Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens sample images

Nikon AF-S 80-400mm f4.5-5.6G ED VR lens 1
Nikon AF-S 80-400mm f4.5-5.6G ED VR lens 5
Nikon AF-S 80-400mm f4.5-5.6G ED VR lens 2

The Nikon AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens started shipping in the US in limited quantities last week. The official release date is today (March 19th) - expect many other stores to start selling/shipping the lens. Foto Hans Keuzekamp provided me with some sample images taken with the new lens, but first few more product images (FYI: the lens is made in Japan):

Nikon AF-S 80-400mm f4.5-5.6G ED VR lens 3 Nikon AF-S 80-400mm f4.5-5.6G ED VR lens 4
Nikon 80-400mm f4.5-5.6G ED VR lens Nikon AF-S 80-400mm f4.5-5.6G ED VR lens 9
Nikon AF-S 80-400mm f4.5-5.6G ED VR lens 6 Nikon AF-S 80-400mm f4.5-5.6G ED VR lens 7 Nikon AF-S 80-400mm f4.5-5.6G ED VR lens 8

Nikon AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens sample images (click on photos for better resolution or check this flickr gallery):

Nikon 80-400mm f4.5-5.6G ED VR lens sample images 1

Nikon 80-400mm f4.5-5.6G ED VR lens sample images 2

Nikon 80-400mm f4.5-5.6G ED VR lens sample images 3

Nikon 80-400mm f4.5-5.6G ED VR lens sample images 6

Nikon 80-400mm f4.5-5.6G ED VR lens sample images 4 Nikon 80-400mm f4.5-5.6G ED VR lens sample images 5

Nikkor 80-400mm f4.5-5.6G ED VR lens at 400mm 1

100% crop @400mm from above image:

100 crop 400mm

Nikkor 80-400mm f4.5-5.6G ED VR lens at 400mm 2

100% crop @400mm from above image:

100 crop 400mm_2

Next is a quick comparison between the Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR and the Nikkor 70-200mm f/4G ED VR lenses (click on image for larger view):

80mm 100 crop

200mm 100 crop

80mm 100 crop_2

200mm 100 crop_2

Update - size comparison between the Nikkor 200-400mm VR, original 80-400mm, new 80-400mm, and 70-200mm VRII lenses:

Nikkor tele zoom size comparison

Few other sample images sent from a reader: DSC_5658.JPG | DSC_5659.JPG | DSC_5662.JPG | DSC_5665.JPG | DSC_5666.JPG.

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  • Timothy

    I think they are just as sharp as the 70-200mm! Thanks for the comparisons.

  • disappointed

    sadly I think the 70-200 is sharper

    • Global

      What? The 80-400 is way sharper or at least has been IQ overall. Then again, to be fair, this test could have put the 70-200/4 at f/5.6 at 200mm. Although stellar performance wide open by the 400!

      • Global

        Although, I feel the 70-200 has better overall contrast, even though its weaker at edges from aberrations.

    • desmo

      it is
      the Nikon MTF plots predicted that,
      that being said I don’t think these images are the best example this lens is capable of

    • neonspark

      sadly the new lens is sharper from 201-400mm

  • squoop

    Thanks so much! Is it possible to also do a comparison betw this lens at 400mm and the 70-200/2.8 + TC2 which would also be 400mm/5.6? AND… I would love to see it compared at 400mm with 200-400. This lens is optimized at the long end and its performance there is of great interest. Thanks!!

    • neonspark

      no doubt such comparisons are coming. I’ll save you the results of some as they are obvious:
      200-400 wins always.
      70-200 TC will be the worse.
      80-400 will be the in the middle.

      • neversink

        neonspark – Please stop with the seemingly know-it-all remarks that the 70-200 f2,8 with TC will be worse. I will repeat. I have used this combination in low light and have achieved incredible results. I don’t believe you have even used this combo on photo shoots with great results. Where are you getting your results from?

        • El Aura

          Look at the 70-200 mm f/2.8 VR I with 2x TC tested at 400 mm at photozone and compare it with the 80-400 mm at 400 mm (they all are previous model results but they are in a sense coming from the same generation), wide-open the TC combination is clearly worse:

          • neversink

            Looked at the tests, which are, by the way, not real-world tests. Did you notice that the TC 20 they tested the lens with was the earlier and lower quality TC20II. The TC I use is the III (3) which is much superior to the one they used in their tests. And my own artificial-and-low-light sports photos are tack sharp with this combo.

            • neonspark

              when presented with evidence, bash the test. ok, how about you post your own comparison. let’s see if you put your money where your mouth is. show off if you can.

            • neversink

              What I might do is post some photos here (if we are allowed to) with the 70-200mm and TC 20EIII combo this evening. I can’t do a test with the 80-400 until I can borrow one from the photo store for a few hours. And I won’t get to do that as I have my daughters with me for a few weeks, and I doubt I could borrow one (or even rent me one) this early in the retail stage. But, if I figure out how to post on here I will do that. I am not on flicker or any of those photo sites but I guess I can join.

            • neonspark

              do not bother. actual photographers have already settled the matter


            • neversink

              Lensrentals aren’t photographers… they are retailers to photographers. Duh… Anyway… I am still happy with the images from my 70-200 with TC20EIII as are my editors.

            • Pablo Ricasso

              “let’s see if you put your money where your mouth is. show off if you can.”

