Nikon’s patent for a 800mm f/5.6 lens

Nikon filed a patent 2011197413 in Japan for a 800mm f/5.6 lens:

  • Patent publication: 2011-197413
  • Patent release date: October 6th, 2011
  • Patent filing date: March 19, 2010
  • Focal length: 800.00mm
  • Aperture: 5.61
  • Image height: 21.60mm
  • Lens design: 16 elements in 14 groups
  • Internal focus
  • Image stabilization

The longest telephoto in the current Nikon arsenal is the Nikkor 600mm f/4 ED VR lens ($10,300) while Canon already has a EF 800 f/5.6L IS USM lens ($14,000).

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  • enesunkie

    Where’s the 100-400 mm VRII!

    • yrsued

      I don’t see much of a market for that lens at the price Point it would be at. I would guess, if you want a decent lens at around f4 all the way, something Pros would want to buy, this lens would be about $15K Sports guys like me already have and love the 200-400. For Football it is almost like cheating!! One body with the 24-70, One body with the 70-200 and one body with the 200-400, that is all we use in College and Pro Football. Well, OK, my buddy that works for the Cardinals Handholds a Nikon 600/f4, but he is young and foolish 😉

      • Not Surprised

        Nikon needs a 400-600mm/4 or 400-500/3.5 VR lens.

        Its only a 1.5 x or less zoom, so should be more manageable than even the 200-400/4 VR, which is a 2 x zoom. And I really think a 400-600 or a brighter 400-500 would serve birders much better than the 200-400/4.

    • NoFunBen

      the Nikon 80-400mm VR is due for an af-s upgrade i would think soon. not that i would get one.
      I would like to see a 24-70 with vr.
      also would like vr on some primes like the 85 and 50mm.

      • Roger

        VR is for superteles not for every lens you can think of. Image quality comes first.

        • Not Surprised

          There are a million 24-70 non-VRs out in the market with “perfect” qualities.

          Nikon can afford to open up the segment to a very slightly less perfect 24-85/2.8 VR.

          I think a 24-85/2.8 VR would be an extremely good seller — because there have been very many times when the 70mm range has needed VR in the real world. And my 85/1.4 DEFINITELY needs VR, but doesn’t have it.

          So if Nikon makes a nearly 24-85, or even 28-85/2.8 VR, lots of people will snatch it up, I’m pretty darn sure. What a nice lens that could be!

          • Not Surprised

            By the way, I’m not suggesting that the 85/1.4 should have VR — I just mean that there are time sin the real world where the “85” range and above “definitely” could use VR to help out. I also dont think the 24-70/2.8 needs VR — its a perfect lens on its own, and I think Nikon should even focus on trying to make it slightly brighter, if possible, with even more perfect silkiness!

            However, what I am suggesting is that there is another consumer out there who focuses on the FAR end of the 24-70, and for whom a 28-85/2.8 VR would be an AMAZING tool and a very different lens than the 24-70.

            Sorta like how the 16-35 VR is in no way the 14-24. They are two different lenses. Some guys will overlap. But most others very clearly know which one they need.

            • Lol that lens would be a chode and a dud. You should be able to handhold just fine with the 24-70. If you are shooting portraits at the long-end of the 24-70, subject movement will become a factor before camera shake.

    • Cristian

      Or a 100-500/5.6???

  • MattyB

    That bad boy is going to be huge!

  • I imagine this lens will be slightly larger or about the same size as the 600mm f/4. Massive, for sure.

    • Kon_head

      I had owned the Canon 600/4 IS1, and the Canon 800/5.6 IS. The Canon 800mm is smaller in diameter and much lighter than the 600mm IS1. So this Nikon 800mm should have similar attributes.

  • plug

    2160mm equivalent on a J1. I want one. 🙂

  • Lenshood

    That is going to be one hell of a monster! To bad I don’t have 600mm F/4 or 800mm F/5.6 money…

  • Ohh, I think I’s like to have me one of those! I guess it’s time to start saving!!

    • Jabs

      @Steve Perry

      Nice shots.

      I like to see ‘traditional’ work like this – great stuff.

      Plus your montages probably done in Photoshop, look great and even somewhat natural plus fluid.

      Your time spent on Post Production must be one heck of a journey – lol

  • Ákos

    One more lens that will be waporware even after it’s release (like all the other exotics) is just what we need! GG!

  • SayWhat

    Probably going to be a great lens….too bad that you’ll have to take out a second mortgage to be able to afford one ;>)

    • E.

