Mar 5, 2013)

Where? I read his whole post and it doesn't mention it anywhere. Here is the link :
http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/80-400mm.htm

Comment edited 13 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
munro harrap
By munro harrap (Mar 6, 2013)

Macs are made in China and I have had the new Retina here and it had to go back as it is SO badly designed (in the USA, obviously, that there is no way of insulating in/out current through the USB3 and Thunderbolt ports and they short to the chassis. Did the US actually get into Space? AMAZING!!

0 upvotes
Mr Fartleberry
By Mr Fartleberry (Mar 6, 2013)

You're right - the reference to China is now gone. When I read it the page was half under construction and country of manufacture was listed as China. Now there is no country of manufacture, not even Japan.

0 upvotes
Clueless Wanderer
By Clueless Wanderer (Mar 6, 2013)

Lol @ Krockwell.

0 upvotes
JuanSu
By JuanSu (Mar 5, 2013)

Wow. Interesting. I'm glad Nikon is replacing the older model with this new AFS model. I can't wait to see some reviews on this lens. I wanted a longer lens for shooting birds. The 400mm f4 is way out of my price range for the occasional shoot, but if this lens IQ and focus is fast enough, then it will be worth considering.

0 upvotes
qianp2k
By qianp2k (Mar 5, 2013)

1570g weight and $2700 price tag. Weather sealed? Wait and see if it will dramatically improve AF speed.

0 upvotes
DimensionSeven
By DimensionSeven (Mar 5, 2013)

4 stops of VR?
Is my assumtion correct that this means it's the good old VRII, not the latest VRIII seen in the 70-200 f/4?

0 upvotes
TWHTom
By TWHTom (Mar 5, 2013)

Nikon Web site confirms it's VR II

0 upvotes
joejack951
By joejack951 (Mar 5, 2013)

Likely has to do with the 400mm end of the lens. 5 stops on a 200mm lens is probably a lot easier to manage.

0 upvotes
JHWJR
By JHWJR (Mar 6, 2013)

But "VRII" on one lens is not necessarily the same as "VRII" on another. Under Nikon's nomenclature scheme, the first version of the lens with VR is called "VR." The next version is "VRII." A lens on its third version of VR is called "VRIII." A brand new lens with VR for the first time will have that "VRIII" technology, yet be called "VR" because it is the first version of the lens with VR. THIS lens, by definition, is the second 80-400 with VR, so it's VRII, no matter what version of the VR it has.

2 upvotes
newfoundlander61
By newfoundlander61 (Mar 5, 2013)

I have been using the current model for a few years now but don't see much difference with this one. Its still F4.5-5.6, images will be no different for alot more money. I am missing something here, if so let me know.

Paul

1 upvote
joejack951
By joejack951 (Mar 5, 2013)

Yes, it seems you didn't read the press release at all. This new lens has a specification that sounds a lot like Nikon's super-telephoto primes versus the old lens that was far more consumer-oriented. It's now the second Nikon lens with a "Super ED" element, something only the 200mm f/2 could claim before.

0 upvotes
JHWJR
By JHWJR (Mar 6, 2013)

It has AF-S focusing (very fast). It has more ED elements (very sharp). It has an improved VR system. It's a real improvement, but whether it's worth nearly twice the old one? Depends on how much cash you have, how much you love this stuff or how much money you make at it perhaps. I just picked up the old one used (in perfect condition) for $1,000. I wouldn't go get my money back and get this even if I could. Just can't justify the price difference, and I have all three f/2.8 zooms (14-24; 24-70; 70-200), so I'm not afraid to drop some sheckles on glass.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
LSE
By LSE (Mar 5, 2013)

No more push/pull zoom!!!!!

Oh wait, it is not the canon version lol

0 upvotes
David Rosser
By David Rosser (Mar 5, 2013)

UK price is a few pence short of £2500 inc VAT and 6% import duty, that's equivalent to $3000 before taxes - welcome to rip off Britain. Be interesting to see what the street price will be after a few months - probably something like £1999.99.

