The new Nikkor AF-S 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR lens


Nikon announced the 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR lens back in July of 2012. After the official release last week, I still could not find any sample images from the new lens on the Web except the three photos on Nikon's website and the few old images from the 2012 Olympics.


Nikkor AF-S 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR lens ay the 2013 CP+ show in Japan (credit: gqtuazon)

The Nikkor AF-S 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR lens has some unique technologies:

  • Two fluorite lens elements that offer superior transmissivity from the infrared to ultra-violet range and demonstrate superior chromatic aberration compensation throughout the visible range. It seems that Nikon found a way to successfully implement fluorite lens elements. Here is a quote from Nikon Imaging website:

"In the past, correcting this problem for telephoto lenses required special optical elements that offer anomalous dispersion characteristics - specifically calcium fluoride crystals. However, fluorite easily cracks and is sensitive to temperature changes that can adversely affect focusing by altering the lens' refractive index."

  • Electromagnetic diaphragm mechanism for seamless mechanical control and enhanced stability in auto exposure control during continuous shooting (used also in Nikkor PC-E lenses).
  • The included TC800-1.25E ED teleconverter has been designed exclusively for the 800mm lens and can deliver 1000 mm focal length with combined maximum aperture of f/7.1. This is the first teleconverter equipped with an ED element.


The lens hood for the 800mm f/5.6 lens (model: HK-38, product number: 4985) is listed for $1000!

The patent for the Nikkor AF-S 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR lens was filed in October, 2011 and is pretty close to the actual lens design:


AF-S NIKKOR 800mm f5.6E FL ED VR lens designb

The Nikkor AF-S 800mm f/5.6 lens seems to have one of the best MTF charts ever seen from a Nikkor (or any other?) lens. Please note that different manufacturers have different ways of measuring their MTF charts.

Nikkor AF-S 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR lens MTF chart ($17,896.95):

AF-S NIKKOR 800mm f5.6E FL ED VR lens MTF chart

Nikkor 600mm f/4G ED VR lens MTF chart ($9,799):

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f4G ED VR lens MTF chart

Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM lens MTF chart ($13,249):

Canon EF 800mm f5.6L IS USM lens MTF chart

Sigma 800mm f/5.6 EX APO DG HSM lens MTF chart ($6599):


Next is a specifications comparison between the 800mm f/5.6 and 600mm f/4 Nikkor lenses - currently the top two big guns in Nikon's lineup

AF-S NIKKOR 800mm f5.6E FL ED Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f4G ED VR
Lens AF-S NIKKOR 800mm f/5.6E FL ED AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4G ED VR
Focal Length 800mm 600mm
Maximum Aperture f/5.6 f/4
Minimum Aperture f/32 f/22
Format FX/35mm FX/35mm
Maximum Angle of View (DX-format) 2°40'
Minimum Angle of View (DX-format) --
Maximum Angle of View (FX-format) 3°10' 4°10'
Minimum Angle of View (FX-format) 3°10' --
Maximum Reproduction Ratio 0.151x 0.14x
Lens Elements 20 15
Lens Groups 13 12
Compatible Format(s) FX
35mm Film
FX in DX Crop Mode
35mm Film
VR (Vibration Reduction) Image Stabilization Yes Yes
Diaphragm Blades 9 9
Nano Crystal Coat Yes Yes
ED Glass Elements 2 3
Super Integrated Coating Yes Yes
AF-S (Silent Wave Motor) Yes Yes
Internal Focusing Yes Yes
Minimum Focus Distance 19.36ft.(5.9m) 15.7ft.(5.0m)
Focus Mode Auto
Filter Size 52mm 52mm
Accepts Filter Type Slip-in Slip-in
Dimensions Approx. 6.3x18.2in.
160x461mm (Diameter x Length)
Approx. 6.5x17.5in.
166x445mm (Diameter x Length)
Weight Approx.161.6oz.(4590g)
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  • kayaker353

    Who will volunteer to be the first to take delivery and give us a report of its useability and sharpness?

    • neversink

      Sure, I will. Thanks for purchasing the lens for me!!!!

  • Allen_Wentz

    $1078 for the lens hood? Seriously?

    • UnknownTransit

      The Chinese can make one for under $10!

      • peterw

        the bloody thing is made of carbon, and it is strong enough to carry the 5kg lens with a 1,5kg camera.

        that being said… 50 euro…

        however an ordinary lenscap is about 10 15 euro. So 1000 dollar seems to be in line…

  • Harry

    Am I reading this correctly? A super telephoto lens that does not include the hood? And it cost $1000 in addition to the $18000 price tag? How cheap can Nikon get come on!

    • No you’re not reading it right.