              Not sure who is actually badmouthing here. You should step back a little and look at your own backyard and the off -hand unsubstantiated comments you made.

            • neversink

              pablo (you’ve changed back to no longer being formerly pablo!) – I actually tried to post a photo last night further down on this page, but the damn drag and drop feature failed to work. Oh well… Welcome to the new “neonspark-Nikon-Rumors” site.

            • No longer Pablo Ricasso

              There appears to be at least two of us here, neversink. I am no longer Pablo Ricasso.

              And today I see the photos on a different monitor and the 70-200 seems a little snappier…

            • neonspark
          • peterw

            tc20 EII versus tc20 EIII is a rather large difference in IQ. Also, different versions of 70-200 F2.8 exist with different IQ characteristics. However, as you can see from the IQ drop on the TC14 EII… Neonspark will be right… I guess, with a small bottle of Muscat the Beaumes de Venise on the counter. I hope I’m wrong, because a 70-200 F2,8 + TC20-EIII would be much more versatile. (and cheaper for me, having the tc’s in the bag anyway).

        • neonspark

          TC combinations are almost always worse. as such, it is the expected outcome that the TC combination will be worse than the non TC method to achieve the same FL. this is common sense. please don’t attribute your lack of experience to my tone. you just don’t seem to know much.

          • Duncan Dimanche

            Neonspark….. You seem to spend a whole lot of time spreading your knowledge on other people… Why don’t you go out and shoot à bit ? How come you have so much time to spend ? Sorry to say that but you do seem like the type of guy who is retired and behind his computer all day long… Have a good one
            ps i’ve counted 13 post from you.. keep it up. In the mean time i’m heading back editing my D800 Video from this morning’s work

            Cheers from France

            • neonspark

              says the from the guy who takes the time to count my posts lol.

            • Zivko Radovanovic

              It’s not just Duncan that counted your posts, others including myself did as well. So what. It only proves what you’re about and it’s pretty clear from the stuff you write you aren’t about the photography.

            • neonspark

              it proves I’m a Disqus master 🙂 you’re all just so slow.

          • JakeB

            And judging by your comments it appears you don’t know much about lenses and photography, either.

            • neonspark

              by all means, post proof that the 70-200TC2 will perform better than the 80-400 @ 400mm. because if you even had a clue, you’d know that adding a tele-converter to an optical apparatus will ALWAYS result in image degradation. or did you think the laws of physics don’t apply?

            • neversink

              Tried to upload a pic here, by the suggested drag and drop method, but it didn’t work… Oh well…

        • Peter

          The combo 70-200II+TC2III seemes to give good results on FX or D300 from what I’ve read, but on a 16MP DX sensor I found the results disappointing for the cost. Wide open was not acceptable, less contrast and CA. Stuck with the 1.7x (I tried several samples of the TC20III btw). Honestly, my 18-300VR gives me better results at 300mm-f8 then the 70-200+tc2III did, while the 70-200II alone at tack sharp at 200mm.. But that just my experience..

      • Geomaticsman

        I’m with neonspark on this one — The 70-200VRII +TC20EIII will come in last.

        • MyrddinWilt

          Well of course. Nikon would not have released that lens otherwise and certainly not for more than the combo.

          The test pictures have lost of shallow DOF but not quite the sort of subjects to show bokeh. From what I can tell the Bokeh is certainly neutral to good but I can’t tell if it is merely good or great.

          Sharpness should be a lot better simply because there are fewer elements.

  • EnticingHavoc

    The demo shots suffer from compositional shortcomings. It’s not clear where the blur in the corners is coming from. Is it the lens or is it simply because the visual elements in the corner are at a different distance than the center elements ?
    Compared to the 70-200 it scores pretty good although these are only center crops. Corners would be interesting as well.

    • Auritus

      Those images have corner examples too..

  • plug

    I feel uncomfortable with the variable aperture and variable extension, but the IQ does seem impressive. I’ll pass and continue to hope for a 300f4 VR prime to complement my 70-200f4.

    • Eric Calabos

      with variable extension, people watching you think you are using a consumer zoom lens .. but you dont. you’ve paid $2700! .. not fair at all

      • StopWorryingAboutGear

        So it’s all about what people think you’re shooting with and not what you’re actually shooting?

        • desmo

          no its more about at this lenses price point I expect the build quality of a full on Pro lens

          • dano

            then you must be new to photography, or have no idea what a full pro lens would cost. think 200-400 price.

            • desmo

              its you that must be new
              and not know that
              the 70 -200 f2.8 it is cheaper than this lens
              as is the 70-200 f4
              both have better build quality than this lens
              (this lens has nothing in common withe the 200-400)

              I’ve been shooting Nikon since my first an F in 1973
              so pony up “Dano”

            • neonspark

              The 70-200 is indeed cheaper. the 70-200 also lacks super ED glass, lacks FL covering 200-400mm. as such, its price has no relevance in the 80-400. furthermore, the 70-200 was actually far more expensive than the VRI it replaced as such, the price increase on the 80-400 is expected and in line with inflation and a strong yen.