1 upvote
Clueless Wanderer
By Clueless Wanderer (Mar 6, 2013)

Welcome to rip of Britain? You should Live in NZ Im an Englishman living in NZ and I used to say Rip off Britain :-) Man You guy's have got it good compared to here o.O I had to pay £2000 for a Nikon24-70mm.
Ive brought a lot of things in myself from BandH, now I look on their website and it tells me that "Due to import restriction's they cannot ship to NZ" The sole Importers of Nikon into the country, have influenced Custom's to not let in grey import's.. Not just rip off New Zealand, but 'Closed borders' New Zealand. Lol...

0 upvotes
SeeRoy
By SeeRoy (Mar 5, 2013)

It seems to me that this lens might encourage Sigma to rationalise their long zoom offerings - currently both 50-500 AND 150-500. Given that these existing lenses weren't too bad they should be able to compete strongly on price in this sector. As it stands, particularly in UK where we are regularly ripped off with $1 = £1 commodity exchange rates, the price of this lens is pretty steep.

0 upvotes
QuarryCat
By QuarryCat (Mar 5, 2013)

No way - not for this insane price!
Even Sony is cheaper.

5 upvotes
TruePoindexter
By TruePoindexter (Mar 5, 2013)

It's an interesting lens. The MSRP is a little high for what it is. At that price point it's dangerously close to the Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 OS which is a good (albeit larger/heavier) lens. That said though I expect real prices to be substantially less than that - probably closer to the $2300-2500 mark.

As this lens appears to be from the pro line and features all of the latest bells and whistles from Nikon it will likely be a good performer and it gives the Nikkor lineup an equivalent to the well regarded if long in the tooth Canon EF L 100-400mm IS USM.

3 upvotes
Plastek
By Plastek (Mar 5, 2013)

Comparing to Sony: More expensive, darker, shorter, poorer MFD, most likely worse image quality.
I'm underwhelmed.

Comment edited 25 seconds after posting
13 upvotes
pboehi
By pboehi (Mar 5, 2013)

I am using the old 80-400mm lens and still am very happy with it, using it mainly for concert photography. Since I don't feel the old lens to be deficient, I am reluctant to upgrade.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/pboehi/sets/72157631567751093/

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
Ellis Chan
By Ellis Chan (Mar 5, 2013)

1.75m minimum focus distance, not quite a modern lens design parameter.

The Sony 70-400 and Sigma 50-500 are still better buy, as the price difference to the Nikkor is enough to buy an entry level DSLT/DSLR body.

7 upvotes
LSE
By LSE (Mar 5, 2013)

Lets see the images first, then talk.

1 upvote
Wheatsack
By Wheatsack (Mar 5, 2013)

Aperture ring.....Yes ???????

2 upvotes
M Jesper
By M Jesper (Mar 5, 2013)

There's always one or a few errors on new dpreview items, it's part of their philosophy. ;)

2 upvotes
PLShutterbug
By PLShutterbug (Mar 5, 2013)

It's a "G" lens. It's not going to have an aperture ring.

0 upvotes
tinzi1
By tinzi1 (Mar 5, 2013)

Seriously, only if you dropped $1000 and feel no pain about it kinda guy; i wonder who actually would throw 3grand on this lol.

3 upvotes
JRFlorendo
By JRFlorendo (Mar 5, 2013)

A $2700 for a variable aperture lens.......those bean counters are at it again.

12 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Mar 5, 2013)

Would you rather it was straight f5.6? Because we already know what a 400mm f4 zoom would cost and it isn't $2700.

8 upvotes
LSE
By LSE (Mar 5, 2013)

Set it to f5.6 and it is constant!!! Amazing!!!!

2 upvotes
InTheMist
By InTheMist (Mar 5, 2013)

This looks like a winner for enthusiasts.

0 upvotes
bodos
By bodos (Mar 6, 2013)

Or rather for people who never had DSLRs before and don't read forums.
Some fools with enough cash will surely buy it, then put it on Ebay a month later.