      I wouldn’t rate an 800mm f/5.6 too high on a desirability scale, at least not for individual (personal) ownership. I own three AIS IF-ED super telephotos in their final version (flat UV filter up front, with no threads) and as their focal length increases their practical usability decreases.

      The most practical one is probably the 300mm f/2.8 and even at that “moderate” focal length atmospheric conditions can have a noticeable impact on the quality of images when the depth of field reaches into the distance. For some applications the heat waves can be appealing but not always.

      Both, the 300mm f/2.8 and 400mm f/2.8 are probably at their best when used for either tightly framed face or upper body portraits. The saturation of the 400mm f/2.8 is impressive and the bokeh simply phenomenal. Nothing else comes close.

      The 600mm f/4 is unwieldy and very sensitive to the quality of the atmosphere. We have to think of cool, early mornings being mandatory and even though it can be used to photograph subjects at a distance the best results are, again, with relatively close subjects.

      And then there is the problem of support. I use an ancient monster Gitzo with the 600 and moving it around is always a pain.

      When I need the reach, I rely on the 300mm f/4 AF and that’s enough for me. And for more practical portraits the 85mm f/1.4 or the 135 f/2 DC are all I need.

      • PHB

        It will be a hyper specialized lens. The space station guys and gals for example.

        Nikon has made longer lenses in the past. On a j1 this would beat the old 2000mm miror lens on any film camera…

        I woul see this as ultimate birder lens. But why not just get the 400 mm an stick a 2x teleconverter on it?

        • @PHB, “I woul see this as ultimate birder lens.” — That is exactly why Nikon is manufacturing it, not to mention for African Safaris.

          “But why not just get the 400mm an stick a 2x teleconverter on it?” — The quality of the 400 with a 2x converter won’t nearly be the quality of a dedicated 800mm f/5.6. I have the 400 and the 2x and 1.7x converters, and I won’t use the 2x TC-II on my 400. I have been contemplating an upgrade to the 2x TC-III which now includes aspherical glass; it is suppose to be superior. The newer TC and sharpening in post might be feasible, but I suspect the newer 800mm will still be optically better.

        • Kon_head

          @ ‘But why not just get the 400 mm an stick a 2x teleconverter on it?’

          … beacuse anything a 2X touches turns to crap.

      • NoFunBen

        I would love a 400mm f/2.8 for portraits.
        But the cost is too much for me, 300 will have to due for now.
        also not sure if i could hand hold the 400 like i can a 300.

      • Matt

        You’re obviously not a wildlife photographer. The 500mm and 600mm lenses are by far the most popular and most used lenses. For those who can’t afford them like myself the 300/4 w/1.7/2.0 tc is the go to lens. Between 500-800mm is the ideal wildlife length. Most people that get close enough to shoot wildlife at 300mm are inexperienced or inconsiderate and end up disturbing their natural behaviors.

  • Finally!

  • Jabs

    For comparison to the old Ais 800mm F5.6 – look here:

    Specifications of 800mm f/5.6s IF-ED

    Focal length/Aperture: 800mm f/5.6
    Lens construction: 8 elements in 6 groups with optical filter (3 x EDs)
    Picture angle: 3°; Diaphragm: Automatic
    Aperture scale: f/5.6~f/32 on both standard and aperture-direct-readout scales
    Exposure measurement: Via full aperture method; meter coupling ridge provided for Al cameras
    Distance Scale: Graduated in meters and feet from 8m (26.2 ft.) to infinity (OO)
    Maximum Reproduction ratio: 1: 9.1; Weight: 5,400g; Dimensions: 163mm dia. x 546mm long (overall)
    Filters: (Rear/Front) 52mm screw-in via slip-in filter holder/ 160mm front screw-in; dedicated gelatine filter holder
    Front lens cap: Slip-on; Lens hood: Built-in telescopic type with Extension Hood HE-3
    Lens case: CT-800 Aluminum Trunk case; Usable teleconverter: TC-200* , TC-201*, TC-300** , TC-301** TC-14A* or TC-14B** * Not usable ** Usable, at aperture smaller than f/11 there may be occasionally uneven exposures. TC-300 may not be fully compatible with SLRs that provides other selective exposure modes. Note: Serial Number for this Ai-S only lens version started from 200001.