            • desmo

              yen to dollar hasn’t changed significantly
              least not by a factor of 1.5
              this is not comparable to the 200-400
              if this lens suits your needs fine
              but you payed one hell of an opportunity cost
              (probably best explanation for out of perspective pricing is Nikon doesn’t predict a high number of sales)

            • neonspark

              are you serious? when the original 80-400 was released in 2001, the yen was much stronger trading 120-130. Look it up. while today it trades in 80-90 with Nikon’s forecast right around that . add to that the effect of inflation and you realize that 1000K dollar increase is in line with what it should be.

              the same thing we saw with the 70-200, and the canon guys are seeing the same thing happen with all their lenses as well.

              the problem is people do not understand that
              1) the yen is very strong and the USD due to the crisis is worth crap
              2) INFLATION people. look it up.

            • desmo

              travel around the world is what I do for a living,
              for the past twenty years, japan ,europe,
              places you’ve never heard of let alone can spell.

              Anything above 100 yen to the dollar during that time frame is rare (i bought my first Nikon, Nikon F in japan in 1973 yen was 360 to the dollar , a week later it was 300 then 270 then 150 then 250) In the last 20 years 80 yen to the dollar has been more common than 120 , its normally between 100 and 80 yen to the

              as for Super ED glass go on Nikons site and see which top line lens currently use it (200f2II) all the others from 70-200f2.8 to the recently released 800mm, i’ve got to mortgage my house to own, seem to do quite well with ordinary ED

            • neonspark

              quite simply, you’re wrong.
              at today’s exchange rate the prior lens would have been about 2K on release day. and adjusted for a decade of inflation, which is about 30% it would cost around 2600 which the price of the new one. why you fail to realize it is beyond me.

            • desmo

              as i said,
              i actually have to exchange currency every month
              my own hard earned currency.
              ten years ago 80 yen to the dollar was common,sometimes 100 to$
              it hasn’t gone much above that on any consistant basis sense

              does your mom know your not doing your homework?
              maybe if you focus on your studies you might learn something

            • neonspark

              let me discredit you further.

              FACT 10 years ago the YEN NEVER ONCE dipped below 100 yen to the dollar. It only did that in 2008! which proves my point of a strong yen being a recent factor. in fact the lowest (strongest) was in 2005 at 100:1. 10 years ago exactly the yen was nearly 120:1.



              sorry but the facts just made a joke out of your anecdotal evidence. in fact, you’re just lying out of your *ss. 80 yen to the dollar 10 years ago. pff. what a lie. all your travels happened in your dreams or much more recently than 10 years ago.

            • desmo

              read all you want i was in japan paying those rates not living in my imaginary world like some jackasses

              PS it’s hard to be discredeted by somone who has no credence

          • D700s

            What is pro lens build quality? This thing feels every bit as professional as the 70-200mm. What’s you point?

            • desmo

              internal zooming weather sealing all important at$2700 price point
              solid, smooth, no stick zooming,no zoom creep, no pushing dust,moisture, other contaminants as lens is zoomed,
              all things that happen with external zooming lens
              this plastic barrelled ext zoom construction is appropriate to 18-200,28-300, the old version of this lens,
              not at this price point(more than 70-200f2.8)

            • peterw

              don’t buy the lens desmo, you’d be disappointed. Half of your points is irrelevant for this lens. Comparing it to a 18-200 is ridiculous. Comparing the old 80-400 to a 18-200 is ridiculous too. I share your point that the cost is very high. Not that this implies that the quality is inferior for the purpose this lens is made for.

      • neonspark

        want a constant aperture internal focus 80-400, how does 6000 dollar sound?
        hey, at least it is not a push pull like the poor canon guys 🙂

        • Eric Calabos

          Nikon can make this lens constant and internal and charge the same $2700. They dont, cause they want to leave enough room for future upgrades
          The problem with constant aperture internal focus 80-400 is weight and size. m4/3 shooters may get the equivalent, but lighter and smaller, with the cost of dof

          • neonspark

            so you say, but then again if you knew, you’d be making lenses for Nikon and not posting in a message board lol.

            m4/3 is irrelevant in this discussion. this is a full frame lens.

            • desmo

              where did you just post 🙂

        • squoop

          This lens is IF. What it is not, is internal zoom. Agree with your post however… especially re the poor canon push-pullers, what a drag (scuz the bad pun)

    • desmo

      your right
      a lot of money for a lens whose build quality is the same as an 28 to 300 mm zoom
      a lot of change to have them paint a gold ring on the barrel

      • neonspark

        says the person who has never held one. and besides, who says it is a lot of money? the price is right for a modern optic with super ED glass, and the latest VR, plus it beats the 28-300 in reach any day.

        • desmo

          just because you’ve long awaited

          you shouldn’t be so gullible,

          this lens’s predecessor sold in the $1600 range,

          thats where this one belongs

          I agree,
          for anyone interested go to the store and hold/mount either 70-200 alongside this one

          you will see the fixed aperature internal zoom lens are solidly built

          this will feel more like the 70-300VR in your hands only heavier

          • neonspark

            you’re sounding more ridiculous by the second. so how about this mr revisionist history. how much was the 70-200VRII on release. was that not awaited? and how was it compared to the 70-200VRI?
            I’ll break it to you. the VRII saw a SIGNIFICANT price increase. So for you to say Nikon should be selling new optics at a yen to dollar exchange of 1:120 which was the case back when their predecesors arrived, in a day with inflation and an exchange which is far less favorable, is not just ridiculous, but ignorant.

            • desmo

              break it to yourself
              I bow to your self implied magnificence

          • D700s

            Obviously you don’t own either. I do and I can tell you there’s no difference in build quality.

            • desmo

              i own the 70 -200 and your blind

    • Buy Sigma 100-300 F/4 – superb lens!

