Patent for a new Nikon AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 lens

After the surge of Nikon patents application filed in the US last year, it seems that Nikon is very cautious lately - I can hardly find any interesting entries. Most of the patents are filed in Japan and I am starting to monitor the Japanese patents website on a regular bases. Please note that patents applications do not guarantee any future products announcements.

2009-282214 is a patent for a new, redesigned 80-400mm lens that was filed in December of 2009 in Japan:

f 81.6 to 200-392
FNO 4.6 to 5.4-5.8
2omega 30.0 - 12.0 - 6.1

For comparison, here is the design of the current Nikon AF 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED VR lens:

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  • Grumpy

    Looks like the AF 80-400 replacement will be the super zoom telephoto that is coming later this year. I really hope though, it is a 100-500 instead.

    • PHB

      100-500 would be prohibitively large for most people. If its going to cost as much as a 200-400 you might as well buy a 200-400 and slap a 1.3x teleconverter on it when you really need the reach.

      Looking at the diagram, the front elements have gotten a bit larger which might have something to do with wanting better falloff performance on FX sensors.

      Looks like it is longer than the old model, which makes sense as they have to find space for both the VR and the AFS units.

      • Huh? The old model already had VR. Length has nothing to do with adding either AFS or VR. Girth would.

        • PHB

          They have to put an AFS unit in addition. And that can’t go in the same physical space as the VR unit. Since the lens is already pretty chubby, making it longer makes sense.

  • zzddrr

    NR Admin, I know it has nothing to do with you but there are quite few Canon ads on your site (right bar). I guess, Canon is going a bit far. (?)

    • I have little control of what ads are being pushed to the site, but it makes sense – why should Nikon advertise on a Nikon related site? For Canon it makes sense, maybe Nikon should advertise on Canonrumors 🙂

      • PHB

        I have noticed similar effects on other sites, suddenly lots of canon ads. Then I realized that I had been looking at the specs of the Canon gear at B&H and they probably set a cookie to say that I might be interested in that stuff.

      • preston

        just went to – ad featured prominently at the top right. . . Nikon!

    • Click

      Just a guess but those are probably affiliate ad’s. If you click on one of those ads and make a purchase the webmaster can earn a 2% affiliate commission (from B&H and Amazon). Surely this helps to pay the expenses needed in order too keep great sites like this online. Mostly what Nikon has in stock currently are the items that have rebates and if you’ll notice they are about the only Nikon items over there to the right. You can’t earn a commission for products that are not in stock or not available….

      • No, those are pay-per-click ads, maybe B&H is behind them (I cannot click on my own ads to find out).

        • Click

          At least these small ads don’t junk up your cool website like other websites. Hopefully they are helping you out financially to keep this wonderful website up and going (nothing is free). Thanks for all your effort and hard work. I assumed they were affiliate ads, maybe the space is just sold and whoever buys it puts whatever they want into their space. Seems even stranger to me seeing a Oral B toothbrush ad on a Camera Rumor website.

    • Canonknight

      Check out canonrumors, advertised is photo shredding machines…LOL:-)

      • fork()

        That’ll make a quick job out of those noisy images XD

  • Alex Wong

    Hmm, interesting. Seems like the last 3 groups of elements at the back are a little bit different, I’ll assume the vertical line at the back is the sensor?

    Disclaimer: I’m not an expert at patent reading, just comparing diagrams.

  • Seems that there are not much changes to the new lens in terms of design.

    • Pat

      It really stinks if nothing much changed. What’s so hard for Nikon to add AF-S to this design that was around for almost 15 years?

      Compared to the differences between 70-200VR1 and 70-200VR2, the 70-200VR2 got an addtional big diameter ED element right behind the 2 existing big ED element at the front. The apparent absence of such crazy ED glass stacking in the new 80-400 means while optical performance wouldn’t be super but the price shouldn’t be too prohitbitive. I am guessing 1799-1899.

