New Nikon patent: Nikkor 100-400mm f/4-5.6G VR ED lens

Nikon filed a patent application in Japan for a AF-S 100-400mm f/4-5.6G VR ED lens. Here is the lens design:

Rumors about this lens have been floating for a while. At one point it was expected that this lens will be the replacement of the current Nikkor 80-400mm, but later Nikon filed two different designs for new 80-400 f/4.5-5.6 lens (see here and here).

An updated version of 80-400mm or a new 100-400mm are high on my list of expected lenses for 2011.

Details after the break:

  • Patent Publication: 2010-276744
  • Published on December 9th, 2010
  • Filed on May 27th, 2009
  • Focal distance: 102.00-392.00mm
  • Fno (aperture): 4.12-5.77
  • Angle of view: 23.68-6.15
  • Image circle: 43.2mm
  • lens length: 255.00mm
  • Minimum focusing distance: 1.8m
  • One aspherical element
  • Number of lens groups: 5
  • Internal focusing

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  • Nice lens.
    Great when it comes out.

    • lens length: 255.00mm
      So does that mean it has internal zoom or is this the length fully zoomed in? If it has internal zoom it won’t come cheap. My estimate would be around USD 2,0000. If it’s sharp it could become the “lightweight” and versatile long zoom in the travel kit of many nature and sports photographers. To fill the gap between a standard zoom and a long tele …

      • yes, internal zoom, or at least it says so in the Japanese version of the patent


    I would buy that if they can keep up their good work with sharp zooms (make it as good as the 70-200 2.8G VR II. )

  • Looking forward to reading your expectations for 2011 Admin! 😀

  • Unfortunately, this would be more likely a replacement for the 200-400 rather than the 80-400. With the constant F4 it will probably be priced over $7000 in the USA. I have no idea what it would be elsewhere, but I would expect that it has to be as heavy or heavier than the 200-400, and will be priced above it.

    • It is f/4-5.6G

      • GlobalGuy

        Yeah, what Laurentiu said.

        I’m disappointed its not a 100-500 though. Would have really liked to seen what Nikon could produce in that range. The 80-400 VR has been done — and now they are shortening the range. It doesn’t make sense. If you are going to redesign a lens, give it a bit more length, not less. 100-420 would have been at least a gesture, 100-450 a nice try, and 100-500 keeping up with the market. Knowing the trend with Nikon’s new lenses a 100-400 will only be a 100-300 at close range, so they better add some range on the far end!

        • preston

          I don’t mind them keeping the same range as long as the quality at the long end is improved. For that reason I always try to use my 70-300 at 250mm max. This isn’t just based on published lab tests or pixel peeping either – it’s actually noticeably less sharp at 1x.

  • Something DX for 2011?

    • enesunkie

      Doesn’t say DX, probably FX.

  • Sorry, mis-read it! I thought it said constant F4.0

  • zzddrr

    I think Nikon should work on patent to fix the “Out of Stock” issues. Or perhaps they should patent the current way of doing business and do exactly the opposite. 🙂

    • preston

      LOL – that would be a novel idea!

    • jdsl

      LOL!! 🙂

    • CK

      Plenty of time for that in January/Feb because they will probably have nothing new coming out dslr-wise during that time. Announcement maybe in Feb, but plenty of time to catch up.

  • I’d love to buy it but not sure if the F4 300mm provides sharper images.

  • It would be nice if this is the replacement to the 80-400, together with internal focusing and VRII 😀

    • Admin, you might want to update that this lens has internal focusing. Not mentioned in the English version though 🙂

      • I guess this is what “inner zoom” means 🙂 Thanks – did not see that.

        • You’re right 😀 This language can be confusing at times xD

          • GlobalGuy

            Don’t internal focusing lenses of Nikon’s latest generations seem to continuously have “short range” when in close focus?? Is this going to be a mere 100-300 at less than 20 feet?

            Wheres the 100-500…

            • woble

              All lenses suffer from this. Not only Nikon.

            • PHB

              All zoom lenses are going to have some change in focal length at one or other end of their range. But there is a design choice as to whether it is the long end that goes wide or the wide end that goes long.

              For examples of this see the current and previous 70-200 f/2.8.

              This patent is no guarantee that there is a product. It merely means that there was a designer working on it. For such an important lens as the 80-400 replacement I would expect there to be more than one approach considered and then final selection on the basis of field trials.

              They will patent anything that might be worth patenting. So the appearance of two sets of designs does not mean both will be manufactured.