      • catinhat

        I second that. People ignoring Sigma EX (or whatever they call this line now) long constant aperture zooms don’t know what they are missing, and do it to their own — and their wallet’s — detriment.

        • neonspark

          if I want constant aperture, I’ll set the lens to f5.6 thanks.

          • desmo

            then you’ll lose the advantage of f4.5 at 80mm,
            you should think things out more before you speak

            • neonspark

              I much rather have that than an aperture which doesn’t stay where I set it for that can have a significant effect in my exposure and depth of field. you should think things out before you speak 🙂

      • DeathK

        I’ve had the 100-300 for quite some time. It really is a nice lens overall. Hard to beat for the price. I also pair it with a Sigma 1.4x TC every now and then to reach out to 420mm.

  • mister le

    its a great lens, sharper than 70-200 + tc2 III

    • neversink

      Baloney, or should I say “balogna?” How did you make that conclusion?

      These shots are not any sharper than what I get from the 70-200 f2.8 with TC20III combo. In fact, they appear to be of less quality, but honestly, it is hard to tell much more from these images.

  • Walter

    After reviewing all images providing by Hans my final conclusion is – I can live with this lens. No problemo.
    Thanks a lot Hans.

  • Frabs

    But what happens if you boil it?

    • neonspark

      dude seriously, you keep posting that and nobody thinks it is funny. it’s like the 3rd time you do it. give up.

  • cyron

    Hi, because of the huge price tag of the new 80-400mm i think a comparison with the f70-200 2.8 and TC2.0 III should be better. Because price of the combo 70-200 f2.8 and TC2.0 is similar.

    • neversink

      I agree – we need to see a comparison with the f 2.8 and the f 2.8 with the TC20III…

      Hmmmm… Interesting tests: Here is what I get out of them and where I think the tests might be improved. First, the test should also be
      conducted with the 70-200 f2.8 which will give different results. I
      already use the f2.8. It is a workhorse and incredible. I have incredible results with the TC20III combined. I have heard great things about the 70-200 f4.0 but love my f2.8. However, if one was going to spend so much money on a lens, then it would be the f2.8 I would compare with the 80-400mm. So, unfortunately, though a good test (even though not all parts of the photos in the examples are in focus) it is incomplete.

      So here is what I take from all this:

      * I feel the 70-200 f4.0 edges out the 80-400 in sharpness in all
      examples except for the comparison shot at 80 f 5.6 (the photo with the “1754” in the center and the red and white awning in the corner.) This is the only example where the 80-400 excels and this makes me scratch my head and question if the 70-200 was ever so slightly out of focus on this shot.
      * I also see a bit of CA on the 70-200 f4.0 in the photo at 200mm at f 5.6 (the photos with the numbers 1212) in the corner example. Not sure this would have occurred with the f 2.8 version of this lens.
      * The example of the 80-400 at 400mm @ f5.6 seem soft on the edges and there appears to be a lot of CA.
      * I see different color from the two lenses. Is it that the light has changed in the different photos (a cloud came by.) I would also love to see some shots compared in complete shade and in a studio setting with strobes.

      • No longer Pablo Ricasso

        I see the new lens winning on everything except center sharpness at 200. Not bad, given that the other lens is stopped down one. I wouldn’t have expected it to be that good at 80.

    • neonspark

      except off course that if you account for inflation, and exchange rates, the new lens is actually WORTH the same as the prior one, plus you’re getting super ED glass, AF-S and better VR.
      this is the best deal of any 80-400 Nikon has ever made in terms of what you buy.

  • Cedric Reinsch

    I’d like to see a comparison between the this new NIKKOR lens and the AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm 1:2.8G ED VR II lens with the 2x TC attached.

  • BJ

    Ahh the naysayers! The three three things the 80-400 needed to be an AWESOME walkaround wildlife/sports lens..AFS, sharper at 400, and bokeh, and it look like this lens fixes all three ;0)

    • desmo

      it does but,
      the $1000 higher price negates any gains,

      it lacks the build quality and sharpness of either 70-200
      and is priced higher than the 70-200 f2.8

      • neonspark

        how does it negate gains? the prior lens can’t focus, has terrible image quality and it costs over 1K for what amounts to a doorstop.
        the 70-200 is too short to matter and it’s IQ with a TC is inferior to this lens at 400mm.
        lastly, you never had one, so your comments on built quality are laughable.

        • neversink

          Neonspark – You are wrong. From the examples I see in this post, my 70-200mm f2.8 combined with TC20III is much superior even in low light. My editors have no complaints whatsoever when they see my shots taken with this combo…. In fact, i see very little, if any, image degradation with the TC combo than without it.

          • neonspark

            in your dreams probably.

            • neversink

              Neonspark… You are a pretty nasty person, insulting everyone here, and running your mouth off as if you own this place. There are a lot of people here with experience. I’ve made my living in photography full time since 1988 and part time (more than 20 hours / week and sharing my photo duties with editorial and production duties since 1977. My father gave me an Exacta vxiia in 1964 when I was 12. The camera is from the early 1950s with three Zeiss lenses and all sorts of filters and close up attachments. I don’t need to prove anything to you and refuse to continue to have any more conversations with you. I prefer the friendly folks and friendly disagreements here rather than the caustic insults being thrown at everyone by you. Good day and good riddance….