      • nobody

        “It really stinks if nothing much changed. What’s so hard for Nikon to add AF-S to this design that was around for almost 15 years? ”

        It was introduced in 2000, so it’s 10 years old. How do you know there’s no AF-S? I bet there is. How do you know nothing much changed? I bet it will be clearly better.

        • Markus

          Of coruse the lens will have AF-S and the new VR-II technology too. Who knows we even might see a shiny N on it 🙂

        • Pat

          What I meant was the lens was out for so long, why does it take so long (maybe it won’t even be this year) for Nikon to release a version with AF-S on it? I am pretty sure the new one would have AF-S, nano-coating and all other goodies….

          • PHB

            Because the designer died before the lens was launched.

            That meant that there was nobody inside the company pushing for updates.

  • Astrophotographer

    There are a few changes to this design over the existing one. I can read enough of the lens tables to be dangerous and from what I see elements 2, 3, 12, 13 and 15 are ED glass. So 2 more ED elements.

    • Pat

      Given the new info of a 5 ED design – plus AF-S, VR and Nano-coating – would probably push the price to US$1999+ I would afraid.

      • nobody

        Better make that 1999++++ 🙁

  • I have the current 80-400, so for me, I am hoping for AFS, better VR, better IQ at 400 wide open, Nano, and a much better tripod mount!

  • SBGrad

    Drool! I’ve been saving for over a year now for an 80-400 replacement. I’m tired of not having a Nikon answer to the Canon 100-400L, just hurry up and release this baby.

  • kumo

    According to my search of this patent, filing date was 2008/05/21 and the published date was 2009/12/03. Focus is done by lens group 5 (current model is group 1). Part of the lenses in lens group 2 do the VR (current model is same). Interesting thing is the length of the lens is 253mm regardless of the focal length that means the lens is fixed length. I think that the lens design is very different although the drawing is similar.

    • Astrophotographer

      You’re right! In fact the diagram shows the front group don’t move on zooming.

      • PHB

        So it is a sealed Internal Focus design – woo-hoo!

    • Cold Hands Luke

      An internal zoom 80-400 update would be nice, but I think it would mean there’s no 100-500 coming. Which is a shame, because I think there would be room in the lens lineup for both ranges.

      The current 80-400 is quite compact; it’s not much bigger than the 70-300VR, and would go in a shoulder bag alongside a normal zoom and a wide angle. (Correct me if I’m wrong, I don’t own an 80-400.) Optically there’s nothing wrong with it; Nikon just need to give it AF-S and updated VR, fix the handling issues, nano coat it if they really want, and they’ve got a modern long zoom which you can travel with.

      A 100-500/5.6, no matter how you built it, would be too big to travel with unless you knew you really needed it. But the same is true of this internal-zoom 80-400, it would be the same size as my Sigma 150-500.

      If Nikon make an 80-400 AF-S that’s compact like the current one, there’s room for a 100-500 as well (and I would eventually buy both and sell my Sigma). If they make a larger internal zoom 80-400, it takes the space in the lineup where the 100-500 would go (and I’ll stick to my Sigma or update to the new 50-500 OS). Unfortunately it looks like they’ll do the latter, since the patent is there for it.

  • ashley dudd

    that’s right. it is a new nikkor 80-400mm since i can see a lot of dandruff in between lens elements.

  • nobody

    If that is right, 5 ED lenses and a fixed length, that should be a vastly improved design. Just what Thom Hogan writes in his 2010 predictions: “…what Nikon is shooting for here is the highest end of the consumer zoom. The replacement, I’m told, will be far better than the original.”

    Much appreciated! Where can I order mine? (-:

  • Chris

    I would buy a 100-500 aroung 2.000,-EUR with f5.6 at 500mm, but a 80-400 is too short. On the rumored 100-500 I like the constant tube length over all the focus range like the 70-200 or 200-400. At this point I’ll have a look what Sigma lenses are worth to. I’m not interested in a 80-400 with variable tube length.