              Whether they go for 80-400 or 100-400 really depends on how they rate the importance of having a continuous series of focal range from (10/14)-400.

              On an FX body the obvious companions for this are the 14-24, 24-70 and some primes. On DX I would go for 10-24 and the same. But Nikon also has some mid range lenses that go up to 100mm.

              I don’t see a gap between 70-100mm as being a huge problem. But some might.

    • Astrophotographer

      Also seems to be a constant length at all focal lengths. ~260mm (including back focus).

  • Mt.Ontake

    Too big…

  • As long as it isn’t a push-pull like Canons.

    • SZRimaging

      I kind of miss the push-pull action of my old 80-200 f2.8. It was intuitive and easy to use. However, there did seem to be a problem with it slipping as the lenses got older.

  • Prasad

    I would love 100-400/4.0-5.6 and hope it comes with VRII AF-S 🙂
    Would be good lens for day shoots…

  • DaniyarM

    It’s about time! I sure hope it’s scheduled for 2011 with VRII, AF-S and maybe even Nano. It will complement my new 24-120 perfectly.

  • mshi

    when do you think they can give up 28-400mm f/2.8?

    • Expensivehobby

      When you are ready to pay 12 grand for it.

      • mshi

        i would get it even for $13 grand.

    • R!

      It is imposible 28 f 2.8 AND 300 f 2.8 would make a huge lens you can’t go against law of physics!!!!!!

    • SZRimaging

      That thing would be massive. You would need a sherpa with you at all times just to carry the lens!

  • Avadhoot Velankar

    Nikon Please make cheap good faster aperture tele zoom plz. f4 constant will do, plz plz…..i love Af-S 70-300 VR ED, a 100-400 with simillar features without much increase in cost will be good especially for my cropped sensor camera.

    • R!

      I know that nikon must make a 70 200 or 70 300 F4 pro, because evrybody wants the same as 70 200 F4 L IS CANON!!!!

  • nirmalya

    Yes, I will miss the 100-500mm as well – really looking for it. But I also like that this 80-400mm lens has max aperture F4.0 instead of F4.5 like in the old version of the lens. I wish this new 80-400mm lens keeps the widest F4.0 aperture till 300mm (or at least 200mm???). This way it will also serve as the missing 70-200mm F4 lens. If F4.0 drops immediately after a little zooming then that will be a disappointment. In the old 80-400 F4.5-5.6 lens at what focal length the aperture drops from F4.5 – any info about that?

    • JorPet

      Gave this a try on the 80-400. I figured it would be almost an immediate drop and it is. It goes from 4.5 to 4.8 by about 90mm or so (guessing based on the zoom ring half way between 80 and 105 marks).

      Figure that a zoom with non-constant aperture will have a linear change in the f number along that range, not logarithmic. Makes the most sense to me anyway.

      • ebraun

        I don’t think you are correct in assuming a linear fall-off of aperture.

        It is more likely to follow a logarithmic function (like optical attenuation typically does) or a squared function like based on the equation that describes the intensity of a projected light source based on distance.

  • Chris

    I would like to see an AF-S 100-500 f4.0-5.6 ED-IF VRII for about 1.250,-EUR to 1.500,-EUR. At least 420mm at the long end. The lens should be as good as the old 70-200 VR I or better up to the quality of the current 70-200 VR II. An tripodmount is essential and has to be mouch more stable as the tripodmount of the AF-S 300mm f4.0. Important to me is also a fixed tubus length, which is independent of the zoom-level. A nice compromise would be to achieve the sharpness of the current 70-200 VR II at maximum costs of 1.500,-EUR and make it an DX if otherwise it has to be more expensive or less sharp / qualitatively.

    Buying an AF-S 100-400 f4.0-5.6 I’ve to think twice and no matter what price. In this case I waite maybe a new AF-S 300 f4.0 IF-ED VR II will be announced which is qualitatively much better (tripodmount, sharpness, teleconverter-compatibility / teleconverter-image-quality, lenshood, VR) than the current. Or even an AF-S 400 f4.0 IF-ED VR II, like described a new AF-S 300 f4.0.


    • El Aura

      Sigma offers a 150-500 mm with f/6.3 at the long end and a 500 mm f/4.5 (the latter without VR). A 500 mm f/5.6 lens would be right in the middle, thus its price would be right in the middle.
      That is $1000 for the 500 mm f/6.3 and $4700 for the 500 mm f/4.5, the mean is $2850. Add a missing VR surcharge (on the 500 mm f/4.5) and a Nikon surcharge and you are clearly north of $3000.