        • catinhat

          The prior lens could focus (if you knew how to use it) and had very decent image quality. What’s more, the new model retained the focus limiter, which makes me wonder whether it’ll be an AF speed king some expect it to be.

          • neonspark

            if the 80-400 VRI focused any slower, it would actually focus in the opposite direction 🙂

            • dave

              Another lens you’ve never used.

            • desmo

              it wouldn’t focus on his D40

          • D700s

            It is. I own both the 70-200mm VRII and the new 80-400mm. AF (the new 80-400) is as fast as my 70-200mm.

            • peterw

              ? Strange. but good news. When they have the same AF-S motor, F2,8 will outperform a F4.5~5.6 lens. Perhaps these physics only apply when comparing in dark or low contrast circumstances?

          • peterw

            all long super telelenses have focus limiters. as 300 F4, 200-400F4, 400F2,8 500 F4 etc etc etc. And also micro lenses have it. (Yes, the prior lens could focus, on the branch where the bird had been sitting. Not good enough. I agree about IQ: very nice for this zoom.)

        • desmo

          you’ve obviously never even held or used the 70-200 or you would understand
          the difference in build quality is blatantly obvious

          • neonspark

            the 70-200VRII is built well, it is also short and stinks with TCs.

            • jan

              I had big problems with the 70-200 VRII + TC20III
              sold the TC20III but kept the TC14 that one was acceptable.
              I was trying to shoot aircraft with the TC20III but it never worked out that well with contrasty sky’s or at long distances.
              I know people that tryed it and they all had the same experiences and they where not pleased with it for the purpose they bought it
              On several other subjects than planes it worked fine by the way….
              I am going to save up a few bucks for the 80-400……they finally got it right with this lens..

  • Benno

    To make it sharper, just boil it… 🙂

    • fredbare

      Sometimes I think people would be better off boiling their heads than their photo equipment.
      Brings ’em ‘down to size’ so to speak.

  • nc_mike

    Honestly? I am not feeling $2700 worth of awesomeness.

    • neonspark

      if you need 400mm, that is cheap. good luck doing it for less on full frame.

      • neversink

        70-200 f2.8 lens combined with TC20III does it for me (and by the examples here beats the 80-400 easily) and my editors have no complaints when I have to use this combination and don’t feel like lugging a 5oomm f4.0

        • neonspark

          70-200 with a TC will likely suffer from inferior performance not to mention the hassle of having to remove the TC if you want to shoot below 140mm FL equivalent.
          if you’re looking for the cheapest full frame means to achieve 400mm, this new zoom is the answer. Anything else is just a compromise.
          if you can’t afford it, then you may as well go with a small sensor body and get 400+mm FL equivalent easier.

      • DeathK

        Sigma 100-300 f/4 with 1.4x TC for less than half the price. I’m not saying the picture quality is better, but it exceeds the qualifiers you’ve set there. Of course you’ll just move the goalposts then.

    • Geomaticsman

      Tend to agree…based on those early samples and considering the price, I’d rather splurge for the 200-400 or 300VRII and call it a day.

      • neonspark

        well then you’re a minority because so many are outraged at 2600 dollars which is cheap, now think 6K+ for the latest of each of those lenses.

  • peterw

    Interesting. The tripod collar looks rather good – better than in the previous version right?, however the images look as if it was a tiny bit windy in Zwolle ;)… (sometimes the 70-400 looks sharper, sometimes the 80-400).

    thanks for posting, both lenses appear to be very good.

    • peterw

      I meant to type 70-200 not 70-400…

  • I would much rather pay $2600 for a IF 400mm f/f5.6 VR. This lens is basically just a bigger version of the $500 70-300 VR. The difference between 300mm and 400mm is not worth 2 grand.

    • neonspark

      well, enjoy your imaginary lens and all the imaginary pictures you’ll make with it.

      • desmo

        Like you long awaited this lens,
        Steven awaits the update to the 300 f4(AFs and VR)
        many like Steven feel Nikon will introduce the 400 f5.6
        (canon has one, the Nikon ver is long awaited)

        they won’t turn to the same bean counter when calculating
        cost,overhead,# of copies etc and price it out of the market as they have this one
        If this is the focal range you need
        but your paying a hell of an opportunity cost

        • Well maybe someday another maker will fill the niche and bring out a IF 400 f/5.6 with IS. A 300 f4 VR would be a serious consideration for me as it likely wouldn’t be too heavy but not a slam dunk. As for the 80-400 VR, no thanks, too expensive for a consumerish pumping super zoom lens (albeit with good MTF charts).

      • Nice one. I like your posts they are all similar.

    • squoop

      Yet another who confuses IF with internal zoom. This lens has the former but not the latter.

  • Nikon Shooter

    I’m sorry to say this, but judging by the provided images this lens begins to fall apart at 200mm which means it will only look worse at 300mm-400mm. I’m sure that stopping down probably helps but I’m not one of the people that enjoys shooting at f/8. I’ll take the 70-200 f/2.8 VRII with a 1.7 tele over this lens any day.

    The extremely high price of this glorified consumer lens makes it an especially easy pass. Something tells me that a $400-$600 rebate will be coming as soon as all the initial orders have been filled.

    • neonspark

      we’ll see more formal reviews, hey at least it is not push pull design 🙂

  • longzoom

    Sensor is dirty, camera needs FT. Given copy of the lens is decentered, so what quality of images shown are you talking about?

