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Keywords: Nikon Nikkor Tele Zoom 35mm AF-S VR Stabilized Tested


Registered: November 2005
Posts: 9
Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR AF-S Nikkor review by bradhill
Review Date: 1/27/2014 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $2,500.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: Solid optical quality throughout the entire focal range; very "hand-holdable"
Cons: Just acceptable build quality, horrendous tripod collar, poorly designed hood

I've just completed my full field test of this lens. Here's the "Executive Summary":

The AF-S 80-400mm f4.5-5.6 VR is a significant and worthwhile upgrade from its predecessor. It's an incredibly versatile lens that will meet most of the needs for many, many nature and wildlife photographers. The build quality doesn't match Nikon's best and most expensive lenses, but for most uses it's simply good enough - and it stood up to a full field season of rugged field use with nary a problem. The autofocus system proved to be accurate and fast enough to capture any action - from birds-in-flight through to running mammals. The Vibration Reduction technology permitted me to effectively hand-hold the lens at manageable "real-world" shutter speeds (1/focal length and often slower) for all focal lengths. Optical quality? While one can find a Nikon lens that's sharper at virtually every focal length, this is a solid performer over its entire focal range and it produces images sharp enough to please most any user. Image sharpness was comparable to the almost legendary 200-400mm f4 VR at all overlapping focal lengths. The size and weight of the lens makes it extremely portable - whether in a backpack, waist-mounted holster system, or in your carry-on luggage on a plane. Taken as a whole, and for almost any nature or wildlife photographer, this is as close to a "must-have" lens as you can get.

The full field test may be found here:

Cheers and enjoy!


Registered: September 2013
Posts: 2
Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR AF-S Nikkor review by Nikon5
Review Date: 9/16/2013 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $2,498.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp at the long end! Can be used quite successfully with a 1.4 tc
Cons: Price.

Delighted with lens, good VR (Can hand hold for bird images). Little or no loss of quality with 1.4tc, giving 560mm of sharp pics.or 840 in 35mm equivalent. Highly priced but I'm satisfied. Tried it in low light yesterday with TC and still got good pics, AF a little slower in these conditions) Great for nature and wildlife.

Registered: October 2011
Posts: 10
Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR AF-S Nikkor review by CraigH
Review Date: 7/5/2013 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $2,700.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: Very sharp and contrasty on my D700, D3S and D800. Crystal clear rendition with no color cast.
Cons: It's a bit of a learning curve maintaining focus on bird in flight.

I own a Nikon 300 f/2.8 VR and a Nikon 500 f/4. I wanted a zoom in this range for a bit lighter weight use because I've gotten older and developed Parkinson's Disease. This is an excellent lens. If I were one of those forum complainers, I'd have probably returned it in 30 days because I was struggling with autofocus. My keeper rate was very low and as one does, I blamed the lens. Fortunately, I decided logically this was me and this lens just took longer to master. I'm glad I decided to ride the learning curve because this lens can be absolutely spectacular when properly understood. You just can't be sloppy on focus here. My 300 and 500 primes, I can sometimes be, but not this zoom. You have to be certain you're locked dead on target and you're fine. With regards to BIF, I suggest the minimum of a good monopod and careful panning technique at a fairly high shutter speed. You have to get lock early or you just never will. You will have a series of blurred birds. Don't trust tracking either. I've not solved that yet, but I will. I promise.

If you're patient and take the time to master this lens, it will repay you handsomely by rivaling your very best glass. If you try to push that learning curve with instant gratification, I think you might be an unhappy camper. Just don’t blame the glass. If an older guy with advanced Parkinson’s Disease can master this lens and end up with a good keeper rate rivaling a Nikon 500 f/4-P on Kingfishers in flight, then you certainly can.

One little warning. Do use the lens hood and you'll have very good flare and ghosting control. Do not use a protective filter unless you want a veiling flare and ghosting even with that hood in contra lighting. I got it with a $200 polarizer too. It doesn't seem to like filters much and that's not a problem for me. Just sayin'

Registered: February 2009
Posts: 3
Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR AF-S Nikkor review by entropius
Review Date: 7/5/2013 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $2,700.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: very sharp, excellent VR, fast accurate AF
Cons: price, modest aperture

This is a lens with rather modest specs (f/5.6 aperture), but high-end performance and a price to match.

It focuses quickly and accurately, has superb VR, and seems rather sturdy. The manual focus throw is not very long, making precision manual focusing hard. The AF is sufficient to track swallows in flight, for instance.

SLRgear's test result at 400mm seems a little suspect to me; my copy is very sharp at 400/5.6 (on D7100). It is a little softer at 300mm than 400mm, unlike most lenses like it. Below 250mm it is very sharp, although there is some significant bokeh chromatic aberration at 80mm wide open.

Registered: June 2013
Posts: 1
Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR AF-S Nikkor review by arber
Review Date: 6/5/2013 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $2,400.00| Rating: 9 

Pros: fast, sharp
Cons: large

Best Nikon telephoto zoom available, great for birds including in flight


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