      • Chris

        Canon 100-400 is great and has a great price, so if Canon get managed to release such a lens, Nikon is able to do so as well I think. For 20mm or better 100mm more at the long end and no real compromise in quality as on Sigmas’ lenses I could think about paying more than 1.500,-EUR. More than 2.000,-EUR for an zoom-lens seems to me unrealistic, cause than I could purchase the 200-400 f4.0. In that case better waiting for a new 300mm f4.0 combined with a teleconverter or an 400mm f4.0 or even a 400mm f5.6.

        Another question is at which point the maximum aperture decreases to f5.6 on the designe of the 100-400 rumored? At 200mm, at 300mm or even at 150mm? This is a flaw on Sigmas’ lenses.

        If this lens will do for semi-pro-nature-photography it will be a blockbuster, if not it’ll be a shelf warmer like the current 80-400. I’m not keen traveling all my holidays with an 500mm f4.0 prime-lens around just for two afternoons taking some picutes. But something like Canons 100-400 would be every holiday with me.

        To sum up: I’m not sure if that lens will be greater than or at least as great as the Canon 100-400. I’m also not sure if that lense will fit to the needs of all the semi-pro-nature-photographers who expect such a lens for years.


  • Well, as a bird photographer I’ve always felt the lack of an equivalent of the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM, which e.g. Art Morris has used for years. The Canon lens is in the $1500 range, so I expect this lens from Nikon will be too.

    • PAG

      I’m with you, but I think $1,500 is unrealistic. The Canon lens is an old design and the current Nikon 80-400mm is still pushing $1,400. My guess would be $1,800-$2,000 for this lens. Upgrades to VRII seem to add about 10% on other long lenses and the AF-S will add a chunk as well.

      • PAG

        I forgot to add that I will definitely be buying one to replace my 80-400.

  • jose

    Please admind, could you comment regarding D7000 published reviews, camera labs and dpreview assing similar puntuations top this camera and both are just 1% over canon 60D.

    • my comment is “nikon is better”, keep in mind that dpreview is now part of Amazon and they want to sell cameras

      • jose

        But camera lab is not from Amazon and rated d7000 with the same value than dpreview, that is the reason from my question.

  • Chris P

    Now that we have the 24-120 f4, a 100-400 f4-5.6 makes more sense than a 80-400, as shortening the range by 20 mm at the short end should improve performance at the long end. If it is an internal focus, constant length lens with the same sharpness as the 24-120 f4 then I will have the two lens travel outfit I have always wanted from Nikon.

  • Xanadu AW18

    Nr admin please advice me if nikon lens has if zoom and focus nice but i am still thinking about the new Sigma 120-300 f2:8 ex dg os hsm plus converter you have any ideas for me and thanks for all the rumours this year

    • I hate to give advice, I would buy the Nikon 70-300 but this is just me.

      • Xanadu AW18

        Hello i do own the 70-300 vr already

        • Xanadu AW18

          No offences but are you telling me a sigma 120-300 os wich is coming out early next year is not in the same leag as what i have already but i do want an f 2:8 with vr or os i dont think a 3500 to 4500 dollar lens can not be good i am not convinced at this moment for making a good or best desision

  • Todd

    NR Admin,

    The “” link states it’s an FX. Really?? Not a DX? What do think it will be? Thanks

  • brave new world

    what a waste of R&D money … it’s nothing UNIQUE nor interesting at all. The zoom range is not of interest either 70 to 420 OR 150 to 500, but this one …

  • Spooky 42

    Im just glad its finally getting a revamp, there is a severe lack of lenses (both primes and zooms) that cover the larger focal lengths without the rather large price tags of the

    Next on the list should be a revamp for the 300 f4, adding VRII and nano coating followed by a 400 5.6 with the same toys and the same clever sliding hood

    • PAG

      If they update the 300mm f/4 next year as well, I’m going to have an expensive year since I’ll get it as well as the 80-400mm replacement, plus a TC1.4, plus a D7000. I better stop eating out so often.


    I want a 400 5.6 VR at a price between $1200 and $1500USD.

  • Xanadu AW18

    To all of you on this side and globe a merry christmas and happy newyear feliz año nuevo gezellig kerstfeest en gelukkig nieuwjaar frohes weinnachten schones neu jahr

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