Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens now shipping, available in stock


The Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens started shipping today in the US and is currently in stock at Amazon from several third party reseller. Here is a quick size comparison between the Nikkor 200-400mm VR, the original 80-400mm, the new 80-400mm, and the 70-200mm VRII lenses:

Nikkor tele zoom size comparison



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  • Rhonbo

    I’m sure it’s a fine lens and if you need it you need it but $2700 for a slow zoom lens seems pricey. Makes my 70-300vr seem like a real bargain.

    • Robert Ash

      Agreed. Plus the 70-300mm gets great reviews from, it beats the 4x more expensive 70-200mm at focal lengths up to 200mm and it weighs only half as much.

      • txstubby

        It’s a great lens BUT it maxes out at 300mm. If you need a 400mm Nikon mount zoom there aren’t that may options

        Sigma 150-500mm
        Sigma 50-500mm
        70-200mm plus 2x tele-convertor
        AFS 80-400mm
        200-400mm VR

        I have tried the Sigma offerings and have never managed to get a ‘sharp’ copy. There is a performance penalty with tele-convertors and the 200-400mm VR is nearly three times the price. So for people who need a good quality 400mm zoom the AFS 80-400mm looks very attractive.

        • Sigma 100-300 F/4 + 1.4 TC gives you 420mm F/5.6 lens.- best option. Also there are Tokinasomething-400mm F5.6 ; Tamron 200-500 Sigma 120-400

          • Photoretouchpro

            FWIW, I did NOT find the Sigma 100-300 f/4 very sharp wide open on D300 and did not attempt a TC, but the Tamron 200-500 is very good to 400 and OK at 500.

      • xjxjxj

        hahaha funny!

    • El Aura

      Compared to the 70-200 mm f/2.8, the 70-200 mm f/4 seems like a real bargain. In other words, what is the point of comparing a lens with an entrance pupil of 71 mm (70-200 mm f/2.8, 80-400 mm f/5.6) with a lens with an entrance pupil of 50-53 mm (70-200 mm f/4, 70-300 mm f/5.6)?

      • desmo

        whats the point of this comment,

        about as useless as comparing
        a $500 lens to a $2700 one

    • Pat Mann

      Your 70-300 VR IS a real bargain – it’s a great lens for the price, and I elected not to buy the previous 80-400 because the 70-300 was good enough as a bird ID aid, and I found the responsiveness of the old 80-400 very poor and the resolution of the 80-200 AF-S + TC poor in testing. But the 70-300 is not great beyond 200mm, and it gives only a little more than half as many high-quality pixels per bird as this new lens does. That’s a major difference.

      It looks from the MTF curves like Nikon made an effort to keep the performance up at the long end, which is going to be important to most potential customers. While I would have preferred a new 400mm f/5.6 prime, if the AF is reasonably quick, this lens will probably do the job well enough to justify the upgrade.

      I would probably select either a new 300 f/4 VR with matched 1.4 extender or a new 400mm f/5.6 AF-S VR prime over this lens. If those choices are not available when the time comes to upgrade, this lens will do.

  • Anoop

    have to see whether this lens also have the focal length breathing issue that we have with 70-200 VR2 (actual focal length getting lower @ small focusing distances).

    • AM

      As the lens extends to vary the focal length, it shouldn’t suffer of breathing. Differently than the 70-200mm that its zoom is internal.

      • jerre

        not necessarily. the 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 also extends when zooming and yet, has focus breathing aswell. I do not think that the zoom mechanism has as much to do with focus breathing as the focus mechanism itself. (I am not saying its got nothing to do with it as I do not know how these things are made 🙂 )

      • Remedy

        Sorry to collapse Your world but if You take the Nikon 50mm f/1.4 G prime for instance and start rotating the focus ring from one end to another You will also see that it changes it’s field of view/focal lenght = it’s breathing. Yes even a prime. We just have to deal with it, all (nearly all) lenses become shorter when focusing on close distance objects. What can we do 🙁

        • Pat Mann

          But the field of the prime gets narrower as you focus closer – a natural result of the lens being farther from the focal plane at close distances. The tele zooms get wider as they zoom closer at max zoom. Note the much lower reproduction ratio of this lens compared to the old lens at near focus. That’s the focus breathing people are complaining about. Whether it’s important or not depends on whether it starts getting significant at 50 feet, 10 feet or 5 feet. If it’s only a 200mm lens at 15 feet, the birders are going to be concerned.