  • Jabs

    Also compare this to the old 600mm F4.0 ED-IF Ai-S

    Specification: Maximum aperture: f/4 Lens construction: 10 Elements in 7 Groups (3 ED Elements); Focus distance: Approx. 18.4 feet; Maximum reproduction ratio: 0.12; No. of diaphragm blades: 9 blades Aperture: f/4~f22; Filter attachment size: 52mm; Hood: HK-28 Included Accessories: CT-606 Trunk Case, HK-28 Hood, 52mm NC Filter; Dimensions: 6.6 in. x 17.0 in.; Weight: 10.7 lbs

  • Mmmmmm….

    D800 + 800mm

    1,200mm in 16MP crop mode. Tasty!

    • Jabs


      Yeah – 1200 F5.6 on DX with all the focus points and AF of the Nikon 1 but Pro speed now too – unreal.

      Put that 800 on a V1 and then ouch – you need a concrete slab of a tripod to stabilize that.

      • Arthur

        The focal length is not changing, so you don’t have to stabilize it more than with a FF or DX camera.

        • nobody

          But the pixels are getting smaller, so you do have to 🙂

        • Jabs


          Keep believing that until ‘Mr Blurry Cam shots’ get ya – lol

          Over 2000mm and you don’t think so – no more comments as I am trying to be nicer to people here since most of the whiners have thankfully left.

          Let’s see what YOU get then!

        • Sven Felsby

          focal length not changing = true

          but magnification = much larger

          therefore: less movement needed to avoid visible blur

          • Jabs

            Magnification is tied to focal length.

            It is an Internet MYTH that people spread all over the place in ‘guesstimation’.

            You increase the focal length going from FX to DX and then to CX on an FX lens.

            The lenses are things that magnify an IMAGE going towards the sensor and NOT the other way around, so anything that does that causes an increase in a need for stability in the camera from which you have now attached said lens and are now shooting through. People act like you shoot FROM the sensor!!!

            ONE of the reasons why there are so many DX blurry cam shots at high focal lengths = they FORGOT what added up magnification VIA the increased focal length that they are now shooting at means or incurs.

            You NEED a sturdy tripod for ANY basic shot with an 800mm unless you are shooting at a HIGH enough ISO to get a high enough shutter speed EVEN with VR2.

            Most people have never shot with anything over 200mm or at best 300mm or they would KNOW these facts of life.

            There also is a more troubling problem at high magnifications over great distances and that is atmospheric haze and on certain days, you get water vapor rising plus if the conditions are dusty, then the dust blurs the shot or acts like a veil, hence people USE polarizers to combat this often.

            You try it yourself and see!

        • Long Shot

          No, that’s wrong. You have to stabilize for the crop factor because otherwise you magnify the photo more and see vibration you don’t see on full frame. We know that ff you can hand hold something at 1/50 on FX, you really do need 1/80 on DX. And so you’ll need 1/250 or 1/300 on CX. I can’t imagine the shutter speed you need for this.

          • Jabs

            @Long Shot

            Again, let me try and clarify a few facts to stymie the gibberish that has invaded the Internet.

            In digital photography like in a microscope, you have certain details that you deal with.

            You have the lens through which you view an object and the EXIT pupil that is attached to the microscope.

            The problem all over the Internet is that people DO NOT know Optics or how it really works and they ‘over-think’ the issue to sound scholarly while being clueless.

            1. The lens to sensor is a RATIO or the lenses would NOT work between FX, DX or now CX.
            2. FX = 1:1
            3. DX = 1:1.5
            4. CX = 1:2.7

            Those are the magnification ratios obtained when you put on a lens originally designed for FX on a Nikon FX DSLR body.

            The F-stop is not controlled by the magnification ratio but is merely a light gathering ability of that particular lens and if it is fixed, say at F5.6, it does NOT change from FX to DX to CX at all, as that is a fixed ‘mechanical quality’ of the lens itself!

            The problem stems from people NOT knowing HOW Nikon makes a DX only lens.

            Lens magnification is subject to, I think the law is called Inverse proportional square or something similar (have to look it up) and thus WHEN you reduce the objective (the sensor now) in size, the magnification RATIO goes up inversely and proportional or nothing would work.

            DX to FX goes up x 1.5 for Nikon’s
            CX to FX goes up x 2.7 for Nikon’s
            FX came first and is therefore 1:1 in that RATIO or what you compare them all to.

            NEXT fact:
            All larger magnifications need a sturdier base to mount on, whether it is a camera, a telescope or whatever. The vibrations are magnified in what I think they call a pendulum effect, as the bigger focal length in this case causes the motion to also be magnified and that causes more motion effects to register as the lens is at the END of the chain and not at the front of the chain where the sensor IS. The longer the lens in size and focal length, the greater usually this pendulum effect too!