      It does include a hood (and a teleconverter matched to the actual lens) but if you loose or break the hood then a new one is $1708.96.

      • preston


        • JorPet

          Which looks like a real bargain, compared to $1,708.96.

  • north

    $1k for the lens hood? Am I missing something?

  • Goose

    According to BH, the lens does ship with the lens hood.

  • north

    Ok… n/m. I actually clicked on the links. If you click on “what’s in the box” on B&H site, the lens hood is included with the lens.

  • Rubber Duckie

    The lens hood is included according to B&H. What’s the prob? The MTF chart is amazing!

  • Michal

    Same Canon lens is 4.000 dollars cheeper . This people in Nikon are completely stupid or what ???

    • Simba

      The pricing of Canon 200-400mm is also for idiots.

      • gsum

        As is the pricing of the Canon 24-70 f2.8.

        • Aldo

          You mean the second version? I hear its even sharper than the nikon…may be worth the money

        • Aldo

          You mean the second version? I hear its even sharper than the nikon…may be worth the money

    • jec6613

      Given the Nikon’s MTF chart, it’s the better bet as megapixels climb. Besides, almost nobody owns these, they rent them when they need them.

    • Michael_Foley

      The lens hood is included…

    • Brian

      And the new Canon 200-400 will be around $13000 which is way more then the Nikon. It’s all too expensive.

  • Harry

    I see, @Nikon Admin ,Admin you better fix this typo as it is very shocking to have a super tele thatt does not come with a hood

    • I fixed it – I was looking at the wrong website which did not list the included accessories, sorry about that.

    • I fixed it – I was looking at the wrong website which did not list the included accessories, sorry about that.

  • fur
  • Arkasai

    I laughed out loud when I saw the hood cost over $1000

  • Arkasai

    I laughed out loud when I saw the hood cost over $1000

    • Smudger

      I laughed when I saw the tripod mount!
      You would have thought for $18k the budget would have stretched something rather better.

      • Where’s my…

        Then again, if you only plan to sell about 5 pieces then retail price of $18k per item doesn’t add up to a huge R&D budget…

      • a RRS foot is the first thing you would add to this lens

        • Smudger

          Yep. But you would still be stuck with the cantilevered design.
          Take a look at the 1200-1700mm to see how a long lens tripod mount should be built! Precious few like that though. The mount on the AI/AIS 600/5.6, 800/8, 1200/11 series is not as good, but still much better than the recent flexible horrors

    • But you could buy the lens and then sell the hood on eBay – that way you could save $1000! Makes the lens a bit more affordable 🙂

  • Dan

    FYI, the lens hood can make breakfast and recharge your camera with solar power. When the sun is high, the hood will turn into a giant umbrella to overshadow you.

  • Dan

    FYI, the lens hood can make breakfast and recharge your camera with solar power. When the sun is high, the hood will turn into a giant umbrella to overshadow you.

  • saywhatuwill

    It’s actually smaller than I had anticipated

    • Sad but true

      That’s what the lady said..

  • tell the truth

    This lens is SUPER FINE !!! Amazing MTF charts. Is there a sharper lens in the world?? You cry babies out there that say this is to much in cost are just CLUELESS !! The BEST should be pricey. The 200 400 version 2 Lens is AMAZING too. Thank you Nikon !

    • neversink

      wow, you have just shamed me into buying ten of these…. Sorry kids.. there goes college…. Sorry wife, we are moving into the tent…. Oops, no room for you… The new lenses take up all the space on your side of the tent.

  • cppguy16

    I can only afford the hood…

    • Brian

      Buy it in pieces.

      • Where’s my…

        Expect the MTF charts however to take a bit of a hit with the second fluorite element replaced by a plastic 5€ magnifying glass.

        • tengris

          Plastic 5€ magnifying glass might be a compromise. 2€ fresnemm lens will be more of a challenge because of its square size.

          • tengris

            Fresnell of course. That tiny font is a challenge as well.

            • Where’s my…

              If you didn’t point it out I wouldn’t even have noticed the typo for my Fresnel reading glasses. Going Fresnel seems indeed like a good way to shave a couple of € off the total for complete assembly.

    • david

      can i put it on lay-away?

    • tengris

      If you need a valuable supertelephoto lens, I can highly recommend the 600mm f/5.6 IF-ED Nikkor, made from the late 70s to the late 80s. Expect MTFs close to the Sigma above for around $1000 in good condition. Unfortunately the hood is one of the worst around, just a 2″ stub. You can’t always win.

    • tengris

      If you need a valuable supertelephoto lens, I can highly recommend the 600mm f/5.6 IF-ED Nikkor, made from the late 70s to the late 80s. Expect MTFs close to the Sigma above for around $1000 in good condition. Unfortunately the hood is one of the worst around, just a 2″ stub. You can’t always win.