    • Smudger

      It’s a very heavy breather.

      • Spy Black

        You’ll be a heavy breather too, carrying that sucker around…

    • JonB

      Sure it does. Pretty much all zooms will from now on. Older designs could focus by moving large, heavy groups of elements. Newer AF-S designs are optimized for fast autofocus. That requires that focus be done by moving lighter, smaller element groups internally. One consequence of that is focus breathing. You can have a lens optimized for magnification at closest focusing distance or optimized for fast autofocus, not both. For long zooms, I think most users would agree that autofocus performance is more critical.

  • Gareth O’Neill

    I have to say it looks pretty tempting, and I have the 300 2.8.

    • AM

      WTF! You’re better off with the TC-14E II if you already have the 300mm f/2.8. That’ll make a 420mm f/4.

      • Lockon

        Sure, a *fixed* 420mm… we’re talking about a zoom here.

      • Gareth O’Neill

        you obviously don’t have the 300 2.8. there are times I don’t wish to carry it. It’s closer to the 200-400 in size.

        • AM

          Yes, I don’t have the 300 2.8, but if I did I wouldn’t waste $2,700 to get to 400mm. I’d just buy a TC-14E II.
          Honestly, you only need 400mm on special occasions that may require to carry heavy equipment. The 80-400mm is not a walk-around lens, for that you’re better off with a 28-300mm.

          • PAG

            I shoot with the 300mm f/4 and the 1.4 TC, which is about 2 oz. more than the new 80-400. At 58 oz., it is absolutely a walk-around lens for birds especially with a Black Rapid strap. I carry it everywhere when birding. Move to the 300mm f/2.8 and you add another 52 oz., nearly doubling the weight for a total of 6.8 lbs!

            Maybe your definition of walk-around is different. I believe Gareth and I are both talking about walk-around for bird photography, not general picture taking. For birds, 300mm is often insufficient. So you’d save about 12 oz. carrying the 28-300mm, but end up with a vastly inferior setup for birds.

            • peterw

              be blessed to talk about walking around and doing birdphotography. I know guys who consider themselves lucky when they achieve things from a hide with a 500mm lens a 1,4 tc and a DX camera.

          • Dr SCSI

            Photogs buy what they need. I have the 400mm f2.8 and leave it at home most of the time because of its size and all the additional weight needed to support it on a tripod. Thus, I too am considering this lens for walk about useage and vacations. I have the 28-300, and although it is good, it isn’t great. I’ve since added a used 300mm f4 to my kit and this 10 year old lens runs circles around the 28-300 in terms of quality. The new 80-400 may let me leave the 70-200 f2.8 and the 300 f4 at home, while keeping the 24-70 f2.8, 16-35 f4, and some fast primes in the bag. The perfect balance of glass all the way to 400mm!!

            • No longer Pablo Ricasso

              That’s exactly the idea. You get something faster and at least as good as if you put a 70-200 on a converter, and you still get your 80-200 without having to change anything, with only a small loss of speed. It should be a great carry with an x – 70 mm fast lens and maybe a wide prime. The VR should make it outshine most non stabilized lenses and make up for it’s slowness in most situations. The lens is heavy but I would rather carry it than a 70-200 AND a 400 or a converter. And I would much rather carry it than carry a 70-200, 300, and a converter.
              Also, back in the day I carried around a Tokina 100-300 f4. The image quality was nowhere near the 80-200. Nobody expected it to be either. It has always been one of the hardest finds, even after Sigma made one that shattered it. When you put the converter on the shorter lens, the longer lens was a little bit better. Maybe the converters have got better since then, but then, this lens looks a lot closer to the benchmark quality than did the Tokina. My bet says it is the best thing you can use that doesn’t weigh (and cost) a lot more than it.

            • Dr SCSI

              Actually a TC2 on a 70-200 probably won’t outperform this new 80-400. I was so disappointed in the 70-200 VR I + TCIIE combo, that I gave up on that notion all together. VR is a great technology, but at 400mm I suspect it too has its limitations. From my experience, take all of the VR media hyped specifications and divide by two (i.e. they claim four stop gain, its actually closer to two). Don’t get me wrong, two stops is a huge savings in terms of glass, weight and cost, and I’m appreciative of what VR offers. I completely agree with your last statement, “My bet says it is the best thing you can use that doesn’t weigh (and cost) a lot more than it.”; this is exactly why I’m considering a purchase of this lens. I will however wait until some credited resources get their hands on one and do their first reviews/impressions.