            Hence most people talk nonsense like the lens does not increase in magnification and then some ‘equivalency’ baloney.

            It is the focal length that changes that affects the NEW real depth of field from the real focal length increase. Not an apparent focal length increase BUT a real focal length increase due to increased magnification as that is what focal length is – just like when you ZOOM a lens from say 50 to 300mm, it changes and gives a different depth of field for each new focal length that you zoom it to!

            Same exact thing happens when you use a lens for copying or enlarging a photo in the old days mounted on an overhead stand. Ratios go up or down too!

          • Jabs

            @Long Shot

            Last point:

            It is recommended that you shoot at the reciprocal of each focal length by a factor or 1/10th the focal length in fractions of a second as the minimum recommended shutter speed before VR came about.

            Therefore from the REAL focal length increase of a FX 800mm F5.6 lens now becoming a 2160mm lens (800 x 2.7 = 2160) when mounted on a Nikon CX sensor camera (V1, J1), the minimum shutter speed should now be about approximately 1/250 sec (10 x 250 = 2500mm focal length) as you go a little higher than the 1/216 non-existent shutter speed (as far as I know) – lol

            Therefore you are right about the required minimum shutter speed going up but it’s because of the increased focal length though.

            VR or VR2 changes that recommendation, so maybe Nikon will publish that data or someone else can chime in with their thoughts on the matter?

            I would not handhold a lens over 2000mm though – even with VR or VR2 but someone might test it and see if it works for them and then show me the pictures to examine closely and see if they are right or not!

  • Jabs

    Nikon seems to be concentrating on the upcoming 2012 London Olympics with possibly a D4, D4X plus some awesome lenses now reintroduced to blow us away, perhaps.

    New and really exciting times ahead then.

    ON with the releases and news Administrator and you probably will need three servers now or maybe a few GREAT ones with VM’s (Virtual Machines) – VM Ware or Virtual Box, plus some multi-core processors like the newest upcoming AMD Opteron – on Linux Servers.

    Hint, hint – hint!

    Anyone for:
    200-400 F4.0 ED-IF VR2
    300 F4.0 ED-IF AF VR2
    50-300 F4.0 ED-IF VR2

    • Carsten

      Yepp, pros might demand this lens for events like the Olympics, but the rather slow aperture seems to be aimed more on wildlife photographers. 800mm is rather long, even in a stadium – perhaps for sailing, but that is not one of the most popular sports.

      Your other suggestions – Sigma has an excellent 120-300 f/2.8. High on my wish-list, had been able to try it indoors and I have to say, their VR/AF is working. The Nikkor version will be unfortunately $5000 …

      • 120-300 os

        Well to Carsten i am in for the Sigma 120-300 f2:8 os and than with 1:4 1:7 2:0 tcs nice enough for what i do and than later much later new body

      • Jabs


        Yeah – lol

        I thought 800mm lenses were strictly for Space Shuttle launches!


        Maybe the sport shooters can chime in on the use of an 800 mm lens in their field.

        Maybe sailing or surfers hanging 10.

        Maybe auto racing?

        Too big and expensive for my tastes but you never know who wants to shoot the eyeballs of runner glancing at their competitors in the other lane while they blow by them – LOL!

      • Peter G


        You mention that the F5.6 aperture is rather slow. Well, what happens when you put a 1.4 convertor on a 600mm F4 …You get a 840mm F5.6.
        Put a 2x convertor on a 400mm F2.8 = 800mm F5.6.
        Put a TC17E on a 500mm F4 = 850 @F6.8 or so..( maybe my sums arent correct, but, get my drift ?)

        People do use those lenses, myself included .

    • Pickerel

      As the new owner of an ancient 50-300/f4.5, I can say I’d love that range in a constant aperture full frame zoom lens with VR and AF! It just better be parfocal like the original.

      • Jabs


        Yeah that ancient 95mm beast of a lens was one of my favorite lenses too. Paired it with a 180mm F2.8 and was just great. While people were changing lenses, I was getting the shots with my trusty Gitzo monopod too. Great tripod mount too.

        Yeah, F4, VR2 and AF would be great but please Nikon, reduce the size like you did with the older 80-200 F2.8 ED zoom. No more 95mm front filter zooms, if you can and technology allows it.

        Purty please – LOL!