  • 5 meter is 16.404 feet. Not 15.7ft. Stupid Nikon

  • Manuela

    Is the hood made of pure gold? The MTF of the lens is really tempting, but I have absolutely no use for this lens. Honestly.

    • Where’s my…

      For optimal strength and portability, it’s made of a composite of hand milked spider silk electrodeposited with titanium nanorods. In order to avoid customer rejection for the potentially challenging, perceived price-to-value ratio, the retail price has been subsidized to match production costs of a similar item made of 24-carat gold. While gold is of less practical value in a lens hood than the spider silk composite, according to meticulous market research, it still sets a maximum level of acceptable material price-to-weight ratio for a majority of buyers of high end lenses.

      There’s also an additional detail contributing to the value of the hood that might escape the perception of a less experienced observer: Given the length of the lens and the size of the front element, surveys show that only a few percent of photography professionals are able to use their remaining hand to give sufficient shade to the front element, while still reaching the shutter release and being able to look through the viewfinder. This makes the lens hood a must have when sun is behind the subject. A photographer might wrap the front of the lens in a newspaper for the same effect as the original hood, but that would impede peer photographers’ ability to appreciate the value and rarity of this piece of equipment so it’s not very likely to happen in the field.

  • Rhonbo

    Wow the hood is $1,000, that makes the Grip for the D800 seem like such a bargain now. I suspect very few people will actually purchase these lenses, they will most likely be rented or loaned out for promotional reasons.

    • Aldo

      I bet you the hood will soon be available from a chinese brand for 100 bucks

      • Banned

        I wonder why the Chinese would bother doing an accessory for a customer base of 5.

        • Aldo

          Lol good point. Maybe they wont

  • Rhonbo

    To put things in perspective you can get one heck of an APO refractor telescope for $18,000.

  • Aldo

    a paparazzi can make the money back with one photo though…

    • Scott M

      Too bad this wasn’t around for the famous princess Kate photos. We’d have good sharp focus and a real royal crisis.

  • Eric Calabos

    Now I want to work in Hood Industry

  • Eric Calabos

    Now I want to work in Hood Industry

  • Dragos Romania

    As a owner of the 600mm F4 VR lens, I am more then happy to know that I will have no reason to invest twice as mush money in the new 800mm F5.6 VR. I am sure it is a great piece of optics, but for 200mm and one stop less of light why should you pay (yes I know the price maybe will drop in the future, A LITTLE) twice the money.

  • gsum

    It can’t be “very unique” – it’s either unique or it’s not unique.

    The grammar police have spoken.

    • neversink

      Thank you for clearing up a common mistake that is not unique.

    • Markus M. Schmidt

      You must be a german! 😉

      • Sebastian

        No. A German would write “the grammar police has spoken”.

        • Markus M. Schmidt


        • Markus M. Schmidt


    • guy

      bah…. a 13mm 5.6 is unique… a 6mm fisheye is VERY unique. 🙂

      • preston

        You’re confusing unique with rare.

        • guy

          Who cares? I’m loosely using unique, “Being the only one of its kind; unlike anything else.” You can have different degrees of unlikeness. But the fact is, I don’t really cares if it’s used correctly. People still understand the point without having to bring up every little grammatical error. This is a camera discussion board, not a grammar discussion board. It muhc mor anoying when person spel bad and can’t say a santenc good. Ok no more arguing about this subject.

          • neversink

            He Whas yo problems… I likes good grammer… If you don’t speak right and correctibly, everybodies gonna think yo is a moron an you ain’t gonna get no job, knowhow!!!!

    • El Aura

      It can be unique in lots of different aspects. Very unique would then mean unique it lots of aspects, and somewhat unique could mean only unique in some aspects.

      • neversink

        I hate to get into this, Unique in lots of aspects means that those aspects are unique on a product that may or may not be unique. Your second exampe is also wrong. Those few things that are unique, are just that. They are unique in a familiar package.

        Something is either unique or it is not unique. It cannot be somewhat unique or very unique, however it can be elegantly unique.

        • No longer Pablo Ricasso

          Possibly “very unusual” and then “unique” if it really was…

      • zoetmb

        Really? Can you be somewhat pregnant?

  • Samseng

    maybe it is expensive due to special made 1.25TC.
    the R&D and this is not everyone’s lens. unless Nikon produce and sell it like kitlens which is 3-4 million pcs.

  • bert

    What is the chart for the 400mm f2.8 with 2xtc? It would be 1/2 the cost for 800 f5.6 !