    • neonspark

      these are just random shots. we’ll have reviews from the pros soon enough. besides anybody basing a purchase of this lens based on some shots in flickr needs to have their head adjusted.

  • neonspark

    looks to have a lot less CA than the 70-200, no doubt that super ED glass at work. however the should indeed to the TC comparison for the new lens wins every time from 201-400mm. plus compare it the prior lens which was famous for being the worse lens ever made.

    • Why are you so hard on the old version? If you knew how to use it, it was a wonderful lens. The focus speed was *never* and issue for me even shooting airplanes, running kids, etc. The key was to shoot the lens at f7.1 for max sharpness and use the focus range limiter.

  • Fredbare

    I think the previous design was far sexier than this one.
    Any women like to comment?

  • Wally

    I’d like to know more about the autofocus and VRII. I own the first generation lens – which is quite sharp with good technique, but holding AF on anything moving is a big problem. If AF is fixed, it’s probably worth the price tag.

    • preston

      the first version was good from 80-300 and then dropped off considerably by 400. The new version will surely beat it at the long end.

    • squoop

      AF is fixed and then some. Has latest gen autofocus motor and it rocks.

  • D700s

    I think the haters are just folks that can’t buy it so they run it down to make themselves feel better. I received mine last night and I think it’s going to be great lens. If I could afford the 200-400mm or 400mm prime that’s what I would have but I’m telling you this lens rocks for what it is. I get 400mm on the sharp end that’s as good as my 70-200mm VRII is at 200mm. I needed the extra reach for autosports and with my D4 the variable aperture is no problem. I shot it last night at ISO 3200 and 6400 in very low light and the lens focused as fast as my 70-200mm. Hate on if you like but this lens is a winner. You aren’t going to change my mind by insulting me in a reply. You don’t want it, don’t buy it but don’t tell me what I should or shouldn’t buy.

    • desmo

      probably should ‘ve bought a used D3s and 400f2.8
      more suitable to the task
      if your a professional

      • D700s

        who knows, I might just buy the 400 2.8 in a few months. I’ll pass on the D3s. Happy with the D4

      • neonspark

        and a Sherpa to carry the big heavy 400mm which will be inferior from 80-399mm.

    • PhotoSME

      D700s, this sounds like a huge improvement over the current 80-400mm lens. Sounds like a great lens and from my perspective you made a great decision. Enjoy and be sure to come back with more comments on the lens after you have used it some more. Sounds excellent.

    • Daniel Watson

      I wonder if instead of shooting at 6400ISO on a D4 at f/5.6 with the 80-400mm lens, it would be better to get a D7100, use it in the 1.3x crop mode with a 70-200 vrII (equiv 136-390mm) at f/2.8 and ISO 1600. That combo would only cost $3500 too and would yield over a 15mp image. You would get less DOF on a crop body at f/2.8 than a FF at f/5.6 too if you want to isolate your subject more

      • No longer Pablo Ricasso

        Yeah, except most people will probably be using this lens in crop mode on their D7100 already….

    • neonspark

      agreed. people seem to think Nikon needs to sell them a 2013 state of the art design optic at prices for one made over a decade ago.
      seriously guys, get a job and earn it. or wait a decade and then it will be as affordable as the outgoing model :p

      • itznfb

        Get a job and earn it? How about value. This lens isn’t worth the $2,700 price tag. No one in their right mind would buy this when you can just spend a couple thousand more and get the 200-400. At ~$3k for a lens everyone except for professionals and extreme hobbyists have been excluded. For those purposes you’re wasting your money spending this much money on a design that’s only worth about $1200.

        • neonspark

          you argue 2.7K is too much then argue to spend another two just as easily. you’re just full of nonsense. and BTW, adjusted for inflation and yen appreciation, the lens cost the same as the original. so much for your ridiculous 1200 price. go learn about photography instead of talking nonsense.

  • preston

    I’d like to see a comparison between both versions of the 80-400. We know that the new one will be better, but when the cost difference is $1000, you need to consider if the quality is THAT much better. Judging by MTF charts and early samples it looks like Nikon absolutely made the right decision to make a really great lens, even if the price point had to go up to do it.

    • neonspark

      or if 1000 dollars difference is worth being able to focus faster than a snail.

      • preston

        Yes, of course. This post was about image quality comparisons (no mention if the 80-400 focuses as fast as the 70-200 for example), so I was keeping to that.

    • studio460

      Yes, that would be a hugely relevant comparison. My old 80-400mm is pretty darn sharp at 400mm. Plus, I bought it as a refurb for only $1,050, and for that price it was well worth it. For a few hundred more than the new Nikkor 80-400mm, I would easily opt for the Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 OS instead. Not as long, but it’s a whole two-stops faster.

  • depth of field

    I thing the main job of this objectiv is to show a sharp center. The corners are not important.

    • squoop

      thank you.

  • Pat

    I own the 70-200/2.8VR2 and had used it with the TC-20EIII extensively for birds, airshows and distant landscapes. On the D800E the combo just barely cut it. it is not bad, but not good either. The biggest problem is 70-200VR2 is a near distance lens, it is not that great for distant subjects. The lens is also very, very front heavy with the TC mounted.

    Guess the folks who are frustrated enough by the TC-20EIII combo would be an ideal audience for this new 80-400. I preordered one and expect it to trump the VR2/TC combo at 400mm f/5.6. You buy this lens for the IQ at 400mm f/5.6 anyways….