  • Maddog

    I am proud owner of the manual focus version of this lens I have always been happy with it even though the lack of a CPU can be limiting at times…That being said, I look forward to seeing what this bad boy can do… If this happens, I will probably sell my manual focus to help pay for it. The original 800 was cheaper than the 600 to buy, I hope that happens again since the 600 is over 10 large in U.S. bucks (Aargh!!).

    • Long Shot

      Why would not having a CPU be “limiting”? It’s not like a pro body cares, and who puts one of those plastic toys on a real lens?

  • Arthur

    135/1.8 and won’t need another lens for the coming 5 years.

    • @Arthur,
      You should just buy the 135/2 DC and be done with it. Yes the AF is somewhat cludgy and this lens would benefit from a VRII refresh, instead of the miniscule gain that 1.8 will give you versus 2. With VR, that would be a minimum of a two stop gain, much gooder. 🙂

    • NoFunBen

      +1 if it has vr
      at 135mm and longer things start getting interesting.

  • Sven Felsby

    I would much more like an AF-S 400/5.6 VR DX

    It would be possible to price it within amateur range.

    • Maii

      I agree. I’d prefer f/4 but realistically f/5.6 is more likely to keep the price down to mere mortal levels.

  • Wooh! Super excited! It’s a shame I’ll never own one, as the chances of winning the lottery arent so good nowadays. I’ll be excited when it comes out, nonetheless.


  • jetelinho

    not what I ´ve been waiting for (well – nor even anywhere near to what I need … :-)) but this lense – in general – would be really pretty awesome … for all of you wild life-sport photographers. Do hope more is to follow as Nikon has debts on (not only …) on lenses area for amateurs. Nontheless, haven´t forgotten what happened back in MArch, so take your time over there in wonderful Japan, guys … just don´t waste it … (… as there are others good at it at ´wastelands´… just to mention!).

    regards, Jet

  • GaiaOverAll

    Give us a 500mm f2.8…

    • benS

      ha ? can you imagine big a 500mm f2.8 gonna be ?

    • benS

      i meant – Can you imagine HOW BIG a 500mm f2.8 gonna be ?

      • Cristian

        And heavy….

  • happysnapper63

    The myths continue, yet it is so simple.

    Crop factor does not change focal length.

    Crop factor does effect the required shutterspeed to avoid blur.

    Now one can go through all the painful stuff about holding long poles and moving vertically up and down V pivoting it just in front of where you hold it and comparing the relative displacement of the tip compared to the dispacement at the butt. All you have to do is then reverse this in your head. The point being the former would be applicable if your sensor was the same size as the scene, the latter applies because it is not. Which is interesting because if the latter model was not the one in play then the 1 / focal length rule for FF/Film would not exist, because all an increased focal length lens does is put a more cropped version of the actual scene on your sensor, if usuing a cropped sensor has no effect then neither should the focal length full stop.

    Finally if anyone still does not believe that the crop factor is material to the shutter calculation should grab themselves a P100 (or similar), zoom it out to 120mm switch off all stabilisation and try and take a picture handheld at 120th of a second or even 200th.

    When the theory makes logical sense according to mathematical and physical laws and is verified by experiment, then the debate is over.

    I never yearned for VR when I was shooting film at 200mm, or when conditions were ok at 400mm. Stabilisation was born out of necessity as digital sensors were so small.

  • Everest

    A 500/5.6 VR or 600/5.6 VR would be far more useful: 1) affordable, 2) portable.

  • Peter G

    Well, wonder if they can retrofit the motor to my 800mm F5.6 ? 🙂

    Used to us mine on motor cycle racing, and shot with Kodachrome KR64. That was hard work.

    Prefer my 500m F4 now days, but, there is a market for those big lenses. Limited, but, its there.

  • JB

    I recently purchased a 600mm f/4 and LOVE it, but I would have had to seriously consider an 800mm if it had been available. There are many bird photographers who use the Cannon 80omm with great results. With bird photography, it seems you can never have enough lens. I’m very happy with the 600mm…but this lens will be cool to see.

  • Denver Shooter

    I recently purchased the Nikon 600mm F4 and use it on wildlife. It makes amazing pictures. Yes its huge and yes you will feel it the next day if you hand hold it for a couple of hours but its worth it.

    If Nikon makes the 800 /F5.6 lens, I will be on the list to take delivery as soon as I can get one. You can never have too much lens for birds or anything with sharp teeth, hooves and horns.

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