1 upvote
bodos
By bodos (Mar 5, 2013)

3 Grand for a kit lens? Hm.

3 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Mar 5, 2013)

What's the last 400mm "kit lens" with a bunch of ED elements that you can think of?

5 upvotes
mgblack74
By mgblack74 (Mar 5, 2013)

400mm @ f/5.6 has the same DOF roughly as a 200 @ f/2.8 or 100 f/2 or 50 f/1.4. So a 400 f/5.6 is not bad. Not great but not bad. Considering you get the focal lengths of 80-399 mm included in the lens is even better. Consider the the low end kit zooms are 3.5-5.6. Or, greater than on stop end to end. The 80-400 is 4.5-5.6, so a 5x zoom length and aperture shrinks less than a stop. This is hardly a kit lens. The sticker shock is only because of what the current (outgoing) 80-400 is priced at. How much is a 70-200 II & 2.0 T.C cost? For that you get less range and straight f/5.6. This lens is good value for those who need the range.

2 upvotes
LSE
By LSE (Mar 5, 2013)

then keep kitting because the competition is doing worse :)

1 upvote
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Mar 5, 2013)

@mgblack74: You don't buy a 400mm stabilized zoom to take the same kinds of pictures as you would a 50mm f1.4, so I think your premise is a bit off. But your math is off, too. Preserving framing, a 400mm f5.6 and a 50mm f5.6 have the same DOF. IN terms of background blur, if that is what you meant,the 400mm f5.6 and 200mm f2.8 both have a 71mm aperture. 100mm f2. has a 50mm aperture and 50mm f1.4 has around 35mm aperture. So it would be more similar to a 100mm f1.4 or a 50mm f0.7.

But again, how can you even compare 100 and 400mm? You just aren't going to use them for the same subjects. And if 200mm is enough, you wouldn't have shopped for the 400 in the first place.

1 upvote
lockon
By lockon (Mar 5, 2013)

@mgblack74: that is the best explanation I have read yet about why the 4.5-5.6 range of this lens is not a big deal. Thank you!

2 upvotes
bodos
By bodos (Mar 6, 2013)

apparently, there are 4 people who WILL buy this lens.

0 upvotes
bodos
By bodos (Mar 6, 2013)

why is everyone trying to explain DoF to me. I wasn't talking about DoF.

0 upvotes
Guidenet
By Guidenet (Mar 5, 2013)

If the optics are great. I'm a player. That's for sure. AFS and VR combined with Nano Coatings. It's another class act. I hope it performs well with the 1.4 converter. Still 560 f/8 is pretty darn slow. Can't have everything for that cheap of a price, I suppose.

1 upvote
Octane
By Octane (Mar 5, 2013)

Well, $2700 isn't exactly cheap :)

1 upvote
Tharizdun
By Tharizdun (Mar 5, 2013)

Its prob the super ED glass that makes it expensive...

0 upvotes
Knute
By Knute (Mar 6, 2013)

Cheap of a price? For just a little more you can have a Sigma 120-300 F/2.8, that's a hell of a deal compared to this Nikon.

1 upvote
SHood
By SHood (Mar 5, 2013)

Disappointed to see it gain 200g in weight. I was hoping it would weight less than the old lens.

0 upvotes
Guidenet
By Guidenet (Mar 5, 2013)

Come on. They put an AFS motor in it. You'd expect it to be a little heavier.

6 upvotes
slappomatt
By slappomatt (Mar 5, 2013)

Nikon has been pricing the amateurs out of photography for years now. Glad to see that is still the case. :(

4 upvotes
Octane
By Octane (Mar 5, 2013)

It's like gas prices, it's pointless to look back 10 or 15 years and think the prices should be the same.

6 upvotes
LSE
By LSE (Mar 5, 2013)

just Nikon? Yeah, everybody else got cheaper lenses when they replace old ones. Nikon is the exception ;)

2 upvotes
thomas2279f
By thomas2279f (Mar 5, 2013)

Apart from Canon with their replacement to the 24-70 price shot up to £1999.99. I expect the 100-400 L MK 2 to have improved optics, IS and USM but a similar price 2 as the Nikon 80-400 Mk 2.