  • DaveyJ

    This price will not hold for long. The design was to build a 70-300VR type lens with pretty much similar speed of focus, etc,. the few added features do not justify the current price. Nikon’s price on the D7100 was appropriate. In this case the reaction pretty uniform is……WOW? What were they thinking at this price. I have owned camera bodies and lens way beyond this for price, but there were clear reasons the price was high. This frankly looks, feels, and shoots like a $1,800 lens.

    • desmo

      most probably when Nikon’s bean counters did the cost analysis the number of projected sales was low causing the resultant cost and price to be way high
      I guess Nikon isn’t counting on selling vary many of these

      • neonspark

        actually if you account for the yen/dollar exchange rate and inflation, they are counting on selling the same number as before for this lens is priced identically as the prior model, if the US dollar had the same buying power it did in 2001 relative to japan and inflation :p
        stay away from accounting please.

    • neonspark

      are you serious? first of all, you’ve never held one so how can you say it feels like an 1800 dollar lens?
      second, it isn’t a 70-300 in any way which is not even a qualifying pro lens for Nikon NPS. this one is.
      third, 400mm is 400mm in full frame with no TC. the 70-300VR can’t do that. you’re paying for that.
      fourth, 1800 dollars? you realize this lens has a superb MTF, much better than the 70-300 and contains a super ED glass element only found on the 5K+ 200 f/2 lens!
      fifth. the original VR1 80-400 retailed for $1495 in 2001. Adjusted for inflation and the yen exchange rate, this works out to the same price as the original. In other words, Nikon didn’t make a 70-300 upgrade, but a true 80-400 upgrade down to the price.
      sixth, you have no idea hot to apprise a lens if you think a zoom of this caliber that reaches 400mm should be that cheap.

      • 808 Nikonian

        Once again neonspark, you fail to recognize truth. You said “the MTF is superb.” Hate to break this to you but MTF charts aren’t based in the real world. A manufacturer can put anything in the MTF but that doesn’t make it true. Based on that comment, are you even a photographer?

    • 808 Nikonian

      Thank you sir, that’s what all of us are thinking! Well put. The 70-300 3.5-5.6 is a fantastic FX lens for the price. If Nikon had made this lens in the ballpark of $1,500-$1,800 I could see the justification. Other than that, it’s a lens made purely for status. I don’t see many pros using this lens as a workhorse.

  • cloudbluegrass

    2700€, it’s really cheap. I’ll get two or three copies.

  • JMD

    Thanks to all who do real world tests and freely share the results.

  • AM

    This is simple.

    If you already have the 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II, get the TC-20E III and you’ll save $2,250. Is the expected extra sharpness of the 80-400mm worth $2,250? I don’t think so.

    If you have $2,700 and don’t have any of the gear mentioned above, get the 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II and the TC-20E III and save $150.

    • neonspark

      you’ll get what you pay for:
      1) TC will degrade the quality of the 70-200. this is not an opinion. it’s a law of physics and optics. Adding a TC ALWAYS degrades quality. The 70-200II is already stressed with today’s sensors and adding a TC will just be a waste of money specially on high res bodies like the D800. results will be horrible.
      2) TC will cripple your zoom range further. changing the TC again and again is a pain. You’re paying for the zoom range, not just being able to reach 400mm.
      3) saving 200 dollars if you don’t have either lens is pointless if you really need a zoom that can deliver the best performance in the 200-400mm range and can’t afford the 200-400 f/4 lens. You’re just WASTING money with that 70-200 unless you plan to shoot a lot of low lid subjects that are near you.
      Let’s face it, a TC is a compromise. it is better than nothing but it is no free lunch and no substitute for a 80-400.

  • neonspark

    Let’s get some facts for the silly rabbits that can’t explain the price.

    FACT nikon is a japanese company and so we must look at the YEN strenght for that is how they price things.
    FACT in 2001 when the prior version shipped, the Japanese yen exchanged to the USD to 124:1.
    FACT in 2013 when this lens shipped the Yen to USD rate is 94:1 and the lens sold for $1495.

    If we adjust the price of the original lens at time of release $1495 using the rate at the time, we arrive at 185,380 JPY. Now let’s see how much that would cost at current rates of 94:1. That works out to $1972 dollars. yikes. Ok so if the same version 1 lens was sold today at the exchange rates of 2001, it would run you nearly 2k. Does this mean the new lens is 600 dollars overpriced? hold your horse cowboy, let’s talk inflation.

    this site
    tells us that 1000 dollars in 2001 buys about 30% LESS today than it did before. This means that by today’s measure, we need 30% more money to buy the same value as before. So let’s take $1972 which is the price adjusted by inflation and apply a 30% commulative inflation.

    This yields $2563 which is SURPRISE about the price of the new lens.

    You’re all silly rabbits.

    • wOW!

      Give it a rest and move on, I’m tired of reading through these comments and seeing you think you’re Mr. Know-it-all.

      I have the 70-200VR II and TC20eIII I’m perfectly happy with the results on my D4. Only issue I’ve found is searching focus when shooting birds in flight, might be the same issue with the other comments with aircraft. I recently shot a powder puff football game and couldn’t tell sharpness difference with or without the TC. Although focussing wasn’t as quick and accurate.
      With all this said I still have a feeling the new 80-400 might be a tad sharper but not worth forking out another 3k after tx when I already have the ability to get this FL. I think I would rather have the 200f2 with the TC and be at 400mm f4.