          • D700s

            Who only needs 400mm on special occasions? How can you make that statement. Maybe if you said “if you only need 400mm…..” your post would be credible.

  • If a genie came out of the bottle and gave me wishes, one of them would be for new product announcement comments to not be so freakin’ predictable.

    • David G.

      What a waste of a wish.

  • whisky

    this lens may appear “pricey” — in comparison to a 10+ year predecessor designed for cameras which used film, or a 2~6MP sensor. but Nikon’s new premium replacement glass is now designed to perform in the theater of 36MP and who knows how far beyond that? this is no trivial challenge, even for a smaller variable aperture lens. what would be the purpose of replacing the existing pro line with glass that underperforms on their flagship cameras?

    high fidelity sensors require high fidelity glass. that’s equally true of new Canon designs. especially on lenses with high magnification powers. I can even see a new line of “pricey” TC’s to match the resolving power of this glass. some may not like this, but i believe it’s the future of premium glass.

  • stesk

    The price for this lens is toooooooooooo high.
    You can do even better with a “toy” camera from Canon.
    Hope for a new 300 F4 VR from Nikon.

    • Drazen B

      Or even better – a new ‘gold ring’ 70-300 f/4 VRIII…this would sold in high numbers, IMO. Whack a 2.0TC-III on it and – voila, a 140-600 f/8!

      In lieu o fthat a new 300mm f/4 VRIII should suffice for most of us expecting an upgrade for some time now 😉

      • Pat Mann

        I would certainly prefer a prime to a zoom. The long zooms have significantly lower resolution than the long primes, and suffer much more from use of extenders. A great 300 f/4 with a matched 1.4 extender would be fantastic. A 70-300 f/4 designed to high specifications would cost more than this new 80-400 because of the larger and faster objective required.

        • gsum

          I too prefer primes. The current 300mm f4 out-resolves the D800 and its minimum focus distance of just over a metre is not far short of macro. No VR but nevertheless a great lens.

        • Roscoe Tanner

          “The long zooms have significantly lower contrast and resolution than the long primes…”

          Not as much as some would lead you to believe, althought there is a slight difference. Physics is just that and cannot be fooled.

          The possible release of a pro-level 70-300mm f/4 in the future would be a welcome addition to many a photographer’s kit bags, mine included.

          That 70-300 (if made well and in pro specs) would be able to play in the same league as the venerable 70-200 f/2.8 and f/4 variants, both of which are optically close to perfect. Not 200mm and 300mm prime sort of perfect, but perfect for 99% of situations and shooters out there being it a pro or enthusiast, nevertheless.

          • Pablo Ricasso

            Well said, brother.

  • catinhat

    Oh dear… This lens is huge compared to the old version. In thickness it dwarfs 70-200, not to mention the previous version of 80-400.

  • Old lens is replaced.
    I found it great good lens.
    Comparison has been posted on the site below.
    I want a new lens soon.

    • Thanks for the link. Is the left and right example old or new?

      • TD

        新 is “new” and 旧 is “old”

        • Drazen B.

          Certainly a great improvement over the older model.

          Not a big fan on that cooler color cast introduced on the photos taken with the new 80-400mm, though. Hope that isn’t caused by the lens optics but the camera WB itself, or by sudden scene light temperature change.

    • comparison shots of bushes where we do not know the focus point are not very helpful.

  • Lcky

    anyone have an idea how would this lens perform under manual focusing?

    is there a lot of focal breathing in a lens like this?

    haven’t much experience with zooms of this type, thanks!

  • R!


  • Antoine Psaila

    Any idea when it will be available in europe?

  • MB

    I was kind of hoping for a new 300 f/4 VR but with latest Nikon pricing it will be around 3000$ … progress sometimes sucks isn’t it?

  • Photoretouchpro

    My 70-200 VRII with TCIII gave me the same results as the 70-300 VR, so I sold the 70-300 because I really like the 2.8 from 70-200. I am receiving my 80-400 tomorrow and am hoping this fills the 200-300+ range for me as I was not too keen on purchasing a 300 2.8. This could save me $1000s.

  • Panda12

    I work at a camera store and we just got a demo today, along with the d7100. I have never been so in love with another camera/lens combo.. Aside from perhaps a D4 with a 35 f1.4 🙂

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