0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (Mar 12, 2013)

"Yeah, everybody else got cheaper lenses when they replace old ones."

Oly 75-300 II went to $550 from $900 for the version 1.

0 upvotes
Retzius
By Retzius (Mar 5, 2013)

I just realized that on the new D7100 if you use the 1.3x crop mode this will be effectively a 800mm lens and still have autofocus. Amazing.

But still, $2700 is alot of cheddar.

1 upvote
Tom Matty
By Tom Matty (Mar 5, 2013)

$2700 is too much. The Sigma 50-500 offers greater range and quite possible equal image quality.

3 upvotes
Mssimo
By Mssimo (Mar 5, 2013)

forget the 50-500, its almost the price of the 70-300 F2.8

1 upvote
Retzius
By Retzius (Mar 5, 2013)

MSRP of $2700!!! Holy smokes...

8 upvotes
Tharizdun
By Tharizdun (Mar 5, 2013)

you guys. Introduction prices are always higher because demand is expected to be high. After a while the price will settle to a lower level. This happens all over the place (name me one nikkor lens that got more expensive or stayed the same price) , so don't act like this is new for you. Unless you guys have been living under a rock....

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

Finally, they replaced the worst lens in their telephoto line-up. I am getting this one no matter what.

2 upvotes
thx1138
By thx1138 (Mar 5, 2013)

Might want to wait and see if it's better.
Specs are a bit disappointing compared to new Sony 70-400, especially mfd and max magnification.

Ok Canon your turn, although in their case the existing lens is still superb, but has first gen IS.

3 upvotes
Octane
By Octane (Mar 5, 2013)

@thx1138 What difference does it make whether Canon or Sony has a similar lens. If you with Nikon those won't fit and I doubt people are going to swap cameras system for a small difference between one lens.

9 upvotes
FreeRadical009
By FreeRadical009 (Mar 5, 2013)

@Octane: You'd be surprised the kind of things some people do with their money and cameras in the name of "image quality"...

0 upvotes
leebird
By leebird (Mar 5, 2013)

Yes, FreeRadical, I'd be really surprised if you, me, and the rest of the people lurking these forums at nights could actually appreciate a product release and not bitch and complain about price/optics/weight/accessories included/packaging/etc. Gets old, really, listening to how people whine about price, price, price. Does anyone realize what freaking YEAR we are in?? Quit sending your kids to private schools and living above your means if you wish to "treat" yourself to expensive toys. And while you're at it, ditch the worthless significant other (you guys know who you are) if they're not adding to your net value each month. Bitchers, complainers, and free-loaders. Hhmmm. How about some happy, appreciative folk every blue f$cking moon?

6 upvotes
FreeRadical009
By FreeRadical009 (Mar 5, 2013)

@leebird: For the record, I was meaning at the habit of jumping around systems every release just to gain marginal improvements in image quality, spending thousands of dollars in the process instead of developing technique and sensibility in their photography. That's it.

I'm not a Nikon user, so I really can't comment on this release, I suppose it's a good thing for Nikon's userbase but they'll know better.

Peace out...

2 upvotes
MattiH
By MattiH (Mar 5, 2013)

Why do I keep thinking this when i read some of the replies?

http://theideagirl.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/2-of-10-would-not-bang-16.jpg?w=531&h=507

;)

Comment edited 41 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Matt Cham
By Matt Cham (Mar 5, 2013)

As an owner of the 200-400 f/4, I am debating whether the portability of this new lens is worth the sacrifice in f/5.6 aperture.

0 upvotes
Clueless Wanderer
By Clueless Wanderer (Mar 7, 2013)

Looking at the pic and seeing that it has a 77mm filter thread... Thats one fat ass lens..

0 upvotes
7829mark
By 7829mark (Mar 27, 2013)

It weighs 5 lbs!!!!!!!!!

0 upvotes
Total comments: 78