  • jefferylewis

    It’s a cool looking lens. Nice results too. Unfortunately I don’t have enough need for it (it would be nice for surfing shots though!). Will wait for a comparison with the 70-200VC2 + TC and then start dreaming.

    • jnhphoto

      I got it, and love it. check out jnhphoto on flickr

  • 808 Nikonian

    Am I the only person on earth that thinks paying $1700+ for a 5.6 zoom is insane? I think Nikon should update their 70-200 f/2.8 VRII instead. Not that I’m saying an 80-400 doesn’t have a place in the market.

    • neonspark

      I think you’re insane. because reaching 400mm for a full frame sensor isn’t cheap. sorry to break it to you but if you want to pay 800 dollars for a zoom lens with super ED glass then you will be shooting with a lens made out of thin air.

      • 808 Nikonian

        I find it interesting that you try to insult others opinions. I do find you exceedingly amusing though. I also find it interesting that you have such a boring life so that you sit in a forum that’s meant to be fun and try to belittle others. You sir, are a loser.

        • 808 Nikonian

          Here’s the only fact that is real. Different people like different lens’ and you can’t force people to like what you like. Moron.

        • neonspark

          you know what is an insult? I went to the BMW dealer and offered 30K for a 60K car.

  • neonspark

    70-200+TC has its work cut out for it for those that think it is the way to go. this is what it will need to match.

    good luck!

    • My experience with the 70-200 VRII +TC20e III was horrible.
      Friggin Bigma looked almost as good.

      This lens seems to hit the sweet spot.

  • leo

    The 18-300mm plugged on a D7100 is a better deal than the heavy 80-400mm on a FX body !!!

  • NickCon

    This is the link to 4 ways to 400mm test, 80-400mm is not included.

  • Comparison of old and new can be found here.
    The new lens has evolved amazing.

  • toonces_2

    Can anyone say if the CA is controlled better on this new version?

  • D700s

    This isn’t a lens for everybody. Maybe some can’t afford it, some just think it costs too much, and others will sit and wait on a mythical lens that does it all for less than $200. That’s why Nikon makes so many others to chose from. I know I give a little on the sharpness and a stop or two of light but it’s convenient for what I do. I don’t have to grab another camera or lens to change composition when the subject moves to or away from me. I bought a camera to deal with the light and this lens is plenty sharp for any editorial photos. My main concern was AF. I’ll tell you it’s as fast as my 70-200mm’s AF. No, I do not own the previous version so I can’t compare the two.

  • Image Zone

    Appears to be a great lens. I Did a comparison of the MTF charts from Nikon and these result support the charts. I just wish I could afford it right now.

  • Image Zone

    Ta, Ta, such bickering going on. This was a first look at a new lens with some sample images and it’s probably not a good idea to compare it against the 70-200mm. Even comparing it to a 70-200 with a 2X extender does not make sense. If one wants to compare sharpness and contrast for a zoom range of this 80-400mm then it should be compared against another 80-400mm from another manufacture if one is available. Even a 100-400 makes more sense than an 70-200mm comparison. There is no way a 70-200mm with a 2x extender is going to be as sharp or contrasty as this 80-400mm. When making a comparison you have to compare apples and apples. If you really want the ultimate in multiple focal lengths, buy several prime lenses. Actually, are you going to hook up this lens and carry it around all day? It weighs in at 4-1/2 lbs. Does strapping on this 4-1/2 LB wanker to your camera body make you a bigger man or better photographer or is it just a phallus symbol? Actually, the 70-200 is probably a better carry around lens with the 2X extender in the bag than this lens. When is the last time you shot with a 400mm lens “handheld” and got a sharp image? I’d venture to say never. Let’s be real, unless you are doing some wild life or sideline sports shooting with the camera on a heavy duty tripod, this isn’t what you would call a “go-to” carry around lens. In the end let’s see a comparison of 80-400mm lenses from different manufactures if they are available and keep the zoom range as close as possible along with the maximum aperature. Finally, Instead of these out door shot comparisons stuff, how about a real bench test comparison with a real optics test target? If you really want a lens test check this out:

  • CalKing

    There sure is a lot of bickering on here about this lens. No super-zoom can replace a prime for acuity and IQ, but this is clearly not intended to be that kind of a product. This is a convenience lens — something a serious hobbyist with the income to afford it and brand loyalty would add to his kit for those times when a 24-70 along with this is all that’s needed to cover any generic situation, like a vacation to a photogenic destination. It’s probably not going to be the de facto choice for a professional wildlife photographer on safari in Africa, but a pro could get great results from this lens regardless. Whether it’s “worth” the price or not is up to the buyer, not a bystander. Likewise, unless some of you work for Nikon in their marketing dept I doubt you could know what the target number of sold units is for this lens. There are cheaper telephotos from Sigma / Tamron, etc, or you can add a TC to an existing lens, or you can shoot with a TC on DX and get reach galore. Unless your photos are being published in high-art media I’m sure this lens is more than capable of rendering perfectly fine images. Adding a little sharpening in post is still cheaper than buying a 300 – 500 prime lens, and frankly, when something like that is needed it makes more sense to rent than it does to buy. Is it a better lens than it’s predecessor? Of course it is. Can anyone tell by looking at a photo shot at 270mm what brand of lens was used? Heck NO.You can get great images from most any lens built today, and you can get lousy ones too if you’re lazy, have poor technique, or just don’t pay attention.

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