    • nobody

      “I would buy a 100-500 aroung 2.000,-EUR with f5.6 at 500mm”

      Nice dream (-:

      Sadly, in reality it would rather be twice as much )-:

    • kurotsu-kun

      … actually, 500mm is only 25% longer than 400mm – not a big deal. I would rather have sharp 400mm than average 500mm. I also wouldnt mind losing some “wide-angle” range for increased optical performance at 400mm.
      So if Thom H is right and the new one is really THAT good I will get one – though I suspect it will initially be 2000€ + x here in Germany. The old one is a whopping 1500 Euro here (cheapest I could find).

      Just my 2 cents – kurotsu-kun

    • kurotsu-kun

      … oh yes, and regarding the Sigma lenses, I have the 150-500. It is quite crappy at 500mm under most conditions. At close focus distances (!) and f/8 it is OK at 500mm (I mostly use a monopod or tripod – otherwise motion blur dominates).
      In the range 150 to ca. 300mm my Sigma is really good.
      According to tests it is comparable in sharpness to the existing Nikkor 80-400 but much cheaper (I paid 760 Euro for the Sigma 150-500 compared to 1500 Euro for the Nikon 80-400).
      And I should add that I am on DX (D90)
      DISCLAIMER: This is just my impression based on actual photographs, no test-charts, no brick walls, no lab set-up!

      Cheers – kurotsu-kun

  • plug

    This looks good to me. I have commented several times that I am looking for a 300f4 because I like to be out and about with nature, and weight and compactness along with IQ are key for me. This lens, given the sharpness of the newest Nikkor zooms, might be a very acceptable, balanced compromise if compromise is the right word.

  • I do not believe. Just 10 years old and already afs? too fast.
    I think another 5 years sound truthful

  • tsnake

    I own the current 80 – 400 and its a POS.
    I wish I had never wasted my money on it.

    • Recent Convert

      tsnake wrote: I own the current 80 – 400 and its a POS.
      I wish I had never wasted my money on it.

      I don’t have one myself and I am aware of the slow focus, but I was under the impression that it is optically rather good (no CA to speak off, reasonably distortion free, sharp over most of its range). What’s your key point of irritation?

    • Anonymous

      POS! I don’t think so. Yes, the old school AF is not great, but the lens is far from a POS. Maybe someone needs to learn how to use the lens first before calling it a POS. 😉

  • Nikon Canon

    All I want is AFS added to the current 80-400 and I am a happy camper. Leave the 500 focal to primes.

  • PhotonFisher

    The key question is: will it be sufficiently good for a 18-24 MPX sensor and will it be apochromatic.

    The design can’t be interpreted without refr- idx charts per lens.

    The main advantage would be here: weight is nicely distributed.

  • nobody

    There have been enough reasons to criticize Nikon lately, but making new lenses with insufficient optical quality isn’t one of them. So I’m quite confident that a new 80-400 would deliver what is necessary for today’s cameras.

    If it ever materializes, that is, in sufficient numbers to meet the demand.

  • Anonymous

    this is the one i’ve been waiting for. I’m glad it will still be a 80-400. I love this range on my D700.

  • enesunkie

    What are the chances that the coffee mug version of this lens will be in stock before the actual lens is?

  • Chris P

    If this lens turns out to be an internal focus 80-400 f4.5-5.6 af-s VRII, with an optical performance throughout the focal length range approaching that of my 80-200 f2.8 afs, then I will be prepared to pay at least the current price of the 70-200 f2.8, about £1,700 here in the UK, for it. I have waited for a zoom like this ever since I bought my D700 nearly two years ago.

  • PhotonFisher

    good point – why don’t we start collecting preorders to
    convince Nikon producing it rather soon?

    seriouly: we want such lens and should get in touch
    with them

    • Nikon Canon

      Pre-order #1 right here.

    • I’ll take one as well!

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