    • neversink

      I wouldn’t worry about the chart. That is an excellent combination of lens and TC. You should do perfectly fine with that and save tons of money and your marriage!!!!

    • Dr SCSI

      Here are some images shot with both 2xtc and 1.7xtc on the 400mm f2.8. I see no reason to upgrade. BTW, all images were shot through a chain link fence, which stole acuity and contrast.

      • KnightPhoto

        Photos are great but it might be the VR or possibly the 2X (or chain-link?) that messed up the bokeh.

        I know I get this sometimes with my TC17 and 500VR.

  • neversink

    There’s a simple reason for the expensive lens hood: Nikon needs to make up for it’s reduction in profit….

    • umeshrw

      Nikon needs to make up for it’s reduction in profit…. by making sensible cameras and lenses.

  • Julian Phillips

    What I find interesting is the information on the new lens coating. If you look at the MTF charts for this new lens they are pretty amazing. Does this mean that Nikon have found a way to combat chromatic aberration in all new lenses – and this is the first lens to use this technique? Or is this something that for some reason is only relevant to super-teles – and is this perhaps also a reason for the pricing?

    • panu

      I think the incredible MTF is due to some expensive glass elements with better coating and better QC. That’s why it is so costly.

  • neversink

    When will Nikon learn to make a decent tripod foot for their long lenses??? What is their problem?? I’m sure they can produce one. The question is: Why doesn’t Nikon produce and include a decent tripod foot so their customers don’t have to purchase a third-party product??? Nikon has been getting away with this for too long.

    • RamesesThe2nd

      What’s wrong with the tripod foot?

      • neversink

        They are too flexible for some reason… At least that’s my experience with other lenses I have that come with a foot attached, like the 500 f/4. Maybe the one on the 800 is better, but it looks like all of Nikon’s other feet.

  • rico

    If the hood costs 1,000 bucks then I’m pretty sure the lens cap would be half of that???

  • anon

    I don’t get it.. What do the 500 f4, 600 f4 and 400 f2.8 hoods cost? The 400 and 600 are probably actually more materials and development costs for the hoods alone because they are two piece hoods rather than this 1 piece. Plus is the 500 f4 hood looks to be about as long, granted not as big around probably (i’m going by pics, i didn’t look at the dimension numbers at all), but i can’t imagine any of them are anywhere near $1000 to replace. Nikon sees this as a completely specialty lens that only people who absolutely need it will buy, and they have priced it accordingly, because people absolutely need it will buy it regardless. That being said, you could “compromise” and get a 600f4 with a 1.4 TC and probably 99.9999999% of clients wouldn’t tell the difference in the quality. Would save a lot of money too. Never thought i’d say anything about a 600 f4 being a compromise and saving money in my lifetime… ha

    • KnightPhoto

      Those other hoods are all super expensive too.

  • Cliff

    The hood appears to be made from carbon fiber. Do any other Nikkor lenses use carbon fiber hoods?

    • Dr SCSI

      I beleive all of their superteles use CF. My 400mm f2.8 came with a two piece CF hood.

  • Maji

    most of the people complaining about the hood’s price will not buy this lens. So why bitch about something you won’t buy. The ones who will buy this lens, will drop the $1000 in a heart beat if he/she needs it. The MTF chart is close to perfect and I hope Nikon brings this technology to its other lenses.

  • Geomaticsman

    Now that Nikon has got my attention…I wonder if/when they might release a 500VRIII and 600VRIII? THOSE are lenses I’d really like to see, especially if they design it for max performance like they did on the 800VR and ignore the costs. Sure they’d be expensive, but you only live once.

  • peter2

    Well asides from the lens hood pricing issue, I’d be interested to see pictures taken with this lens.

    The 3 sample pictures on Nikon website seem to have quality of a 70-300 lens (I know, I exaggerated a little, but I’ve seen much better owl pictures with shorter lenses).

  • 5DollarFootlong

    My Dad just bought me one!

    • Mom of 5DollarFootlong


  • This lens is more like a proof of concept kind of thing rather than a product. For a price like that, they should have each copy blessed in a Shinto ceremony! (Was it the Nikkor AIS 13mm that had that privilege? Not sure right now)

  • phf

    I’ll have one. Just need to come up with a plan to pay for it, though. Look for me in Jennifer Aniston’s driveway.

  • Allan

    As a user of the 600 F4, I would gladly drop $18K on the 800 if I had a use for it. As yet I don’t, maybe next week…..I am sure the price point reflects the quality of the lens. Nikon glass has always been known to be stunning, I am sure the 800 will prove its worth.

  • KnightPhoto

    Admin, great work on putting all those MTF and side-by-side specs together in one place!

  • awesome stuff! need it!

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